Who could he mean?

I’d made a film for Newsnight about what the Labour Party needs to do to reconnect with voters, and at first I was pleasantly surprised. The producer of the film was brilliant. But then they showed it on the programme and afterwards made me debate against a semi-literate lump of cretinous rage who just jabbered meaningless idiocies that had nothing to do with anything I’d said or even the questions a bemused Kirsty Wark tried to ask her. Like a Chatty Cathy doll programmed by an educationally subnormal friend of Stalin’s: pull the cord and out it all comes, a succession of furious non-sequiturs. “Never again,” I told the idiot of a programme producer, afterwards, very solemnly.

A woman entirely resistant to the lessons of experience

Please reassure Owen Jones that not all lefties become rightwing with age. My grandparents came from Ukraine and were Bolsheviks. My grandfather, both grandmothers and two great aunts were founder members of the Communist party and remained members until they died in their 90s. My father, aunt and uncle were also CP members for most of their lives. I am 68, have been a party member from 16, and I have no intention of changing my orientation. Carry on the good work, Owen.
Dr Laura Miller
London

Umm, yeah.

Well done ignoring the major lesson of the 20th century.

But then might this be the same Dr. Laura Miller?

Life Cycle Events
Madricha (Leader) Dr Laura Miller is trained and licensed by the Society for Secular Humanist Judaism in the USA. She studied under the late and much lamented Sherwin Wine. Laura lives in London, England, and at present is the only Officiant for Secular Humanist Judaism in Europe. She has written and coordinated weddings, funerals, bar and bat mitzvot, baby namings and adoptions (in place of conversions), and is prepared to travel if a family would like her participation.

In SHJ ceremonies, the scripts are written by the families or couple concerned, using a template and list of possible Jewish traditions translated into modern terms that Humanists accept. In addition, other traditions can be included if family or couple feel they are important. The only caveat is that Officiants licensed by the SHJ do not use God language directly in their ceremonies but prayers etc. can be incorporated by others in the ceremony if the family/couple so wish.

Judaism without God is an interesting concept, no?

Whut?

Palmer had worked at the prison in Dannemora for more than 27 years and had a base salary of $72,644. He had known Sweat and Matt for at least five years.

That’s a serious amount of money. Upstate, rural New York, and he’s getting 150% of the US median wage? And for 27 years……should know what is what.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — A prison guard charged in connection with the escape of two killers admitted providing them with tools, paint, frozen hamburger and even access to a catwalk electrical box, but claims he never knew they planned to bust out, authorities say.

Err, yeah.

Quite a high pay rate for someone quite that dim, no? Unions, dontcha’ love ’em?

It ain’t about the oil Maduro

Venezuela’s president has accused the US of using continuing street protests to attempt a “slow-motion” Ukraine-style coup against his government and “get their hands on Venezuelan oil”.

Sigh.

The US already has its hands on Venezuela’s oil. For they’re the biggest customers for it. They turn up and pay for it at the going market rate.

Whoever governs Venezuela this will continue to be true. The Americans will be the major customers and they’ll pay for it just like everyone else. As they are paying the market price in Iraq after the invasion etc etc.

Pity Latin America

Entirely typical Guardianista bollocks:

For the region this means that just as the first wave of leftism may be reaching an impasse in Argentina and Venezuela, a second, more profound one is beginning in unexpected parts of Latin America: conservative Chile, ultra-conservative Colombia and moderate Brazil. For the world, this spells the end of the dogma that the economy determines people’s consent rather than the other way around. It is the time of the people once again.

To translate this for you.

Having fucked up both Venezuela and Argentina we should use the same policies in Chile, Brazil and Colombia. You know, on the basis that fucking over the lives of 69 million people is a tragedy, doing it to a further 263 million is just a statistic?

The Ego has landed

Mr. Shaxson\’s thesis.

The BBC hasn\’t made a documentary about his book, Treasure Islands, one of the 100,000 or so books published in the UK last year, because the BBC is in the pay of the tax havens.

Or something.

No doubt they won\’t make one about the Courageous State either for the same reason.

Hey, makes sense to me.

Laugh of the day

The blockade also restricts access to long-term credit which means Cuba is often limited to dealing in cash transactions or expensive short-term credit. This makes bilateral trade more costly for the island and significantly stifles their economic freedom.

Not quite as much as the Cuban Government\’s denial to its citizens of any form of economic, or even political, freedom stifles anything but then motes n\’ beams n\’all that.

Left Foot Forward and the Robin Hood Tax

Cretins, we\’re surrounded by cretins.

There’s really only two problems with this idea.

1) It would not be the banks, not even the bankers, paying the RHT. There really is something called tax incidence, no, really, and it will be all consumers of financial prodcts that pay the tax. That’s us, the citizenry then.

Heck, one of the UK’s few Nobel Laureates, Sir James Mirrlees, has pointed out that trasnaction taxes are to be avoided anyway as they cascade through the economy.

2) Such transaction taxes will increase volatility, not decrease it. Sorry, but this is also true. Speculation, all those derivatives, they dampen price volatility, not increase it. Yes, I have read your reports and they’re all bollocks, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

So, let’s have an RHT so that we, us, can pay more taxes and so that we can have the financial markets gyrating ever more wildly.

Doesn’t sound so good now, does it?

Those ever longer working hours

You know, those ones that rise up as an incantation in Guardian not-think pieces?

Analysis of the most recent time use survey for Britain — which includes the unemployed and \”homemakers\” as well as working couples — shows that women work an average of five hours 55 minutes a day on employment and chores, compared with a man\’s five hours 37 minutes.

Yup, they\’re bollocks.

Because what everyone, but always, looks at is market working hours without adjusting for the decline in home working hours.

Now you might think this is trivial but this ignorance of reality leads to some entirely stupid prescriptions. For example, the nef (how did you know I was going to use them as an example of stupidity?), tell us we should all be doing fewer market working hours….and then rather fail to tell us that this will mean many more household production hours, leading to a decline in leisure time and an increase in total working hours.

Further, we can make a general presumption that market working hours are more productive than household. For in hte market we\’ve the division and specialisation of labour while in the household this is, at best, limited. So production will be, as this general presumption, less per hour of household labour than it will be for an hour of market labour.

So the nef\’s suggestion is that we should work fewer hours in order to work more hours to be poorer.

Put that way it sounds most attractive, doesn\’t it?

Fools

Defence charities have snubbed the News of the World by refusing to accept millions of pounds in donations in protest at the alleged hacking of dead soldiers’ families’ phones.

Pecunia non olet.

Actually, worse than fools.

Some limbless squaddies will now not get their bionic limbs because the non-injured middle class twats who run the charities have been able to buff up their moral credentials by refusing such \”tainted\” money.

There must be a word which encapsulates \”you suffer for my moral prejudices\” even if I don\’t know what it is.

John Christensen: not an economist

I\’ve had this argument with John Christensen before on my blog.

The government\’s pursuit of tax competitiveness, where countries vie with each other to offer lower corporate tax rates, puts Christensen\’s hackles right up. \”It\’s just a race to the bottom, a beggar-your-neighbour return to the protectionist policies of the 1930s, but these days it\’s not around trade tariffs, but around subsidising multinational corporations through the tax systems.

\”It\’s no coincidence that when this government came into power almost the first thing it did was raise VAT rates so that ordinary people would pay more tax and then cut corporate tax rates.

\”What\’s happening here is that the tax burden is being shifted from capital on to ordinary people.\”

In an open economy it\’s not capital which pays the corporation tax. It\’s the workers in the form of lower wages.

Thus his entire contention is wrong.

When I upbraided him about this he came back with: Ah, but that only works in a closed economy. Which is of course entirely the wrong way around. In a closed economy capital will pay corporation tax. In an open one, labour.

Which is something of a problem, don\’t you think? That when we\’ve got a campaigner trying to change the taxation system for the entire business world, said campaigner is ignorant of the basic economics of the very thing he\’s trying to reform?

Getting the ill-informed to design something rarely works all that well.

Allow me to be entirely cynical here

\”I certainly have seen the benefits that can come from [oil] royalties. Schools are better. There are swimming pools, gymnasium, cars – and jobs – all the result of billions of dollars.\”

Patricia Cochran, a former chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council from Alaska, expresses the view of many indigenous people on industrial development in the Arctic. Vast oil and mineral wealth have brought huge benefits to some communities.

But her own conflicted feelings about development neatly sum up the dilemma that indigenous leaders in the region face. In Barrow – Alaska\’s oil capital – there are also high rates of suicide and depression, while offshore drilling is a threat to subsistence whaling and the hunting of seals and walrus, she points out. So despite the benefits, Cochran is personally quite negative about industrial development and questions the wider benefit to society.

…..

But even there, local leaders of indigenous people have mixed views about who is really benefiting. And overall the \”community\” representing indigenous people is split down the middle over the issue.

As I say, entirely cynical.

Traditional leaders are going to be against any change. When you\’re at the top of a society you know damn well that change might topple you from that position. And yes, there are those who would rather be top than to be middle or bottom in a much richer society.

Yer average Guardian reader would understand this instinctively about the British aristocracy or the Bullingdon Boys. But they never seem to make the connection with the same thing happening in other societies.

David Hillman, lying scumbag

David Hillman, spokesman for the Robin Hood Tax campaign, said: \”The British government should wake up and smell the coffee. Other governments are moving ahead with a bank tax, while we are letting our financial sector off the hook.

\”A Robin Hood tax on the banks would be the most popular tax in history.\”

A tax which just taxed the banks would indeed be an extremely popular tax.

But as both you, your confreres and fellow campaigners, and I know a Robin Hood Tax would not be a tax on the banks. Nor even upon the banksters.

It would be a tax on all consumers of the products of the financial sector. Which, given that all of us take part in the modern economy which consumes the products of the financial sector would mean all of us.

Now you know this, it\’s been pointed out to you by myself (and one of your colleagues, Owen Tudor, will no doubt have brought my snarls to your attention ) but more importantly it\’s been pointed out to you by the OECD and the IMF. The incidence of a financial transactions tax will be upon consumers, as pointed out by the Nobel Laureates Sir James Mirrless and Peter Diamond. Further, the burden upon consumers is likely to be greater than the revenue raised, as pointed out by the Nobel Laureate Joe Stiglitz.

You know this, your campaign knows this, yet still you market your idea as if it is only the banks which will bear the burden. You are playing off the ignorance of the general public about tax incidence.

Which makes you David Hillman, Owen Tudor, the Robin Hood Tax campaign as a whole, lying scumbags, doesn\’t it?

Laurie Penny will have to work hard to match this

Laurie of course being the Germaine Greer de nos jours.

Also, we are dealing here with literature in translation, but all the judges are anglophone, which is ridiculous.

The prize is for literature translated into English: being a native English speaker is therefore something of an advantage.

Right now, I don’t know. I don’t read fiction – it’s a waste of time.

It\’s a prize for fiction, so perhaps not quite the right judge then Germaine.

By and large, English novels don’t impress the Australian Greer. “The English don’t even write the best novels,” she said. “It’s the French who are the best writers.”

And somewhere the ghost of Jane Austen titters in embarassment……

 

Being disabled is one thing, being an idiot another

Nobody would think that it is OK to deny someone a job as a result of their sex, race or age, and the same should stand for disabled people, too.

We do deny people jobs because of their age: 14 year olds do not get hired as delivery drivers. We do deny people jobs on the basis of their sex: there are no male wet nurses. As to race: there aren\’t that many black models being used to advertise tanning salons.

Disabled means differently abled. We don\’t hire the blind to be delivery drivers, the deaf as piano tuners nor the dyslexic as subeditors.

Yes we do, and should, deny people a job on the basis of disability. You know, the inability to do the job in question?

Is this drivel or dribble?

\”The scale of the land deals being struck is shocking\”, said Mittal. \”The conversion of African small farms and forests into a natural-asset-based, high-return investment strategy can drive up food prices and increase the risks of climate change.

Growing more food through investing in growing more food is going to drive up food prices how?

That screeching whine is the TUC gearing up

In contrast, the real wages of top professionals such as doctors and lawyers has more than doubled. The pay of many relatively unskilled and semi-skilled workers (including bakers, forklift-truck drivers, packers and bottlers) has actually fallen in real terms since the 1970s.

Yes, that\’s what happens in an economy.

As technology changes the demands for the labour to perform certain tasks changes. Wages then change to reflect the differences in supply and demand for those certain skills.

Since the 1970s baking has become ever more mechanised: pallets reduced the need for forklift drivers. Similarly with packers and bottlers, we\’ve mechanised more of the task.

We just don\’t need as many of them as we once did.

In any and every economy with any form of dynamism technological change will change the wages of some forms of labour. To complain about this is to be Canute, or as the Norwegians misspelled his name, a Cnut.