Scumbags that run around preying on productive people

November 24, 2011

From John Roskam

Here’s why I go on about freedom of speech in Australia…

As of yesterday you can’t call public servants in the New South Wales Environment Department ‘scumbags that run around preying on productive people’.

Well. Not if you’re Sydney talkback radio host, Alan Jones. Here’s the story. And here’s the IPA media release on it.

I’m sure Environment Department public servants are extremely productive! Such as…the ‘Senior Project Officer, Cluster Coordination’ (Environment Officer Class 11). Clusters don’t organise themselves you know!

Maybe someone from the Occupy movement will apply. Don’t laugh. They probably will. Watch this very funny video about Occupy protesters and paid employment.

A few days after I laughed at Julia Gillard’s ‘showerhead-led-recovery’ in the Australian Financial Review last week – this story appeared.

Here’s another crazy (but true) EU story. If you’re selling bottled water in the European Union you can’t claim drinking water stops dehydration. On Monday the UK Telegraph tracked down the story.

Watch out for Climategate – The Sequel. Find out the latest here. Back in December 2009 in Hey I showed you how the Australian media ignored Climategate – The Original. Let’s see what happens this time.

Avoid the new Margaret Thatcher movie (and don’t watch this new clip for it!). Norman Tebbitt explained why last week. Some very good (and long) reading on Thatcher is this 8,000 word profile in next month’s Vanity Fair by her biographer Charles Moore.

Oh – in case you missed it – there’s been more shenanigans in Canberra, and as of a few hours ago the Commonwealth Parliament has a new speaker. The Australian’s Chris Kenny in his great new blog covers it all.

The IPA is launching Ian Plimer’s new book about climate change, How to get expelled from school, in Sydney on Monday 12 December (with John Howard) and in Brisbane on Thursday 15 December. The Melbourne launch is tonight and is booked out. You can buy the book from Connor Court here. If you’re in Sydney and you know who Bastiat was – go to this on 1 December.

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The President reads Hey

November 17, 2011

From John Roskam

Here’s a quick quiz.

Guess the three countries where people live the longest on a government pension. (Clue: 2 of the 3 are about to go broke.)

Michael Lewis, whose pieces on the Europe disaster we’ve previously told you about (on Greece, Germany and California), has a new book reviewed in Forbes.

Paul Krugman is at it again. In the New York Times last week, he said the Euro project ‘was cheered on by American right wingers’. He didn’t quote any, so we did a survey. Milton Friedman hated it. The Heritage Foundation was opposed. The American Enterprise Institute was sceptical. And the Cato Institute didn’t love it either. As Chris Berg said in August, it was technocrats that caused the Euro disaster. So what does the Guardian think will fix it? You guessed it – more technocrats!

Remember how we pointed out a few weeks ago that Barack Obama had not mentioned Australia’s ‘world-leading’ carbon tax? Well, he finally did yesterday upon arrival in Australia. (He must be one of our regular Hey readers). Greg Combet says the White House ‘expressed a lot of interest in what we have done’ – just not publicly I guess!

Surprise, surprise! The end of Communism means the world is more peaceful and prosperous. That’s the totally unexpected finding of Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker in his controversial new book, The Better Angels of our Nature. Read his interview with The Economist last week or watch him talk to Reason TV. And then read left-wing philosopher John Gray in Prospect who thinks Pinker is wrong.

This week IPA researchers Julie Novak and Asher Judah released an important report on how Australia’s health system could be $4 billion cheaper if we had more productivity. The report is here.

On Thursday 24 November in Melbourne we are launching Professor Ian Plimer’s new book, How to get expelled from school, the sequel to his best-selling Heaven and Earth. It’s also our end of year celebration for members and friends of the IPA. RSVP and full details here. (There will be other launches around Australia in the coming weeks – details available soon).

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Here’s what I spilled my latte over this week

November 10, 2011

From John Roskam | Thursday, 10 November 2011

Well, at least Al Gore is happy. He thinks we should ‘celebrate’ the carbon tax. I disagree – click here to read a special message written exclusively for IPA members and supporters from Professor Ian Plimer. If there’s one graph that shows why our government is crazy, it’s this one.

Meanwhile everyone – and I mean everyone – except The Economist blog and a Brazilian website, missed this report released on Sunday. It’s from Toronto University on G20 countries fulfilling their public commitments. And guess what? ‘China has not complied with its commitment to rationalize and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies…’ (it’s page 272) That’s a bit different from Greg Combet’s claim that China is doing ‘extraordinary’ things on climate change. But as an Australian you’ll be proud we’re the best at keeping our promises – while countries like the US, Germany, India, and China ignore theirs (page 8).

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Here’s a video of Reagan’s ‘Tear down this wall!’  You know that everyone told Reagan not to make that speech? I explained this in my review of James Mann’s The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan. And this week’s New Yorker has a good and long piece piece on the new biography of George Kennan.

I spilled my latte reading this bizarre piece in The Age on Monday. It advocated a Cuban-style communist healthcare system. So how do the Cubans do it? They make up their statistics. In Hey last year we compared the Australian and Cuban systems. Still…Cuba is heading in the right direction I suppose. It’s now legal to own a car!

Remember how we told you in August that Milton Friedman’s grandson wanted to set up new libertarian paradises on abandoned oil rigs? Well, he’s got a new scheme – to buy jungles from South Americans and turn them into free-market utopias. I hope he’s more successful than William Lane.

Finally – this is a great piece on literature and liberty, by Mario Vargas Llosa from the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

The IPA’s lunch with George Weigel in Melbourne next week is now booked out – but don’t worry – we’re taping it and we’ll put it up on the web.

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The Occupy movement ARE the 1%

November 3, 2011

From Chris Berg

If you listened to the Occupy Wall Street people, you’d think inequality in America was getting worse. Well

(The Gini coefficient is the standard measure of inequality – in the US if anything it’s going down!) This excellent EconTalk podcast with University of Chicago economist Bruce Mayer explains why everything you think about inequality in America is wrong. And I bet most of the occupiers don’t realise they are in the global 1% – or that inequality is actually worse in Communist China than Capitalist America.

John Roskam is in New Zealand today for the funeral of one of the giants of free market advocacy over the last 30 years, Roger Kerr. Here’s a great piece about his achievements from the New Zealand Herald this week. The American economist William Niskanen, another great free market advocate, has also sadly passed away. Monday’s Washington Examiner had an excellent profile of “the most honest man in Washington.”

The Qantas debacle highlights the need for industrial relations reform, as the IPA’s John Lloyd argued this week in this article in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. Here’s what he said on MTR, and ABC Radio National. Ken Phillips had this important contribution in The Australian on Tuesday.

Who is more important to French history – Napoleon or King Kankou Musa? The new French national curriculum isn’t sure. Sounds like they’re having similar problems to us.

This video from last year – “I’m in Love with Friedrich Hayek” – is pretty funny. The sequel (which goes after John Maynard Keynes) – came out last month.

If you’re looking for something long to read, try this fascinating article from the Autumn edition of City Journal on the decline of meritocracy. Or James Paterson’s essay from the November edition of Quadrant, on how conservative governments should tackle the culture wars.

The IPA released a new report on Tuesday which finds the Productivity Commission may have overestimated the extent of problem gambling. Download it here and read Julie Novak’s article about it in Tuesday’s The Australian. Tim Wilson also released this report on protectionism in Australia.

All the videos from our Western Civilisation symposium in June are now online. New this week are talks from Sally Warhaft, Jake Niall, Michael Duffy and Giles Auty.

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