Friday, 29 August 2008

Poverty and Longevity

The BBC are prattling on about poverty and longevity at the moment (hat tip rob in the comments section under a post at Devils Kitchen). I suspect this report is a result of the BBC sending people up to The Undiscovered Country of Glasgow East during the recent by-election.

The BBC appears to be confusing correlation with causation, or even Post Hoc fallacy - "they are poor and then have a short life, so poverty causezittinnit?"

It might be that the bad choices/attitudes etc that shorten life are the same that entrench poverty. I know where I'd put my money. Poor people can live a long time, in fact in Japan, a low calorie diet caused by food shortages (especially red meat) increases longevity.

Powerlessness might shorten life, that makes sense - powerlessness builds deep levels of stress and lack of hope, lack of a future. What do you think the biological carbon unit would do if hope is taken away, or rather what would a body try and do if hope existed, even in extremely harsh circumstancs? I know what, it would want to live at any cost. Remove hope, remove the reason to live, shorten life. It is pretty logical. Biggest contributor to removal of hope and entrenching a sense of powerlessness? (drumroll) The Welfare State, Ladies and Gentlemen, in all its infantilising glory.

It is not poverty that shortens peoples' lives in my opinion, it is the unintended (?) consequences of the Welfare State.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Civilians to fine...civilians

From the Daily Telegraph the truth known or suspected breaks cover - that certain civilians are "permitted" to impose on-the-spot fines upon us with basically no proper training and, most importantly, no oath to The Crown.

It is bad enough we have on-the-spot fines as it is, for it bends or breaks the 1689 Bill of Rights, an Act of Settlement that no Act of Parliament can overrule, I might add, but for the powers to be extended to untrained, plain-clothed civilians, even those employed by private companies, is most disturbing.

Of course they begin with easy targets - dog fouling, littering and "motoring offences", but once this gets established, mission creep is almost certainly built-in, considering the track record of legislation curled out by our current administration. They can also demand names and addresses...demand? On pain of what? Arrest?

If I were subjected to an attempted stop by people out of uniform I will consider it an act of car-jacking or highway robbery, as in these lawless times one does not have the luxury of "finding out" the good intentions or otherwise, especially as we are being prevented from defending ourselves. So they should be prepared for crushed toes unless a uniformed officer is conspicuously present.

If some council johnny with a laminated card tries to get my name and address then they are very much mistaken. They have not sworn an oath, so they are no more able to demand my name than any other citizen. Yes, "the law" says they "can", but it is the duty of all citizens to resist bad law, and this is bad law.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Polly: Carbon Cretin.

I am going to break with my normal approach of pressing the "track changes" button, for in this case, I don't think Polly is being disingenuous or hypocritical. She is just barking mad.

Energy use has to be cut soon, so it's odd that this techno-savvy cabinet still shies away from a simple credit system.
What is with the "has to be cut"? No. Energy use will increase around the world. It is not the use of energy, but how, what and where. As for the government being "techno-savvy", one only needs to look at the dismal failures in IT and other areas to know the Government is incompetent at this. Why break a habit?

Awful August, the weather forecasters call this unseasonably cold, wet month, as holiday-makers huddle against intermittent monsoon downpours, reminded that global warming doesn't necessarily mean a Mediterranean Britain.

Post Hoc fallacy. By the way, Polly, environazis are now hiding behind the more general and weedle-worthy term "climate change".

Every month, reports from climatologists deliver worse predictions of the speed and tipping points for irreversible climate change.
They are paid to, dear.

A 4C temperature rise is the latest warning: it would bring unimaginable horror in its wake.
Would, if it were true. Is it? No proof.

The time to act gets shorter, but the political will to act lags ever further behind the science that tells politicians they must do so.

The time to act does not get shorter, it is just that the dire warnings are getting shriller and for good reason - the AGW game is nearly up.

Latest figures, including air travel, shipping and energy used in our goods manufactured abroad, show no cut in Britain but an 18% growth in emissions.

Goods manufactured abroad, eh? Like in China, perhaps. Go there and ask them to cut their output if you believe it is the case. No? Thought not.

If the market is the answer, soaring energy prices should drive down emissions. Road traffic figures showed a 2% drop in car use, with demand for petrol briefly 20% down - but already it is rising again as the price falls.

And? Your point is? The market is functioning correctly - you sound as if you WANT to see high energy prices.

On household energy - responsible for 27% of emissions - it's too early to know the effect of 30% price increases. But as one hour of an old-fashioned lightbulb still only costs 0.8p, energy prices may not be noticed by those who already consume most.
Now, Polly, you are joking right? If one hour of an old-fashioned light bulb only costs 0.8p, then surely the energy consumed is very small also. The reall issue is HEATING. Inside the above is a subconcious nagging to buy low energy, high mercury, flicker-on, shimmer while on "low energy" bulbs. Lead by example. I bet Chez Toynbee is not bedecked with such bulbs, or would remain so for long. Even Polly's dim-bulb brain can detect the hesitation caused by CFLs.

Those who will make serious cuts are the poorest and debt-averse pensioners. Official fuel poverty figures are expected to rise to 5 million people this winter: more deaths are expected among the old and cold. Back in Labour's optimistic can-do days in 2000, the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act created a legal obligation to eliminate fuel poverty among the vulnerable by 2010, a target missed by so many light years that Friends of the Earth is seeking a judicial review to get the act enforced. Gordon Brown's plan to buy off the problem with £100 vouchers for the poor is no answer.

An unenforceable Act does not mean we spend more time trying to enforce it. It means it should be scrapped.

What does the public think the answer should be? The Institute for Public Policy Research has just conducted the most extensive consultation so far, with focus groups in Newcastle, Camden, Southwark, Bristol and rural Suffolk across all social groups, as well as a nationwide opinion poll and interviews with energy companies, climate change NGOs and consumer organisations. The results pointed in one clear direction.

Seventy-four per cent said they are "very concerned" or "fairly concerned" about climate change - so politicians can ignore the shrinking, unconcerned minority.

Climate change is not the same as AGW, Polly. I am concerned about climate change, but I do not buy into the man-made back-to-the-caves mentality of the "enviro" lobby.

Seventy-one per cent thought action was necessary to curb people's energy use.

Then where is your problem? 71% will then curb their energy use, so energy use will be down. Or do you consider them like yourself - hypocritical?

But there was pessimism about the public changing its behaviour: only one in 10 thought people would drive less or take fewer flights.
Oh, ok, so "other people" need to cut back.

Naturally, favourite choices were the painless ones - the cheaper, environmentally friendly options. Least popular was any system that taxed energy use.

Common sense at last.

They were offered three possible government actions.

A false trichotomy.

First, a carbon tax could be added to all energy not generated from renewables. Second, a cap on the amount of carbon that companies could emit in selling their energy to consumers would force them to generate more from renewables: they would pass on the extra cost to consumers. But both of these were regarded as too unfair, with the impact felt least by the wealthy who burn most energy.

Very free with your use of percentages, eh? The rich are a small number in the scheme of things. Tax will either not affect them or they will move away and THEN it will not affect them. People get rich and are determined to stay rich so people like you cannot dictate how they live.

Personal carbon trading was the most popular option: it was the fairest and it wasn't seen as a new tax.
Most popular or the least worst of an appalling shortlist? In a way it is not a tax, but a form of privatised rent-seeking, as we shall see.

Here's how it works: each year everyone gets equal carbon credits to spend on petrol, home heating or air travel. People exceeding their quota can buy more credits. People who use less can sell credits. It encourages home insulation, energy saving and less driving or flying. Since low earners use less - 20% have no car, 50% don't fly - they can profit by selling to those with big houses, foreign holidays and gas-guzzling cars. It would be a powerful but voluntary agent for redistribution.

Firstly, you gloss over a massive factor in all of this - the State will need to track EVERY purchase we make in the areas so deemed by the State to have an impact. Very soon it will cover food, clothing, technology, everything. Secondly, it is NOT "voluntary" as people are not free to step outside the scheme. It will demand that all such purchases are paid electronically, so getting more information into the hands of the State (which it can, of course, sell without our permission to marketing organisations).

Failure to pursue personal carbon trading (or any other method) joined the long list of good causes killed by Labour cowardice.
I am not disputing that there is a long list of good causes killed by Labour cowardice, but this load of old crock is certainly not amongst them.

At Defra, David Miliband took it up with enthusiasm and commissioned a feasibility study, but after he made a strong speech advocating it, Gordon Brown at the Treasury banned any further mention.
Yes, I recall that "carbon credit card" idea. It was barking mad authoritarian moonbattery then, and it is still authoritarian moonbattery today.

Miliband was moved away and what was called a "pre-feasibility study", limped out with the judgment that this idea was "ahead of its time".

Yes, the Police State is not quite in place yet. Wait a few years when the EU is fully in control, then it will be a doddle.

They guessed it would cost £2bn a year to run, threw up sundry obstacles, and the report disappeared.

Only £2bln? From government IT? I wonder if those "sundry obstacles" were things like "impractical", "too expensive", "massive invasion of privacy", "AGW unproven".

Odd that a government with computers thinks it can't introduce a simple credit system, when a Nectar or Oyster card shows how easily home and car fuel bills and airline tickets could be deducted.
"A government with computers"? - Jesus wept! You forget, polly that oyster and nectar are OPTIONAL. One can still pay by cash. It is not a "simple credit system", but yes, we see the plan. I have long thought Gordon Brown has lusted after the idea of eliminating cash as a means of payment and this would move further in that direction. You also gloss over the "idea" of inter-personal trading of "carbon credits". People don't trade Nectar points on the open market, do they? Even if it did work what do you think would happen, numbnuts? The "rich" would buy up points and live as before. The poor, due to, erm, poverty, will sell points to pay for the energy that they can afford. The ONLY result is that the Government invades our life and a bunch of useless, non-productive parasites and IT supplies who cannot hack it in the private sector cream off huge wedges of taxpayers cash, some of it sticking to the governments ever-outstretched hands.

By supporting a carbon credit system, you, Polly, show yet again that you have absolutely NO IDEA how a market works and cannot get your Socialism-addled noggin to think beyond the immediate and self-serving.

Historian Mark Roodhouse of York University draws comparisons with his work on wartime rationing. Back then the state provided ration books for all, covering not just fuel but coupons valuing virtually every individual item in the shops from clothes to food.

We were under siege and supply was limited, UNLIKE NOW. Even then, the black market thrived.

Have we become more administratively incompetent since then?
Absolutely, for we now have a Government chock-full of morons, product of the dumbed-down "show-and-tell" coursework generation.

Roodhouse records the wartime internal debates about whether to cut national consumption by raising prices. "They concluded rationing was the only way to achieve dramatic cuts without feeding inflation or causing social unrest," he reports. They, too, considered making ration coupons tradable but decided equality of sacrifice was essential. But Roodhouse considers tradable carbon rations "would improve on the system, preventing black markets in unused coupons".

But this does not "improve on the system" for one is comparing apples with oranges, with actual hard scarcity and one trying to be synthesized by Authoritarian Government Fiat.

The trading element makes carbon rationing feel more voluntary and less oppressive.

Only to a moron, perhaps. "Feel" is not the same as "is". This IS involuntary and it IS oppressive.

In distribution of wealth, Britain is now back to 1937 levels of inequality, regressing backwards every year:

Yes, war followed by 60 years of the Welfare State. Well done. Thanks, you spiteful creatures!

that's what makes any kind of carbon tax or reliance on high prices impossible, the burden falling too unfairly.

Ah, so if the Socialist dream of a lumpen clay was actually achieved, higher prices could have been used. Oh what joy!

Doling out ad hoc energy vouchers to the poor at the taxpayers' expense is the wrong answer, and it only adds to the poverty trap by making the step up harder to climb.

Polly, I want to you to remember that statement and when you come up with any more ideas about redistribution and welfare, replace "ad hoc energy vouchers" with the current madcap idea that is rattling around your bonce.

Will Brown at least pay for it with a windfall tax on profiteering energy companies?

No, not even if he implemented such a windfall tax, for Brown pays for NOTHING. We, the taxpayers, pay for EVERYTHING in varying degrees. It is a zero-sum game (bit like your IQ) - energy companies will sandbag again or just not bother to build infrastructure, for how could they if Grabber Gordon keeps shoving his clunking fist into their savings and stealing all the notes?

But if personal carbon trading is "ahead of its time", that is exactly where we need to be.
It is not "ahead of its time" (unless...see above re EU), but is "a head up its arse".

Cowardly political leaders dare not tell voters the plain truth that we need to cut energy use.
It is not about telling here, Polly, you are proposing that people are FORCED. Big difference. Anyhow, since when have they got all honest?

If Miliband makes his run for the leadership, plain speaking about the climate will be one of his pitches - and bravery on personal carbon trading will be a test of candidates' seriousness about both climate and social justice.

Both "climate" and "social justice" are concepts for the subjugation of people and the removal of freedoms. I think Miliband is too smart to lash carbon credits to his leadership mast. Oh no, if he is still for it, he will bring it in once he has counted all his chickens after his premiership is hatched.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Reality Bites Ex Policeman.

I would not wish a bad experience on anyone, but sometimes there are unintended positives when the cold wind of reality blows in certain directions. An MP gets mugged, which is tragic, but then again someone inside the Green Zone needs to know what it is like outside.

Today I hear that an ex-Policeman complains of getting arrested for assault after confronting a gang of yoof.

The chap in question, Mr Lawson* protests:
I still can't believe this. As far as I am concerned, the police just abrogated their responsibility and should be ashamed of themselves.

A fish rots from the head, Mr Lawson. Things need to be sorted at that level. We have been smelling stinking fish for a decade or more. Smell it now?

* ...

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Ex-Drugs Policy Director: Legalise Drugs

Remove dogma, spin, PR and inertia, and the truth might get a chance.

We now see the ex drugs policy director for the government coming out in favour of legalising drugs. I have blogged about this before a number of times.

An end to the massive drain on our resources, misdirected law enforcement, unnecessary imprisonments and invasions of privacy (money laundering legislation is mostly to hunt for drug earnings, remember) and in general the re-establishment of personal sovereignty.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Fencepost No.9: Proceeds of Crime Act

Mission creep and "unintended"* consequences of legislation is a common factor of Britain and the world today, with more lawyers in government than appears healthy.

Via The Devil, who outlines the issue far better than I, we see how the Proceeds of Crime Act, designed to enable the State to seize the assets of drug dealers, is being used to, frankly, destroy the entire life and livelihood of a couple of fishermen caught breaking what could be argued as arbitrary quotas (set down by a foreign power?).

They become guilty until proven innocent, having to scrabble around and prove the legitimacy of all their transactions. That is an outrage.

People always try and swat away concerns about such laws along the lines of "if you have done nothing wrong..." or "they would not dare do that...", but here you have it...AGAIN. We see how the terrorism act is misused. We see here how seizure of property is now misused and a foundation of Common Law is cast aside. Seizing property has long been prohibited under English Law to prevent abuses by the State/Elite over the citizenry. It has now been effectively dismantled under the cover of fighting "the war on drugs".

The War on Drugs is a war that should not have been started, let alone be continued. End it. Repeal the Proceeds of Crime Act. Uproot this fencepost!

* really?