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Iranian Presbyterians to fight in Gaza against Zionism

These Presbyterians have offered to fight Zionism from a base in Gaza. They are part of a movement to establish democracy, women’s rights, liberal educational values, business acumen, economic progress and freedom in one of the world’s worst current trouble spots.

HT: Jihad Watch. Progressive (often nappy-crested*) idealist followers in Syria, Yemen, southern Beirut and […]

Pharmaceutical market failures?

This review in the New York Review of Books shows how drug companies pay bribes to medical doctors and psychiatrists to have new drugs publicly endorsed and promoted and how research activities into new drugs are given a positive spin through the input of drug company money.  Quote:

‘No one knows the total amount provided […]

Israel attacks terrorist bases in Gaza

The UN have condemned Israel for ‘overreacting’ in their airstrike attacks on the Gaza Strip*.  I think in fact that Israel have acted decisively and have not overreacted at all. The attacks have real ferocity and regrettably have killed an estimated 290 Palestinians – many of them civilians.  It is a miserable outcome for a poverty-stricken […]

Capitalist fools

Who is to blame for the current global financial mess? Joseph Stiglitz in this Vanity Fair classic identifies 5 key mistakes made by 3 US Presidents. 

(i) Appointing an anti-regulator (Alan Greenspan) to the position of Federal Reserve Chairman was a basic error – Greenspan did nothing to prick two asset market bubbles and refused […]

Harry’s Xmas message

I’ve been slack over recent weeks with meandering posts and important issues (such as Rudd reneging on meaningful climate change targets) going undiscussed*. In part this is because it is Xmas and I feel like being non-committed and because pissing into the wind has often in the past involved my boots getting splashed. It’s what […]

Rudd greets world at Xmas.

 In a Xmas message released yesterday:

Rudd urged Australians to spare a thought for troops serving overseas as they enjoy their Xmas break. People should remember Australia’s troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands, East Timor and elsewhere. Many of them have little kids of their own but they won’t be with them this […]

Pope’s Xmas Message

Homosexuality is a bigger threat than climate change.  My question: Why do people listen to this sanctimonious old shit? I’d say ratbag religions and the bigots who promote them are a bigger threat to the planet than people who prefer to have sexual relations with their own gender because that is the orientation established in them […]

A Xmas present from America?

The insincerity and deceit of PM Grub Rudd partly mirror the views of the Australian electorate and also Rudd’s perception of international political opinion. Politicians like Rudd just don’t get it – we need massive cuts in carbon emissions and an end to the use of carbon based fuels soon if the earth is not […]

Chinese biodiversity

I’ve got in trouble before commenting on Chinese attitudes to nature and non-human life but, to return to a theme, many Chinese attitudes are, from a Western perspective, appallingly destructive despite official Chinese ideological claims about the need to live in ‘balance with nature‘.  Historically many of the forests of China were cleared in the ‘great […]

Madoff economies

Paul Krugman asks a basic question. While everyone is tutt-tutting about Bernard Madoff’s amazing fraud (how come the SEC never saw it even though it had been denounced as a Ponzi scheme in 1999? How come knowledgeable investors fell for it? etc etc etc) isn’t Madoff not really just a symptom of what is endemic […]

Real bonuses & phoney profits

For years in business school courses I have taught that incentive contracts – fancy language for ‘bonuses’ or ‘performance pay’ – are a way of motivating extra effort from business managers or of elimating principal -agent problems between managers and shareholdersw.   Sometimes this is true but the devil is in the detail of how such […]

The US Auto Bailout….

Guest post by Sir Henry Casingbroke

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River.

Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, discouraged and depressed, […]

Golf & the Australian Open Championship

I attended the final day’s play of the Australian Open at Royal Sydney Golf Club.   I endorse entirely Robert Allenby’s criticisms of the organisers of this event and of the attending Aussie print media.  The hounding of the visiting American professional John Daly because he smashed a spectator’s camera against a tree was stupid. […]

Keith Windschuttle on acceptable climate change papers for Quadrant

My paper criticising what I saw as the foolish climate change ‘denialist’ views that have been repeatedly put forward in Quadrant magazine was rejected by its editor Keith Windschuttle on the grounds that an earlier draft of the paper had been published on this blog. This seemed to me a totally spurious grounds for not publishing the […]

The end of free market fundamentalism not of the mixed economy (revised)

My earlier lengthy post under this title has been published in terser form over at Online Opinion.

Proposed Qantas BA merger

The predictable outraged sense of nationalism of Labor toward the proposed merger between Qantas and British Airways is only exceeded in stupidity by its commercial stupidity.

Keating was the first of Labor’s economic ‘geniuses’ to stamp his mark on Qantas’ adventurism by thwarting a tie up between Qantas and Singapore Airlines. He ‘saved’ Qantas by […]

Thailand

The middle class radicals who have forced the end to democratically-elected governments* in Thailand have not done Thailand any long-term favours.  Recent events in fact constitute a middle-class coup that has driven a popularly elected government from office.  That is true even if the government was not entirely saintly.

When I lived in Thailand 20 years ago […]

Heroin on prescription

The Swiss have legalised the prescription of heroin to addicted users. The measure apparently has 68% Swiss community support although 63% oppose the legalisation of cannabis.

This move is poor policy since it reduces the user cost of heroin to addicts and therefore reduces their incentives to cease using. To the extent there is any […]