Saturday, March 31, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: 'Victory For Kremlin' As Germany Approves Russian Gas Pipeline

Europe Feels The Heat As Russia Standoff Risks Energy Crisis

In this newsletter:

1) 'Victory For Kremlin' As Germany Approves Russian Gas Pipeline
EUObserver, 28 March 2018 
2) German Approval Of Nord Stream 2 Risks Tensions With Eastern Neighbours
AFP, 28 March 2018 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Viv Forbes: Another Endangered Species?

Earth is a dangerous place. Of all the species that have ever lived, over 95% have already been extinguished by natural disasters.

Ice, not global warming, is the big killer and this recurring calamity often strikes quickly. Thousands of mammoths and other animals were killed by ice storms and their snap-frozen bodies are still entombed in ice around the Arctic. Just 15,000 years ago great ice sheets smothered the northern hemisphere as far south as Chicago, Moscow and London and all life had migrated towards the equator. This deadly ice had gripped Earth for about 50,000 years.

Ice ages are also times of dry winds and drought as cold oceans and cold dry atmospheres produce little evaporation or precipitation. Great deserts like the Sahara and the Gobi expand, and wind-blown dust fills the skies and rivers.

Brian Giesbrecht: The Arkhipov Calm

Where would we be without Vasili Arkhipov? In fact, would we be here at all?

Who is Vasili Arkhipov you may ask?

Before I get to that, let me talk for a minute about the nuclear world we now live in. There are currently so many nuclear weapons on our small planet that we are literally living on a bomb – a bomb that could go off at any time.

North Korea is bristling with nuclear bombs. As a rogue nation, it is completely unpredictable. South Korea, Japan – and now, apparently North America – are all within range of North Korea’s nuclear missiles. We have no way of knowing what they intend to do.

Daniel Mitchell: Emmanuel Macron Is Surprisingly Pro-Market for a Socialist... Sometimes

In last year’s French presidential election between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, I joked that voters should choose the socialist over the socialist, but made a serious point that Macron—despite having been part of Hollande’s disastrous government—was preferable since there was at least a hope of market-oriented reform.
…the chance of Macron being good are greater than zero. After all, it was the left-wing parties that started the process of pro-market reforms in Australia and New Zealand. And it was a Social Democrat government in Germany that enacted the labor-market reforms that have been so beneficial for that nation.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Frank Newman: Letting fees to go

On 22 March, the Government introduced the Residential Tenancies (Prohibiting Letting Fees) Amendment Bill to Parliament. The Bill makes good the new government's pre-election promise to ban the charging of letting fees to tenants.

The law as it currently stands allows a property manager to charge up to a week's rent for services relating to the granting or assignment of a tenancy. This charge is to cover their time and cost vetting prospective tenants and completing the paperwork involved.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: BBC’s Fake Climate Claims Now Becoming A Habit

BBC Regrets Climate Error — Then Does It Again

In this newsletter:

1) BBC Regrets Climate Error And Failure To Meet Usual Standards Of Reporting — Then Does It Again
GWPF Observatory, 26 March 2018 
2) BBC’s Fake Climate Claims Now Becoming A Habit
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 22 March 2018 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

NZCPR Weekly: Global Warming Groupthink

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we raise concerns about the extremist direction of the Government’s climate change agenda, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Barry Brill shares details of a new report showing that many of our glaciers are advancing - as a result of New Zealand’s cooler air temperatures, and our poll asks whether you agree with Labour and the Greens that New Zealand should move to a zero carbon economy.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Melanie Phillips: West pays the price for its decades of folly

What’s that deafening noise of squawking and screeching and flapping that we can now hear all around us? Why, it’s the West’s chickens finally coming home to roost.

In Britain, a retired Russian spy and his daughter, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, remain critically ill in hospital after being poisoned earlier this month in the quiet cathedral city of Salisbury by a rare, military- grade and deadly nerve agent.

Skripal was a double agent who had worked for British intelligence. The poison used against him reportedly could only have been produced by Russia. Although there’s no conclusive proof of Kremlin involvement, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament the attack was an “unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK.”

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Matt Ridley: Good news is gradual, bad news sudden

‘Deadly new epidemic called Disease X could kill millions, scientists warn,” read one headline at the weekend. “WHO issues global alert for potential pandemic,” read another. Apparently frustrated by the way real infectious diseases keep failing to wipe us out, it seems that the nannies at the World Health Organisation have decided to invent a fictitious one.

Disease X is going to be a virus that jumps unexpectedly from an animal species, as happens from time to time, or perhaps a man-made pathogen from a dictator’s biological warfare laboratory. To be alert for such things is sensible, especially after what has happened in Salisbury, but to imply that the risk is high is irresponsible.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Stephen Franks: Barack Obama is not too busy with golf and Sir John Key to write to me

Today Obama emailed me personally despite his busy schedule in Auckland. He asked me to get active for the Democrats. Im sharing his message with you, at the end of this post.

Former NZ PMs often regard it as bad form to stay active in partisan politics after retirement. There is a feeling they should give their successors a reasonable shot at maturing into office and effective leadership without a predecessors sniping.

That was also a convention in the US.

GWPF Newsletter: BBC Forced To Retract False Claim About Hurricanes

John Stossel: The Paris Climate Fraud

In this newsletter:

1) BBC Forced To Retract False Claim About Hurricanes
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 22 March 2018 
2) Big Oil Lawyer Emphasizes Climate Change ‘Uncertainties’ In Wonky Court Tutorial
McClatchy, 21 March 2018 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

GWPF Newsletter - Green Madness: Europe’s Growing Dependence On Russian Gas

Turn Off The Russian Gas Tap And Get Fracking

In this newsletter:

1) Europe’s Growing Dependence On Russia May Leave Britain Left Out In The Cold
City A.M., 20 March 2018

2) Blackout Threat To Britain From Russian Cyber-Attack
The Sunday Times, 19 March 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Frank Newman: The Future of prosperity

I recently outlined some of the proposals included in the Future of Tax, a background discussion paper to encourage submissions about how tax should be collected in the future.
I made the point that the review is not comprehensive, nor is it impartial. 

The discussion excludes areas that the government considers politically unacceptable, like a capital gains on the family home. It promotes possible tax breaks for those involved in the Maori economy. It plans to use the tax system to address environmental issues like global warming and biodiversity. And it sees the tax system as the way to address house affordability issues.

Richard Epstein: Pension Abuse In California

One of the main themes in the blockbuster case of Janus v. AFSCME—currently before the United States Supreme Court—is the risk of having unions sit on both sides of the table in public-sector contract negotiations. 

Nowhere is that risk more pronounced than in California, where the perverse and pervasive effects of union political influence are on display in Cal Fire Local 2881 v. California Public Employees’ Retirement System, now before the California Supreme Court. Between 2009 and 2013, California law allowed state and local employees with over five years of service to purchase with their own funds up to five years of “fictional years of retirement service credits”—commonly called “airtime”—that they could then add to their years of actual service in order to increase the value of their pensions at retirement.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

NZCPR Weekly: A Tax Sham

Dear NZCPR Reader,

This week we question the integrity of the Government’s new tax review, our NZCPR Guest Commentator, Frank Newman outlines his concerns about the political nature of the review and shares his analysis of the issues, and our poll asks whether you support Labour’s plan to introduce a capital gains tax.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Russia Hints At Squeeze On Europe’s Gas Supplies

US Shale Cargo Turns Towards UK As Spat With Russia

In this newsletter:

1) Russian Sabre-Rattling: Putin Hints At Squeeze On Europe’s Gas Supplies
The Australian, 16 March 2018
2) ‘Britain At The Mercy Of Russian Gas Giants’ As Reserves In Europe Reach Record Lows
Daily Mail, 15 March 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Michael Coote: On the Money - Phony War Looms in Parliament

The National Party has gone through revolution since the abrupt resignation of its former leader, ex-prime minister Bill English.  This greyest of grey men was not likely to have relished time as the humiliatingly outflanked opposition leader facing acting prime minister Winston Peters for six weeks whilst prime minister Jacinda Ardern took maternity leave from her job.

Political commentator Barry Soper recalls that Mr English seconded the motion to expel Mr Peters from National in the early 1990s.  The reversal of fortunes looming must have been relished by Mr Peters and dreaded by Mr English.  Far better for the latter to drop out of Parliament, grab hold of one of former National prime minister John Key's reinstated mates rates knighthoods, and, transmogrified as Sir William, sally forth boldly in search of fat corporate sinecures to cash out any residual value of his extinct political career.  That path was already well worn by Sir John in service of his own personal chivalric cause.

Bill Wirtz: Banning Plastic Bags Isn't Just Bad Economics - It's Bad for the Environment

In January, the British government announced its intention to extend their plastic bag tax to all shops.  As of now, only establishments which have more than 250 employees need to impose the charge on single-use plastic bags. In the United States, certain states or cities even go beyond a tax and put an outright ban on them. But the UK government's own research suggests that this is actually bad for the environment.

In 2011, the UK's Environment Agency published an earlier-drafted life cycle assessment of supermarket carrier bags. The aim: establishing both the environmental impact of different carrier bags which are in use and their reuse practice. The intention was to inform public policymakers about the impact that a crackdown on plastic bags could possibly have.  Needless to say, politicians had little concern for the actual assessment the report presented.

GWPF Newsletter: Russia Gains Gas Foothold In Britain As Relations Deteriorate

Trump Ousts Tillerson: What’s Next For The Paris Climate Treaty?

In this newsletter:

1) Russia Gains Gas Foothold In Britain As Relations Deteriorate
Financial Times, 14 March 2018  
2) Trump Ousts Tillerson: What’s Next For The Paris Climate Treaty?
Marlo Lewis Jr, Competitive Enterprise Institute, 13 March 2018 

Matt Ridley: Britain's housing crisis is caused by the wrong kind of regulation

Sajid Javid, the Housing (etc) secretary, is right – and brave -- to go on the warpath about Britain’s housing crisis in his new national planning framework, to be launched today. Britain’s housing costs are absurdly high by international standards: eight times average earnings in England, 15 in London. A mortgage deposit that took a few years to earn in the early 1990s can now take somebody decades to earn. Average rents in the UK are almost 50% higher than average rents in Germany, France and crowded Holland.

Britain really is an outlier in this respect. Knightsbridge has overtaken Monaco in rental levels. Wealthy, crowded Switzerland has falling house prices and lower rents than Britain. Over recent decades, most things people buy have become more affordable – food, clothing, communication – and the cost of building a house has come down too. Yet the price you pay for it in Britain, either as a buyer or a tenant, has gone up and up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Karl du Fresne: The snarling and hissing of the illiberal Left

It’s hard to imagine now, but censorship was a cause celebre in the 1960s and 70s.
The banning or restriction of movies, books and even records was never far from the headlines. Post-war liberalism was colliding head-on with traditional morality and the official censors were struggling to draw new boundaries between what was acceptable and what wasn’t.
The film censor featured in the New Zealand media so often in those days that he (it was always a “he”) became virtually a household name. Between 1957 and 1973, cuts were made to 37 per cent of films because of sex, violence or bad language.

GWPF Newsletter: The New Lukewarmers

Scientific American Turns Down The Heat Over Global Warming

In this newsletter:

1) The New Lukewarmers: Scientific American Turns Down The Heat Over Global Warming
John Horgan, Scientific American, 8 March 2018
2) New Study: Cooling Clouds Caused Global Warming Hiatus
Jun Yin and Amilcare Porporato, Princeton University 

NZCPR Weekly: Will President Trump Bring Down Power Prices in New Zealand?

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine New Zealand’s electricity sector and look into the potential repercussions of President Trump’s tariffs on aluminium production, our NZCPR Guest Commentator, Bryan Leyland outlines concerns over the future of our electricity system, and our poll asks whether you believe it’s realistic for the Government to aim for 100 percent dependence on renewable energy generation in New Zealand.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Frank Newman: The science fiction of pre-fab' homes

GWPF Newsletter: Saudi Arabia Set To Join Shale Revolution

UK Eyes ‘Fracking Friendly’ Policy Changes

In this newsletter:

1) Saudi Arabia Set To Join Shale Revolution
Bloomberg, 7 March 2018 

2) UK Eyes ‘Fracking Friendly’ Policy Changes
Upstream Online, 7 March 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Alexandra Burnett: Teacher Education Must Rise Above Political Correctness

Increasingly, Canadian universities seem to be more concerned about political correctness than educating students. prominent illustration of this is University of Toronto psychologist Jordan Peterson’s public battle with university administrators, professors and some students over his refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns when referring to students with varying sexual orientations.

A less well known but arguably much more serious example is the increasing tendency for Canadian faculties of education to use admissions criteria that are unrelated to the characteristics and skills needed by effective classroom teachers. At the University of Windsor, for example, special consideration is being given to candidates who reflect “the ethno-cultural and social diversity of Ontario’s schools”. And, last September, the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba went even further by aiming to admit 45 per cent of incoming teacher candidates on the basis of their self-identification as members of marginalised groups, such as indigenous, disabled, LGBTQ, minority ethnic or socially disadvantaged.

Melanie Phillips: The American right to bear arms

Having been travelling in America over the past couple of weeks, I observed at close quarters the fierce debate that erupted there over firearms in the wake of the massacre at the school in Parkland, Florida where 17 children and adults were killed and 14 others injured when they were gunned down by a mentally ill former student.

There have been too many such massacres of the innocent in American schools and other public places. This is the first time I can recall such an anguished debate: the first time the feeling that America can’t go on like this has transcended the usual suspects in the Democratic Party and on the broader political left.

Karl du Fresne: Playing the blame game over "Polish" death camps

Truth can be elusive. Consider the recent furore over the Polish government’s introduction of a law that, according to some critics, will greatly restrict public discussion of Poland’s involvement in the Holocaust during World War Two. The new law prohibits mention of “Polish death camps” – on the face of it, an interference in the right of free speech. Yet it’s hard not to feel sympathy for Poland’s lawmakers.
Auschwitz (or Oswiecim, as it’s properly known in Polish) and other notorious extermination camps – Treblinka, Sobibor, Majdanek – may have been sited on Polish soil, but they were not put there by Poles. They were built and administered by Nazi Germany, which preferred to conduct its programme of genocide outside its own borders. Perhaps that was the Nazis’ way of pretending their hands were clean.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Global Temperatures Keep Falling

Is Germany’s Energiewende Coming To An End?

In this newsletter:

1) Global Temperatures Keep Falling
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 3 March 2018
2) Stunned Scientists Discover ‘Supercolony’ Of 1.5 Million Adelie Penguins In Antarctica
Sky News, 2 March 2018

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

NZCPR Weekly: Political Correctness Threatens Free Speech

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

This week we examine the impact of political correctness on the freedom of speech, our NZCPR Guest Commentator, Lindsay Perigo explains why he thinks free speech in New Zealand is dead, and our poll asks whether you believe political correctness is undermining free speech in New Zealand.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.
Billy T James epitomised free speech in New Zealand - as we knew it!

GWPF Newsletter: Russia’s Secret Campaign Against U.S. Energy Policy Revealed

U.S. House Committee Reveals Russian Attempts to Influence U.S. Domestic Energy Markets by Exploiting Social Media

In this newsletter:

1) Russia’s Secret Campaign Against U.S. Energy Policy Revealed
The Wall Street Journal, 1 March 2018
2) Russian Attempts to Influence U.S. Domestic Energy Markets by Exploiting Social Media
United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Majority Staff Report, 1 March 2018

Saturday, March 3, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Freezing Britain Is Running Out Of Gas, National Grid Warns

Factories Prepare To Cut Energy Use

In this newsletter:

1) Britain Is Running Out Of Gas, National Grid Warns
Daily Mail, 1 March 2018 
2) UK Gas Crisis: Factories Prepare To Cut Energy Use Amid Big Freeze
The Daily Telegraph, 1 March 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

Matt Ridley: The Russian role in the nuclear winter theory

So, Russia does appear to interfere in western politics. The FBI has charged 13 Russians with trying to influence the last American presidential election, including the whimsical detail that one of them was to build a cage to hold an actor in prison clothes pretending to be Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, it emerges that the Czech secret service, under KGB direction, near the end of the Cold War had a codename (“COB”) for a Labour MP they had met and hoped to influence — presumably under the bizarre delusion that he might one day be in reach of power.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: Might a Kurdish nation emerge from the ashes of the Caliphate?

The Islamic State is kaput. Unfortunately, not all its murderous members are.

It irked me to see hundreds of ISIS combatants being driven out of Raqqa by a convoy of trucks under a deal whereby they would be allowed to leave quietly rather than fighting it out and being killed, as they should have been. Many of those escapees will have headed for Afghanistan, Libya or Yemen to where ISIS has metastasised. Making headway in those places is proving to be quite a challenge for them as everyone, even al-Qaeda, has it in for them. But the assertion that ISIS cannot survive without territory under its control, first made in The Atlantic in 2014,  are founded on wishful thinking – if anything, ISIS is gaining strength in Afghanistan, and doing so fast despite being at loggerheads with the Taliban and just about every other band of jihadist thugs as well as government forces.

Richard Epstein: The Trump Growth Machine

I discovered my genuine confidence in the sustainability of the current economic growth cycle when I recommended to my 27-year-old Uber driver that he invest some portion of his wages in a diversified index fund. Although the stock market will surely ease off its current pace, it nevertheless should prove far more profitable than standard money market funds with their puny returns. The good news is that the current trend likely will not fizzle out anytime soon thanks to several key factors, including lower taxes and deregulation.

Igniting economic growth, as the Trump administration’s policies are doing, is not as straightforward as it sounds because it is easy to make spectacular mistakes in judgment if caught in the grip of Keynesian economic theory. 

Frank Newman: Another foolish ACT

Oh dear. Another foolish Act.

One would have thought ACT leader David Seymour would have learnt from Rodney Hide's unfortunate experiment to gain love and affection from voters. David should be smart enough to know the best he could hope for from voters is respect, not love and affection. To be brutal about it, most people like politicians as much as they like those door-to-door sales people who drive around in their vans selling over-priced stuff to people financed at exorbitant rates of interest.

Rodney made a plonker of himself by going on Dancing with the Stars.

Clint Bolick: The Case For Legal Textualism

Having spent the past two years as a justice on the Arizona Supreme Court after 33 as a litigator, I’ve gained unexpected insights into judicial decision-making. Most cases involve judges rolling up their sleeves and combining their talent and expertise to reach the right outcome. But cases involving constitutional or statutory issues demand something more: a philosophy of legal interpretation. And what that philosophy is matters a great deal.

All judges have a philosophy of legal interpretation, even if they don’t think much about it. For many, particularly at the trial court level, it is often a matter of simply trying to get it right; that is, reading the law and higher court precedents and trying to make sense of them. Others place a high priority on their notions of fairness, justice, or efficiency. Even going along to get along is a type of judicial philosophy, though not exactly what most of us might expect from our judges.