THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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July 2011

What the USA's liabilities look like in $100 bills

US debt problem visualized: Debt stacked in 100 dollar bills.

We really can't have enough visualisations like the one on the linked page. Honestly, I don't believe the idiot politicians have their heads around the scale of what they have done. And still they want their overdraft limit (i.e. their claims against Americans as yet unborn) raised. Damn them.

Screen Shot 2011-07-31 at 16.09.50

h/t Counting Cats

Dear old Auntie Beeb and her funny little ways

In Praise of the BBC's Political Coverage - Robert Smith - Dale & Co..

[The linked article is a rather implausible defence of the BBC's political independence. Having written a long comment on it, I thought I would cross-post it here].

Come off it! There is no justification for having a state broadcaster at all in a free society; still less one with such an iron grip on political opinion-forming. As there is no good reason for a perfectly commercial operation to be state-owned, it seems reasonable to infer there is a bad one!

The BBC's bias is very consistent. Whether it's a Freudian slip of a Today presenter saying "if we win" to Tony Blair, the champagne bottles littering the BBC's corridors after a Labour win or the permanent outnumbering of the Conservatives (in opposition and now in government) on all BBC shows, it could not be clearer. Even deadbeat Labour has-beens like John Prescott are treated as kings in exile. The reverential tone towards the Labour leadership is really quite sickening.

The sheer number of discussion panels on Andrew Marr, Newsnight etc., that are comprised entirely of Labourites and their luvvie fellow-travellers makes it implausible that you are at all serious in claiming neutrality.

Nor is this either new or limited to the news-gathering function of Comrade Auntie. I recently watched the DVD of one of my favourite old BBC dramas, "The House of Cards" trilogy and - when considered in the political context of the time - it was nothing short of systematic demonisation of the Conservatives.

Most dramatically; consider how, when leftists run riot at a 'cuts' protest, they are called 'anarchists' by the BBC (as if anarchists would demand a BIGGER state!) while the Norwegian butcher or any BNP lout is described straightforwardly as 'right wing' (not even 'extreme right wing')

It is true that this is as much a class issue; a form of snobbery, as it is leftism. Our lords and masters used to assume divine right. Now they assume ideological superiority. Such is the command of the left in British academia that the apparatchiks of the BBC probably don't even notice their own sneering at ordinary people and their 'reactionary' views.

The primary teacher tone of most BBC presenters tells us all we need to know about how they view us. Every bloody show is 'Blue Peter'. No-one speaks to us as adults to be respected.

Presumably that's why the old-fashioned paternalistic Tories of the modern Conservative Party are also weirdly comfortable with a Soviet-style state broadcaster. The BBC is simply the media arm of a nasty, condescending elite which is utterly contemptuous of the ordinary Britons on which its members feed.

For many of us, the feeling is mutual.

Be afraid

It's Christmas for the left-liberal consensus. They are still in their glee from the undoubted success of their suspiciously Campbell-esque campaign against News International. They are still earnestly blabbering over state-dominated airwaves, without a hint of irony, about the supposed 'dominance' of a private company struggling to compete with the funded-by-force BBC. A Norwegian nutjob has now made them an even greater gift. Watching the Andrew Marr and Murnaghan shows this morning (and wondering as usual why the Conservatives are as little in evidence as they were in opposition) their delight was manifest.

Jacqui Smith, well-deservedly-former Home Secretary, told us on the BBC that 'we' (a plural pronoun, as used by her, that does not embrace you and me) must 'insist' on certain 'shared values.' I doubt if - beyond the least controversial of the Ten Commandments - Mrs Smith and I share a single value. Minutes later, she was telling us that the internet provides a 'virtual community' for warped individuals. The BBC held out for mere seconds before dropping the 'extreme' from 'extreme right wing.' Compare and contrast with the way they never describe socialist violence as any kind of left wing but wrap it in the false black flag of 'anarchism'.

After the merest pause for a respectful nod to Norway's dead, it was on with the usual smear tactics and guilt by association before demanding that something be done about people whose opinions are readily detectable by their use of social media. If you tweet, blog or post any non-conforming opinions in comments, you should be very afraid this morning.

Try the following checklist:

  • You do not trust the British state
  • You believe that the Labour Party and its fellow-travellers are the greatest enemies of our liberty
  • You believe the BBC has a left-liberal bias
  • You believe that British academia is dominated - and our education system warped - by the left
  • You believe that immigrants have been allowed into Britain faster than they could reasonably be assimilated into our way of life
  • You believe that the left-liberal consensus facilitated this deliberately to create client groups for its own electoral advantage
  • You are tired of our capital being known as 'Londonistan'
  • You believe that citizens have the right to armed self-defence
  • You have called for politicians to be held personally to account (perhaps with a few lurid 'swinging from lamp-post' references)

Tick any two or three of those, and you are suspect. If, when details emerge about Breivik's political motivations, it proves he has more in common with smug statists than with you, it will make not a shred of difference.

So much for that

Stony Stratford Meeting Overwhelmingly Rejects Bartlett Proposals | Dick Puddlecote.

If libertarians were like socialists, they would all be claiming credit for the decision of Stony Stratford Town Council. Dick Puddlecote, the leader of the #stonystandoff campaign shows the way however in congratulating the residents of Stony Stratford. After all, they were the people whose lives were being messed with.

Success at Stony Stratford!

DSCN1389DSCN1382Our boy done good. More than 100 souls showed up to express their contempt for Cllr Bartlett, including Dave Atherton, Witterings from Witney, Misanthrope Girl, The Boiling Frog, Fuel Injected Moose, Lid on a Scream, Anonymong, Christopher Snowdon, Nigel Farage, Bill Etheridge, Patrick Hayes, David Odell and Roger Helmer.

Bill Etheridge of the Freedom Association pictured Winston Churchill's response if the infamous Cllr Bartlett had tried to snatch his cigar as he walked down the streets of Stony Stratford.

Patrick Hayes of Spiked urged us to draw a line in the sand and make a start at getting our freedoms back.

Roger Ebert MEP, who hasn't smoked for 40 years, pledged to join us all in a civil disobedience smoke on the streets of the town if the ban is passed, "...even if I throw up afterwards."

You can see highlights of the speeches here.

Nigel Farage of UKIP, like all the speakers, was very clear that smoking has precious little to do with the matter. Rather, this is about halting the advance of a state that has lost any sense of its proper limits.

Be in no doubt this event was a great success. Well done that man Puddlecote!

Stony Stratford tomorrow: Please try to be there

Stony Stratford: Full Details For Saturday #StonyStandoff | Dick Puddlecote.

No apologies for reposting this. It's a rare opportunity to let a statist busybody know that the people are alert to his tricks. Vittoria and I will be there. I have volunteered to be our esteemed organiser's chauffeur for the day. So drop any other plans; type MK11 1AQ into the satnav and do what the lady says.

See you there.

The feeding frenzy continues

How I misread News Corp’s taxes | MediaFile.

When you run a media business you make enemies. Not least the friends who believe they were insufficiently favoured. Rupert Murdoch's, especially those with axes to grind, love his current discomfiture. Especially the BBC, a state corporation* with a near-monopoly on electoral opinion-forming in Britain; a monopoly that Murdoch sought to challenge. It doesn't make what happened right, but it does explain the focus on a media group that is (as Cranmer has blogged) by no means the worst offender. Analysing data published by the Information Commissioner on the unlawful trade in confidential private information, his Grace came up with the following;

Trinity Mirror: 1663 incidents by 139 journalists
Mail Group: 1248 incidents by 95 journalists
News International: 182 incidents by 19 journalists

He did this by consolidating the data in this table by media group (click to enlarge).

Screen shot 2011-07-14 at 10.52.23

So why is there no hue and cry for the group publishing the papers that are the worst offenders? I can't be bothered to waste pixels on so obvious an answer.

While right-wingers are content for the Guardian and the New York Times to exist (and rather enjoy critiquing their idiocies) left-wingers find the existence of competing views offensive. Indeed, they are marvelously creative when it comes to taking (or pretending to take) offence in order to suppress free expression. In its quest to get its man, Donal Blaney now thinks the Left is overplaying its hand. It seems to me rather that, in their excitement, left-liberals are now firing off random shots like Palestinians celebrating mass murder.

Columnist David Cay Johnston (13 year veteran of The New York Times and author of the snappily-titled Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill)) published a story (deleted now, but cached here) claiming that News Corporation received tax credits of $4.8 billion in the last four years. In fact that was the tax it paid. His 'apology' for this 'bonehead error' restated the other critical comments in his original piece:

The other facts I reported remain:

* Among the 100 largest companies in the United States, News Corp has the third largest number of subsidiaries in tax havens, a Government Accountability Office study found in 2009.

* On an accounting basis, which measures taxes incurred but often not actually paid for years, News Corp had a tax rate of under 20 percent, little more than half the 35 percent statutory rate, its disclosures show.

* Murdoch has bought companies with tax losses and fought to be able to use them, which reduces his company’s costs.

* News Corp lawyers and accountants are experts at making use of tax deferrals, though the company’s net tax assets have shrunken from $5.7 billion in 2007 to $3.3 billion last year as the benefits were either used or expired.

Gracious eh? He continues:

So I hope readers will trust that while I made a whopper of a mistake, it has been corrected forthrightly and promptly.

Not exactly, sir. All the damage you could have hoped for is already done. Your original piece has been picked up again and again as a weapon against Murdoch. Just as you hoped it would.

I am no friend of Murdoch, but the more I see of his enemies, the more I warm to him. And the more I worry that, without him, the left-liberal establishment will strangle the free press.

*Please don't ask me why a free country needs a state broadcaster.