UK PM David Cameron: socialists have no sense of humour

David Cameron has accused socialists of lacking a sense of humour in the wake of the row over his "calm down, dear" comment to a female Labour MP.

The Prime Minister was accused of sexism by Labour after his Commons put-down to Angela Eagle at Prime Minister's Questions.

Mimicking a catchphrase used by Michael Winner, the film director, on a television insurance advertisement, he repeatedly told her to "calm down, dear", prompting calls for him to apologise.

But yesterday he brushed off the row and made light of the remarks.

He said: "I don't know what it is about some people on the Left. It seems that when they put the socialism in, they take the sense of humour out.

"I got home last night and my wife said to me: 'What sort of day did you have, dear?' And I told her I was attacked by Harriet Harman [Labour's deputy leader] and defended by Michael Winner, and she said: 'What on earth were you up to?"'

Attempting to wring the last drops of political capital out of the comments, which Labour has described as "patronising, sexist, insulting and un-prime ministerial", Miss Eagle toured television studios yesterday to register her disgust at the remarks. She said it had been a "revealing slip", by the Prime Minister.

She told ITV's Daybreak: "He just lost his rag, I think, and revealed himself in a way that perhaps his minders wouldn't have wanted him to." Mr Cameron began his address to party activists in north Wales by telling them: "Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to calm down."

Winner backed Mr Cameron and ridiculed Miss Harman for attacking the Prime Minister over the comments.

He said: "It's used by everybody. People come up to me in the street and in restaurants saying it. It's a totally harmless bit of fun."

Mr Cameron was also backed by John Redwood, a senior Tory backbencher, who said it was wrong to attach significance to the Prime Minister's put-down to Labour opponents.

He said: "Whilst it is a phrase that the rest of us do not normally use, it is hardly the cruellest put-down. The country is at war in two Middle Eastern countries.

"The country is seeking to recover from a huge debt and banking crisis. The Government is embarked on reforms of the NHS, benefits system and education.

"We are a few days away from a referendum on our voting system and from numerous council elections about local services and the council tax.

"Yet, the thing which gets the opposition spin doctors into orbit is the use of the phrase "calm down, dear".

Via the Telegraph

Why are socialists so precious?

Andy Semple

Speak without fear and question with boldness.

Muslim Fanatics’ fury at Muslim Playboy Pictorial.

A MUSLIM actress has caused a storm by posing naked for Playboy.

Sila Sahin has been branded a "whore" and a "western slut" after appearing topless on the cover of the German edition of the men's magazine.

And Islamic fanatics have posted threatening internet messages.

Sila, raised in Germany by conservative Turkish parents, says she fears being "spat at" and "shamed".

Her parents are said to have reacted with "horror" at the 12-page coverage, and her mother has apparently cut off all contact.

Sila, 25 – star of German soap Good Times, Bad Times – claimed the shoot was a reaction to the "slavery" of her youth.

She added: "What I want to say with these photos is, 'Girls, we don't have to live according to the rules imposed upon us'.

"For years I subordinated myself to various societal constraints. The Playboy photo shoot was a total act of liberation."

Threats

But Islamic internet sites are being monitored by the BND – the German intelligence agency – after threats were posted about her "shaming Muslim womanhood" and "prostituting herself for money".

One poster on the Jihad Watch website wrote: "She needs to be very careful…" Another simply said: "She must pay."

A kebab shop owner, asked on German TV what he would do if Sila were his daughter, replied: "I would kill her. I really mean that. That doesn't fit with my culture."

The Islamic Community of Germany has called for a boycott of Sila.

About three million Muslim immigrants live in Germany, which has seen numerous honour killings in recent years by fanatical husbands, fathers and brothers.

In 2009, an asylum seeker was sentenced to life after killing his "too independent" German wife.

One police intelligence officer said of Sila: "I think what she did was either very brave, or very stupid. She will be double-locking her door at night for a long time to come."

 Sila Playboy

Via The Sun

Islam – the Religion of Peace and Tolerance……

Quran (3:56)"As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help."

Quran (4:74)"Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward."

Quran (4:89)"They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks."

Quran (5:33)"The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement"

Andy Semple

Speak without fear and question with boldness.

Federal Government Debt – Labor’s Dirty Word.

Andrew Robb MP The IMF has unwittingly exposed the inconvenient truth for Labor – the Gillard/Swan government is wasting this mining boom, writes Andrew Robb AO MP.

The IMF has urged the Gillard government to put some mining boom money aside for a rainy day – to save more of the proceeds to help cover the costs of the ageing population.

Yet, the IMF report arrived the day Wayne Swan leaked that the budget deficit is again likely to be of the order of $50 billion.

This means that every dollar of the mining boom is being spent on recurrent spending. Not one mining dollar has gone to pay down debt.

In fact, it means that the ‘never mentioned’ Federal Government debt continues to grow – at $100 million or more a day.

It means that the government debt is now looking to exceed one-hundred-thousand-million-dollars ($100 billion).

It means that every dollar spent on school halls and pink batts is borrowed money, and not one cent has been repaid.

It means that if the government hadn’t spent and wasted much of the $85 billion in stimulus money – as the Coalition certainly would not have – the budget would be in surplus now.

It means that Australians are now paying $6 billion a year in interest repayments to service the Federal Government debt – that is equivalent to six new world-class hospitals a year.

It means that the IMF’s call to establish a sovereign wealth fund is futile until Australia pays off this mountain of debt, which continues to grow by close to $1 billion a week.

In any event, Australia already has a sovereign wealth fund – the Future Fund, established by Peter Costello – which is reportedly the 10th biggest sovereign wealth fund in the world now worth nearly $75 billion.

The Chairman of the Future Fund, David Murray, is in fact currently the Chairman of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds.

The Future Fund was fundamental to Australia weathering the worst of the Global Financial crisis. The fund provided vital liquidity to Australian banks during the initial fortnight of panic on world capital markets after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

As such, the Future Fund has already provided a major stabilising role. As to the future, all the functions of a sovereign wealth fund can be incorporated within the Future Fund, if considered desirable.

But much of this is academic until the likely $100 billion-plus net government debt is repaid.

Getting into surplus is only the starting point of repaying debt. And then you must stay in surplus.

Yet Treasury predicts that any so-called surplus manufactured in 2012-13, ignores the spending commitments made during the boom times which still need to be met once the boom tapers off and revenues fall, commitments that will very quickly see the budget dive back into serious deficit.

This budget must outline a clear mid-term strategy for repaying debt. It is the dead cat on the table. 

Andrew Robb AO MP is the Federal Member for Goldstein, Shadow Minister for Finance and Debt Reduction and Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee.

Comments Update

It is dissapointing that a number of persons have attempted to take advantage of the temporary absence of myself and John to spread invective in the comments threads here, and I must commend Andy Semple for managing the page in our absence. 

This has caused significant problems for the vast majority of our genuine readers and commentors who want to engage in genuine debate, and not be party to personal attacks and insults. Reading through what has transpired in the last week or two, I was very, very, very sorely tempted to implement a temporary policy that all comments must be approved before they can be published, however, I don't think we're quite ready for that yet.

However, for repeated breaches of the comments policy, despite repeated warnings, the following persons have posting rights suspended until the 15th of April:

Chris Johnson aka SignedIn aka OneOzVoice aka The Truth aka The Meek aka The Moniker aka You Cannot Be Serious

The Philosopher

MT

Cressida O (under various aliases)

BeeBee

Any further violations after this time will result in a permenant ban. This decision is final and no correspondance shall be entered into. 

We hope that this will make this a more pleasent site to read and apologise to everyone who had to put up with this, and we are sorry if it damaged your reading expirience. 

Tim Andrews
Managing Editor

Arguing with Idiots: In the Defence of Capitalism Part 1

ALS rantWhat I did, when I did it, was honest. Now, through changed conditions, what I did may or may not be called honest. Politics demand, therefore, that I be brought to trial. But what is really being brought to trial is the system I represent.”

- Mr. Samuel Insull, Co-founder of Edison General Electric.

In 1881, a young English man named Samuel Insull sailed from England to America and took a low paying job as a private secretary for an inventor named Thomas Edison. Insull worked hard, damn hard, coming in before his boss in the early morning and staying until long after Edison, who wasn’t exactly lazy himself, had gone home at night.

Over time, Insull’s hard work and loyalty did not go unnoticed. He was promoted several times, eventually winding up in charge of Edison’s business affairs. After twelve years absorbing as much knowledge as he could, Insull finally left to pursue his own American dream. He moved to Chicago, took out a personal loan for $250,000 and built the largest power plant in the world. Had he been alive today he’d no doubt be on President Obama’s Carbon hit list.

At the time, electricity was like private jets are today – grossly expensive and available only to those who don’t spend much time worrying about their bank account. But Insull had a dream that electricity could be produced on a much larger scale and used by the masses. By developing revolutionary ideas, like variable pricing and inexpensive home wiring, he turned electricity from a luxury into a commodity.

Before long, Insull’s new company was servicing over ten million customers in 32 States and had a market capitalisation of over $3 billion (somewhere north of $70 billion in today’s money). Insull benefited personally. At one point, his net worth was estimated to be $100 million (about $3 billion in today’s dollars). Time magazine even celebrated his success by putting him on their cover in 1929. He was a true American success story – a foreigner with virtually nothing to his name who had made it big through hard work and innovation.

Then the world changed.

As the Roaring Twenties morphed into the Great Depression, Insull’s business struggled. The debt and equity he’d financed his company’s growth with had become virtually worthless, leaving over a million middle-class Americans who’d invested in his stock in financial ruin. The public outrage was palpable.

In the matter of a few short years Insull had gone from hero to villain, from poster boy for everything great about America capitalism to the poster boy for everything wrong with it.

The Government at the time, seizing on the public’s fury over their lost wealth, charged him with fraud and though he was acquitted at trial, it didn’t matter, the damage was done. Insull was the most hated man in America and all he’d done to deserve it was to build a remarkable company that, like so many others, suffered during the Depression.

In 1938, Samuel Insull, who’ fled America for France (oh the irony), died of a heart attack in a Paris subway. He died with eight cents in his pocket. It was a sad and lonely ending for a man who exemplified the American (and Australian) Dream by bringing affordable electricity to millions.

Like Paul Hogan, our free market system seems to be put on trial at regular intervals. People love it until it stops working the way they think it should. Then it becomes the villain.

Wall Street was loved, then it was hated because of the GFC and now it is loved again. People envied those who flew in private jets and then they despised them. It’s amazing how quickly opinions can change, especially when people are looking to blame someone else for their problems.

The truth is that capitalism is neither good nor evil, it just is. Capitalism can’t get you a job, a bigger house, a luxury car or a better retirement – you have to do all of those things for yourself. But what capitalism can do is foster an environment where those with the will to succeed have a better chance of achieving their dreams.

Do hardworking people still fall through the cracks? Absolutely. Are there peaks and valleys as excesses in markets are worked out over time? No doubt. But I defy anyone to show me another system that has done as much to quickly raise the standard of living and quality of life of a country as capitalism has for Australia.

You can’t because it doesn’t exist.

In 1949, someone who worked minimum wage over the summer would have enough money to buy a 3 speed phonograph, an AM-FM table radio and a 35mm camera.

In 2011, that same person, working the same number of hours at minimum wage would now be able to purchase: an Apple ipad, Canon 12 megapixel digital camera, 40” HD LCD flat screen TV, Sony Playstation 3 and about nine other things, but I think you get the point:

Capitalism promotes innovation and competition – two ingredients necessary for producing things that get progressively better even as they also get progressively cheaper.

The truth is that a minimum-wage worker in Australia is still one of the wealthiest people in the world – hence why boat loads are flocking here.

Does that preclude us from trying to make things even better? Absolutely not – but those who favour throwing away the system that made us the envy of the world are either dangerously naïve or they have an agenda.

You can probably identify which group they belong to by whether they make idiotic arguments like…

Your precious Free Market Capitalism has Failed.”

Capitalism hasn’t failed, greed has failed.

 

Andy Semple is Stockbroker, novelist and general antagonist. He is a contributing Editor here at Menzies House and his personal motto is "Speak without Fear. Question with Boldness."

Bailed Out…And Then Some.

A newly-released study from the Congressional Research Service bolsters claims that the nation's largest banks profited off the Federal Reserve's financial crisis-era programs by borrowing cash for next to nothing, then lending it back to the federal government at substantially higher rates.

The report reinforces long-held beliefs that the banking system in essence engaged in taxpayer-financed arbitrage: They got money for free, then lent it back to Uncle Sam while collecting juicy returns. Left out of the equation are the millions of everyday borrowers, like households and small businesses, who were unable to secure loans needed to tide them over until the crisis ended.

The Fed released records under pressure in December and March that showed the extent of its largesse. The CRS study shows for the first time how some of the most sophisticated financial firms could have taken the Fed's money and flipped easy profits simply by lending it back to another arm of the government.

The report was requested by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who likened the crisis-era emergency loans to "direct corporate welfare to big banks," in a statement. The cash likely was lent back to Uncle Sam in the form of Treasuries and other debt "instead of using the Fed loans to reinvest in the economy," Sanders added.

In all, more than $3 trillion was lent to financial institutions from the Fed, and terms were generous. Junk-rated securities were pledged as collateral for taxpayer-backed loans. The Fed did not provide conditions for how the money was to be used.

As part of one Fed program, on 33 separate occasions, nine firms were able to borrow between $5.2 billion and $6.2 billion in U.S. government securities for four-week intervals, paying one-time fees that amounted to the minuscule rate of 0.0078 percent.

In another, financial firms pledged more than $1.3 trillion in junk-rated securities to the Fed for cheap overnight loans. The rates were as low as 0.5 percent.

During one three-month period in 2009, Bank of America borrowed more than $48 billion at rates ranging from 0.25 to 0.5 percent. Meanwhile, the largest U.S. lender tripled its holdings of Treasuries and other taxpayer-backed debt to about $15 billion — securities that yielded 3.5 percent.

During the third quarter of 2009, the bank borrowed $2.9 billion from the Fed through a program that charged 0.25 percent interest. In that same period, Bank of America increased its holdings of taxpayer-backed federal debt by $12 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service. Those securities yielded an average of 3.2 percent.

"Bank of America provided vital support to the economy throughout the financial crisis and we continue to support businesses and individuals today through our lending and capital raising activities," spokesman Jerry Dubrowski said in an email.

In another period, JPMorgan Chase, the second-largest bank, swelled its holdings of taxpayer-backed federal debt by $20 billion, which yielded 2.1 percent, while at the same time borrowing $29 billion from the Fed at a rate of 0.3 percent.

JPMorgan did not respond to a request for comment.

In contrast, during the first year of the Obama administration, small businesses shuttered due to lackluster sales and a lack of credit, foreclosures surged, and credit contracted at one of the quickest rates on record.

"Why wasn't the Fed providing these same sweetheart deals to the American people?" asked Warren Gunnels, senior policy adviser to Sanders. "The Fed was practicing socialism for the rich, powerful and the connected, while the federal government was promoting rugged individualism to everyone else."

At the time, Fed officials said its bailout programs were necessary to restart the flow of credit. If money couldn't flow to lenders, households and businesses would be next. Even more layoffs and foreclosures could have ensued, officials argued.

Lending, however, decreased, according to Fed and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation data. Mortgage rates dropped, but mortgages were harder to come by. Credit card lines were slashed. Loans were called in. New financing plunged. In 2009, outstanding credit to U.S. households declined by $234.5 billion. For non-corporate businesses, credit plunged $296.1 billion, Fed data show.

Sanders said the spread between firms' borrowing rates and their lending rates to Uncle Sam amounted to "free money." For Bank of America during the third quarter of 2009, the spread was nearly 3 percent.

Dubrowski countered by pointing out that Bank of America "extended $184 billion in credit to individuals and businesses" during that time.

The author of the CRS report, Marc Labonte, cautioned that "correlation does not prove causation."

"There is no information available on how banks used specific funds borrowed from the Federal Reserve," he wrote.

The Federal Reserve declined to comment.

Via the Huffington Post

Andy Semple

Speak without fear and question with boldness.

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

Our longstanding readers will remember that one of the posts we opened Menzies House with was the amzingly awesome Hayek Keynes Rap, produced by Professor Roberts from GMU and award winning producer John Papola.

Well, there're back for round two for the Fight of the Century! And it's bigger and better than even the first video! Check it out below, and particularly eagle-eyed Menzies House reader might just recognise a familiar face making a couple of cameo appearances…


 

TVA

The DLP: Hope springs eternal

Paul McC

There is a wonderful scene towards the end of one of my favourite films, The Shawshank Redemption, in which Red sits in a field reading a letter from his friend, Andy. Andy inspires Red to feel excited and optimistic about his future life of freedom after their long years in Shawshank Prison. He writes to his old friend and reminds him,

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

In July this year there will be bad news and good news for the Australian Senate. The bad news is that The Greens will gain the balance of power in the upper house. The good news is that the chamber will see the return of a great political party, the Democratic Labor Party, for the first time in decades when it welcomes John Madigan from Ballarat. The DLP is a small party with a big history. It is a party that was founded on the highest principles and has remained true to those principles for over half a century. It is also a party that is now resurgent and enjoying growing support across all states in the country.

For those unfamiliar with the DLP, there are four main values that guide the party:

The Family: The DLP supports traditional marriage and the natural family. The family is the wellspring of any healthy and prosperous civilisation. The DLP takes a strong stance against the sexualisation of children and is opposed to the culture of divorce that does such enormous damage to society, especially children.  Policies that strengthen and support families are at the core of the DLP. It is a party that supports equitable childcare support for all mothers. It acknowledges that some women do intend to work after childbirth but it rejects policies that unfairly discriminate against those mothers who provide their own childcare to their children and thereby help to lower the costs incurred by the State for childcare subsidies.

Respect for individual freedom and life: The DLP is unequivocally and unapologetically a pro-life political party. As a fundamental right, the right to life is the sine qua non and any attack on this right through abortion and euthanasia is a threat to the rights of all children and elderly or unwell people, respectively. The DLP understands that a culture of morality that reinforces and protects the dignity and security of all members of society is the precondition for true individual freedom.

Social Justice: DLP Senator-elect John Madigan was a champion for the rights of farmers in Victoria when the former ALP state government sought to build a water pipeline over their properties in the Goulburn Valley to supply water to Melbourne. Politically beholden to The Greens then as they are now, the ALP refused to give proper consideration to the option of building dams close to the city for water storage. The ALP typically ran roughshod over the farmers whilst the DLP campaigned for justice for the people on the land.

The DLP is also opposed to the federal government’s proposed carbon tax and the arbitrary control it will enable governments to wield over small businesses and families, whilst it will do nothing for the environment or global temperatures.

Decentralisation: The DLP is a strongly federalist party. It is opposed to the increasing tendency of the Commonwealth to assume authority in areas that are constitutionally and rightly the authority of the States. In the democratic sense, decentralisation is an essential aspect for ensuring that power remains closer to the people and that representation remains local. In the economic sense, it reduces congestion and pressure for services in major cities and encourages a widely dispersed population in regional areas.  The DLP is committed to distributism, a system that favours widespread property ownership and not monopolies.

Moreover, the DLP is opposed to the centralist, controlling tendency of bodies such as the United Nations and seeks to revoke any ratification by Australia of UN covenants that undermine the democratic and sovereign laws of our nation.

The DLP was my first political party in my home state of Victoria and I returned to the party this year. For this Paul, it wasn’t so much a ‘road to Damascus’ conversion as a return to the path on which I had originally set out. Like Red sitting on the bus and heading over the border to reunite with his friend, I have also journeyed across the border, reunited with an old friend and now look to the future with great hope, confident that the DLP – like all good things – will never die.

 

Paul McCormack is a political observer who lives and works in Wagga Wagga. He is a member of the DLP NSW Branch.