There Is Big Money In The Anthropogenic Global Warming Hoax, As Al Gore Has Proved. This Fellow Noticed

From the newsletter PNG Attitude, to which the PenPo subscribes, comes an article concerning a high-profile advocate of legislation to combat AGW. (PNG stands for Papua New Guinea.)

NEWS PNG controversy surrounds “climate hero”

PNG correspondent, Ilya Gridneff, sent people diving for cover in Port Moresby last month with revelations that one of the world’s most outspoken voices on climate change, Kevin Conrad, has been linked to a string of failed business dealings in PNG. Mr Conrad was the man who achieved international fame at the 2007 Bali climate conference when he told the United States to either lead the debate or get out of the way. At the time, he was PNG’s Special Envoy and Ambassador for Climate Change. Last year, Time magazine named Conrad as its top placed “Leader and Visionary” in its list of Heroes of the Environment and this year the UN Environment Program named him a ‘Champion of the Earth’. But in PNG, perceptions of Mr Conrad are different. There have been allegations in Parliament that he was involved in a failed housing scheme where $8 million was spent and not a single house built and in the PNG Banking Corporation writing off $18 million and landowners losing plantations in the collapse of a coffee export company. Now a new controversy has erupted around Mr Conrad’s role in carbon trading. “If he is going to be directly involved in a mechanism managing trust funds for carbon trading,” Paul Barker, director of the PNG Institute of National Affairs, was quoted as saying, “concerns about the past need to be resolved. He really needs to do a little bit of explaining. There is a wide public scepticism within PNG.”

You can read (a bit, but not all) about the AGW hero in this Time magazine paean to his brave stand against the evil USA. There are videos available here and here.

In the event you want to see the source of the above quote, let the PenPo know. You will receive a .pdf file of the entire relevant issue ofPNG Attitude. It’s a fine newsletter.

More on AGW — this just in: Obama tried to terrify the electorate, and some scientists have blown the whistle on him. The NY Times, however, remains as gullible as ever. How very like a nonadaptive dinosaur….

In conclusion, hah!

This Story Is Older Than Civilization And Newer Than Tomorrow

You have been hearing about Iran’s attempts to prevent news and information from circulating within and outside of the country. The internet and Twitter are under attack by the mullahs — and have already been crushed by other enemies of freedom, such as North Korea, Cuba, China, Singapore, and some Muslim nations. It’s no wonder the UN wants to wrest ICANN from the USA, for dictators must control news, and the UN General Assembly is predominantly made up of nations that do not have freedom of press and speech (Thailand among them, by the way).

Wherever it takes place and to whatever degree it occurs, censorship of information is inimical to Liberty and justice. Iran is simply proving that point once again, though for many in the West, the demonstration of tyranny is harmless and insignificant.

Meanwhile, in a related development in the USA, ABC has moved into the White House and will be broadcasting from there, symbolically proclaiming its long-standing de facto stance in politics. Again, the enemies of Liberty will deny that this event should concern anyone; after all, why should we tolerate two or more sides to a debate, when one and only one view embraces progress?

A Meditation On Ethnicity And Markets, Part I

Introduction

The following contribution by a PenPo staffer is a first-person account of observations made in several locations. The subject is national conflict and accommodation caused by the immigration of, and subsequent domination of the retail market by, relatively homogeneous alien ethnic groups.

Domination of the business community by late arrivals who share a culture that is not that of their hosts often produces unpleasant results. From infrequently expressed resentment at a minimum, those results vary down to and including massive destruction of property and loss of life.

The discussion will employ examples. They are: (1) The Chinese in Tahiti, (2) The Chinese in Thailand, (3) The Chinese in Papua New Guinea, (4) The (Asian) Indians in Belize, (5) The (Asian) Indians in Fiji.

The reader will notice that this essay departs from the PenPo’s style in that it permits the author to use the first person singular pronouns and possessive adjectives.

The Chinese in Tahiti

They say, “People go to Hawaii expecting to find Tahiti.” So I went to Tahiti. Well, it’s stunning; it shocks the visitor with its beauty — Opunohu Bay may just be the most gorgeous place on earth — and with its high prices. Everything other than fish and coconuts and a very few local handicrafts has to be imported, of course, and that adds to the retail price. Now it’s been a while since I was there, so memory does not serve, but imagine Coke for five US dollars a can.

Wandering around Moorea by car and around Bora-Bora by bicycle, I tried to puzzle out some of the things I saw. One of them was the retail outlets. They are, I assume, distinct from those on the big island of Tahiti. I did not go into town from the airport (named Faaa, interestingly enough) on Tahiti, but just changed planes for Moorea there. So keep in mind that I spent my time in the sticks, so to speak.

My visits to shops remain, in the immortal words of John Kerry, “seared, seared” into my memory. The proprietors are Chinese. The shops are jammed with merchandise, making the aisles single lanes. And the help, who appear to be family, follow the shopper with a steady gaze that tells the curious browser he is out of place if he is not buying. I felt uncomfortable, as if I did not belong there.

In subsequent conversations with a few English-speaking expatriates, I wondered aloud why someone of Tahitian extraction does not open a small shop, order merchandise from Australia/New Zealand, and give the Chinese some competition. After all, the scheme seems to be that the shopkeepers sell on credit, tacking a hefty percentage for the loan onto an already high price, and then keep the customer in debt by offering him “bargains” that prevent him from ever paying off the loan. Sharp practice, I thought, and possible only because the clientele is not sophisticated.

“Too right,” I was told. “These are simple people, and they don’t understand credit and interest. The Chinese are bleeding them white, and the profits, which are huge, are all leaving the country — buying condos in Hawaii and San Francisco, snapping up real estate in Hong Kong and California.”

Again I mentioned competing by opening discount shops. “Not possible,” I was told. “These Chinese control the docks, and they will not permit merchandise to be unloaded if it goes to any competition.”

Your naive author was shocked. “That has to be illegal!” I replied. “Well, no, it does not have to be illegal, especially in a country like this,” I was told. “Remember, the French keep this place as a matter of principle and so they can test hydrogen bombs if they want to; they don’t give two hoots about the welfare of the locals. So the government is both uncaring about the standard of living here — this is Paradise, don’t forget — and easy to bribe.”

I grumbled and tried to think of a way to get around the government, the corrupt longshoremen, and the Chinese. “You might manage it, somehow,” was the response. “But the Polynesians here are not shopkeepers. Sitting indoors all day, watching the merchandise so nobody walks off with it, keeping financial records, stocking, writing contracts for credit purchases, ordering merchandise — to these people, that’s all incredibly boring and very hard work. They think like just what they are: guests in one of the kindest natural environments one can imagine. Life is easy here. Fish in the lagoon, coconuts and taro and all sorts of fruits and vegetables almost for the taking, and a tranquil pre-industrial existence that requires little actual work. You are telling them to put on clothes and knuckle down, and only a few of them will follow your crazy advice. In Papeete, some do; here, no.”

In a token effort to “help” the poor, France provides free (shabby) housing and various stipends to stave off utter penury. Because it’s all a gift, the concept of earning a much-improved standard of living is missing. And what, exactly, would that better life be? Video games, DVDs, a motorcycle where none is required, a speedboat that would make noise and get one to a destination that need never be reached in a hurry?

I could see that the Chinese had discovered the ideal captive clientele, and unless the greedy Orientals were all ordered off the islands, things would never change. So the Tahitians continue to pester the government for more largesse, which they turn over to the Chinese, who promptly remove it (probably illegally) from the local economy. There’s almost no way to “Buy Tahitian.”

France would be well advised to pack up and get out, especially since the probability of future H-bomb testing is just about zero. On their way out, the Europeans could take the Chinese with them, and tell the Tahitians to block all future Chinese immigration. Not that it would do any good, for the Chinese (as you shall see as this series proceeds) would arrive anyway…and, by bribing the officials as they have bribed the longshoremen, have their docile customers back.

Tahiti is pretty easy to understand, so I’ll ask you to remember the simple dynamics of the Chinese gold mine. It begins with a minority that does not assimilate (become Tahitian in any but the legal sense), is willing to practice bribery, and seeks to restrict the number of sellers. The sellers collude and do not compete in pricing. Add sharp business practices and huge retail markups that are dishonestly justified by geographic isolation, and you have the systematic, sheltered exploitation of consumers. In this case those consumers are members of a culture that does not know shop-keeping. To varying degrees, these elements will figure in coming installments of this series.

Before moving on to the next example, I must mention the scam based on the claim that “we have to bring it all in by ship, which is why it is so expensive.” Yes, trucking goods to a harbor, loading them into a warehouse, moving them to the dock, loading a ship, taking that ship to sea, unloading it, warehousing the goods and then distributing them does cost money. That’s not the full story.

What the retailers never tell you is that the cheapest way to move large quantities of heavy things is by ship. It’s cheaper than rail, much cheaper than truck, and requires less shifting about from warehouse to warehouse. Its only unique additional expense is the loading and unloading of the ship. How much sea transport adds to the retail price is not something I know, and it is almost certainly something I would have a very hard time finding out.

How far goods are shipped is a consideration that does not always make a difference. When consumers in New York purchase Japanese-made stereo gear, they probably do not realize that what they are buying is better built and much, much cheaper than the equivalent models for sale in Tokyo.

That price discrepancy is deliberate. Making sense of it means you have to understand that retail prices are absolutely not straightforward calculations based on costs (see footnote); they are part of the answer to the question, “How shall we market this gizmo to achieve our goals?”

In the case of those stereos, the Japanese long ago determined to dominate the US audio and video market, reasoning that they would benefit more in the long run if they locked in a permanent market in a hard currency area. So they exploited their customers in Japan, making them pay a premium for electronics, in order to lower prices drastically in the USA. They let the soft yen go, even discouraging domestic sales, in their quest for the hard dollar. Of course that went hand in glove with a refusal to buy anything from the USA.

Today China is pulling the same stunt. Some factories there are selling products at so close to actual manufacturing cost that they must be the beneficiaries of government guarantees that they will not fail if the market falters. China is out to destroy US manufacturing capacity and rake in hard currency (but Obama has tricked them: he’s ruining the dollar, the crafty devil).

Even though all Chinese-made products in the USA have to make that oh-so-costly trip across the Pacific Ocean, they are still dirt cheap. Now consider the fact that shipping to Tahiti from Australia or the USA involves shorter distances than from China to the USA, and draw your conclusions.

Consumers in the USA forget how lengthy and complex the distribution chain is within the nation. Products move at considerable expense across long distances, making lots of stops and being stored and sorted by very well-compensated labor as they go, so the cost per mile is much higher than if they moved by ship. Don’t be fooled by that $5 Coke in Tahiti — you are being taken to the cleaners, Folks. And it’s happening simply because the retailers can do it.

Footnote: Having flown first class from Bangkok to Los Angeles, I wanted to buy a return ticket, so I called a travel agent. Now a round trip Bangkok-LA-Bangkok was at the time about $4,500, and my ticket from Bangkok to LA cost me a bit more than half of that. So I figured I knew what the LA-Bangkok fare would be. Was I ever wrong! It was a bit over $4,500. Yes, one way. I called Singapore Airlines and talked to a supervisor: “You charge as much to go one way as you do to go round trip! I’m gonna report you!” He laughed and told me candidly that folks in LA will pay right around $10,000 for a round trip, while in Bangkok the airline can’t sell tickets at that price. Then he summed it up: “The price is what we can get.” What he meant was, the actual cost to the airline of carrying me across the Pacific was not part of the calculation.

Part II of this series will appear in the next issue of the PenPo.

Links

Read this. It’s about Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US military, and girls. It’s inspiring.

Federal firearms legislation is a fell enemy that must be opposed, and fortunately some folks are getting creative in the struggle. Meanwhile, we await Obama’s checkmate — that domestic “security force” the PenPo refuses to let you forget.

Fun with a health care fantasy. Sigh.

Boeing is in lots and lots of trouble. “The fiasco has become an object lesson for manufacturers in how not to do global outsourcing and has eroded Boeing’s reputation for efficiency and innovation.” So what’s that mean — that we should go back to “Made in the USA”? Wow….

These clowns just haven’t gotten the word yet: any and all evidence is solid proof of the fact of anthropogenic global warming, and that includes blizzards in Florida in July, dammit!

Holland is trying to struggle out of the trap it set and then stepped into. Read Geert Wilders’s speech and ponder the possibilities.

Now consider a controversy that is tangential to the above item. This newsletter notes with some distaste that a feud is under way between some webloggers; the proximate cause of the shouting is how Islam should be viewed. On the one side you have Robert Spencer and the folks at the Gates of Vienna weblog, and on the other, Charles Johnson of LGF. Johnson, a quirky and clever weblogger, was instrumental in the exposure of the attempt by Mad Mary Mapes and Dan Rather to swing the 2004 presidential election. Spencer is the author of someuseful books explaining Islam, and Gates of Vienna (see link to Wilders’s speech above) has long been a rich source of information on the Islamist menace. This newsletter believes Johnson is guilty of very poor judgment in posting claims that simply cannot be validated. Spencer has, in the PenPo’s view, replied with candor and logic, totally refuting Johnson’s accusations. This is not a hissy-fit between nutcases — it’s an empty fuss stirred up by one somewhat eccentric person.

Is Islam a religion? According to one author who makes a careful case, no. This newsletter disagrees, but that’s not out of regard for the claimed virtues of Mohammed’s vile fraud.

In the last PenPo, you learned about this scandal. It turns out, oddly enough, that the story has not been totally ignored by the lap dog media; it seems The One may have broken the law when firing the guy who tried to sort things out. So far, press coverage has been light, but there are a few reporters following the whiff of cronyism and corruption. More here. What are the prospects? This newsletter is not optimistic. Big winners who have the support of the press and public can’t be kept on the straight and narrow all that easily. — Oops, another update for you.

A man to know: Alan Charles Kors. Thematic, essential portions of his essay, “Can there be an ‘After socialism’?” are available here (NB, he is not a Randian). Regarding Western collectivist (they would style themselves “progressive”) intellectuals, he says, “In the names of fantasy worlds and mystical perfections, they have closed themselves to the Western, liberal miracle of individual rights, individual responsibility, merit, and human satisfaction. Like Marx, they put words like ‘liberty’ in quotation marks when these refer to the West…..” Explore, Pilgrims.

Don’t forget, ABC is in/with/behind/for/of the White House now.

Do you recall Anonymous? It was mentioned in PenPo Nr. 6 for its attacks on Scientology and other villains. Well, Anonymous is back, and once again, it has chosen a proper target: the regime of the mullahs in Iran. See this for more.

There’s a famous apocryphal conversation that goes like this — Trotsky: Surely you can’t deny me the right to say what I want! Lenin: Of course I can’t. Nor can you deny me the right to kill you for saying it.– Modern Iranian version here.

Here’s another stupidly fearless, reckless PenPo prediction…written on the 19th of June: the mullahs and that lunatic who was just “re-elected” in Iran are planning and getting organized. There will be a bloodbath within a week, the protests will be smashed, and the Bad Guys will still be in power. On this, the PenPo and Obama agree. But the PenPo and The One are not in agreement on what should happen — only on what will happen. And part of the cause behind what will happen stems from what the Obama administration is not doing. Is that confusing enough?

No-knock raids are a favorite police tactic, and they are outrageously out of control. Information here; do read it. Sample: “Masked government agents dressed in black barging into private homes in the middle of the night was once an image we associated with totalitarian states.” Yes, and this newsletter can hardly wait for Obama’s pledged national security force to be formed. As Obama said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Feminist Follies: thought cops, Palin as Lillith, intolerance, gender stereotyping, sexual insults, children as punitive, men as hateful, and more. So…is there hope?

From The Archive

The following appeared in Number 87 of The Terrapin Gazette, on the fifth of February, 2006. At that time, the Department of State was headed by Secretary Rice. The fuss over the Danish cartoons of the fake prophet Mohammed was still simmering, and the TG was incensed at the attitude of the politically correct idiots at Foggy Bottom.

We’d Like To Talk To Condi About This

Diplomats. Sometimes they make us sick.

Here are the words of State Department spokesman Justin Higgins: “We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility.” (Source)

Translation: the press should NOT publish cartoons offensive to Muslims.

Why the hell not?

Why “must” the press be responsible? Who defines “responsible,” dictatorial Muslims or rational people who understand the importance of a secular democracy?

Well, we don’t expect much except cowardly, weasel words from Foggy Bottom, so our questions are simply intended to make a point with our readers.

Have you ever thought of it this way? The US government can’t dictate to the press, so it should not imply that it can. When it makes stupid statements like the one quoted above, it creates a lot of misunderstanding in parts of the world where the politicians do control the press. Remember, the Muslim nations made the mistake of believing that their anger at that Danish newspaper was a matter for diplomats to discuss. The Danish PM set them straight, and immediately. The lesson will have to be repeated many times before it is learned once.

Clearly the best policy would be for State to keep its fool mouth shut. Unless, of course, it explains simply that newspapers do what they do, and the governments of the world should leave them alone.

Why is it that State cares more for the tender sensibilities of moral lepers than it does for the Liberty of a free US press? When, we wonder, will State be endorsing the imposition of sharia on the USA? Certainly that would please the Muslims! Cripes….

We have to stop now, because we can feel a stroke coming on.

Well, not without one gentle parting comment: notice that wonderful word, “but.”

You know how it goes: “I’d be happy to loan you the money for your wife’s life-saving operation, but….”

“You have earned a great future with this company, but….”

“You are free to express your views, but….”

Right. Tell a lie — that is, imply that you mean what you are saying, when you don’t at all — and follow it by “but.” Then give the bad news.

Sure, we know the State Department is doing its best, and we don’t begrudge the diplomats their salaries, and we do need embassies and consulates overseas, and we are sure there are lots of dedicated people in service to their nation who labor selflessly at the State Department, BUT….