The philosophical complexities of Scotty beaming you up

HT: Whale Oil

The changing nature of political activism

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@BernieSanders and @realdonaldtrump trade in fear and blame

International comparison of road crash deaths across the OECD

There are surprisingly large differences such as between the USA and Sweden and the UK.

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Source: Motor Vehicle Crashes in New Zealand 2014 | Ministry of Transport via International Road Traffic and Accident Database.

Bruce Springsteen – The Easybeats’ "Friday On My Mind"

How Michael Bloomberg thought he would go against Sanders, Trump and Clinton

Source: Maps Show Where Bloomberg Aides Thought He Would Be Competitive – The New York Times.

The enduring lie that George W Bush lied about Saddam’s WMD

The renegade left so hates George W Bush that it could not bring itself to make the most obvious argument against invading Iraq. That argument was the one I made at the time.

It is the height of folly to attack a country with weapons of mass destruction with the intent of conquering it. That intent of conquest and regime change gives the other side every incentive to use their weapons of mass destruction if only in an act of desperation. The whole purpose of weapons of mass destruction is to deter invasions.

Rather than concede the other side’s argument and use it against them, the renegade left preferred every other argument, most of which bolstered the case for invasion.

The most obvious of these was more weapons inspections by the UN instead of invasion. If there is a need for more weapons inspections, there must be some WMD weapons to find. The UN had 12 years to find these and still cannot find them all.

What was the point of the UN inspections and the renegade left calling for the inspections to continue as an alternative to invading in 2003 unless they expected to find more evidence of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons?

The reality is Saddam played a fine game of bluff. He destroyed his WMD capability early after the first Iraq war. He could not be afforded be found with WMDs.

Saddam then tricked everybody into believing that he still had weapons of mass destruction as a way of projecting strength, especially to regional rivals.

It is also the case that if the UN inspections stopped, Saddam would have resumed his WMD armament program.

It is not possible to stop countries from developing WMDs. You can deter them from using them. Far more volatile characters in Russia and China in the 50s and 60s were deterred from using nuclear weapons.

James Heckman on what money cannot buy including a universal basic income

Source: The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility, James J. HeckmanStefano Mosso, NBER Working Paper No. 19925, February 2014.

Ireland’s election leads to uncertainty over identity of next government

The Constitution Unit Blog

Alan_Rialto2

Last month’s Irish election resulted in a hung Dáil and uncertainty about the nature and identity of the next government. Alan Whysall discusses the result and its possible implications on both sides of the border.

A general election by single transferable vote to the lower house of the Irish parliament, the Dáil, was held on 26 February. The government suffered badly. The 32nd Dáil is hung, and there may not be a successor government for some weeks.

The following table summarises seats won, and first preference votes cast:

PartySeatsVote share (first preferences)
Fine Gael5025.5%
Fianna Fáil4424.4%
Sinn Féin2313.9%
Labour76.6%
Independent/Other3429.7%

The Dáil has 158 seats, so 80 are required for an overall majority. There is more detail on the election here.

The result was a profound upset for the governing Fine Gael/Labour coalition. It had come…

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Sunni/Shiite divisions

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