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The Tom Sawyer Principle (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Try to work harder or, if enlightenment does not arrive, ask me something specific.
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Mick Harper
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Rule 3: Caring about the poor does not mean you will end up helping the poor.

Because they do not recognise it, certain consequences flow
1. The Left concentrate on ‘helping the poor’
2. Since it is the Left who always provide ‘the discourse’, the Right find themselves having to concentrate on it too.
3. Meanwhile everything else is going to the dogs.
4. Since helping the poor is dependent on the prosperity of the wider economy, the poor go to the dogs with them.
5. Hence Rule 3: Caring about the poor does not mean you will end up helping the poor.

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Mick Harper
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A significantly AE event last night according to this report

http://insidedailyfinance.com/uk/dd/?o=1&sxid=48l0b8y8870p&creaid=102717926&campid=17551996&url=mail.aol.com&usi=24094015510

Why? Well, exposure on national TV always distorts the market e.g. some gitty song/singer shooting to No 1 after being on a Simon Cowell vehicle, so what effect will this have on Bitcoin? Since Bitcoin's success is (I assume) predicated on being at the cusp between 'popular' and yet still 'esoteric' we can expect this deluge of popularity will throw a giant spanner into the pond. Aprés le deluge? My money is on the end of Bitcoin but every other outcome is also possible. Including, of course, none.
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Mick Harper
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Hence Rule 3: Caring about the poor does not mean you will end up helping the poor.


I belatedly see the above needs a bit of fleshing out. ‘Helping the poor’ is in fact a technical problem of some difficulty in the solving. It is often assumed that the intention followed by the act is sufficient (while not being naive) -- the classical one being giving beggars handouts and them going off and spending it on demon drink. As with all stereotypes this is true but misleading. In the circumstances, them spending it on drink is probably a good outcome not a bad one.

But this in turn involves the popular misconception that it is the donor not the recipient that is in charge of the transaction – and that therefore donors always think the recipient should be actuated by the assumptions of the donor. Actually begging is just a job like any other, the beggar is providing a service and the donor is getting a service (feelings of altruism, there but for the grace of god, this Tory government should be ashamed etc etc).

Left wing people (and caring people in general) assume that beggars have no choice but what they mean is that the choice the beggar has made is not one they would make in a million years. Most prostitutes are in the same category. In fact most people are in the same category: pulling a handle to make a widget a thousand times a day for forty years (for example) seems to me (for example) markedly inferior to either begging or prostitution as a career choice.

More later. Possibly. I have a living to make too, though not too good a living or they'll be taking away my housing benefit.
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Mick Harper
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One of the technical difficulties attached to ‘helping the poor’ is that donors keep on forgetting the poor are (roughly) as intelligent as they are. This distorts everything from street panhandling to Third World aid polices. It is in the recipients’ interest to keep the misconception going -- indeed it becomes the basic message: “Please help me because I'm too stupid to help myself.” It is difficult to deal with because in many cases it is true(ish). Being a beggar (or a prostitute or a widget-maker) is not a voluntary choice. It is, in many respects, a stupid choice and wouldn't be done by anyone not addled by drugs, psychiatric damage, having to bring up a family, being a third world country etc etc.

However it is the donor’s voluntary choice to assume that, therefore, the beggar/prostitute/third world country requires their intervention. Even widget-makers must be unionised, given the minimum wage, protected from foreign competition etc etc.

All this is ‘kinda true’ -- redistribution of income is generally a good thing -- but the problem is that the transaction is fatally one-sided. It is the recipients' full-time job to know their market, for the donors it’s strictly an impulse buy, point seven per cent of income or whatever. So you invariably end up with most of the money being wasted. Not because of ‘getting wasted’ but because of sheer inefficiency -- to the point of counter-productiveness. But the donor doesn't care so long as he or she is getting what he or she wants -- the altruism buzz. Or the political benefit.
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Mick Harper
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Fifty-three countries qualified but only one winner -- Great Britain. Great Britain and Northern Ireland to be exact. Well done, Charles. Never been your biggest fan but you showed you were made of the right stuff.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Could the Windrush scandal have been timed to coincide with the Commonwealth leaders' meeting?
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Mick Harper
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During the Arnhem Campaign of 1944, GI's shot their prisoners with such enthusiasm and their commanders were so desperate to get hold of some prisoners for interrogation, that the latter had to offer all-expenses-paid leave in Paris to the former to persuade them to do the decent thing.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Mick Harper wrote:
During the Arnhem Campaign of 1944, GI's shot their prisoners with such enthusiasm and their commanders were so desperate to get hold of some prisoners for interrogation, that the latter had to offer all-expenses-paid leave to Paris to the former to persuade them to do the decent thing.


What was the decent thing?

Shoot the prisoners after you get back from leave in Paris?
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Mick Harper
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My borough council is kindly popping round to take away some bulk items too big for the bin men. Unfortunately

Your collection includes an item that requires a risk assessment, we will contact you shortly to organise a risk assessment visit. Until this visit has been carried out and we determine that the collection can be carried out safely we will not be able to confirm your collection.

And no, it turns out they can't. The offending item was a neon light tube.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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My wife advised me the other day that someone was rooting through our bins.

Being the lazy bugger that I am, I ignored her pleas to sort this vagrant out, on the grounds that if the vagrant really wanted my rubbish his need must be greater than ours. (I am pretty good at getting out of work by pretending to be virtuous)

A few weeks later Mrs Coyote announced that we had won a recycling award. It turns out the bod in my bin was in fact the guy the council had employed to judge, and we had won said award.

How the council can afford to send round someone to inspect each bin, I don't know, but the Coyotes now have a £30.00 voucher. Fortunately Mrs C had ticked the no publicity box.
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Mick Harper
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The two things we have in common, Wiley, is living in filthy rich boroughs. I have an excuse--I have to live among the movers and shakers--what's yours?
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Boreades


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Mick Harper wrote:
My borough council is kindly popping round to take away some bulk items too big for the bin men. Unfortunately... the offending item was a neon light tube.


Haven't you learnt yet? The best way to get rid of unwanted rubbish is to put it on your front doorstep with a "For Sale" sign on it. It will not be long before some opportunistic thieving git helps themselves to your "valuable" item.
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Grant



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A few weeks later Mrs Coyote announced that we had won a recycling award


The reality is that most recycling gets
a) burnt in incinerators
b) put in land-fill
c) is sent to China for reprocessing, ie thrown in the sea to upset David Attenborough
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Mick Harper
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Could we have some figures?
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