Tuesday, June 30, 2009
National is in a bit of a bind over this as it sadly promised no sales of state assets in its first term. If Bill English is looking at fobbing off a few shares it may take a year or so to arrange it so National can then put it on the agenda in 2011. As I've said before, they should sell shares in SOE's to the Maoris.
What does this achieve?
First, it gets Maori investing in key assets. Second, the profits stay in NZ. Third, selling shares is not selling an asset. Finally, the best thing it does is it gets a chunk of the treaty money back into government coffers so reduces the overall amount paid in treaty settlements!
On all four counts it's perfect politics and perfect sense. The Gnats can let Maori own some key assets (like here ) and thereby assist in Maori self-determination and win some Maori votes; Labour can't wail about the profits going offshore; they also can't wail about selling off state assets (selling shares is not selling the asset); and the rednecks get some of their money back.
Bill, no charge for this advice. You now owe me one. I'll hold you to it.
But why didn't the powers at be regulate the industry by making it illegal to commit fraud or steal money? That would have stopped him.
Obama should act immediately by passing laws making this kind of carry on illegal.
A District Court judge and police say the prosecution of a man who insisted he had flicked his son's ear, only later to be convicted of punching the child in the face, was never a test case for child smacking laws.A punch is a violent act and deserves a prosecution and a conviction. A smack for corrective purposes is not a violent act and should not result in a prosecution and a conviction.
The case was widely seen as a test of the anti-smacking laws because Mason publicly claimed that he had done no more than administer a flick on the ear.
But Christchurch District Court Judge Michael Crosbie said the matter would have been dealt with in exactly the same way before the introduction of the smacking legislation.
"It remains a case of an assault on a child, as it would have prior to the legislation being enacted," he told Mason at sentencing.
"You don't accept the facts but you do say that in hindsight you should have been able to manage the situation in a calmer manner and not reacted in the way you described."
Judge Crosbie said a discharge without conviction was not appropriate. "It is clear the jury found there was a punch and you admitted as much to the police."
The Judge knew the difference. Therefore this guy would have been convicted under the old section 59. If that is the case why was it changed again?
Apparently, it's worth the carbon footprint of sending a boat around the Pacific Islands so that Castle-Hughes can hear old codgers claiming the weather was much better when they were kids, or witness the strangely localised effects of "sea level rise," because she's encouraging the Islanders to hassle John Key about the next Kyoto round when he visits.
"Greenpeace ... are using celebrities like Ms Castle-Hughes" (a direct quote!) to promote govts commiting to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2020. I'm not sure why this unrealistic figure was chosen over others (why not 80% by 2015?), but the previous Kyoto round should have taught Greenpeace something by now: getting govts to sign agreements is one thing, getting them to abide by them is another.
I don't actually have strong views either way on climate change (unlike my wife, who's a scientist and therefore has very strong opinions on the politicisation of scientific opinion going on in this area.) For one thing, I don't have the necessary skills to interpret the research (and given the politicisation of that research, you bet it needs interpreting). It certainly seems straightforward that if we continue putting CO2 into the atmosphere at the rate we are, it will cause changes and those changes are unlikely to be pleasant ones. Set against that though are various equally straightforward factors such as:
1. People won't voluntarily make drastic changes to their lives without some clear and present danger to force it.
2. Govts are accountable to the people, and their performance is measured to a great extent on the state of the economy. If responding to climate change = putting a serious brake on the economy, forget it.
In other words - if climate change really does start to have a clearly demonstrable and indisputable effect, then we might see some action. Before that? Nuttin.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Which brings me to the other way of thinking. ACT pointed out many times last year in the lead up to the election that the Labour government had overspent in the approximate amount of $60-$80,000.00 per household over the nine years it was in power. That is, they spent over and above the rate of inflation per household and starved families and workers of this approximate amount. If government spending had been at inflation plus population change, on average each family would have had that cash in their pocket.
Now you can debate all you like about whether they would have spent it or saved or retired debt with it, all of those options aren't bad. Spending it helps the internal economy, and saving it or retiring debt is very useful in New Zealand's overall context. And if it was spent on boats or cars or TV's then when the tough times hit they wouldn't have it to help their families. But that's their problem, not mine. And that last sentence is the crux of the issue: who's problem is this? At the end of the day we are all responsible for ourselves, and if the large majority of us make sensible and wise decisions with our money then collectively, as a country, we will be better off.
Here's the thing about welfare and hits on the problem as discussed by Danny Watson. Sure, if you can't pay the bills their should be a safety net. No one would argue otherwise. But what about the guy on nett $130K with per annum expenditure of nett $100k with 3 kids and a wife who doesn't work? Shouldn't the State pay him $2K per week to help him out, which is what he needs to pay the mortgage and feed the kids etc. If not, why not? What's the difference between this guy and someone on nett income of $35K per annum with no kids and nett expenditure of $33K? At face value the only difference is they need less to survive on. But who judges that? The politicians? No, that's bullshit they they should.
Arbitrary rules do not take into account individual circumstances which is actually what Susan St John and Keith Rankin argue. They're actually correct. So to rectify this we should just keep more of our money because only us, as individuals, really know how much we need to live on and need to support our families. That's why we need a cap on government spending, a cap on rates, a flatter, simpler tax system and more money in our pocket.
But I didn't read those solutions in the St John/Rankin thesis. And I didn't see any assistance in Peter Dunne's "worthwhile" contribution to the issue:
"Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said an update of the welfare system would be a "massive undertaking".What a feeble response from a feeble minister. The sooner the government ships him to the US the better.
"The system has grown haphazardly over many years. [Revision] is not going to happen this year [or] next year. It will happen over a long period.
We stayed at our favorite 'el cheapo,' Beachside Resort which is owned and operated by Kiwis Phil and Jane. A fabulous but simple menu with extremely reasonable prices. You must go there. The best fish curry and chicken curry ever. A pleasant air conditioned room for two for around NZ$75 per night and NZ$7 gets you anywhere you want to go in a beat up local cab. Exchange rate currently is 0.75.
Beats the hell out of paying $350 per night at Denarau. We talked to some people who took up one of the 'red hot specials' offered for Denarau. You know the story. Discounted airfares and accommodation. What they didn't tell you was that you can't afford to eat and drink there once you arrive. $60 for a sirloin steak and the cheapest bottle of wine is $60!!!!!!! BTW the hotel buys them in for $13 per bottle.
There were severe floods in January and since our first annual visit in 1992, I have never seen the roads in such a state of disrepair. A taxi driver told us the government has no money to repair them.
We went to the Aussie butcher in Nandi and stocked up on rump steak, bacon, smoked ham, Italian sausages, breakfast sausages, chicken drumsticks - about $80 all up. Flew across to the time share and froze some steak, drumsticks and sausies. That did us for the whole week, along with 2kg of the best rice I have ever tasted.
Now what about the politics of the joint?
Nowhere did I hear a bad word about Commodore Bainimarama. We know a number of businesspeople in the Nandi area and their commentary was revealing along with that of taxi drivers, hotel staff and local roadside stall holders. There is widespread anger and it is directed not at the local regime but at New Zealand and Australia.
The local tourism industry has been crucified by Australia's and New Zealand's intemperate and malicious adverse travel advisories. Adolf and The Cook visited seven resorts while we were there and in our judgment occupancy on average was around ten to fifteen percent. It's hard to calculate but we think that in the Nandi /Coral Coast area alone, probably five thousand full time jobs have been lost.
The truth of the matter is that people visiting Western Fiji are no more in danger than they would be visiting Takapuna or Bondi. (For that matter, neither are those visiting Suva.) When The Cook told her sister in WA that we were going to Fiji the silly bitch asked "Are you sure you'll be alright with all the trouble over there?"
That's the level of irreparable damage which has been done to the livelihoods of ordinary Fijians by our two countries' outrageously irresponsible behaviour. The propaganda has worked.
Since the Commodore took power, corruption in the public service and elsewhere has subsided if not disappeared. Why? Because Fiji is an inherently violent society and people know that if they are caught they will have the shit kicked out of them. It is NOT New Zealand.
Corruption at all levels was estimated to be adding between 25% and 30% to the cost of just about EVERYTHING. For example, you would wonder how it could be that a coastal piece of prime residential land would be quietly rezoned commercial and opened up for resort development. No hearings, no objections. Still wondering? Oh well, it just so happened apparently that the prime minister of the day suddenly became the owner of two choice blocks in a resulting subdivision.
None of Adolf's contacts in Western Fiji could recall ever seeing anyone from New Zealand's High Commission during this past two or three years. It appears our government only hears the opinions of those who are on the insiders' list in the Suva beltway. John Key and Murray McCully are being hoodwinked by left leaning bureaucrats. I'm told our loud mouthed ex High Commissioner (personal friend of Helen Clark) was running around Suva bad mouthing the regime at every opportunity. She was explicitly warned that if she continued she would be asked to leave. Journalists Dreaver and Field were described to me as 'trouble makers.'
There is evidence of huge investment in tourism in the Nandi area. God knows where the people will come from but it appears the capital is flowing in from India and Communist China. Certainly makes the fools from Bridgecorp and Hanover look like the amateurish crooks they are. One rumour doing the rounds is that the Commodore has been offered US$300 mil by the Chinese government. That would be very tempting were it not for the price tag. Residency for between 4,000 and 7,000 selected Chinese immigrants. Selected by China not Fiji, of course.
We met a Fijian school teacher and his wife. He asked us what we thought of the devaluation. It became apparent he was confusing the devaluation of the currency with the reduction of public service salaries by three percent some months earlier. When I asked him if he would prefer to have no job rather than 97% of his previous salary he shuffled his feet and chose to be employed.
You see, now that much of the corruption has been rooted out, he is actually better off financially but of course his Labour affiliated union would not want him to know that. Adolf has seen corruption in Argentina and Brazil. Believe me, the Bainimarama remedy is far more palatable than the South American version which usually involves revolutionaries with AK47s shooting up all and sundry.
Interesting times. Mike Moore is right.
My prediction is that unless John Key and Kevin Rudd wake up very soon indeed, they will be too late to prevent a sea change in the political landscape of the South Pacific. China will have it's Pacific based aircraft carrier and all for less than one tenth the cost of the USS Reagan, while New Zealand's prestige and influence in our neighborhood will have been permanently damaged.
However, this caught my eye a few minutes ago.
The first reaction of any prudent insurer will be to decline or load any application from a person who is unwilling to divulge the information sought. Insurance is a privilege, not a right, Madame Schroff.
Less prudent insurers will take on these substandard risks and, as a result, the number of disputes at claim time will increase as information comes to light after the event which should have been available before.
Premiums will rise to cover the additional risk as those who refuse to disclose all information required will find their behaviour brings with it substantial cost. It goes something like this.
Client Joe Nurk, age 52, non smoker
Offer of terms:
Life, standard rates plus 50% premium loading;
Trauma, standard rates plus 150% premium loading;
Income Protection, decline.
Upon release of full medical history, these terms may be reconsidered.
If you don't like it, take your lousy business somewhere else.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Remember my post on the union-inspired collapse of General Motors? The same factors are at play with California.
The governor readily admits that he sees the crisis as a chance to make big changes to government -- to "reform the system," he said Friday -- with proposals he has struggled to advance in the past.Yep, wonderful things those unions. First they engineered the downfall of GM, now it's California. New Zealand ain't that far away.
Among them: reorganizing state bureaucracy, eliminating patronage boards and curbing fraud in social services that Democrats have traditionally protected. The governor also would like to move past the budget crisis to reach a deal on California's water problems that has so far eluded him.
In past years, his plans ran into opposition organized largely by well-funded labor groups and Democrats, who say his proposals are really meant to strangle government. Now he is newly armed with negotiating power over Democratic lawmakers desperate to preserve state programs.
Back on the governor's demand list is a plan to cut the pensions received by state workers, which unions have stymied before but which he thinks may gain traction with a cash-strapped public. Schwarzenegger also views this as an ideal time to once again target growth and fraud in the state's multibillion-dollar in-home healthcare program, which employs 300,000 unionized workers.
His agenda includes anti-fraud efforts and tougher enrollment requirements for the state's food stamp programs, efforts that advocates for the poor say are designed to discourage people from participating. In his radio address, he said the state and counties could get by with a "fraction" of the 27,000 workers now handling eligibility for Medi-Cal and food stamps by using Web-based enrollment.
Schwarzenegger has revived plans to allow local school districts to contract out for services like school bus transportation and lawn maintenance, a proposal favored by the GOP but despised by school employee unions.
Hat tip: PM of NZ.
The top 5 musical artists of my generation that I believe had the most impact are (in no particular order): Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Bono, Sid Vicious, Mick Jagger.
So, after all that, here he is again singing You Are Not Alone live in Korea. If you're real lucky you might even get Sid Vicious singing "Friggin in the Riggin" if I can find it.
Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Tony Kaye, Allan White, Steve Howe, and Rick Wakeman. The ultimate YES, (in my opinion).
But these buggers can sure PLAY.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Not only for BB, either - feel free to drool all you like...
Not because I suspect BB is short of incredibly hot and well-armed alien babes to look at, mind you (well, no more so than the rest of us, anyway) - just adding to the discussion here.
But why did I come? Was it because I was obligated to or was it because I wanted to?
Actually a bit of both.
But it all raises something Rick Giles of ACT on Campus has been thinking about.
I hope he doesn’t kill me for mentioning the issue, but Rick has been thinking about ‘freemarket families.”
Now, if I got it right, the concept is as follows.
One friend of his lamented that his sister treat him badly because she was his sister and consequently could get away with it.
But friends could not treat the mate badly because they were more in a freemarket , so they would be dumped if they did.
Rick’s idea was to treat family members more on freemarket principles.
For them to remain part of the family, they had to treat him better. And him having greater choice over the issue, was very liberating. It meant he did not have to put up with ‘their crap’ if that was the case.
Because he could drop them, they would raise their standards and better meet his needs. And he would do the same.
Thus, in wider use, we would see families acting better to each other because they could be dumped just like bad friends.
Thus, parents would not be mean or cruel to their children and vice-versa.
Anyway, I think that is pretty much what he was saying.
In some respects, the idea does have merits, especially if it does encourage families to be better to each other.
But can families be treated as some kind of commodity to be traded. Yes, there is free choice in friendships, but isn’t it the blood ties that make families different.
Rick is right in that there does need to be better harmony in many families, but I am usure whether this ‘freemarket’ is the right way to go, even if in every other sphere, the freedom of choice does deliver better standards all round.
We have heard much about how the freemarket might damage families, but what policies can be developed from its principles to help families work better?
Friday, June 26, 2009
Had the poster, and as I have mentioned elsewhere I am still amazed I did not manage to pull my guts right out.
RIP Michael Jackson - Gone Too Soon.
Read the piece in the Guardian and laugh. The one about refs had me in fits. And whatever you do, don't miss this tour-de-force in the face of imminent death. A sample:
And when the fluid drains out of your scrotal sac, guess where it goes next? Can you?
That's right, for about a week I sport a huge, fluid-filled fringe under the head of my penis, making it look like some weird skinhead Gila-lizard from hell. I tell every male I meet about this.
They are all, without exception, appalled. One says:
"Cancer victim or not, if you don't shut the fuck up right now, I'm going to punch you."
The ongoing computer saga.
New laptop is 6 days old.
I was nervous about Vista, we have all heard and seen the horror stories. The laptop has been working briliantly and I was beginning to relax, downloaded open office, installed myob and made it work. Itunes is going great.
But then I did something that everybody advises against.
I succumbed to the automatic update prompt. 483 megabytes of download later. I have no sound. It is telling me that all my device drivers are upto date, but still no sound.
Windows update should be called; "We are going to snap it off in your ass".
Bill Gates you suck, so does your mate Paul Allen. A plague on all your houses.
And HP can suck my hairy arse as well.
I have tried to find a phone number to call, but we all know how that will end. Some pubescent Indian will but-but down the phone and I will smash the computer into a pile of plastic.
I could take it down to Noel Leemings but all I will get from them is the phone number. And again, I do not want to lose half a year on hold after dialling 0800 WEDONTGIVEAFUCK
"Conquest" used in this sense, gentle reader, means essentially that Berlusconi finds sex the most satisfying when women who didn't actually want to fuck him end up with him inside them anyway. Down here in less romantic territory, we have a different name for that than "conquest."
Thursday, June 25, 2009
People who drive when their judgement and reactions are impaired by drugs are a danger to themselves...,” Mr Joyce said.From John Stuart Mill's harm principle:
"...the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant...[i]n the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."Discuss.
Barnsley has been thinking about it too, which is why I got the inspiration for this post.
What difference has National made to the country? Is the new government living up to its promises?
Certainly there has been much disappointment over John Key’s stance over the smacking bill and the cancelled taxcuts.
But by and large the government remains popular. And the country seems to plod on as before.
Now, as I have just arrived in Britain, a country engulfed by political scandals and troughery, what about our own corruption?
The corruption we heard so much about during the Helengrad years.
Remember the talk that we should have a Corruption Commission to investigate the activities of our former Liarbour government. Whale Oil, for example, was most vociferous about having one.
But now peace has broken out from National, even if Liarbour fights back with ‘honey traps’ and Mata Haris snaring old and randy goats.
In the meantime, we have Philip Field fighting for his life, but we hear relatively little on this, with the story tucked away in a quiet corner of the NZ Herald.
Granny is pushing on the MPs expenses issue but it appears to have forgotten about the other scandals of the Helengrad years. As for National, it is unusually quiet.
But hang on, those charges of corruption are unprecedented. It is the first time that we have had a sitting MP and government minister facing investigations and charges like this. Wasn’t he Associate Justice Minister too? Surely this adds to the seriousness of his situation?
For the first time, New Zealand has politicians behaving they would in some third World banana republic.
Yet, we shrug it off with little fuss. Did we get so used to scandal during the Helengrad years when its government had more ‘gates’ than the largest country station.
And what of Helen Clark herself. No re-opening into the way she stole Election 2005 with the pledgecard money. And then as she left office for the UN, Investigate uncovers how she bought her job with taxpayer dollars by ramping up the country’s contributions in election year, just in case she lost!
And what about Michael Cullen? Here’s a man who squandered the most benign economic conditions in a generation and showed his fiscal incompetence with the purchase of Kiwirail. Has he behaved honestly and ethically? Yet National buy him off with plum jobs at NZ Post and welcomes Uncle’s appointment to the UN.
Was government all about buggins turn? We have had nine years of Liarbour, now it’s time for nine years of National. National will scratch the backs of Liarbour grandees and give them a secure retirement and when Liarbour is in power again, it too will look after the departing National ministers.
What an incestuous duopolistic arrangement!! What a cosy cartel!!
But hang on? What about the corruption? The scandals, etc, etc. We forget the talk of Liarbour sleaze and all those gates, we forget our outrage at those scandals, we forget about our earlier demands for a Corruption Commission.
Instead, we just get on with government, you scratch our back and we will scratch yours. You keep quiet about our scandals and we will forget yours.
And so the genteel political and economic decline of New Zealand continues....
The increase has been attributed to a rush of applications ahead of tougher rules that would extend the average waiting time for a citizenship from the present five to eight years.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Some weeks back I enjoyed a fine lunch put on by a global company who was expanding its operations in New Zealand.
Many other journos were there and there were the usual talks about the state of the market.
One respected business title is seeking staff I was told, but they only want newbies to intermediates, so they can pay them just $30-$40k a year.
Of course they never think to ask whether an old timer might work 3-4 days a week for such a sum, one who is perhaps skilled enough to produce more and better work than the newbie in half the time!
And there’s another well respected title that is not replacing staff who leaves, regardless of the impact on the quality of the publication. The recruitment freeze continues.
Soon after, I had coffee with a guy who had been in publishing for more than 30 years.
He had been made redundant by a large corporate because he disagreed with the direction of the company, and the recession gave the perfect excuse to pay him off.
The old timer wanted the small provincial weekly to have a solid focus on ‘community news’. He wanted more than just filling the white space between the ads with recycled press releases.
However, real news costs, and the publishers aren’t keen to pay for it, no matter how much it might cost them in the long run in not having it.
I guess many of the readers of this blog have decent incomes, incomes so beloved of advertisers.
So imagine how damaging it would be for you to stop reading certain titles.
Indeed, I have heard so many of you say you have stopped reading certain titles because you disagreed with their left wing politics or the tabloidization of the papers, that they contained too much fluff.
So here is an idea, one that may help you save your favourite papers from rampant costcutting.
If you are thinking of cancelling your subscription, before you do, tell the editor or general manager of your newspaper or magazine.
And please do it in large enough numbers that it will be clear to the beancounters that costcutting doesn’t work and in fact reinforces a spiral of decline.
Of course, you think having gone down this route so many times before that they might have learnt by now!
But what is the issue all about? For me it's about the State leaving parents alone and getting out of our households. I mean a smack is neither here nor there in terms of a corrective tool. No, it's not about that for me, I've never smacked my daughter. But there are plenty of daughters, and sons, in Aotearoa who need a good smacking every now and again.
But the more I look at the new section 59 (below) the more I find the whole issue utterly ridiculous bacause under subclauses (a) to (d) a smack is permitted in three occasions of preventative behaviour and one occasion of normal behaviour incidental to parenting, which subsection (2) instructs us is not a smack for corrective purposes.
At the end of the day a smack for correction is prohibited but a smack for prevention is permitted. If a child constantly plays up then that child can be smacked under subsection (c) as long as parents tell the child "that is to prevent you behaving like that again", rather than "that is to correct you for behaving like that".
The question therefore is concerned with changing the word "prevention" to another word "correction" and deleting subsection (2).
The difference is not worth $9 million bucks, and I'm still voting "No".
(1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of—
(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or
(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or
(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or
disruptive behaviour; or
(d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.
(3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).
(4) To avoid doubt, it is affirmed that the Police have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against a parent of a child or person in the place of a parent of a child in relation to an offence involving the use of force against a child, where the offence is considered to be so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution.
Now I have been interested in space exploration since I was about 5 years old and can remember sitting up with my Dad listening to liftoffs of Gemini missions on the Voice of America short wave service.
I also recall the excitement as a 9 year old of listening to man's first moments on the moon, and the drama of the Apollo 13 recovery. All stirring stuff indeed.
So it was with interest that I read last week that NASA has sent two probes to the moon as part of their new program to return men to our satellite by 2020 which GWB announced in 2004.
In 1961 after only two manned suborbital flights, JFK committed the US to that marvellous goal of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth before the end of the decade", and as we know in 1969 this was achieved.
Eight and a bit years is all it took. All they had to do it with was Werhner von Braun's V2 knowledge, their own PhDs armed with slide rules and log tables, and no computers with any more power than the average cellphone of today.
By today's standards they knew bugger all about the environment in space, orbital mechanics was a science very much in its infancy, and they didn't even know if the lunar surface could support the weight of a space craft.
Yet NASA essentially started from scratch and went on to get the job done. Sure there were tragedies along the way. Lives were lost, notably the crew of Apollo 1, near misses were a regular occurence, Gemini 8 and Mercury Redstone 4 spring to mind, and equipment failed with monotonous regularity but the goal was met despite the cost.
So why will it take the same agency 16 years to repeat the performance??
This question is even more pertinent when one realises that NASA are not going to be using some new propulsion system or a craft that resembles the USS Enterpise. The vehicle they have in mind, the Orion, is simply a scaled up, and souped up version of Apollo.
The computers of today which will be used for engineering design and onboard stuff are many degrees of magnitude ahead of their sixties ancestors and our experience in space time is now measured in thousands of man hours but we still have to allow double the time to achieve the same goal?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Polls show Americans oppose closing the prison, with some feeling unsafe should the inmates be be jailed in their own states.
On the one hand, it would be great to see the Iranians overthrow the ugly totalitarian theocracy that's blighted the place since overthrowing the previous blight in 1979. And on the other hand, we're constantly quacking on to people in the Middle East about how democracy is, but the moment a vote doesn't go our way we're wanting to see the violent overthrow of the winners.
On the one hand, it's certainly plausible that Ahmadinejad's govt rigged the ballot ridiculously in his favour. And on the other hand, it's also plausible that middle-class liberals in Tehran genuinely have no idea how popular Ahmadinejad's rule is in rural areas and among the proletariat - ie, it's entirely possible that Ahmadinejad did actally win the vote.
I guess on the whole I'm going with "Screw the finer details of democracy, just overthrow the dictatorship already" - but also don't think they've got much chance of actually doing it.
Monday, June 22, 2009
David Farrar has sparked some uproar with his promise of a series of articles on MPs' pay and their allowances.
His pledge follows the controversies over MPs rorting expenses in Britain and over the recent Mt Albert by-election in New Zealand.
David wants something more balanced than we might get elsewhere.
Now, Peter Cresell at Not PC, calls MPs the country's highest paid beneficieries.
Cactus Kate notes how MPs say they are paid in comparison with jobs in the private sector, but Cactus looks at various MPs and questions how they might have fared in the private sector. For some, it does not look good.
Indeed, as we look at the dishonesty or otherwise of our MPs, such relativities might explain something, like why Liarbour MPs tend to be the most dishonest top troughers, both here and in Britain.
It is because they realise how poor their prospects would be in the private sector that they think they better rort all they can while in parliament.
Adolf at No Minister always recalls an interview given by the wife of an Australian Prime Minister where she says they will be honest because they don't need to steal money. I guess when John Key is worth $50 million, we likewise have nothing to fear from him.
This might also explain why Uncle Helen stole election 2005 with the pledgecards and why she boosted New Zealand's donations to the UN every election year, as was reported by Ian Wishart.
Uncle Helen was feathering her nest, knowing that times would be hard otherwise. How much might our academic PM earn in the private sector? Not much , considering how much she pissed them off, so she had to sucker up to the UN! And if the taxpayer paid, and helped buy her her job, all the better!
And why did Michael Cullen sell out to John Key over NZ Post??, so he could earn more than he would have in the private sector.
Yes, the lack of earning capacity of Liarbour MPs in the private sector does explain a lot, doesn't it?
Sunday, June 21, 2009
If you are strugling to understand why this pic is here you should probably not visit again. Perhaps crayons and a few sheets of paper might be more your thing. Or maybe you could enrol in a course at Massey. Might I suggest English for morlocks.
Lack of posting lately is due mainly to the fact that my trusty old IBM thinkpad has been suffering with an overload of toast crumbs. After being on the critical list for a few weeks it finally succumbed this morning and I now have a hastily bought shiny new HP laptop
The big story of the day is obviously Iran and Fox News has it live.
Iranian troops are amassing with analysts talking of a new Tiananmen-style massacre.
Already there are unconfirmed reports of 150 dead.
Charles Krauthammer said on Friday that the Iranian government has been considering one, and much depends on possible reaction from the West.
Politics professor Daniel Drezner says he fears the Mullahs will turn to mass murder to stay in power.
The One Who Must Not Be Mentioned on this blog has toughened up his words a little.
We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
Anyway, this is an unfolding story, with blogs like Little Green Footballs and Gateway Pundit especially offering comprehensive coverage.
In the meantime, TOWMBM has cut funding for democracy programmes in Iran, and above is a young man being shot by Iranian forces.
So now things are hotting up, how shouldwe in the West respond?
Hat tip: Gateway Pundit, Little Green Footballs
Saturday, June 20, 2009
People who are a little overweight at age 40 live six to seven years longer than very thin people, whose average life expectancy was shorter by some five years than that of obese people, the study found.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
John Key says:
"I do think the question is a bit ambiguous and could be read a number of different ways,"
and phil goff says:
"The question implies that if you vote `yes' that you're in favour of criminal sanctions being taken against reasonable parents - actually nobody believes that."
Well gentlemen, if that's your take on what is to me a fairly simple question, then I suggest you both go and see the the GG and hand in your resignations.
No not suggest, how about I DEMAND.
Because if you, who are responsible for creating legislation, find that question, misleading or ambiguous, or whatever, then you are obviously well below the intellectual level required to carry out your roles.
Also John says:
"There's only been the one now documented case and I'm satisfied that the law is working."
This statement is as misleading as any ever made by clark and whats more I think Key knows it.
The obvious retort is: "How many people have had the police on their doorstep, or been put through a CYFS investigation, or been left wondering whether they'll be charged and / or have their families split up, simply for doing what they believe is in the best interests of their families and could do so without fear of criminalisation before bradford's social engineering was legislated?
I'm sure there are more than a few but it'll take an OIA request to get the numbers. Might be worth a crack, but I bet I don't get an answer before the referendum