Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Recollection

When Adolf graduated from Lincoln as a valuer and farm consultant he went off to Australia and, by accident, fell into commerce where he remained for forty or so years.  Many of my colleagues had come over and introduced Canterbury farming techniques.  Some did very well, others not so well

I well remember a crusty old West Australian wheat cocky remarking that 'those bastards charged us a fee for telling us when we would go broke.' 

After a while I realized that Kiwi farmers could afford to be innovative because if they buggered it up, a forgiving climate would dig them out of their mistakes whereas Aussie cockies had learned, to their cost, that if they stuck their heads up over the parapet, the climate would come long and kick their heads in.  The Kiwi advisers did not comprehend that it was possible to have five bad seasons in a row.

And so it was that distrust of NZ agricultural advisers was born.  They did not understand the reasons for the Aussies' conservatism and many of them did indeed charge a fee for telling their clients when they would go broke.

The first stark difference I noticed was that while NZ sheep farmers selected for high twinning rates, their Australian counterparts culled ewes which had twins.   Why?  There was only enough feed for ewes to produce sufficient milk to raise one lamb.  Of course, this was in the days when wool prices were strong, so they wanted to carry as many ewes as possible.


Even the old dope himself admits he ballsed it up.

To put every worker and MP under suspicion was stupid to the Nth squared.

Sexual assault needed to be handed to police without comment, but for a man who has demonstrated stupid to be his best chance of a Doctorate he just could not let the chance go by

Just take retirement and keep the last shreds of your dignity. Then again is there any of that left in the locker.

A sandwich short of a picnic seems about the level demonstrated.

Ollie said it rather well:
"You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"


Watching the Federal Election unfold over recent weeks and Clive Palmers efforts the answer is a resounding NO.

Clive is reputed to have spent over sixty million Aussie dollars for no measurable result.

Many an Australian voter could not have the poll ended soon enough as Palmer saturated TV Radio and static sites with his promotion.
At times filling  whole ad breaks with his messages.

One analyst has each wasted vote cast for Clive costing A$159.

Contrast to Pauline Hansen who spent bugger all and suffered the massive distraction of two of her senior operatives being scammed by Al Jazeera TV trying to garner funding from the National Rifle Association in the US using covert cameras.

Net result Palmer 3% across the Nation while Hansen garnered a credible and measurable results around 8% primary votes plus over three million $ in funding.

Get Up is said to have spent over three million nation wide in sometimes vile activities for only the one scalp,  that of  Tony Abbott in Warringah a seat he had held  for a quarter of a century.


I was aware that political parties in Australia are publicly funded,   The formula is a relatively simple one.   Any candidate or party that receives over 4% of first preference votes is funded to the tune of $2.756 per eligible vote.

That can equate to a huge amount of dosh.   Based on the AEC's current vote count  (admittedly incomplete) the coalition can expect to receive $13.79m and Labor $11.22m.   That is in addition to what they can raise from corporates, unions, special interest groups and Joe public.

In respect of the latter and I wasn't aware that, for individuals, donations up to $1,500 may be claimed as a tax deduction.   Political parties ain't charities and that seems to me to be a rort against all other taxpayers.   Still, when in Rome .....


Single transferable vote was my choice  sans the compulsory bit if NZ decided to move away from FPP.

Last night Peta Credlin Chief of Staff to Tony Abbott as PM,  now a host at Sky News Australia put the demolition of Shorten by Morrison in a different light by removing the distribution factor currently in use.  On that scenario  Morrison and his National allies would have won by a Massive 89 seats to fifty something for Labor.

Au Labor have become a party of the leafy burbs of Melbourne and Sydney with two seats in downtown Adelaide , Zip zero nada in Brisbane and Perth with two seats covering the northern Territory.  The rest of the Lucky Country is Liberal, National and the now combined LNP in Queensland

Labor have totally departed from their original base of "blue collar, small business, wealth creators to now represent academia and comfortable home makers with more than enough money and time on their hands clearly dreaming that Climate Change is the main chance.  Explaining why success came briefly to Phelps in Wentworth and this time for Stiggall in Warringah,  both shooting stars in truth.

Labor under Hawke and Keating really mopped up the centre votes to succeed,  Rudd came from nowhere with a catchy slogan "Kevin for 07" and Gillard followed by exploiting disunity amongst the Liberals all ended abruptly when Abbott concentrated on the disaster that unfolded when Labor opened the border to unscrupulous people smugglers.
Now Scomo has it all before him as my colleague Adolf so succinctly stated ,  all the rabble who white anted the Liberals  ran from what they decided was a sinking ship.

I hope The NZ Nats were watching but who is there in waiting. Bridges seems lacking in the face of media obsession with Baby, engagement, possible wedding and a collective failing to actually scrutinise the appalling performance now half way to the next election of the CoL
Collins with her joining the wailing and gnashing   over the kneejerk off attack on law abiding  arms owners and then going to bat for GG after Seymour struck a homer out of the diamond has gone backwards.
Is Chris Penk the "man"?

Australians are said to have desires on  Ardern as PM so can NZ do a deal and we will have Morrison?

La belle France

I am constantly amazed how seriously the French in this area take democracy and the voting process and I can’t help thinking back to 1966 when the P+T where I used to work gave all the crews half day holiday on voting day.

With a hiss and a roar and the squeal of drum brakes about twenty trucks  drew up into the large car park of the Racecourse hotel, it was the original wooden building in those days I think. Drink was taken, and more drink was taken and very little voting went on, the polling both was across the road at the racecourse, and there was no discussion about politics or who would form the next government. The old second world war rules were in place, no discussing of politics or religion while drinking. It was interesting to  note that the immigrants  amongst us noticeably the Dutch and the British were first off the blocks to vote.

I expect things have changed now but I can’t help comparing the two scenarios. Macron has been on a marathon talk fest around the country. There are 37,000 mayors in France and Macron has met and talked to the lot,  600 at a time after the Mayors had meetings with their communes. Le Grand Debat was well attended around the country and an exercise in democracy that would not happen in any other country. He was well briefed, knew his France and spoke without notes.

There was one occasion when a mayor from a small town in the Pyrenees  complaining about the release of the Pyrenean mountain bears in his valley and what it meant for farmers . Macron gently chided him and pointed out it wasn’t in his valley but the one 10k notes and no aides whispering in his ear....standing ovation for that.
France is one of the founding members of the European Union and plays a crucial role in European policymaking. In some of its regions, however, there is clear discontent regarding the direction of EU policy, mainly when it comes to immigration and the refugee crisis, something that is seized upon by the right and spun to be far worse than it is.

I take as my guide the French attitude to the EU as to whether it is working as planned, they are in the middle of it and know far more than me the good bits and the bad bits and bearing in mind it is still work in progress they seem satisfied but will be the first to kick off if unnecessary power is being transferred to Brussels. The alt right is desperately trying to stoke division between groups but unfortunately for them they can’t bandy around the term “lefty” as  an insult....that is most of France.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Terror charges to be added to those Tarrant will face for murder from his massacre at the two mosques on March 15th.

Surely 51 murder charges even if some fail on technicals should give even the most limp wristed Judge  all that is needed to ensure Tarrant never sees freedom again until death ends his time becoming increasingly insane in safe custody

Adding  terror charges brings to mind the western legend of the Sheriff coming to the deputy standing over a bullet ridden outlaw and laconically asking "did you have to shoot him so dead?".

Would I be correct in thinking concurrent sentences are not verboten, if that is correct,  it would  only be Angry's desire to catch and release meme to be overcome.

Acerbic Comment of the Day

From Dennis Shanahan at The Australian - talking about the bullshit which is 'gender balance.'

"Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg are a couple of white middle class,balding males who seemed to have mightily survived the absence of long-term Liberal deputy Julie Bishop."

Post Oz Election

Half an hour ago PM Morrison got his clear majority with the winning of Chisholm.   Can anyone imagine what the result would have been had Turnbull not been booted?

The Libs need to move to expel Turnbull from the party.   They don't need a vindictive flailed leader around the place at the next election.

In my view, astronomically high electricity prices are the most important issue which must be quickly resolved.  From cheaper electricity flows employment and economic growth and another win in 2022.

Happy days!


The unguided missile that is Shane Jones continues to defy convention.    A man who is so consumed with his own importance that he's prepared to run roughshod over the cabinet manual and the law in the full and certain knowledge that he's bullet proof ... St Jacinda dare not discipline him while WRP can't least he goes feral.

His latest indiscretion.    Lobbying the Minister of Immigration to grant accredited employer status to his cousin Stan Semenoff to bring in migrant labour from overseas to drive his trucks at the expense of Kiwi workers ... and all this from a member of a Party that railed against the use of migrant labour promising to cut the number of people allowed into the country.   Some might call that hypocrisy of the first order.   Others will see it as Jones being Jones.   Arrogance personified.

Word around the traps from up here in Northland.   NZF is lobbying Labour for Kelvin Davis, their Deputy Leader and 'star performer' to stand aside from his Te Tai Tokerau seat and go 'List only' with Willow Jean Prime being parachuted from her List position into that seat.   Labour then stands a no-name nobody as their candidate giving Jones a clear run in Northland against National's Matt King.

Just one problem with that.   I am aware of polling that shows NZF support in the Northland electorate has collapsed down to to single figures from the 34% achieved at the election.    Clearly voters here, while happy to take what they can get from the PGF, cannot be bought.   The canning of our 'economic highway' from Wellsford to Whangarei by the CoL figures large while the proposed Zero Carbon Bill which, if passed, would see farmers having to cull their herds as gone down in the farming community like a cup of warm sick.   The 'Champion of the Provinces' meme is replaced by 'Dr Death for Rural Communities'.

For Shane ... you see what happen s when you cohabitate with climate change Nazis ... and squealing like a stuck pig that its not your fault just doesn't cut the mustard.

Die MSM, Die - Australian version

Over on the Now That's Dirty Politics thread, one of No Ministers favourite Lefties, "Judge Holden" (aka "Sludgy"), had this to say about Rightie blog commentators behaviour in defeat:
... you weren’t paying attention if you didn’t notice the wailing and gnashing of teeth that greeted the Nats descent into opposition
.... Of course, it manifested as anger and vicious hatred as is typical with the right. It’s a beautiful thing 
....Good God tories scorned are a hideous bunch
And so forth. All good, bog-standard stuff from Sludgy.

But of course, that's just a bunch of blog commentators. What about the professional MSM class? How do they handle defeat, at least in regard to the recent Australian election:

Cathy Wilcox, a newspaper cartoonist:
“It seems unfair that the morons outnumber the thinking people at election time.”
Broadcaster Meshel Laurie:
“Australians are dumb, mean-spirited, and greedy. Accept it.”
“It’s the country that’s rotten.”
And then people wonder why the MSM continues to decline in influence.

Monday, May 20, 2019


Aus Media have revealed a letter written last February by now defeated and booked for the knacker as soon as Labor select  the next Clanging Cymbal (symbol) Bill Shorten to Scott Morrison hoping for an anticipated smooth transfer of power in Canberra after he wins the May Election.

Many a slip between cup and lip maybe.


I see the AEC are now projecting a possible 77 seats for the Coalition (76 previously) vs 68 for the ALP (69 previously).   They have just called the Wentworth seat for the Liberals having been wrested back from the Independent who took it in the bi-election when Malcolm Turnbull quit in a fit of pique, 

Meanwhile, in a move I find fascinating, Julia Gillard has reentered the 'game' by throwing her weight behind Tanya Plibesek in her bid to become ALP leader.    Her only rival at this stage is Anthony Albenese.   Both are from the NSW 'left' faction.    As I understand it votes are split 50/50 between the rank and file membership and the caucus.   Albanese lost to Shorten last time round despite being the 'peoples' choice.  Appears he has some problems with his caucus colleagues and the intervention by Gillard seems, to me, designed to ensure the caucus picks Plibesek.   I do enjoy blood sports.

The part the climate change debate played out in the election has, I think, implications for us in New Zealand.   For the true believer in climate change there can be no compromise.   It's my way or the highway.   Clearly the affluent have the ability to indulge in absolutes.   The blue-collar worker doesn't.    They can figure it out for themselves that its the moral argument vs the economic argument and when push comes to shove the economic argument (jobs) wins hands down.   The trick is to balance the two arguments and certainly neither the ALP there, nor the CoL here, have come anywhere near to figuring out the middle ground.    In New Zealand the proposed carbon emissions legislation will have a substantial impact of the farming sector and certainly result in job loses while e the  decision to end oil and gas exploration, big on virtue signalling, may well led to an increase in our carbon emissions signature.

A number of Oz commentators called it the climate change election and the loser of the argument stayed on the Opposition benches.        

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel: TV Review

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (streaming on Amazon Prime), is a TV series set in New York in the late 1950's that focuses on the decision of one Miriam Maisel - "Midge" to her friends - to become a stand-up comedian.

It is not what she planned. In the pilot episode, Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, is living a great life as a young, Jewish housewife and mother. The highlight of her day is buying more fabulous new clothes, setting up kids birthday parties and getting the Rabbi for Yom Kippur. Happily married with well-off middle class parents and living in a spacious Upper West Side apartment, her husband, Joel, is the one who wants to do standup and escape his well-paid corporate gig, and Midge supports him, often bribing the crew of The Gaslight club with food if they'll put him on stage. 

But he has no talent, and after one particularly awful show, a destroyed Joel goes home to tell Midge he's been having an affair and is leaving her. In an instant, her world comes crashing down. Her parents tell her she needs a husband and that Joel needs to be made to return. Reeling from all this, and drunk, she staggers to The Gaslight and on to the stage to try and understand what Joel had been seeking there, only to find herself unloading to the audience about her situation in a biting display of anger, self-pity, tears and laughter.
Midge - Did I tell you he left me for his secretary? That's right. She's 21 and dumb as a Brillo pad. And I'm not naive. I know that men like stupid girls, right? (gesturing to a guy in the audience with his girlfriend)
Guy - "Uuuhhh".
Midge - But I thought Joel wanted more than stupid. I thought he wanted spontaneity - and wit. I thought he wanted to be challenged, you know what I mean? (gesturing to the girlfriend)
Girlfriend - "Uuuhhh".
Midge - You two are going to be together forever.
She finishes by baring her breasts, just as the cops come and arrest her for public indecency and performing without a licence (Midge - "You need a licence to do that?"). She's chucked in the back of a police car along with Lenny Bruce, who has been arrested at another club for obscenity, as usual. 

One of the Gaslight staff, Susie Myerson, played by Alex Borstein, sees Midge's drunken ramble and determines that she has a gift. She bails Midge out and tries to persuade her to pursue standup comedy as a career, with Susie as her manager, while Midge dismisses the whole thing as an embarrassing one-off. But later, after yet another domestic crisis and another drunken ramble at The Gaslight, Midge begins to realise that this might be for her. And as things develop in the series she begins to see she could be great, and moreover, realises that she wants to be. She starts to learn the trade by watching and listening to other standups, and suffering a couple of terrible stage failures. She also decides to keep this all secret from everybody she knows and gets a day job: naturally it's in the makeup department of a rich store, and naturally she's great at it. Thus does Season One roll for eight episodes.

Brosnahan is just stunning in the role of Midge. I first saw her several years ago in her breakout role as a drugged, down-and-out prostitute in the US version of House of Cards. She took a movie stereotype and made her vivid, but it's the mark of a great actress when she can create another one that makes you forget the first. Her Midge is attractive, smart, sassy, knowing, yet also strangely innocent in some ways. Even being arrested by the cops causes her outrage, not fear: such is her privilege. There is no question that the show revolves around her, but so does the fictional world she lives in: "Can’t you stop talking about yourself for one moment?", Susie asks at one point. No! She can't, but that's the reason she can do stand-up in the first place.

All great comedies need a straight-man, and in this case it's Susie, who is almost everything Midge is not: short, dumpy, frumpy (pants, braces and cap every day), cynical, aggressive, and foul-mouthed. And poor; she eats straight from a pot on her swing-down bed in her tiny, rented bedsit. But she's smart, verbal, knows the business, and knows talent when she sees it. 

The whole series flies forward on whirling, whizzing repartee in almost every scene. It's a throwback to the great 1940's Screwball comedies like His Girl Friday. This is a "talky" series that demands you pay attention. Borstein and Brosnahan have great chemistry: you sometimes want to strangle Midge - and you want Susie to be the one to do it.

But all the characters are developed steadily and you begin to like every one, even with their infuriating faults. Joel, the cheating husband, is not left as simple cypher of betrayal: you actually begin to gain respect for him as he faces up to the godawful mistake he's made, realises Midge has the gift he so badly wanted, reconciles at least a little with her, and quits his corporate job to run his parent's business.

Similarly, Midge's mother, Rose, comes off as haughty, snobby and cold - but then begins to show how much she is Midge's mother; sexy and smart, though hemmed in by the rules of an earlier Jewish generation. Midge's dad, Abe (wonderfully underplayed by Tony Shalhoub), is a genius mathematician teaching at Columbia, and is self-involved and distracted to the nth degree: shades of Midge again. Joel's parents are working class Jews who've fought their way up to owning a clothing factory, and their constant clash with Midge's academic parents is best shown when Abe, desperate to put Midge and Joel back together, visits the factory, where he's appalled:
He brought them here and stuck them in his factory! Is he paying these poor people? Are their toilets for them? I’ve seen their faces! I can’t be sure of this, but one of them has a look like, 'I should’ve taken my chances back in Germany!'
The sets are lush and gorgeous, perfect derivations from a 1959 edition of Better Homes. In the same manner as LA Confidential, the background is determined to have every aspect set in that time, even if the average viewer will never notice: the apartments, the bars and delis, the slightly worn seats in the diner. The show is in 4K, which means that in a way you'd expect of a CGI SF movie, all this visual detail is relentless.

"We got the Rabbi"

The clothes even more so, in their case modified from the pages of 1950's Vogue. Most women I know have drooled over Midge's wardrobe and I have to admit that it's attention getting. The wardrobe designers must be in 7th heaven as they put together these fanciful creations with the colours popping out at you: the swing coats, cinched-waists and capri-pants pulling your gaze away from the perfectly coiffed hair, makeup and hats.

There are visual tricks worthy of the movies. Scenes that you realise are choreographed shoutouts to musicals. At one point Rose runs away to Paris to recapture her art-loving youth ("I was unhappy. I didn't want to be unhappy anymore"), and when Abe and Midge follow, there is a transition from the New York to Paris skylines that echoes Lawrence of Arabia blowing out the match or the man-ape throwing the bone into the air.

Then there's the music. The episodes are packed with jazzy pieces, obscure British music hall ditties, Broadway showtunes, torch songs and lilting ballads from the mid 20th century. But they're selected with the same care and attention to detail as everything else: when Susie and Midge are hotly debating money in a diner, the quiet background tune is the Andrews Sisters singing  Rum and Coca Cola, with it's drawn-out refrain of "Working for the Yankee Dollar". 

But in one of the great quirks of the series, the songs that play over the end credits are from the 70's and 80's. So when Midge realises she can't make money via standup yet and must get a job, we close with the great XTC's Dear Madam Barnum. When Susie attacks a famous woman comic, which could see Midge blacklisted in NYC, the ending is Siouxsie And The Banshees Cities in Dust. When she finally tells her parents what she's doing in Season 2: cue Romeo Void's Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)

At this rate it's quite possible they'll play NWA's Express Yourself, Talking Heads Once In A Lifetime, Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart, and The Art of Noise remix of Suzzane Vega's Tom's Diner.

It's true that between the sets, the clothes, the dialog and the music, Mrs Maisel is a fairy tale. We rarely see her children, who stay with her parents every night (with their maid, naturally) while she goes out to work gritty clubs (her parents have no idea in the first season and think she’s dating). Her brassy magical touch dissolves glass ceilings and there's no systemic discrimination standing between her and her dream that can't be knocked down with the right one-liner.

But it may become more than escapist, laugh-out-loud fluff, and I'm not sure I want it to. Season 2 was not as tightly focused, but showed that this dreamy perfection was a thick facade. Joel is called in to get money out of a scumbag club owner, which involves the punch in the nose even Susie apparently can't deliver! We get a glimpse of the potentially selfish destruction in Midge when she excitedly accepts an offer as an opener for a Nat King Cole-like crooner on a six month tour of the USA and Europe - remembering only at the end of the day that her handsome surgeon boyfriend, Benjamin, has proposed to her (and she's still married to Joel). And the kids? Lenny Bruce, who has befriended her, invites her to see his first performance on The Steve Allen Show (again, perfectly rendered from the actual 1960 series), where he riffs on a husband looking back on an abandoned marriage but a great career that left him, "All Alone, All Alone".

And of course when Midge transgresses the mild rules of the era in her first TV appearence by using hypnotising hand motions and murmuring "Vote For Kennedy,... Vote For Kennedy", it's a marker that the 60's are fast approaching, when the demons will be unleashed, and the feminism that Midge almost, but not quite encapsulates, bursts forth. Will she move forward or fall backwards, into that? 

We'll see what happens in Season 3 later this year, and while the creator of the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino, is not known for dark stuff, it's hard to see how this airy confectionary world can continue much longer. We still laugh, Midge is fearless, and Lenny Bruce is not afraid, but we know that terrible things are drawing near.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Ho Ho Ho

Straight From The Hillary Clinton Playbook

Shorten/Clinton lost unloseable elections because both candidates were dogs and both campaigns were strategically flawed.

Labor spent hundreds of thousands on getting rid of Tony Abbott and in doing so left insufficient funding to effectively campaign in the other half dozen marginal seats they needed to win.  They won the battle but lost the war.

Further, they elevated climate change as their number one issue when exit polls showed voters ranked climate change at number five.

Australians showed they don't want as PM a nasty little bastard who shafted the very workers he  was paid to represent.

Australians showed they don't want as PM a nasty little bastard who fakes Christianity and then publicly denigrates the genuine Christian faith of his opponent.

Australians showed they don't want as PM a nasty little bastard who is credibly accused of rape.

Australians showed they don't want as PM a nasty little bastard who tried to shove the climate change hoax down their throats.

And now, less than a day after their humiliation, Labor people are blaming the Murdoch press for their defeat.

If Labor had replaced Shorten six months ago with Albanese, right now Albanese would be PM.

And by the way, why would anyone ever again pay good money for opinion polls?


Another coalition won big in last nights Australian Federal election. The coalition of Abbott haters, Aus Labor, The Turnbull Rump and their collected enablers in the Media

Tony Abbott was possibly the most attacked politician standing for any of the 151 seats at stake in the Lower house in the Canberra Parliament, and all done in the northern Sydney Division of Warringah.

Aus politics has a dark arts outfit that spends considerable monies on advertising and resourcing foot soldiers that all flies below the Radar and thereby beyond much of the funding law, almost exclusively campaigning against key Liberal Party figures.

Financed by Unions spending members money with no acknowledgement as to the wishes of the members forced to hand over that money, plus other big spenders who largely remain anonymous,  "Get Up" went after some of the main Liberal players. Peter Dutton, Greg Hunt, Christian Porter, Josh Freydenberg and Kevin Andrews, all became targets of 'Get Up' but all survived, sadly however they scored one success in ending the political career of Tony Abbott.

A onetime Australian representative skier Zali Steggall chosen to lead the assault on Abbott as an "Independent", had some name recognition and being a poor little rich girl fitted admirably the fraud that she was nominally a Liberal. Then followed a get-down-and-dirty campaign employing actions and tactics unimaginable here in NZ. Feces in mail boxes, "brown shirts", this time dressed in an orange t-shirt uniform, behaving as street thugs, blatantly false posters erected, parallel media advertising against Abbott, and yesterday an assault by a sixty-something on a 30 yo Liberal campaign worker putting up posters, where  a corkscrew was used to stab the Lib.

It became so toxic that Tony's wife NZ born Margie felt unable to partake in the practice of handing out "how to vote cards" because the family decided she may well be physically attacked.

The NZ polling booth is devoid of all party activity. All signage across an electorate must be removed by midnight on the day before polling, with the only exception being "scrutineers": a person from each party contesting, who can access the Identity of a voter and record that fact on a Party copy of the roll.

It's a whole lot different in Aus where the Lower House seats are all up for contest in a general election using  FPP with a single transferrable vote where votes for the worst losers are redistributed until a candidate gets over 50%.

The Senate is a whole different system, essentially proportional with Parties ranking their offerings and redistribution in play. Hence someone with a first preference well down in single figures can become a senator after preferences are distributed. Another barrier to the will of the people is the sometimes unfathomable ranking in smoke-filled back rooms by party executive committees, that this year saw sitting Liberal Senator Jim Moulin - an ex-army general who commanded troops in Iraq, long regarded as very independent and acting for whatever reason - being placed too low by his NSW party to get back to his Senate seat.

The Senate ballot offers two options where 'above the line' party rankings prevail and the voter only ranks parties. 'Below the line' gives an alternative  to voters in that they can circumvent the "party dictates" and rank the candidates by name. Each state has 12 senators, with six up for the vote every six years unless a "double Dissolution" is called when all 12 face the electorate: six for a full term and three to face the voters after three years.

In summary a "How to vote card " is  a necessity for most and results in pretty active election strategy around polling stations.

Disclaimer This is how I understand things and it is easy to see why nearly a century ago Federal Australia decreed compulsory voting, still enforced. A voter is free to make an invalid vote but all must front up and get marked off the roll and receive a ballot. Failure to do so leads to a fine for non compliance.

Back to Warringa and the ending of Tony Abbott's political career by Zali Stiggal. Abbott's concession was dignified, honest and conciliatory. The beautiful person declared the winner otoh not so; totally ignoring the remarkable concentrated campaign by the coalition of Abbott "haters", she began by saying she would maintain her "Climate Change Crusade".  Bet a dollar to a knob of goat poo she still loads up the V8 seven seater and heads off to the Snowy Mountains for some skiing, totally ignoring the damage her fellow Climate change aficionados claim such errant behaviour does to threaten the future for all Aussies.

Yes, after 25 years of dedicated public service Tony Abbott had a growing number easily persuaded by slick marketing that he was yesterdays man. Bollox to that in spades; a Minister in the Howard Government, leader of the opposition who defeated a sitting Labor government, two years as Prime Minister, then after a scurrilous Ides-Of-March effort from a bunch of colleagues, avoided the bi-elections dangers and remained an MP for his electorate from the back bench. All the while maintaining an active presence and commitment to local northern beaches as a life guard and also maintaining an active role in his local fire service. Not for photo ops, oh no that was not Tony Abbott. He was to be found on front lines in times of need. Bush fire fighting in Australia is not for the faint hearted. Abbott was possibly one of the fittest physically, politically and intellectually in the out-going Parliament.

Can I see poor little rich girl Steggall committing to that level of public service inside and outside politics, it will be interesting to watch this space.

Well done Scott Morrison your voters put Australia first. I am afraid to admit my gut feelings came to pass but in fear of hexing  the Coalition I held my tongue.

Pity you missed one of the more momentous times in Australian Federal Politics Bob but RIP anyway. Btw I wonder if Hawke voted I suppose being deceased would qualify for an early vote.


and won the election the pundits said he couldn't possibly win.   

Shorten did a Hewson and lost he election he couldn't possibly lose and has now walked away from the ALP leadership.

and Australia dodged a bullet.

There are lessons to be learned from the election not the least being that if you over-egg the climate change debate you run the risk of losing electoral support.     Certainly the ALP paid a big price for doing that, particularly in Queensland.   But I suspect that's a message the climate change Nazis will turn a deaf ear to.  

In the meantime spare a thought for David ... nah, on second thought, don't bother.

Crazy people

For heavens sake what is wrong with people, surely they can't be that racist. A poll taken shows that 56% percent of those asked, mainly "right" thinking upright citizens, thought that Arabic numerals should not be taught in their local school.

How short sighted and xenophobic.

Saturday, May 18, 2019


Today Australia completes the General Election, it has been voting for some weeks, including the head to head between Labor's  Bill Shorten and the Liberal leader of the current governing coalition Scott Morrison, for Prime Minister.

Morrison came to power by the Liberals led by Peter Dutton finally ending the lurch to the left by Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull once tried to become an MP for Labor but failed because a rich prick has great difficulty overcoming the need to be a true Labor person with heavy handed controls under the Union faction, a faction even more dominating than in the NZLP.

The NZ Labour Party suffered from that,  delivering the succession of losers culminating in Little. Cunliffe, who is said to have only secured three votes (one his own) from his caucus when the unions installed him: a caucus that has only a third of the votes in normal leadership contests with the Members and the Union masters (acting on behalf of members) exercising the other two thirds.

Ardern avoided that crap when Little threw in the towel after the 90 day pre-election rule became operative making selection of Labour leader a matter for caucus alone.

Turnbull having failed to become tribal Labor then successfully poisoned a Liberal member in the seat of Wentworth after a series of false starts that might have deterred most and began his climb to the top of his new party vehicle to become Prime Minister.

He became leader of the Opposition in 2007 by knifing Dr Brendon Nelson a year after Nelson  had replaced Prime Minister John Howard who had lost his seat in the Rudd ascendancy. Nelson, a minister in the Howard government had defeated Turnbull  in the tumult of Johnnie being defeated in the election, but Turnbull soon climbed over him in a spill 15 months later.

After another  year it was clear Turnbull had no stomach or any ability to make Rudd's majority beatable so the Liberals turned to Tony Abbott who then failed narrowly to defeat Gillard two years later. Julia Gillard became  PM in a minority administration surviving with the assistance of ex-Liberals Oakshot, Windsor and another tosser, one Peter Slipper who sold his Liberal team down the river to be made Speaker.

Three years on and in a last throw of the dice an already well beaten Labor party in denial made a move in damage limitation, returning to Kevin Rudd in the months leading to Federal polling 2013. But it failed spectacularly with Abbott and his ally the National Country party winning 60% of the lower house to Labor's 37%.

Immediately after Abbott being sworn in as PM some of the Libs with Malcolm Turnbull and Abbotts' Liberal Deputy Julie Bishop as prime players, decided Tony Abbott, although very successful as Opposition leader, had some perceived  problems as Prime Minister. So a mere two years after becoming Prime Minister Emperor Malcolm moved again, wielding his knife in ending the Abbott prime ministership. Another year later he saw the safe majority won by Abbott whittled to a one seat majority and a heart attack away from defeat in the Federal election of 2016.

Two years into that term and the Liberals finally bit the bullet and replaced the treacherous Turnbull with Scott Morrison, after Peter Dutton had done the initial sod-turning on creating the new landscape.

Turnbull again refused to retire from the battle field he had barely survived with his political life but  with his legend in tatters he gave his now ex-colleagues another knife attack,  resigning and placing the Morrison Governments one seat majority beyond reach by supporting "independent" Kerryn Phelps over the Liberal-endorsed Dave Sharma,  in his seat of Wentworth, the wealthiest in Sydney, in a by-election that could have been avoided. Phelps after public endorsement support from The Turnbull family and Labor machinations around preferences became a winner while the Morrison administration became lame duck and almost paralysed.

Malcolm Turnbull is a traitor to the Liberal Party that delivered everything he lusted after, His missus and son Alex have joined the white anting with gusto. Clearly revenge runs strong in the Turnbull family along with the sore loser syndrome.

Bill Shorten is widely predicted to become the 31st Federal Prime minister this weekend and possibly the best equipped and performing prime minister since John Howard was buried by a foul mouthed dreamer in 200, when The Milky Bar kid lookalike defeated Howards government and ended Howards hold on the division of Bennelong held since 1974. Scott Morrison becoming just another body in a count of five, including one who got Lazarused only to be knifed a second time by the nice Mr Shorten, this time fatally. Bill Shorten and Malcolm T are both crafty unconscionable manipulators of political executions, sort of whatever-it-takes types.

Since Johnie's defeat 12 years ago Federal Australia has had as Prime Minister: K Rudd, J Gillard,  Rudd again, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison. An average of two years each in office, and should Shorten make it tonight that trend may well continue as he has a record in preferred Prime Minister polls well behind Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison.

But the Aussie Voter is once more disgusted at the Musical Chairs in Canberra and Bob Hawkes sacrifice two days out from the polls closing may well have tipped the Balance of Power to Saint Bobs old Party, that in itself would be sad as Bob will never know.

Then there is the albatross my colleague The Veteran posted on recently of an alleged rape, unanswered so far, but that should keep Mr bully boy Shorten short on sleep.

Meanwhile Australian Taxpayers will be asked to pay bigly for the defeat of Morrison who has run a terrific campaign, putting an increasingly rattled Bill Shorten very close to losing the unlosable election.

Labor is promising higher taxes for the wealthy, increased CGT rates, reduced currently in operation tax relief for investment properties and an as yet undivulged cost assumed by some to be of multibillion dollars, of carbon tax. Shorten has consistently refused to even estimate such impost and his sycophantic MSM have allowed this major departure from past practice on costing such bribery to be hidden from voters, while Shorten has relied on his "what is the cost of doing nothing" response.

Then there are the still palpable factors that played overly in the demise of the Rudd / Gillard cluster exploited so thoroughly by Tony Abbott. The explosion of refugees euphemistically labeled "boat people" when they were in truth queue jumpers being preyed upon by scurrilous people traders while Labor fiddled. That ploy alone should have all voters in a state of hight dudgeon.

The Australian voters will be able to relax and watch whatever they deliver unfold, but if it is Shorten it will be very expensive for all, including many deluded Labor voters.

Then the next question if Shorten wins, is how long can a much disliked ex-union thug with personality traits more inclined to a Tom Cat than a nice pussy, survive, as knifing Prime Ministers has become a blood sport in the land of people descended from criminals.

Aussie Nostalgia

In my first piece at No Minister I indicated that one of the areas I would not be writing about would be Australian politics, for the very simple reason that I did not follow it, and basically never have.

At any given time I may be aware of the name of the Australian PM and which party is in government.

But that's about it. Other Ministers, MP's, policies, the daily dregs of the Australian Parliament - though admittedly they're often brilliantly funny, no more so than when Keating was there, tearing the Liberals another asshole on a regular basis.

Aside from that? I know I should be interested, but.... Meh.

However, in honour of the fact that there's a lot of old (oldish :) ) farts here at No Minister, and that an Australian election is happening across the ditch, allow me to drop you all into some nostalgia.

The following is a 15 minute clip of a press conference on March 2, 1983, just before that Federal election, where Bob Hawke gets questioned by the Aussie press.

Brilliant!. It's all there: intelligence both in terms of knowing his stuff and being quick on his feet, and wit, and the humanity that was always so genuine about him and that was not faked. And Aussies knew it.

I don't know much about current Labour leader, Bill Shorten, but gathering from all the Facebook shit I see from Australians about how much they wish Jacinda Adern was in the mix, I gather they're not impressed by their leadership choices.

I suspect they'd be even less impressed when they look at this performance from 36 years ago. Grab a glass of red, sit back, and watch a master class in retail politics. Had I been living in Australia at the time I'd have voted for this guy every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

How the right almost hijacked democracy.....

There seems to be some confusion on this blog about the supremacy of parliament and the courts and the rule of law although some add to the confusion by deliberately misreading events.

Parliament make the laws, the judges enact the law…simple. Well not quite, the judges must also remind parliament of the laws they passed and hold them to account.
An example………..

After the Brexit referendum with a willing Tory Government it all looked so simple and no one, not even the really clever clogs, understood or could imagine the the difficulties of splitting after a forty year romance. For a year the Government pratted around telling he word that this was easy peasy and the UK was just going to walk out holding all he cards.

Then along came Gina or Ms Millar as I will refer to her. Ms Millar is a British Guyanain lawyer  cunningly disguised as a really attractive woman. No, she said, it was an act of parliament that took the UK into the EU and you need an act of Parliament to leave otherwise you are breaking your own law.

Then the brown stuff hit the whirling blades. Rubbish cried the Government, we can enact this without reference to parliament.  The hate mail and death threats started with most of them more concerned with Ms Millars colour as is standard with the hard rights storm troopers, apparently it is unpatriotic to be anything but white. It was taken so seriously that she was under 24hr police protection and moved accommodation several times. So a very shaken and very brave Ms Millar took the Tory Government to court.

In the court case which cost the British taxpayer a shed load of money the Judges agreed with Ms Millar and took the Government to task for trying to steamroller this through without an act of parliament.  Governments can be taken to court but parliament can not. What is apparent is that democracy and the rule of law can be suspended if it suits the ruling party in this case the Tories. They bullied, threatened and lied and continued to spend the tax payers money on a lost cause that their own legal advisors advised not to pursue.           And that is why we are in the present situation.


I suspect the only thing preventing a Labor victory tonight is Labor itself.    If Abbott and Turnbull were disagreeable characters then I'm not sure how you can characterize Shorten.

I will be watching the result in Abbott's seat with of Warringah with some interest.  After-all, it's not too often you see the son of an (admittedly deposed) Liberal Prime Minister making robo calls to an electorate calling on voters to dump the Liberal candidate.    Perhaps, just perhaps, Abbott's time is up.   Even were he to be returned one suspects he will remain on the outer of the parliamentary Liberal Party throwing arrows.

One thing for sure.   The voting public are sick and tired of revolving door Prime Ministers.   The last twelve years haven't been good ones for Australian democracy. 

Facebook: Why Adern & Macron may get their wish

Jenna Ellis Rives is a constitutional lawyer and author, but she was part of the Trump campaign, which is likely why this sharing of Matt Walsh's mockery resulted in the breaching of Facebook's "hate speech standards".

Similarly on Wednesday, Twitter suspended the account of Greg Scott, director of media at the incredibly evil Heritage Foundation. Scott tweeted out the same article I referred to here on No Minister a couple of weeks ago, about a guy who identifies as a woman and was booted from competing in women's weightlifting.

Wonder how long Julia Beck and Miriam Ben-Shalom, as just two feminist examples, will last on FB and Twitter?

My bet is that after 24-48 hours or so Facebook will lift the block and "apologise", but that's geological ages in social media world: nice way to bury opposing arguments in the heat of debate.

Maybe blogs will make a come back?

Either way these companies should not look to the GOP or any right-wingers with our usual support for free enterprise, when the Democrats and EU come hunting for scalps at Google, Facebook and the others. Let them burn in their own fire.

Friday, May 17, 2019


Not too long ago I opined that cheques would be consigned to the dustbin of history within five years.    And now the news that Kiwibank will stop accepting cheques from 28 February next year.    I expect all the other banks will follow suit toot sweet.

I suspect most businesses will rejoice at the demise of  'the cheques in the mail'.


Current polling suggests that an election next week would see Labour and the Greens  Melons able to govern as a far left government with  Winston First returned to the Wilderness and the centre right left right out.

This morning the shallow MSM are rabbiting on about ex 'tradie', turned christian pastor . subsequently a  National Party Cabinet member, forming a lifeline option  as a potential ally under a christian banner if gifted Botany in a deal with National holding off,  as being a last chance for National to move  back across the house. That is rubbish and blatantly untrue.
It  is entirely possible though as Ngaro is widely accepted as a good man and Botany has a high number of Christian PIs plus conservative Ex Saffas could assist National by creating a Christian Party sitting in the Parliament who might support them but it is not the only answer.

Imho National is not as desperate as some would proclaim for support to form a Coalition of the right/ centre right. I have no available evidence but knowing some Winston  First supporters it is not a given that his bunch of ever being renewed MPs would  never go with National, of course they could never publicly state such disloyalty to the ultimate Personality Political Party Head Honcho as to do so would consign them immediately to the rubbish tip.  Winston First  party has a long list of "shooting Stars" in a growing discard pile.

Just as the Melons seem able to hoover up a tranche of conservatives in their  ability to fool some of the people all of the time in an errant belief they are saving the Planet, Winston First has enjoyed similar misrepresentation in luring National voters temporarily disenchanted with how that party seems to find its founding principles rather flexible in the Marxist  traditions, make that Groucho not Karl.
Yes Tracy Martin and Shane 'big spender  could be considered left leaning but there are other current and previous NZF candidates drawn from a list of failed and subsequently  disgruntled Nat electorate foot soldiers, Mark Patterson losing to Todd Barclay in Clutha Southland sent his ego on a search for better grazing and Edwin Perry a one time Wairarapa National supporter,  come to mind.

Excise the anti National cloak  being worn ever since he walked, two and a half decades ago,  apart from the brief skirmish  that lasted until the Maori seat  warmers returned the favour in spades. Peter Charlatan reveals every three years it has nothing to do with policy, loyalty or even what his followers have come to believe, it is all and only what is best for the old man himself.

Any rational analysis reveals that many supporters of The Melons and Winston First,  given a chance would repudiate much of what has transpired in this latest foray into garnishing  the Lily for Peters, as that is what the last eighteen months  have revealed to any mind retaining an ability to consider  the evidence.


One of our Australian readers has sent me a file detailing an allegation of rape against Bill Shorten, Prime Minister in waiting.     It contains a statement by Peter Harris QC, former head of the National Crime Authority, who is acting for Kathy Sherriff, the complainant.

Sherriff alleges that Shorten raped her in 1986 when she was 16.   She had joined the ALP and that year she went to a Young Labor camp at Geelong where, at 4.00 am, Shorten came into her room and raped her.    At a later point the matter was reported to the Victorian Police.   In August 2014 and after an extensive investigation the Police declined to bring charges because the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions had advised there was no reasonable change of conviction.   That the Police had been unable to locate the witnesses that Sherriff claimed would support her allegation and that it boiled down to her word against his.   The Police advised that should new evidence be presented they would be prepared to reopen the case.      Since then she has been working night and day to obtain that evidence.

Sherriff claims that her whole life has been impacted by the events of that weekend and that until the matter has been dealt with by the courts she cannot move past it. 

From Peter Harris .... "In my view the Police should reopen the investigation into this matter and the Office of Public Prosecutions should prosecute Shorten.   This is a serious complaint of rape and Kathy is entitled to her day in court as is Shorten.   The case is similar in circumstances to the Pell case where the victim was the only eye-witness.   As you know a conviction was obtained on that evidence.     Kathy is entitled to be heard in a criminal trail and to have a jury decide guilt or innocence."

I think we are entitled to question the timing of of this story.    That said, the allegations are serious and Peter Harris makes a valid point.   Below is a photograph taken around the time of Shorten's alleged offending.   He is the young man with the raised fist in the centre of the photograph.

Rugby World Cup - Helping Shag with his squad.

This will be the first of six or seven posts as I work through the team positions.

Readers should be aware that what follows in this and other posts are solely my thoughts and observations and I have no inside information whatsoever. It is also pertinent that I do not watch any Super Rugby before the 1 April as until then it is the season for summer sports in New Zealand.

Lets look at the back 3 for starters and from what I understand they will take five players to cover fullback and wing. Injuries to Damien Mackenzie and Ben Smith complicate things a little but I think we can still pretty much ink in the 5 who will go unless Smiths injury turns out to be more serious than they are presently saying.

Ben Smith and Jordie Barrett and in the lead up tests.

I would not be surprised to see Beauden Barrett start a test there, especially if Richie Mo'unga continues his outstanding form at first five. If Smith doesn't recover from his injury David Havili should be next in line.

Reiko Ioane, Waisake Naholo and George Bridge.

There are of course a number of others putting their hands up and being touted in the press. Among them are Sevu Reece and Brayton Ennor from the Crusaders, Ben Lamb from the Hurricanes and as a long shot Sean Wainui from the Chiefs - he has a high work rate, is reliable under the high ball and has been in the NZ Maori set up for the last few years. Bear in mind that both Ben Smith and Jordie Barrett can cover wing as well and George Bridge is a very capable fullback.

Friday's Fulminations

There is mild moderation.  Normal rules of blogger etiquette and courtesy to blog hosts will apply.with serious transgressors being thrown out.

Unfortunately our system does not allow your comments to show up in the blog post itself.  Just in the comments section.

Visitors might consider the wisdom of using moderate language.



Thursday, May 16, 2019

An Electoral Shambles

Some of our readers will be aware a federal election takes place in Australia on Saturday.

They might not be aware this time around, the period during which early voting is allowed has been extended to three weeks.  As a result of this relaxation it appears there will be around five million early votes.   Early voting is supposed to be allowed only where there is a genuine reason to do so.   'I don't like waiting in line on election day' is not deemed to be a genuine reason and the Commission acknowledges this requirement is not policed.

Potentially this has the capacity to turn election night commentary into a bit of a shambles because a large proportion of these early votes are not counted until the Monday after the election.

From what I can see, the Electoral Commission tries to count all early votes cast in a voter's electorate on the night but it is expected the volume of these is such that there may be insufficient staff to complete the task on Saturday.  Absentee votes and postal votes have always been counted on the Monday.

Apparently parliament is to review the current early voting arrangements.  My guess is the period will be pulled back to one week.


Jacinda Ardern's 'Have your first year of tertiary education free on me' bribe designed to encourage more students into tertiary education isn't working ... sez the Minister of Finance in announcing he has cut $200 million from funds allocated to this initiative as part of his goal to save one billion dollars targeting low quality government spending.

The Minister has made the right call ... it's low quality spending in spades.   Has to be when one student in three fails to complete their degree and when university rolls have remained static.

I am aware of a remit to be debated at the National's Northern Region Conference which would see the programme scrapped.   Instead the student would be refunded the tuition cost component of fees paid up to a maximum of $12,000 on the successful completion of his/hers first degree with the payment initially directed against any outstanding student loan with the balance (if any) being paid direct to the student.     The notes accompanying the remit have it the the current policy subsidises failure ... that this would reward success.     I guess some will argue the purist view that any payment is wrong.   Real politik would suggest otherwise.   Should be an interesting debate.


While teachers are preparing for industrial scale  strikes, Kiwibuild continues to fail spectacularly, The Prince of Paupers goes about his future untouched by the 'Crats', Health services lurch ever nearer the abyss, Pike River mine continues to absorb every dollar within reach for no result, Child Poverty grows from the weeds of welfare,  fuel prices continue to extract money from the poorest,  Police continue to destroy every last vestige of respect and support, and the miracle new economic theory of wellness charges towards  its day of illumination, our Photo op Princess hot on the heels of exposure in the New York Times now enjoys "Paris in the Springtime".

The claim that Tarrant's rampage was dependent on his ability to "live stream" continues to dominate what passes for news coverage here deep in the South Pacific, but in reality only becomes more embarrassing by the hour.
Virtue signalling industrial strength?

History is littered with atrocities large and small and March 15th in Christchurch will rank high here when 99% of the world has no idea we exist but  internationally it will be submerged as never happening.

To suggest that Tarrant would not have committed his mayhem without a live streaming option is indeed clutching at straws.
His "Manifesto"  now silenced could still have been published and a video of his hideous actions could still have been created and found its way to wide exposure.
Ms Ardern is creating a legend in her own mind  and even if the current dominant employers of the Internet are censored whether by govts or self regulation, there are multiple untapped options abounding.

Meanwhile with the children in charge of "Play Group" nothing is happening in NZ so maybe the Princess of promotion will serve her country better if she extends her stay in Paris in the Spring..

The happy people.

Once upon a time in a land far away Mr and Mrs Whirlpool owned a washing machine factory. It was a good business with a captive audience of patriotic souls so Mr and Mrs Whirlpool did not invest much into R+D. But over time in became apparent that the devious Asiatic hordes were making much better washing machines and sales were falling.

But help was at hand, the boss of this far flung land called Trumpo listened to their calls for help and immediately slapped big tariffs on the LG and Samsung machines coming from Korea. Undeterred the devious Asiatics moved their manufacturing offshore but the mighty Trumpo was wise to that move and nailed them again.

Once again Mr and Mrs Whirlpool were extremely happy ....until the mighty Trumpo in fit of patriotism placed tariffs on steel imports. But, cried Mr and Mrs Whirlpool, that's what we make our machines out of and we being priced out. Tough cried Trumpo, we must all share the burden which translated means there are more votes in steel than washing machines.

And then in a fit of misguided deal making Trumpo decided for the good of the country and his not that intelligent voter base he would place big big tariffs on all Chinese goods......but, but, stuttered Mr and Mrs Whirlpool all our water inlet valves, pump motors and printed circuit boards are made in China, you are pricing us off the shelves.

But wait, who is that knocking on the door of Mr and Mrs Whirlpool. It is nice young man called Lawrence who looks nothing like a devious Asiatic horde. I make exactly the same valve, pump and PCB in Singapore he says enthusiastically. They cost 5 % more but can supply tomorrow.

So, unlike the US consumer, Mr and Mrs Whirlpool are now happy along with several Singaporean forklift drivers who are clocking an inordinate amount of overtime...but happiest of all are Mr and Mrs Ang who own a little printing factory in Kowloon that received a very large order for Made in Singapore labels.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Democracy by its very nature is a fragile beast and survives largely because of good will and acceptance of what it throws up being for the greater good.

The will of the people is too often ignored by entrenched Politicians who come to believe "they know best".  The current Prime Minister is living proof of this fact and accompanied by enablers aplenty inside the government while those who have been long judged supporters of the rudiments of democracy now wavering.

Traditionally the Police, The Judiciary, the security services, the educators and the Media have stood at arms length from the governance role of the Parliament in carrying out what is deemed to be the management of the voters whether they be supporters or opponents of those temporally in charge,

We mostly accept the supremacy of the Parliament as the highest court but following decades of dilution of that separation of power, Democracy in this small island nation in the southern Pacific is now decidedly unwell.

A Speaker of the Parliament who sees his role as an active adjunct of those controlling the Treasury benches, allied to his visceral dislike of the main opposition party is increasingly becoming revealed as failing to a growing number of the watchers.

A Police Commissioner who with an unprecedented public statement that the partner of the new PM was not the subject of any police investigation seemed a surprise to many but with the revelations and obfuscation around the Soubrek residency scandal that only became explicable when the "Lawn mowing" associations became common knowledge.

Mr Bush also has some deep seated mysteries to be explained around his actions since March 15th, including the arming of all police regardless of weapons competency status, the maintenance of armed security guarding Mosques well after the horse had not only bolted but had been captured and restrained in total isolation, but far more sinister in my mind, the reported over the top raids on supposedly law compliant citizens by armed police numbering in double digits.

I raised this with a currently serving command police person recently and his response included a  predictable justification that "There would have been more to those incidents than was published". Fair enough, there are already far too many dead because things went bad very fast, but fourteen armed officers raiding a farm manager's home because he had recently purchased an AR 15 from Gun City is just too easy to be misrepresented. Add in another raid on the rural property of the contractor who had dug the mass grave for the then 50 victims of Tarrant's mayhem for no charge and a scene of possible over reaction can soon gather momentum. If there is more information  that might be of assistance in justification then tell the freekin people, those same good people  the police depend on for support.

The Judiciary, since the election that saw well established crim cuddler Little appointed Justice Minister with his oft stated desire to reduce prison populations as opposed to building more prisons, I am not alone in gaining the impression that the judges in sentencing seem to be too often avoiding using the loss of liberty as a sanction, trends  further exemplified in an apparent refusal to employ the "three strike laws" when common sense might indicate otherwise.

The Media, already covered in many opinion pieces to have totally abdicated any role once held to be an essential link in informing the people of facts they might discover research and questioning as opposed to merely relying on "press releases" with  out question or seeking explanation, allowing late Friday afternoon revelations to be successful in damping both interest and reactions to embarrassing news.

Democracy not only needs to be defended, there are many times when because good people do nothing,  its fruit can wither before maturity and that only provides a sour taste. Is it possible politicians of all hues find that a comfort as they sup at the trough.


Indeed, for anyone supporting the decriminalisation/normalisation of cannabis.    Put to one side, for the moment, the argument that smoking the weed is injurious to ones health and rather focus on the argument advanced by proponents that decriminalisation would cut the feet from under the criminal element that make millions from supplying the drug. 

If you take that argument to its logical conclusion then it follows that the use of 'hard' drugs should be decriminalised also.    The Mongrel mob would be out of business.

In simple terms those supporting decriminalisation/normalisation have lost the intellectual argument.

Smoking the weed can be injurious to ones health.   Doing hard drugs is injurious to ones health.   The difference is dancing on the head of a pin stuff.

Looks like we're stuck with the referendum but I hold to the view that there are enough good people of all political persuasions out there (the Greens excepted) to consign the referendum to the dustbin of history.

For Andrei ... given your comments I was fascinated to note the response from the Russian Embassy in Ottawa to the decision of of the Canadian government to decriminalise cannabis usage there.    They described the decision as 'Hypocritical and Unacceptable' and went on to say ... "Canada’s drug liberation efforts go against several major international treaties, including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances." 

Those comments were echoed by Viroj Sumyai, President of the UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) who said in a statement "While the Board is concerned about the impact of cannabis legalization in Canada on the international consensus embodied in the three United Nations drug control conventions and the related commitments made by the international community at the special session of the General Assembly in 2016, it is also deeply concerned about the public health impact of these policy choices on the health and welfare of Canadians, particularly youth."

Flake will of course dismiss all this as the utterances of an 'old white guy' ... problem with that is they arn't.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Generating Degeneracy: The Clerisy (UPDATED)

In the previous article on this subject I looked at some examples of ordinary Americans in everyday life who suddenly found themselves involved in polticial fights with people who were "triggered" by the mere presence of an opposing opinion - like a hat with a political slogan written on it.

I made the point that this was leading nowhere good in US society, and it turns out that this sort of intolerance is not just happening at the street level, as this recent article discussed in Harvard’s Glass Menagerie. The author relates some recent conversations he's had with four people in the academic world in Boston. First, a Millennial foreign student at Harvard:
... he said it has been a real shock to him — and to the other foreign students in his circle — to observe how “coercive” (his word) the intellectual atmosphere at Harvard is, at least in the areas he’s been studying. He explained that it is quite simply impossible to discuss certain things, and ask certain questions, because of the ideological rigidity of the American students and their teachers. My friend made clear that this is the consensus view of the foreigners he knows there, whether they are on the left or the right. 
My lunch companion said that the elites formed by this most elite American university are people who have set up a world in which they never have to encounter an idea, or a person, that they don’t already endorse or embrace.
They're joined at lunch by the second person:
"a left-wing Baby Boomer who works in a very liberal Boston institution ... he finds the ideological rigidity of Millennials and the generation behind them to be insufferable. Such joyless, humorless, incurious people, he said. The foreigner, though a Millennial himself, agreed.
Something two of my kids, Millennials, have also commented on, though they've pointed out that they think their generation is increasingly extreme on both Left and Right. From the Millennial Harvard student:
On our way to the restaurant, I had mentioned to my foreign friend something I’ve heard from several of you readers of this blog who are conservative academics: that as long as old-school liberals remain in charge of faculties and academic institutions, there will be a place for right-of-center scholars. But when the Jacobin-like younger generation moves into leadership, that will be the end.
But it won't be just the Right that gets excommunicated:
He told me one story about a left-liberal scholar he knows who has been turned into a non-person for questioning out loud some of aspects of au courant progressive dogma. I’m not easy to shock about things like this, but this particular story — my foreign friend named names — was for me a sign of how advanced the ideological militancy has become.
Third, a liberal journalist:
My journalist pal said that he’s seeing on the left a moralistic refusal even to consider ideas, people, and data that contradict these leftists’ moral code. Understand: it’s not that this new breed of progressives disagrees (though they do); it’s that they believe, and believe strongly, that even to confront information that contradicts what they prefer to believe is intolerable.
Said my friend: “No wonder these people are always shocked by the latest developments in politics. They refuse to see the world as it is.”
Fourth, a professor from a different Boston institution:
... at his university, white professors are genuinely afraid to give students of color bad grades. They are terrified of being accused of racism, and being forced to defend themselves in a university hearing. It’s a big problem of academic integrity, he said, but the diversity deans, and the “diversity and inclusion” mentality, are all-powerful. It’s not just at his college, the professor said; it’s spreading like wildfire throughout academia.
The article author then comments:
It’s not that Harvard is full of bad people; I personally know some good people at Harvard. And it’s not that this mindset is limited to Harvard, or even to just the Ivy League. From what I can tell, it is general across America’s leading educational institutions. I am not picking on Harvard alone. Still, it is quite extraordinary to hear this kind of testimony about the most elite institution of its kind in the world. It means something
And its causing him to think about his own kids' future with places like Harvard, and this is before the recent admissions scandal where parents were found bribing people to get their less-than-smart kids into Ivy League universities, not to mention the ongoing civil suit taken against Harvard and others by Asian-American parents who've found their kids not getting accepted despite having superb academic skills, because of "diversity".
I gotta say, though, what a strange feeling it was to walk around the beautiful Harvard campus this past weekend, after that lunch conversation. When I was in high school, a group from my school took a spring break college tour of the Northeast, and stopped at Harvard. I remember being there, and thinking about how I would love to be a Harvard student. I didn’t bother to apply, not because of class issues, but because my father adamantly refused to allow me to take out student loans to pay for an undergraduate degree. (Though I hated him at the time over this, I eventually understood Dad’s wisdom, and will be forever grateful for it.)  
Today, though, in 2019, I wandered the campus thinking that I do not, in any way, want my children to attend this college, or any college like it, no matter what advantages it might give them in climbing into the meritocracy. I do not want them to absorb the rules of this particular game, the prejudices of the American elites, and the fragility of their class, which will not survive contact with the real world.
But then he turns to describe what is basically all-out class warfare:
In the main, these are not our people. These do not have the best interests of our people at heart. Though honestly compels me to say that I have as much, if not more, in common with the average Ivy League person than I do with I do with the average working-class Trump voter back home in the country, when it comes down to it, I know with which flawed tribe I will take my stand. I do not want my children being part of an institution that forms the kind of people my foreign friend talked about this weekend. In fact, I would be proud of my children if they dedicated themselves in some way to dismantling places like this and the cultural hegemony they maintain.
A right-winger who sounds more like some traditional Left-wing revolutionary? The world turned upside down.
If you had told 17-year-old me, ambling across Harvard Yard in the spring of 1984, that I would ever come to that point of view, and come to it from the cultural Right, I wouldn’t have believed it. Back then, I was much more liberal, but more importantly, I believed in American institutions, and wanted to be part of them, to let them build my mind and my character. But that was a different time, and a different country.
Well as the saying goes, the past is a different country.

As usual our Leftie contributors have provided a wealth of nuanced, thoughtful commentary on this subject, most of which seems to be focused on the dull-edged insult of Old White Guys, together with the implication that they, as Lefties, won't get consumed in the flames of this anti-intellectual assault on Western universities. It's also a dated insult, as this latest insanity from Harvard hits the news:
Harvard University's administration has unilaterally surrendered to a mob of student-activists demanding the termination of law professor Ronald Sullivan as faculty dean of Winthrop House, an undergraduate residence, over his "trauma-inducing" decision to join Harvey Weinstein's legal defense team.
Now I always thought Harvey Weinstein was a piece of shit but Lefties loved him for his support of all the Leftie causes - Planned Parenthood, Womens Rights, etc - and Leftie US politicians, and his public loathing of the GOP, NRA, and so forth. So having him outed as a sadistic, bullying rapist and destroyed by his own team, was schadenfreudelicious. Still, he deserves to be defended in a court by a lawyer, and Sullivan is a very good defense lawyer:
He advised Sen. Barack Obama on criminal justice issues in 2008, represented the family of Michael Brown in their suit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, and is responsible for the release of more than 6,000 wrongfully incarcerated people. His clients have included accused murderers and terrorists.
But that didn't save him from the latest incarnation of the Leftie mob:
Danu Mudannayake, one the students leading the campaign to remove Sullivan, described the professor's representation of Weinstein as "not only upsetting, but deeply trauma-inducing" and evidence that he "does not value the safety of students he lives within Winthrop House." According to Mudannayake and her fellow radicals, Sullivan has made Harvard an unsafe and hostile educational environment.
And they won. He's been turfed as the faculty dean of a Harvard House but keeps his job as a Harvard Law Professor - for now. If this crowd of Leftie fanatics cannot even comprehend such basic foundations of Western law as the presumption of innocence and defense lawyers, and if this "thinking" is supported by the likes of our commentators, "Snowflake" and "David", then we as a society are in deep shit. And this is just one of many examples of what Rod Dreher was writing about in the linked article on Harvard.

BTW - Here's a photo of Ronald Sullivan and his wife Stephanie Robinson, who was co-Faculty Dean of the house and has also lost that job.

Perhaps it's just my eyes but I can't see any Old White Guys in that photo.