Saturday, 29 December 2007

Eight for '08

Uncle Trev tagged me to post my eight wishes for 2008. I've confined myself to politics.

  1. For the disquiet about Nanny State and the EFB that is now all but bubbling under to reach a tipping point, erupting into nationwide outrage against the onslaught of Nanny's soft fascism -- and widespread and insistent demands to beat the bitch back.
  2. For New Zealand's Labour-Lite party to find a pair and come out with genuine policies promoting capitalist acts between consenting adults -- or that are even just a tiny bit more radical than those now advanced by Australia's new Labour Prime Minister.
  3. For ACT (the "liberal" party) to promote policies actually based upon its founding principles; for the Maori and Green Parties to discover property rights; for Jim Neanderton, Winstone Peters and Peter Dung to be rejected by Wigram, Tauranga and Ohariu voters respectively, so that we never hear their ego-driven whining again.
  4. For would-be Libz supporters to realise that it's about ideas, stupid; and for several Libz candidates to put together significant war chests for well-focussed, widely publicised constituency campaigns, by which New Zealanders discover the twin values of liberty and reason, and principled policies promoting same head to parliament.
  5. For Alan Bollard to realise that inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon -- and that it's his hand on the handle of the printing presses.
  6. For Ron Paul supporters to realise that Gen Petraeus is winning in Iraq and that George Bush did not fly those planes into the World Trade Center; to rediscover Thomas Jefferson's policy on the Barbary Coast pirates and to take to heart the words of President Madison once the Barbary war was finally won (America's first victory over Islamic terrorists), to whit: “It is a settled policy of America, that as peace is better than war, war is better than tribute. The United States, while they wish for war with no nation, will buy peace with none.”
  7. For warmists and the pro-warmist media to finally realise that the planet stopped warming in 1998, that climate models are as accurate as crystal balls, and that Al Bore and the IPCC emperors really don't have any clothes.
  8. For American Objectivists to realise that the anti-human environmentalists and death-worshipping Islamic totalitarians in our faces are a more direct and imminent danger than are the right wing religionists they insist are under the bed.
And finally, a hope almost beyond hope for the demise of lies, spin and spin doctors, and the rise and rise of open and honest straight talking instead.

. . . I'm tagging, um, Callum, Scott, Woolfie, Graham, PhilAndLuke and MikeE and to post their own hopes for 2008 -- if they aren't out there somewhere well beyond civilisation and internet coverage as they should be at this time of year.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Elections 2008

Oswald managed to snare a copy of next year's election ballot paper, as authorised by Helen Clark's chief of staff (and snaffled by ZenTiger).

Digital 'Free Radical' open for business

I'm very happy to announce that the injury-delayed digital edition of the new Free Radical is now available for download here at the Free Radical store.

(My very warm thanks to webmaestro William Green for climbing out of what fortunately wasn't his death bed to do the necessaries.)

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Best of NOT PC in 2007

Rather than nominate my own Best Post of 2007, I'm following the lead of the SubStandard and inviting you lot to nominate your favourite Not PC post of the past year. Just leave a note in the comments section below, if you'd be so kind. I'd love to know what you've enjoyed most, and why.

UPDATE: Just noticed the SubStandard boasting that since its August start, it's gone from tens to hundred and now "thousands" of readers ever day. Thousands? Really? With an Alexs rating of just 533,395 that puts it above Jordan Carter's pathetic rating of 989,176, but well below this blog's 345,207 -- which I'm happy to say attracts on average just over a thousand a day when it's properly in business. That's a single thousand, not several thousand. (Some comparative ratings are here.)

So the SubStandard is not just substandard, it's also prone to boastful lies -- just like the politicians on whose behalf the SubStandard so regularly lies.

Holiday radio

You might like to know that thinking radio hasn't died altogether for the summer. Lindsay Perigo is on Radio Live afternoons until some time next week.

You can check frequencies or listen online at the Radio Live website.

Benazir Bhutto, 1953-2007 (updated)

In some places political candidates are chosen in free and fair elections.  New Zealand used to be one of those places.

In other places such as Pakistan however, they seem to prefer assassination:

Two months after her triumphant return from exile, a lone gunman fired several shots at Bhutto as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi, hitting her in the neck and chest. Seconds later a fireball caused by a suicide bomb engulfed her bulletproof car and killed at least 20 supporters. The former prime minister was rushed to a nearby hospital where distraught supporters burst through doors, smashed windows and tried to storm into the operating theatre where surgeons struggled to save her life. She was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Initial suspicions for the attack fell on Islamist militants who had previously threatened to kill the 54-year-old scion of Pakistan's greatest political dynasty. [Source: Guardian]

Note the suspected perpetrators? 

The news of Bhutto's barbaric assassination and the slaughter of twenty others rather overshadows the news of even more Islamist barbarity from Afghanistan, where according to Amnesty International's 2007 Report on Afghanistan there was a rise in cases of so-called “honour” killings of women. [Source: Abdulhadhi Hairan, GROUND REPORT]

UPDATE 1: Poneke looks at how since partition India has worked out way, way better than Pakistan.  The reason?  One's a secular state.  The other isn't.  Guess which one is rife with poverty, violence and Islamist training camps, and (now that it's abandoned its pathetic earlier addiction to socialism) which one is the coming economic tiger. [Hat tip DPF]

UPDATE 2: Christopher Hitchens pens a magnificent eulogy to Benazir Bhutto here.  Her courage, he says, "could sometimes have been worthy of a finer cause, and many of the problems she claimed to solve were partly of her own making. Nonetheless, she perhaps did have a hint of destiny about her."  And her murderers?

Who knows who did this deed? It is grotesque, of course, that the murder should have occurred in Rawalpindi, the garrison town of the Pakistani military elite and the site of Flashman's Hotel. It is as if she had been slain on a visit to West Point or Quantico. But it's hard to construct any cui bono analysis on which Gen. Pervez Musharraf is the beneficiary of her death. The likeliest culprit is the al-Qaida/Taliban axis, perhaps with some assistance from its many covert and not-so-covert sympathizers in the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence. These were the people at whom she had been pointing the finger since the huge bomb that devastated her welcome-home motorcade on Oct. 18.

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Temperatures rising. Not.

Just dropped back in to pass on some news I thought you'd be interested to hear:

With only few days remaining in 2007, the indications are the global temperature for this year is the same as that for 2006 – there has been no warming over the 12 months.

But is this just a blip in the ever upward trend you may ask? No.

The fact is that the global temperature of 2007 is statistically the same as 2006 as well as every year since 2001. Global warming has, temporarily or permanently, ceased. [Source: New Statesman magazine]

I figured you needed to hear that.  Shame the politicians, warmists and other assorted jackasses still haven't learned that, as David Whitehouse says, "if temperatures across the world are not increasing as they should according to the fundamental theory behind global warming [then] something else is happening and it is vital that we find out what or else we may spend hundreds of billions of [dollars] needlessly." 

Delete the word "may" in that last sentence. 

Why not join with Frank Furedi and JimHopkins in making a 'New Year's revolution' to make 2008 the year to challenge the Politics of Apocalypse.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Help lift a likely lad's literacy

Before I head off properly, let me tell you a story. A story of a man, a very good man - a man who's doing some very good work. You might even call it a story for Christmas.

You might have heard of a chap called Graham Crawshaw who helps young boys to read: He holds what he calls Reading Adventure Camps for unreading and troubled young boys; he offers them all the adventures young boys should have, and he teaches them to read -- and these are the boys everyone else has given up on.

His two criteria for choosing boys or his camps are 1) that they can't read, and 2)that they're considered unmanageable. From this unpromising material he changes young lives.

MENYKIDSFINEDWREEDINGHAADATHANYAWFINEDINGITNOW.

They don't need to. Poor reading is mostly a result of poor reading teaching -- teaching using the failed 'Whole Language' method, for example. Using phonics however, Graham teaches those who've been failing at reading that it's really not hard once you "break the code -- that reading is fun, and far less difficult than they thought. Since 1995, Graham has held 69 six-day Reading Adventure Camps up at his Phonics Farm near Dargaville, teaching over 1400 children the joy and skills of reading.

Early in the New Year, on January 9th, he holds his first camp in a new location, at Windy Ridge Boys' Farm just south of Warkworth. We're heading up there in a few days to help him get it ready, and you can help as well if you'd like to.

If you feel the Christmas spirit and you want to help this good man out then you can sponsor a boy to this camp, or you can donate materials or money, or you can volunteer your services as a cook, as a reading tutor or as a cabin leader. Any help at all would be appreciated.

Said one parent after one of Graham's reading camps,
My son wasn't that keen on going to a reading camp. But the difference towards reading was amazing. He read his first novel in one week and couldn't put it down... It has been evident to me this camp is essential for all children with reading difficulties...
You can read more about Graham and his reading camps at page 11 of the digital edition of Free Radical 73 [pdf], and an interview with him in Free Radical 74, page 12 [pdf]. And of course, feel free to enjoy the rest of each magazine.

And if you're inspired enough to help in any way, you can download details and a form here [jpeg].

Enjoy your Christmas!!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Beer O’Clock – The Best of Beer, 2007

It's definitely that time of year. Last week, Stu from SOBA presented his 2007 beer picks. This week, Neil Miller from RealBeer hands out some accolades of his own in the way of NZ's best beers, and the best bars in which to drink them.

Beers of the Year

10. Hallertau Stuntman – ludicrously strong, a glass of delicious stupidity

9.  Moa Original – still a startlingly different very rare beer

8.  Three Boys IPA – balance, flavor and now consistency

7.  Galbraith’s Burton Pale Ale – I only ever had one pint of this and it ruled

6.  Limburg Czechmate Pilsner – not big, just brilliant

5.  Cock and Bull Monk’s Habit – decadent, complex, good for the soul

4.  Dux de Lox Nor’easter – why is Ginger Tom in a bottle ahead of this nectar?

3.  Epic Mayhem – strong, punchy, aromatic, this is hophead heaven

2.  Emerson’s Organic Pilsner – the best this fine beer has ever tasted

1.  Epic Pale Ale – full of flavour with vast reservoirs of drinkability, my beer of the year.

This list clearly reflects my preference for hoppy beers and, in many cases, strong beers too. The bottom line is that it comes down to personal taste. I know Stu’s list would look very different. I shudder to think what would be on PC’s list…

Best Bars

Auckland: Galbraith’s – When the usually wine-focused Metro magazine says a brewpub is Auckland’s bar of the year (by which they mean New Zealand’s bar of the year), it is pretty clear Galbraith’s has universal appeal. Outstanding beer and food in a funky venue.

Wellington: Malthouse With its beer list passing the 140 mark, this is the Capital’s mecca for beer lovers. The selection and service are outstanding. Beware of implausibly handsome Scotsmen.

Christchurch: Twisted Hop Expanding to meet demand, this fine English-style brewpub is rightly popular with ex-pats and locals. Real ale and black pudding are hard to beat. Personally, I’m loving the informal competition between the Hop and Galbraith’s to see which can provide the best pork pie in New Zealand. I’m already a volunteer judge.

Dunedin: Inch Bar – A bar which simply should not work but is absolutely brilliant. You can spend hours marvelling at how much beer can be served from the country’s smallest bar. Watch out for the appearance of the sacred handpump, and Richard Emerson on his bicycle.

This is sadly the last Beer O’Clock for 2007 from me. Even though the most read and most searched Beer O’Clock column was about the Heineken mini-keg, I’d still like to wish all readers a decadent yet safe festive season, and recommend against the product within.

Cheers, Neil

                

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Christmas message from Frank Lloyd Wright

This is probably one of the last remaining posts here at Not PC for the year, so it's probably a good time to wish all of you a great Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year -- that is, every single one of you who doesn't wish increased state bullying upon me and mine and on the rest of the populace of New Zealand who remains here.  Just a small number of you, then.

So as the offices here at Not PC Towers begin to shut down for the holidays, I really do want to re-post architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s poetic message on “man the enlightened being” which he used to send out at Christmas time. “The herd disappears and reappears," says Wright's message, "but the sovereignty of the individual persists.”

Literature tells about man. Architecture presents him. The Architecture that our man of Democracy needs and prophecies is bound to be different from that of the common or conditioned man of any other socialized system of belief. As never before, this new Free-Man’s Architecture will present him by being true to his own nature in all such expressions. This aim becomes natural to him in his Art as it once was in his Religion.
With renewed vision, the modern man will use the new tools Science lavishes upon him (even before he is ready for them) to enlarge his field of action by reducing his fetters to exterior controls, especially those of organized Authority, publicity, or political expediency. He will use his new tools to develop his own Art and Religion as the means to keep him free, as himself. Therefore this democratic man’s environment, like his mind, will never be style-ized. When and wherever he builds he will not consent to be boxed. He will himself have his style...
Read on here: Man, the Enlightened Being by Frank Lloyd Wright, and have a great individualistic holiday season.  And remember this useful advice about responsible holiday drinking: Try to schedule responsibly so you get it all done before lunch.

Is Christmas too commercial?

Is Christmas too commercial? Says philosopher Leonard Peikoff, that complaint misses the very point of Christmas, the most benevolent and commercial holiday in the catalogue.

At Christmas we don't say "sacrifice and repent," we say enjoy yourself and thrive! Getting together with workmates, friends and loved ones, celebrating the year with gusto; giving gifts pleasure to people you value, whose friendship you want to enjoy. Boats full of happy people cruise the harbour; laughing diners fill restaurants; shops overflow with people buying gifts to make people happy who make them happy. What's not to like about Christmas being commercial?

Christmas [says Peikoff] is an exuberant display of human ingenuity, capitalist productivity, and the enjoyment of life. Yet all of these are castigated as "materialistic"; the real meaning of the holiday, we are told, is assorted Nativity tales and altruist injunctions (e.g., love thy neighbor) that no one takes seriously...
The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: ‘Merry Christmas’—not ‘Weep and Repent.’ And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form—by giving presents to one’s friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance....
All the best customs of Christmas, from carols to trees to spectacular decorations, have their root in pagan ideas and practices. These customs were greatly amplified by [Western] culture, as the product of reason, science, business, worldliness, and egoism, i.e., the pursuit of happiness...
Life requires reason, selfishness, capitalism; that is what Christmas should celebrate -- and really, underneath all the pretense, that is what it does celebrate. It is time to take the Christ out of Christmas, and turn the holiday into a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration.

And so say all of us.

UPDATE: Historians know the "reason for the season," and what they know is it's not because of the Nativity. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury apparently knows the truth, conceding yesterday that the Christmas story and the Three Wise Men - the whole Nativity thing -- is all just "a legend." Story here [hat tip James Valliant]. What a great Christmas present, the gift of truth.

Quake

I trust everyone is safe after last night's earthquake?  No horror stories from anyone?

I didn't feel a thing here in Auckland.  How 'bout you?

Women who prefer cardigans, perhaps?

MG003-Web

Britain’s chief scientist Professor Sir David King demonstrates that being a scientist and being a braindead joyless bastard are not mutually exclusive.  Says King:

Women must stop admiring men who drive sports cars if they want to join the fight against global warming, the Government’s chief scientist has urged.

Allow me to demonstrate what you aren't allow ed to find sexy.  Ladies, be sure not to dribble. MGA MGA MBGRV8Ferrari-Dino-246-GT

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                           258076~1963-Jaguar-E-Type-38-Roadster-Posters
Seems to me that any woman who really did prefer a cardie-wearing bloke who drives a Prius to someone driving one of these needs their head read, and should be shunned in polite company -- just like King should be.  Global warming: it's not just killing freedom, but killing fun as well.

Back in my day ...

Allow me to rant for just a moment. 

2007 has been a frustrating year in many ways.  Certainly a frustrating year for freedom lovers, and in almost every way a frustrating year for most people in the building industry.  New regulations, new impositions, longer lead periods and higher costs for every part of the building programme, 'voluntary' registration of the builders and designers who remain in the industry ...

The greater intrusion can be seen in a simple comparison of building consent documentation through the years, and the time and paper taken to produce it.

Building consent applications take three times longer to prepare than they did just ten years ago and four times as much paper to produce as they did twenty years ago, and (it often seems) it takes about five times longer and quite a few dollars more to process -- not to mention the time taken for resource consent applications, and in extra inspections once you start.

One hundred years ago most houses were built on the basis of one A3 sheet of plans  (sometimes) an A4 handwritten specification clipped to the sheet. These are the sturdy houses of yesteryear that ring our major cities in which the chattering classes of today now love to live.  Today, those same plans would get you thrown out of the council offices, (the size and growing population of which tell their own story about the growth of intrusive regulation), and to renovate the houses it now takes longer to produce the plans than it does to do the work.

The nonsense only started in recent decades.  Twenty years ago your typical house could be built with about five pages of plans and maybe twenty A4 pages of specifications.  Those buildings still hold up well today.

Ten years ago things were starting to get more complicated, with the paper  required to lodge a building consent for a simple house doubling from what it was ten years before -- and, naturally, fewer of those pages were now being read -- but little did we know the explosion in time-consuming bullshit that was about to come.

In the last five years, and in this last year particularly, producing and guiding an application between the Scylla and Charybdis of the building and resource consent process seems the work of Sisyphus, not of Ulysses.  It used to be fun.  It's not any more.

A client was telling me yesterday that he was going through the paperwork of a deal made about ten years ago: he bought a section conditionally on the basis of getting a resource consent for subdividing the place into three units. Seven weeks later he was breaking ground, with building and resource consents in tow.  These days, he'd have to buy unconditionally, and have to suffer the holding costs and uncertainties of a much, much, much longer wait.

More time, more unnecessary costs, bullshit and bureaucracy (and bureaucrats) increasing by the month.  And are our houses really better for it?

** Posts from the ARCHIVES on: Building

'Pinwheel' Tower - Organon Architecture

PinwheelTower1987-003PinwheelTower1987-002I drove past the big hole in the ground yesterday on the corner of Albert and Victoria that will one day soon will become Auckland's second tallest building, and I reflected wistfully about this student project of mine from 1987 for the city block next door at Queen and Victoria, where the awful Philips Fox building(s) is/are now.

The pictures of the concept model are rather worse for wear, but I still like the way it would have soared up out of that Queen St corner, and require just a little bit of time to get to know.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

It's 'back to business' time: National are not the answer

I like these comments by Lance Davey at SOLO on the aftermath of the Electoral Finance Bill's passing into law.  It's a timely reminder that despite the anger over this Bill and some very occasional appearances to the contrary, National are not the answer:

Shadbolt is temporarily off my shit-list, for now. As were National. I didn't once call them Labour-Lite or refer to them as Natscum throughout the anti-EFB campaign. But now that's over it's back to business.

The problem with the "we must vote National to dislodge Labour" is that we are then "settling" for National; a barely more palatable alternative. We then strike the problem that to prevent Labour coming back to power, we "must" vote National again. It's Tweedledum and Tweedledipshit, and it frustrates me that people see a need to support one over the other...

What sticks out in my mind [from the anti-EFB campaign], beyond the sickening arrogance of Labour, beyond the dangerous rhetoric of Winston "our censorship laws are perhaps too liberal" Peters, beyond the hideous stench of corruption of the whole damned process, is the smug, snide look on the face of John Key and Bill English when they first started speaking out against the bill in the media.

National are not our saviours—they cannot be trusted any more than Labour can. To them this wasn't an all-out assault against free expression. No, this was a golden opportunity. I'll never forget the overjoyed look on John Key's face while describing just how draconian the EFB was. Smiling and laughing the whole way...  Do not for one second think that they are any more conducive to liberty in New Zealand than Labour.

If Labour are the type to launch a "dramatic assault" on liberty, then National are the type to give her a quiet back alley raping, then tell us that she was asking for it. Voting National just to dislodge Labour would be votes wasted.

The EFB is not my main concern. It's the culture that led to it... The Libz have it right, it is the mainstream that has it wrong. New Zealand needs a massive cultural and philosophical revolution. To do that you have to set your teeth, draw a line in the sand and say "No further, these are our demands, these are our principles and we will fight for them unwaveringly and unflinchingly". What hope if every time the bogeyman spectre of Labour raises it's head we go running back to National?

I'm not yet so scared of Labour and their policies that I'll hide behind the skirts of National.

As you'd expect, it's kicked off some debate...

TFR78: The Democracy Rationing edition (updated)

TFR78Cover "Don’t Vote For Any MP, Any Party Or Any Candidate Who Supports The Electoral Finance Bill!"

Democracy is now rationed. Political speech is being muzzled. Has New Zealand really come to this? The latest Free Radical magazine hits the streets, just in time for Christmas, and just in time to dissect the greatest assault on New Zealand's democracy and free speech since .. well, for ever.

How did it come to this, that saying what's quoted above could have just become illegal? Bernard Darnton and Peter Cresswell explain why, how, and why it’s so wrong – why and how what our soldiers fought to defend is being taken away -- why thousands have taken to the streets to protest it, and where that leaves us now. And that's just the cover story of this bumper summer issue of 'The Free Radical.'

  • NANNY's BIG BABIES: The Rise and Rise of an Infantilised Culture
    We now have virtually cradle to cradle nannying -- we’re never allowed out of our cribs, and there's nothing any of New Zealand's childlike, apathetic would-be whiners care to do about it. Marcus Bachler and Peter Osborne take the culture of infantilisation to task. How did we become such crybabies, they ask?
  • FEEL-GOOD ENVIRONMENTALISM: Spinning the Climate
    How is it that the forces of global nonsense can fly to Bali in their thousands to force us to make any sacrifice hey consider necessary towards their goal of “saving the planet”? Talking about ways to force us to reduce carbon emissions, emitting 100,000 tonnes of the stuff themselves to fly there to talk about it – that’s how ‘seriously’ they take their own warnings. Vincent Gray, Callum McPetrie, Joel Schwartz, Steve Hayward and Ken Green explain how spinning the climate requires politics to pose as science, and emotions to replace thought.
  • BANNING BZP: Prohibition Still Doesn't Work
    How is it that despite abundant evidence that prohibition doesn’t, can’t and hasn’t ever worked, the forces of darkness are doing it again: banning a peaceful party pill, and inviting the social destruction of prohibition all over again. Rodney Hide, Nandor Tanczos and Richard Goode point out the how, as Richard Goode says, the party pills ban but the 'P' into BZP.

All this plus the usual treats, including reviews, interviews, all your regular columnists, and a celebration of the 40th anniversary of your editor’s favourite TV show, all in this 78th Free Radical. 78 blows for freedom, and still going strong!

Head to the Free Radical store to subscribe or to buy your digital Free Radical. Or head to one of these top shops around the country to pick up your hard copy (they should be arriving in shops this afternoon).

Cheers,
Peter Cresswell
EDITOR, THE FREE RADICAL
**POLITICS, ECONOMICS & LIFE AS IF FREEDOM MATTERED**

NB: We're having a few teething problems getting the new digital issue for TFR78 succesfully uploaded at the Free Radical store. Keep checking back: I've been assured it will happen soon.

In the meantime, here's a link for an A3 poster of the cover you can download. Enjoy.

UPDATE: As astute readers might by now have realised, our webmaster appears to have taken an early holiday -- for which I can only offer prospective purchasers of the digital edition my profound apologies, and a recommendation that they purchase a hard copy edition from one of these top shops. And to say that volunteers for the job of Free Rad webmaster will be gratefully received in the New Year.

UPDATE 2: Mystery solved. Just heard that webmaster presently responsible for uploading digital Free Radicals was hospitalised after a car accident. News such as it is so far here. Naturally, our thoughts are with the young man as we wish him a speedy recovery ...

Heading up, then heading off

As the uni year closes and PhD candidates emerge blinking into the sunlight of the real world, one successful PhD candidate explains why PhD graduates might not be staying in New Zealand very long.

At Christmas, thank the producers

Christmas is a time to thank the producers, those who make the stuff we can't do without.  As we end a year in which the favourite words are sustainable, environmental, and anything beginning with "eco," Lew Rockwell reckons we should celebrate entrepreneurs -- "those who make speculative judgments in a capitalistic economy, risking their own resources to bring us goods, services, and techniques that we have never known before."
It is the entrepreneur's intuition and imagination that make economic progress possible.
That's true.  As year on year and generation on generation our lives are blessed with the material benefits brought into the world by those especially imbued with the entrepreneurial spirit, it's worth it just occasionally to pause and say thank you, and to wonder why and who would want to put a stop to their life-enhancing efforts. As Rockwell notes:
Unfortunately, some would. They oppose the free-market process that makes improvement possible. They seize on some innovation that they don't like, and instead of declining to buy, seek to deny that opportunity to others by passing laws against free exchange and economic progress.
Such people seem to be everywhere these days. The environmentalist movement is replete with them; indeed, the ideology pretty much defines the ideological Left. They preach that we buy too much, sell too much, and compete too much, while calling on the government to stop us.
This hectoring must carry some persuasive power, given how many people have been taken in by it. The mistake is in thinking that economic progress is driven by some strange force outside our control. In fact, material progress represents the social ratification of the ideas and actions of dreamers in a capitalistic marketplace, people seeking to bring us better ways of living, and using peaceful means to do so.
...People have been led to believe that shutting down entrepreneurship and the marketplace will improve the world. Actually, that way lies barbarism, and a system unfit for human beings.

A good and timely message. When Brad Thompson of Clemson University declares that "capitalism works because it's moral and just," this is what he means: the freedom of capitalism represents leaves free all dreamers free to dream, free to rise, and able to take us with them.

What a great thought to contemplate at Christmas.

Some thoughts for the season from Lord Byron

Drunkenness
I would to heaven that I were so much clay,
As I am blood, bone, marrow, passion, feeling--
Because at least the past were passed away--
And for the future--(but I write this reeling,
Having got drunk exceedingly today,
So that I seem to stand upon the ceiling)
I say--the future is a serious matter--
And so--for God's sake--hock and soda-water!
(Fragment on the back of the Poet's MS. of Don Juan, Canto 1)

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Darnton offers Libz political party as 'flag of convenience' for free speech

The first truck was driven through the Electoral Finance Act this morning, even before the Governor General had the chance to sign it into law.

Co-trustee of the Free Speech coalition and leader of the Libertarianz Party Bernard Darnton is offering his Party as a 'flag of convenience' for third parties wanting to spend more than the cap imposed upon them by the Electoral Finance Act.

As a registered political party, Libertarianz has a spending cap of $2.4 million dollars, twenty times what is allowed to third parties under Labour's draconian new free speech rationing rules, and Darnton sees a way to use that to promote the free speech this Government would like to muzzle. Darnton announced the new policy, explaining:
"Libertarianz is happy to authorize election advertisements for the third parties that Labour has tried to crack down on. We've never spent anything like $2 million dollars on an election campaign, so we've got plenty of room to spare.

"Free speech is far too important to let the Clark regime and its cronies flush it away. We will fight this law all the way to the election and we'd like to help groups that might otherwise be excluded from the election to do the same."
Darnton invited all third parties who wanted to include their spending under the Libertarianz cap to contact him to discuss the details:
BERNARD DARNTON
Phone: 021 324 466
Email: bernard.darnton@libertarianz.org.nz

UPDATE: The Free Speech Coalition has begun its billboard campaign in earnest this morning against the parties who voted the Electoral Finance Act into law.
"The Electoral Finance Act was correctly labeled by the New Zealand Herald as an "Attack on Democracy" so we think it is fitting that Democracy should attack back," said spokesman David Farrar.

Three billboards are initially going up. One in Auckland targeting Helen Clark (above), one in Tauranga for Winston Peters (below) and one in Wellington for Peter Dunne [or the Greens]. "They are a clear statement," says trustees David Farrar, Cameron Slater and Bernard Darnton, "that we regard their legislation as anti-democratic and unconstitutional. MPs are there to serve the public, not to silence the public...

"We hope the public enjoy the billboards over summer. We only have funding to keep them up for a month but will be asking people to donate to keep them up longer, or to allow us to roll out more billboards in more cities."
You can buy more billboards for the Coalition at their website.

Hot Kyoto Air

Mark Steyn, just the latest representative of western values to attract the violent attentions of Islamic totalitiarians, points out in The Telegraph that there's more than a whiff of hypocrisy from America-hating warmists:

In the past third of a century, the American economy has swollen by 150 per cent, automobile traffic has increased by 143 per cent, and energy consumption has grown 45 per cent. During this same period, air pollutants have declined by 29 per cent, toxic emissions by 48.5 per cent, sulphur dioxide levels by 65.3 per cent, and airborne lead by 97.3 per cent. Despite signing on to Kyoto, European greenhouse gas emissions have increased since 2001, whereas America's emissions have fallen by nearly one per cent, despite the Toxic Texan's best efforts to destroy the planet.
Had America and Australia ratified Kyoto, and had the Europeans complied with it instead of just pretending to, by 2050 the treaty would have reduced global warming by 0.07C - a figure that would be statistically undectectable within annual climate variation. In return for this meaningless gesture, American GDP in 2010 would be lower by $97 billion to $397 billion - and those are the US Energy Information Administration's somewhat optimistic models.

[Hat tip Kiwi Pundit]

The Ten Least Successful Christmas TV Specials of All Time

As you prepare to settle back for the Christmas season, and perhaps to prepare for a Salacious Saturnalia, you might be looking forward to one of the modern Christmas traditions: the TV Christmas Special. Here, for your edification, is the list of the ten least successful Christmas TV Specials of all time.
They include Orson Welles's seminal The Assasination of St Nicholas; the much-discussed 'lost' Star Trek Christmas episode, Christmas: A most Illogical Holiday,' Noam Chomsky's Deconstructing Christmas -- despite the concession of Chomsky to wear a seasonal hat for a younger demographic appeal, still unaccountably the least requested Christmas special ever made; and of course, Ayn Rand's 1951 classic, A Selfish Christmas.
Check them all out here.

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Electoral Finance Act: "It's about the sweet scent of power, and the lust for control" (updated)

Crikey, Hone Harawira can get to the heart of an issue.  Here he is speaking yesterday on the Government's Incumbency Protection Act, (passed last night by 63 votes to 57):

Yes folks money talks, but nothing talks quite like the truth, and the truth about this Bill is that it's nothing but an arrogant dismissal by this Labour-led government to deny the citizens of Aotearoa / New Zealand the right to participate in one of the fundamental rights of any so-called "democratic society" – how you elect your government.

And no – we will not be fobbed off by any talk about how this is only about election finances, because it ain't.

If this was only about election finances, then why did this Labour government push through special legislation to validate their $800,000 over-spend at the last election, rather than let the legal process take its natural course?

If this was only about election finances, then why didn't this Labour government ask the Auditor General and the Electoral Commission, to present a range of options for public consideration, and presentation to the House?

If this was only about election finances, then how come the Human Rights Commission says this Bill is a dramatic assault on fundamental human rights – freedom of expression, and the right to participate in the election process?

If this was only about election finances, then how come the Human Rights Commission says that even this rewritten, flea-bitten, revised and patched-up version should still have been given back to the public for full discussion and debate?

I'll tell you why Madam Speaker, it's because this ain't just about election finances.

It's about the sweet scent of power, and the lust for control. It's about the decadence of corruption, the stench of deceit, and the refusal to accept the reality of impending defeat.

Yes, there have been amendments, hell we even voted for one of them, but given the constitutional importance of legislation that will play a critical role in determining how the next election will be fought – stitching up this deal behind closed doors, and then adding a veneer of democracy through a select committee process, is nothing but a sick joke.

Mind you, this government denying the people of Aotearoa the right to open and public debate on the process by which we manage the next election, is right up there, with their changing the law to bypass any serious questioning of their expenditure, at the last election.

Madam Speaker, the Maori Party will not be party to a bill which is clearly aimed at restricting freedom of speech.

We will not be party to this desperate attempt by Labour to stay in power at the expense of the fundamental human rights of the citizens of this country.

We will not be party to a bill designed to put fear into those who would speak their mind, by forcing them to run the gauntlet of registration, audit, notification, financial agency, monitoring, reporting, scrutiny, and penalty.

And we will not be party to a bill that slams the door on opposition spending, while allowing government to continue to spend millions on promoting its own policies and programmes.

Madam Speaker, the Maori Party was borne out of Maoridom's absolute rejection of this Labour government's arrogant denial of our basic human rights to the foreshore and seabed.

And we will reject this Bill to rewrite the law to allow that same government to stay in power - with the same vigour and determination.

Madam Speaker, money is not what drives people to vote, it is truth...

And I sincerely hope and pray, that those who have sacrificed the truth for the delusion of power, that overwhelms this decadent and depraved piece of legislation, will come to see the folly of their ways when the people reject this sham, come Election 2008.

UPDATE: The Free Speech Coalition sums up the impact of the Act, which will come into force in just two weeks!

The Act discourages individuals and groups from participating in the electoral process and spending their own money, while at the same time allows MPs and parliamentary parties to far more easily use taxpayer funds on their election campaigns and not even have it count towards their spending limits. It is the ultimate act in hypocrisy.

The MPs have

- Ignored the Law Society's advice that the Bill should be scrapped

- Ignored the Human Rights Commission opposition to the regulated period, and their request to allow the public to submit on the amended Bill

- Ignored the NZ Institute of Charted Accountant's advice that the Bill is unworkable

- Ignored the Electoral Commission's advice on spending limits

- Failed to provide legislative certainty around the exemptions for MPs

- Protected anonymous donations with massive loopholes which may result in less, not more, disclosure

- Continually misrepresented key clauses of the Bill

"New Zealand has no written constitution. At the end of the day 61 MPs in Parliament can pass any law they like, no matter how repugnant. Previously constitutional conventions have protected Acts like the Electoral Act, but the passage of the Electoral Finance Bill sees the demise of that convention." said spokesperson David Farrar.

"We hoped the parties supporting this Bill would listen to the near universal opposition from the media, from the legal profession, and from the public and do the right thing. Sadly they have chosen not to.

"We do not believe there should be no consequences for those parties which passed the Electoral Finance Act into law. The NZ Herald correctly labeled it as an "Attack on Democracy" and we believe it is time for Democracy to attack back.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Woolfie in the house

New blogger in the 'sphere is Woolfie, known to extra special friends as Anny the Fox.  Check her out at 'It's Like This.'  She's already offered you her killer G&T recipe (yes, I know, it's still a G&T), and a few insights into those fourteen finance flops ... and counting.  Visit her here, and head back regularly.  When Woolfie vents, it's always worth standing back and listening.  That is, it's always safer to stand back and listen.

Taking the Christ out of Christmas

I HEAR PEOPLE complaining that "Christ is being taken out of Christmas."  Everyone from the Vatican to Fox News is complaining about the "War against Christmas" (TM) --  about the "widespread revolt" against "Christian values and symbols from the holiday."

Here's what I say about those complaints. So what if Christ is taken out of Christmas?  Christ was never in Christmas, except in fiction and by order of the Council of Trent.  In fact, Jesus wasn't even born in December, let alone at Christmas time: he was born in July*.  Which makes him a cancer.  Just like religion.

Fact is, 'Christmas' was originally not even a Christian festival at all.  The celebration we now all enjoy was originally the lusty pagan festival to celebrate the winter solstice, the festival that eventually became the Roman Saturnalia. This time of year in the northern hemisphere (from whence these traditions started) is when days stopped getting darker and darker, and started once again to lengthen. The end of the hardest part of the year was in sight (particularly important up in places like Lapland where all-day darkness was the winter rule), and food stocks would soon be replenished. 

All this was something worth celebrating with enthusiasm, with gusto and with plenty of food and drink and pleasures of the flesh -- and if those Norse sagas tell us anything, they tell us those pagans knew a thing or two about that sort of celebration!  They celebrated a truly Salacious Saturnalia.

One popular celebration involved having a chap put on the horns and skin of the dead animal being roasted in the fire (worn with the fur side inside), and giving out gifts of food to revellers.  This guy represented Satan, and the revellers were celebrating beating him back for another year (I swear, I'm not making this up).  Observant readers will spot that the gift-giving and the fur-lined red outfit (and even the name, almost) are still with us in the form of Santa. Happy Satanmas, Santa!

SUCH WERE THE celebrations of the past.  Dark Age do-gooders who wanted to spread their misery and who thought everyone should be sitting at home mortifying their flesh instead of throwing themselves into such lewd and lusty revels, very soon hit upon a solution: first they stole the festivals, and then they sanitised them. (Just think, the first 'Grinch' who stole Christmas was really a Pope!)  Given this history, it's churlish of today's sanitised saints of sobriety to be complaining now about history reasserting itself.

THE BEST OF Christmas is still very much pagan. The mistletoe, the trees, and the presents; the drinking and the celebrations; the gift-giving, the trees and the decorations; the eating and the singing; the whole full-blooded, rip-roaring, free-wheeling, overwhelming, benevolent materialism of the holiday -- all of it all fun, and all of it fully, one-hundred percent pagan. Says Leonard Peikoff in 'Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial', the festival is "an exuberant display of human ingenuity, capitalist productivity, and the enjoyment of life." I'll drink to all that, and then I'll come back right back up again for seconds. Ayn Rand sums it up for mine, rather more benevolently than my brief introduction might have led you to expect:

The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any particular religion: it is good will toward men—a frame of mind which is not the exclusive property (though it is supposed to be part, but is a largely unobserved part) of the Christian religion.

The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: ‘Merry Christmas’—not ‘Weep and Repent.’ And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form—by giving presents to one’s friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance....

The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift-buying is good for business and good for the country’s economy; but, more importantly in this context, it stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decoration put up by department stores and other institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only ‘commercial greed’ could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle.

And so say all of us.  I wish you all, wherever you are a Merry Christmas, a Delicious Satanmas, and a Salacious Saturnalia!
===============================
* Yes, this is simply a rhetorical flourish. Jesus' birth may have happened in March. Or in September -- or not at all -- but it certainly did not happen in December. More here.
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Ten tips to survive the party season

As Stephen Hicks notes, it's high time to study those ten survival tips again on how to survive December's liver-crushing load of Christmas parties, including the all-essential etiquete whenyou can't remember the name of the co-worker you were making out with in the stationery cupboard.

And by the way, how's your liver holding up?

Upton-Watch

One of the NZ Parliament's most egregious entities in recent years was National's Simon Upton -- the former Minister for Contaminated Blood, the man who signed New Zealand up to the Kyoto Protocol, the man who introduced and administered the Resource Management Act, the worst property rights violation since the war.

Asked before the fragrant fool headed off to a Paris sinecure with the OECD whether he regretted anything in his political career, such as the deaths of several people in the contaminated blood scandal for which he (with Helen Clark) was largely responsible, and for which those affected are still seeking justice, he proudly declared, "Nothing gnaws at my soul."

Upton has now just scored another comfortable berth at the Canadian-based International Institute for Sustainable Development, a wetter than wet outfit that boasts it is "Bridging the Gap between the Knowing & the Doing."  I wonder if it will bridge the gap where his soul should be.

Smokescreen (updated)

Yesterday I quoted Duncan Garner's observation about politicians, "that politicians' default position is to lie and surround issues with a smokescreen."

Today the Electoral Finance Bill is being voted in by Hard Labour, Dis-United, Red-Green and New Zealand Fascist parties, all of whom have lost support for their support of this Bill.

Yesterday the Government released news of the stadium upgrade to Eden Park, just as they did when the anti-smacking controversy was at its height.

Coincidence?  Smokescreen?  What do you think.

It's not too late to email the bastards from each of those parties and tell them what you think of their decision to support this bill -- a bill that diminishes democracy, that threatens jail time for exceeding your ration of free speech.  Contact details for all of them are here, for every MP from each of those parties.  United, NZ First, the Greens and Hard Labour: Here's a list of their email addresses, and here their mailing addresses [pdf].

UPDATE: DAY OF INFAMY  - Lindsay Perigo:

In what is destined to be remembered as a Day of Infamy, December 18, 2007 is set to see the passing of the Clark-Cullen government's Electoral Finance Bill. This Bill kills the Bill of Rights, specifically the provisions allowing for freedom of speech and association.
SOLO Principal Lindsay Perigo reiterates that the Bill thereby kills the government's moral legitimacy.
"In the circumstances," says Perigo, "it's timely to release again the Constitution for New Freeland drawn up by Libertarianz—a document to which the wise and honest should repair in these times that try men's souls..."

The feast of the zombies: The IPCC's fortnight in Bali

A lot of talk and a lot of carbon emitted, but beyond that not much emerged apart at the end of the meeting apart from more scary stories and an agreement to have more meetings.  Christopher Monckton has produced an amusing and highly revealing summary of what really happened at the UN's IPCC global warming talkfest in Bali --  and why the ordinary people of the world should be very, very afraid.  See his BALI DIARY: Fortnight Of The Undead, By Christopher Monckton in Nusa Dua, Bali.

He characterises it as something akin to a zombie film, as in these excerpts

Thus it was in Bali during the Fortnight Of The Undead. There was surreality in the air. The overwhelming majority of the governmental delegates, journalists, quango stallholders, fortune-hunters and environmental lobbyists who attended the UN climate conference in the soulless Nusa Dua conference centre tottered aimlessly among the clumsily-constructed sets with lugubrious expressions frozen on their messily-made-up death-masks. Monckton’s Rule: the further Left, the tackier the make-up. The only laughter came from our gallant band of doubters, the heroes of this otherwise gloomy production...

The official propaganda mantra at the conference, first suggested by a UK pressure-group last year and now enthusiastically adopted by the UN, was that “The Science Is Settled”. The zombies, led by the outgoing and incoming conference chairmen, recited this mantra with glazed but increasingly desperate pietism...

[The IPCC's delegates here] would have been mad, if they’d had minds at all. One of the most enduring impressions on all of our team was that the Enlightenment has been switched off. Enter the Dark Age of Unreason. Ever since the high priests tampered with the scientists’ text of the IPCC’s 1995 Holy Book, deleting multiple references to the absence of credible evidence for any anthropogenic effect on climate and inserting the directly contrary statement that there was now a discernible human influence, anyone who dares to check the science is regarded as a heretic for daring to question the Holy Books of voodoo. Never mind the facts: just believe the nonsense, even when it doesn’t add up...

The new Australian prime minister got a dutiful round of applause from the zombies when he announced that his first official act had been to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. He didn’t tell them that back home he’d also let it be known that Australia had not the slightest intention of complying with the protocol. But then, practically no one else is complying with it either.
For me, it was this laughable disconnection between rhetoric and reality that was the most striking feature of the conference. Anyone with half a brain can see, after making the most elementary of enquiries, that greenhouse gases can’t have all that much effect on temperature, that even if they did the consequences would be minimal and largely beneficial. For this reason – since Heaven has a sense of humour – global temperature has now been stubbornly failing to rise for the best part of a decade, and (unless you’re James Hansen, who started the scare in the first place) 2007 will yet again fail to be a “record year for temperature” – and the zombies go back only 150 years.
Since CO2 can’t be exercising more than a minuscule influence on temperature, and since the temperature is accordingly failing to rise as predicted (or, in the past seven years, at all), the entire conference was unnecessary, but the zombies didn’t know, and they didn’t care, and – either way – they were getting rich at taxpayers’ expense thanks to the most elaborately-conceived scare of modern times.
Bryan Leyland, the leader of our delegation and an engineer far too highly-qualified to be an IPCC reviewer, asked the IPCC lead author how many more years of temperatures failing to rise as predicted would convince him to give up the pretence that the IPCC’s predictions have any connection with reality. Answer came there none...

Back at the [cinema when I was a kid], the only time the zombies used to show any animation was when Baron Samedi came on set. They would set up an eerie, unpleasant keening, and would jerk chaotically in their frenzied excitement. So it was in Bali when, on the eve of the closing Friday, not so much Baron Samedi as Baron Thursdi, Al Gore private-jetted and motorcaded in with his vast retinue to receive the plaudits of the faithful, and to hell with the carbon footprint. Gore did what I had been taught never to do. He attacked his own country for withstanding the voodoo cult. The zombies loved it. The keening and screeching and jerking were exactly as I had remembered them.
Gore needs to pretend that the situation is urgent when it is becoming increasingly plain to everyone that it isn’t. The robust corn-stalk chewers of Iowa, polled recently about election issues, ranked “global warming” so low that fewer than one in 200 thought it mattered at all.
Therefore, to whip up the flagging panic that keeps the gravy-train of “global warming” rolling, Baron Thursdi came up with a new, improved list of 50 errors and exaggerations...

As with the 35 errors in Gore’s movie, so with the 50 in his speech to the zombies in Bali, comfortably exceeding his personal best – all the errors tend towards an extreme and scientifically-unwarranted exaggeration of the imagined threat posed by “global warming”. The zombies, of course, lapped up every word handed down from on high by Baron Thursdi, for Bali was a science-free, fact-free zone, question-free zone. The probability that all 43 of Gore’s latest errors could have pointed by mere accident and ignorance in the direction of excessive alarm is less than one in a million billion.
Therein lies a danger that Gore has not yet seen. For he failed, yet again, to declare his financial interest before whipping up worldwide alarm with his trademark errors and exaggerations in Bali. He is a director of Lehman Brothers, a global finance house that wants to control the worldwide managed market in carbon-emissions trading. He founded his own “green” corporation, Generation Investment Management. He is a paid member of the Board of a renewable-energy company. In the UK, if he made a speech containing so many deliberate and unidirectional errors as he did in Bali, and if he failed to declare his financial interest, he would be committing a criminal offence.
It is surely only a matter of time before a complaint is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that, through the numerous, extreme and scientifically-unwarranted exaggerations which Gore has relentlessly continued to peddle notwithstanding the warning in the UK judge’s verdict, he is in effect fraudulently promoting a false prospectus to potential investors...

Read on here.

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That was the year that was ...

In 2007 here at Not PC I've welcomed just over 200,000 visitors.

There's been just under 360,000 page views.

Of some 1,827 posts.

That's a lot of reading, and (I feel bound to point out) a heck of a lot of writing.   About 900,000 words worth of writing.  I'm gratified all those words have been so well received.

Obviously, some posts are more well received than others.  Ten most popular for the year, based on visitor numbers:

  1. Frank Lloyd Wright: Broadacre City, 4007 visits
  2. Becky Wants to Knock Her School Down, 2899 visits
  3. Evening, Fall of Day - William Rimmer, 2299 visits
  4. Wafa Sultan: "Cracks in the Islamic Prison," 2181 visits
  5. Beer O'Clock: Heineken Mini-keg, 1933 visits
  6. PC &, the 'Great Post-Modern Essay Generator,' 1713 visits
  7. Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus - Rubens, 1502 visits
  8. Hollywood Hygiene, 1289 visits
  9. Bavinger House - Bruce Goff, 1090 visits
  10. Political Correctness: A Classic Documentary, 966 visits

Strangely, only two of those posts were from 2007.  Some posts however weren't so well received.  Here's the year's six that were clicked on the fewest number of times.

  1. Formaldehyde Scam Exposed 
  2. Won Again
  3. US Presidential Candidates Quiz
  4. What a Victory
  5. Today's Drinking Meme 

Favourite searches?  No surprise that those posts above are reflected in the top six "Safe for Work" Google searches landing here:

  1. not pc/not pc blog/peter cresswell (4374 referrals)
  2. Searches for Various commenters (1641)
  3. becky wants to knock her school down/beck from dublin (1086)
  4. broadacre city (1047)
  5. heineken mini keg (411)
  6. "nanny state has gone berserk" (267)

And finally, Google, Yahoo, del.ici.ous and Bloglines aside, the top six referrers for the year (thank you):

  1. Kiwiblog, 13, 605 referrals
  2. Libertarianz, 3733
  3. Cactus Kate, 2508
  4. SOLO, 2175
  5. Whale Oil, 1998
  6. NZ Conservative, 1689

Chateau Vaux le Vicomte

                           vue-aerienne-yab

imag_vauxvicomteArchitect Claude Megson used to use this to demonstrate the idea of  "the house as sanctuary," the finest example in Europe of architecture demonstrating  the nobility of man.  

Plan Vaux le vicomte  Built for Louis XIV's finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, by the architect Louis Le Vau (1612-70), the garden designer Andre Le Notre (1613-1700), and the painter Charles Lebrun (1619-90), this is a place in which one feels ten feet tall!  A mile-and-a-half swathe cut from virgin forest and artfully arranged to create a space for Enlightenment Man -- the French masterpiece of the seventeenth century.   You can see more pictures, plans, videos, 'virtual visits' and history at the Chateau's official website.

                                                                           Vaux-le-Vicomte_vlat

Monday, 17 December 2007

Polls deliver EFB verdict

Two recent polls have the commentariat all aflutter.  I don't usually comment on polls, but Lindsay Perigo does.

Labour and the Greens have been pulling out all the stops to pass the fascist Electoral Finance Bill, the work of Labour's obnoxious, liberty-hating deputy-leader Michael Cullen. Voters have delivered their verdict. 

But it's important not to become complacent.  The Orwellian shape of New Zealand should Labour win a fourth term is obvious enough just from today's headlines... [Read on here.]

"Politicians' default position is to lie..." (updated)

TV3 political journalist Duncan Garner, who's seen more politicians than most, told a journalism training seminar recently:

"Those covering politics should be wary that politicians' default position is to lie and surround issues with a smokescreen."

Says Helen Clark: " I cannot accept that as accurate."

Discuss.  You may wish to refer to the discussion at Radio NZ's 'Mediawatch' programme.

UPDATE: Speaking of lies, here's Lance Davey from SOLO on this year's biggest lie, from New Zealand's biggest pack of liars:

The EFB will most certainly be passed on Tuesday, and the tragedy is that it is going through based on lies:

  • The lie that private wealth has any sort of "undue" influence on elections. Any influence it has, is as just, right and proper as the influence that private time and private popularity have.
  • The lie that some mysterious wealthy elite has the power to buy you and your vote and the EFB is the only way to stop them.
  • The lie that if you shut up then you can have your free speech. (New Zealand Fascist leader Winston Peters said in Nelson: "As long as you remain apolitical then this Bill will be no threat." You cannot legitimately preface any statement about an inalienable right such as free expression with "As long as.")
  • The lie that ambiguous "common sense" will always trump a non-objective, poorly written law...  Common sense? Is it enough to know that despite the potential accusations, investigations, harassment and the time and financial cost of defending yourself, after all that; common sense "should" prevail? The "chilling effect" is what happens when you don't want to risk finding out.
  • The lie that the Electoral Finance Bill was ever consistent with the Bill of Rights, and that the process of passing it wasn't a rotten, corrupt farce.
  • The lie that the Green Party are supporting it on principle rather than as pay back for Labour's votes on the "anti-smacking" law..
  • The complete and utter lie that "issues" campaigning is protected. We vote for a party, we don't get any vote on policies. To campaign on issues effectively you must at least imply party support or opposition. New Zealand, it's all a lie. The justification for the EFB,  the alleged consistency with the Bill of Rights, the supposed positive impact on democracy, all of it.

It is one massive lie to further entrench the state as our master, not our servant. Electoral communication will, for the entire election year, be more overwhelmingly dominated by the state than ever before.

Top ten words for 2007

The top ten words for 2007, as chosen by Public Address readers, are here. List is below, along with links to posts with those topics here at Not PC -- well, mostly from NOT PC.  If I've covered them.

    1. Te Qaeda
    2. Sub-prime
    3. It's business time
    4. Sustainability
    5. Reconditioning
    6. Rotation
    7. Smacking
    8=. Not okay
    8=. Carbon
    10. Xtra Service

Starship not buying

Helen Clark took taxpayers' money intended to run her office, and used it to run for office.  Your money is her money, and don't you forget it.  She's not the only politician with a morality bypass and their hands in the till.  In his failed bid to use taxpayers' money twice -- and good on Starship Foundation's Brian Mogridge for not buying into the stunt -- Winston Peters demonstrates has has no clue about the distinction between New Zealanders' money and New Zealand First’s money.  Or just no clue.  Raybon Kan makes the argument.

So New Zealand First has made a donation of $158,000 to Starship hospital. By coincidence, $158,000 is the precise amount of taxpayers’ money the auditor-general said New Zealand First spent illegally in the last election. Does this mean New Zealand First is off the hook?

It’s an interesting tactic if it works. If you’re done for fraud, can you just write a cheque to a charity and have it all go away? If you get a tax bill can you pay the exact amount to Starship? If you get a jail sentence can you sentence yourself to Starship? Why not take the money to one ward in Starship and get the kids to fight for it?

Every political party should try the same stunt. Take money from Parliamentary Services and write large cheques to whomever they want. Don’t call it misappropriation of public funds. Don’t call it embezzlement. Call it generosity.

But it’s easy to be generous with other people’s money. This is why politicians love stadiums that will be used once. It’s not their money.

Every MP should follow Winston’s lead. Then we’d see MMP in real action. Instead of having a government policy, or some legitimate reason to spend the money, each party should simply write cheques according to their own whim, and charge them to Parliamentary Services. Let the charities campaign for the misappropriated funds. Roll up! Roll up! Get your Parliamentary Services slush money here! It’s disturbing that a former treasurer thinks this is OK. Wouldn’t he be the first one up with a winebox full of documents if somebody else did this?

Well, only if he thought there were votes in it.  A colleague sent Winston the following letter last week,

Dear Mr Peters
Congratulations on your donation of $158,000 to Starship Hospital.  It is a very generous thing to do.

Don't forget you also owe the taxpayers of New Zealand a similar amount of money - money New Zealand First Party spent illegally during the 2005  Election campaign.
I hope this debt will be repaid as soon as possible.

It's still to do.  And a reader reminds me that returning the cheque must have caused Starship some considerable financial pain -- they could certainly use that money for paediatric research -- and suggested those praising the gesture might want to put some money where there admiration is.  Don't just clap,  throw money.  You can do it here.