Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Obama grammared

I'm pleased I scored so highly on the silly old Facebook grammar quiz, since educator Lisa VanDamme reckons you need good grammar to make yourself understood -- and it looks like the ObaMessiah himself don't have no grammar.

Turns out the Great Communicator doesn't know grammar any better than Dan Quayle knew how to spell, making the common blunder of inverting "me" and "I."  Doesn't matter?  Says VanDamme, mastery of the rules of grammar add great precision both to your thinking and your communicating.  And it may avoid scandal, for example:

    Rather than the innocuous, "President Bush graciously invited Michelle and I," what if President Obama had said, "Michelle likes President Bush better than I." Is this a mere difference of opinion about the former President, or a scandal? The ambiguity is resolved with a universal understanding of the rules of grammar.
    "Michelle likes him better than I," as my grammar students can tell you, contains an elliptical adverb clause with "I" as the subject, and means, "Michelle likes him better than I like him." On the other hand, "Michelle likes him better than me," contains an elliptical clause with "me" as the direct object, and means, "Michelle likes him better than she likes me."
     So, if you whose children are gaining a thorough mastery of the rules of grammar have ever asked yourselves, "Does my child know grammar better than me?" the answer is no, he should know you better. And by the time he graduates, he will know better than to ask the question like that.

Straightforward, huh.

And these students of whom she speaks, by the way, are Year 4 at her school.  Like I said, she's an educator.

One man who won't be voting National again

Who? Barnsley Bill,  that's who:

If Michal Cullen is good enough to be given a highly paid job by the government we elected to remove him, then why the fuck did we bother voting for National in the first place?

If I'd voted Tory, I'd sure as hell want to know too.  Although perhaps the correct question is, why in Galt's name did you vote National in the first place?

'Super' city, uber state: "Just say NO!" [updated]

There's nothing "super" about the proposed Auckland uber state.

It will be fascist.

Wretchedly profligate.

Woefully inefficient.





Governed by ego-driven noddies.

A boot camp for left-wing politicians.

It will take the 'local' out of local government.

Be expensive to integrate.

And be opposed to the way NZers most want to live.

One city, one neck, one noose.

Absolutism limited only by inefficiency.

We don't need council expanded, we urgently need it contained. We don't need more centralisation. more central planning: we urgently need less. We don't need to make it easier for uber-planners to 'plan' the city, we need much greater freedom so we can plan our own lives for ourselves.

Instead, you will face more co-ordinated attacks on your private property rights. More focussed regulation of your business. More council competion with your business. More, and slicker, propaganda. Even more demands on your pocket, and more meddling from the planners. All of this, and (under Nick Smith's RMA reforms) you get even less say.

You don't even get a say on whether you get to live in an uber state. The good people of W(h)anganui get a vote on whether or not their local council gets to add an 'h' to its name; but we the people of Auckland will have no say at all on whether we get to add a whole new level of bureaucracy to the city.

It's all just madness.

As Owen McShane concludes,

this Government would be ill-advised to burden itself with a remnant of the last Government which was so committed to central planning and interventionism.

The economy and our people are under considerable stress and should not be tempted by the false fruit of fascism.
It will lead us down the road to serfdom and to ruin.

There is no need, no need at all, to conform to the value judgements of the Clark Government, who set up the Royal Commission, or of the big-government worshippers who sat on it. The right thing to do is to reject the built-in presumptions of their inquiry, and to throw out the conclusions they've drawn.

What Rodney Hide should do is cap real rates, repeal the Local Government Act 2002, remove the power of general competence from councils, and so limit the power of planners and local bureaucrats to push us all around. Won't it be remarkable if Rodney Hide becomes responsible for establishing the first Fascist State in NZ instead.

UPDATE: The announcement is out, and you can find all the sordid details here at the Government's official "Making Auckland Greater" website (oh, the pun!). And it must be true, it must be "great," because it says so right here on the label.

Balance the budget, Bill

Balance the budget, BillBernard Hickey reports that Bill English wants bureaucrats to accept a pay freeze during a time of recession, saying that with debt already up from $30 billion to $45 billion, any rises will endanger NZ's credit rating. 

That's a good reason, but it's nowhere near reason enough: In the absence of plans to sack most of the 38,000 or so bureaucrats who infest Wellington and drain our wealth, prudence dictates that at a time of economic stress they at least accept pay cuts, and that English moves urgently to cut that $45 billion debt, not just wring his hands over it.

And no fear saying such a thing couldn't happen. There are excellent historical precedents.

During the Great Depression, NZ's Forbes Government cut bureaucrats' salaries by ten percent, and moved to balance the budget rather than just minimise debt.  So too, as Steven Kates points out, did Australia's Scullin Labor Government -- "adopting the 'Premiers’ Plan' which sought a cut in public spending, a return to budget surplus and cuts to wages" -- and so too did the United Kingdom, where as Kates reports the Chamberlain Government adopted "a full-scale 'classical' approach.

A policy of balancing the budget and the containment of expenditure was adopted. By 1933, the budget had been balanced and it was from 1933 onwards that Britain emerged from the downturn of the previous four years.

So too did New Zealand and Australia. 

Under the profligate policy settings of the 'Great Engineer' Hoover and then the Great Phoney Roosevelt however, who both encouraged wages and price rises and treated balanced budgets like a Catholic treats contraception, America's depression continued for at least another decade.

The reason the 'classical' approach worked was simple: cutting costs when prices are low allows producers to do more with less.  Cutting government spending cuts taxes, and cutting debt leaves credit markets unmolested by government -- doing both means that, instead of the government hoovering up cash and credit, those twin pilllars of recovery are available instead for producers.

Roosevelt began his presidency saying that the only thing America had to fear "was fear itself."  Not true.  Not even poetically. What it needed to fear was the anti-recovery policies of him and and his predecessor.  As Neville Chamberlain said in one of the few fine moments of his career,

At any rate we [in the UK] are free from that fear which besets so many less fortunately placed, the fear that things are going to get worse. We owe our freedom from that fear largely to the fact that we have balanced our budget.

To that same fact they owed their recovery from the Depression.  Would that the historical lessons were learned by our present generation.


Susan lights up over lights out.

susanryder Yes, it was a week ago, but sheer nonsense deserves to be scorned and Earth Hour (or Flat Earth Hour as I prefer to call it) deserves to be super-scorned, such is its silliness.

I was first alerted to FEH whilst in Australia this time last year. I was browsing through the Sydney Morning Herald when I saw a full-page advertisement heralding the event, incorporating a mass-gathering in a city park to which the public was encouraged to attend, for the following Saturday evening. “What’s all this about?” I asked my brother-in-law. “Don’t know” he replied, looking equally mystified. “First I’ve heard of it. That ad must have cost a fortune, though!”

You can say that again. I know nothing of SMH rates, but a similar request to The New Zealand Herald about 15 years ago produced a quote well in advance of $20,000. So pick a figure and make it a big one.

Back to the story. I started to read the ad. I hadn’t finished the first sentence before my eyes were rolling and by the time I’d finished, they’d done a full 360. I learned that in the name of all that was Green and Good, the power being turned off in the first world was going to save dwindling resources which would preserve the planet and help the third world. Hallelujah!

I guessed that I was meant to feel that warm glow of collective responsibility, basking in the happiness that I would be doing “my bit” toward planet security and the public good. All I needed was my state-supplied shovel and I could have been that smiling worker looking out over abundant crops, so beloved by the Kremlin. (Only the crops weren’t abundant, the workers had bugger all to smile about and here in New Zealand, the state-supplied shovels were mainly used to lean on!). But I digress.

I skipped the warm glow and went straight to cold fury. The rhetoric and sentiments expressed were pure sophistry, with the architects eschewing progress and reason. In essence, they were thumbing their collective noses at civilisation itself.

I decided to forget about it. Well, I was on holiday. Saturday rolled around and we spent a gorgeous day at the northern beaches. After getting home we decided to grab some takeaways for dinner, so jumped in the car to drive five minutes to the Thai place in the next suburb. Well, that was the plan. It was 7pm.

To our annoyance the city-bound traffic (our direction) was barely moving. We were going nowhere fast through ordinary residential streets, while the opposing traffic sailed by unimpeded.

The penny dropped. Rudd’s useful idiots were all hightailing it into town for the communal love-in, albeit that they were ‘turning off’, rather than ‘turning on.’ But being the affluent northern suburbs, the traffic overwhelmingly consisted of 4WD’s belching out fumes for, well, Africa actually!

Evidently, celebrating the love-in and all it stood for didn’t include the chardonnay socialists embracing “green” public transport to get there! I loved the irony of causing traffic jams and carbon emissions to protest traffic and carbon emissions! And they undoubtedly suffered a delayed trip home, too. Ha!

It wasn’t until I came home a few days later that I learned that FEH had been a global event -- well, automatically excluding the people who would love to have access to electricity, that is. It screamed the UN and its fellow travellers and I thought no more about it, until the ads for this year’s event started to appear a few weeks ago.

The usual suspects jumped in to show their solidarity, although I noticed that organisations made sure it didn’t adversely affect themselves personally. For example, while some were calling for power off, TVNZ repeatedly reminded us to “turn the lights off”, as opposed to the power itself which would naturally include your television. I can’t imagine they wanted to lose an hour of valuable advertising revenue, especially given the current economic circumstances. Well, I’ll be. It seems that people have differing ideas as to what’s “good” for the planet, after all!

As for me, I’ve made a decision to avoid patronising any commercial hangers-on, those entities that spout their “Greenness,” their “carbon-friendly” this and “reducing their carbon-footprint” that. I have no time for Johnny-come-lately bandwagon-jumping in that I’ve chosen to practise a green lifestyle for years. My refuse is minimal by recycling everything I can – and I don’t just mean council recyclables which may not necessarily be viable anyway. I like to shop locally and support local merchants and none of my household products contain any harmful chemicals, meaning that nothing poisonous goes down my drains. I wonder how many Green party MPs and supporters can say that?

Perhaps the last word belongs to somebody very close to me, an avid football fan. “Earth Hour? Load of crap! The only people I know who turned off the lights during Earth Hour were the bloody Warriors against the Broncos!”

Give that woman a beer! And make it a cold one straight from the fridge!

* * Read Susan Ryder every Tuesday here at NOT PC * *

Die Frau am Fenster - Caspar David Freidrich


A “here and there” painting.

An interior looking out to an exterior.

An insider observing an observer looking out.

According to Helmut Borsch-Supan, who reckons Friedrich’s work is full of cultural symbolism,

The figure seen from the back represents Friedrich’s wife Caroline, and the room is the studio that Friedrich used after 1820. The view extends over the River Elbe to the opposite shore, which symbolizes paradise. The cross-like shape formed by the supports dividing the window pane becomes a Christian symbol, and the dark, close interior represents the terrestrial world.

And if you go even further, to real natural symbolism -- to form expressing feeling -- we might recognise as Jay Appleton does “the importance of the immediate foreground and the ‘themes of frustrated longing, of lust for travel or escape, which [run] through romantic literature’” and through so much of western art – expressing what Appleton says is “ a ubiquitous and enduring ecological process” which is expressed here too in a poem translated from the German:

The stars were shining with golden light
as I stood alone by the window
and listened to the distant sound
of the posthorn in the still countryside.
My heart became inflamed in my body,
and I thought secretly to myself:
Ah, if only I could journey with them
into that magnificent summer night!
- J. von Eichendorff, Sensucht

And you thought it was just a nice picture.

In good art, you see, nothing is accidental.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Are we really all Keynesians now? [update 4]

Maybe not.

According to Wikirank over the last ninety days interest in Ayn Rand has been some 132 times more than it has been in the failed economist.

And at Amazon, Rand's fifty-two-year-old ode to reason, egoism and capitalism is at #15, while Keynes's seventy-year old paean to big government, statism, and illogic is at number #1,777,580

So it would be more truthful to say we're all Randians now?

Or perhaps just those of us who live outside the realms of big government.

UPDATE 1: Crampton says no. Using Google Search Insights for worldwide rankings Marx still beats Rand, and so so does John Maynard. But only just. But for the USA and India, things are not so clearcut.

And it's easy to see where all the Keynesians live in New Zealand.

UPDATE 2: After correcting for inclusion errors, Crampton says "Maybe."

UPDATE 3: Edward Cline puts Atlas into historical perspective:

In a dramatically telescoped way, Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, is experiencing the same rediscovery in the 21st century [as Aristotle's rediscovery after the Dark Ages]. . . Although its sales success has been steady and almost without precedent since its publication, until now the novel was ignored, relegated to the cultural sidelines, and deprecated by the cultural establishment. . .
It has taken little over half a century for men to rediscover it and the significance of Rand’s mind and work. . The parallels between the events in the novel and those in the real world have become too obvious for even the novel’s detractors to ignore. They still hurry to denigrate it, but their protests sound peevishly feeble. . . The catalyst for the rediscovery is the current moral and economic crisis for which government actions are only the symptom. What men will do about it remains to be seen.
In an intellectual and philosophic sense, the works of Aristotle acted as a “prime mover” of human culture and civilization. Without them, no Renaissance and Enlightenment would have been possible. Their rediscovery and advocacy by the men of those periods accelerated human progress in terms of a mastery of the physical world, which manifested itself in the Industrial Revolution. But, as Rand herself so succinctly and eloquently observed in her numerous articles and speeches, the Aristotelian influence went only so far, because the skeleton hands of the philosophy of altruism and unreason remained clutched firmly to men’s notion of morality and men did not bother to throw them off. They believed that microwave ovens and cars could coexist with a morality that condemned the ovens and cars, as well as themselves.
Also in an intellectual and philosophic sense, Atlas Shrugged is acting as a “prime mover,” reemerging from behind its curtain of unrecognized existence as something to fear or to reexamine. Men are learning now that the philosophy which made possible their earthly well-being is irreconcilable with its antipode, which makes possible their recurring moral crises. . .
UPDATE 4: See Atlas Shrugged and the Tea Parties:

The four 'drivers of crime'

Another week, another local talkfest. Last Friday it was the 'Drivers of Crime' talk fest, which predictably produced "a rambling of predictable, ineffective hot air," said Libertarianz Social Welfare Spokesman Peter Osborne, but nothing at all that looked directly at those drivers.

And the talk fest ended with predictable calls for more govermment intervention, ignoring just as carefully as conference-goers had the elephant in the talk-fest's room: that it is existing government intervention that is the primary driver of crime.  Osborne notes the top four:
  • Institutionalised welfare, particularly paying no-hopers to breed
  • The government's factory schools, which promote illiteracy, deny children real knowledge, and block the growth of youthful independence
  • The War on Drugs, which gives gangs an income
  • No explicit right to self defence, which gives every NZer a 'kick me' sign that even criminals can read: "Come get me, I'm defenceless."
The first two created the underclass; the second two give them the freedom to pillage.

The problem of is simple: too little clear-eyed thinking, and too much Government Cheese:


"Words must mean something."

"Words must mean something," said The Obamessiah in Prague.

Yes, except when said by a politician.

When the Messiah says he doesn't want to control the car industry, that doesn't mean he doesn't want to dictate what that industry does, and who sits on its boards of directors.

When he says he doesn't want to control the banking industry, that doesn't mean he wants bank's bailout money back -- much more difficult to control them then.

When he talks about freedom and liberty, it doesn't mean he wants them, any more than Tehran or Pyongyang mean it when they say they want "peace."

Or, even when he says anything about anything, it means he has a frigging clue what he's talkng about -- as even the Guardian has realised by now.

Although when Helen Clark, according to her husband, says she "felt NZ rejected her," that doesn't mean she isn't right. She was. Comprehensively.

Messiah logic [update 2]

We've heard of Modal Logic, Boolean Logic and Fuzzy Logic.  Apparently there is also Messiah Logic. Herewith a sample, from Prague:

The fact that North Korea just fired a missile over Japan "underscores" the need, says the Obamessiah, for the US to unilaterally disarm.

If you can make that make any sense at all then you have grasped Messiah Logic, and are ready to be saved.

: Free Radical contributor Luboš Motl reports on the coming of the Messiah to Prague, "the new capital of peace and capitalism."
UPDATE 2: By the way, the North Korean missile currently under development has a reported range of some 8000km.  Putting a fair swathe of the planet in what blogger Tim Blair calls the Dong Zone.

Adelaide, Amsterdam, Ankara, Apia and Athens are all around or just slightly over 8000km from Pyonyang.  Brisbane, Beirut and Berlin are closer still.
Auckland is 9784.2.

Will gold and rank incompetence save the world? [updated]

Three minutes before Daniel Hannan now famously tore Gorgon Brown a new arsehole in Strasbourg twelve days ago, MEP Nigel Farage  took the Gorgon to task for his incompetence as Chancellor:

"We have not heard an apology. Your Government has apologised for the Amritsar massacre; you have apologised for slavery; you have apologised for virtually everything. Will you please apologise for what you did as British Chancellor.

As far as the economy is concerned, you have told us that somehow you are the economic guru," said Farage, that "you are the man who can save the world.

"Well, I remember very well your first big act as Chancellor when you sold 400 metric tonnes of gold on the worlds exchanges at USD 275 an ounce. At todays valuation, that would be USD 10 billion higher. It was not just the fact that you got it wrong, because we can all get it wrong. It was the fact that you announced in advance how much you were going to sell and on what day you were going to sell it. It was an error so basic that the average A-level economics student even in these educationally devalued times would not have done this."

An error so basic that the average A-level economics student even in these educationally devalued times would not have done this."  In fact, an error so basic that only the IMF and the world's leading politicians would do it -- because this is precisely what the IMF is about to do at the behest of the G20.

Apparently only rank incompetence can
save the world.

: Something good to come out of Strasbourg: Daniel Hannan's incendiary Euro Parliament Speech garnered 2M+ British Viewers.

New browser: Flock

On the recommendation of a friend, I'm trying out a new Mozilla-based browser called Flock that offers lots of bells and whistles, including the promise of much easier and more stable blog posting.

I'll let you know how that goes.  In the meantime, you can try it out yourself: Flock.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Quote of the Day: Fu Ying

It’s been a very long time indeed since we’ve heard words like these from a politician, said by the Chinese Ambassador to the UK in response to suggestions earlier in the week that China should use its own huge cash reserves to produce “a fiscal boost for the world”:

"[China's] reserves are not the money of the government. The Premier cannot write a cheque on it. It's the money of the Chinese people and the Chinese businesses who left it in the safe-keeping of the central bank..."

Like I say, it’s been a long time since we’ve heard words like these from a politician.  The last time I can recall was in 1887, when President Grover Cleveland vetoed an appropriation to help drought-stricken counties in Texas, saying:

I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds. ... I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution.

Cleveland was almost certainly echoing James Madison, who in 1792 when Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist some French refugees he wrote disapprovingly:

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.

Seems one modern politician at least has some idea of whose money it is that’s being spent.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

The “good news” about what came out of the G20? [updated]

Who’s kidding who.  “There is no good news about what happened yesterday,” says Yaron Brook. “Basically what’s going in London is world leaders have come together to establish a kind of global socialist system.  .  .  There was no one there representing capitalism, because capitalism is the dirty word right now.”

UPDATE:  “Say Cheese,” says the Rational Capitalist, who, when he first saw the picture at right thought it must have been “a doctored photo created to mock the absurdity of this meeting. “

When I realized it was not a joke it dawned on me that it is actually a perfect concretization of what is happening. I think that the frivolous connotation of the photo is the result of several related factors…

The most telling of those factors being, as the Rational Capitalist notes in a fine piece [hat tip Per-Olof Samuelsson], that these men are all pragmatic power-lusters, for whom action without thought is  their only absolute, and power over others their greatest joy – which explains both the photograph and their plan, said by Gorgon Brown to mark the emergence of a “new world order.”  An “order” in which stimulus is king, faking reality is paramount, and a crackdowns on tax havens is more important than addressing the real causes of economic collapse.

“Never waste a good crisis,” is the motto of the pragmatic politician, which is the only way to explain the link between a banking insolvency crisis and cracking down on people trying to keep their own money.

As Eric Crampton notes [hat tip Anti Dismal], it makes sense only in “Higgs sense,” in which (contra Klein) crisis is the health of the state.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Best NOT PC over the last week . . .

If you missed out on your daily NOT PC fix over the last seven days or so, here’s what ranked best with readers who didn’t:

Have a great weekend!

Beer O'Clock: Founders' Tall Blonde

Having just consumed a superb Tall Blonde at lunchtime (after which I had a beer, ha ha), I resolved that we'd promote it here this afternoon.

A lot's been said about it, and to be perfectly fair very little of what's been said is very important.

The beer itself is certified organic, vegan, GE-free and kosher. Yes, kosher: it has received the Karshrus Certificate from some crowd called the Kosher Kiwi Licensing Authority in Wellington. All that, and it tastes good too, which is probably what's most important.

Established in 1998, Founders was the first brewery in the country to be certified organic. Their beers also conform to the Bavarian Beer Purity Laws of 1516. Which means it tastes good.

The head brewer at Founder’s is John Duncan, a fifth generation brewer -- which means he knows how to brew beer that tastes good. He also says, "we try to operate our business to minimize the negative effects on the environment. We bottle our beer in reusable bottles, use minimal packaging and recycle our brewing byproducts into organic compost through a worm farm. Our spent grain gets used as stock feed.” Despite this, his beer still tastes good, which is no mean feat when you attention is not fully where it should be.

A "zesty blonde lager," the Founder’s Tall Blonde (4.2%) is one of their best selling beers. It's described as a "European style rich golden lager" in which four malt varieties and two types of hops are crafted together to make a full bodied "hoppy" beer. Golden yet slightly cloudy in the glass, it has a fresh nose of hops and spice. In the glass, it has a firm body and a big, bold, bitter finish. That's how one beer scribe described it who enjoyed it.

"A grainy, grassy hop character in the aroma. An austere palate with a high bitterness – unbalanced for a golden lager but nice if you like that sort of thing." That's from another scribe, who didn't quite so much.

I did. Very much.

It tasted good – the ultimate measure of a beer.

It went very well with my lunch, and I look forward to emptying another re-usable bottle or two later on. Buy it here at the Beer Store.


Pictured above is a tall blonde. At right is a golden lager.

DISCLOSURE: In the spirit of this organic, vegan, GE-free and kosher beer, this post has been well recycled from this one here. I'd hate to see such writing just end up in a landfill somewhere.

Friday morning ramble [updated]

  • “Let it not be said that the politicians gathering to celebrate an orgy of Keynesian delinqency and transnational socialism are letting this current financial crisis go to waste,” says Samizdata’s  Jonathan Pearce after the G20’s announced crackdown on “those pestilential things, tax havens.”  Read Never let a crisis go to waste, eh?
  • Paul Walker examines the government’s broadband plan, and finds –wouldn’t you know it—several problems:
    Muldoon is dead, long live Muldoon.
  • Financial planning with “happyness” as your goal means making money fit your purpose, not making your purpose money: The Pursuit of Financial “Happyness”.
  • Liberty Scott compares the National-led government’s performance against his post-election advice.  Point number one: “John, sorry to say it but told you so. How many more swings at the ball is Nick Smith going to be allowed before you realise what a liability he is?”
    Read:  John Key starts to figure out Nick Smith.
  • Government stimulus packages are not ways to deal with economic reality, says Ed Younkins.  Quite the reverse. Government Stimulus Packages are Attempts to Deny Reality.
  • Mathew Parris picks up where Daniel Hannan left off in castigating British PM Gorgon Brown, and offers some helpful advice:
    Do the honourable thing, Mr Brown. Run away.
  • Michael Labeit looks at the socialist agony that is Cuba.
    Read: On Celebrating 50 Years of Marxist Misery.
  • Ari Armstrong looks at the socialist agony that was the Great Depression—surveying Amity Shlaes's History of the Great Depression: Lest We Be Doomed to Repeat It.
  • Diana Hsieh explains the the distinction between legislation and regulation:
    Laws Versus Regulations.
  • Alleged economist Paul Krugman and aspiring state-worshipper Brad De Long both demonstrate they still don’t understand Austrian economics, even though, as Bob Murphy gently explains, Austrians Can Explain the Boom and the Bust.
  • We are seeing The End of Mainstream Economics says Icelandic economist Gunnar Tómasson in this fascinating interview.
  • What the economy needs, says Onkhar Ghate, is Ayn Rand. “If Ayn Rand’s philosophy of rational self-interest is irrelevant today, then so is the Declaration of Independence.”
    Read (and join in the debate): The Economy Needs Ayn Rand.
  • Paul McKeever offers some advice For the Aspiring Politician: What to Study.
  • Bubble, bubble, history and trouble.  Douglas French examines some of history’s famous economic bubbles and discovers, guess what?  That the likes of the tulip bulb mania and the Mississippi bubble were both results of  government intervention that dramatically exploded the money supply: “Although these episodes occurred centuries ago, readers will find the events eerily similar to today's bubbles and busts: low interest rates, easy credit terms, widespread public participation, bankrupt governments, price inflation, frantic attempts by government to keep the booms going, and government bailouts of companies after the crash.”
    Read Doug French Solves the Mystery.
  • Frank Shostak looks at Timothy Geithner’s trillion-dollar “toxic assets” protection plan and asks Would Cleansing Banks' Balance Sheets Kick-start the US Economy?.
  • Know why the G20 were so keen to have everyone act in concert.  Simple.  As Frankfurt banker Thorstein Pollett explains There Will Be (Hyper)Inflation.
  • Oh, and by the way, keep an eye out for Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights discussing the G-20 summit on the Glenn Beck program on Fox News Channel later today. The program starts at 5 p.m., Eastern time (2 p.m., Pacific time)—if Glenn lets him get a word in.
  • And finally, here’s a collection of the world’s most unromantic album covers: 
    25 Really Unromantic Album Covers .

UPDATE 1: NBR editor Nevil Gibson has two cracking links as a background to the decades-long Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict:

  • Israeli academic Gerald Steinberg has this backgrounder putting the Israeli perspective.
  • “Meanwhile, a stinging denunciation of the Arab world’s policy of keeping Gazan residents as stateless refugees has come from Nonie Darwish, the Gazan-born author of Cruel and Unusual Punishment.
        “Mrs Darwish says Arab policy has made Gaza a prison camp for 1.5 million people for the past 60 years.
  •     Arab countries implemented special laws designed to make it impossible to integrate the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Arab war against Israel. Even descendants of Palestinian refugees who are born in another Arab country and live there their entire lives can never gain that country's passport. 
    Even if they marry a citizen of an Arab country, they cannot become citizens of their spouse's country. They must remain ‘Palestinian’ even though they may have never set foot in the West Bank or Gaza.
    This policy of forcing a Palestinian identity on these people for eternity and condemning them to a miserable life in a refugee camp was designed to perpetuate and exacerbate the Palestinian refugee crisis.”

    “Mrs Darwish also says it is a conscious policy to over-populate Gaza by rewarding families with many children. Gaza, it must be recalled, is getting $US4.5 billion in foreign aid without strings that would resolve the refugee issue or curb its ridiculously high birth rate.”

UPDATE 2: “Are we heading for Weimar 1923 rather than the USA 1932?” asks the Telegraph.  More trillions poured down more black holes suggests we all are.

Destruction of Leviathan – Gustav Doré



Engraving unashamedly swiped from the Dim Post.  Sentiment direct from the heart.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

B3 Bloggers' Bar Bash tonight

Oops!  Nearly forgot to remind you about Annie Fox's B3 Bloggers' Bar Bash tonight at Galbraith's.  Here's Annie's invitation:
It can be a lonely life, that of the blogger, as we thump away on our keyboards so we can inform, amuse and yes sometimes even bore our fellow man.

But fear not, we have a solution: bloggers are welcome to join the Bloggers Bar Bash - B3 - which is to be held the first Thursday of every month. The next B3 is on the the 2nd of April from 6.30pm onwards at Galbraiths, 2 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland.

There are many seating areas in Galbraiths, so you may need to look around. Last time we were outside, but it might be too cold/wet for that? Peter and I have committed to attending so just look out for me in the head scarf and Peter, he's tall.

Non-Dorklanders: please stop in whenever you are in town, it would be great to meet you.

Frankly frightening

This is frankly the most frightening thing you're going to read this week [hat tip Gus Van Horn]:
 Financial Rescue Nears GDP as Pledges Top $12.8 Trillion
The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have spent, lent or committed $12.8 trillion, an amount that approaches the value of everything produced in the country last year, to stem the longest recession since the 1930s.

New pledges from the Fed, the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. include $1 trillion for the Public-Private Investment Program, designed to help investors buy distressed loans and other assets from U.S. banks. The money works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. and 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. The nation's gross domestic product was $14.2 trillion in 2008. [bold added]
See, this is why all the loons are calling on the G20 to enact a "globally coordinated recovery plan": because if their currencies all go down the toilet together, it's less obvious.

Blog stats for March: The “bubble” edition [updated]

    A distinct jump in visitors this month, despite the feeling in more educated quarters “that NotPC kind of exists outside the rest of the blogosphere in a bubble of it’s own.”  (But surely not an economic bubble – too likely to pop!) 
    I kind of like the idea that NotPC exists outside the mainstream: visited by many but mentioned by few (and rarely in polite company).  That site that’s there to scratch readers’ capitalistic itches – or, as JC puts it, to “tweak [people’s] libertarian tendencies” – but to be honest I’d always thought of it more as a sort of electrode to the nipples than either of these far-too gentle metaphors.  Guess I’ll have to try harder.  
    Anyway, here’s the stats for how many were scratched this month:

NZ Political Blog Ranking for NOT PC in February: 3rd (January: 4th)
Alexa Ranking, NZ: 575th (February: 699th)
Alexa Ranking, world: 291,338th (February: 315,648th)
Avge. Monday to Friday readership: 1695/day (February: 1422)
Unique visits [from Statcounter] 48,294 (February: 40,126)
Page views [from Statcounter] 69,568 (February: 58,237)

Top ten posts for February:

Most commented upon posts

Top referring sites:
Search engines 6267 referrals; No Minister 1226; Kiwiblog 1003; Tumeke 383;  Libertarianz 346; SOLO 214; Strike the Root! 205; Facebook 180; Liberty Scott 176; Home Paddock 144; Standard 136; Anti Dismal 128; Roar Prawn 124; Barnsley Bill 122; Lindsay Mitchell 111; Crusader Rabbit 110
Top searches landing here:
not pc/peter cresswell etc 907; causes of global financial crisis 485; when the productive have to ask permission from the unproductive in order to produce 168;  toxicity of environmentalism george reisman 131; john galt speaking 126; earth hour scam 92; barack teleprompter 86; nude olympians 73; libertarian constitution 72; broadacre city 66; bavinger house 57
They're reading NOT PC here:  
I still await my first reader from Alaska…
Top countries/territories (from Google Analytics)
NZ 38%; USA 26%; Australia 4.8%; UK 4.7%; Canada 2.8%; Germany 1.3%; Italy 1.2%; India 1.0%; 
Top cities
Auckland 23%; Wellington 5.7%; Christchurch 4.6%; Sydney 2.4%; London 1.8%; New York 1.4%; Palmerston North 1.2%; Melbourne 0.8%; Hamilton 0.7%; Dunedin 0.5%; Los Angeles 0.5%
Readers' Browsers
Firefox 47%(45); IE Explorer 40%(41); Safari 9.3%(8.2); Chrome 2.8% (2.6); Opera 1.8%(2.2)
Readers’ OS
Windows 83%;  Mac 13.8%; Linux 2.3%; iPhone 0.4%
Readers' Connection Speeds
Unknown 38%(38); DSL 32%(32); Cable 18% (18); T1 9.5%(9.2); Dial-up 2.4%(2.7)

Cheers, and thanks to you all for reading and linking to NOT PC this month,
Peter Cresswell

PS: Just for interest, to those who’ve been discussing what Alexa shows about about the Sub-Standard’s readers, my own Alexa figures show my top four countries for visitors are NZ, Netherlands, USA and India (India ranking at 5.8%), whereas my Google Analytics show it as just scraping into the top eight, and in the Statcounter figures India doesn’t even make the top twenty.

So perhaps this just means nothing more than that a lot of Indian readers have the Alexa Toolbar on their computers, huh? 

UPDATE: By the looks of Bernard Hickey's rocketing stats -- cracking one million page impression for March --if he was included in Tumeke's blog rankings he'd easily romp into number two spot, with a bullet!

Owen McShane on the ‘Super’ City [updated]

Owen McShane sent me these thoughts on the proposed Auckland Uber State “super” city:

We are scared this depression will lead to trade protection - like the last one did.

We should be more afraid that it leads to Fascism – like the last one did.

The Royal Commission’s report on Auckland Governance is Fascism from A to Z. (You have to read the whole 800 pages, and know something about the theory of Fascism to appreciate this.)

One Uber City, One Uber Mayor, reflects the classic fascist position of “strength through unity.”

The term “Fascism” comes from the Latin fasces which was a symbol carried by the early Roman Victors – an axe wrapped in a bundle of bound sticks, reflecting the idea that a stick can be broken one at a time, but when bound together the sticks become strong.

So we have the idea of the Uber City needing to be strong to deal with Wellington and to “speak with one voice.” Amalgamation is normally driven by the desire to reduce costs but we cross the line when it is designed to increase the “strength” of the City State.

So we have the proposal for One Uber City, with one Uber Mayor, so that the City State “speaks” with one voice, and strikes one rate, and has one plan. And the people cannot appeal anything in the plan. After all it must be perfect having been made by the Uber Mayor’s uber team. And of course the “Urban Form” Plan promotes the monocentric city model even though Auckland is naturally becoming multi-nodal as are the vast majority of cities in the world.

I approve of one RMA plan with one set of environmental standards [Ed: “Not I,” said your editor] but we are talking about a plan to manage “Urban form” to reflect an aesthetic ideal of the vision for Uber Auckland. After all, Fascism is essentially an aesthetic theory.

The Commission says we must all live at high density to ensure the viability of public transport because high density living and public transport is more energy efficient than low density and motor cars. Neither statement is true.

And of course we must build no more roads – because cars set us free.

And naturally, the Uber Mayor will get the trains to run on time.

But the commission recognises that this is difficult and will require rigorous “enforcement” because we have the wrong “attitudes” and these bad “attitudes” must change – or be changed. So Aucklanders must be socially engineered to gain the right attitudes, presumably using the social budget allocation recommended in the report.

We don’t need the Jews as the enemy of the state any more. The 21st century “polluters of the pure” are those who don’t turn their lights out for Earth hour, who want to have a decent shower, and use plastic bags and drive cars – and of course farm belching cows.

The document never mentions the wants or desires of the people. The people’s actions must serve the state and they are subservient to the needs of the city state. Fascism allows the people to own their property and the means of production, distribution and exchange, but they are all required to use their property to promote the strength of the State.

The report sets up a powerful republic with an all powerful “President” but without the countervailing discipline of the US constitution and Bill of Rights. The six city mayors would be a joke.

They get their main funds from the Uber Mayor and so would challenge the Uber Mayor at their peril. However they can raise funds from charges for resource and building consents. Guess where that leads?

Fascism is largely an aesthetic theory so the Commission recommends that every significant development in the region must be approved by an Urban Design Panel. (ie an urban design censorship board.)

The problems with infrastructure will probably be solved by the RMA reforms and setting up a few region-wide service organisations to manage water and sewage etc - preferably on a fifteen year franschise so they compete like the French do.

We tend to confuse democratic form and function with engineering form and function - but that is a fascist view because they see Government as a design process.

Lange decided to use the famous 4000 page Social Services review as a doorstop.

This piece of Labour (or work) is only 800 pages but would keep the door open for some sensible ideas and democratic reform.

And as Owen said in his draft version: “Won't it be remarkable if Rodney Hide becomes responsible for
establishing the first Fascist State in NZ?”

NOT PJ: In the Unlikely Event of an Emergency

Bernard Darnton reckons the winner of this year's best April Fool's joke is the Department of Labour.

If milk is required during your flight, breasts will drop from the overhead compartments. Pull the breast towards you and begin to suckle. Ensure your own nipple is fitted before attempting to assist others.

If you’re planning to fly into New Plymouth or Invercargill (International) Airport, you might want to check up on what time little Jimmy’s feeds are due.

Yesterday the Employment Relations (Breaks, Infant Feeding, and Other Matters) Amendment Act came into force. The day before yesterday the Civil Aviation Authority was in a panic, suggesting that five regional airports might have to close for periods during the day when the air traffic controllers were off having a smoke or nursing their infants.

If they double timed by smoking while they were feeding their infants the problem could be partly alleviated but the union won’t hear of it.

In the old days (i.e. on Tuesday) air traffic controllers used to take their breaks between landings. Traffic at Invercargill (International) Airport – gateway to, umm, Tuatapere – hasn’t quite lived up to Tim Shadbolt’s grand hallucinations so snatching a few free minutes hasn’t been a problem until now. That was all buggered up by the Employment Relations (Blah, Blah, Whatever) Act, which operates under the assumption that someone in Wellington should dictate every detail of your day.

Now it’s work to rule, damn the inbound aircraft, I’m off for a pie. Or to nurse little Jimmy. (Exactly what this about-to-be-fed infant is doing in the airport control tower while he’s not being fed isn’t clear. Neither is whether it’s a good idea having aircraft guided to their safe harbours by someone who’s only managed thirty-five winks in the last four months.)

Last minute disaster was averted yesterday when the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association, who also agitate on behalf of air traffic controllers, agreed not to demand breaks during the five minutes a day that some of these airports see action. But rest assured that this crappy law dangles by a filament of goodwill, like the turd of Damocles over the next round of pay negotiations.

Whilst common sense prevailed at the airports, the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association was being its usual obstreperous self. School days could be extended past 4pm if the union gets its wish that the newly mandated breaks be taken in addition to already negotiated “non-contact” time. If these new provisions went into effect, teachers could get up to thirteen weeks and twenty minutes off a year.

There’s always a flurry of panic the day before these laws go into effect as it becomes clear what the legislation actually contains. It never occurs to any of the legislators who pass these laws that their grand schemes might have side effects. How many absurdities do we have to live though before Parliamentarians will wake up and say, “Holy Crap! I just realised everything I do – even the well-intentioned stuff – is bloody stupid! I’d better stop interfering right now!”
My advice to our representatives: Next time you think there’s an emergency, take a deep breath before attempting to assist others.
* * Bernard Darnton's NOT PJ column appears every Thursday here at NOT PC * *

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: In the Land of the Free

Libertarianz leader Richard McGrath recalls some highlights of his recent pilgrimage to the Land of the Free – Hong Kong

It was my privilege over the past week to stay in the western district of Hong Kong Island as a guest at the home of my partner’s brother and his wife.

Hong Kong, or more fully the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, accommodates seven million people on eleven hundred square kilometres of land - over six thousand people per square kilometre, four hundred times as densely populated as New Zealand. It has little in the way of arable land and few natural resources. But it has been ranked number 1 for the last fifteen years on the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. The climate is temperate in comparison with the rest of South East Asia. All in all, it’s an easy place in which to live and work.

On two of our days there, my partner and I attended the latest round of the IRB Rugby Sevens. Despite seeing New Zealand bow out in the quarter finals to Kenya, there was much to enjoy. I love seeing an underdog win, and it was stirring to see the Hong Kong team beat first Tonga and then Portugal, who later went on to win the Plate and Bowl finals respectively.

On the afternoon of the second day, in between the games, I gazed over at the electronic scoreboard and noticed a series of advertising slogans appear on the screen in giant lettering:

Low Taxes. Rule of Law. Small Government. World’s Freest Economy. Free Flow Of Information. The list went on. But it did feel a bit strange. Here was a government department openly advocating laissez-faire free market capitalism. I never thought I would see such a thing, but there it was. A moment I wish all my libertarian friends and acquaintances back in New Zealand could have shared.

In my view, life in Hong Kong is as close to true freedom as most people from my generation are likely to experience in their lifetime, because the government over there walks the talk. There is huge emphasis on the Rule of Law. All are equal before it and English common law prevails. There is a police force of adequate size – three and a half times that of New Zealand. Crime rates are low and one feels very safe wandering the streets. For the last 25 years, Hong Kong’s International Arbitration Centre has been a leading disputes settlement forum.

Low taxation is possible because funding from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, and other sources, covers a large part of the cost of infrastructure. Over two billion New Zealand dollars a year is used by the Jockey Club alone to fund hospitals, schools and roads. It gives another quarter of a billion NZD to various charities. Although the HKJC has a legal monopoly over gambling in Hong Kong (including sports betting and a national lottery), a number of casino boats cruise just beyond HK’s territorial limits.

A perusal of the Hong Kong Department of Legalised Theft’s website is certainly an eye-opener. Personal tax rates are miniscule by New Zealand standards. Many pay a tax rate of between 15 and 17% on income, but there are tax deductions such as a ‘basic allowance’ of $HK100k, plus a standard 75% tax reduction(!) up to a limit of $25k to help low and middle income earners. Thus on an income of $884k, one could pay less than $69k in tax. Mouth watering stuff! There is no requirement for employers to withhold your earnings as PAYE; you keep the money and pay the tax yourself twice a year. There is no GST, capital gains tax or withholding tax on dividends or interest. And so on. The simplicity of the Hong Kong tax system is obvious, in that their entire tax code is contained in 200 pages of print; in contrast, that of the United States runs to over 44,000 pages, much of it written in blood. And get this: if the Hong Kong IRD discovers a way for you to pay less tax, it will advise you how to avoid paying more than the minimum possible under the law and post you the appropriate papers you need to redo your tax return! Contrast that with their New Zealand bloodsucker counterparts who are charged with collecting the maximum revenue possible, despite their disgusting bullshit slogan (which they now seem to have ditched) about being “fair”.

Hong Kong has small, almost corruption-free government - unlike many other parts of South East Asia - thanks to its Independent Commission Against Corruption, which has been a model upon which other countries have based their equivalent statutory bodies.

Free trade is the lifeblood of Hong Kong. There are no tariffs, trade barriers, restrictions on investment, foreign exchange controls, minimum wage (except, I am told, for foreign-sourced domestic servants!) and no xenophobic restrictions on foreign ownership of businesses or land. In other words, with a few isolated exceptions, this is free market Nirvana.

Infrastructure in Hong Kong is modern. Broadband internet is available to 98% of households, from five competing ISPs. The privately-owned deep water harbour container port charges some of the lowest rates in the world, hence has the second highest throughput. The train system is great and co-ordinates well with the airport. There are some stunning bridges and skyscrapers. There are very few monuments to dead dictators.

There is constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech and of the press. There is no government censorship of print, the internet, or anything else.

Needless to say to anyone who has visited Hong Kong, tourist goods can be obtained at very reasonable prices if you use night markets such as Stanley’s and the Ladies’ Market. There appears to be less evidence of intellectual property rights violations, with fewer rip-offs of copyrighted brands.

I was fortunate enough to socialize in some very civilized establishments, among them the Hong Kong Football Club, where my host had the distinction of training for a few seasons in the 15 a side national rugby team, including one year as captain.

Here is a country that was colonized by the British and for better or worse took on much in the way of British customs and institutions. However while many ‘expats’ still work in senior positions in Hong Kong’s banking and finance industries, the wealthy elite arise almost exclusively from the (Chinese) indigenous race. So different to New Zealand!

The take home message from all this is: some time in your life, get your ass over to HK and see what glorious achievements are possible if people are given the freedom that is rightly theirs.

Finally, thanks to Grant and Amie for putting us up in HK and showing us a great time. And to KPMG for providing seats and hospitality at the Sevens. (For those in the crowd without private sponsorship, the beer cost $NZ38 a litre!!)

See y’all next week!

No cheers for Helen Clark

No, I won't be joining the chorus of back slapping and standing ovations for former Prime Minister and handbrake on the nation, Helen Clark, as she heads off to more exalted climes.

Yes, she's got to the top of her own particular greasy pole, but it's not a climb I've admired nor a 'pole' I respect.

There is nothing good to say about the United Nations, which she now joins, and very little good to say about the career that got her there.

I can admire her intelligence, but I deplore what she's done with it.

Unlike those faux opponents who are once berated but are now glad-handing her -- and who in doing so reveal themselves as having fundamentally similar values -- I regard her as a cancerous and corrosive individual (and I use those words intentionally) whose life's work has made government bigger, and New Zealanders demonstrably less free.

New Zealand is all the better for her departure.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

'This is John Galt Speaking'

The fine folk who put together the stirring short video 'This is John Galt Speaking' have spent time and money updating it. It's brilliant!

Fairfacts Media has the show. Don't miss it.
"You were to hear a report on the world crisis. That is what you
are going to hear."

And a blogger waits

While the Key Government promises a nearly country-wide, $1.5 billion broadband experiment of fibre to the home, a blogger waits.

A grown adult, a married man, a blogger who just wants to run his business and do what people do online. I give you Blair Mulholland, who -- while Steven Joyce promises the earth and a whole new bureaucracy this morning (unless you live on the West Coast) -- is reduced to blogging from his Mother's computer, and from the free ones at the Whangaparaoa Library because, because . . . well, let Blair tell you:

If telecommunications companies think someone is going to steal their networks,
they won't build any more of them! It's really simple. Now we are stuck with
waiting for the government to waste my tax money building something that every
private interest is now too scared to.

Remember when the government effectively nationalised Telecom's network and you all cheered? You're paying for that now with reduced property rights protection and decreased service, just as you'll be paying for National's promises with money that could have been spent on tax cuts.


Another election promise broken

Significant tax cuts were a key election-winning promise for National, remember?

And now they want to recant on that promise, just as I told you they would back in October. “Economic conditions” and a projected "decade of deficits” make it impossible, say Prime Minister John Key and his Finance Minister Bill English, to deliver the latter two of the three rounds of tax cuts they promised so loudly back in November.

Excuse me boys, but isn’t it the case that these tax cuts, promised less than five months ago, were a key reason that the public gave you the jobs you have now? Shouldn’t you be doing now what’s necessary to do what you promised then?

Isn’t it just a bit rich to say that “economic conditions” now make it impossible to deliver what you promised back before the election, because it was obvious back then to anyone with eyes to see that economic conditions were going to make it necessary to cut the government’s coat according to the cloth it could afford.

To say that it wasn’t obvious to you back then is not an excuse not to deliver now, it’s a reason for your supporters to realise that you're either not competent enough to do your jobs -- since the whole world and his grandson could see back in October what was coming -- or else you’re a pair of liars.

No other alternative explanation is possible.

There is a strong case to be made for incompetence, though this jury is still out. For example, this fiscal fool English cites Treasury's projected "decade of government deficits" as a reason not to cut taxes. But you knew about these deficits back in October, Bill, and you committed then to stay on course with your tax cuts. And you completely fail to realise, Bill, that deficits are not inevitable – they depend, in the final analysis, on the commitment and integrity of the finance minister. Deficits for a whole decade simply mean that your government plans to spend more than it takes in for a whole decade.

Is that sensible? Sound? Competent?

To say that the projected “decade of deficits” makes it "impossible to deliver tax cuts" is to say that you have no idea how to bring your own spending under control at a time when spending restraint has never been more necessary – at a time when it’s clear enough to anyone who can add that the way to remove those deficits, and to do what you promised, is to cut the level of your spending to fit the new depressed realities.

Why can’t you do that, Mr English?

In fact, the economic conditions we now face make tax cuts not less urgent but more urgent. They make it even more essential that you keep your damn promises, not less.

They make it even more necessary that everyone look to their knitting and cut out waste. They make it even more urgent that businesses are given significant tax cuts, to help them lower their costs and survive the recession. That wage earners are given significant tax cuts to help them pay their bills and ride out the recession. That ministers do everything they can to make permanent and slashing cuts to their budgets, and senior ministers look to cut whole areas of wasteful spending of their books. Family's Commission and Ministry of Hairy Women's Affairs, anyone?

Frankly, it’s not enough to say that “economic conditions” now make it impossible to deliver a key election commitment, Mr English. Either admit you’re incompetent, or that you’re a liar, or get you head around the cuts you need to make and then make them, and deliver what it was you promised.

Either do that, Mr English, or get the hell out of the way for someone who can.

NB: Read this post from early October last year to see that Key and English were either lying back then about their promises or they're incompetent now to fulfil them. There are no other alternatives, are there.

ACC not nicked, not yet

Struggling ACC minister Nick Smith explained to Radio NZ this morning that opening the Workers Account of ACC up to competition is “not a priority.”

So I have to ask Mr Smith as respectfully as I can, “Why the hell not, you moron?”

After all, the whole of ACC is in a shambles – and not just the Workers Account, which is only one third of the whole creaking, shambolic, law-unto-itself bureaucracy – so why the hell wouldn’t you make it possible for private business to save other businesses money by taking themselves and their business away from this morass?

And after all, opening up the whole of ACC to competition – and not just the Workers Account – was a key manifesto commitment of your party. So why the hell wouldn’t you do what you said you were going to do, why not open up the never-listen, never-tell, never-ever-respond bureaucracy, especially when the shambles you’ve discovered since the election should make it even more necessary to stop money going down the bureaucratic black hole of this accident-waiting-to-happen.

And finally, since Labour and its lackies are accusing National of preparing ACC for privatisation, rather than just for being opened up to competition - doing it so successfully that everyone all but believes it - then why the hell wouldn’t you just do that anyway? Why the hell wouldn’t you remove the monopoly, remove the ridiculous “no-fault” law that props up this bogus industry and keeps a failed monopoly in place, and then get what you can for an organisation that is nothing but a drain on every business and every person in the country.

At least, that’s what you might do if you weren’t a struggling minister with a big-government fetish and a meddler's sense of power lust. Changing the board members is just shuffling deck chairs on a sinking disaster. The lifeline NZ business needs is to have this dying leviathan taken outside and shot.

Time for you for once to have some courage.

Congratulations to a fine government [update 2]

On reflection this morning, I have to concede that despite my carping this new government is doing a wonderful job, in very trying circumstances.

They've shown they're prepared to make the hard decisions in difficult times, and are working to make New Zealand a freer, happier and more prosperous place.

They've shown they will listen when we call for changes to the RMA.

They've realised that only government action can do what's necessary to get broadband to all New Zealanders.

They've shown they're not ideologically hidebound by resisting calls to slash government spending, and recognising that economic conditions will not make any more tax cuts possible.

They've shown they're prepared to make difficult decisions on the environment -- and discouraging plastic bags is only a gratifyingly small step from renewing the necessary bans on lightbulbs and wasteful shower heads.

In their first-hundred-days programme they put in place a programme more radical than anything previously seen in this country, which has beyond doubt better placed us to meet the recession than any country outside Iceland -- and everything since has made it clear there is a well-thought out, integrated solution to face the ship of New Zealand Inc. into the recessionary waves, and ride it through to freedom and prosperity.

I'm a fan. I've been convinced. And later this morning I'll be sending off my membership application to the nearest National Party branch. I invite you to join me.

Hail to the Chief!

UPDATE 1: In related news, and as an indication of the principled approach this fine governmnt has taken in difficult times, news has emerged that later later today National will be announcing that they are appointing Michael Cullen as Governor of the Reserve Bank. "His appointment," says David Farrar, "is part of Key's strategy to appear magnanimous in victory and use talent from all parties."

A brilliant move.

UPDATE 2: Who am I kidding? I wouldn't piss on this lot if they were on fire. They've done nothing, nothing, in any direction that will make a blind bit of difference to increasing freedom or prosperity -- or to get Nanny off our backs.

Even their meddling is timid.

Quite how some folk around the traps can be be cheerleading for this pathetic gallimaufrey of Tory tossers is beyond me. Surely your joy at seeing Clark and Cullen go is behind you now? Isn't it time to start seeing this new lot for what they are?

The likes of Nick Smith and Richard Worth are not an aberration. They are this National Government. Wake up.

‘Bionic’ Tower, Shanghai – Eloy Celaya


By “bionic” is meant studying the “structures and processes in biological phenomena” to “develop, perfect and humanise” man’s environment. (What, in a less high falutin’ way, we used to call “learning from nature.”)

The Shanghai Tower project is conceived as a “vertical city” for up to 100,000 inhabitants distributed through twelve vertical “neighbourhoods” of 80m each, surrounded by a “"Base Island"  of 1000m diameter.

More information here at the promoters’ site, and here at a collection of twelve “bionic” buildings including this one.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009