Saturday, June 13, 2009

Labour still campaigning on election day

If Labour are so confident about David Shearer’s victory in Mt Albert, then why are they out campaigning today?

That’s the question that occurred to me when I received the following report from a Mt Albert resident:

    Today is Saturday the 13th of June, as you well know the Mt Albert by-election day. Just a quick note I am within the Mt Albert area and today I was visited by a person(going door to door) from the Labour party, asking if I had voted - with a little plug for Labour too. It is my belief that this breaches the election laws of no campaigning on election day . . .
    Good Luck with your results, hopefully one day we will see true democracy and a libertarian government!!

I understand the police are being informed.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Answering the Questions that REALLY Matter in Mt Albert

clip_image004If you live in Mt Albert, then tomorrow is your chance to have a say for liberty, for freedom and for individual rights by voting Pistorius.

Here’s why you should vote for the young man:

  • because unlike the other candidates his campaign wasn’t funded by taxpayers;
  • because unlike the other candidates he doesn’t want to be a politician – he doesn’t just want to put his nose into the trough;
  • because unlike the other candidates his loyalty is not to a party, but to his principles;
  • because unlike the other candidates he doesn’t want government to be your master;
  • because unlike the other candidates he doesn’t think he knows how to run your life;
  • because unlike the other candidates he doesn’t want to spend your money;
  • because unlike the other candidates he doesn’t want to take your house;
  • and because unlike the other candidates, he’s actually got answers when they don’t even know they’ve got questions. 

See what I mean:

  1. To Melissa Lee and John Boscawen: The National/Act government was elected on a promise that they would cut taxes. The government has now broken this promise. Why was this promise made when it was clear to everyone (except apparently to your parties) that we were in a global financial crisis? Why did your parties make a promise which they had no intention of keeping?
    JULIAN PISTORIUS says: Tax cuts are essential. Allowing people to keep more of their own money encourages wealth creation and business activity which creates employment. Government spending must be slashed. Borrowing money to fund deficits is fiscal child abuse.
  2. To all candidates: The National/Act government proposes an extension to the motorway through Mt Albert which will involve bulldozing homes against the wishes of some property owners. Do you support the taking of someone’s home by force? Yes or no? Does your answer change if their house is taken for a railway? Or a cycleway?
    JULIAN PISTORIUS says: Your home is your castle. Respect for property rights is what differentiates a civilised society from an uncivilised country. In France, for example, options to buy are purchased on homes on alternative routes and these options are exercised when options on a route exist.
  3. To all candidates: Economic theory shows that a minimum wage creates unemployment, especially for the youngest and most marginalised. If you are serious about helping those without jobs get a job, then why not eliminate the minimum wage?
    JULIAN PISTORIUS says: Unemployment can be eliminated by allowing wage rates to fall, if necessary, below the currently mandated minimum wage. The minimum wage ensures the most needy, the most unskilled, people in society will be consigned to the unemployment line.
  4. To Melissa Lee and John Boscawen: Given the failure of council amalgamations from Toronto to Brisbane, and the estimated $240 million cost to bring together Auckland's councils, what possible justification can there be to steamroll ahead with the so-called "Super City" project?
    JULIAN PISTORIUS says: The so-called "Super City" plan will be expensive, invasive and will only make bossy councils worse – and your rates bill even higher.  The whole idea should be killed at birth.
  5. To John Boscawen: In 2007 and 2008 you campaigned against the Electoral Finance Act in the name (so you said) of Free Speech. Yet now in 2009 you have just voted against individuals in W(h)anganui being allowed to wear patches on their clothing.  So just how deep is your commitment to free speech, John?
    JULIAN PISTORIUS says: Free Speech is Free Speech – even (perhaps especially) when you object to what the other person is saying.
  6. To all candidates: Do you agree that National's so-called Resource Management Act "reforms" are not intended to make life easier for the little guy, but only easier for National to ram through its Think Biggish infrastructure projects?
    JULIAN PISTORIUS says: The best way to reform the RMA is to drive a stake through its heart, and to protect property rights under common law.
  7. To all candidates: Do you support the right of shop-owners (who as we all know are under severe threat from violent criminals) to be allowed to defend themselves, and to possess the means of self defence?
    JULIAN PISTORIUS says: The law must recognise the right of shop-owners, and of all New Zealanders, have the right to defend themselves -- and to posssess the means to defend themselves.
  8. To all candidates: Given the RMA makes it easier to bulldoze houses rather than mangroves and minor creeks, do you agree that we need to change things so humans are put before trees, rocks and mud puddles?
    JULIAN PISTORIUS says: Humans and property rights are more important than mud puddles.

And finally, here’s a question and answer of my own:

Q: WHY DO POLITICIANS SEEK EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE MORE POWER OVER OUR LIVES?
A: Might as well ask why a cat licks its arse. Same answer: Because they can.

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Take power away from the politicians tomorrow, and Vote Pistorius.

  • Support Capitalism
  • Support Freedom
  • Support Pistorius

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Beer O’Clock: As the man said . . .

As you down a  brown one tonight, have a think about some of the wise words said about beer compiled by the Drinking Beer site and the Opinionated Beer Page.  Here’s some of the better lines . . .

  • "Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer."
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1975
  • "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
    Dave Barry
  • "Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer."
    Dave Barry
  • "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they just like to pee a lot.",
    Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI
  • "The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
    -Humphrey Bogart
  • "May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."
    Old Irish Toast
  • "He was a wise man who invented beer."
    Plato
  • "Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy."
    Benjamin Franklin
  • "A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her."
    W.C. Fields
  • "Everybody has to believe in something.....I believe I'll have another drink."
    -W.C. Fields
  • "Beer will always have a definite role in the diet of an individual and can be considered a cog in the wheel of nutritional foods."
    -Bruce Carlton
  • "Whoever serves beer or wine watered down, he himself deserves in them to drown."
    -Mediaeval plea for pure libations
  • "No soldier can fight unless he is properly fed on beef and beer."
    -John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough
  • "Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."
    -Winston Churchill
  • "Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop.",
    Winston Churchill to his Secretary of War, 1944
  • "A bar is better than a newspaper for public discussion."
    -Jim Parker, on the importance of a healthy pub culture
  • "The roots and herbes beaten and put into new ale or beer and daily drunk, cleareth, strengtheneth and quickeneth the sight of the eyes."
    -Nicholas Culpeper
  • "If God had intended us to drink beer, He would have given us stomachs."
    -David Daye
  • "An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger, or a beer.",
    Confucius
  • "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer."
    -Abraham Lincoln
  • "We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old."
    -Martin Luther
  • "Beer: So much more than just a breakfast drink."
    -Whitstran Brewery sign
  • "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    -Oscar Wilde
  • "Who does not love beer, wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long."
    -Carl Worner
  • "When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
    -Henny Youngman
  • "Champagnes of the north",
    Napoleon’s army praising foamy wheat beers
  • "You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."
    -Frank Zappa
  • "Beer was the driving force that led nomadic mankind into village life...It was this appetite for beer-making material that led to crop cultivation, permanent settlement and agriculture.",
    Alan Eames

So what are you getting out of your fridge tonight?  Mine’s a Cooper’s Stout, the ideal drink for a winter’s evening – and on special this morning down at Pak n’ Save. What’s yours?

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Yaron Brook tells Republicans why they've failed -- asks them "to commit to a new path"

It's turning into a You Tube Friday here at NOT PC, but you'll have plenty of time to tune in over the weekend and watch stuff if you don't get time today.

Here's one of the best, most arse-kickingly profound speeches I've seen for a while: a 30-minute address by the Ayn Rand Center's Yaron Brook to Republican activists in Virginia.

Brook was invited along as keynote speaker to the Republicans' conference to tell them where they're going wrong. He did. Directly. And for his pains he was received not with the slings and arrows of outrageous abuse such as National Party supporters might direct towards a bearer of such tidings, but with a well-deserved standing ovation.

Watch and see why.


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Brownfall

Here’s another episode of ‘Downfall,’ this time it’s the Gordon Brown post-European election edition: ‘Brownfall’ [hat tip SOLO]

Dear prudence – where have you gone?

So John Key cynically cancelled your tax cuts in this year’s budget, which in 2010 would have only needed $98 million to fund, but he’s still happy to carry on spending your money at a rate that would make Michael Cullen envious.

Prudence, thy name is not John.

John Boy’s latest promise – which comes on top of  the $300 million extra to insulate other people’s houses, $550 million on setting up an emissions trading scam, and a $4.3 billion increase in “core government spending”– oh, and $50 million for a bloody cycle path – is to spend at least $120 million of your money on a “party central” in downtown Auckland for the Rugby World Cup.  To quote Bernard Darnton, that’s $120 million plus cock ups.  On top of the $240million (plus cock ups) we’re spending on upgrading Eden Park, it’s beginning to make me wish that Australia had got the Rugby World Cup instead.

The Herald reports this sum is to be divided around 20-80 between taxpayers and long-suffering Auckland city ratepayers, who are already on the hook for $60 million of feel-good Rugby World Cup nonsense, and for interest payment on a $270 million loan taken out by the council because it couldn’t be bothered to cut its spending.

And John Key calls this development “of national and international importance” – which rather begs the question, doesn’t it.  In fact, three questions.  Important to whom. How does he know?  And if it’s so gosh-darned important to them, then why don’t they pay for it themselves instead of sending us the bill.

Here’s the Beatles:

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The power of suggestion [updated]

Apparently if you play Donny Osmond’s ‘Puppy Love’ backwards it sounds like he’s singing ‘Kill for the Devil, sinners,’ if you play the Beatles’ song 'I’m So Tired’ backwards it tells you Paul is dead.  And if you play Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ backwards (which, let’s be fair, could hardly be worse than playing it forwards), it is supposed to say “Here's to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He'll give those with him 666. There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan."  Or something like that.

Some people, frankly, will hear something in anything.

Which brings us to the lastest attempt to hear something out of nothing: the David Bain “heavy breathing” tape.  I have it on good authority from some of the world’s most highly-paid experts (i.e., this bloke down the pub told me) that if you play it backwards it sounds like he’s quoting the words to the Macarena.  Or is it the Birdy Song.  Either way, this bloke swears it’s true.

Which, to be blunt, all makes about as much sense as the theory that he’s saying “I shot the prick”  in between hyperventilating.  The idea is about as dumb as the decision to exclude it from the trial.

UPDATE: Leighton Smith was asking on his show this morning a question that’s occurred to many people: How come the defence was allowed to present frank speculation about Robin Bain, about Laniet Bain, about her supposed sex life their supposed relationship, but the prosecution appears to have had so much of their evidence ruled out – evidence such as this tape, for example, and the evidence of school mates that a young David had devised a plan to use his paper round as an alibi.

I think the difference here is the rule on “hearsay evidence,” which is that assertions about what someone else might have said are generally inadmissible for the very good reason that what they report as being said was not presented as evidence was not made under oath, and is unable to be cross examined.  Witnesses therefore are enjoined to deliver evidence only on what they know directly – as a High Court judge once explained it to a witness, “Is it something you saw, or something that you’ve read.” If it’s neither, then it’s out.

It’s on this basis presumably that what David was supposed to have said when he was a youngster is ruled inadmissible, since it’s a direct example of hearsay – and may be just one reason that David was reluctant to go into the witness box himself, since this is the sort of thing the prosecution could question.

Now, much of the speculation presented by David Bain’s defence team falls into this category too – most of it being evidence of what Laniet told friends, or “work colleagues,” or dairy owners, or people she passed in the street.  But since Laniet is what’s called “an unavailable witness” – one whose testimony can’t be presented since they’re not around to answer questions – then the stuff she’s supposed to have said falls under the “hearsay exception” and can therefore be presented to the court.

It’s said that dead men tell no tales. But it could also be said that any defence lawyer worth his salt can easily fix that.

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Why did Obama go to Dresden?

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.

Q: Why did Obama go to Dresden?
A: To boldly do what no American president has done before.

That is, to crawl around Europe on his knees, with a "Kick America" sign on hs back. John Rosenthal explains:

Dresden was the target of heavy Allied bombing in February 1945 and much of the city was destroyed in the attacks. Neo-Nazis make an annual pilgrimage to the city to commemorate the event, the most famous episode in what they describe as a “bombing Holocaust.” But the notion that the Allied raids constituted a “crime” against Germans and Germany is by no means the reserve of Nazis. It has, in the meanwhile, become part of the German mainstream. . .
. . . Obama did not have to say anything. The heavily loaded symbolism of the [Dresden] visit did the talking for him. By virtue of his visits to Buchenwald and [Dresden] . . . Obama had paid tribute to “all the victims,” i.e., both the victims of Nazi persecution and the German “victims” of the Allies. . . thus making the assertion of moral equivalence more explicit still.

And if you want to know what this portends, ask Myrhaf:

The clear implication, though, is that bombing Dresden was immoral. This idea is common among the anti-American left Obama has run with all this life.
Obama has made it clear that there will be no all-out war on his watch. Instead of destroying any aggressive enemies as we did in WWII, Obama will appease them to some extent. At best he might fight a partial effort, as we have done in the “war on terror,” or whatever the PC name for it is now. (How about “The conflict with people who understandably have a grievance against capitalist America, and whom we would gladly shower with taxpayer dollars if they would just pretend to meet us halfway long enough to get the handouts”?)
Whether or not the media and leftists and the media want to see the meaning of Obama’s symbolism in Dresden, our enemies understand it perfectly. They know that if they get in a war with America, they don’t have to worry about Obama bombing their people. I think that would factor large in their decision making.

Any reason it wouldn’t?

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Tour de Force – Thomas Arvid

TourDeForce

The perfect image for a Friday, by contemporary painter Thomas Arvid.

Buy his work at the Quent Cordair Gallery.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Say it ain't so, Joe"

Am I the only one who thinks there's something wrong with Joe Karam dunning you and I for more than one-third of a million dollars for the last two years?

Am I the only one who understood that Karam had put up his own money to back David Bain, instead of taking ours to pay himself? Turns out however I was completely mistaken.

Mr Karam has just lost several hundred points in my estimation.

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“Humans prefer cockiness to expertise”

“EVER wondered why the pundits who failed to predict the current economic crisis are still being paid for their opinions?” asks the latest magazine of the American Psychological Society. Hell, I know I have. Often. Well, the psychologists have an answer, that Humans prefer cockiness to expertise:

It's a consequence of the way human psychology works in a free market, according to a study of how people's self-confidence affects the way others respond to their advice.
Don Moore of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shows that we prefer advice from a confident source, even to the point that we are willing to forgive a poor track record. Moore argues that in competitive situations, this can drive those offering advice to increasingly exaggerate how sure they are. And it spells bad news for scientists who try to be honest about gaps in their knowledge.

Which is also, no doubt, why the likes of Al Gore gets more air time than the likes of Richard Lindzen.

Back Benches Mt Albert TV [updated]

The Back Benches show last night [watch it here] featured five Mt Albert candidates who knew virtually no details about the motorway that’s about to be built through the electorate. That’s obvious.

Debate in part two of the programme was all about the motorway, but for all the candidates knew about it host Wallace Chapman might as well have asked the beany-wearing buffoon behind him for answers – or Libertarianz  candidate Julian Pistorius who was in the crowd, but not invited to speak (so much for modern democracy, eh?  All candidates are equal, but some are made more equal than others by decisions like this).

And the real reason Mt Albert homes will be demolished for motorway construction? Says Pistorius:

    Because regulations in New Zealand now make it easier to bulldoze family homes than to touch ‘green’ areas. Plants and puddles are now more important than people. It is time to put individuals and their property rights first. That is what a free and prosperous society is based on.”
   
“It is obvious that without the Resource Management Act (which all but prohibits touching the mangrove swamps and minor creeks that the motorway could have gone down), the NZTA could be more creative when planning motorway routes. And to protect property rights, the Public Works Act - which allows them to steal people’s homes - should be scrapped.”

Quite right. 

And since TVNZ didn’t want him on their programme last night, you can see Julian Pistorius in action here in his campaign message to the people of Mt Albert.  Isn’t he a fine chap:

UPDATEAnnie Fox, who watched it live to air, tells me that last night’s show “was a fucking shambles.”  She always tells it like it is:

Everyone but the host was a fucking pain, especially the mob.

For those who know “Annie,” by the way, she has some new news which is not all good.

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Get your Neelam Choudary fix elsewhere

NeleemChoudhary If you want to keep up with Phil Goff’s stoush with John Key over Richard Worth’s contacts or otherwise with the “strikingly beautiful” Neelam Choudary and sundry others, there are other places you can go for that.

I don’t care what politicians might or might not do to each other after dark – I care about what they do to us right out in the open. Those are the peccadilloes that matter, right? That’s the real evil of politics, isn’t it?

Tasty pics though, don’t you think, for a shrinking violet.

Naleem, by the way, is the one pictured below at a Labour Party garden party.  She’s the one on  the left, by the way.  You can see more of her and her friends at her page at the Labour Party’s Grassroots site – at least until it’s taken down.

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NOT PJ: A New Species of Nonsense

This week Bernard Darnton shows you how to stay healthy and save the planet by sitting on your arse and eating ice cream.

_BernardDarnton A new species of TV has been born. This is good because I was sick of all my TVs interbreeding and leaving their bizarre mongrel offspring all over the place. Speciation will at least keep the living room a bit tidier.

This puffery is promoting the new LED televisions from Samsung, which are apparently vastly better than LCD televisions by virtue of, umm, having an E instead of a C. There may be more to it than that but it’s probably enough to get you a job on the shop floor at the sort of place that allegedly specialises in these things.

Digging deeper, the number one selling point of these new wonder-televisions is that they use less power than their now-commonplace LCD cousins. (Cousins of a different species that is. Best not to ask grandma about that one.)

So how much money are you going to save on your power bill? The LCD TV uses about 180 watts of power; the new shiny one uses 107. Even at the scandalous rates I get charged that’s a saving of one-and-three-quarter cents an hour.

But it’s not about the money; it’s about the planet isn’t it? You’re still not saving much. Even with economies of scale and using third-world slave labour you can kill bugger all polar bears for one-and-three-quarter cents.

The kicker is that, at $6499, the new 46-inch TV costs $2800 more than its technologically ever-so-slightly-challenged sibling. (Sibling of a different species of course but don’t you dare talk about its mother like that.)

So, averaging four hours of television per day – I can’t imagine why you’d watch four hours of television per day but apparently that’s the average and, hey, whatever lights your candle – watching four hours of television per day your new TV will pay for itself in power savings in 109 years. I believe the technical term for this kind of advertising is “greenwash.”

While you’re watching your new bloody great big shiny planet-saving TV you should tuck into some nice healthy ice cream and lollies. Marshmallows and those jelly snake things are 99% fat free, sugar not being fat, you see. Ice cream is calcium made fun – health food in fact.

Advertisements for chocolate biscuits now give some unlikely-sounding explanation of how chocolate contains iron and that iron is essential for children’s brain growth. And if you think that’s a good reason to eat chocolate biscuits you could probably use some brain growth.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to nag you about your food. I’m certainly not going to deny myself. When some smug little tosser in a coffee shop says that all their coffees are made with trim milk unless otherwise requested, I yell back, “Milk is just fat dissolved in water you arrogant, malnourished twat. If you take out the fat it’s just bloody water isn’t it, so what’s the point?”

Manufacturers of products that bring pleasure to people should be proud of that fact. Don’t tell us to buy chocolate because it contains however many milligrams of manganese. Tell us that it tastes good, that it feels good when it melts in your mouth, that it’s a little foil-covered nugget of joy.

Likewise, a sharper, blacker, slimmer television is a celebration of technology, a portal into humanity’s finest artistic, sporting, and scientific endeavours (and Shortland Street, but there’s no accounting for taste).

The people who make these things should be proud of their ability to improve our lives. You shouldn’t have to hide that.

* * Read Bernard Darnton’s column every Thursday here at NOT PC * *

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Peter Schiff on ‘The Daily Show’

Peter Schiff appears on The Daily Show to explain how come he got his predictions of economic collapse so right.

Head here to watch it.  Good television.

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They lied to you

Never ones to miss an opportunity, when the Fieldays gods chose to place our stand directly opposite National’s – causing John Key to scuttle away yesterday morning when we politely asked “Where are the tax cuts you promised us, Mr Key” -- we grasped the opportunity with both hands and quickly produced two handouts to go with our site’s sign.  Here’s the text of the first, of which we’ve already given away a couple of thousand or so:

They lied to you!

Q: How can you tell when a politician is lying?
A: Their lips are moving.

THE LAST ELECTION CAMPAIGN was won by National on a programme of slashing tax cuts. And to be blunt, National’s politicians stood up on their hind legs and lied to you.

Key and English knew about the global crisis as they pledged tax cuts at last year’s election, yet they sailed blithely ahead making promises they never intended to deliver.

Responsible governments know that you can’t promise tax cuts without commensurate cuts in spending, yet they made their promises anyway. Responsible governments know that you can’t make the promises they did when the world’s economies were in the tank, yet they made their promises regardless. And now this government says they can’t deliver.

So how can you tell when a politician is lying about tax cuts? Answer: Their lips are moving.

BACK ON SEPTEMBER 30 LAST YEAR, Bill English mocked Michael Cullen for being over-cautious on delivering tax cuts. "Dr Cullen cannot be trusted to deliver on any future tax promises," said another Finance Minister who can’t now be trusted. He compared Cullen’s record with his own promise to deliver "an ongoing programme of personal tax cuts.”

English said he would treat Labour's tax cuts, which came into force the next day, "as the first tranche on our own tax-cut programme. That will be followed by another tranche of tax clip_image002reductions on April 1, 2009 [which were fully wiped out by increases in ACC levies], and further tranches in 2010 and 2011". He declared: "National has structured its credible economic package to take account of the changing international climate. Our tax cut programme will not require any additional borrowing."

(To which we can only say “Yeah right. The only two words that can be trusted here are these two: “not” “credible.”)

And on an on, and after swallowing more dead rats than could fill a sinking ship, John Key said in October last year -- after “the books” had been opened and several more dead rats fell out -- that “the pledge to deliver about $50 a week to workers on the average wage remained on track.”

They continued the promises right through the campaign in November and into December, when English confirmed again in Parliament that "National will not be going back on any of those promises, as we fully costed and funded them.

Ladies and gentlemen, they lied to you – and you bought it.

THE NATIONAL/ACT GOVERNMENT IS NOW making out that some wayward economic thunderbolt has thrown their pre-election calculations asunder. It’s been said that if you are an economist and did not see this coming, you should seriously reconsider the value of your education and maybe do something with a tangible value to society, like picking vegetables.

But in October last year it didn’t take any sort of economic genius to predict the crash, because out in the real world the global collapse had already happened.  All you had to do was look in a newspaper – or the housing markets – or the empty offices of Lehman Brothers – or the bankrupt banks like Northern Rock.  The Dow Jones is enough to tell the story that’s now being fudged by National – that they were somehow blindsided by a crisis they didn’t see coming. As Tom Woods summarises it in his best-selling book Meltdown ,which records the course of the crash,

When the New York Stock Exchange closed on October 9, 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 14,164.53, the highest close ever. Thirteen months later, on November 20, 2008, it closed at 7,552.29, a drop of 46.7 percent.

Yet over all of those thirteen months and right through their election campaign National never missed a beatand when caught between hammer and anvil, when deciding which election promise to break, this lot kept their promise to the moochers to keep and even increase their “entitlements” – a sick word to describe payments to bludgers – and broke their promise to the people who have to pay for it all.

Which means you and your grandchildren are forced now to swallow the biggest dead rat of all: a budget that reneged on tax cuts, and delivered huge spending and borrowing increases instead.

So how do you feel now?

The very election promise which offered a glimmer of hope to productive New Zealanders – the promise of tax cuts on which this lot were elected – has been shamefully broken with the excuse that “we never saw it coming.”

And frankly, there are only two ways to judge that sorry excuse. If they never noticed the world economic collapse, then they are incompetent. And since the slump had already begun when the promises of tax cuts were being delivered, then they are liars

So which is it?

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“We didn’t see the economic collapse coming.” Yeah right.

Having learned where the Fieldays gods chose to place our stand, we quickly produced two handouts to go with our site’s sign.  The second one’s a timeline . . .  you think Bill and John might have noticed some of this, right?  You know, like John might have wondered about things when, like, his former employers went to the wall?

“Tax cuts!”...Yeah right.

“We didn’t see it coming.”...Yeah right.

Here’s a brief timeline of the economic collapse that John Key and Bill English now say they never saw coming . . .

MAY 2007:

· Housing collapse begins to hit US economy.

OCTOBER 2007:

· Dow Jones tops out at 14,164, and begins a year-long long downward slide.

· New Zealand economy enters recession around twelve months before the rest of the world.

FEBRUARY 2008

· UK bank Northern Rock collapses

MARCH 2008:

· Bear Sterns collapses.

APRIL 2008:

· US Treasury and – for the first time since the Great Depression – the US Federal Reserve both quietly begin directing US$800 billion in “bailout loans” to banks and finance companies.

· US and NZ housing markets fall into a bottomless hole.

MAY 2008:

· On the back of six years of promoting tax cuts, John Key reaffirms after the delivery of Michael Cullen’s budget that We believe in tax cuts. We believe in the power of tax cuts. And we will deliver them.”

SEPTEMBER 2008:

· As the US and local housing markets show no sign of recovery, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are completely nationalised, putting around 75% of the US mortage market into government hands.

· Lehman Brothers collapses.

· John Key’s former employer Merrill Lynch collapses.

· US$85 billion bailout of AIG insurance (with another $40bn to follow in November).

· Washington Mutual liquidated.

· US$700 billion Toxic Assets Relief Program (TARP) promoted.

· Will all this blood on the floor, on September 30 Bill English promises voters a credible economic package to take account of the changing economic climate.” “Our tax cut programme will not require any additional borrowing, he said, comparing Michael Cullen’s record with his own promise to deliver an ongoing programme of personal tax cuts.

OCTOBER 2008:

· On October 2nd, the US$700 billion TARP programme is passed into law in the US.

· One week later, the Dow Jones plunges around ten percent to a new low below 9000.

· Panicky governments announce a ban on short selling of stocks.

· The FDIC announces it will raise its guarantee on banks. Kevin Rudd and Helen Clark announce their own bank guarantee programmes.

· NZ’s Treasury Department releases its Pre-Election Economic Update predicting “a decade of deficits.”

· The American Treasury bails out nine large US banks, including Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

· Watching all this happen, John Key reconfirms to voters that the pledge to deliver about $50 a week to workers on the average age remained on track.”

NOVEMBER 2008:

· The National Party wins the NZ elections on a platform of tax cuts and “dead rats.”

DECEMBER 16, 2008:

· Bill English stands up in Parliament and says, National will not be going back on any of these promises, as we fully costed and funded them.”

MAY 2009:

· Bill English stands up in Parliament and reneges on their promised tax cut package (which in the first tranche in 2010 would have cost just $100 million dollars).

· At the same time he announces up to a billion dollars of extra spending on preparations for an emissions trading scheme and subsidised home insulation (which was not even a National Party policy, but a Green Party policy); and nearly six billion dollars of extra spending on the health, education and welfare sectors.

§ National kept their promises to the moochers.

§ National kept a promise to the Green Party.

§ National broke their promises to you, and to every other every taxpayer in the country.

Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

 

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Karma

How distressing to hear that a swine flu scare is doing the rounds of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of bureaucrats. [Hat tip Maria W]

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Fieldays 2009: It's going to be fun!


Here's your favourite blogger on the Libz stand at Fieldays, looking sharp in my new Frederic Bastiat shirt, and ready for anything.

Someone at Fieldays clearly has a sense of humour -- look who we've been put next to. Should be a good few days. For us, at least.


Here's a party that seems bereft of ideas. Not even a slogan. Not even the Parliamentary crest, which they need to show that we've paid for it. Not even a full cashbox -- though if you look closely their chief sponsor is behind them to the left. . .

"Come along and have a chat and give your views," say the Nats. "National is very interested in hearing what people think," they say. "This is your chance to have a lively exchange of ideas," they claim.

We plan on helping make that happen. . .

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Guess where all that stimulunacy went?

Remember all those arguments about Obama’s “stimulus” package recently, and we had all those learned economists arguing about how much stimulus was needed, and just what the multiplier would be – was it 1.256, was it 1.500.

Remember how all the truckloads of borrowed/printed/taxed money was going into so called “shovel-ready” projects that were just waiting for the shovel loads of dosh to get cracking?

Guess what.  Guess where most of that money is going.  From the Las Vegas Review Journal [hat tip Jeff Perren]:

As it turns out, most of that money is going where government always puts most of its money -- into fat paychecks for social service bureaucrats.

I’ll leave it as a exercise for you to work out what the multiplier will be for that.  [Hint: you will need to subtract both the “opportunity cost” of taking the money out of the balance sheets of productive taxpayers, and the economic drag of new bureaucrats on economic activity.]

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Rodney’s ‘My Fair Lady’ clause

Rodney Hide plans, as Local Government minister, to insist that councils hold a binding referendum before  they engage in “non-core activities” that invariably lose ratepayers’ shirts.

You know the sort of thing.  Building shopping malls.  Backing a Beckham soccer game.  Promoting ‘My Fair Lady.’  Electing Dick Hubbard.

Sounds seductive, doesn’t it. Having a vote on which particular black holes council throws your rates. 

But just because a majority votes to attack the wallets of a minority, it still doesn’t make it right – particularly when under the current system non-resident ratepayers who are paying for it all don’t get to vote, but non-ratepaying residents do.  (Talk about taxation without representation!) And since very few people even bother to vote on council elections now, let alone if there were one election a week, how easy would it be to hijack such a vote?

No, I’ve got a better idea, Rodney.  Why not simply prohibit councils from engaging in “non-core activities” altogether? 

It wouldn’t be that hard – simply remove the “power of general competence” that Sandra Lee’s disgraceful 2002 Local Government Act granted them by overturning that Act.  Given the complete and demonstrated incompetence of local government the concept is an obvious oxymoron , and its imposition ultimately violates the constitutional principles of Westminster government

The chief architect of our Westminster system of government, John Locke, called the granting of a "power of general competence" beyond “non-core activities” the exercise of power beyond right – although he put it slightly differently:

As usurpation is the exercise of power [said Locke], which anybody can have a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to.

The principle says nothing at all about referenda.  It doesn’t say “which nobody has a right to unless enough people send in a postal ballot.” 

There’s nothing heinous about restricting the activities of local government by law.  All political power should be subject to legal control – delineating what powers governments have a statutory right to, and prohibiting other actions for which it has no right.

In fact that’s been a basic principle of the Westminster system for centuries – like all our traditional constitutional protections, one observed more in the breach than the observance: that citizens may do anything they wish unless prohibited by law, whereas governments may do nothing at all unless empowered by law.

This long-established constitutional safeguard was overturned by Sandra Lee in the 2002 Local Government Act, and should now be set upright again by this minister.

“Aw, wouldn’t it be luvverly!”

NB: I understand that Rodney’s advisory board is having trouble defining what “core activities” might look like.  Since it’s impossible to be so descriptive – and the more that’s written the more loopholes you produce, here’s some simple suggestions to do the job that’s needed. Anything here you’d object to?

  • Eliminate the ability of non-ratepayers to vote in all local body elections;
  • Reintroduce non-resident ratepayer vote;
  • An immediate and permanent cap on the ratings levels of councils at existing monetary levels;
  • Require that the 25% of councils each year that tax ratepayers at the highest level per ratepayer be required to reduce rates to the level of the lowest council;
  • Require the abolition of all general rates differentials (e.g. higher rates for commercial properties vs. residential), with the current lowest general rating category applying across the board;
  • Eliminate targeted rates in favour of direct user charges;
  • Eliminate local authority petrol and diesel tax;
  • Immediately prohibit all councils entering into any new commercial or non-commercial venture of any kind, and  require that all existing trading activities of councils (including roads) be transferred to Local Authority Trading Enterprises;
  • Prohibit ratepayer funding for any activities of any Local Authority Trading Enterprise;
  • Prohibit new council borrowing. Existing debt repayments will only be able to be made from existing revenue sources, including privatisation;
  • Prohibit councils making bylaws that interfere with individual freedoms and private property rights;
  • Require that all councils when acting under their statutory obligations under the Resource Management Act, fully respect all private property rights;

Yes, that would severely curtail the revenue streams of local government, and drastically restrict council’s  non-core activities.  But isn’t that the point?

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David Bain jokes

Tui

  • So David gets out and is asked what he plans to do first - "Go to Kentucky Fried," says he, "I could murder a family pack."
  • Apparently Joe has got a job lined up for David. As a photographer, specialising in family shots.
  • David Bain should play for the All Blacks in the vacant number ten spot.  He’d the leave the other first-five for dead.
  • What do David Bain & Dick Hubbard have in common? They’re both cereal killers.
  • Joe Karam got awfully scared when David Bain said he was starting to see him as a father figure.

Add your own in the comments.  :-)

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Don’t get your hopes up

[A post from our roving correspondent Willie Seabrook]

With all the excited reporting over the free-market/conservative/right wing party victories across Europe (and you can throw in NZ too) we should be expecting a whole bunch of free market reforms from these hands-off free-market parties, right? 

Since the likes of Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Geert Wilders, Silvio Berlusconi, John Key, The Freedom Party, The Jobbik Party all represent capitalism, don’t they, then surely we should expect stuff like tax cuts, deregulation, privatisations and big reductions in entitlement programs – and huge reductions in deficits.

Right?

Right???

Or what the hell is the point?

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LIBERTARIAN SUS: Don’t bank on it

You can’t bank on the Wales, says Susan Ryder, no matter how long you wait.

susanryder It’s like a cancer. It starts slowly, undetected, before spreading insidiously, gathering momentum in its wake and eventually taking over.

I speak of environmentally-friendly advertisements. Especially those on television.

Not that I dislike clean products for the sake of it. I don’t. It makes good sense to utilise clever, cost-effective, waste-reducing technology. One of my favourite television programmes is the UK’s Grand Designs, which often features fabulous new concepts in engineering and home design. My problem is that I detest bandwagons and those who jump on them, not wanting to be left out. It smacks of group-think and collectivism and Nick Smith. Enough said.

But it’s really too much when trading banks get into the act. Stephen Fleming selling me an efficient heating system is one thing – he’s making a bit of money by doing so and that’s fine and dandy – but being preached to by the bloody banks is, cough, a bit rich.

I speak of the latest Westpac ad. It screams sustainable-this and sustainable-that, although what that has to do with banking is puzzling. If there was ever an industry that was unsustainable, it would be one that indulged in fractional reserve banking. And if there was ever a bank that was unsustainable, it would be one that confused ten thousand with ten million too often.

“Sustainable” is the Greenspeakers’ favourite word. As long as something is sustainable, you can’t go wrong. Even Helen Clark proved that in the end. She peppered her speeches with “sustainable” so often last year that she lost New Zealand but gained the world. It was a bit like losing your purse, then winning Lotto. Or asking for ten grand and getting ten million.

So Westpac is officially on board Mother Earth. Well, kumbayah kids and light a candle. It’s a beautiful thing.

If only. I don’t bank with Westpac, but I have reason to visit a branch every so often. Like all banks, they make a really good impression of treating their customers with disinterest at best. Never mind how long the queue gets, don’t, whatever you do, put more tellers on. Which reminds me of a wee story ...

Earlier last year I was at Sylvia Park, a large shopping centre in South Auckland that features all the banks. I had to make a deposit at Westpac but saw there was a queue of five or six customers waiting for two operational tellers. I chose to run another errand in the interim and arrived back nearly ten minutes later.

Nobody had moved. I joined the line and glanced at my watch. From a few feet away, it seemed that both customers at the counter had problems that took some resolving. Another five minutes passed with no movement and I was starting to get cheesed off.

In the interim I counted five staff wandering behind the tellers at the back of the bank. Nobody was in a hurry; they were ambling. They would invariably glance at the immobile queue and carry on walking. The possibility that waiting customers might quite like to be served before closing time didn’t seem to occur to them.

Out in front, standing in front of an information counter bereft of customers, wearing the most incredibly high heels was Russian Bride. I called her that because she looked like one. She had more makeup than Max Factor, with that arched expression of boredom and disinterest that Eastern European women have perfected. In spite of having nothing to do, and to doubtless ensure its continuance, she successfully managed to avoid meeting the gaze of a single customer in the rapidly growing queue.

New Zealanders are generally very polite people and so am I. But I don’t appreciate being ignored. And sometimes, people just need a bit of encouragement ...

“Look, I have things to do – and I’d like to be served sometime today,” I called out to Russian Bride. “This queue hasn’t moved in ages – and I’m sure these other customers have things to do, too! Is it possible to get some service please?!”

The floodgates opened. “Yes!” said the Indian man in front of me. “This lady’s right! We’ve been waiting here for more than ten minutes! It’s not on!”

“And I came past about a quarter of an hour ago,” said a woman behind me, “and the same lady is still waiting at the front of the line! I’ve got two kids to collect from school and I’m going to be late!” - together with cries of agreement from the others.

The mutiny stunned Russian Bride, but not enough to get her to move. She resumed her position of ignorance.

“Excuse me!” I said. “We’d like some service and we’d like it now, please. Perhaps you could go and find those staff I’ve seen wandering out the back there. Two would be good, but three would be ideal!”

Instead of getting on with it, she shot a look of pure venom at me. Big mistake. She left me with no choice but to remove my virtual gloves.

“Hey, this isn’t bloody Candid Camera! Take your high heels off and get out the back and get some tellers, please! NOW!”

By this time, I was thoroughly enjoying myself, the other customers taken up the call and, more importantly, had caused staff to come running. They managed to staff two more tellers, the others went back to their ambling and that was that.

I wouldn’t mind waiting if they just acknowledged the queue with a “sorry about the wait, we’ll be with you as soon as we can,” but none of them do that. This isn’t a whinge about Westpac specifically, because they’re all guilty of not giving a toss.

The BNZ has flying pigs and the National Bank has Black Beauty turning up at weddings. The ANZ has a bloke scoffing “lingueeeni” and the ASB has Goldstein. And having dispensed with the smug arse on the megaphone, Kiwibank now has the world’s most irritating woman berating foreigners. They spend a collective fortune telling us day after day how important we are – and now how important the bloody planet is – when we just want to be served.

It’s nothing new. Twenty odd years ago, 60’s pop singer Peter Noone was in Auckland starring in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. After waiting ages in a Queen Street bank queue that stubbornly refused to move, he shouted in frustration: “Where the hell are we? Poland?!”

* * Read Susan Ryder’s column every Tuesday here at NOT PC * *

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Quote of the day: Bernard Darnton

FIELDAYS-AGWposters

We’ll have this poster up at the Libertarianz stand down at Fieldays, starting tomorrow.  Keep an eye out for it, and call in and say “Hi!”

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Introducing children to art

Sunflowers No posts of art tonight, simply a post on art. A post on introducing children to art – to the highest possible in art.  Hope it helps.

Dianne Durante gives five tips to help you introduce your child to art.

For me, the point of looking at art is not to learn history or sociology, and it’s certainly not to wow other people with your knowledge. At its best, looking at art is pure pleasure. Even when it’s not pure pleasure, I enjoy figuring out why it’s not.

leonardo-lion1 That’s the most important thing to communicate, she says.  The pleasure of art.

    Notice that a concentrated look at art is the last step in [my] list of suggestions, not the first.
    You can take your child to the great museums of the world for hours on end, but if he can’t focus on what he’s seeing, and if the two of you can’t talk about what you’ve seen, what’s the point?

Mondrian Read on here for those five simple tips.

And I confess. I’ve softened. I’ve added a few pics of art (from Van Gogh, Leonardo, Mondrian and Monet respectively) that youngsters regularly respond to.  See how you go with yours.

water_lilies

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Monday, June 08, 2009

"Giving something back . . . "

How many times have you heard someone who's achieved enormous success start to talk about "giving back to the community" or something similar?

Just at random in recent days we've had:
  • Farmers managing director Rod McDermott said the company wanted to give back to the communities in which it had operated for the past 100 years.
  • A "partnership with prisoners" that will deliver "a great opportunity for the men to give back to the community"
  • A former primary school principal "looking to find out how I could give back to the community"
Everyone from schools to pub charities to successful sports and business men and women talk about "giving something back," but isn't it true that the only people who need to "give it back" are the the thieves and burglars who've taken something first (like the politicians who talk and talk about their years of "public service" spent in the trough)?

Philosopher Stephen Hicks thinks so. Says Stephen:
Like many other people, I am troubled by this phrase when I hear it.
The usual scenario: A successful person makes a donation to a worthy cause but downplays any praise by saying “I’m only giving back.”
The usual gentle rejoinder is to point out that the phrase assumes that the giver has taken something from others in the first place — he’s borrowed or stolen something and in “giving back” is merely restoring it to its rightful owners. That zero-sum assumption is usually untrue: most donors have earned what they have. So the phrase “giving back” contains within it an injustice: a false accusation.
Yet there is more to it: the phrase also denies the benevolence of the giver. If you are only giving back what is rightfully someone else’s, then you do not deserve any special praise for your action. Your benevolence need not be acknowledged or honored.
So the phrase really is a double injustice: it implies that you do not deserve what you have and it denies you any credit you deserve for your benevolent act. (Or to put it abstractly: It is the imputation of an undeserved negative and the denial of a deserved positive.)
So far so bad.
But it gets worse.
How much worse? Read on.

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Quote of the day- Ronald Reagan

Is the fundamental issue of our time the conflict between left and right, as many commenters here at NOT PC maintain?

Speaking as if yesterday, instead of forty-five years ago, former Democrat Ronald Reagan gives the answer during Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign:

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right.  I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream -- the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order - or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. . . ”

Discuss, perhaps after watching the speech that deservedly brought Reagan to national political prominence – one of the best political speeches of the last half-century, and all without a teleprompter! [Hat tip Angelia]

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Eric says vote ‘P’

Eric Olthwaite says vote Pistorius in Mt Albert.

Good man that Olthwaite.  I’m sure he’s keeping track of Julian’s campaign at the supporters’ website.

Would you rather hug a lawyer?

2477033 Jonathan Krebs of the Law Society is bleating this morning about two former jurors on the Bain case who hugged David Bain after the trial, and then joined Team Bain’s after-match party back at the Bain HQ.

This is "a bad look"  says Mr Krebs. Asked to explain what’s actually wrong with it, Mr Krebs could only say that it is "all about appearances" (and I feel obliged to point out that much the same might be said about lawyers’ honesty).

But in fact this is not “all about appearances” at all.  Whatever Mr Krebs or I or anyone else thinks about the jury's decision, they had all the evidence in front of them to make their decision and we did not. 

And once that decision is made their job is done. At that point they become former jurors and are free to do whatever they like, with whomever they like, at whatever time they like – without having to ask Mr Krebs whether or not it looks okay to him.

And if it really were all about appearances, then I feel obliged to point out that this is the same Law Society that decided after Clint Rickards was sacked by the police that if he was unfit to be a policeman then that he was at least of sufficiently "good character" to pay his dues to the Law Society. The same Law Society continually demanding that taxpayers be dunned even even more to make up their members’ already vastly inflated legal aid bills.

Not a good look at all, Mr Krebs. 

UPDATE:  Obviously short of a headline, Labour’s Lianne Dalziel joins the Krebs chorus about the honesty or otherwise of former jurors.

Ironic, really, since the appearance of the Labour Party’s honesty over both the Pledge Card and the Electoral Finance Act – over more specifically, the obvious lack thereof – was what eventually brought the last Labour Government down.  Ms Dalziel would be well advised to pay attention to what does matter, not what doesn’t.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Confession time in Mt Albert

ay5 The Mt Albert candidates fronted up tonight at the Mt Albert Baptist Church for confession time.

Dakta Green from the Legalise Cannabis Party confessed to the policemen in the room that he might have smoked weed.  (Apparently they followed him home to check.)

Julian Pistorius from Libertarianz confessed he is disgusted by politicians wanting to bulldoze people’s homes.

Melissa Lee confessed to wanting to recriminalise prostitution – and not knowing what she wants on smacking.

Russel Norman confessed to “growing lots of greens upstairs in his flat” – to loud laughter from Libz and Legalise Cannabise folk in the room.

John Boscawen from ACT confessed (speaking of compulsory superannuation) that "to have 25 years of freedom when you are 65, it is necessary to have 40 years of compulsion."

And David Shearer confessed to having “pictures of dogs copulating” in his possession.  Whatever the hell that was about.

And that was True Confessions tonight in Mt Albert.

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