Friday, January 23, 2015

“Also to meet competency 1.2 your practice example must relate to demonstrating the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi”

I’m sure it will comfort you next time you find yourself in need of a nurse l to know that, in order for your nurse to  maintain their registration as a nurse, they must first “demonstrate their competence” as a nurse to The Council of Nurses.

A Council who does not hesitate to ensure – and this is important – your nurse’s “continuing competence” in something they call “competency 1.2,” which it turns our is something to do with “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” etc.

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For clarity, this “competency 1.2” is one of the very first “competencies” stressed by The Council of Nurses in their Handbook of Competencies for Registered Nurses; it means, and I swear I am not making this up, “a demonstrated ability to apply the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi to nursing practice.” Which is to say, to be culturally safe.

This is obviously very important. Because your nurse’s knowledge of, excuse me, a “continuing competence” in applying Governor Hobson’s three spare clauses (just imagine how useful it would be, for example, for your nurse to ensure your land is only acquired by the Crown)  is undoubtedly of much more immediate use in a medical emergency than their having taken the time to learn, say, the basic protocol of Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

So I guess you’d have to hope they studied up on that other stuff in their spare time.

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Why give a dangleberry about Davos?

Consider these two extracts from the Davos Devil’s Dictionary1:

- Davos, Davos
Several million gigaloules
Of dead loss

And

- Oh to be in Davos
Now that pricks are here

As we speak, the, (ahem) World Economic Forum is meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos to discuss political means to keeping attendees at the top of the tree.  The week began with 1700 private jets flying in to discuss the main item on the agenda: climate change (yes, it turns out global warming actually causes private jets.) It continued with IMF head Christine Lagarde declaring Eurozone QE is “already working” to trash the currency. It reached its highlight, for me at least, with Daniel Hannan’s masterful expose of the cronyist corruption on display.

Davos, he says, is a phoney-baloney cronyist.

Davos Man... derives most of his income, directly or indirectly, from state patronage. If he is in the private sector – and he is more likely to be a lobbyist, politician or bureaucrat than a businessman – he’ll be an instinctive monopolist, keen to persuade ministers and officials to raise barriers against his potential rivals…
    We know in our bones that Davos Man despises us and our values. As Samuel Huntingdon once put it, the delegates “view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the élite’s global operations.”
    All right, you say, but surely it’s useful for powerful people to exchange ideas and learn from each other’s mistakes. Well, yes; but this lot rarely seem to learn. Whatever the problem, their preferred solution is always to establish a global bureaucracy staffed by people like themselves. Obviously, they don’t put it like that. “The stability of the global economy” is a much prettier phrase than “a juicy public sector post for me.”
    It’s like an Ayn Rand novel, where lobbyists reach cosy arrangements with each other in elliptical language. Remember the way she described members of a company board? “Men whose careers depended on keeping their faces bland, their remarks inconclusive and their clothes immaculate.”2 That’s Davos.

The Ayn Rand novel on point, of course, is Atlas Shrugged – her virtual textbook of anti-cronyism.

The World Economic Forum would … be a dodgy enough event even if all its members were disinterestedly seeking to advance human happiness. But, of course, most of them are doing no such thing. Surrounded by power and patronage, delegates naturally line one another up for jobs – jobs paid for, more often than not, by taxpayers.
    A mild aversion to cliché has, until now, held me back from quoting Adam Smith’s most famous aphorism. But, in the context of the World Economic Forum, nothing else will do: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” Yup. And free-marketeers want no part in it.

NOTES:

1, Yes, I confess, no such tome exists.
2. For AR pedants, the precise quote, from the chapter ‘Account Overdrawn,’ is: “men who, through the decades of their careers, had relied for their security upon keeping their faces blank, their words inconclusive and their clothes impeccable…” But who would begrudge the man a bit of poetic licence.

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How the RMA continues to protect polluters

tukituki

Hawkes Bay’s Tukutuki River is polluted with regular discharges of council sewage, and the river’s recreational users are understandably outraged that the regional council will not prosecute the district council responsible.

The Central Hawke's Bay District Council's new wastewater plants have failed to meet the conditions of a new resource consent six times since it came into force in October…
    Spokesperson for the group Friends of the Tukituki, Simon Lusk, said the district council had 10 years to put a new sewage treatment plan in place, and the regional council was failing in its statutory duty…
    Mr Lusk said the pollution flowing into the Tukituki River from the sewage plant was an absolute disgrace. 
    Labour's water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri questioned the regional council's ability to enforce any resource consents granted for the Ruataniwha Dam, after it declined to prosecute.
    She said the council was not doing its job.
    "If we can't get a waster water issue sorted out within 10 years what faith have we got in them doing the right things to ensure that this proposed dam is going to meet environmental standards."
    Ms Whaitiri said another body should be overseeing the activity of the regional council which was both a developer and regulator.

Bear in mind, customers, that this is happening under the present-day regime of the Resource Management Act, which you might have heard is there to protect the environment.

Of course, it does nothing of the sort.

What it does instead is issue a licence to pollute—it gives meat processors a licence to dump their wastewater into rivers and oceans; it gifts farmers, pulp and paper mills and landfill sites to discharge their waste into lakes and rivers; it gifts councils a licence to dump sewage effluent directly into an ocean and river outfalls all over the country.  A license that, especially if you’re a council, you are able to flaunt at will – especially, as Ms Whaitiri points out, since they are frequently (and inappropriately) both developer and regulator.

The regional council's chief executive Liz Lambert said it was drawing up an abatement notice, but her council did not think punishing the district council was appropriate.
    "We believe that any financial punishment really doesn't help the ratepayer.
    "We'd rather see the money go towards the right outcome."
    Hawkes' Bay council's chief executive John Freeman said they designed the plants to meet the Regional Council's standards but they had run into issues with the chemical filtration process.

Can you see Joe and Jackie home-owner getting the same leeway from the likes of Ms Lambert?

Just to repeat, all this happens and had been happening for years under the present regime of the RMA. (And no, campers, nothing Nick Smith is proposing will either weaken that or strengthen it.)

So get this straight: whatever you might hear in your daily headlines, the RMA is not an Act that protects the environment*—partly because it has failed to recognise the property rights of those affected by this kind of pollution, and because it has removed almost every legal mechanism for them to protect their legitimate rights.  If we look at common law, however, we discover that common law offers precisely what both the environment and those affected most urgently need: i.e., a mechanism whereby their legitimate rights in the river are legally protected.

Elizabeth Brubaker of Canadian ground Environment Probe describes some famous cases on point here.

Landowners and tenants have often used trespass law to keep pollutants off their property. They
have fought sawdust from a lumber mill, fluorides from an aluminum plant, and pesticide spray.
Those living along rivers have used trespass law to prevent sewage discharges from littering the
rivers’ beds and banks.
In one early-twentieth-century case, a New York farmer complained that upstream sewers
polluted his creek. He argued that the filth piling up on the creek’s bed and along its banks
constituted a trespass. The court agreed. It gave the polluting town a year to build a new sewage
system. But after that, it ruled, the town would no longer be allowed to pollute the creek. The
court acknowledged that its decision would inconvenience the public. Regardless, it said, ongoing
trespasses have to be restrained.
In its defence, the town argued that its sewage was only one of many sources of pollution,
including another town and several tanneries. Cleaning up its effluent would not clean up the
creek. The court agreed that the town’s sewage constituted only a third of the pollution in the
creek. But that made no difference. The farmer had the right to sue whomever he wanted. If he
wished to take on all polluters, fine. If he wished to target just one, that, too, was fine. Higher
courts agreed: The injunction would stand…

Common law courts, whose role is to protect property rights, are a much stiffer hurdle for polluters to cross than a complaisant council regulator whose roles are regulatorily confused. And no fear waving the “public good” flag either as a fig leaf for your folly:

A famous nuisance case of the nineteenth century dealt with water pollution. The case concerned Birmingham, England, which built a large public sewer in 1851. The sewer dumped the town’s
filth into the local river. The owner of a downstream estate complained that the sewage caused
disease, killed fish, and was unsuitable for watering cattle or washing sheep. Birmingham argued
that the court should allow the pollution for the public good. It warned of disaster if it was not
allowed to dump its sewage into the river. In its words, “The evil that must ensue if the Court
should interfere would be incalculable.... Birmingham will be converted into one vast cesspool ...
The deluge of filth will cause a plague, which will not be confined to the 250,000 inhabitants of
Birmingham, but will spread over the entire valley and become a national calamity.” Private
interests, it argued, “must bend to those of the country at large.”
The judge hearing the case dismissed Birmingham’s argument as an “extreme position ... of
remarkable novelty.” He was not, he explained, a public safety committee. His job was simply to
interpret the law and to define who had what rights. In this case, the plaintiff had a clear right to
enjoy his river. Birmingham, in creating a nuisance, had violated that right. It was not allowed to
do that. In the judge’s words, “Public works ... must be so executed as not to interfere with the
private rights of individuals.” The judge concluded that he must grant an injunction, regardless of
its consequences. As he explained, “It is a matter of almost absolute indifference whether the
decision will affect a population of 25,000 or a single individual.”
A century later, another English case pitted a river-front landowner and a fishing club against a
polluting local government, along with a chemical company and a power station. The court issued
an injunction restraining the defendants from altering the river’s quality or temperature or
interfering with the plaintiffs’ enjoyment of their fishing rights. Although the local government
urged the court to substitute damages for an injunction, the court refused. Damages, one judge
noted, “would be a wholly inadequate remedy,” since the plaintiffs had “not been incorporated in
order to fish for monthly sums.” His colleague added, “The power of the courts to issue an
injunction for nuisance has proved itself to be the best method so far devised of securing the
cleanliness of our rivers.”
The court’s refusal to compromise an individual’s property rights for the convenience of society
reflected common-law traditions. Indeed, in the eighteenth century, the famous English jurist
William Blackstone wrote, “So great ... is the regard of the law for private property that it will not
authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community.”
Unfortunately, in the intervening centuries, many judges have abandoned this principle, and have
instead weighed the private benefits of protecting property rights against the social costs of doing
so.
    Courts [and legislation] often now attempt to balance private rights with the so-called public good….

Which, if you recall, is precisely the position Nick Smith argues for the RMA.

On this, as on much else, he is wrong.


* What it does protect is polluters, planners, consultants and other vermin, but that’s almost another story altogether…

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Is he really an alcoholic?

It’s very easy to label everyone who likes a drink an alcoholic. Not so.

There’s a big difference. A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober.  An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all.  You can’t predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before.
- Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

Discuss.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

A question for Gauleiter Brownlee

News just in from a NOT PC roving correspondent that Gerry Brownlee has ordered up 100 double-cab utes “for Christchurch earthquake recovery.”

New, not second-hand.

Double-cabs, not even your average cheap-jack big-tray ute.

Perhaps because only100 really  big utes can fill up the carparks of Gauleiter Brownlee’s failing "frame"?

The mind boggles.

Click here to read more ... >>

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RMA reform? Mush, without any details to give it form

Motu - Impacts of planning rules

That table above was released last night as part of a 65-page report accompanying Nick Smith’s speech detailing outlining his plans to gut abolish reform tinker with the Resource Management Act, the RMA.

It shows what the report writers consider to be the range of costs that hit house and apartment builders under the RMA. (Not shown, though the report’s authors tried to model them, were the costs of home and apartment builders simply giving up in the face of the overwhelming uncertainties associated with planning anything under the RMA.)

The costs are high.

On face value its suggests the RMA adds almost $200,000 to the cost of an apartment, and around $150,000 to the cost of a stand-alone house. Costs that, with all of the uncertainty involved, every would-be home or apartment builder has to factor in at the very outset of their project. Extra and unnecessary costs that kill would-be projects necessary to help reduce end-sale prices down. Costs that kill the deal in any case for most would-be first-home buyers.

Even if council’s district plans allow you to build (within the plans’ very subjective limits) a speculative house or apartment on your own land,  these added costs to every development tip the balance enormously against that project being profitable – just one reason so few developments are started compared to what the market wants – just one reason those projects that are started are usually at the upper end of the market, the better to help the project recover these costs – just another reason that the Housing Accords have failed to deliver affordable houses even though they have “released” land-owners’ land for that purpose.

A commenter last night on Nick Smith’s 10-point headline to change the RMA suggested all would be solved if Smith’s point 5, i.e., “giving greater weight to property rights,” were made the only point. He has a point. Long forgotten by virtually all other commentators is what it actually means to do something as of right. To build as of right. To plan a project as of right.  To carry out a project bearing your own costs and no others as of right.  The certainty (and speed) that comes with making and carrying out your own decisions as of right.

PropertyRightsLong forgotten too by most commentators who’ve already leapt into print to talk about “balancing” environment and development is that properly protected property rights themselves provide the greatest protection for both the natural environment and for  the human environment – as over seven-hundred years of common law would make clear to any commentator who bothered studying the history.

And it really wouldn’t be so hard to hard to bring that back.

Is that anything like what Nick Smith is suggesting? Is that any part of his “reform agenda”?  Is objective law – by which we mean law that is clear, that protects rights, and that makes answers to all legal issues self-evident in advance – any part of his thinking?

Well, now that we have all the detail we're going to get about his “reform agenda,” the only detail that is clear is that there is not enough detail to know.  But I doubt it.

Because as another commenter noted last night, the theme of Smith’s 10-point agenda is less about recognising rights than it is about centralising control,*  making it easier for councils to change their plans; a suite of “standard planning templates” which council planners will have to follow;  a “consolidation” of rules and plans across all councils; a “strengthening” of powers for national standards and national regulations.

This makes things no easier for Joe Builder. It does offer more work for John Bureaucrat.

Click here to read more ... >>

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Q: So what happens when oil hits $45 a barrel?

Two lengthy answers here to two simple questions:

  • Q: What happens to fracking, and to  the U.S. economy and beyond, when oil hits $45 a barrel?
  • Q: Is the U.S. economy built on a mountain of shale oil debt?
  • Supplementary Question For You To Ponder: Since virtually all real commodities are also going down, including milk powder, and for somewhat similar reasons, what lessons for our own dairy boom?

Or in other words, in investors’ desperate search for yield has all the Fed’s counterfeit capital been pumped into supplying more commodities, like oil, than the market actually demands? If so, does that make the recent savage surge in oil supply a classic Austrian mountain of malinvestment?

And if so, then what happens next?

U.S. Economy Built on a Mountain of Shale Oil Debt?
Intro, by Ryan McMaken

There's nothing bad about drilling for oil. And there's nothing bad about the fact that the industry has created a lot of jobs. It is problematic however, that the industry is highly leveraged and reliant on easy money policies to keep the exploration and drilling going. Similarly, there was nothing bad about building a lot of housing during the 1990s and 2000s. The problems arose not from the fact that homes were being built, but from the fact that they were built on a mountain of debt based on easy money. The shale oil industry may simply be the next (Austrian) textbook example of malinvestment.

Ben Swann recently interviewed Marin Katusa, author of The Colder War about the shale oil industry.

"A big effect of QE," he says, was that money flooded into the shale sector as people were chasing yield. The result is there is now a "$150 billion of debt in the US shale sector," and if oil prices continue to go down, "There's going to be a lot of defaults." And Katusa worries about the "spillover" into other industries.

"What's going on the US shale sector right now will be bigger than Lehman Brothers." he says.

Click here to read more ... >>

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mr Smith went to Nelson

There will be 10 “dramatic” changes to the Resource Management Act, we’re told, outlined by Minister Nick Smith tonight in Nelson.  The Herald lists them without giving details:

Nick Smith's RMA reforms
1. Add management of natural hazards
2. Recognise urban planning
3. Prioritise housing affordability
4. Acknowledge importance of infrastructure
5. Greater weight to property rights
6. National planning templates
7. Speed up plan-making
8. Encouraging collaborative resolution
9. Strengthening national tools
10. Internet for simplicity and speed

At first sight these look like the tinkering announced but not pursued last year, with the fascinating addition of item 5 – about which I’m keen to learn more, even if I find it hard based on past experience to be at all excited.

This comment, picked up by the Herald, looks interesting however:

Dr Smith said changes to the purposes and principles, known as section 6 and 7, were "essential."
    The amendments were still being worked out, but Dr Smith wanted economic growth, urban development and management of natural hazards to be added to these crucial sections.
    At present, these sections provided for protection of coastlines, landscapes, historic heritage, lakes, rivers and vegetation.
    "The idea that the only consideration in resource consenting is protection of nature is naïve," Dr Smith said.

I’ll take a look at the proposals overnight,if they actually appear anywhere in more detail than this, and aim to post a considered response tomorrow.

No tits out for the wowsers [updates]

It’s no tits out for the wowsers, and now none for Sun readers either thanks to the wowsers.

This morning, Britain’s sun newspaper published its last Page Three girl getting her gear off – ending a publishing tradition that goes back before sex was invented in Britain.  And according to The Herald ( so it must be true) “Page 3 girls have led the backlash against The Sun's decision to end its topless tradition, claiming the move has been "dictated by comfy-shoe-wearing no-bra-wearing man-haters.”

Model Rhian Sugden, 28, criticised at the move, suggesting it was "only a matter of time" before everything they did was dictated by such people.
    Former glamour model Jodie Marsh insisted that "telling girls they shouldn't do Page 3 is not being a feminist."
    She said she "loved" posing for Page 3 and that it made her feel powerful and earned her good money.
    "Women should empower and encourage other women," she wrote on Twitter. "For that is the only way to truly be 'equal' and have rights..."
    She said campaigners should focus on more important issues that affect women, such as female genital mutilation…
    "The real oppression to women is in places where women aren't allowed to drive and are made to (or brainwashed into wanting to) wear a burka."

Yeah, but that’s difficult activism from a feminazi. Far easier to slander a few of your better-looking sisters for their non-oppression than try to protect several million being actually oppressed.

    Former glamour model Nicola McLean said she did not think Page 3 was a "sexual equality" issue.
    She told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "It has been going for many years, which is one of the reasons I feel so sad that it has seemingly come to an end.
    "I don't think it is outdated. I think the girls still look fantastic on the page, they still clearly enjoy what they are doing, people still want to see it.
    "Everybody still wants Page 3, apart from the feminists who are fighting an argument I just don't agree with.
    "If you meet any Page 3 girl who has gone on to pose for the Sun, we are all very strong-minded women that have made our own choice and feel very happy with what we are doing.
    "We certainly don't feel like we have been victimised."

Rumours that Page 3 Girls will be replaced by the Fat Slags – more acceptable to feminazi wowsers – were denied by Viz magazine.

UPDATE 2: Have The Sun just done the ultimate troll, enlisting their own competitors?  This just in on The Sun’s Twitter feed, promoting tomorrow’s Page3

What you won’t hear in Obama’s State of the Union address tonight [updated]

Cunningly timed to be delivered at a similar time to Nick Smith’s savage slashing of cautious tinkering with the RMA, U.S. President Obama’s State of the Union speech (or perhaps it’s the other way around) will tell tall tales and many myths.

Here are 11 facts you won’t hear:

  1. Today’s young Americans … are the first generation to be poorer than their parents.
  2. They will also pay all their lives into a retirement system than won't be there for them when they get there.
  3. Young Americans indebt themselves more than anyone else on the planet to attend university, requiring them to spend a large part of their careers paying off debt.
  4. Americans of all ages are earning less than they did two decades ago when adjusted for inflation. Yet they’re paying more in taxes.
  5. And US taxation is an increasing burden not only in quantity but complexity…
  6. But despite record levels of tax collection, the national debt keeps increasing. It now stands at more than $18 trillion, well over 100% of GDP.
  7. In fact over 14% of all federal tax revenue collected goes to pay interest on the debt. Another 20% goes towards destruction, war, bombs, drones, and spying.
  8. They also create roughly 200 pages of new rules and regulations every single day. These rules govern something as sacred as what you can/cannot put in your own body, or often make it more difficult to do business.
  9. Many of these regulations carry severe civil and criminal penalties; this is … why America leads the world in the number of people incarcerated.
  10. More people rot away in US prisons than did in the Soviet gulag at the height of communism…
  11. In total, there were 79,066 pages of new regulation passed last year, with a total regulatory cost of $181.5 billion (based on the government’s own estimate).

It’s the trend that needs to be turned around, and it cause, but won’t be.

The trend is pretty obvious for anyone paying attention.
    We know deep down that there are consequences to waging endless [misdirected] wars.
    There are consequences to racking up $18 trillion in debt.
    There are consequences to treating people like milk cows and regulating every aspect of their existence.
    There are consequences to awarding total control of the money supply to an unelected central banking elite.
    [There are consequences to] government debt growing every year [at a rate] far outpacing GDP growth.
    And the primary consequence is this: despite the enviable number of Starbucks and iPads per capita, Americans are working harder to make ends meet, and are far less free, than they used to be.
    That’s not progress. It’s precisely the opposite

Crikey, NZ is expensive

It’s not just housing in New Zealand that’s expensive. It’s, well, it’s nearly everything. Despite incomes here being less than stellar, our cost of living is world class. Certainly top ten.

image

Mind you, at least the cost of living is not as high as those socialist paradises of Scandinavia and South America.

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Truly nothing to do with Islam

Pat Condell nails it.

[Hat tip Suzuki Samurai]

He can’t sing, but he answers back well, AKA: How to talk to a politician when a politician’s listening

Pommy shadow “culture minister” and would-be culture warrior Chris Bryant, MP, attacked what he thought would be an easy target, James Blunt, as an example of “privilege” dominating “the arts.”

Blunt, who can barely write a song strong enough to defend itself, nonetheless penned a self-aware response that could be a model to how to address a politician.

Dear Chris Bryant MP,
   You classist gimp. I happened to go to a boarding school. No one helped me at boarding school to get into the music business. I bought my first guitar with money I saved from holiday jobs (sandwich packing!). I was taught the only four chords I know by a friend. No one at school had ANY knowledge or contacts in the music business, and I was expected to become a soldier or a lawyer or perhaps a stockbroker. So alien was it, that people laughed at the idea of me going into the music business, and certainly no one was of any use.
    In the army, again, people thought it was a mad idea. None of them knew anyone in the business either.
    And when I left the army, going against everyone’s advice, EVERYONE I met in the British music industry told me there was no way it would work for me because I was too posh. One record company even asked if I could speak in a different accent. (I told them I could try Russian).
    Every step of the way, my background has been AGAINST me succeeding in the music business. And when I have managed to break through, I was STILL scoffed at for being too posh for the industry.
    And then you come along, looking for votes, telling working class people that posh people like me don’t deserve it, and that we must redress the balance. But it is your populist, envy-based, vote-hunting ideas which make our country crap, far more than me and my shit songs, and my plummy accent.
    I got signed in America, where they don’t give a stuff about, or even understand what you mean by me and “my ilk,” you prejudiced wazzock, and I worked my arse off. What you teach is the politics of jealousy. Rather than celebrating success and figuring out how we can all exploit it further as the Americans do, you instead talk about how we can hobble that success and “level the playing field”. Perhaps what you’ve failed to realise is that the only head-start my school gave me in the music business, where the VAST majority of people are NOT from boarding school, is to tell me that I should aim high. Perhaps it protected me from your kind of narrow-minded, self-defeating, lead-us-to-a-dead-end, remove-the-‘G’-from-‘GB’ thinking, which is to look at others’ success and say, “it’s not fair.”

Up yours,

James Cucking Funt

NB: Turns out the Bluntster is quite sharp on Twitter too. (As they say: WARNING: This might make you like him.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

So they’re “reforming” the RMA again?

In the middle of last year John Key told a roomful of council numpties that if he was returned to government after the election,

one of our top priorities will be to progress the Resource Management Act amendments that we’ve had to park for the time being.
    Our changes to the RMA will tackle housing affordability by freeing-up land supply and making it easier to build, extend, and renovate houses.
   Consenting will be sped up and simplified.

Since these same promises have been made every single time the Resource Management Act has been amended – right back to Nick Smith’s first tinkering with it back in the late 90s – and right up to the Key Government’s last chocolate-coated turd -- I won’t be holding my breath for Nick Smith’s promised announcement tomorrow any more than I have been for the last twenty years of promises.

The problems have been known about long enough – the inability to build new houses in NZ cities at a price new home-owners can afford and at which spec builders can make a profit –nearly  all of them stemming from the Local Government Act’s encouragement for council’s to grow like cancer, and the Resource Management Act’s virtual removal of property rights in land.

Yet I can guarantee that neither will be addressed tomorrow.

Whose_Bloody_Land_is_it_Anyway

Instead, if we are to take Amy Adam’s tepid 7-point plan from last year as the template , all we can expect is more flaccid bullshit like “a national planning template” which will allegedly create “a simplified planning framework” (yeah right); “streamlined” costs and processes (d’you believe that at all?); district plans now available online (on Skynet yet?); “better consideration of natural hazards in planning” (expect more building in more places to be banned); and finally, district plans that are more “proactive” (Galt save us!).

Click here to read more ... >>

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

It makes perfect sense

Friday, January 16, 2015

Case Study House #5, by Whitney R. Smith: ‘The Loggia House’


While many mid-century modern architects could do little more than design a floor and a ceiling and four walls of glass – unleashing one glass box after another on the world – architects like Whitney R. Smith was doing something different.

While they may have looked superficially similar Smith was designing layered spaces that nested and interlocked, in houses with broad roofs which provided a "sense of shelter," with the fire "burning deep in the solid masonry" of the house – deceptively simple houses giving both prospect and refuge, that brought in and opened up to nature.

"Basically the fundamental innovations of those designs had to do with a radical integration of indoors and outdoors within the houses' plans," said Elizabeth A.T. Smith [no relation], chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. "They were very much opened up to nature and were oriented around gardens and natural plantings.

"I think that one of the primary characteristics of Smith's designs not only in these but throughout his career was his synthesis of experimental materials and structures with a real sense of appreciation for nature, the climate in Southern California and the landscape. And he was able to fuse these concerns to create very sensitively designed works of architecture."

My favourite is his 3-bedroom Case Study House, sadly never built. But what a floor plan!


image

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And with its small scale and ingenious use of privacy screening, a very model of metropolitan living in a benevolent climate like ours.

image

[Pics by Space 72, Save Wright, Esther McCoy's Case Study Houses 1945-1962]

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Religion v Free Speech

Ever wondered why religionists from Anjem Choudary to Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam to the Pope to the UN representative for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) maintain there are “limits” to free speech protecting their own particular brand of obnoxiousness?

It’s because the tenets of religion are incompatible with the right to free speech.

Faith and force are corollaries,” wrote Ayn Rand. The claim to a non-sensory, non-rational means of knowledge is the rejection of reason. “When men reject reason, they have no means left for dealing with one another—except brute, physical force.”"Reason is the only objective means of communication and of understanding among men; when men deal with one another by means of reason, reality is their objective standard and frame of reference. But when men claim to possess supernatural means of knowledge, no persuasion, communication or understanding are possible. Why do we kill wild animals in the jungle? Because no other way of dealing with them is open to us. And that is the state to which [faith] reduces mankind—a state where, in case of disagreement, men have no recourse except to physical violence."
    Far from providing grounds for the existence or protection of rights, religion necessarily leads to the systematic denial and violation of rights. When faith is accepted as a means of knowledge, force inexorably follows.

Like Voltaire said:

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What ‘The West’ refers to …

From Dr Michael Hurd’s article ‘What the Terrorist War Against “the West” Really Means’:

The “West” does not refer primarily to a geographic region, and it’s obviously not limited to the United States. The “West” refers to a set of ideas embodied in countries like the United States and France, almost always subconsciously in the minds of most people. It refers to a set of attitudes, beliefs and convictions that most people don’t even realize they possess, at least until something like this happens. It’s rooted in the pro-reason (and implicitly pro-freedom) ideas of Aristotle, objective reality, rational science, and all the ideas and principles which tend to dominate in periods of enlightenment and inventiveness (ancient Greece, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolutions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries); and are nowhere to be found in periods dominated by raw faith, allegiance to church over freedom and concern with the afterlife over the present and real life (the Dark Ages, and the period of religious totalitarianism now taking hold in much of the Middle East and attempting to spread beyond.)
    So what does it mean to have a “pro-Western” attitude?
Examples are as follows

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Advice

The Wisdom of the Ancients…

Much of what is most commonly passed off as being “The Wisdom of the Ancients” is neither very wise, nor all that ancient – particularly the favourite books of today’s western and mid-eastern religionists. (Which makes you wonder where Yahweh, Elohim and Allah were all this while.)

To give some context to both the guff (which is voluminous) and the good stuff (of which there is despairingly little) here’s a list in chronological order, from latest to most recent, of what is considered the great books of sacred wisdom (along with a few more hopeful milestones along the way). Not only is it true that  …

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… but most of cultures’ myths and fables were borrowed from each other.

Here’s your list:

The Sumerian creation myth of the Old Babylonian Period, written on what is known as the Barton Cylinder, dates to around 2400 BCE.

Those days were indeed faraway days. Those nights were indeed faraway nights. Those years were indeed faraway years. The storm roared, the lights flashed. In the sacred area of Nibru (Nippur), the storm roared, the lights flashed. Heaven talked with Earth, Earth talked with Heaven. [The first part of the myth deals with the description of the sanctuary of Nippur, detailing a sacred marriage between An and Ninhursag during which heaven and earth touch] Enlil's older sister / with Ninhursag / he had intercourse / he kissed her / the semen of seven twins / he planted in her womb.

The Pyramid Texts are a collection of ancient Egyptian religious texts from the time of the Old Kingdom, ca. 2400-2300 BCE. The spells, or "utterances", of the pyramid texts are primarily concerned with protecting the pharaoh's remains.

The Ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, often regarded as the first great work of literature, dating from the Third Dynasty of Ur (circa 2100 BC), tells tales of the Great Flood and the .

The Enûma Eliš, the early Babylonian creation mythos, probably dates to the Bronze Age, to the time of Hammurabi or perhaps the early Kassite era (roughly 18th to 16th centuries BCE), although some scholars favour a later date of c. 1100 BCE.

The Vedas are the oldest writings of Hinduism, four Indian texts containing several mythological and poetical accounts of the origin of the world, hymns praising the gods, and ancient prayers for life, prosperity, etc. composed and/or collected about 1500 – 1100 BCE.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead: ancient Egyptian funerary texts used from about 1550 BC to 50 BC to guard a deceased person on their journey to the underworld (afterlife) and help them avoid the pitfalls and deceptions during the journey.

The Iliad and its sequel, The Odyssey, an ancient Greek epic poem traditionally attributed to Homer and composed in the 8th century BCE.

The Kojiki , the inspiration behind Shinto practices and myths, is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, dating from the early 8th century BCE.

Upanishads, the sacred books of Hinduism, first dozen or so being the oldest and most important. Around 800-100BCE.

The Theogony i.e. "the genealogy or birth of the gods," is a poem by Hesiod describing the origins and genealogies of the Greek gods, composed circa 700 B.C.

The Avesta is the religious book of Zoroastrians containing a collection of sacred texts, much of which was destroyed by subsequent religionists, but which was probably first written down around the 6th or 7th centuries BCE to help cohere the disparate cultures of the Persian Empire.

If religion is primitive philosophy, then the first step up the road to human adulthood was taken in ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE, with the birth and first publication of the pre-Socratic philosophers. While other cultures were confusing mythology for their religion, these giants were taking reason on its first tottering steps.

imageTao Te Ching, a classic Chinese text composed according to tradition around the 6th century BC by the sage Laotsu, is the fundamental text of both philosophical and religious Taoism.

The Torah, the Judaic sacred text and the first of the monotheistic Abrahamic texts (Abraham being most famous for agreeing to kill his son, for which nearly 50% of the world’s religionists now give thanks), comprises the first five books of the Bible – the “Five Books of Moses” – incorporating many of the earlier mythological tropes, especially those of Babylonian, Zoroastrian and Mesopotamian mythology -- written during the so-called Babylonian Captivity in the 6th century BC and finalised in the 2th century BC.

The Agamas, the original texts of Jainism, were composed around around the 6th to 3rd century BCE.

The Golden Verses of Pythagoras are a collection of moral exhortations traditionally attributed to Pythagoras, probably dating to the 5th century BCE.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

“One of the best arguments against people who claim Islam as a religion of war”?

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A friend posted this entertaining contribution to a recent Oxford University debate: Huffpost UK political editor Mehdi Hasan arguing that Islam is a peaceful religion.  You should watch it to see how an entertaining secular Shi’a Muslim counters the claims.

Cartoon by Jyllands Posten“One of the best arguments against people who claim Islam as a religion of war,” said the post.

And, you know, we all wish it were true that Islam really were a religion of peace, that we could all live together and just get along, that everyone has just got Islam wrong and if they would only stop then peace would soon break out.

But this is to ignore too much.

“One of the best arguments against people who claim Islam as a religion of war” is made in spite of Islam’s beginnings in having been initiated and spread specifically as a doctrine justifying war and conquest.

This in spite of Islam’s followers being responsible (taking the count only in recent weeks) for firebombing a newspaper in Hamburg; for murdering journalists and shoppers in Paris, cafe-goers in Sydney, and a whole town of 2000 people in Nigeria  -- not to mention assorted beheadings and atrocities in Syria and Iraq, and the Boko Haram savages who strapped a bomb to a 10-year old girl to show how peaceful Islam is.

This in spite of passages such as this in the Quran and Hadith inveighing upon good Muslims to advance their religion by violence:

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Licensing made easy

Monday, January 12, 2015

Unity through Diversity Equals Cultural Death

Guest post by Olivia Pierson

Cultural pluralism is as old as the hills – or at least as old as the Babylonian Empire on whose riverbank shores even the captive Jews were tolerated to sit and weep. Multiculturalism, on the other hand, is a 20th Century bastardisation of tolerance, which the United Nations invented to socially engineer Western democracies to cope with overwhelming immigration, mostly from Third World slave-pens. The pious and politically correct preachers of “diversity” and “equality” raised multiculturalism in the West to the status of a new religion, as if the world needed yet another one of those.

With the truth emerging after murderous events in Paris, can there still be any doubt that multiculturalism has epically failed in the West? In the last five years Angela Merkel has admitted its failure; so have Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron.

But how has it failed so?

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Let’s hope ‘Anonymous’ follows through

IJ Review reports “The underground activist group “Anonymous” posted a video on multiple websites on Thursday as a direct response to the Muslim terror attacks in Paris.

“Calling it #OpCharlieHebdo, after the name of the satirical French magazine that was the focus of the attacks, they also published a statement summarising the points made in the video as well”:

Never attack the media
    Message to the enemy of the freedom of speech.
    January 7, 2015, freedom of speech has suffered an inhuman assault. Terrorists broke into the premises of the “Charlie Hebdo” newspaper and shot in cold blood several satirical cartoon artists, journalists and two policemen. The killers are still at large. Disgusted and also shocked, we can not fall to our knees. It is our responsibility to react.
    First, we wish to express our condolences to the families of the victims of this cowardly and despicable act. We are all affected by the death of Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Wolinski, great artists that marked their talent throughout the history of the press and died for freedom. We do not forget the other victims killed and injured in the attack that were the targets of these murderers.
    It is clear that some people do not want, in a free world, this inviolable and sacred right to express in any way one’s opinions. Anonymous will never leave this right violated by obscurantism and mysticism. We will fight always and everywhere the enemies of freedom of speech. Charlie Hebdo, historical figure of satirical journalism has now been targeted. Anonymous must remind every citizen that the freedom of the press is a fundamental principle of democratic countries. Freedom of opinion, speech and to publish articles without any threat, and stress is a right “inalienable.” Anonymous has always fought the slayers of these rights and will never allow a person to be shot down radically for publishing an article, a drawing, an opinion …
    Freedom of speech and opinion is a non-negotiable thing, to tackle it is to attack democracy. Expect a massive frontal reaction from us because the struggle for the defence of those freedoms is the foundation of our movement.
    We are Legion.
    We do not forgive.
    We do not forget.
    Expect us!

The aim: Eliminate the barbarians’ internet presence and they immediately become less relevant, less able to recruit, and less able to post bloodthirsty videos of themselves butchering innocents.

As wags immediately began pointing out,

It's pretty bad when guys who hide behind masks have more serious fighting words than the US president...

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Pascal’s Wager–Islamic Edition

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Settled Science

Property Rights of the Poor Need to be Recognised in Developing Countries

I was standing in line behind Helen Clark getting coffee just before Christmas.  To be fair I didn’t notice it was her until the starstruck barista delayed her fainting long enough to tell me who had caused her heart to flutter so. It was the head of the UN, she said.  (I felt it churlish to point out Miss Clark is actually head of the UN’s development programme and not yet the whole UN, and since I felt protective of my long black anyway I just smiled for her appreciation of how she had just been touched by greatness).

Strangely, Miss Clark didn’t turn to me to ask for advice in her present portfolio area, i..e, how to best help develop developing countries, but if she had I’d have pointed her to something like the works of Hernando de Soto, or this guest post by Peter F. Schaefer and Clayton Schaefer, advising things Miss Clark’s development agency has never (and would never) consider.

Property Rights of the Poor Need to be Recognised in Developing Countries

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Friday, January 09, 2015

Friday Morning Ramble: Don’t Cower #JeSuisCharlie

Hebdo-Religions

There was only one real news event this week.

Realise:

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And (straight from the donkey’s mouth, i.e., the mouth of UK Imam Anjem Choudary writing in USA Today): “Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people's desires.”

The good thing, perhaps the only good thing, to come out of the executions of 12 brave men and women (apart from seeing the Catholic League realise it has more in common with their murdering co-religionists than with those they killed in cold blood, and then doubling down on that admission) is that more and more – even academics and mainstream and liberal fellow travellers – are beginning to see the sharia through the trees.  Even in the Herald.

  • We must defend Charlie Hebdo's right to offend – Professor Bill Durodie, NZ HERALD
    ”Now we must reaffirm the importance of absolute freedom of expression in an open society - regardless of how offensive it might be to some and, on occasion, how puerile it may become. The solution to bad ideas - as the enlightenment philosopher John Stuart Mill noted - is not censorship but more speech with which to counter them.”
  • The Charlie Hebdo killers must not silence us. We should ridicule them  - Suzanne Moore, GUARDIAN
    “Yet to talk openly, freely, is of course what the gunmen want to stop. They demand respect for their god with the barrel of a gun.
        “In response we must fight them. And we must laugh, ridicule and ultimately disrespect them. Fanatics, as Amos Oz said, don’t really do jokes. There cannot be peaceful coexistence with those who are want to return to a fantasy of the seventh century. They brook no dissent. They fear laughter. Rushdie has spoken of how religion, all religion, deserves ‘our fearless disrespect.’ Some have died for this. The least we can do is carry on being disrespectful.”
  • The Blame for the Charlie Hebdo Murders  - NEW YORKER
    “The murders today in Paris are not a result of France’s failure to assimilate two generations of Muslim immigrants from its former colonies. They’re not about French military action against the Islamic State in the Middle East, or the American invasion of Iraq before that. They’re not part of some general wave of nihilistic violence in the economically depressed, socially atomized, morally hollow West—the Paris version of Newtown or Oslo. Least of all should they be ‘understood’ as reactions to disrespect for religion on the part of irresponsible cartoonists.
        “They are only the latest blows delivered by an ideology that has sought to achieve power through terror for decades.”

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Not so hotso was the soft censorship in the msm of either not showing, or of pixellating #CharlieHebdo pics. Point made:

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And not a single UK newspaper has dared show a single #CharlieHebdo cartoon on its front page.

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So take a bow then NZ Herald. Not a #CharlieHebdo cartoon, but giving the front page over to cartoonist Rod Emmerson was a brilliant idea.

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Take a bow outlets worldwide who proclaimed #JeSuisCharlie.

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And take a huge bow outlets like the Berliner Kurier, who gave up their front page to Marian Kamensky’s tremendous message:

Berliner-Kurier

That said…

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And if you’re wondering how the barbarians become so emboldened:

So go on the attack yourself, whenever necessary. The Mohammed Image Archive provides all the satirical ammunition you need – “not only a full collection of the original [2006 Danish] cartoons, but more importantly the largest collection of Mohammed imagery ever assembled in the history of the world.”

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Mind you, satire is simply the canary in a very dank coal mine…

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What must be said? A basic truth, opposing the reason for the West being multiculturally disarmed:

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MORE COMMENTARY HERE:

“There are plenty of opponents of free speech in our midst… The majority have censored us already, the Islamofascists simply want the courtesy extended to them.”
Defending free speech when it is under attack – LIBERTY SCOTT

“It is easy to express solidarity with murdered cartoonists, but it is difficult to live as bravely as they did.”
We Are Not All Charlie – Jeffrey Goldberg, ATLANTIC

“The saga of Molly Norris, the still-hiding Seattle Times cartoonist who created #EverybodyDrawMohammedDay in 2010.”
Society for Professional Journalists: Mostly Mum on Molly Norris, and Trashing the Journalists Who Pointed That Out – Matt Welch, HIT & RUN, 2010

“Here’s what will happen next.” I hope not. But I fear so.
Charlie Hebdo Massacre: How the West Will Respond – James Delingpole, BREITBART

“It does not matter whether you agree or disagree with the particular book, cartoon or movie that they seek to silence. We must defend our unconditional right to freedom of thought and freedom of speech.
    “The totalitarians are counting on self-censorship: that their threats and attacks will leave most of us too scared to speak out and criticize their doctrines. They then have a chance of killing the few individuals brave enough to defy them.
    “We must end any hope that this strategy will prove effective.
    “In the wake of the attacks on Sony, many people rightly observed that if The Interview were put up on the Internet and made widely available, the attackers’ goal of silencing the filmmaker would be unachieved. The same goes for criticism and satire of Islamic doctrine.
    “If we now all defiantly make the content and images the jihadists wish to ban widely and permanently available across the web, the attackers will have failed. They may have taken the lives of the editor and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, for which we grieve, but they will not have taken their freedom.
    “The alternative is to cower and stick our heads in the sand in hope that the issue goes away. But this will not end the threat. It will only make our freedom disappear.”
Onkar Ghate: Freedom of Speech: We Will Not Cower – REASON VS. FAITH

[Hat tips Derek McG, Russell W, Julian D, Trevor Loudon, David Burge, Ari Cohn, Russell Brown, Michael Jährling, Paul Perrin, JeSuisCharlie, Paul Rooney, Lachlan Markay, Adam Wagner, WikiLeaks, John Harden, Claudia Mendoza, Emanuele Ottolenghi]

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