Saturday, July 15, 2006

Signing off with Sus




'Exhibit A'


Bernard Darnton: "Labour's Pledge Card, or as I prefer to call it: Exhibit A."

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Debate, and Happy Birthday

Now, I would have blogged the Great Debate, but as it happens and as I was chairing it, I couldn't. You had to be here.

As you do if you want a piece of the Libz tenth birthday cake. Cheers.

And if you're looking for a live blog of my speech, coming shortly, watch this space.

UPDATE: Sadly, my assistant blogger crashed and burned. I was clearly far too inspiring to allow her to concentrate on her keyboard.

More later.

Nik Haden - Property rights: When governments attack!

The party's treasurer ona subject dear to most libertarian hearts, and the violations of them so dear to Government hearts.

Most grievous recent violation worldwide is Robert Mugabe's in Zimbabwe. Confiscation used as a political tool. The kind of blatant confiscation now the exception around the world, rather than the rule. [Telecom, anyone?]

The dire consequences ar obvious even to idiots. So now governments prefer partial confiscation, eg, Morales's partial confiscation of oil fields. Voluntarily. "Agree," he said, "or we'll throw you out anyway." [Telecom, anyone?]

Venezuela, Ecuador have followed suit. Sending troops to the oil fields was argued as "Bolivians taking back their own fields." Morales argued full nationalisation woudl hoever deprive Blivians of the necessary expertise in oil exraction and production.

Closer to home, Telecom has had about $3 billion wiped off its value in recent weeks by government attack. 'Unbundling.' 'Voluntary' separation. Oversight by govt of all commercial contracts.

Vodaphone too is being told it has been "too successful," and is being readied for attack by government. Woosh is having it radio spectrum threatened (by govt) to be sold from under its feet.

Why is this happening?

Socialists are becoming smarter. Post-Berlin Wall collapse, even socialists have realised socialism doesn't work. So they wish to keep the facade of private property, while controlling the production.

Too, the government can take a 'hands-off' all-care-and-no-responsibility approach if they don't completely nationalise.

So why are businesses accepting this? Why don't they rear up in response? Or shrug?

They can't.

Only shareholders can do that. CEO's are obliged [says Nik] to keep producing in whatever regime they find themselves in. It is up to the shareholders to rear up and take action. And it is here that Libertarianz and libertarian arguments can perhaps have their greatest success. Both economic and moral arguments.

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Richard Goode - New Zealand's national drug policy

Richard Goode on a subject that is a sticking point for many libertarians, and potential libertarians.

Often said by libertarians that people are entitled to make mistakes, and that taking drugs is one of those. RG has a different view: that taking drugs is good.

"Let me explain."

To do that, we have to go all the way back to the Stone Age.

Technologically primitive then. Not so now. Stone, wood, pottery ... now steel, concrete, glass, titanium. Then, not even the wheel .. now the car, the rocket and the Segway.

Many, many examples of enormous advances in technology since the Stone Age. But not in the technology of recreational mood alteration.

Alcohol a blunt instrument, a lot good, and a lot bad. Essential to the selection of Libz office-holders.

Hungover in the morning as if you were poisoned? You have been: with acetaldehyde.

From book 'Life Extension': An ideal solution to the problem with alcohol would be to designa drug like alcohol but without the side effects. Fortunately, such a thing has already been done. Designed by Alexander Shulgin, it emulated the effect of two martinis; taken by test subjects, who enjoyed it a great deal, it became called 'Empathy.' It was prohibited in NZ in 1986.

There are others. All banned.

NZ has had a National Drug Policy since 1988. It has an overarching goal: to prevent and reduce harms caused by alcohol, tobacco and drug use. RG suggests if we are to achieve sucess we must address this 'harm minimisation' approach.

3 drug-related harms:
  1. harms inflicted by people on themselves by choice, or on others by their choice (for example in a smoky bar).
  2. harms inflicted on others without their consent
  3. harms inflicted by governments on their citizens.
Here on this last is where we Libz can can truly engage the debate. To point out the latter harms, and explain that the harms caused by governments in exercising prohibition are far greater than the harms that people voluntarily choose for themselves.
  1. punishments handed out to dealers and users, including sentences of life imprisonment
  2. hands the provision and supply of recreational drugs to the underworld, on a plate.
And arguably, the greatest harm caused by the War on Drugs has been to stifle research into new and better and safer recreational drugs.

Questions from the floor.

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Bernard Darnton: Leaders' Address - Darnton v Clark

The front of every Libertarianz brochure produced in the last decade has been graced with this quote from Ayn Rand:

The source of the government's authority is 'the consent of the governed'. This means that the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens; it means that the government, as such, has no rights, except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose.

We're about to prove that we mean it.

The ideas represented by that quite are what divide slave nations and the prosperous west.

These ideas are what is represented in the great documents of liberty, including the Magna Carta, the 1688 Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

[Holds up picture of Labour's Pledge Card] "Here's what you would have received in your mail last election. This is Helen Clark's Pledge Card. Or as I prefer to call it, 'Exhibit A.'

The money appropriated to fund this card was intended by parliament to help run her office, not to run for office.

I don't believe in a cap on election spending. That's a free speech issue. What I do have an issue with is my money being spent on the Labour Party's election campaign.

At issue here is our very basic constitutional arrangements.

When money is appropriated by parliament it is appropriated for a specific purpose. It is not intended legally to be used for any other purposes.

Helen Clark is not above the law. She is about to have a reminder of that.

BD first became angry about this walking past a pre-election sign in a bus stop every day saying 'You're better off with Labour." With the parliamentary crest. So I had paid for it. It made me literally see red!

Fed up with just yelling at the telly. Now he's going to yell at the country.

But the media don't want to know. Perhaps it's not trivial enough? While I'm suing the country about our fundamental freedoms, some woman running across a rugby field is getting headlines.

Plan A to get real attention is to win the case.

Plan B is to get a bikini.

Several chances for publicity. Defence file their response. A judicial conference 30 July. Another judicial conference. Trial itself around November.

After November? After trial over? After (hopefully) a result and many discussions about the constitutional issues raised, what then?

Keep fighting. Get involved in the various campaigns. Get involved in the Voluntary City Project. Get involved in the Property Rights and Common Law campaign. Put yourself up for election.

As Tim said, the socialists can only win if you let them. Let's not give them a chance.

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Caption contest

What is former leader Lindsay Perigo explaining to Helen Hughes -- 'Hooch Helen' to her friends? Make your suggestions below.

Speeches online

Just to let you know: all, or most, of the speeches from the conferences are being recorded, and will be online at the Libz site as soon as we can get them up. Probably Monday or so.

In the meantime, you'll have to make do with my poor summaries.

Tim Wikiriwhi - Keeping the faith

Tim Wikiriwhi, the christian libertarian. T-shirt reads: "Stand fast in the liberty of Christ." Christ!

This isn't a game. This is real. People's lives are being destroyed, but those people will do so little to help remove the shackles that help imprison them. People's lives are being destroyed, but so many libertarians themselves who KNOW what's wrong will do so little to do what they know is necessary.

Organising libertarians is still like herding cats. Why? Why so many 'useless inert nothings'?

Don't be pessimists; be optimists. Take it seriously. LIVE YOUR CONVICTIONS.

There is no reason and passion dichotomy: if you're not passionate, then there's something wrong with your reason.

Why quit? Why quit when the competition is morally bankrupt to their core, and totally absurd. To quit in the face of such small adversaries is cowardice. We have reason and virtue on our side.

Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Don't be a quitter. If you are, and you KNOW what the fight is about, you're shirking what you know needs to be done. God said, the lukewarm will be spewed from my mouth. Don't be lukewarm.

The socialists aren't beating us, too many are doing it themselves.

While hundreds of libertarians sit on their arses, the forces of evil are at work. Rust never sleeps. What do you need to wake up?

Being an individualist is no excuse for excluding yourself from activism. An individualist wants to see his values in the world; a christian libertarian who KNOWS that libertarianism can save the poor, the weak and the needy MUST do what he can to make those values real.

Not to attack the enemy is to give them the advantage. Why, when the enemies of civilisation will do everything -- even blow themselves up! -- will so many libertarians not even support their local Libz candidate?

Libz offers the only real choice between freedom and slavery. Your motivation for activism should be love: love for your fellow man. Individualism need not be anti-altruism.

God bless the Libertarianz.

Would you buy a party run by these men?

Julian Pistorius - Technology, the internet, privacy, and freedom. What does the future hold?

A freshly shaved and shorn Julian Pistorius. Bob Jones' comment must have been taken to heart.

Technology advances at a huge rate. Two years ago his mother didn't even know what the internet was. Now she has three email addresses, two websites and a member of several online communities. The change with this new technology has happened quickly, but almost imperceptible for many.

No new crimes with the internet, just new tools. Amazing advances, but some worries. A 1984-like uber-state is possible, but we haven't got it. But it's possible. For example:
  1. Software that can monitor screen radiation, interpolate results and view what's on your screen from quite some distance away. Will become more widely
  2. Laser audio surveillance: Point a small laser at a window in which conversations happening, and can use the vibrations from the window to record audio.
  3. Tiny cameras, pinhole-sized.
Should we be worried? Time for the tin-foil hats? [That, by the way, was a joke.]

A legitimate concern. Can't outlaw this: people should be free to innovate. Can't return us to the stone age. Technology isn't evil, just how some people use it. If outlawed, then only outlaws and governments will have this technology.

Why can we be free to say what we wish here today? Freedom is not a technological problem, it's a cultural problem. What really keeps us free is our cultural aversion to being bossed around. We don't need to worry NOW as long as we do still have the freedom to criticise and we do still have the western cultural tradition that values freedom.

Technology will keep improving, but it's not something to worry about. But we should remain vigilant.

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Craig Milmine - Marketing Libertarianz

Brochures, brochures, brochures.

"I sued Helen Clark for Fraud!"

Russell Watkins - The Voluntary City Project

No mention of 'sustainable' here. A promise.

Why have voters supported libertarians more in local elections than in general elections? Perhaps they can see the effects of waste more clearly than they can the demolition of freedom? Perhaps because there is more coverage of council candidates?

" I have an idea," says Russell. Wants to use this opportunity of local government elections to put libertarian ideas in front of people. He has begun a campaign called Voluntary City Tauranga, that he hopes will become a satellite of the Libz.

Example: Toll bridge had taken $120 million more than what it cost. But taking off the toll causes congestion: a basic market axiom. Tauranga Libz suggested creating a property right in the bridge, with a toll only for maintenance.

This is the sort of tack he intends to take. The Voluntary City project is one to franchise, and to concretise for punters the problems with their local swimming pool, and its connection with the posturing blowhards in Helengrad. Website read to go. Planning being done. Just add money. Let's roll.

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Meet the man who's suing Helen Clark

I'm reminded that you can meet the Man Who's Suing Helen Clark this afternoon at 1:30.

Libz leader Bernard Darnton will host a 'Meet the Man' opportunity at 1:30, and then speak at 2 o'clock.

Get ye out here to the Airport Centra, corner Kirkbride and Ascot Rds out here by the airport.

And if you're extra keen, you can stay and hear me speak at 4:10. Or of course you can just go straight to the bar. As Bernard probably will.

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Phil Howison: The youngest libertarian at the election

Phil Howison - On being the youngest candidate in the election

A big Libertarianz welcome now to Philip Howison.

When I stood in the last election, at 19 I was the youngest candidate in the election. Overcame my shyness and stood in Hutt South against Trevor Mallard.

He was reminded that on every platform, Libz speakers do set the agenda. He joined Toastmasters to gain experience. But had trouble being invited to speak. Catholic Womens' League rang to say he was sacked to make way for Destinty. Remembered Richard Goode's question to them all: What are you going to do to save cannabis smokers from persecution? Laughter from the candidates.

But he did speak. To great effect. Candidates friendly (except the odious Murray Smith). None spoke well (except for ex-libertarian Lindsay Mitchell). Too full of platitudes.

Final meeting: snarled at by an old lady: "Do your homework." No mike. No podium. Felt great to be able to say to the floor: "Taxation is theft." To answer honestly when asked how we would help small business: "Repeal the RMA, repeal GST..." and we'd just be starting.

A women came up to me after and told that forty years ago she was the youngest candidate. For the Values Party. They now have a new name, and they're the fourth biggest party in Parliament.

We can be too. If I can stand, so can you! Let's do it.

Libertarian Sus: Party MC

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Perigo -- Libertarianz: A ten year party

"What can I say that I haven't already said?" So it begins. "No speech," says Perigo, "I'm all speechified out" after speaking in the States "to do justice to Ayn Rand" after the publication of The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. [On that, more in the latest Free Radical.]

Big highlight of LP's trip to the US was watching the World Cup. And the headbutt. Jay Leno's comment on the headbutt: "The first time the French saw combat in sixty years!"

The sheer exultation on show at Italy's World Cup victory: an explosion of ecstacy. Mankind at his best. An unabashed celebration of achievement. We too will celebrate like this one day.

It's often asked how a party of individuals can function? Collectively? A collective of individuals? Individuals with a common goal can achieve near-miracles. The Founding Fathers did.

As you've now realised, it's a long haul. A marathon not a sprint. Ten years of Libertarianz. First membership list looked like a Korean phone-book.

Libz was first called 'The A-Team': formed by Ian Fraser on Radio Liberty. Two electorate candidates in 1996: LP in Epsom and Nik Haden in Wgtn Central: LP got 600 votes, Nik 15. Too many public servants in Wellington. In 1999 we got 6000 votes, which at the time seemed low.

We are making progress in ways that cannot be measured by members of Parliament. Thomas Jefferson said the natural order of things is for liberty t0 yield and for government to gain ground. But the natural requirement for man is to be free. An objective fact that cannot be denied.

But we have a Government hell-bent on the destruction of those liberties. Meanwhile, the National Party (surprisingly) is more libertarian than it has ever been. Don Brash is happy to call Lindsay a friend, and an enthusiastic reader of The Free Radical. Rodney Hide is as libertarian as an MP can be -- at least in private, and when not dropping people on the floor. Sue Kedgley -- boo, hiss, said we should never underestimate the extent to which libertarianism has seeped into their consciousness through our press releases, magazine articles, talkback calls. Little alarm bells do go off in their heads when they consider their most rampant violations of freedom: What would the Libz say about this?

This is where we are making progress.

The foundations have been laid.

We must look to ourselves to make things happen. We each have to be on fire for freedom. Not like the dilettantes. The useless inert nothings. The jerk-off merchants. Be on fire, for about us their are mountains of ice to melt! Support The Free Radical: the best libertarian magazine in the world, as judged by libertarians around the world. Support libertarian radio. Support your heroes. To many to single out, but LP mentions three names: Ken and Shirley Riddle. Staunch and wonderful supporters. And myself (bows).

To conclude, LP quotes William Lloyd Garrison, who, like Ayn Rand, upset everyone on all sides of the divide. He was a radical abolitionist, demanding the immediate repeal of slavery, unlike the gradualists of his time, but not advocating the shipping of freed slaves back to Africa, unlike some other abolitionists. For 35 years he fulminated fulsomely in his weekly newspaper, The Liberator. He stopped only after the signing of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery. In his first issue, he wrote about it:

On this subject I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest; I will not equivocate; I will not retreat a single inch; and I will be heard.

He was heard, all right! So ardently did he attack the defenders of slavery that he was jailed once for libel, almost lynched twice and had a bounty on his head of $5000 from the legislature of Georgia who wanted to try him for sedition. The Liberator was outlawed in many states, with jail for anyone subscribing.

Samuel May, a friend and fellow-abolitionist, once entreated him to be more temperate. "O, my friend, do try to moderate your indignations, and keep more cool; why, you are all on fire." Looking him straight in the eye, Garrison replied: "Brother May, I have need to be all on fire, for I have mountains of ice about me to melt."

So do we. Be on fire. And happy birthday!

Sus speaks

Welcome to the Conference: President Craig Milmine reminded conference-goers of the "huge range of libertarian ventures" going on -- including, just incidentally, leader Bernard Darnton suing Helen Clark -- and let us know about the fantastic speakers coming up.

  • The 'F' Word: Libertarian Sus spoke about the 'f' word -- freedom. Visiting the Founding Fathers' convention room in Philadelphia: what a sense of history. What great men, and what great ideas. How did we lose the plot?

    How come such great ideas now have such poor support? "Am I alone?" Nope. Loads of great speakers here today, including the first, "the legendary broadcaster who thinks like me, Lindsay Perigo."

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Blogging live from the Libz conference...

Blogging live here from the Libertarianz Party conference at an undisclosed location in Auckland.

Stay tuned.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Beer O'Clock: Orval

Stu from Real Beer has the Beer O'Clock proclamation this week:

I had been thinking about writing about Orval for a few weeks now. Last week’s comments – proclaiming Neil and I were writing about beers for grown ups – almost had me reviewing a kid’s beer, but I couldn’t find any single Heineken bottles at my local bottle store (and I’m sure as hell not buying a dozen). So, after very little deliberation, I chose Orval.

Orval is very much an adult’s beer (as opposed to Sante Fe Lager, Maurice Bennett’s 'adult' beer). It’s a great aperitif, perfect before a fantastic dinner party. But it’s also a superb 'lawnmower' beer (note: it says 6.2% on the bottle but it’s probably a fair bit more than that by the time you get to drink it, so only drink after you’ve done the lawns).

This trappist ale is highly effervescent and must be poured carefully, and is a beautiful peachy gold in the glass. Its magnificent off-white head takes on a rocky, sometimes fungus-shaped appearance and clings all the way down the side of the glass. The splendid aroma, which hints at vanilla for an instant, becomes a subtle perfumery of pepper, oak and citrus flowers. Almost bone dry in the mouth, thanks to 'wild' yeasts that most brewers shun, the flavour hints at old-fashioned citrus fruit with a bittersweet middle and a lactic tang in the finish. The peppery wood-like notes become more pronounced as you get through the glass.

It may not be sessional (that is, you probably wouldn’t drink it all night) but a bottle of Orval, one of the world’s most unique beers, would undoubtedly be my 'drink of last request.' You should be able to get it from most large supermarkets, good bottle stores or any of New Zealand’s many Belgian beer café.

Slainte mhath
Stu

LINKS:
Orval
Trappist
Orval - Ratebeer (if you don’t believe Stu)
Sante Fe Lager

TAGS: Beer & Elsewhere

Taking the IKEA

Cactus Kate doesn't like IKEA furniture. Boy, does she not like IKEA furniture. Whew!

And I noticed too on her blog the first use in the wild (well, the first time I'd seen it) of a new euphemism:
Just finished drinking 2 large 1.5 litres of bottled water. I don't think sleeping will be a problem tonight, other than a 'Jerry Collins' during the night to let out the excess.
When I break the seal tonight, I'll be sure to use it.

LINKS: 'Stop IKEA' campaign - Cactus Kate
Heatwave - Cactus Kate

TAGS: Humour, Sport, New Zealand

Where did all the apprentices go?

The sacking of the Plumbers, Gasfittters and Drainlayers yesterday brought with it the news that only 11 percent of the students who passed their National Certificate in Politically Correct Plumbing managed to pass a real examination set by the Board. No wonder Michael Cullen sacked them: how dare they expose the substandard training that trainees receive in their 'Modern Apprenticeships.' How dare these reactionaries hurt the feelings of the poor trainees.

How dare they give the media the opportunity to highlight once again that the number of new entrants to 'Modern Apprenticeships' is falling, and the standard of training they receive is at an all-time low.

Where did it all go wrong for New Zealand's apprenticeship system? That's a question that's been bugging me for a few years.

When I came back to New Zealand in 1995 after a few years away, one of the things that slowly dawned on me was that apprentices had virtually disappeared from the building industry. When I left in 1990, apprentices were everywhere -- almost every builder had one or two, even in the downturn that had just begun as I left -- but come 1995 they were about as hard to find as it was to find an honest lawyer.

What had happened?

Eleven years later I get an answer: Trevor Loudon suggests it was Lockwood Smith's doing.
Dr. Smith, who promised to rein in the education bureaucrats, was instead seduced by them. The illegitimate offspring of that ill starred union became known as “seamless education.

Rather than complete a 3 to 5 year apprenticeship, people could instead train over an indefinite period of time, accumulating “unit standards” which would lead to more flexible qualifications and “prove” competence over a range of areas.
Ah, so apprenticeships were killed by our old friend NCEA. Who'd have thunk it. What we have today are not apprentices; instead they're students who occasionally get their hands dirty --- there is a difference you see, between industry-based aprentices and Tech-based trainees.

Let me explain, and give a bit of my own history. Like Trevor, I never did an apprenticeship either. Instead, a very benevolent builder and developer took me on as a carpenter while I studied architecture largely part-time at Uni (something that was very unpopular at the Uni by the way), and to my mind the result was similar to an apprenticeship, and it was as close to the apprenticeship that I was after as I could manage. To that benevolent builder I am still enormously grateful.

Working as I did, I and the other genuine apprentices received about as good a building education as you could get. Apprentices were based on site, working every day from 7:30-5, with only occasional visits to Tech for Block Courses or to Night School for supplementary classes. Apprentices saw themselves as workers -- albeit badly paid workers -- but working was their focus, time-keeping was important, and the training at the Technical Institute they unerstood to be backing up what they needed to know in order to do their day job properly. On site they learned a work ethic, and they discovered that learning had a point to it: it made you better at your work, and in your chosen trade. It made them Tradesmen.

In addition, because they were part of the crew, every apprentice was taken under their wing by one or two knowledgable older chaps who were only too happy to show 'their' youngster all the tricks of the trade that they knew -- and their youngsters were generally only too happy to soak up as much as they could by showing all the respect that these old hands deserved. This education was probably at least as valuable again as what an apprentice learned in their Block Courses, but it was nothing that could ever be prescribed in any curriculum or measured by any Unit Standard: it happened only because these apprentices had themselves been able to earn the respect of the grizzled old hands. This training helped make them good Tradesmen.

In short, the apprentices of the eighties learned that work and a work ethic was important, that training was valuable, and that experience was utterly invaluable. Youngsters like this were of great value to any employer, which is perhaps why it was traditional for every builder, however small, to regularly have at least one apprentice working for them; and these apprentices emerged as confident, highly competent and knowledgable in their trade and all that their trade required. (A fact that many tertiary-trained 'professionals' might like to ponder.)

All this however is virtually the opposite for today's many fewer schoool-based trainees.

The school-based 'apprentice' training is modelled not on the apprenticeships of the past (from which most professional training could learn a thing or two) but instead on the model of university chalk-and-talk training. The school-based trainee sees himself not as a worker but as a student. The work ethic he learns is the work ethic of a student, with all that implies. Dirty hands are out. Early starts are out. Learning on the job is out. Learning is something that comes from a lecturer -- and as the saying goes: those who can, do; those who can't, lecture -- and then taken to job (if at all) as the new received wisdom. Grizzled old workers with real world experience are seen not as founts of wisdom worthy of respect but as reactionary bigots worthy only of contempt -- after all, who's the one with the newly received wisom, the shiny diploma, and the true understanding of the Treaty Principles?

In short, today's apprentice -- if you can find one -- is surly, lazy, unthinking, unresponsive, unable to realise how much he doesn't know (and unwilling to learn), and unable to realise which side his bread is buttered on. (I figure if I'm going to be labeled a reactionary bigot I might as well be one.) He works, if at all, only from the neck down. He emerges without real on-the-job skills, without real experience of his chosen trade, and as a result still unsure whether he's up to it at all, or whether it's really for him. No wonder his 'low self-esteem' needs nurturing.

And what employer in their right mind would want one of these on their job?

And I think Trevor's probably right: Lockwood Smith's capitulation to the education bureaucrats probably is the cause of what happened. What do you think?

LINK: Apprenticeship, the overlooked institution - part 1 - New Zeal (Trevor Loudon)
Sacked plumbers board strikes back over safety - Dominion Post

TAGS: Education, Politics-NZ

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A new word cloud

I did this a while back, but I was curious to see how the Word Cloud for Not PC looked now.

Here 'tis below. Proof that I talk more about Reisman and Wright than I do about beer and budgets -- and (unlike many a blogger I could mention), barely at all about myself:

You can get your own Word Cloud here.

LINKS: Word Cloud Generator - Snap Shirts

TAGS: Blog

Coalbrookdale - Philipp Jakob Loutherbourg the Younger


Somewhat in the manner of John Constable, but without the turbulent cloudscapes that made Constable's work at once more daring and romantic than it first appeared and with a somewhat shabbier setting, which, nonetheless and taken with the blazing light in the coming distance, this 'Coalbrookdale' of 1801 seems to somewhat presage the coming Industrial Revolution -- the reason no doubt it appears on that page at Wikipedia.

TAGS: Art

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The New 'Free Radical': Bigger, Badder, BETTER!

Subscribers will now have theirs. Contributors will have theirs. Good newsagents will have theirs.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about the biggest, baddest, re-launched, re-shaped best and BIGGEST Free Radical EVER, of course. Edited by yours truly, issue 71 has 72 pages (count them, 72 pages!) of pithy, gripping, infuriating, enlightening and downright SHARP reading. "This is arguably the best and undoubtedly the biggest ever Free Radical," say readers. "No question."

What's inside?

  • Free Radical 71 has the EXCLUSIVE exposé of how the Labour Party stole the New Zealand election, and how Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton is using the 1688 Bill of Rights to sue the Prime Minister to get it back. David Farrar and Bernard Darnton give details.
  • Read James Valliant and George Reisman on the Great Immigration Debate.
  • Discover just what Lindsay Perigo is saying in California about Objectivist Rage in answer to Barbara Branden's TOC presentation: the whole speech is here!
  • Find out how Urban Sprawl is Good, how Production precedes Consumption, how the famous Global Warming 'hockey-stick' was exposed as a fraud, and what NZ's Climate Science Coalition intends to do about it.

And that's just a start. Read on, and find out about:

** The man who's just been convicted of sedition.
** The doctor who became a brothel keeper.
** The man refused permission to mow his lawn.
** The teenager who sparked a pro-science movement that's got the animal 'rights' eco-terrorists on the run.
** Why New Zealand will continue to struggle for electricity, and what needs to be done.
** How Australia, NZ, Malaysia and the UN are helping to make a Marxist revolution in the South Pacific...

... and more. MUCH, MUCH MORE! Music. Architecture. Art. Humour. Outrage!

Wit! We've got it.
Punch! This has it.
Exposés! It's loaded for bear.

Of course, you might say that because I'm the editor for this issue, "Ah, he would say that."

Ah yes, but it's true. It's all true.

IF YOU'VE NEVER READ 'THE FREE RADICAL,' THEN NOW IS THE TIME TO START. IF YOU THINK YOU ALREADY KNOW 'THE FREE RADICAL,' THEN NOW IS THE TIME TO RE-DISCOVER IT.

This Free Radical is the real thing. As the tag line says: Politics, Economics and Life as if Freedom Mattered!

Subscribe TODAY to get your new Free Rad in your letterbox next week. Or, you can order a copy from good newsagents. Or go here and buy a PDF copy online and start reading immediately. If you don't, you WILL regret it.

Don't miss out. Subscribe Now! Buy now! You'd be a fool not to.

LINKS: Buy 'The Free Radical' - SOLO Store

TAGS: Politics-NZ, Politics-World, Politics-US, Objectivism, Libertarianism, Politics, Economics, Politics-Labour

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Malapropisms

Not wanting to cast nasturtiums, but some of you peeps really need to tow the line with your spelling and grandma. It doesn't auger well. However, I can send you to a place that can help.

The Eggcorns Database has a full list of malapropisms -- in lame man's terms 'eggcorns' -- that can help you avoid those embarrassing trite and true verbal slips. Alimentary errors. You could really go at it hammer and thongs if you wanted to.

Good luck.

LINK: Glossary of malapropisms - Eggcorns Database

TAGS: Humour, Nonsense

Bavinger House - Bruce Goff


Drawings of Bruce Goff's Bavinger House, a spiral composition that has featured here before.

That's the plan for the house at right.

LINKS:

TAGS:
Architecture

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Freedom anniversary shows good and bad of Big Government Liberalism

Thoughts abound on the twentieth anniversary of the Homosexual Law Reform Act, from Liberty Scott, to Idiot/Savant, to DPF, to a series of pieces at GayNZ.Com.

My own thoughts can be summarised in the title of Gay NZ's series and also of Idiot/Savant's piece at No Right Turn: Twenty Years of Freedom. As Liberty Scott says, the criminalisation of homosexuality "shows how readily the Police were willing to clamp down on ANYONE the state deemed as 'perverted.' If you wonder how fascism can come to pass, then look – because it existed, for gay people until 1986."

For mine, the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act comfirms both the good and the bad of Big Government Liberalism: like the 'big government' liberals who sponsored the law, it was a thing of two halves.
  • The good in the Big Government Liberal is contained in the word Liberal. Lindsay Perigo puts the 'liberal' argument on victimless crimes very simply, "It's not the business of the state what you choose to put in your body, or whom." To have criminalised acts between consenting adults that ain't nobody's business but the actors is itself obscene, as was the state's hounding of people over something as personal as their sexual choices -- hounding to death in some cases. To have liberalised that awful stain on human liberty was a breath of fresh, free liberal air. That was the good half of the Act.
  • And the bad? The bad in the Big Government Liberal is contained in those two little words: Big Government. The Big Government liberal sees no progress without government action, and sadly, that stain on liberalism was also reflected in the bad half of the Homosexual Law Reform Act. The big government liberals rightly rejected the conservative enforcement of morality by Big Government, but sadly replaced that wrong with their own form of enforcement of morality by Big Government: it outlawed discrimination against homosexuals by employers, landlords and the like. While the Homosexual Law Reform Act got the government out of people's bedrooms, where it should have never been, it got more government into more offices, businesses, workplaces and other places in other people's lives where it hadn't been before. By taking away people's right to discriminate -- their right to choose wrong -- the Big Government Liberals replaced one wrong with another.
That said, the good in this Act overwhelmingly outweighed the bad. “I felt it was wrong for New Zealand," said Fran Wilde, the sponsor of the Reform Bill. "It was a huge black hole in our human rights legislation and it needed to be fixed for everybody – not only for gay people, but for non-gays too, because it was just wrong.” Good on her.

LINKS: Twenty years of sexual freedom - Liberty Scott

Twenty years of freedom - No Right Turn
Twenty years of freedom - GayNZ.Com

TAGS: Victimless Crimes, Politics-NZ, History-Twentieth Century

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Rates revolt

Heads up. A new campaign website against the profligate rises in rates theft around the country seeks your attention: NoMoreRates.Com. Says the site:
This website is the ‘headquarters’ of a campaign to get rid of the present system of charging council rates. The campaign has two objectives:
  1. To replace the present system of council rates with a new, fairer system, which reflects both services provided and the ‘ability to pay’ of various sectors in the community.
  2. To develop a system of restraining council expenditure to levels which the community approves of, and which the community believes it can afford.
I'm in favour of half of the second point, the part that mentions restraint, and of the entirety of the website's name. Arguably, the chief reason for rates to have escaped the leash is that councils were taken off the leash in the Local Government Act amendment five years back. As I said at the time, the idea that councils should be granted a "general power of competence" to do whatever they wish will be paid for was "fascist in its reach," and ratepayers would be picking up the tab for many years to come. I do hate saying I told you so.

LINK: NoMoreRates.Com
Rates on the rise - NZ Herald
'No!' to more council powers - Peter Cresswell, Scoop (August, 2001)

TAGS: Politics-NZ

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Murder in Mumbai

163 dead in Mumbai (Bombay) and counting. More bombs, more murders, more carnage by people who love death, and are challenged by those who love life. Why are the people of Mumbai being bombed this time? M&C News summarises:
Mumbai's economic importance makes it a symbolic target for terrorists. The city of teeming millions also has a powerful underworld that is known to have links with terror groups.

'Mumbaikars are resilient. We have shown it in the past. But the city seems to be tested again and again,' said former Mumbai mayor Murli Deora, now a minister in the federal government. There have been outbreaks of sectarian violence in the past in Mumbai following terror attacks, which are usually ascribed to Muslim militant groups...
Ekklesia offers some early theories on the reasons for the killing:
Analysts say that the bombers are likely to have struck for a variety of reasons. First, militants oppose the India-Pakistan peace deal, which both the countries’ leaders reaffirmed today in the face of the worst assault yet on Indian soil.

Second, India’s model of secular democracy and religious pluralism, despite its fragility in recent years, is anathema to hard-line Islamists.

Third, there is resentment at the increasingly close relationship between the Indian and US governments following President George W. Bush’s visit – even though India played no part in the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions.

Fourth, as the country’s main financial centre, Mumbai generates nearly 60 per cent of India’s GNP, maximising impact and disruption.

Commentators say that there may also be a link to the G8 summit which meets next Tuesday. Civilian attacks have in the past been timed to coincide with events significant to the globalisation process.
People who love life being killed by people who love death and wish it inflicted upon us. The front line today in the global war against the representatives of the dark ages is Mumbai. To paraphrase what I said after the London bombings a year ago, "we are all Mumbaikars today."

LINKS: Tested again, people of Mumbai try to stay calm - M&C News
Mumbai bombs target India-Pakistan accord and secular democracy - Ekklesia
We are all Londoners today - Peter Cresswell, Scoop

TAGS: War, Religion, Politics-World

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Label schmabel

The received wisdom amongst food fascists is that people are too dumb to look after their own nutrition without public health officials doing it for them. Notes 'Reason Express,' of the food fascists' theory: "If people just knew, if they could be told by public health professionals what and how much to eat, they would eat differently." Well, they do know, and turns out they wouldn't: A new poll in the States suggests that eighty-percent of Americans do read food labels, then go ahead and eat whatever they want anyway.
A nation full of overweight people is also full of label readers. Nearly 80 percent of Americans insist they check the labels on food at the grocery store.

They scan the little charts like careful dieters, looking for no-nos such as fat and calories and sugars.

Yet even when the label practically screams, "Don't do it!" people drop the package into the cart anyway. At least that is what 44 percent of people admitted in a recent AP-Ipsos poll.
Read the story here. And then start planning your own lunch.

LINK: A matter of taste - CNN

TAGS: Health

Kings Rd house - Rudolph Schindler

Rudolph Schindler's house in the West Hollywood of 1920.

Designed for himself, his wife and another couple with whom they shared the timber and concrete tilt-slab built house, each of the couples had their own wing, their own studios, and their own courtyards in the cunningly designed pinwheel layout.

Nothing like it had been seen before in Southern California.

TAGS: Architecture

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

90 candles for Labour's cake

DPF reflects that Labour are in a pretty good place at their ninetieth, citing Tony Milne's speech to Canterbury Labour for the 90th celebration.
One interesting thing though is as Tony recounts great Labour moments of the past he can't really point to any of this Government except being in power and not sending troops to Iraq (overlooking she did send some actually). And this is not Tony's fault - Clark will leave behind a legacy of capable control of power, but no vision, no major achievements.
Well, maybe not what you or I or Dave might call achievements (I would hope), but the ninety-year-old Nanny does seem to have brought back and entrenched a culture of entitlement and a miasma of suffocating political correctness, re-established the executive at the centre of political power, and begun to re-establish the Government at the centre of economic power.

On this latter, Terry Hall suggests in The Dominion-Post:
Signs that the Government is becoming increasingly interventionist in business, coupled with its fondness for regulation, are starting to have a severe impact on investment decision-making.

Allied to this is a fear that Labour is reverting to its socialistic roots in trying to re-establish government at the centre of economic power.

These trends aren't being lost on Australians, who have been leading the rush to dump Telecom shares since the Government decided unilaterally to punish the company for not promoting a faster uptake of broadband by forcing it to open its copper wire network to all competitors.
And now, following that 'success':
The Government – in a bid to be seen to be doing something to reinvigorate the economy in its third term – seems to feel it can't lose with talk of its intervening not just in telecommunications, but in the electricity, transport, and roading sectors.
Even with ninety-year-old gums, the Labour Nanny can still help bite the hand that feeds. Karl du Fresne's column title, also in the Dom, says it all: 'Ninety and still a Nanny.'

LINKS: Labour's 90th - Kiwiblog (DPF)
All this meddling sets investors on edge - Terry Hall, Dominion-Post
Ninety and still a nanny - Karl du Fresne, Dominion-Post
Cartoon by Richard McGrail, courtesty of 'The Free Radical.'

TAGS: Politics-Labour, Politics-NZ, Cartoon

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Tyrannicide on Radio NZ

Just finished listening to a fascinating interview with Geoffrey Robertson, Australian human rights lawyer and the author of The Tyrannicide Brief, the story of how Cromwell’s lawyers produced the first trial of a Head of State, after the English Civil War, and what they won with the head of King Charles I.
The proceedings against Charles I in 1649 secured the constitutional gains of the civil war – the supremacy of parliament [over the monarch], the independence of judges, individual freedom guaranteed by Magna Carta and the common law. But other than Cromwell (who later became King in all but name) the regicides are not to be found on statues or stamps, and their fate is seldom mourned: in 1660, after a rigged trial at the Old Bailey, their heads were stuck on poles and their body parts fed to the stray dogs of Aldgate. British liberty is usually dated from the “glorious revolution” of 1689 [sic], although the House of Commons in 1649 declared it: “The first year of freedom, by God’s blessing restored”.
Robertson reflected on the many lessons of the English Civil War and of the prosecution against the king that still resonate today, most notably lessons on the nature and limits of tyranny. He made no comment(and nor, unfortunately, was he invited to) about the use by Bernard Darnton in his action against Queen Helen of the 1688 Bill of Rights (written after the 'Glorious Revolution,' not after the Civil War of forty-five years before as erroneously suggested by NBR last week) but Robertson's point is still clear: politicians and tyrants forget the lessons of these events at their peril.

The interview should be online at Radio NZ's Nine-to-Noon page shortly.

LINKS: Publications - Geoffrey Robertson QC
Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan - Audio Archives - Radio New Zealand
Clark faces legal challenge over election spend - National Business Review

TAGS: History, War, Politics-UK, Common Law, Darnton v Clark

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Darnton v Clark: Fly the flag!

Here's a way you can show your support for Bernard Darnton's case against Helen Clark: fly a Darnton v Clark banner at your site.

The first banner is now available at Darnton Vs Clark, a news ticker that keeps readers updated with events (you can see it in my right-hand sidebar). More banners to come very shortly.

LINK: Banners - Darnton Vs Clark

TAGS: Darnton v Clark

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Buffett and Gates misguided philanthropism

Warren Buffett's $30 billion act of charity, given to Bill and Melinda Gates's foundation, is certainly going to achieve more than a comparable $30 billion spent by governments, but is it really "a defining moment in the history of philanthropy" as some people say? Will the application of Buffett's money and Bill Gates's brilliant mind really change the world? "No," says the Ayn Rand Institute's Yaron Brook.

What the world's 'have-nots' have not, says Brook, is freedom and capitalism. Spreading freedom and capitalism will do more for the world's poor than all the world's charity ever will -- if Buffett and Gates truly want to 'make a difference' they should get behind efforts to spread freedom and the ideas and institutions that underpin free markets.
“While Gates and Buffett are brilliant businessmen, they and other philanthropists ignore the fundamental cause of poverty, including poor health care, around the world: lack of capitalism. Wherever and to whatever extent capitalism exists, the productive ability of individuals is unleashed, enabling them to make their lives progressively better. The West used to be as poor as Africa today; it is capitalism that made us rich.”

“If the tribalist or religious dictatorships of Africa and the Middle East do not renounce their destructive political systems and adopt capitalism, even $100 billion in charitable handouts will make little difference in their lives.”

“Anyone who is truly committed to helping the world’s poor should first and foremost use their charitable dollars and their public platforms for the promotion of capitalism.”
LINKS: Buffett and Gates ignore the fundamental cause of world poverty - Yaron Brook, Ayn Rand Institute

TAGS: Politics-World, Ethics, Economics, Objectivism

Wishful thinking from 'The Kiwi'

The Kiwi Herald has another 'scoop':
Secret documents leaked to the Kiwi Herald reveal that the Labour Party plans to retire from politics. The documents, marked "Do not give to parliamentary messenger," show that the leadership of the party has decided that they "have had a good innings and after ninety years it is probably time to give someone else a turn."

... Meanwhile the Herald is following up on a rumour that another NZ parliamentary party will soon announce that it is to disband because "We were only kidding."
Read the whole piece here.

LINK: Labour to quit politics - Kiwi Herald

TAGS: Humour

Ron Paul: Congress's 'Dr No'

The Washington Post is outraged to learn there is a libertarian in the US Congress, and they're outraged. In fact, and almost unbeknownst to the investigative reporters of the Post until now, Ron Paul has been under their noses for some time, it's just they've only just noticed:

Republican Ron Paul missed out on the 19th century, but he admires it from afar. He speaks lovingly of the good old days before things like Social Security and Medicaid existed, before the federal government outlawed drugs like heroin.

The Mises blog corrects The Post, "those are all state initiatives of the 20th century, of course," but recommends their reading of Paul's record:

In his legislative fantasies, the amiable Texas congressman would do away with the CIA and the Federal Reserve. He'd reinstate the gold standard. He'd get rid of the Department of Education and leave the business of schooling to local governments, because he believes that's what the Constitution intended.

"Article 1, Section 8 gives me zero amount of authority to do anything about public education," says Paul on a recent weekday. He's seated in his congressional office near a sign than says, "DON'T STEAL; THE GOVERNMENT HATES COMPETITION." Paul, 70, has earned the nickname Dr. No for his habit of voting against just about anything that he sees as government overreach or that interferes with the free market...

Ron Paul may seem an unlikely advocate for the repeal of federal drug laws, but this stance stems from the same impulse that leads him to call for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration and its "health nannies." He says that decades of government programs can soften Americans' sense of personal responsibility and that the free market can do a better job of keeping people safe and healthy than the government can.

A pity there's no one even close to that in the NZ Parliament.

LINKS: Congressman Paul's legislative strategy? He'd rather say not. - Washington Post
Eek, a libertarian! - Mises Economic Blog

TAGS: Politics-US, Libertarianism

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When politics masquerades as science

George Reisman has two related guest posts currently up at his blog, the first by Mark Humphreys on the politics of much climate 'science':
The global warming crusade is politics masquerading as "science". One indication of this bait and switch tactic is the argument, continually promoted by left-wing Greens, that a "consensus" of climate scientists supports this officially sanctioned thesis. Aside from the questionable truth of this claim (more on this below), consensus has nothing to do with the process of identifying evidence, facts, and the logical integrations that lead to new scientific breakthroughs. So scientists properly ought not to be concerned with consensus. Consensus is the obsession of politicians maneuvering to impose their will by force on other people.
Another example of "the deceit that emerges when science is distorted by a regime of coercion" is offered by another guest post at Reisman's blog on the grand old lady of much of today's environmental activism: the campaign based on Rachel Carson's book 'Silent Spring' that led to the ban of DDT, and the subsequent deaths of 800,000 African children a year to the malaria that DDT had been curing. The war on malaria, once being won, was lost due to politicised 'science':
So why has the war on malaria failed? Because governments banned the cure. Now they claim to wonder why people are sick and dying. DDT was discovered during World War II to be a great means of stopping infection from typhus and malaria. Its inventor, Paul Hermann Mueller, won the Nobel Prize in 1948. It was used throughout the 1950s and '60s and was on the verge of wiping out mosquito-borne diseases from the planet. Then something very peculiar came along. A book called Silent Spring by Rachel Carson was published in 1962, and it eventually created a fantastic backlash against progress. The spring was silent supposedly because of the lack of birds, all killed off by DDT. The only problem is that Carson's claims were never scientifically validated. Indeed, it was a hoax... Even so, governments acted.
"Even so, governments acted." The message -- the dangers of government action in the face of politicised science -- is one today's politicians and activists might ponder. And while pondering, you might find it worthwhile to reconsider George Reisman's classic arguments from his 'Toxicity of Environmentalism,' available online at his Capitalism site, that such an outcome is no surprise given the philosophical roots of the anti-human strand of environmentalism.

LINKS: Politics masquerading as science, by Mark Humphreys - George Reisman's blog
The spring is silent on DDT, by Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr. - George Reisman's blog
The Toxicity of Environmentalism - George Reisman


TAGS:
Environment, Science, Global Warming

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Crystal Heights complex - Frank Lloyd Wright


The Crystal Heights apartment complex, designed for Washington DC in 1938. The complex included shops, a theatre, twenty-four apartment towers and a 1000-room hotel, but it was never built. Too radical, declared the planners, and -- they decided -- insufficiently classical for Washington's mausoleum-like government centre.

Crystal Heights never got off the drawing board because the area was zoned for residential use only, said Neil Levine, professor of art and architecture at Harvard University and an expert on the project.

Mina Marefat, a Washington and Wright scholar, believes Wright's imperious attitude offended Washington's bureaucracy, including the zoning and planning boards whose support he needed to change the rules. Building Museum curator Chrysanthe B. Broikos located a letter from Wright to the client, Roy Thurman, complaining of "difficulty getting the necessary permits."

I can't help thinking this or something like it would look good down at Auckland's Tank farm -- but sadly it would probably be killed by the same sort of people that killed it in DC.

LINKS: Big tower on the prairie - Washington Post
Auckland's Tank Farm - Not PC
New Urban Design Commissar for Auckland - Not PC

TAGS: Architecture, Auckland, Urban Design

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Monday, July 10, 2006

New offshore advertising from WINZ:


"With only 280,300 New Zealanders taking welfare payments instead of working, and just $1 billion more spent on welfare payments to working people, it's clear the bottom to the well hasn't yet been found," said a WINZ spokesthing. "There's always room for more."

TAGS: Welfare, Budget & Taxation, Politics-NZ, Humour

Penalties

Did anybody watch the final of the World Penalty Kick Championships?

Did anyone ever really seriously suggest that as a model for finding the winner of the Rugby World Cup?

TAGS: Sport

Timetable for Darnton v Clark

The timetable for events in the matter of Darnton v Helen Clark is set out on the Darnton vs Clark site.

Today's post sets out what happens next, and who is representing the Labour Party (hint: it's the same QC who represented Helen Clark against John Yelash, and who advised her to sue Bill English over his 'paintergate' comments).

Meanwhile, for those who were asking, David Farrar has the timetable for the events at issue -- when the Labour Party were told the pledge card was electoral spending; how soon before the election they agreed and committed to their inclusion in election spending; how soon after the election they cynically withdrew their commitment -- all part of his series of archived posts on Labour's over-spending.

And look out soon for some colourful banners you can install on your site to show support for Bernard Darnton's action against Helen Clark. You've already donated; you will soon be able to fly the flag as well.

LINKS: What happens next? - Darnton vs Clark
The timeline - Kiwiblog (David Farrar)
Archived posts on Labour's over-spending - Kiwiblog (David Farrar)
Donations - Darnton vs Clark

TAGS: Darnton v Clark, Politics-NZ

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Intellectual ammunition for the weekend - the Libz conference

If you're looking for intellectual ammunition this weekend, then the place to find it is the Libertarianz Tenth Birthday Conference at the Auckland Airport Centra.

Party time for Libz members starts at 9:30am. Open afternoon sessions are available to all.
Speakers include:
  • Leader Bernard Darnton on Darnton v Clark -- here's your chance to ask him what's going on!
  • Lindsay Perigo on Libertarianz - a ten year party
  • Russell Watkins on The Voluntary City Project
  • Nik Haden on property rights - when governments attack
  • Julian Pistorius, on technology, the internet, privacay and freedom
  • Richard Goode, on NZ's drug policies
  • Peter Cresswell on property rights and common law
All these speakers, plus much more, including the Great Debate chaired by yours truly, 'That peaceful people should be able to pass borders freely.' Come and be entertained, enlightened and challenged.

Live blogging of the conference is planned (just like last year), but not yet confirmed. Much better to be there. Don't miss out. Register today!

LINKS: Libz conference 2006

TAGS: Libz

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I can see your house from here


Google Earth's satellite must have recently visited Auckland, since it now boasts improved photos over the City of Sails. Here's my house.

TAGS: Auckland, Geek_Stuff