Saturday, 22 December 2007

Help lift a likely lad's literacy

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your Christmas!!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Beer O’Clock – The Best of Beer, 2007

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

Beers of the Year

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

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

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

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

6.  Limburg Czechmate Pilsner – not big, just brilliant

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Bars

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers, Neil


Christmas message from Frank Lloyd Wright

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

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

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

Is Christmas too commercial?

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

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

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

And so say all of us.

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


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

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

Women who prefer cardigans, perhaps?


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

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

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





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

Back in my day ...

Allow me to rant for just a moment. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

** Posts from the ARCHIVES on: Building

'Pinwheel' Tower - Organon Architecture

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

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

Thursday, 20 December 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TFR78: The Democracy Rationing edition (updated)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Cresswell

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

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

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

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

Heading up, then heading off

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

At Christmas, thank the producers

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

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

What a great thought to contemplate at Christmas.

Some thoughts for the season from Lord Byron

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

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot Kyoto Air

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

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

[Hat tip Kiwi Pundit]

The Ten Least Successful Christmas TV Specials of All Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The MPs have

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

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

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

- Ignored the Electoral Commission's advice on spending limits

- Failed to provide legislative certainty around the exemptions for MPs

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

- Continually misrepresented key clauses of the Bill

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

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

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

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Woolfie in the house

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

Taking the Christ out of Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten tips to survive the party season

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

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


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

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

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

Smokescreen (updated)

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

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

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

Coincidence?  Smokescreen?  What do you think.

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

UPDATE: DAY OF INFAMY  - Lindsay Perigo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read on here. Tags: ,,

That was the year that was ...

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

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

Of some 1,827 posts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chateau Vaux le Vicomte


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

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


Monday, 17 December 2007

Polls deliver EFB verdict

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top ten words for 2007

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

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

Starship not buying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'A Climate Sceptic In Bali,' by Vincent Gray

Dr Vincent Gray has just returned from the United Nations' Climate Conference gabfest in Bali, where he was part of a small delegation of climate sceptics under the umbrella of the International Climate Science Coalition challenging the warmist mantra of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Here's a brief account of his experiences:  

There were some 10,000 people milling around the magnificent Conference Center at Nusa Dua in Bali. There are two large Conference halls holding 500 people, free  computers and wireless, nearly a hundred publicity desks, subsidiary meeting  halls, fountains and a Balinese tropical ambiance including  dancers and electronic gong music. The neighbouring Hyatt Regency  Hotel hosted many of the additional meetings and they extended to the next hotel  along, the Inna Putri Bali, where we stayed.

The heroes of the show were the Nobel Peace Prize winners of the IPCC, who had a  prominent stall, and Al Gore, who turned up, attacked his own government, and was sharply disowned by them.  Almost everybody seemed  to be greenwashed with the view that science has proved that emissions of  carbon dioxide are harming the climate and need to be reduced, but there are many reservations about the sort of measures that are being so frequently  trumpeted as necessary by every leaflet, newspaper, radio and TV programme.

When I first entered the place on Monday I found leaflets on every seat  attacking Greenpeace for discouraging the planting of forests and over-exaggerating "tropical deforestation" which accounts only for 17% of world timber production, and I was issued a leaflet by Oxfam headed "Stop Climate Poverty". They, and many other organisations present were frightened that the sort of climate mitigation measures which are being so loudly demanded will increase poverty in most underdeveloped countries. They were right.

Slogans like "Climate Justice Now" were on many stalls, arguing that the first priority for poorer countries is to encourage economic progress before they could be made to spend their limited resources on climate mitigation.  There was concern about the proposal, (called REDD) to bribe Indonesian forest interests with "Carbon Credits" paid by you and me, so that instead of working they can live on charity. (Many people are certain that the money would never reach  the actual forestry workers, but would end up in Swiss bank accounts.)

Another organisation with similar sceptical feelings about this conference as ourselves  actually had a seat in the conference chamber. This was the Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change which is an international body consisting of 41 member organisations in many countries. Our own Business Round Table is a member and they have many from the USA and two in China. They are non-scientists, mainly economists and sociologists, who are prepared to believe that perhaps emissions of carbon dioxide might be a  problem, but they are horrified by the economic and social consequences of the measures being proposed which are usually opposed to the most obvious and necessary ways of tackling the many problems of underdeveloped countries.  The Civil Society Report on Climate Change arrived late, but is beautifully written, well received,  and very persuasive.

My main interest was the IPCC. As I am one of the scientists involved, I asked the lady at the IPCC stand when I would be likely to receive my portion of the Nobel Prize. I was told that it is likely that the money will go into a charitable trust  carrying out the objectives of the IPCC. I suppose most of the other scientists are doing pretty well out of the IPCC already, but I will continue to live on my pension.

I have been an Expert Reviewer of the drafts of every single one of the IPCC Reports for 17 years. I wrote 1,678 comments on the Fourth Report, 16% of the total. I have done this job as a retirement hobby, for all these years just  for the pleasure of science discussion and I never expected that anybody would ever know what I had said. I was therefore agreeably surprised recently when I  found that an application the Freedom of Information Act in the UK had led  to the publication on the web of all of the comments, so everybody can now  judge whether their frequent rejection was justified.

The Fourth Report of the IPCC does not exist in printed form, and I suspect that very few  people have read it and understood how unconvincing are many of its arguments.  Even fewer would have the comprehensive knowledge of  its contents which I have acquired over the years. The fourth volume of the current Report, the "Synthesis Report" was actually unfinished when it was launched in November, so it was not available  for scrutiny by the public. The Chairman had to use a "draft" version of the "Summary for  Policymakers."

The Fourth Report has been divided into four volumes. The first deals with the Science behind the greenhouse theory, the second with its Impacts, the third with Mitigation, and the fourth with a Synthesis of all of the reports. Since the second, third and fourth volumes depend heavily on the reliability of  the science in the first report, that is where I too I have concentrated. Over the years I  have slowly come to realise that almost all the science is flawed, unreliable  or grossly exaggerated, and for these reasons I found myself in opposition to almost everything that was going on at this conference.

The IPCC stand gave away free copies of printed versions of all four volumes.  The first three of these handouts contained only the "Summary for Policymakers" and "Technical Summary" of each full Report, but not the rest. The "Synthesis Report appeared in full for the first time. It was still subject to further correction, and the hurry in which it had been produced was evident in the fact that the main report was without coloured ink.

I met two Contributors to this Report, both of whom had read my comments,  and , presumably, rejected most of them. At the IPCC stand I met Jose Marengo from Peru, and I believe I went far in persuading him that my views are correct.  At the UK Met Office Stand I met  Richard Betts. The UK Met Office have a new pamphlet which has two interesting features. First they show officially, for the first time, that the globally averaged temperature of the earth has not only been almost constant for seven years, but that it has recently declined. Betts' explanation for this was "natural variability". It seems that this explanation applies only when the temperature goes down. When it goes up it is "global  warming"

The other  feature of his pamphlet was really courageous. Predictions of future warming made from the IPCC are so far ahead that nobody alive today is likely to be able to check whether they are right. The UK Met Office has dared  to predict the temperature only ten years ahead, so many who read this will have the opportunity to find out whether the greenhouse theory actually works. I earnestly hope that I  will be around, but I am currently 85 years old.

The International Climate Science Coalition produced many pamphlets dealing with the different aspects of climate science and policy with which we disagree which got distributed around the conference building,  together with the many others from every kind of organisation which sometimes  caused a paper glut.  We managed to organise several lectures and a press event where we distributed  copies of DVDs of the BBC programme, "The Great Global Warming Swindle" which is  yet to be publicly shown in New Zealand, although it created quite a sensation  in Australia. The lectures were given by Christopher Monckton, David Evans and   Bryan Leyland.

Christopher Monckton, who is a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher, is a brilliant lecturer who has worked hard on climate science. He is also an accomplished mathematician,  and he launched his latest mathematical analysis of the IPCC calculations on the climatic consequences of doubling carbon dioxide. He showed conclusively that they have grossly exaggerated this effect so the consequences of increased carbon dioxide are actually negligible.

David Evans drew attention to the fact that computer models predict firmly that  there should be a "Hot Spot"in the lower atmosphere for which there is no observational evidence.

We carried out a "stunt"in front of the main conference entrance when six of us  dressed in lab coats and dark glasses displayed a banner saying "KYOTO 2 IS NOT NEEDED."  This created wide media attention and several at-length interviews. It was given particularly wide TV coverage in China, Malaysia and Japan.

I attended several of the many subsidiary meetings. One very influential one was from an NGO composed of the most prominent climate scientists in China. Amongst the listed names were those of Yihui Ding and Weijie Dong of the Beijing Climate Center who invited me to Beijing last year as a Visiting Scholar, where I delivered three lectures to appreciative audiences.

The presentation, by five scientists, was very impressive, They spoke perfect, understandable English (unlike many lecturers elsewhere) illustrated by clear, readable, power point slides. I regarded the whole lecture as an oriental attempt to emphasise that the "science is not settled," as much emphasis was placed on the inadequacy of current climate data and understanding, and the lack of understanding by Chinese rural people of the issues involved. They would not answer a question on the attitude of the Chinese Government, but it was clear that the united attitude of the scientists involved was one of caution.

It is some thirty years since I last visited Bali. I took a tour that showed how  the roads are now lined with shops and enterprises. The people live behind them often by a narrow passage, only negotiated by motor bikes. So everybody rides motor bikes, which are bigger than those common in Vietnam.

Bali is truly a tropical paradise with the most beautiful vegetation and  beaches. the people are gentle and born artists. Every object is a marvel of  artistic design and it extends to the ingenious architecture of the hotel I  stayed at, the Inna Putri Bali.

The partial deadlock in the negotiations, the rejection of Al Gore by his own government and the refusal of the Americans to be railroaded into the economic disasters demanded by the vociferous activists gives comfort that our visit was  worthwhile. It is still amazing to me, though, why so many people believe in this greenhouse myth, for which there is no sound scientific foundation. The earth's temperature is not increasing, and is currently falling (as we all know in New Zealand), Sea Levels are not increasing, as shown by the recent Australian study on Pacific Islands. Malaria is not a tropical disease, Polar Bears and penguins are not "endangered." Carbon dioxide is not a "pollutant" but the very staff of all life. Current climate events are not caused by warming, but by age-old and well-known inadequacies in government concern and lack of economic development. Tags: ,,

Cue Card Libertarianism: INFLATION

INFLATION = Disguised theft, practised by governments.

It's important to understand that inflation is not rising prices.  It's so important that I'll say it again: inflation is not rising prices.  In the normal course of events, prices rise and fall according to supply and demand, and it is important for the smooth functioning of the economy that these price signals are left unmolested.

Rising prices right across the board however are more accurately the symptom of inflation.  Inflation itself is the injection of currency or credit into an economy by government, ahead of productivity and production.  It is the inflation of the money supply. On the back of this injection of paper into the purchase of production, producers charge higher prices for their products in response to the extra “demand,” other producers raise their prices to compensate, the labour force seeks to do likewise, and the spiral has begun.  Those who raise their prices at the beginning of the spiral come out ahead (as do those who get first use of each new tranche of paper), but when the spiral is really underway one raises prices simply to keep up, and those on fixed incomes are left behind.

In that it is deliberately reducing the purchasing power of money by this means to cover its own profligacy, governments that inflate the currency are engaging in hidden taxation.  In a recent 'Free Radical,' Larry Sechrest draws the obvious conclusion from all the evidence :
Mark this well. Central banks are the source of both inflation and business cycles. Tragically, many people seem to believe that both inflation and boom-bust cycles are somehow an intrinsic part of a market economy. They thus turn to the central bank to solve the problems that the central bank itself created. I might add that the very existence of a central bank introduces into all markets pervasive “regulatory risk” that would not otherwise exist. That is, market participants expend real resources in an attempt to forecast---and then cope with---the manipulations of money, credit, prices, and interest rates undertaken by the central bank. It all sounds frighteningly familiar.
This is a tax that can only be applied once governments gain control of the banking system, and in particular of the money supply.  In the normal course of events, with banks free to produce their own banknotes based on some recognised store of value (often either gold or silver), it is neither possible nor advantageous for the currency to be inflated, and prices are able to rise and fall at the behest of supply and demand.  It is only once governments wrest control of currency supply that the motivation exists to indulge in this insidious form of hidden taxation.

It is a temptation few governments are able to resist.

The most famous historic example of an unchecked inflationary spiral and of its dreadful consequences was post-WW1 Germany. Between 1914 and 1923, the money supply increased several millionfold; prices rose even more. It was said that at the beginning of this period one might have taken money in one’s wallet to buy goods to take home in the shopping basket; by the end of it, one took money in one’s shopping basket to buy goods to take home in one’s wallet!

In New Zealand inflation was triggered by the deficit spending embarked upon by the Kirk/Rowling and Muldoon governments, and with the introduction of the Reserve Bank Act in 1989 and the explicit pursuit of price stability since then, it is often thought that it has been tamed.  This is an erroneous conclusion, since in order to hold the prices of a nominal "basket of goods" stable, the local currency has been inflated by between ten and twenty percent annually, leading to serious problems with the exchange rate, and problems for producers, exporters, home-owners and prosperity overall, and the rampant rise of malinvestment.

The fact is, that in pursuing this illusion of price stability while ignoring (and in fact exacerbating real inflation), our wealth is still being stolen, destructive illusions come to be peddled as common wisdom (the nonsensical idea for example that "too fast growth" is bad, and tax cuts will be destructive) and we are being set up for some serious future problems as the whole price system unravels.  MA Abrams explains:
"In an economically progressive community (that is, one where the real costs of production per unit are falling and output per head is increasing), any additions to the supply of money in order to prevent falling prices will be hidden inflation; and in a retrogressive community, (that is, one where output per head is diminishing and real costs of production are rising), any contraction of the supply of money in order to prevent rising prices will be hidden deflation. Inflation and deflation can occur just as well behind a stable price level as when the price level is rising and falling..."
It is essential that a separation of state and money supply be effected, one as effective as the historic separation of church and state.  It is most likely that in a free money/free banking scenario, citizens will repair to a currency whose everyday form will be backed by and redeemable in some other less perishable commodity (such as gold), whose existence will act as a discipline on the amount of the everyday form in circulation, and will undergird a genuine prosperity.

This is part of a continuing series explaining the concepts and terms used by NZ libertarians, originally published in The Free Radical in 1993. The 'Introduction' to the series is here. The series itself is accumulating down on the right-hand sidebar, and in the archives here and here.