Saturday, November 08, 2008

Liberty live blogs the election

Liberty Scott promises to live blog the election from his high-tech UK lair.  He promises "political science with a libertarian tinge" -- something for the freedom-loving geek in everyone.

 Enjoy.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Last thoughts before tomorrow

                                

After a campaign that seems to have lasted all  year, the smoke and fireworks are about to clear now for just one day. And you're now left with one choice that is wholly yours to make: who you want to boss you around for the next three years --  or if you want to to say "No" to being pushed around.

It's your choice. 

Your vote is the one thing you do that politicians actually do listen to. If you do want to send them a message they'll actually listen to, then tomorrow is the only time.

It's up to you what that message is going to be.

At election time, politicians will only understand one thing : that you voted either for them or against them. If for example you hold your nose and vote Team Blue just to get out Team Red, then Team Blue will see that as a vote for them, and an endorsement of their people and their policies.

That you don't see it that way is irrelevant: what you've just delivered is an endorsement.  And what you're going to get in return is three years of something you don't believe in:  Three years of Blue-tinged bossiness--and you will have voted to receive it.

Now that's what I call a wasted vote.

Don't forget what the Blue party did last time they were in power. Don't forget who introduced the RMA and the NCEA. Behind Key, the same pathetic old hacks are still there -- they're just too scared to show them out in public. But those pathetic old hacks are still the ones writing Blue policy, which explains the capitulation to marshmallow middle-grounders.

Don't just vote against Hard Labour by giving your vote instead to the men made of marshmallow. Vote instead for what you do believe in: Your life, your liberty and and your pursuit of property, prosperity and happiness.

And there's only one way you can do that.

There are 21 registered parties at this election. 20 of them think it’s OK to help themselves to your money to and boss you around with it. There's only one that doesn’t. There's only one that says that’s wrong.

Which means at this election there are twenty-one parties but only two fundamental choices: Nanny State in twenty different guises ... or Libertarianz.

It's true. If you need nannying, then vote elsewhere. If you can stand on your own two feet, then vote for yourself: Vote Libertarianz.

Only Libertarianz promises to get government completely out of your pocket, out of your face, and out of your life. How will we do this? I answer that one here, in What's the Point of Political Activism, and here in Brushfires of Liberty

Who should you vote for? Vote for yourself. Only a vote for Libertarianz allows you to do that. "It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

We are that tireless minority. Your vote gives our efforts wings.

At this election, I urge you to free yourself from the politicians. Cast a vote for your life, and for your liberty. Cast it for Libertarianz.

We may not be in parliament this election, but you can be damn sure our ideas will be. Your vote will help that happen--every vote cast for Libz will help it happen. Every vote for Libz is a message to Parliament saying "I own my life!"---it is a message the politicians will hear, and that we will keep on making them hear.

If you do want to start getting your life back from the politicians this election, then Vote Libz. Any other vote is just a vote for more of the same.

And after the election? I invite you to join us in 'Putting the 'P' into Politics', and help keep the brushfires of liberty alight! We at least know that if it's your freedom you want, there are no shortcuts.

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Why Vote Libertarianz?

A final message from Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton, who's much more diplomatic than I am:

What sort of country do you want to live in? Every action you take, everyday, helps determine what sort of country you live in. On election day you get to make a public statement about what you'd like this country to be like. Do you want to live in a country where an exclusive cadre of politicians tells you how to live, or a country where people are free to choose and pursue their own goals? A country where the government mismanages half the economy, or a country where hard work and entrepreneurialism make a difference?

If you want to be free to choose and pursue your own goals and live in a country where hard work and entrepreneurialism make a difference, you have to vote as if you mean it. Only one party in this country consistently stands up for small government, for free speech, and for free markets and that's Libertarianz.

If you believe in those things then you must vote Libertarianz. Most parties actively oppose these ideas but even those that sometimes pay lip-service to freedom are not worth your vote. They water down liberty to the point where it is unrecognisable mush.

Today's National Party is a perfect example. National under John Key is devoid of ideas. Even if they do have ideas, they've kept them well hidden so as not to frighten the horses, preferring to parrot their opponents. Voting for National is an own goal in the contest of ideas.

Act still lives under Roger Douglas' shadow. In 1984, Douglas underwent a Damascene conversion to free marketeer. He zealously decided that the free market's results were so good that they should be compulsory, rather missing the point. Believing in freedom and voting for Act is delusional.

For politicians, the holy grail is "the mandate". By voting for a party that treats politics as a game with us as the pawns you're providing that mandate; you're providing your permission for every oppressive, expensive, and ill-thought-out scheme their "strategists" will dream up.

Voting for change but getting all the same policies back is a wasted vote. Voting for the lesser of two evils and hoping that you don't get the evil you deserve is a wasted vote. Voting for compulsion-touters in the hope of gaining freedom is a wasted vote.

Only voting for a party that stands for what you believe in and that is willing to promote those ideas honestly and openly gives your vote any value. Only voting for Libertarianz tells those in power that freedom actually matters to you. Vote like you mean it.

For more information, see www.libertarianz.org.nz or contact:
Bernard Darnton, Libertarianz Leader
Email: bernard.darnton@libertarianz.org.nz
Libertarianz - More Freedom, Less Government
www.lp.org.nz
Authorised by Robert Palmer, 10 Tui Glen Road, Birkenhead, Auckland, as mandated by Helen Elizabeth Clark, 4 Cromwell Street, Mt Eden, Auckland.

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The Obamessiah cometh!

2286521650_15d399b8c2 No, I haven't said much about Barack Obama.  Too much to be said and too little time right now to say it -- and too easy to look ungracious at a moment in history which is starting to look like it would when Moses came down from the mountains.

Because to see the reaction of Obamoids to this historic moment is like witnessing politics as religion -- a sentiment borne out by the messianic "grasping the arc of history" hyperbole.

These people really do seem to think that the coming of The One will heal the sick, calm the waters, and raise the dead.  And so does he, apparently.  Do you think they might have the wrong idea about what exactly politics does?  (The Onion strongly suspects they might.)

And what makes it history? Is it because he's the first president to come from Hawaii?  Or is it 'cos he's black -- the first black man in the White House?  Let's not fool ourselves, huh: We all know what it is, don't we, and the more everyone talks about his skin colour instead of his character -- including so many of those who voted for him -- we can be clear that forty years after Martin Luther King rang out his famous words, this presidential candidate has been judged not on the content of character, but on the colour of his skin.

That's not good enough.

But what it should be good enough to show is that if a black man can get the White House, then all the arguments for affirmative action and quotas and race-based law collapse overnight - and not just there, but over here as well -- so we really can consign race-based law to the dustbin of history.

I look forward to hearing any arguments why that shouldn't be so,

Anyway, I didn't want to say any more than that just now.  I wanted to point you to some good people who have:

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Election O'Clock: What beer would Party X drinkers drink?

In this special election Beer O'Clock post, Stu from the Society of Beer Advocates tells you what your beer fridge might tell you about your political preferences.

Election O'Clock It’s election day tomorrow and the only way to numb the pain of whichever mainstream party ends up  in the best position to do you over is to enjoy a couple of decent beers with friends. Here’s what those beers might tell you about who you're drinking with.

Labour: I’d like to say that it’s time for a strong and proven beer (Emerson’s Old 95?) but it seems that Labour have moved strongly towards a presence on the web (some think this’ll be about their only significant presence post-election) so you’ll be likely to be sharing an E-pint or two with your learned friends. It offers much but tastes like nothing.

National: National party members have always struck me as having a bit of money but not a lot of taste. So the ideal beer for you is either Heineken or Stella Artois. A fancy façade and some slick marketing, but very little substance and very much middle-of-the-road.  Can't be trusted for a good night out.

ACT: Rodney Hide has lost a lot of weight in recent times. I suspect that he’s possibly drinking Spring Tide, Mac’s low carbohydrate ‘thing’ (you can’t really call it ‘beer’). You too should lose some kilograms, don a yellow sports coat, and drink up. The beer is as insipid, watery and empty as ACT party policy.

Maori Party: It goes without saying, you’ll be drinking Taakawa Indigenous Ale (unless you’re drinking Lion Red).

Greens: It’d have to be organic and Kiwi-made. Either Founder’s from Nelson or Mike’s Mild Ale from Taranaki. Pick the closest one to you to cut down on ‘food miles’ and then cycle to the brewery to pick it up. You don’t need to wear a helmet - it won’t fit over your dreads and is against your religion anyway.

United Future: Worshipping your esteemed leader and his lovely locks (which seem to get bigger around election time) and an insatiable appetite for a billion-dollar boondoggle called Transmission Guly, you’re probably all drinking wine anyway. Communion wine.

Progressive: Until there’s a state-owned brewery your best bet is a cup of PG Tips. Perhaps a little sugar to sweeten that acrid flavour in your mouth. Do you know 'the piano’s on my foot'?

NZ First: You might need something a little stronger than beer tomorrow night. Get a friendly billionaire to buy you a winebox of The Grange and have it helicoptered in for the night.

Libertarianz: Do like the young Libz at Pacific Empire and brew your own beer. It won’t be ready to drink on the night (unless you prepared one earlier) but it’ll be excise-free and go completely undetected by anyone creating statistics that Nanny is sure to use to change your drinking habits.

And what will I be drinking?  I’ll be drinking a few beers from the Renaissance Brewing Company in Blenheim. These guys started a few years ago with a risky approach: an aggressive bunch of highly-flavoured ales, relatively high in alcohol, that are based on traditional styles but with a distinctive New Zealand twist. Their beers have taken a little while to hit their stride but in the last six months they’ve been tasting as good as anything else in the country. Actually, they’re tasting better than anything else -- and they'll be getting my vote tomorrow.

Have a good evening, and may the election result go the way you hope it does.

Slainte mhath, Stu

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A story of two morons

Here's a story of two morons, only one of whom is called John.

John Key says, "Nanny State is storming through your front door," yet he plans to do nothing about it.  Notes Martin Bradbury at Tumeke:

[TV3's Sunrise co-host Oliver Driver] ran through a list of the Nanny State hit list and asked if John Key would change any of them. A slightly perturbed John Key had to stand unblinking as Oliver went through them…
    Driver: “Prostitution Reform Law”
    Key: “No”
    Driver: “Civil Union Act”
    Key: “No”
    Driver: “Repeal of Section 59”
    Key gulps: “We’ve always said that we wouldn’t do anything if the law is working”
    Driver: “Power saving light bulbs”
    Key: “No”

image John Key is just dishonest, but the first moron really is you.  That is, if you think voting for John Key will alter any damn thing at all of what you dislike about the present government -- if you think that your wishes about what he might do will have any effect at all on what he will actually will do -- then you really haven't been listening, and you sure as hell haven't been thinking.  You're a moron.  You're ballast. You're a useful  idiot for your own damn destruction.

The second moron is Martin Bradbury himself.  "The point is made," says the moron. "Nanny State is a myth."  What a fuckwit. He's a fuckwit several times over, but he's really deeply idiotic if he thinks John Key is an advocate of ending the Nanny State, or has any idea even what it is (FFS, getting the government out of our bedrooms was not more Nanny State, but less).  And he's either blind or braindead if he really thinks Nanny State is a myth.  I know that he's in lust with big government and he's never seen a dictator he didn't like, but how could he possibly ignore all this?

The moron.

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NOT PC's voting guide for tomorrow:

Especially, where do you put your 'throwaway' second vote? [update 1]

HERE'S WHAT YOU'VE ALL BEEN waiting for: your NOT PC election voting guide to print off, tuck under your arm and take into the voting booth.

There's just three things to be said before I get under way. 

Here's the first: With a few exceptions, the electorate vote doesn’t really matter in terms of the number of MPs in Parliament for any particular party, but it does matter in terms of which particular MPs get to fill that party's seats.  In other words, your party vote counts, but for the most part your electorate vote doesn't.

Except for the four crucial seats held (or coveted) by minor party leaders, you can't exactly vote MPs out. What you can do however is this:

  • you can try to to vote particular MPs in to fill up their party's roster,
  • you can use your electorate vote as a 'throwaway' vote, as a protest vote, while still using your party vote as your 'sensible' vote .

The second point to make is this:  You're no more obliged to vote tomorrow than you are to go out and buy a three-piece suite.  Unless there's someone to vote for, then I say you vote for no-one.  Don't encourage what you don't support.  If you don't support it, don't vote for it. Do nothing. Don't vote.

And here's the third thing: We are at a defining moment in history, but not in the way Barack Obama says.  The defining feature of the next three years will not be a black man in the White House, but the economic calamity caused by years of cheap credit, and how politicians everywhere respond to it.  Crucially, they can either make things worse by spending like drunken sailors, or they can cut their coat according to their own reduced income, and get out of the way to allow our own economy to correct.

Let me give you a list of all the mainstream parties who understand this, and who therefore deserve your vote:

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • *

That's right, there's not one party responsible enough to promise what's necessary, or even to make promises they intend to stand by.  As Peter Boettke at The Austrian Economists blog writes [hat tip Anti Dismal],

Politics may be the art of compromise, but economic policy is not. In fact, compromised economic policy is arguably what caused the economic insecurity we are currently dealing with.

Sad, but all too true.  Also true is this: There is only one party at this election offering an economic plan that shows the courage to do what's right, and that party is Libertarianz.  (See here for the two-pack: the Don't-Spend-So-Goddamned-Much Plan, and the Get-The-Hell-Out-Of-The-Way Plan.)  And despite what many of you might suggest, I really do say with sadness that only Libertarianz has fronted up with an economic plan that's credible in the current climate.

In fact -- and I say this in all honesty -- given the importance of the economy in this election, I was fully prepared to promote any party who any sort of decent economic plan ... if any party had one. I was even prepared to promote Roger Douglas in Hunua if he'd shown he had any idea of the current economic reality instead of fighting the battles of twenty years ago. But he hasn't.  And unbelievably, he now wants to cut taxes while letting government spending grow!  That's the very opposite of what a responsible party would promote.

OKAY, SO WHAT & WHOM DO I RECOMMEND?  For your Party Vote, I say "Vote for what you believe in."  If you want to dump the RMA, dump GST and income tax, end the War on Drugs, beat back Nanny State, promote One Law for All, slash government spending and increase freedom for everyone, then only one party deserves your vote. That party is Libertarianz.  Yes, they're unlikely to be in government this year, but not one other party has the courage to say what's right, and that vote tells those who are in government that those views are important. 

And why vote for something you don't believe in, eh? 

But if you just want to vote for bigger government, then there's nothing I can say to help you except "Get the hell out of my way."  Any of the bigger parties are as bad as any other, and you're not going to listen to my recommendation anyway, which would be to just stay home tomorrow and examine your soul.

AND HERE'S WHO I RECOMMEND  for your Electorate Vote, and there might be a few surprises.  My good friend Liberty Scott has done his own electorate voting guide, and for the most part we disagree.  For instance, Scott advocates NOT voting for George Hawkins in Manurewa, because "this man isn’t exactly a stunning talent."  I say Scott's got that exactly backwards. I say DO vote for George Hawkins in Manurewa BECAUSE this man isn’t exactly a stunning talent.  Unless they're hardarses for freedom (and how few are they), then I say the more inept do-nothings there are in Parliament, the better.  Give George your inept do-nothing vote, and help keep an energetic hard-working big government enthusiast out of parliament.

And in Auckland Central, I say vote for Judith Tizard.  Let me say that again: Vote for Judith Tizard.  A vote for Judith is the best possible vote you can cast for do-nothing government.  Yes, this is harsh on the twenty-eight-year old Nikki Kaye, but since she has zero life-experience anyway and she looks like she's believed everything her teachers ever told her, I don't think that's any loss.

Call it the Jonathan Hunt principle.  Jonathan and Judith cost a lot to run, but nowhere near as much as all the hard-working, energetic big-spenders.  Following this principle then, I say vote for every time-serving would-be Minister of Wine and Cheese in every electorate in the country, and by so doing limit the number of hard-working energetic MPs who can fill their party's roster.

Exceptions are in Whangarei where Libertarianz' Helen Hughes deserves a vote ahead of Phil bloody Heatley, New Plymouth where Libz' Mike Webber needs your support, Invercargill where you should vote for Libz man Shane Pleasance, and of course Wairarapa where the magnificent Libz deputy leader Dr Richard McGrath richly deserves your vote.

THEN THERE ARE ALL the odious hard-working sitting MPs.  Under MMP you can't vote these bastards out, unfortunately, but what you can at least do is make them worry about their future.  I say vote early and vote often against vermin like Nick Smith, Tony Ryall, Bill English, Helen Clark, John Key, David Cunliffe, Murray McCully, Steve Chadwick, Trevor Mallard etc., etc., etc. 

Which means vote Maryan Street in Nelson to make that worm Smith worry (at least Street is an honest socialist), Francis Denz in Bay of Plenty (like Scott says "Frances Denz is ex Labour and should be rewarded for moving in the right direction), Roly Henderson in Clutha-Southland (this is a chap who says, “We don’t need our government to do more for us, we need less government so we can do more”), National's Ravi Masuku in Mt Albert (help give Phil Twyford the message that this won't be a safe seat for him in 2011 once Helen's gone), Peter Osborne in Helensville (and damn, Peter's a good Libertarianz bloke too), National's Tim Groser in New Lynn (and in dark protectionist times we need Tim to negotiate any free trade arrangements we can), Elah Zamora in East Coast Bays (a really cool Libz lady), Fred Stevens in Rotorua (another damn fine Libertarianz bloke) and  Phil Howison in Hutt South (damn, those Libz really are everywhere)

AND IN SOME SEATS you can vote against an odious would-be MP just to send her the right message: so in Hauraki-Waikato for example you can vote for do-nothing Princess Mahuta to help deny the Marxist Angela Greensill.

THEN THERE'S THE SEATS which the minor parties need to stay in Parliament, or to give them hope about being in Parliament, which for the most part means the seats held by the minor party leaders.  I say deny them those seats, or at least try to deny them the security of those seats.

If you're in Epsom, Wigram or Ohariu, then whatever you do don't vote for the sitting MP, thus giving them the message that they have a safe seat -- which all three sitting MPs smugly assume.  Vote instead either for the principled alternative candidate - which means in Wigram voting for Libertarianz' Ben Morgan against the positively odious Jim Neanderton -- or for the leading runner-up, which means in Epsom voting Richard Worthless (who also gets the Wine-and-Cheese endorsement, with a camel ride thrown in) and in Ohariu Katrina Shanks (who's far better looking than Peter Dunne-nothing anyway). This means in 2011 the party leaders will have to spend more time in their own electorate shoring up their vote, and less time annoying the rest of the country with their smugness. 

If you're in Tauranga, send Winston Peters the message he's dog tucker by holding your nose and voting Simon Bridges (and don't give the Kiwi and Family Parties any electoral oxygen: just ignore them). In Coromandel, send the Greens they'll never again have this seat by voting overwhelmingly for Sandra Goudie (who is a good local MP, also gets the does-nothing-in-Parliament endorsement).  And in Botany and Rimutaka, vote against Kenneth Wang and Ron Mark respectively so you can deny ACT and Winston First respectively any sniff of an idea that they might one day lay claim to these seats.  This means in Botany you should vote Pansy Wong, and --crucially - in Rimutaka vote Chris Hipkins: do not let Winston in, or think he can one day get back in.  Hipkins is bad, but NZ First in Parliament is a hell of a lot worse.

AND IN SOME SEATS, there are just bloody good people who are unfortunately unlikely to get in, but who richly deserve your OTHER vote, the one you can afford to use as a protest vote to send the message that the values these people stand for are good ones.  Which should mean voting Lindsay Mitchell in Hutt South (or it would if Phil Howison wasn't also there, sorry Lindsay), for Libz' Bruce Whitehead in Hunua, for Libz Drug spokesman Richard Goode in Mana (although Winnie Laban would easily earn another Wine-and-Cheese endorsement), Takapuna RSA president Michael Murphy on the North Shore (there's just no argument to give the revolting Wayne Mapp a sniff of your vote), Libz self-defence and firearms spokesman Peter Linton in Northcote, organiser of the huge anti-anti-smacking march Mitch Lees in Rongotai, and of course, in Wellington Central, the man who sued Helen Clark in Darnton v Clark, Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton.

AND FINALLY, THERE IS ONE seat where your electorate vote can do something about the party vote, at least in 2011. In Mangere, vote Phillip Field.  This sets up the possibility of a by-election in a year or two once Field goes to court, and it sends a message to Labour that they can't rely forever on the Mangere sinkhole for their voting fodder, and to the Kiwi, Family and assorted other Christian parties that they should wither up and go the way of Christian Heritage. And in any case, I still don't think Phillip did anything much wrong.

And like I say above, for an alternative view see what Liberty Scott recommends -- even though he's wrong.  And if you don't have a candidate to vote for, then just leave it blank.

And at the end of the day, once the results come in and it's clear that no matter whether Labour or Labour-lite is the winner that the taxpayer will really be the loser, just take a stiff drink and ring your tax accountant in the morning to see how you can hide your money.

Because what we've just seen over the last few months is another advance auction on stolen goods, and if you don't hide your money properly, then its your goods that are going to be stolen.

UPDATE 1:  The marvellous Annie Fox agrees with me about Phillip Field.  So I must be right.  :-)

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Egg on faces

dewey_defeats_truman_lg I have to laugh every time pundits make predictions, as if they know the future, and as if 'the polls' were always accurate.   Every person making predictions should study Harry Truman's famous victory in 1948 and John Major's victory in 1992 if they think polls are always a reliable guide to what voters are going to do, or if pollsters ever admit they got it wrong.

Because what a punter tells a pollster doesn't guarantee that's what a punter will do on the only Saturday that counts.

MajorDickhead And Colin Espiner points out about modern polling that when "they're calling thousands of people to find the thousand they need," you have to wonder about their accuracy.  But this doesn't stop the pundits like Duncan the Braindead and Guyon the Hand-Wringer making out they can.  Ironically at a time when they're perhaps less reliable than they've ever been, these two and others like them base almost all of their 'analysis' on what these polls might 'indicate' every week -- which means their analysis tends to change every week -- which really means their analysis is worthless, particularly when tiny movements in support for the minor parties will have major effects on who finally gets to govern.

And there's something else about analysis that's almost solely based on 'what the polls say,' which is that what the polls don't tell you these days is all the 'Don't Know' voters, which are still a goodly number, or the punters whose responses were discarded, or all the support for the non-parliamentary parties (which has ranged from 1 to 3% over the campaign period), which makes it a little hard for these non-parliamentary parties to take off.  Because polls themselves are somewhat self-selecting when people start to take them seriously.  Voters see 'the polls' and make a decision based on what the polls say, a thousand of whom tell the pollsters what they've decided based on earlier polls, and then the polls tell you what those thousand punters decided based on those earlier polls.

Anyway, since pundits only look at the latest polls, this is really to say to all to say those pundits that 1) to rely on last night's polls as an indicator of what's going to happen tomorrow would be foolish, particularly given the importance of the minor parties, and 2) it was damned irresponsible of people like Duncan the Braindead to tell punters thirty-six hours before they vote that these polls were a prediction of what those very punters were going to do.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

See 'Backbenches' online

Thought I should let you know that last night's episode of 'Backbenches' is already up at TVNZ On Demand.  They work quickly at TVNZ (but unfortunately they're not so good at spelling my name, or the URL of this blog).  Watch it here.

It went well, and I had some great lines. If only I'd thought of some of them at the time.

Thanks to all the supporters who showed up. Great to see you all there.  I believe a random sample taken of the audience revealed that around 25% would vote Libertarianz.

"Vote like you mean it!"

A guest post and an important message from Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton:

What sort of country do you want to live in? Every action you take, everyday, helps determine what sort of country you live in. On election day you get to make a public statement about what you'd like this country to be like. Do you want to live in a country where an exclusive cadre of politicians tells you how to live or a country where people are free to choose and pursue their own goals? A country where the government mismanages half the economy or a country where hard work and entrepreneurialism make a difference?

Since you're reading this blog, I'll assume the latter.

If you want to be free to choose and pursue your own goals and live in a country where hard work and entrepreneurialism make a difference, you have to vote as if you mean it. Only one party in this country consistently stands up for small government, for free speech, and for free markets and that's Libertarianz.

If you believe in those things then you must vote Libertarianz. Most parties actively oppose these ideas but even those that sometimes pay lip-service to freedom are not worth your vote. They water down liberty to the point where it is unrecognisable mush.

In 2005, a number of people came up to me before the election and said that they'd like to vote Libertarianz but that the chance of getting rid of the Clark administration was too good and so they'd be voting for Don Brash's National party. That excuse no longer exists.

Today's National Party is a perfect example of unrecognisable mush. National under John Key is devoid of ideas. Even if they do have ideas, they've kept them well hidden so as not to frighten the horses, preferring to parrot their opponents. Voting for National is an own goal in the contest of ideas.

Act still lives under Roger Douglas' shadow. In 1984, Douglas underwent a Damascene conversion to free marketeer. He zealously decided that the free market's results were so good that they should be compulsory, rather missing the point. Believing in freedom and voting for Act is delusional.

For politicians, the holy grail is "the mandate". By voting for a party that treats politics as a game with us as the pawns you're providing that mandate; you're providing your permission for every oppressive, expensive, and ill-thoughtout scheme their "strategists" might dream up.

Voting for change but getting all the same policies back is a wasted vote. Voting for the lesser of two evils and hoping that you don't get the evil you deserve is a wasted vote. Voting for compulsion-touters in the hope of gaining freedom is a wasted vote.

Only voting for a party that stands for what you believe in and that is willing to promote those ideas honestly and openly gives your vote any value. Only voting for Libertarianz tells those in power that freedom actually matters to you. Vote like you mean it.

(Hat tip, latest Libertarianz members newsletter)

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Tight" my arse

Greenspan ran a "tight" monetary policy, says Cato Intitute moron David Henderson.

Horseshit! says the Mises Institute's Jeffrey Tucker, who responds with the evidence.

But evidence, no matter how sound, is not going to stop the morons bagging the "free market," apparently oblivious to the presence of an economic dictator with the power to inflate the money supply at will.

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Maori Party: Once were Santa Claus [updated]

Government accounts just keep on getting worse and worse and worse, but still the election bribes just keep on coming, and keep on getting bigger. 

The latest bribe to make it into the headlines is from the Maori Party, offering to pay a $500 Christmas bonus with your money, $136.5million of it in total, to help them buy votes.

And that's not even the scariest part. 

What's scariest is their justification for the bribe.  "This is the multiplier effect," says says the economically illiterate Pita Sharples, co-leader of the Maori Party. "This money will keep people buying; it will help businesses and workers by stimulating the economy, retailers will benefit from increased turnover."

Yes, Pita.  And taxpayers would benefit if that money had been left in their pockets.

This so called "multiplier effect" is a complete bloody fiction, another Keynesian nonsense -- and a prime example of the Broken Window Fallacy

First of all, government isn't Santa Claus, with a cave full of elves pumping out goods and services. The government can only get money to "invest" by one of three ways: by taxing, by borrowing or by printing money. So if it taxes, borrows or prints money to give to $136.5 million to consumers to buy votes, then it has to take that $136.5 million (plus collection expenses) away from producers who would have used it to produce and invest more.  One feeds consumption, reducing the resources for production; the other feeds production, producing the wealth we need to survive. Only one of these makes us richer -- but it's much easier for politicians to steal from producers to buy votes than it is to just stand back and let production happen.

The fact is that consumption does not make us richer, no matter how many Keynesian textbooks you consume. The world is not going broke for a shortage of consumption, but precisely the reverse: for too many years, consumers have been consuming too much of the wealth that should have been used for production.  Production is the horse that drives the economic cart: adding money taken from producers does not add any new goods and services to be exchanged.  It depletes them.

That the Maori Party doesn't understand any of this should give the lie to any claim that they are a responsible party with whom to be in coalition -- except that no other mainstream party understands it either.

An election is an advance auction of stolen goods.  Don't forget that -- especially when we can't afford the theft.

UPDATE: Cactus Kate puts it bluntly:

    If Maori want to relieve poverty and keep their precious tino rangitiratanga and mana then perhaps they should go to their own tribes and [ask for] a dividend from their commercial enterprises -- all funded from white-guilt Treaty Settlements...
    But then Maori Leaders with commercial nous and intellect are far too sensible to do this with money that is now in their own names. They fuel it through education and scholarship, not give it directly to the “poor” who by their own definition of being “poor” have proven they can’t handle their own money.

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Billy Bob English says ... nothing, really

The latest "secret tape revelation" about Bill English is another firework without an explosion.  It's a fizzer for the simple reason that National have nothing to say and nothing to hide -- and that's really the saddest thing about this.

What you see is unfortunately all that you're gonna get.

The idea so loudly promoted from the left, that National has a secret agenda, is exploded by the very "secret tapes" that Labour's Kees Keizer has been releasing to a complaisant media.  If that's the very best they've got -- and you'd have to post your 'best' stuff in the last week, wouldn't you -- then it's very certain there's no agenda here that's worth a damn.

Equally, the idea so loudly promulgated by the so called "centre right," that National is the answer to all your problems, is just so lame as to be crippled. 

National offers nothing and stands for nothing.  It's a blank canvas.

And like all blank canvasses, what has been projected upon them is the wishes, fears and hopes of both their supporters -- eager for "change" -- and their opponents -- keen to to keep their snouts in the trough.

But those wishes, fears and hopes bear no relation to the reality that is the National Party.  Whatever your hopes might be for the National Party, the reality is resolutely blancmange.

UPDATE 1: As it happens, Linda Clark offers, on TV3's morning show, a much more sober analysis of the "revelation" than the breathless hype of Duncan Garner, on TV3's preceding evening show.

UPDATE 2:  Liberty Scott has more on Bill English: "a fool, but hardly a warrior" says Scott.  And he takes a look at National's real agenda.  Did anyone say Nanny?

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Backbenches

I'm off to Wellington this afternoon to film a 'Backbenches' bloggers special with Jess 'Coco Solid' Hansell from The Mental Detox, Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury from Tumeke, and David Slack from Public Address.

Watch it live at the Backbenchers' at 9pm, or on TVNZ7 Freeview.

Gold shortage

gold1 In response to increased demand, private producers generally produce more.  The same is not true of government, however.  In response to rapidly increased North American demand for gold coins, "the U.S. Mint, citing unprecedented demand, has actually halted sales of many gold coins until 2009. " Story here.

Why? Good question.  It's not a shortage of gold, it's simply that the US Mint, is a government organisation.  And the US government prohibits anyone else from producing coins -- even in times of financial collapse when people are desperate for real money. George Selgin gives part of the story:

    Coin dealers and collectors are still reeling from the US Mint's announcement that it had run out of American Eagle gold coins. But what ought to surprise every American isn't that a government agency came up short. It's that the US government should be making little metal discs at all.
   
Coin shortages are nothing new. A few months before running out of gold Eagles, the US Mint had to ration silver Eagles. Not long before that, pennies were in very short supply. Nor are other government mints any better. Back in 2007, for instance, Argentina had such a severe change shortage that its panhandlers nearly starved to death, while in southern China, 100-yuan coins commanded a whopping 25 percent premium.
   
Why are coin shortages so common? Governments typically blame unexpected changes in demand. But suppliers of all sorts of other goods manage to avoid running out, despite even more dramatic demand changes. So what's special about coins? An old chestnut says that if the government were put in charge of the desert, pretty soon there'd be a sand shortage. Recall the plight of consumers under socialism: socialist governments tried to make everything and eventually ran out of everything.
   
Now socialism is dead, but not when it comes to coining. So coin shortages keep breaking out, as they have ever since governments first monopolized coin making in ancient times...

If only their production of paper money would run out.

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Death by ideology

People are dying because of a failed ideology, says MacDoctor - "an attitude that places ideology above patient care," and support for the failed public hospital system above any genuine concern with the die-while-you-wait figures that are the result. 

Libertarianz oppose the die-while-you-wait system. "Healthcare is far too important to be left in government hands," declared Libertarianz Health Spokesman and Masterton GP Richard McGrath yesterday as he reiterated the principles behind, and details of, his party's health policies.

The principles upon which all Libertarianz policy is founded are:

  • Economic and personal freedom
  • Individual responsibility
  • Tolerance of other people's life choices
  • Protection of people's equal rights by the government
The core tenets of Libertarianz health policy are:
  • Distributing shares in state-owned health facilities to the communities that use them
  • Tax relief – making the first $50k of earnings tax-free for 5 years, with no income tax thereafter - so that New Zealanders can purchase health insurance or make other arrangements for the costs of their health care
  • Establishment of medical savings accounts, with gradual phasing out of automatic funding over 5 years
  • Allowing private competitors to ACC and other state monopolies in the health bureaucracy to establish themselves in the marketplace, thus putting downward pressure on prices
  • Abolition of statutory bodies such as the Medical Council, to be replaced by consumer groups more in-tune with the concerns of health service consumers
  • Phased removal of subsidies from health care, in order to establish a level playing field for providers of alternative therapies

Sounds good to me. It's enough to make me vote Libertarianz.

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Where's Nanny? The PM says she's an 'urban myth'!

In the Leaders Debate on Monday night, in a rare moment when John Campbell wasn't speaking, John Key pointed out that the government has been "storming through the front door"; Clark challenged him to come up with examples, as if the very idea of this combination of gargoyle and dominatrix was some sort of urban myth (a line promoted by The Double Standard).  The best he could do was to begin a list starting with lightbulbs and ending with showers, and not very much in between.

The reason he was so pissweak? 

Simple.  Because his own party was co-signatory to the worst example of nannying this decade, the anti-smacking law.  Hard to bring that up as an example when you yourself shared responsibility for it.

Because his own party began the anti-tobacco hysteria back in the time of Headmistress Shipley, banning (yes, banning) the magazine 'Cigar Afficianado' because it fell foul of the National Party's line.

Because his own party is going to start DNA testing everyone arrested for an imprisonable offence.

Because his own party wants to confiscate the proceeds of crime from defendants, before their guilt is even proved in a court of law.

Because his own party, especially in the days of Headmistress Shipley, was as big a Nanny as Harridan Helen.

But to call the existence of the Nanny State an urban myth is just breath-taking. 

There she is inspecting school lunchboxes.
Banning smacking.
Telling us not to lie in the sun.
Not to drink more than seven servings.
Not to drive too fast.
Not to drive too often.
Not to smoke at home.
Not to smoke in the car.
Not to smoke in the pub.
Not to smoke at all, really (you getting the message)?

She tells us we may not discipline our children.
We may not let them eat tasty food.
We must pay for hysterical advertising that treats adults like children.
We must not watch advertising that treats us like adults.
We may not drive fast cars in industrial areas at night.
We may not climb tall ladders.
We may not act in ways that Nanny deems "anti-social."
We may not buy vitamins and minerals without a prescription from Nanny.
We may not drink alcohol in public places.
We may not smoke cigarettes at work or in the pub.
We may not smoke marijuana anywhere.
We may not ride a bicycle without a helmet.
We may not walk a poodle without a muzzle.
We may not buy fireworks that go ‘Bang!’
We may not put up bright billboards or sandwich boards around our cities.
We may not cut down trees on our own property.
We may not repair our own property if Nanny says we can't.
We may not plant trees on our own property without Nanny’s approval of the type of tree.
We may not paint our houses in colours of which Nanny disapproves.
We may not build houses at all where Nanny says we can’t.
We may not advertise for young female employees.
We may not open for business on days Nanny specifies.
If we do open for business, we must act as Nanny's unpaid tax collectors.
We may not fire staff who steal from us.
We may not fire staff, whatever their employment contract says.
We must surrender our children to Nanny’s factory schools.
We must pay for teachers that can’t teach and for centres of education that aren’t.
We must believe that Alan Bollard knows what he’s doing.
We must believe that our money is not our own.
We must not call bureaucrats “arseholes.”
We must not offend people paid to boss us around with our money.
We must answer stupid questions when Nanny asks us.
We may not spend our own money in ways of which Nanny disapproves.
We may not defend ourselves against people who try to kill us.
We must pretend that snails are more important than we are.
We must pretend that murderers are people too.
We must apologise to tribalists for things we didn’t do.
We must not offend criminals for things they did do.
We must apologise to conservationists for things we need to do.
We must apologise for success.
We must ignore failure.
We may not build new power stations that actually produce real power.
We must not offend Gaia by driving big cars and enjoying overseas holidays … unless we’re a cabinet minister.
We may not end our own lives when we choose.
We must pay for art we don’t like and TV shows we don’t watch.
We must pay middle class families to become welfare beneficiaries.
We must pay no-hopers to breed.

And Helen Clark says the Nanny State is an urban myth?

Are we all going mad … ?

Is she?

Nanny likes to remind us that we're not here to enjoy ourselves. She is the Puritan described by H. L. Mencken, perennially paranoid that somebody, somewhere, somehow might just be managing to have a good time.

She is everywhere, and she is right here front and centre at this election.

Don't let them tell you she's not.

NB: You know, you can download a poster with most of the above list.  Perhaps you should send a copy to John Key, so he starts trying to cross a few off.

Click on the pic to enlarge, or here for an A3 PDF file [1MB] -- and tell Nanny to go to hell.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"Whatever happened to the white NZ male?"

Libertarian Sus, whom many of you will have heard communicating with Leighton Smith on Newstalk ZB, is now in print as a regular columnist in Franklin's "E-Local" magazine. 

Her first piece: Whatever happened to the white NZ male?  Another victim in the box.

If you like it, then vote for her on Saturday.  :-)

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The Government is eating the economy

To paraphrase Bryan Spondre's own cyber slacking, "The Government is Eating the Economy

“Treasury has released the New Zealand Government’s accounts for the first three months of the 2008/09 financial year, which show the government falling into an operating deficit of NZ$757 million from a forecast of a NZ$943 million surplus.” - Bernard Hickey

And if you've seen the economic disaster coming and read the so-called "rescue" plans of either party -- of which, if you've read one you've read the other -- you'd know that scary number is only going to get scarier.

Rugby Gods speak and the message is: "No poofters!" [updated]

Both Russell Brown and Cactus Kate point out the obvious about yesterday's Michael Jones/Inga the Winger endorsement of John Key and their much-publicised visit to South Auckland:  It's about religion, stupid. Says Cactus:

They [the rugby Gods] criticised Labour, saying they had undermined the moral values of Pacific people by decriminalising prostitution and allowing civil unions.
As much as you would like to blame Labour for everything including undermining the morality of New Zealand society ... this reeks of the very sort of nonsense that two role models in a minority community should know better than to fuel.

Too right. And there's something of a double standard that allows them to get away with it: they're not just sporting Gods, which gives them a well-deserved pass card for most things, but they're also, ahem, brown -- which these days delivers double-plus immunity to serious criticism.

In effect they've made a statement here that Polynesians should vote National as Labour endorses those horrible immoral homos and hookers. I would imagine no one of a lighter-skinned race could get away with such a comment. It was big news when Lockwood relayed on employers' comments relating to the size of Asian hands and Polynesian toilet habits...

Because essentially, outside the 'no homos and hookers' lark -- which, let's stress, Key is happy to channel for electoral benefit without any commitment, thank goodness, to alter -- there's no difference in what either National or Labour promise for South Auckland: which is more of the same welfarism that's killing it

No place in the country gets more government money and government 'interventions' poured into it than South Auckland – yet no place in New Zealand has worse social statistics.
    The only answer you will get from National, Labour or any other government party is more money, more programs, more social workers. And then they shut their eyes to the inevitable crime blow-out and blame it on … the weather.  Or the moon. [See for example my earlier articles on this].

Michel and Inga can talk all they want about wanting "our people" to be not just working in factories but owning those factories, which outside the overt racism is a wonderful sentiment, but there's nothing in National's toolbox that will make it any easier for that to happen, no sign they're any more aware than Labour of the welfare mountain on the horizon, and in any case it wasn't the primary reason for their endorsement: It was always all about religion, stupid.

UPDATE: Canterbury Uni economist Paul Walker points out that it's not just National's toolbox is empty, there's but it's actually destructive. "It won't help anyone own more factories, it could however put people off wanting to try to own them." Which, he says, raises serious questions about John Key's much vaunted economic understanding.  Read his piece in full at his Anti Dismal blog: Key's economic understanding.

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Check out Liberty Scott on the election(s)

Liberty Scott has some great commentary this morning on the debate, the election(s) and John Key's groupies. 

You have to get up early to make your points before he gets to them first.  :-)

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Cheering economic dictatorship

It's been said that when nationalisation comes to America, first in line to praise it will be the conservatives.  Case in point: an article in this week's Wall St Journal by a so called economic historian, who praises the current regime's plans to nationalise the financial markets by assuming stock ownership in banks, and cheers plans to appoint the US Treasury secretary as the nation's first financial dictator. He thinks this will finally, at long last, achieve the dream of a "unified and coherent regulatory system free of undue political influence." 

Unbelievable.

But as economics professor Thomas DiLorenzo points out,

The system of financial regulatory dictatorship that [the article's author] praises, and which is about to be forced down the throats of the American public, has been tried before in other countries. During one of its own periodic financial crises, Italian government officials complained bitterly, as Gordon does, of regulation that has been "disorganic" and "case by case, as the need arises." The Italian regime altered its regulatory system so that it could pursue "certain fixed objectives," just as Gordon argues for a "unified and coherent regulatory system." This highly centralized or even dictatorial regulatory system, the Italians argued, would supposedly "introduce order in the economic field" and achieve the goal of "unity of aim" with regard to government regulation of industry.

All of the words in quotation marks in the preceding paragraph, except for the last ones, are the words of Benito Mussolini. The "unity of aim" phrase was from Mussolini apologist/propagandist Fausto Pitigliani. There is, after all, a very keen similarity between Hamiltonian mercantilism — or an economy directed and controlled by government, supposedly "in the public interest" but in reality for the benefit of a privileged few — and the economic fascism of Italy (and Germany) of the 1920s and '30s.

These are dangerous times indeed.

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McBama versus America

barack-obama1 VoS-Rand Barack Obama appears to know his Ayn Rand better than his Republican opponents, hurling the title of one of Rand's best-selling books at the McCain-Palin ticket in the closing stages of the campaign, saying he didn’t know when "they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness."

If only.

Remember, when Barack Obama says he "wants to spread the wealth around," he doesn't want to share his toys or his sandwich or his wealth -- he wants to take yours. He wants you to sacrifice for the sake of others: and he intends to make you.  In all the calls for "change," this is the change he's after.

The problem with his latest attack however is that invocations to sacrifice are just as much a part of the Palin-McCain campaign.  McCain wants Americans to sacrifice to country; Obama wants Americans to sacrifice to the whole world. But they do both demand your sacrifice.

"The point is, though, that -- and it’s not just charity," he said yesterday of his plans to "spread the wealth," and he sure as hell got that right.  Taking at the point of a gun sure as hell is not charity -- a simple check of a dictionary will tell you precisely what it actually is.

"John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic," Obama continued. "You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness." 

Since Rand is being invoked, let's see what Rand herself said about selfishness, and see if any candidate understands that what's evil here is all not selfishness, but all the calls to sacrifice:

    The meaning ascribed in popular usage to the word “selfishness” is not merely wrong: it represents a devastating intellectual “package-deal,” which is responsible, more than any other single factor, for the arrested moral development of mankind.
    In popular usage, the word “selfishness” is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.
    Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word “selfishness” is: concern with one’s own interests.
    This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions...
    There is a fundamental moral difference between a man who sees his self-interest in production and a man who sees it in robbery. The evil of a robber does not lie in the fact that he pursues his own interests, but in what he regards as to his own interest; not in the fact that he pursues his values, but in what he chose to value; not in the fact that he wants to live, but in the fact that he wants to live on a subhuman level (see “The Objectivist Ethics”).
   
If it is true that what I mean by “selfishness” is not what is meant conventionally, then this is one of the worst indictments of altruism: it means that altruism permits no concept of a self-respecting, self-supporting man—a man who supports his life by his own effort and neither sacrifices himself nor others. It means that altruism permits no view of men except as sacrificial animals and profiteers-on-sacrifice, as victims and parasites—that it permits no concept of a benevolent co-existence among men—that it permits no concept of justice.

That is the great twofold tragedy here: that the popular idea of "selfishness" rules out concern for one's own interests as any sort of moral ideal, yet rational concern for one's own interests is the only rational basis for life on this earth; and that neither side understands the harmony of interests among free men, but it is only among men and women left free to pursue their own interests that such a harmony can exist. Instead, both sides oppose the concept of rational selfishness and seek to reduce real freedom -- Obama knowingly and on secular grounds; Palin-McCain out of ignorance, on religious and "patriotic" grounds.

Far from having "decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness," instead they offer no fundamental objection at all to Obama's prescription -- they differ instead only on the nature of the sacrifice they demand.

That's the greatest tragedy, says American Objectivist Paul Hsieh, that "the kind of selfishness that Ayn Rand advocated (and which Obama apparently opposes) is a completely noble and moral American virtue," yet most Americans are themselves unwilling to identify the fact, or to defend it as a virtue.

    This country was founded on the principle that men and women had the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" free from government interference and tyranny.
Many immigrants (such as my parents) came to this country precisely to be able to work hard, prosper, and give their children a chance for a better life. They came to this country with little more than the clothes on their back, but did well over the years, sent two children to college and medical school, and are now enjoying a well-earned and comfortable retirement. Their lives have been a real-life embodiment of the American dream.
    If we want America to remain a beacon of hope to millions around the world, we should re-affirm our commitment to free markets and capitalism, and reject calls for more socialism and "redistribution of wealth."
    This country is great precisely because it allows people like my parents to attain selfish goals such as their lives and happiness. Americans should be proud of that fact, not condemn it.

So they should, if they were able to consciously understand and articulate the point.

NB: Hat tip to Craig Biddle for the title to my post, which reflects the point he made  himself some months ago: "As the 2008 presidential election nears, and while John McCain and Barack Obama struggle to distinguish themselves from each other in terms of particular promises and goals, it is instructive to observe that these candidates are indistinguishable in terms of fundamentals."

UPDATE: On a related point, Lindsay Perigo points out "the likely victory of socialist Barack Obama in Tuesday's presidential election is an indictment of Airhead America."

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Quote of the day: Guess who?

Said last night, apparently oblivious to the irony:

"I'm a free spirit and don't like people telling me how to live my life. I would never accept a government telling me how much water to have through a shower."

Guess who?                                                                                     

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Montessori evening in Hamilton

It's not every night you have the chance to hear a presentation from a world-leading Montessori speaker, so this Thursday make the most of the appearance of world-leading Montessori teacher trainer Cheryl Ferreira, who'll be presenting a public evening on 'The Child: A Social Being.'

Said Dr Maria Montessori, "The first step, is then to help the child develop all his functions as a free individual and to foster that development of personality that actuates social organisation."
But what exactly does that mean?

This is your opportunity to find out more and ask questions from one of today's foremost Montessori minds.

Remember, the Montessori philosophy of education offers much more than a philosophy of education: It is an essential aid to life.

And Montessori education -- education for the mind -- is an essential starting point for any sort of real change: a change to a culture that values reason.

This is your chance to find out more.  Why not get along.

*PUBLIC ADDRESS Thursday November 6th @ 7.00 -- 9.00p.m*
*Venue - Student Common Room*
*Silverdale Normal School**, **62 Silverdale Road**, **Hamilton*

Download the flyer for more details.

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Nepali Baby - Susan Stephenson

NepaliBaby

Montessori trainer Susan Stephenson also paints. Nepali baby is part of a series Susan painted during her 2003 Asian trip, the artistic fruit of time spent with children and Montessorians in Kathmandu.

Susan has donated a signed limited edition giclee print of Nepali Baby, with the proceeds going to NZ's Maria Montessori Education Foundation to help raise funds for the first teacher training course, due to start in February.

Head over to TradeMe for more details of the painting, and to bid on the signed giclee print.  Good luck.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

TV3 leaders debate drinking game

I'd just begun sketching out a drinking game for tonight's TV3 'Leaders Debate' when I noticed Dim Post's Daryl had done one way better than what I was working on.  Here's what I started with.

Take a drink every time John Key...

  • advances a policy that Labour wouldn't
  • uses the words "change" or "ambitious"
  • mentions the Maori seats
  • says "we have no bottom lines"
  • firmly commits to changing a Labour policy he's just been bagging
  • mentions the words "helicopter"

Take a drink every time Helen Clark...

  • says "It's time to move on"
  • mentions Roger Douglas
  • mentions Lockwood Smith
  • mentions the Maori seats
  • uses the word "trust"
  • calls Winston Peters "a hard-working and honourable Minister"
  • calls Judith Tizard "a hard-working and conscientious MP"
  • calls John Campbell a little creep

Take a drink every time John Campbell:

  • says "it's really good to have you both here"
  • asks a question that takes him less time for him to ask than it does for them to answer
  • asks a searching follow-up question that can't just be answered with spin

And now you've seen my own pissweak effort, you can print off Daryl's decent one to keep by your couch.

UPDATE:   This is pathetic.  John Campbell has simply forgotten the word "Debate" that  was used to sell these ninety minutes, or what the word actually means.  He's forgotten he's not the main event.

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Extreme tree-huggers

If you're wondering what sort of people outside of Nick Smith's office get so upset about exotic plantation pine forests being converted to productive dairy farms -- upset enough to do this, and this --  then here you have the answer; it's the sort of people who do this:

                        

Reminds me of this Nick Kim cartoon:

                      Socialist_Wildlife

UPDATE: Jeff Perren reminds us that tree huggers grow up to be coal industry destroyers.

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The global financial/economic crisis: causes & solutions

Sovereign Life's David McGregor has penned a great summary of the global financial and economic crisis: it's real causes and the only long-term solution.

If you're looking for some clarity as to why the current financial crisis has happened - and what needs to be done to not only fix it, but to ensure such events need never happen again -- then I urge you to read and reflect -- and to download the quoted publication at the conclusion.

The Global Financial/Economic Crisis:
The True Causes And Only Long Term Solution

    As financial and market instability persist, as governments flail and fumble, one thing is for sure - we're on the brink of a most serious economic event - a "depression" which is the BUST component of the typical "boom/bust" cycle.
   
Popular criticism is centred on blaming the bankers, the financiers, and to some extent the politicians, and the overall lack of "regulation." And above all there is a consensus emerging that it is ultimately the fault of the free market, of capitalism - and that what is needed to "fix" this problem is more regulation, more easy credit (debt), and ultimately more government.
   
Nothing could be further from the truth.
   
The cause of the "bust" is the same as the cause of the previous "boom" - the willy-nilly creation of credit out of thin air, for the purposes of creating political and economic advantage in the short term.
   
To understand the root cause of this crisis you need to understand the root cause of "boom and bust". Contrary to popular opinion, this is not the result of capitalism or the free market, rather it's caused by the nature of the banking and monetary system itself - the way it operates.
   
The boom cycle is achieved by the three pillars of the global financial system - the "Trinity" of the banking "religion" - which are fiat money, fractional reserve banking, and central banks. When the pyramid of debt generated by this unholy Trinity gets out of control, it must be liquidated, creating what we call the "bust."
    Consider these facts:

  1. Banks lend out more than they take in. The reason banks
    can and do fail, is because if all depositors ask for their
    money back at the same time, the bank is unable to meet such
    a demand. The money is simply not there.
  2. Banks employ what is termed a  "fractional reserve" policy,
    which means they can literally take in $1 on deposit and
    lend out $10. Thus the basis of the banking system we all
    take for granted is fundamentally fraudulent. The money you
    think the bank has on your behalf is in fact not there. The
    business of fractional reserve banking is based on faith and
    confidence. In other words, it's a CONfidence trick.
  3. It's fraudulent because banks are lending out money held
    on deposit which is supposed to be "on demand" and are
    effectively making money on money they do not have, and
    have no right to use.
  4. Because of this fractional reserve system, and the essentially
    fraudulent nature of it, it's always possible that banks can
    fail - if enough depositors suddenly show up to withdraw all
    their money. And to avoid this "ugly" scenario, central banks
    were created to be "lender of last resort"  - in other words to
    provide the money (out of thin air) the banks don't have, in
    order to make good on their bogus promises. This is designed
    to maintain the "faith" in banks.
  5. Central banks manipulate the money supply at will, by
    controlling all elements of the fractional reserve process,
    by altering the reserve requirements and the total money
    supply as and when deemed necessary. Operating under a state-
    granted monopoly, central banks wield enormous "hidden"
    power.
  6. Governments love fiat money, fractional reserve banking
    and central banks, because it allows them access to "free"
    money with which to bribe the electorate and carry out their
    objectives. It allows governments to appear "generous" by
    over-promising on social welfare - and to take aggressive
    actions by financing wars and mayhem out of the same
    store of "funny money".
  7. Money can be manipulated in this way because it is money
    by edict/command - or what is called fiat money. Fiat money
    is paper money without any true or inherent value - and is given
    "value" simply by government command, via the legal tender
    laws in each country. Unlike the money which naturally evolved
    during history - gold and silver - fiat money has no natural
    constraints and no historical precedent for long term success.
    When the state inflates the fiat money supply ad infinitum, then
    such money simply loses its purchasing power, becoming a
    stealth tax on the people. And when the end-game arrives it
    becomes as valuable as toilet paper (but not as absorbent!).
  8. Governments and bankers love fiat money and fractional
    reserve banking because they are "partners in crime" and
    co-conspirators in the business of engaging in fraudulent
    financial transactions - at the expense of the rest of us.
  9. The current financial/economic crisis has its roots in
    the expansion of easy credit (debt) - which creates the boom
    and bust cycles. This is made possible by loose monetary
    policy as initiated by central banks and endorsed by their
    political masters - using the mechanisms of fiat money,
    fractional reserve banking and central banks.

The only solution to all these shenanigans is to unwind the CONfidence trick, and de-nationalise the world's money:

    1. Abolish fiat money and reinstitute sound money, backed by
      real commodities.  Ideally, make all currency backed once
      again 100% by gold - the only money that has evolved over time via
      the true free market in money. [George Reisman explains very simply how to go
      about it
      .]  Note that gold (and to a lesser extent silver)
      is "market" money, whereas as fiat money is government
      money - backed by force.
    2. Change the laws so that banks must hold 100% of all
      demand deposits in reserve - and put an end to all fractional
      reserve banking. Make banks behave like any other business
      - and to ensure no fraud takes place.
    3. Close down/abolish all central banks.
    4. Remove the issuance of money from the government's
      hands - because as long as they control its issuance, either
      directly or via their central bank proxies, they can and will
      manipulate it to their own political advantage.
    5. Allow private banks to issue money -- 100% backed by
      gold -- and keep them in line via anti-fraud legislation,
      i.e. legal provisions to ensure they do not lend any more
      than what they have on deposit. In other words, end fractional
      reserve banking.
    6. Do away with national fiat currencies and floating exchange
      rates. Instead, allow gold to become the naturally evolved
      global currency - a money fully backed by something which
      cannot be manipulated by banks OR politicians.
    7. Establish a free banking, non-fractional reserve, 100%
      gold-backed global monetary system - the only monetary
      reform that attacks the problem at the root, and the only
      reform that will not only abolish boom/bust, but will bring
      about a rational international system of exchange.
    8. Abolish the "boom and bust" mentality and reality, and
      allow purchasing power to increase over time, as production
      grows in relation to the gold held as currency backing.

Any monetary "reform" that does NOT attack the cause of the
problem - fractional reserve banking and monopolised banking
using fiat money - is doomed to failure.

Don't let those who have caused the problem in the first
place be the only ones writing the "rules" of reform - because
you can bet your bottom dollar, it will not be the reform we
need or want.

If you think the proposal is crazy, or that commodity-backed or gold-back money doesn't work, or leads inevitably to instability,  then just see how things worked out in New Zealand and Britain in the nineteenth-century, back before our money was nationalised.  What you see below (which shows The Course of Prices in NZ, 1960-1910) is a stable currency in both countries, gently easing prices and increased purchasing power for every pound in your pocket-- which effectively means increasing real wage levels and more prosperity for all -- with no great schocks or monetary booms and busts -- and this is despite the over-borrowing by the likes of Julius Vogel:

Gold-Century-web

And compare that to all the ups and downs in the price levels over the twentieth century once the gold standard was abandoned in 1914, and money was finally completely nationalised in 1936, two years after the Reserve Bank's founding in 1934 [graph courtesy Bryce Wilkinson from Wellington's Capital Economics Ltd, referenced in Frederic Sautet's article: 'The Disastrous Effects of Central Banking: Let’s Get the Story about Inflation in New Zealand Straight.']

6a00d83451eb0069e200e55074d96c8833-800wi

Anyway, David McGregor concludes (and I thoroughly approve his recommendation):

    For a complete theoretical and practical exposition on all of
the above - and a rigorous assertion of the viability of a 100%
gold backed currency and non-fractional reserve banking, I
recommend you download the following e-book. At 876 pages
it's not your average bedtime read, but if you have any interest
at all in where all this is headed, then you owe it to yourself
to discover why it has happened and the only sure way to prevent
it happening over and over again in the future.

    "Money, Bank Credit And Economic Cycles"
    By Jesus Huerta de Soto

    Published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and available for
free download here: 
http://mises.org/books/desoto.pdf

Like I said, it's a BIG book - but even if you only read
certain chapters, the ones that immediately interest you,
you will already be better informed on this crucial subject
than all your "leaders" put together!

To get a heads up on the brilliance of De Soto's analysis, listen to this richly explanatory recent interview while you sort out your download, and check out his article: Financial Crisis & Recession.

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