Friday, November 14, 2008

Best of NOT PC, week to Friday 14 Nov

Another round-up of the week here at NOT PC.  And what a week!  I recall something about an election, with all its lingering aftermath ...

If you haven't yet had time to catch up on the gold-plated goodness that was NOT PC this week, then here's what other regular readers seemed to like (and if you'd like to get this weekly 'Best of' emailed to you, then why not sign up here at Yahoo.  What's to lose?):

  1. The global financial/economic crisis: causes & solutions
    A guest post and a great summary of the global financial and economic crisis: it's real causes and the only long-term solution.  Yes, it was from last week -- but it's still ranking through the roof!
  2. "Vote like you mean it!"
    Another guest post (yes, the guests really are kicking my arse, which is why you'll see more of them next week). In case you hadn't noticed, a vote for what you don't believe in is always going to be a wasted vote.
  3. Emissions Trading horse-trading
    An open letter to every western politician who wishes to sacrifice industry to ignorance, which is what all the Emissions Trading Scams will do, from whichever party they're introduced.  Read on here for the best summary of the collapsing warmist science you'll see this side of thirty-years of static temperatures and increased Arctic sea ice -- and the best article possible to send to local politicians contemplating slapping our economy in environmental irons.
  4. Will regime change mean blog change?
    So what happens to the local blogosphere now "change" has come and Helengrad is no more? What especially is going to happen to all those Helen-haters now that Helen has gone?
  5. NOT PC's voting guide for Saturday
    Well, that worked, didn't it.  You didn't even vote for Judith Tizard like I asked.  Slackers.
  6. Post-election reflections
    A few things to think about now that we meet the new boss -- who sounds suspiciously like the old boss, don't you think?
  7. Absolutely, positively irritating
    No, not the positively off-putting politicians who've dominated our lives and TV screens for what seems like months, but the irritating phrases that dominate meetings, conversation and too much for your TV time.  We have all the most irritating that are fit to print.
  8. What's this "equality of opportunity" nonsense we're now hearing?
    They've got no "bottom lines" but we keep hearing the incantation of a new National mantra: "I really believe in the equality of opportunity for all, not the equality of outcome." Just WTF is going on here, and why the "equality of opportunity" the wrong goal to pursue?

Lots of good reading there, and plenty of intellectual ammunition with which to fill up your shot bag. Read like you mean it!  :-)

Enjoy your weekend!
PC

Beer O’Clock – Green Flash

Neil the Beer Man give you the benefits of his experience of American beers.  He drinks Bud Light so you don't have to, and Green Flash 'cos he can.

American beers have an appalling reputation internationally based largely on the fact that 80% of them are, in fact, nonsense on stilts. However, that accusation can be levelled at a number of countries' beers -- often a nation’s most popular or most famous beer is nothing like their best offering.

I have to confess that I did try Bud Light during my stay in America. Somewhat reluctantly, I had a taster glass of the stuff at my hotel. Robert the Rather Excellent Barman commented that this was the first time he had ever poured a tasting glass of Bud Light. It had a faint, distant nose of apple, a watery thin body, hints of apple juice and virtually no bitterness at the end. It was the very epitome of insipid.

Robert agreed with my tasting notes and explained that was precisely why he liked Bud Light so much. “It is like drinking water with alcohol in it – in a good way!” he exclaimed. The best beer he had available, from a pretty poor line up, was the Red Hook Long Hammer IPA. This beer at least had some juicy citrus notes and a firm bitter finish. Going from the Bud to the IPA was like the difference between night and day, hop illusions against hop flavour, real beer versus fizzy pop. That said, the Hammer was still more easy-drinking than intensely flavoured.

For intense flavours, the place to go is Green Flash Brewery. The catchy name refers to a rare natural phenomenon which can happen to the sun at sunrise and sunset near the ocean. Many people never see a green flash.

The brewery, founded by Mike and Lisa Hinkley, has been operating for just over six years and the simple, industrial-looking brewery is located in Vista, California.

It is just incredible what they coax out of their brewing tanks. As an unreconstructed hophead it is probably my favourite brewery in America. Mike told me that “hoppy beers are what we are known for and we are very happy with that!”

I started with the Anniversary Double IPA which was a special brew. I wrote that “it was as if a car load of hops had done a drive-by shooting on my palate.” Steve Plowman from Hallertau actually lost the power of speech when he tried it. It is so hoppy. It is so brilliant.

One of Green Flash’s signature beers is the West Coast IPA which weighs in at 7% and boasts a staggering 95 units of bitterness. I noted that it was “juicy, grapefruit, malty, full, big hops, late burst of intense bitterness and very, very tasty.”

Next was Le Freak, a 9% Belgian style strong ale with American dry hopping. Sadly, it was as confused as it sounds and my sole comment was “odd.” Personally, I like both styles but they just don’t work well together.

Perhaps the most extraordinary brew was the 2006 vintage of their Barleywine. It is a rare hoppy barleywine which boasted a phenomenal 10.9% alcohol and 85 units of bitterness. I thought it had a “surprisingly light body, sweet caramel, plenty of hops on the nose and at the end. Real bitterness. Very unusual but works well.”

Several people commented that the beers were so hoppy it feels like they are cleaning your teeth. Green Flash certainly uses a distinctive and generous combination of Nugget (herbal) and Simcoe (passionfruit) hops. There is something about a really hoppy beer which can make you smile like a fool – I coined the phrase “hop zombie.”

I thought I had coined another gem with my clever note that “Green Flash was the hoppiest place on earth.” My only concern at the time was being sued by the good people at Disney. Then it turns out that a great bar called O’Brien’s has been using that tag line for years. I’d probably seen it on a t-shirt the day before. The search continues…

Cheers, Neil
Visit Realbeer for all your best beer news and info

Guest post: Breaking the political broadband barrier

Reader Ann makes a perfect point about National's broadband boondoogle:

    One of National's promises was the faster broadband network. Way up north in Whangarei of all places, they're soon going to have (supposedly) the fastest broadband in the country. [Story here.] This is due to Telstra Clear and a company called Northpower, who are installing that super-cool, ultra-fast fibre whatsit network to help make their company more effective, and had the brains to make it much larger than their requirements, leasing the excess back to an ISP, and from there, to consumers in the CBD. 
    A great example of a private company getting off its arse and doing something rather than sitting back for the government to come along and fix things with a magic wand - usually a fucked up inefficient magic wand that takes years to get going, and gets tied up with red tape and regulation anyway.

Not to mention the courage it takes to invest in broadband when the whole area is a already a combination of political football and electoral bribe.  Good job, and good post.

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Music transformed [updated]

Seventy-five years ago Duke Ellington took some of his orchestra to London and, as a retrospective in the UK Independent points out, the visit "transformed how Ellington, American music and African American music were viewed on both sides of the Atlantic":
It changed how Ellington viewed his own artistry, encouraging him to experiment further beyond the danceable sounds audiences typically expected of black artists in the jazz world. And in the US, Ellington's 1933 British tour significantly pushed forward the idea of Americans finally accepting their own music as a serious art form.
The band were shocked by their reception. British audiences bestowed the kind of respect usually only accorded classical artists, five- to 10-minute ovations before the band played a note.
Richly deserved. :-)

PS: If you're an Ellington fan then don't forget to check out the The Independent's photo gallery accompanying the article. And if you're not an Ellington fan, then you should be. Here's 'Mood Indigo.'

UPDATE: What's happened to black music since Ellington! As I re-read this post I remembered Ed Cline's reflections on how "The great black musicians who contributed to American culture, e.g., Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, and Louis Armstrong, have apparently been disowned in favor of the malevolent "dissing" and droning of "rap."
"Rap," of course, cannot even be considered as music. Taking together its belligerent tone, its monotonous, metronomic beat, obscene and homicidal "lyrics," and confrontational delivery, it is simply a species of malevolence.
Beautifully put. It's worth reading Cline's 'Why the Music Died' if you want to get a handle on how a culture that once revered 'Maple Leaf Rag,' 'Mood Indigo,' 'Flying Home' and 'Stardust' now listens with ear-destroying in-your-face malevolence to 'Suck My Dick, Bitch,' 'Murder Avenue,' and 'Bitches Ain't Shit.'

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Let Ford fail [updated]

If the government prints money to bail out banks, then why shouldn't it tax, print and borrow to bailout car-makers?

That's the 'reasoning' of GM, Ford and Chrysler in response to signs that consumers don't want what they're producing: their business model is failing, and in response they're calling for the same bailout crack the banks got.

Talk about moral hazard! Looks like everyone's been getting the right message from the multi-trillion dollar 'rescue' packages: that the US Congress is the ATM machine that can!

And of course the car-makers have friends in the US Congress who are desperate to buy votes show they care. "We've got to do this because the cost of inaction is so high to communities, to workers, to companies, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, " whined Senator Sherrod Brown on behalf of the would-be welfare recipients.

Baloney. The cost to everyone for propping up a failed business model is enormous -- just ask the British taxpayers who nearly bankrupted themselves propping up the nationalised trade union-dominated coal, car and steel industries for decades.

Fact is, no business is "too big" too fail. The bigger they are, the more important it is that the resources they using aren't being mis-used -- and there's no worse use than producing stuff too few people want to buy at a cost that's more than they want to pay.

There's nothing wrong with bankruptcy -- the real assets don't go away, they're just put to better use. If the capital tied up in the failed business model run by the car-makers can be put to better use by someone else, then a bailout simply slows down the necessary conversion. I'm with Briggs Armstrong on any bailout for these knuckleheads:
The basis of GM's claim is essentially that they are too big or too important to fail due to their massive labor force. But how massive is their labor force relative to other American companies? It may be surprising that the following companies employ a larger number of workers than GM: Target, AT&T, GE, IBM, McDonalds, Citigroup, Kroger, Sears, and Wal-Mart. It is also worth noting that Home Depot, United Technologies, and Verizon all employ nearly as many workers as GM.
The question must be posed: Should the government bail out all 12 of these companies and, if so, at what cost?
No, of course not. But once you start bailing out the goose, then the gander is going to want his pound of flesh as well.
It is unethical to force taxpayers to pay billions of dollars in order to bail out a company with a failing business model. After all, they cannot even claim, as banks did, that it is an industry-wide problem. Because if it were industry-wide, Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Volkswagen, etc. would all be joining their American counterparts on Capitol Hill with their collective hands out.
For years GM and Ford have produced a product that consumers do not value as much as the product provided by their competitors. Rather than changing their products or business model, they instead spent small fortunes on lobbyists. If the government does bail out GM, rest assured that this will not be the last time. But even if the government gives GM a check every week, there will come a time when no amount of government money will be enough to save them.
Exactly right.

UPDATE: Great comment from LGM:
Now there is only one option [the auto industry sees]: Government's got to do something about it. In a sense they are correct. The government does have to do something. It must get out of the way and stop molesting industry.

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Bellamy blackballed

There's a reason you haven't seen this chap on the telly for a long while: It's because he's been blackballed.

He used to be all over the telly, an enthusiastic naturalist inspiring viewers with his wide knowledge of love of the outdoors.

And then he became a climate skeptic.  And his career suddenly started to bomb.
    A respected botanist and the author of 35 books, he had presented around 400 programmes over the years and was appreciated by audiences for his boundless enthusiasm.
    Yet for more than 10 years he has been out of the limelight, shunned by bosses at the BBC where he made his name, as well as fellow scientists and environmentalists.
    His crime? Bellamy says he doesn’t believe in man-made global warming.

Read on here for his story, which shows the price that can be paid "for not toeing the orthodox line on climate change."

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'Dejection' (excerpt) - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

For all those still suffering from Saturday's result, or from projects cast asunder by economic disarray, there are lines from Coleridge that give comfort.  Consider this:
Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And hope without an object cannot live.
Too true.  (Read all that one here.)

And then there's the lines he offers from 'Dejection':
A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear,
A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief,
Which finds no natural outlet, no relief,
[spacer]In word, or sigh, or tear--
O Lady ! in this wan and heartless mood,
To other thoughts by yonder throstle woo'd,
All this long eve, so balmy and serene,
Have I been gazing on the western sky,
And its peculiar tint of yellow green :
And still I gaze--and with how blank an eye !
And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars,
That give away their motion to the stars ;
Those stars, that glide behind them or between,
Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always seen :
Yon crescent Moon, as fixed as if it grew
In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue ;
I see them all so excellently fair,
I see, not feel, how beautiful they are !

III

[spacer]My genial spirits fail ;
[spacer]And what can these avail
To lift the smothering weight from off my breast ?
[spacer]It were a vain endeavour,
[spacer]Though I should gaze for ever
On that green light that lingers in the west :
I may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.

IV

O Lady ! we receive but what we give,
And in our life alone does Nature live :
Ours is her wedding-garment, ours her shroud !
And would we aught behold, of higher worth,
Than that inanimate cold world allowed
To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd,
Ah ! from the soul itself must issue forth
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud
[spacer]Enveloping the Earth--
And from the soul itself must there be sent
A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
Of all sweet sounds the life and element !

V

O pure of heart ! thou need'st not ask of me
What this strong music in the soul may be !
What, and wherein it doth exist,
This light, this 
glory, this fair luminous mist,
This beautiful and beauty-making power.
Joy, virtuous Lady ! Joy that ne'er was given,
Save to the pure, and in their purest hour,
Life, and Life's effluence, cloud at once and shower,
Joy, Lady ! is the spirit and the power,
Which wedding Nature to us gives in dower
A new Earth and new Heaven,
Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud--
Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud--
[spacer]We in ourselves rejoice !
And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight,
All melodies the echoes of that voice,
All colours a suffusion from that light.

VI

There was a time when, though my path was rough,
This joy within me dallied with distress,
And all misfortunes were but as the stuff
Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness :
For hope grew round me, like the twining vine,
And fruits, and foliage, not my own, seemed mine.
But now afflictions bow me down to earth :
Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth ;
[spacer]But oh ! each visitation
Suspends what nature gave me at my birth,
My shaping spirit of Imagination.
For not to think of what I needs must feel,
But to be still and patient, all I can ;
And haply by abstruse research to steal
From my own nature all the natural man--
This was my sole resource, my only plan :
Till that which suits a part infects the whole,
And now is almost grown the habit of my soul...
Read on here for the full poem...

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Too dishonest to be a policemen...

rickards_232 ...and therefore, says the Law Society, perfectly suited to be a lawyer:

Former Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards has been granted the certificate of character he needs to be admitted to the bar as a lawyer.

And lawyers wonder why people make jokes about them.

UPDATE: Says Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn:

The New Zealand Law Society has decided that Clint Rickards is a "fit and proper person" to practice law. I can think of no better demonstration of the utter moral bankruptcy of the legal profession.

He's right you know.  If this doesn't convince you then let HL Mencken make the argument:

All the extravagance and incompetence of our present Government is due, in the main, to lawyers, and, in part at least, to good ones. They are responsible for nine-tenths of the useless and vicious laws that now clutter the statute-books, and for all the evils that go with the vain attempt to enforce them. Every Federal judge is a lawyer. So are most Congressmen. Every invasion of the plain rights of the citizens has a lawyer behind it. If all lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mah jong factory, we'd be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by almost a half.

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Rand on the Beeb [updated]

I'm very pleased to report the unlikely appearance of Ayn Rand on the BBC, sometimes called the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation, in a programme considering her enduring impacted, presented by the unlikely figure of the odious Michael Portillo!

A summary of the programme is here.  But you have to go here to listen.  It's a well-put together and mostly respectful half-hour.

UPDATE: Kaiwai has produced an M4a file of the programme you can download to your iPod.  Head to his blog to download.

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NOT PJ: Mourning Helengrad

I have great pleasure in welcoming Bernard Darnton to the regular NOT PC roster -- and he'll be here every Thursday to give you a regular fix!  He's not PJ O'Rourke, but ...

On Saturday night I ungraciously raised a glass to Helen Clark’s demise, but there is one thing I will mourn. The useful life of that wonderful neologism “Helengrad” has come to an end. The siege of Helengrad is over although, oddly, it was the besiegers who were the ones swallowing the dead rats.

Coined by a caller to Lindsay Perigo’s Politically Incorrect Show many years ago, the word “Helengrad” captured the mood of a decade perfectly. The search is on for a replacement.

Given that John Key’s stated policies are indistinguishable from Labour’s, a similar derivation is in order. Key claimed that he would oppose interest-free student loans with every bone in his body; it’s now National Party policy. Those vertebrae are missing in inaction. He later called Working for Families “communism by stealth”; a week later it was National Party policy. Previously, when I’ve referred to National MPs as spineless communists it was overblown rhetoric. Now I just repeat what’s in their own press releases.

So – out comes the Russian atlas and I begin the quest for my own little corner in the dictionary of Modern English. There isn’t much. Key-katerinberg? Vlad-Key-vostok? Key-ev? Perhaps – and I apologise in advance for this – Ta-John-Key-stan? None of them work. They’re clumsy; they try too hard, or don’t try at all. “Helengrad” feels right in your mouth, even if it sticks in your throat.

Even if there was a perfect verbal fit it still wouldn’t work because John Key is just too smiley. It’s impossible to imagine him as one of those miserable specimens propped up atop the Kremlin wall on May Day watching the SS-18s trundle past.

He looks much more like one of those nice friendly chaps you’d happily give a seven-hundred-billion-dollar bailout to.

Ignoring his policies, which I try to do, John Key’s smiliness does make people feel optimistic. His ascent to the premiership has given hope to a generation of schoolboys – boys who have never thought it possible that a male could make it into the top job in this country. For years now, boys in New Zealand schools have failed to perform well. Surely Key’s aspirational trajectory, on behalf of lads everywhere, will encourage these boys to do better. Years from now they will show off their NCEA certificates proudly emblazoned with “Not Underachieved”.

Rumour has it that behind the smile is a man of steel, which would be a nice technical acquittal on the “every bone in my body” charge. We haven’t seen this steely frame during the campaign. In fact, if someone had paid John Key twenty dollars every time he did a back flip he’d be a wealthy man. But he’s going to need that steel to face the economy.

Key’s supposed financial acumen is going to be vital if we’re to get through the current recession. My biggest fear is that he ignores what he knows is best and instead pursues an economic populism that will just make the problem worse. More deficit spending and the rewarding of the guilty will turn a recession into the meltdown I have no desire to live through -- and this will be painful: John-obyl.

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More myths from the Great Depression [updated]

You can never have too many articles pointing out the many myths of the Great Depression:

  • that President Herbert Hoover was a laissez-faire Republican who clung to the idea that markets were basically self-correcting (he wasn't; he was a meddler).
  • that the stock market crash in October 1929 precipitated the Great Depression (it didn't, the problems occurred much earlier.
  • that where the market had failed, the government stepped in to protect ordinary people (it didn't, it made things worse).
  • that greed caused the stock market to overshoot and then crash (it wasn't greed that caused the boom, it was inflation of the money supply).
  • that Franklin Rooselvelt's "enlightened government" pulled the nation out of the worst downturn in its history (it didn't: FDR's over-taxing, over-regulation and the regime uncertainty created just made things worse).

Paul Walker at Anti Dismal hosts the latest timely rejoinder to the myth Big Government Rescue. I loved the excerpt of Franklin Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary in May 1939, recognising failure after ten years of big-government failure:

"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong ... somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises ... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... And an enormous debt to boot!"

Roosevelt tried everything in the big-government handbook, everything that's being talked about today including stimulus spending, welfare increases and massive public works, and it all failed -- everything except taking his hands off.  By November 1937, when other economies were recovering and the American economy was entering a 'depression within the depression,'  FDR was tearing his hair out, complaining to his cabinet, "I'm sick and tired of being told by Henry [Morgenthau] and everybody else what's the matter with the country while nobody suggests what I should do." 

"This," says historian John Flynn,

"settles for history the fact that after seven years in the White House Roosevelt had made no impression on the depression, that he had merely proved the unemployed with doles -- a poor and meagre substitute for jobs -- and now in the presence of the seemingly ineradicable shadow of depression, he blamed his advisors."

But still the myths survive.

UPDATE: Putting a human face on the American Depression is blog reader and movie-maker Frank Thomas (website here), who's just sent me this YouTube presentation of his brother's song 'Pennyland.'

In Thomas's words, "This is not meant as a political statement, but rather as an attempt to put a face on something that so often appears academic."

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Mr Boring

I said a few weeks ago that John Boy's blandness had the effect of making him a blank canvas on which people projected their own hopes, dreams and wishes -- regardless of the evidence to the contrary from the Nats' bland policy mush and from John Boy himself.

The Double Standard has a list of just some of the reasons people voted for the blank canvas, and what they now expect to receive in return:

- more rapid growth
- higher wages
- better healthcare
- better education
- lower interest rates
- lower inflation
- lower crime
- no reductions in Super
- fewer people on benefits
- no more ‘power crises’
- repeal the ETS
- no cuts to Working for Families
- no blow out in government debt
- more infrastructure investment
- reduced poverty
- cleaner waterways
- no abuse of the 90-day no work rights period
- no dysfunction from privatised ACC
- repeal the amendments to s59
- longer prison sentences
- bootcamps stopping youth crime
- lower tax
- ultra-fast broadband to the home in a few years
- lower greenhouse emissions
- fewer core public servants
- improved public services
- higher savings rates, more sign-up to Kiwisaver
- no sale of Kiwibank
- cheap toll roads
- no more congestion
- lower emigration
- no government scandals
- no trouble with support parties
- Herceptin funded
- no individual case failures of health, education, or other government services
- investment in Kiwirail

When do you think these voters will begin to get the feeling they've been cheated?

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'Sculptress' - Michael Newberry

                       9eedc7b8-cbb7-4934-aad3-1f08251ff032

Great news for fans of Michael Newberry's work.  Says Newberry:

    Over the years many of you have suggested it would be great to have economical prints of my best-loved works.  Until now the venture was unpractical, but with the tremendous advancements in printing quality, speed, and computerization it's possible to offer a quality image at a good price.
   
Imagekind offers exceptional printing, customized framing, inexpensive shipping, and 100% money back guarantee. The convenience is incalculable--you get a super deal and I am free to concentrate on making my art. Definitely a win/win situation. 
   
The first print I am offering is Sculptress (shown above). Click the link or the image to take you Imagekind gallery. There you will be able to see my suggestion for framing and size, but then you can modify that to fit your needs--I think you will find it fun.

If you have any questions about the prints don't hesitate to contact Michael at 646-240-5675, or at newberryworkshop@earthlink.net

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Transplant joy

Lady Lavender shares her joy: her "Princess of the House" had a liver transplant when she was 4.5 years old, and now five years later she stands "as a proud mum of a 10-year girl who battled other normal kids to take 1st place in the 100m and 200m sprints among Year 5 girls in her school. This, for me, is a pretty fine endorsement that she is 'normal'."

That's fantastic. 

But I meant it when I said she really wants to share her joy.  She wants another family to feel as she does, and for another kid to feel like her Princess.  A youngster called David Poa. A "sweet, cheeky, mischievous boy who is also funny, charming and endearing," who really, really, really needs an intestinal transplant – which is not available in NZ.  He needs to get this transplant done in the US.  He has been accepted by specialists in Omaha-Nebraska for an assessment, and likely wait-list for a transplant.

But he needs your help to get there.  You can read more about him at Lady Lavender's, and donate to help him at the  KIDS Foundation's website.

Two Johns

There really are two Johns, and Liberty Scott points out what one John can learn from the other -- i.e., what Key can learn from Banks.

John Key could do worse than emulate the Auckland City Council under John Banks and Citizens & Ratepayers. Together they are slashing spending ... with the intention of keeping rates under check.

Good advice. It's like battening down for the coming storm.

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"The end of the climate myth"

Here's engineer Brian Leyland's piece in yesterday's Dom Post arguing that sunspots spell the end of the climate myth.  Leyland is unequivocal:

    Government policies on greenhouse gases, carbon trading and promoting renewable energy are based on the beliefs that the world is warming due to man-made greenhouse gases; that promoting renewable energy will make a substantial difference to New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions; and that if New Zealand reduces its greenhouse gas emissions it would affect the world climate. All these beliefs are not true.
    The evidence is unequivocal. Measurable, let alone dangerous, manmade global warming is not happening, and is not likely to happen in the future.

Yet with the evidence against it and the economy already in peril, this new government is still relentlessly pursuing its own version of the Emissions Trading Scam -- a manmade response to global warming that will put a handbrake on growth as effective as anything Keith Locke could do.

Which means you, dear readers, need to send every member of the new National, ACT and United caucuses (the last now meets in a telephone booth on Molesworth St) a strongly worded message telling them not to support any ETS if they ever want your vote again.  And send them with your covering letter Christopher Monckton's 'Open Letter to John McCain' - the best, most concise, most up-to-date summary of both the peer-reviewed science on the climate myth and the economic damage that will result from responding to the myth.

Perhaps you could recommend a more rational response, one that will allay their fears that our trading partners must see us doing something, and at the same time call the bluff of warmist zealots.  Something along the lines, I'd suggest, of a carbon tax linked to real global temperatures.  You might call it a Kyoto Plan with a difference...

UPDATE: I love the way Leyland deals with the "consensus" argument:

    It is often claimed that because a "consensus" of scientists agree that manmade global warming is happening, it must be true. This is nonsense for two reasons. The first is that many distinguished scientists strongly disagree. So, by definition, there is no consensus.
   
But even if a consensus did exist, it would make no difference to the real world. For instance, it would not be hard to find a consensus of reverends who firmly believe the world was created a few thousand years ago. But the existence of this consensus would not stop evolution in its tracks.

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Will regime change mean blog change? [update 4]

So what happens to the blogosphere now "change" has come and Helengrad is no more? What especially will happen to those blogs whose chief reason-for-being is Helen hatred -- where to now for them?

Seems to me The Double Standard will move from the Ninth Floor of the Beehive down to EPMU headquarters; Tumeke will move from hating John Key and George Bush to really, really hating John Key; The Hive will change from delivering boring gossip from outside the tent to boring gossip from inside the tent; the men and women of Public Address will gradually realise John Boy is one of them (especially if Key-Wee-Broadband means they can download even more stolen films); Comrade Chris Trotter will hate even more hyberbolically (at least until he realises that John Key is further left than Phil Goff) and the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy -- which is to say Whale Oil, Kiwiblog, No Minister and the odious Matthew Hooton -- well, they'll just quietly transform the Conspiratorium of Right Wing Opposition into a Softcock Centre-Right Blancmange sending out trial balloons for their masters between frequent encomia to blandness and big government.

Which is to say they'll find it hard to go from opposition to government when everything their government is doing is the opposite of what they once said they stood for. Which means both they and their readers will slowly lose interest.

Remember what happened to Jordan Carter's blog?  That's their fate right there.

And this blog you're reading now?

No change at all in substance.  John Boy was never our hero, so we don't see regime change as much change at all really.  We'll still be attacking every slippery form of government coercion and praising the very rare moments of new freedom -- but you will begin to notice a few changes as it transforms itself to become NOT PC 2.0.  Exciting, eh.

The biggest change is the addition of more regular contributors to the stable allowing me to use the Royal 'We' more accurately: which means that in addition to our regular Friday Beer O'Clock posts from maestros Stu and Neil, there'll be other weekly posts from regular contributors ... contributors to be announced very shortly.

The first post starts tomorrow, by NOT PJ:  'Mourning Helengrad'  ;^)

UPDATE 1:  Oops!  After sending out his last epistle declaring treason on us all, Comrade Trotter is hanging up his keyboard in his own hyperbolic fashion: "the New Zealand Left has woken up to its very own 9/11," he says, disappearing up his own hatred and demonstrating at the same time why he's no longer taken seriously.

UPDATE 2: It seems you can't underestimate the ability of the Hard Left to be a caricature of itself.  Read RESISTING THE NAT-ACT JUNTA- What is to be done? at Socialist Aotearoa to see what I mean. They appear completely unaware of John Key's plan to bore us so much with politics over the next three years that we'll forget there's even an election planned for 2011.

UPDATE 3:  And the predictable post-election collapse of the blogosphere continues:  Matthew Hooton has also hung up the keyboard and will, no doubt, be taking his slimy presence off to the Beehive.

UPDATE 4:  Ah, after a five-day Moet binge with a gaggle of fawning Tories (see evidence at right from Tumeke!) Cactus Kate has woken up (finally) with liver damage, a raging hangover and her own thoughts on the future of the blogosphere: "With the change of administration blogs will need to change as well," she says, "Here are my predictions." 

They're harsh, but (mostly) fair.

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What's this "equality of opportunity" nonsense we're now hearing?

John Key told Campbell in a chatty, mates-together to-camera the other night that he wasn't interested in the Labour mantra of "equality of outcome"; he intended instead to pursue "equality of opportunity."  His multiple dissemblings over the Maori seats (to abolish or not to abolish, that is the sixty-four seat question) has made it clear he has no bottom lines, but the "equality of opportunity" talking point was one that was raised in the campaign by David Farrar, raised again this week by John Key, and recycled just yesterday by National's ambitious Auckland Central bimbo Nikki Kaye: "I'm a National member because ..." says the Blonde Ambition, sniffing the air for clues ... "because I really believe in the equality of opportunity for all, not the equality of outcome."

Is this already a Labour-Lite talking point then?  Once is happenstance -- twice is surely design -- the third time must surely be evidence of collusion, especially by one so ambitious as Ms Kaye.

But is it a reasonable goal to pursue?  Is it even a good thing?   No, says George Reisman, it isn't.  It is no more reasonable to pursue equality of opportunity through the use of government force than it is equality of outcome: both of these are simply misguided attempts to use government power against the facts of reality.

The fact is that people are not born equal, and they can't be made equal by government decree -- and nor can the opportunities that are open to them. A responsible government should pursue neither the closing of gaps nor the equality of opportunity -- the result of both is merely new positions of privilege, a new aristocracy, and destructive nonsense like affirmative action and racial quotas. 

What it should pursue instead is the ending of privilege and the removal of government hurdles to individual action. 

In other words, it is not equality of opportunity that a responsible government should pursue but freedom of opportunity. That's really what it means to have one law for all.  "Let us consider what opportunities actually are," suggests Reisman, "and then establish some important facts about them."

    "An opportunity is merely an occasion on which successful action is
possible
. It is a situation that an individual can take advantage of to his gain.
   
What needs to be realized about opportunities is, first of all, that there is
no scarcity of them
; they arise again and again. The second thing that needs to
be understood is that what is important in connection with them and deserves
to be fought for, as a matter both of justice and universal self-interest, is not
that vicious absurdity “the equality of opportunity” but the freedom of opportunity.
    ... what needs to be understood about opportunities is that they can be and regularly are created by individuals. Indeed, opportunities are themselves products of human thought and action..."

Opportunities are everywhere.  It's not the abundance of opportunities that is a problem, but the paucity of vision that is unable to see them.

    "Let us consider the abundance of opportunities. An opportunity exists
every time there is the possibility of improving oneself in any way. If one is
penniless and there is an unfilled job available that one has the ability to fill,
one has the opportunity of ending one’s pennilessness. If one has a job, and
there is any better job available that one has the ability to fill, one has the
opportunity to improve one’s position further. If there is any skill that one
does not possess, but is capable of learning, then one has the opportunity of
adding to one’s skills.
    In fact, in the nature of the case, the economic opportunities potentially
open to the individual far exceed his ability to exploit them, with the result
that he must choose among them, selecting some and rejecting others. This
follows from the fact that there is always room for improvement in the
satisfaction of man’s wants, and that the basis for carrying out such improvement
is the performance either of more labor or of more productive labor.
    In other words, built into the fact that man’s wants can always be satisfied more
fully or better is the opportunity for the performance of more labor as the
means of satisfying them more fully or better, and the opportunity for improving
the productivity of his labor.
    ... it follows that in the nature of things there are potentially limitless
opportunities both for increasing employment and for raising the productivity
of labor, for there are virtually limitless possibilities for improvement in the
satisfaction of man’s wants. Indeed, the potential opportunities for employment
always dwarf man’s ability actually to work, which is the major reason
that he must be concerned with raising the productivity of his labor.
    People may wonder, of course, how it can be true that there are virtually
limitless employment opportunities and yet, at the same time, the world in
which we live is characterized by chronic mass unemployment and the
experience of millions is that they have no opportunity for work. There is a
simple reconciliation of these facts. Namely, misguided laws and social
institutions deny man the freedom of exploiting the opportunities for employment
that the nature of reality offers him, and so force unemployment upon him.
   The problem of unemployment [about which we're going to see a lot more very soon] is is the result of the violation of the freedom of opportunity -- i.e., the violation of man's freedom to exploit the opportunities that that reality offers him. 
    The freedom of opportunity means, to be precise, the ability to exploit the opportunities afforded by reality, without being stopped by the initiation of physical force.

That's a great definition: "the ability to exploit the opportunities afforded by reality, without being stopped by the initiation of physical force."  And as we know, the biggest initiator of physical force bar none is the government.

People are unable to find work not because there is no work for them in reality, but because government and labor-union interference, based on the initiation of physical force, prices their labour beyond the reach of potential employers ... [specifically through] inflation of the money supply ... coupled with so-called pro-union legislation.

So if the new Key regime wants to do a decent job on this score, to promote the freedom of opportunity, then it must work urgently towards removing those misguided laws and social institutions that while building up a chosen few, restricts every other New Zealanders' freedom of opportunity. 

But that would assume it regarded freedom of opportunity as a goal worth pursuing, or even understood its desirability.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest we forget

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns on the Western Front went silent, and World War I was officially over.

Lest we forget.

[Image from Charles Sargeant Jagger's Artillery Monument at Hyde Park Corner, London.]

Absolutely, positively irritating [update 3]

Oxford University researchers have done us the service of compiling the top ten most irritating phrases in the English language. Story here.  They are, in order:

  1. At the end of the day
  2. Fairly unique
  3. I personally
  4. At this moment in time
  5. With all due respect
  6. Absolutely
  7. It's a nightmare
  8. Shouldn't of
  9. 24/7
  10. It's not rocket science

No, it sure ain't.  I can add a few irritating favourites of my own to the list:

  • No brainer (which I've found is usually descriptive of the person using the phrase)
  • Going forward (usually used by people making excuses for going backwards)
  • Think outside of the box (always used by people resolutely anchored to the status quo)
  • It's all good (no, it can't be -- everything has some cost)

Any other annoying "favourites" you'd like to share?

CONTINUAL UPDATE:  More phrases that might, like, piss you off for sure (thanks commenters):

  • Myself (when the correct word is I or me)
  • Absolutely unique
  • It ticks all the boxes
  • Basically ... (especially when mispronounced)
  • Touch base (we're not playing fucking baseball, arsehole)
  • Whatever (usually followed by a shrug)
  • D'you know what I mean?/Do you get what I mean? (you know)
  • Have a nice day...
  • I know its none of my business, but...
  • I'm not racist, but...
  • In terms of
  • Big as/sweet as
  • Impact (if used as a verb)
  • Workshop (when used as a verb)
  • Tasked (you have to mangle it to even use it as a verb!)
  • Paradigm shift
  • Worst case/best case scenario
  • I hear what you're saying
  • It's so, just, like, you know, surreal!
  • Problematic (what's wrong with saying "Difficult"!)
  • Strategy (what's wrong with "method"?)
  • Data/criteria (they're plurals, dammit)
  • Getting your ducks in a row
  • My bad
  • That's how we roll (especially by someone over twenty-five)
  • It's not fair" (so?)
  • Social justice (an oxymoron for morons)
  • Take it on board (do I look like a truck?)
  • Well grounded (you've attached the earth wire?)
  • The bottom line is... (the end of the page, aresehole)
  • "We" when you mean "I"
  • Ramping up
  • X-elect
  • X-gate

Freedom free intake

Liberty Scott runs the rule of over the new intake of MPs looking for libertarian tinges.  His rating method is fairly simple: "pro-freedom, status quo or anti-freedom with a mild or a strong. Note none are libertarian; being "pro-freedom" means compared to the status quo..."

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This guy knows what time it is

I always said Oswald Bastable is a top bloke.  He knows precisely what political activism is all about, and what it's for. Which is more than I can say for many activists.

And I love his choice of table-top amusements.

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Questions to ponder [updated]

 billboard

John KeySince Phil Goff is from the "right wing" of the Labour Party, and on most things John Boy is somewhat to the left of Helen Clark, then if Phil Goff is elected Labour leader today will that make Labour the "right-wing" party?

How long before people who voted for "change" realise that "what she said" still goes?

Matthew Hooton's been arguing that the measure of Helen's success is that she changed the National Party just as Margaret Thatcher reshaped the British Labour Party.  But is that really a measure of Helen's success, or is it more a reflection of her erstwhile opponent's lack of spine?

So in a National/ACT/Maori Party coalition/arrangement/agreement, who do you think will be swallowing the dead rats?

Do you think all those people insisting that people be "gracious" about Helen and Michael's retirement be anything like gracious about the retirement of George W. Bush?

UPDATE 1: Labour and Green supporters are wandering the streets looking lost:

    Some voters distraught by election night results resorted to calling police, with one man ringing a counselling hotline and then 111.
    Spooked beneficiaries also rang a Government family helpline because they were "stressed" their payments would change.

I assume counsellors simply told them that they have been twice-deluded, and reassured them that they will see no change under John Boy.  Unfortunately.

UPDATE 2: More on those lost lefties wandering the streets and ringingt counsellors for help: What excatly DID leftwing campaigners tell some people? asks Liberty Scott.  "Sorry folks," says Madeleine Flannagan, "it's when the word Libertarianz replaces National that you might be worried, but by then the culture would have to have changed so radically that you wouldn't be scared anymore."

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Monday, November 10, 2008

What change?

From the centrist Melbourne Age, which as Lindsay Mitchell says has concisely puts NZ's "change" into context:

"The New Zealand media is portraying the Key government as right-wing, but it is only in what has become a nanny state like New Zealand that such a charge could reasonably be made."

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Emissions Trading horse-trading

While Rodney Hide negotiates with John Key over coalition -- with throwing out the dopey Emissions Trading Scam one of ACT's bottom lines -- now is a good time to re-post Christopher Monckton's open letter to John McCain from just before the US election.  It's just as much an open letter to every western politician who wishes to sacrifice industry to ignorance, which is what all the Emissions Trading Scams will do:

Sir, every one of the reasons that you have advanced for alarm and consequent panic action has been demonstrated to be hollow and without any scientific foundation or merit. Yet, if your proposal to close down three-fifths of the economy of the United States is to be justifiable, then not only the false scientific propositions but also the false policy propositions that you have advanced must be shown to be true. Here, then, are ten propositions, with each of which you appear to agree, each of which is actually false. All of these propositions must be proven true before any action is taken to tamper with the climate, still less the fatal, self-inflicted wounds that you would invite your nation to make to her economy...

Read on here for the best summary of the collapsing warmist science you'll see this side of thirty-years of static temperatures and increased Arctic sea ice.

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Judith isn't jumping

News just in from Tizard Central about the "rogue election result":

    Outgoing Auckland Central electorate MP Judith Tizard has assured staff and family that she will not be stepping down as an MP in spite of her loss to National Party candidate Nicky Kaye in last weekends General Election.
   
‘I certainly never heard anything about any election,’ Tizard told the Dim-Post this morning. ‘And if there was something like that going on I like to think I’d be one of the first to know.’

More details at the Dim Post.  :-)

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Put Smith down, and move him away from the Cabinet!

Let me join in the calls from Liberty Scott and Whale Oil to make sure that Nick Smith is nowhere near anything at all to do with the environment.

This is a man with a tongue so forked you could hug a tree with it.  Who is a zealot for the Emissions Trading Scam.  Someone who calls the Resource Management Act "far-sighted environmental legislation"!  Who put in place the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act -- which governs a significant part of New Zealand's largest city and is like the RMA on acid.  Who has no conception of property rights and their role in environmental protection (of water, for example).  No idea of how to achieve better environmental values without bigger government.  And who assured the zealots at the Environmental Defence Society and the Climate Change and Business Centre recently* that there will be no changes to sections 5,6, and 7 under a National Government -- which is where all the real poison lies.

Instead of a stake through its heart, which is what the RMA needs, this cretin who's never ever had a real job will be enshrining all the bullshit, and making revisions only to the parts of the Act that would restrain the National Socialist's 'Think Big 2.0' public works programme.

One would have to wonder how on earth such an entity as Smith could possibly do what needs to be done to this manifestly destructive law?  How any responsible government would let him influence them on the introduction of an Emissions Trading Scam.

Can we start some sort of urgent petition to keep this Green Party member in drag away from the levers of the environment? 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* You can read the fawning description of the "conversation" from the EDS zealots here and, if you have the stomach for it, you can listen to their discussion here.  Bear in mind that Gary Taylor and his EDS friends get their money by generous grants from you, the taxpayer, and the lawyers and resource consultants being reassured get their money by exploiting the RMA sections that Smith is promising to keep.

Owen McShane points out in a recent newsletter that if there are no changes to sections 5,6, and 7, "then New Zealand will have little chance of building its way out of the recession/depression triggered by the collapse in property prices and the international credit crisis."  Says McShane:

    I was the lead author for an RMA Forum designed to assist National or any new Government in reforming the RMA. We  produced a substantial document which would have provided more security and certainty for the private sector while also providing better protection for the real environmental issues.
   
Unfortunately, in response to a question from Gary Taylor, Nick Smith said  "Owen McShane had relatively small influence on his thinking " – which generated laughter and applause. (About 20% of the way through the tape.) which means he took little notice of the work of the forum So we feel our work was all in vain.
   
It is worth listening to the end of the tape to hear the now infamous "free and frank exchange of views" between Nick Smith, Gary Taylor and Bob Harvey, Mayor of Waitakere.

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The defining issue of the next political term is ... [updated]

Okay now, sober up people.  It's a new government, not a bunch of people who can work miracles.

I'll say it again: the issue that will define the next few years, and certainly the next political term, will be how the politicians react to the world's economic crisis, and what they do to make it better -- or as is far more likely, to make it worse.

There's lots of questions that you and I and they need to be able to answer if we're going to be any sort of judge of what's going on.

Are booms and busts a natural part of the market process?  Something we all have to get used to? Or the effect of something that governments do to markets?

What should be the politicians' prescription?

Should they spend more, or spend less?

Tax cuts?  Or tax hikes?

Borrow hugely? Turn on the printing presses? Or should they cut their spending coats according to their revenue cloths?

Should they support higher prices, or let prices fall to their new levels?

Should they encourage the Reserve Bank to lower interest rates and flood the country with "liquidity," or to raise interest rates to increase the pool of real savings.

All these questions and more are not political questions -- they can only be answered with some knowledge of economics.  As Murray Rothbard used to say [hat tip Anti Dismal],

"It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a "dismal science." But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance."

Allow me then to make a suggestion for those who want to understand what's going on, and to be able to comment intelligently on the various political responses.  A reading suggestion.  In fact, two reading suggestions.

The first is Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson -- the first lesson being that:

"the art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."

And the second suggestion is Gene Callahan's Economics for Real People, a colourful, easy-to-read guide to common-sense Austrian economics -- the only school of economists who predicted the present crisis (as you can see for yourself at the Mises Institute Bailout Reader), and who can explain why the boom and consequent bust happened the way they did.  Who would have thought you could explain what happened by reference to a drinking party with too few women, and a bus trip across the Sahara?

And don't worry: neither book is expensive, but even if you're on a severe budget they're easy enough to download and read free on PDF.  See:

And if reading isn't really your thing, or you find it easier to learn in other ways, you can take advantage of these twelve video interviews with leading Austrian Economists on Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, with one interview for each chapter.  Enjoy. :-)

UPDATE 1:  See, here's another example of a loud and vociferous opinion on economics with knowledge based largely on what she's picked up from the popular press.   Says Phoebe Fletcher at Tumeke: "We, like the rest of the world, need to keep spending. If we stop spending, our economy will collapse."

This is just bullshit on stilts.  It is not consumer spending that keeps the economy going, and the idea that it is has been enormously destructive.  What keeps an economy going is not consumption but production -- the production of real goods and services, whose sales fund the ability to produce even more goods and services. As George Reisman points out, the amount spent on production is far and away greater than consumption expenditure, and unlike consumption expenditure the money doesn't just disappear, it produces more production and is what actually drives an economy.

Consumption spending directs productive expenditure to particular areas of the economy, but it's  productive expenditure that drives it. (George Reisman gives the antidote to Phoebe's very common view: Standing Keynesian GDP on Its Head: Saving Not Consumption as the Main Source of Spending.)

UPDATE 2: "It's a new government, not a bunch of people who can work miracles."  And the economic ignorance reaches right to the top.  The Times picks up the vibrations all the way from London, reporting that Prime Minister-elect John Key, a wealthy former currency trader, is "expected to implement tax cuts and extra spending" -- what Reason magazine calls "a Bushian/Keynesian combination."

The combination denies the reality that the gap between revenue and spending must be bridged by more than just slogans and good intentions, and will impoverish producers as surely as if the funds to do so came right out of their mouths -- as they inevitably will be.

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The name is Bond. Chez Bond.

                                 goldsteinresidence

James Bond has a lot to answer for.  Never has one man destroyed so much fine architecture -- from Ken Adam's 'Diamonds are Forever' set above, to John Lautner's Elrod House in the same film, to Dr No's lair below.  Stories here and here about some of that architecture and what its destruction might mean, and a so-so slide show of some more architecture chez Bond.

                               070213_ken-adam_dr-no

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Post-election reflections, 1

Liberty Scott has letters of advice and "support" to the incoming National Socialist regime and their coalition partners and sell-outs, to Jeanette Fitzsimons and to the departing Winston Peters, Helen Clark.  Read them all here.

He says it all really -- at least, pretty much all that I'd like to say.

Except these few points:  Maybe New Zealanders are more sensible than they're often given credit for. Despite the near wall-to-wall support for the Maori Party from the Maori (taxpayer-funded) media and loud if not stentorious backing for the racist Maori seats, the racist party only managed five seats in an electorate that only represents half New Zealand's Maori population.

Looks like there's more common sense out there than we might think.

And despite the years of indoctrination from schools, politicians and the media about the the bullshit of "sustainability and the "urgency" of environmental action -- all the mass hysteria and all the wall-to-wall fawning about the Green Party "Vote for your neighbours' children to be poor" campaign (and the polling that suggested they'd do wonders instead of barely survive), the Greens themselves only managed to grab seven seats, and rather than cementing their place in Parliament they've shown they could easily be the next minor party to lose their place.

That's another really encouraging signal showing the rude common sense of most New Zealanders.

It's heartening.

Oh, and two last things.  Last night there was a massive 11% swing to the Libertarianz.  Very heartening indeed.  ;^)

And is anyone else looking forward to seeing Rodney Hide being made Minister of Jails?

UPDATE 1:  Is anyone else heartily sick of the drivel about how the media and the politicians drove Winston out of Parliament?  IN the end it was his own lies and crookedness that did him in. And rather than doing him damage, the last few months of near-constant media and political attention dragged out of irrelevance and almost got him over the line on the night.

The media and Rodney Hide were not his nemeses; they were almost his saviours.

UPDATE 2: Some difficult choices now for John Boy, not least finding competent ministers inside the National Socialist caucus. He'll obviously play off the Maori Party and ACT in negotiations, but he'll need to resolve one potential thorn in the side now before it causes sepsis.  With the worst economic calamity in decades upon us, what does he do with Roger Douglas -- the only finance minister now in Parliament who's dealt with a crisis before. Better, John Boy will surely be thinking, to have Douglas inside the tent pissing out, that outside the tent pissing in -- because as the crisis gets worse, that will become awfully corrosive.

I quite like the idea floated by The Hive, that if Helen is given the Ambassador's job to Washington (she'd have no problems cosying up to Obama to protect our trading relationship against his protectionist instincts, and whatever else you may think about her, her free trade credentials are moderately sound) then perhaps Don Brash's unique skills could be put to good use here in an economic advisory cabinet.  A team of Roger Douglas, Roger Kerr and Don Brash would be a team of formidable talent, not to say credibility, in providing the sort of advice a responsible government would need.

UPDATE 3:  Oh, and I can't fail to point out the country's most principled electorate.  :-)

UPDATE 4: Former Libertarianz deputy Deborah Coddington suggests in today's Herald that the only ones who will be "ungraciously" dancing on the grave of Helen Clark will be "organisations such as the Business Roundtable and parties like the Libertarianz."  How ungracious of her. Here's the tune the Wellington Libertarianz were dancing to last night.  And here's what we were dancing to in Auckland.

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Change?

I don't know about you, but all I hear from all the empty words and the boyish "I'm a Prime Minister" grin is the warning screams of 'Won't Get Fooled Again' ...

There's nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye

And the parting on the left
Is now a parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!

So meet the new boss. He's just the same as the old boss.

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