Saturday, November 07, 2009

Weekend ramble

Here’s your weekend ramble round the best liberty links on the ‘net. {As always, you get them first at my Twitter page.]

  • Here’s yet another "success" for advocates of “youth rates” and minimum wage laws to cheer about: New Zealand's youth unemployment rate is now 25.1%
    http://bit.ly/13bnTq
    And the number of working age New Zealanders now collecting a “main benefit” was 274,605 in November last year, 323,160 in August this year – which was just over 7% of the country’s entire population - & will be up even more this quarter.  (Can’t wait for those figures.)  And this doesn’t count those on Welfare for Working Families.
    No wonder the country’s broke.
  • Meanhile, do you want to see why Rodney Hide's dip into your pocket cost you so much? How do you spell Hawaiian holiday for two? http://tinyurl.com/yh5mjyj
  • Fort Hood shooter says "Muslims have to stand up against the aggressor." Yeah, right.
    http://bit.ly/1lr1h1
  • Matthew Hooton explains that property rights in the Foreshore and Seabed have to be recognised. Yes, that Matthew Hooton! Good writing. Great arguments. Some of them even sound familiar...
    http://bit.ly/3bVtAA.
  • New book recommended to me for parents: 'Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief'
    http://bit.ly/L0QML
  • Red State Democrats Read The Election Returns [hat tip Noodle Food]
    http://ping.fm/vuXEJ [That's good news!]
  • Yaron Brook on Religion and the Rise of Capitalism.  How did capitalism arise in places with Christian ethics? Answer: It’s a miracle!
    http://bit.ly/1F77oD
  • Cato Institute explains about the double standard on Nazism and Communism: Why, for instance, do  you rarely hear about the atrocities of Soviet communism?
    http://bit.ly/1KTo1W
  • 'My Thirty Years With AynRand' - Leonard Peikoff does better Rand biography than any of the current crop of blowhards. And offers an insight into induction . . .
    Listen here:  http://bit.ly/H9Mwe
  • Rodney Hide the Hypocrite - you know it.
    http://bit.ly/653Sh
  • It's official: Warmism is a religion, says British court.
    http://bit.ly/32MnmA
  • Praying Won't Make It So:...
    http://bit.ly/3OSINd
  • Welcome to the November 5th, 2009 edition of the Objectivist Blog Roundup..
    http://bit.ly/2w2Hsp
  • Monday marks 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. From 1961 to 1989 the Wall was THE symbol of the tyranny of the totalitarian state.
    http://bit.ly/3LLzii
  • Oklahoma plans to build “a Christian prison” ... which doesn’t mean quite what it sounds. Sadly,. it means a prison to be administered by Christians, which gives Christian criminals special privileges.
    http://bit.ly/1hiKRv
  • Lindsay Mitchell is a "bullshit troll," apparently.
    http://bit.ly/PS63r

Here’s Phil Manzanera:


"The main political problem is how to prevent the police power from becoming tyrannical. This is the meaning of all the struggles for liberty.”
- Ludwig Von Mises

  • That’s today’s National Party for you: Tough on crime, tough on the rights of the innocent.
    http://bit.ly/3VaEWy
  • Even The Standard’s bloggers understand: “We are continuing our chilling progress towards a surveillance state.”
    Guilty until proven innocent
  • The Wall Street Journal looks at fears of new bubbles as more and more of governments’ "Counterfeit Capital" keeps pouring Into markets . . .
     http://bit.ly/q6thV
  • A sad day for democracy & liberty - a sad day for Europe – and a sad day for Vaclav Klaus, as Czech courts force him to sign up to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. http://tinyurl.com/ykc4456
  • Take the Harvard University "raaaaacism" test. On such "research" as this are great theories made, apparently. [Hat tip Tim Blair]
    http://bit.ly/1oPVmE
  • Ridiculous “RAAACISM” charge o' the day. AFLCIO suffers delusions after seeing Chamber of Commerce ad.
    http://bit.ly/3JBirC
  • Want to buy an "eco car"? Then it's a Holden performance ute with a 6.2-litre V8 engine you'll be wanting, buster.
    http://tinyurl.com/yj3osy8
  • One of my houses featured in this month's Waikato Times’ 'House & Lifestyle' magazine.
    http://bit.ly/pFbnh [PDF]
    Naturally, the designer is not mentioned. . .
  • Google Maps’ mashup of threatened or arrested bloggers around the world:
    http://threatened.globalvoi...
  • Whale Oil has been chasing up another example of bureaucratic oxygen theft: Te Reo Marama and the Maori Smoking crowd. This is Troughing 102
    http://bit.ly/1AZw4c
  • This is neat: A three-part chapter-by-chapter discussion of AtlasShrugged by the Ayn Rand Center’s Dr. Onkar Ghate
    http://bit.ly/SFO44 (Caution: Plot Spoilers)
  • Here’s a History Fun Fact courtesy of the Cato Institute: Ayn Rand Liked Education Tax Credits:
    http://bit.ly/44e4Gl
  • Here’s a quote to contemplate: 'To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem.'- Lamont Cole, environmentalist. Nice people, these environmentalists.
    http://bit.ly/SkcMZ
  • Lindsay Mitchell talks to Paul Henry about National's timid plans to limit welfare spending.
    http://bit.ly/8oQoG http://bit.ly/2Cg8yh
  • Support for Obama's climate policies is waning . . . for now.
    http://bit.ly/4D5wsC
  • The "recovery in risky assets" is looking like another Fed-driven bubble, says Nouriel Roubini.  We’re looking at the toxic assets of tomorrow.
    http://tinyurl.com/yfmzusz
  • "If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning ..." – here’s the perfect gift for a Green, this Christmas.
    http://www.thingiverse.com/...
  • Dealers say federal clunkers program has made cheap, used vehicles harder to find. Who would ‘a thunk it, eh?
    http://tinyurl.com/yejtpby

Here’s more Phil Manzanera (damn, he’s good):

 

“Remember remember the fifth of November. And its lessons: it takes more than a few kegs of gunpowder to beat govt.”
- Brad Taylor

  • From the almost-Darwin-Awards file: "Man dressed as a Breathalyzer for Halloween is arrested for DUI"
    http://is.gd/4Lmmm
  • THEN: “News is what they don’t want you to hear.” NOW: “News is what the hack receives in a press release."
    http://tinyurl.com/ykmc238
  • Is “deflation” beginning? "You should not be afraid of deflation. You should be afraid of policies attempting to fight it."
    http://bit.ly/3q6Tn
  • Insight from The Onion: BREAKING NEWS: Afghan Presidential Election Winner Hamid Karzai Receives Consolatory Phone Call From White House.
  • Cato Institute reflects on Communism: Twenty Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall
    http://tinyurl.com/yb7q9c2
  • DRUG WAR: Republican Jessica Corry argues for legal marijuana on Fox.
    http://bit.ly/4ayfTB
  • While the Nats just tinker with our welfare burden, we need to wonder: what is their ultimate goal for welfarism in NZ? DO they even have one?
    http://bit.ly/3ZFTsr
  • "A slew of Ayn Rand links" here http://bit.ly/3Pgt8e courtesy of Marginal Revolution:
    http://bit.ly/4EBKzl
  • Numbers on NZ Invalids Benefit [a place to hide the growing unemployed] have been increasing well above the rate of population growth.
    http://tinyurl.com/ygwbf3m
  • Put me on the list of people who are NOT fans of Middlemore Hospital.
    http://bit.ly/2Y4G3w
  • My name is Peter, and I'm a busybody.
    http://bit.ly/3O3XnM
  • Two pages you need to read: The fact prices are stable or rising in some sectors, indicates that inflation is already spreading across the economy.
    http://bit.ly/s3jxO
  • Hallensteins defends having a murderer depicted on their clothing.
    http://bit.ly/4172BO
  • Some of the country’s most highly-paid beneficiaries make their case for your support.
    http://bit.ly/jLKSJ

Here’s Kevin Ayers.  Not bad for a hippy.

 

“Asset confiscation, suspension of the right to silence, and wider search and surveillance powers for a huge range of government departments.
Must be a Tory government, eh?”
- The Dim Post

And finally, a short poem by philosopher Stephen Hicks to take away with you tonight

A 3am Poem, After a Midnight Snack
Burrito. Mistake.
Now stomach ache.

 

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, November 06, 2009

National, one year on

What can you say about the National-led government and its leader Guy Smiley after their one year in office.

Well, what is there to say?  Their list of concrete achievements is … let’s be polite … slight.  Not to say, almost non-existent.  When it comes to boasting, there’s practically nothing to be boasting about.

Helen Clark once had the temerity to say that her ambition for her Premiership was that New Zealanders wouldn’t have to wake up every morning to discover that her government had done something drastic overnight. I say temerity, because the irony can’t have escaped her.  By contrast, under John Boy’s Premiership New Zealanders have woken up after a year to find that his government actually has done nothing – not even to roll back the few things they promised to, or New Zealanders hoped they would.  In fact, after a year New Zealanders might wake up and look around with a clear eye and realise there’s been no real change at all:

  • Nanny is still with us.
  • Her anti-smacking law is still with us.
  • The Electoral Finance Act is on the way back again.
  • The Resource Management Act is fundamentally unchanged.
  • Rates continue to rise at double the rate of the CPI.
  • The global warming/emissions trading scams proceed apace.
  • Our substance is still eaten out by KiwiRail and KiwiBank, KiwiSaver and Welfare for Working Families, by bureaucrats and central bankers, by the IRD and ACC -- and by politicians whose snouts are already in the trough with an arrogance that normally takes three terms to develop, not just one-third of the first one.
  • And in the face of the biggest economic crisis in seventy years, we have a Finance Minister who can talk only about “sharp edges” and “green shoots,” and between times makes a deer in the headlights look purposeful, and Michael Cullen look principled.

Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel famously declared that “You shouldn’t let a good crisis go to waste.” The Bill & John Show haven’t just wasted the opportunity of their lifetime to make-over New Zealand’s government into a lean mean non-frightening machine.  They’ve also wasted the opportunity handed to them on a plate of an opposition with all the appeal to the electorate of a fart in an astronaut suit.

They’ve taken these twin opportunities and done . . .  nothing.  In fact, worse than nothing.

They haven’t taken out-of-control government spending by the throat – instead they’ve watched in grow.

They’ve done nothing to reduce the decades of ballooning deficits – instead they’ve acquiesced as deficits have ballooned, and the fiscal child abuse has exploded.

They haven’t done anything to take the shackles off New Zealand businesses – all they’ve done is “reform” the RMA to take the shackles off New Zealand’s government projects, and “reform” Auckland by constructing a new super-bureaucracy.

They haven’t done anything to meet their election-winning promise of “substantial” tax cuts of “around $50 a week for most New Zealanders” – instead they’ve delivered ACC levy increases, and indications of whole new taxes on the horizon.

They’ve added new asset confiscation rules and new and heinous search and surveillance powers which belong to a police state, not a civilised State.

Bernard Darnton said one-and-a-half years ago that he looked forward to seeing the back of Helen Clark, but did not look forward to seeing the front of John Key. 

One year on from exchanging one from another, the only visible difference is a smile and the endless repetition of the word “relaxed.”  But of fundamental change there is none.

There’s another anniversary this week too that’s worth thinking about in the context of “change”: the twenty-year anniversary of of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Writing at the Mises Economics Blog, Richard Ebeling reflects on The Fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Continuing Threats to Liberty that we all still have to confront [hat tip Mark Hubbard]:

    “We need to emphasize the threat that Big Government represents to all our freedom — including the right of freedom of movement — and which should be remembered on this 20-year celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Unfortunately, the Collectivist mentality did not end with either the fall of the Berlin Wall or the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union. It remains alive and well in America [and New Zealand] and around the world, with its insistence that the individual lives for and is to be sacrificed to “interests” of the state. We still have our work cut out for us, to demolish the numerous political ‘walls’ with which the government continues to enslave us through its police power in the growing interventionist-welfare state and the threatening economic fascist order.”

There’s a lesson there that John Boy and his grinning confreres in cabinet might care to grasp -- and those over whom they preside might care to remind them.

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Stealing – It’s in the Blood [updated]

Suzuki Samurai thinks about theft . . .
Let’s talk about politics – a word coming from the Greek word “Poly” (meaning “many), and “ticks” (meaning small “blood-sucking objects”).
I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard Hone Harawira on the radio yesterday. The “she’ll be right bro” audacity made me laugh only because that it reminded me how far this country has come in terms of expecting political abuse of power & waste.
Apparently it’s now funny to spend money that isn’t yours. In Hone’s case, a jaunt to Paris and a walk on the beach in Hawaii. Come to think of it, the whole press conference reminded me of the late great Billy T James’ skit parodying the “Lands For Bags” TV ad, Billy says, “Where did I get my bag? – I pinched it”! (Insert Maori giggle here)

Hone isn’t as funny as Billy, but. Hone the Maori really did “pinch it.” Sure it was legal –  he wuz entitled, bro!  -- but it’s still theft of other people’s money for what he called “a choice trip.”
Now I’ll give Hone some credit. He admitted that he took what he could, he made no apology for putting his hand in your pocket; he even made a prescient remark that said that most New Zealanders would have said, “good on you” – and sadly he’s probably right on that count.
Leaving aside Hone for a moment…
Even less funny are Rodney Hide, Roger Douglas, Chris Carter, & Bill English. (And various others I’ll leave out because that would take at least a week) These entities all been on the take too. Chris Carter is a member of the collectivist, socialist Labour Party, so we’d expect that kind of ‘damn the working man’ attitude from him anyway. Bill English, has asked us all to tighten our belts during the recession…but Sir Double Dipton doesn’t think he should – does anyone seriously think that he wanted to pay the money back because it was blatantly wrong, or did Mr Twenty-One Percent just do it to save his own hide?
Speaking of Hide, and his “I’m entitled” squealing mate Roger Douglas: These two have campaigned…excuse me…have made a career out of peddling the line that they are “Perk Busters,” “Waste Eliminators,” “Tax-payer Protectors” … Now both these gits are caught with their pants down, becoming the very same bludging, snouts-in the-trough, principle-bereft thieves they always claimed to be fighting against (ha, on our behalf)
For goodness’ sake, Rodney was the guy who helped Dave Henderson fight off the IRD; does anyone see the irony? Rodney is the guy you’d expect to be speaking up to slag off Hone; can anyone hear him bark?
The barking at Hone hasn’t come from his parliamentary colleagues.  It’s come from you lot – as it has to.
Dear reader, if you happen to see Hone in the street, ask him how choice his trip was at the expense of some poor, working, tax-paying Maori who is struggling to feed his whanau; ask him how choice it is that same poor Maori’s EFTPOS card just got declined at the supermarket; ask him how choice it is to say “I don’t give a shit” about the people who have to pick up his tab.
And if you happen to see Bill (and you can refrain from bruising your knuckles on his face), ask him how his belt tightening is going; ask him how his “entitlements” are looking, and think about how much money he’s taken of yours over the years when you are forced to tighten your belt and forgo a Christmas ham or holiday this year.
Ask Roger, if you stumble upon him, whether his “entitlements” should come out of your pocket; if you should be paying for books that you won’t read; and for holidays in London that you don’t get to enjoy.
And finally when you happen upon Rodney Hide, ask him how he can sleep at night knowing that good men like small business owner Ian Mutton killed himself because of being bullied by the IRD, the same IRD that collect tax so Rodney can go to weddings in London with his girlfriend. Ask him if he can face Ian’s poor surviving wife, who knows what it’s like to live without her husband, and their son – their son, who at 13 killed himself six months after his dad did due to the despair at losing his dad. Just bloody ask him what kind of twisted logic makes him the self-appointed doyenne of the working, taxpaying people of New Zealand.
Message for Rodney: you are the worst of the bunch I’ve just mentioned.  The baubles of office and the arrogance of political power have done you in. You have no claim, ever again, to be anything but another political parasite on the back of all of us!
Just another bloody politician – for whom stealing is in the blood.
* * * *
Clark-Watkins
UPDATE: Who would have thought it.  Scratch a Racist Party MP, and what do you find?  A racist.  Says Hone HaHa in an email reply to someone involuntarily picking up the tab for his tip:
    “Gee Buddy, do you believe that white man bullshit too do you?
    "White motherfuckers have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bullshit."
Story, and more eimailery here.  And John Boy’s response?
    “Mr Key said Mr Harawira's language was not ‘appropriate.’ But he was sent a ‘very provocative email and that's what he responded to but I don't think that makes it right.’
    “He will leave the Maori Party to deal with him.”
Now that’s what I call cabinet discipline.















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I think I’ve become a tree hugger

Or I would be, if I had this tree in my backyard . . .

mothernature1 [Hat tip Jeff Perren]

Poster for ‘Las Vie Parisienne’ – Georges Léonnec

Georges Léonnec 
Part of the life-affirming “culture of Paris” that we were just paying (against our will) for Hone Harawira to be sucking up – this 1922 cover by Léonnec for the magazine La Vie Parisienne harks back to the sense of life of late-nineteenth century European romantic culture and, specifically, the rambunctiously infectious operettas of Jacques Offenbach.

And frankly, if you’ve never seen one of Offenbach’s operettas, then you’ve never lived.  I guarantee that if Hone sat through one, he’d be tickled pink.

Which would almost be worth the price of his ticket.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

NOT PJ: A Pack of Rankers

This week Bernard Darnton examines education’s standards.

_BernardDarnton There’s been screeching recently from people opposed to new national standards in education. Apparently measuring how poorly children perform in maths will create an “education underclass.” And bathroom scales are responsible for the obesity epidemic.

(By the way, that was just the most obvious example that came to mind. All talk of an obesity epidemic and, worse, the idea that “something should be done” is, of course, a load of crap.)

Unnamed “experts” are concerned that having schools concentrating on literacy and numeracy will lead to a narrowing of the curriculum. The purveyors of Dolphin Studies textbooks are said to be mortified.

Teachers unions are terrified of national standards because they encourage the idea that some schools might be better than others. There’s nothing like a complete denial of reality to promote faith in the quality of primary school teachers.

To get the unions on side, or at least to become less obstreperous, Education Minister Anne Tolley claims to have cooked up some arrangement whereby parents will get the performance data but media won’t. As long as no journalists ever procreate that should work a charm. I can only assume that the Minister hasn’t reached the national standard in rational thinking. Or perhaps, far more terrifying, she has.

The other possibility is that Tolley knows perfectly well that her plan is as viable as the Elephant Man’s bid to be America’s next top model but that the New Zealand Educational Institute has been bluffed into submission. The union representatives may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer.

It’s well known that a teachers college education isn’t what it used to be. Learning to count to five in Māori and to play three guitar chords doesn’t cut it in today’s complex world. The quality of the raw material has been declining too.

Economist Steven Levitt suggests that primary teacher standards have dropped because of feminism. In the bad old days the only job open to women that didn’t involve domestic drudgery was teaching. Now that women can become doctors, lawyers, and cabinet ministers the fraction of teachers in the top quintile for IQ has halved and the fraction in the bottom quintile has doubled. If you’re after a smile, the rest is in the recently released SuperFreakonomics, in the chapter on prostitution. (Don’t ask.)

National standards may be even more important if the standard of female teachers is slipping. (There have been no male primary school teachers since Peter Ellis’s 1993 conviction for walking a bit funny.)

An outfit called Parents Against Labelling has been set up to oppose these new standards. Whether this is a genuine grass roots organisation or a front for someone else, I don’t know. They do have a point though. Parents should be able to choose the sort of education their children get, whether it involves the three Rs, thirty hours a week of Dolphin Studies, or just the obedience training and baby-sitting service that too many schools offer.

I think national standards are better than having no standards at all. A whole lot of parents disagree.

As usual, the problem is the state’s one-size-fits-all education system. A bunch of policy analysts in the shambolic Ministry of Education gets to decide how all the country’s children are miseducated. Instead of choosing better schools parents have to form lobby groups and nag, quite likely in futility, for what they believe would be better schools. Rather than trust this crowd to set national standards, why not free the education system and let parents set personal standards?

* * Read Bernard Darnton’s column every Thursday here at NOT PC * *

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Project: Dargaville extension – Organon Architecture

Opt001- RearCourtyard

Here’s a simple wee project I’ve been working on to extend a small existing house with a family area opening up to a protected outside courtyard, and to add on a sleep-out/studio with an open outside-eating spot between to enjoy cooling summer breezes.
[Cross-posted at the new  O R G A N O N    A R C H I T E C T U R E    B L O G ]

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

ATTN: Auckland Bloggers

Annie Fox reminds me that Auckland’s monthly Bloggers Bar Bash is on again tomorrow night (5th) at Galbraiths, from 6.30pm onwards.  (You can throw your fire-crackers at each other on Saturday night – if you can find any.) 

Says Annie in her reminder:

    “Last month a great night was had by all - although there was one that left rather abruptly. - what was that about? I managed to stay until closing time - which quite frankly was weird.
Cactus Kate popped in for a surprise visit and we had David Farrar the month before. All these celebrity bloggers - who will be next?
    “We are also starting to get interest from the non-political bloggers, which is great - all welcome.”

You are.  Be there, or be a target for someone’s fireworks.  :-)

Capital gains theft

John Key rules out a Capital Gains Tax. Yesterday, Bill English ruled it in.  Key said back in September that Capital Gains Taxes were “inefficient” and “did not achieve the objective of stopping a housing boom . . . in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.” Carefully avoiding using the words “family home,” Billy Bob indicated yesterday however that Capital Gains Taxes on investment property – which means everything other than yours and Bill’s family homes, wherever they might be – are just the release of a taxation report away.

For a pair who supposedly know what they’re doing (yeah, right) these two can’t even get their stories straight . . .  and English just can’t avoid his eyes gleaming at the prospect of a new tax.

D’you remember which mainstream party it was who went into the election on a platform of tax cuts? Turns out they’d rather break their promises to you than consider cutting their own profligate spending.

And yes, there are still idiot economists around who will be applauding this – what Lenin used to call “useful idiots” – the sort who think the way to “fix” NZ’s economic woes is a whole raft of new taxes.  By their applause shall ye know them.

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DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Rodney, Rick and Moral Cesspits

Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath takes his regularly irreverent look at some of the past week’s headlines.  Here are the headlines that caught his eye:

hood01 1. Ministers 'entitled' to dip into tax purse – >From perk-buster to perk-luster, Rodney Hide now slurps at the trough along with the other swine. Splitting hairs, he rationalizes that because the money had come from taxpayers via the Parliamentary Services budget, that was somehow better than if it came from taxpayers via the Ministerial Services budget. Rodney, those of us forced to subsidize you and your girlfriend on your overseas junket don’t make those sorts of distinctions.

What would a Libertarianz MP do in Rodney’s place? Firstly, he or she would pay their own way on overseas trips or not go at all. That would sort out which trips were really necessary and which ones were perks. My personal preference – not official Libz policy I hasten to add – would be to abolish all perks and for MPs to be self-funded or paid out of party funds.

Likewise election campaigns, with total freedom of speech (subject to liability for fraudulent and defamatory actions and utterances) and no limit on advertising or campaign spending. No compulsory funding of political parties you abhor and despise. Members of Parliament should meet only when necessary. Debates and voting could take place electronically. Bill English could stay ‘home’ in Dipton and vote from there on matters before the House.

If MPs needed to meet in person, they could hire a room somewhere for a day like the rest of us have to. The Beehive could be pulled down – it’s an architectural monstrosity anyway – and the prime land on which it sits  auctioned off to fund pensions and benefits for the elderly and permanently disabled or to pay off some of our overseas public debt.

Let’s get rid of a system that allows Rodney and others to milk the rest of us with shameless arrogance. Only the Libertarianz Party has the will to really change things. Give us your vote and put a stop to these and the other parasites that are sending this country broke.       

2. IRD on a roll with cheats – >Yes, the blood suckers are having a field day, thanks to laws that are unclear; that don’t firmly establish just how much the vampires can suck out of productive people. Even the big banks, with their teams of lawyers and accountants, are being clobbered, thanks to ‘greyness’ in our tax laws that leave the amount of tax ‘owing’ a matter of speculation. BNZ and Westpac found that out, to the tune of $1.6 billion.

This money is being lifted from investors and shareholders in these banks, who the Dompost calls ‘cheats.’ What an Orwellian twist on words. How can a person, or a company, acting in fiscal self-defence be labelled a cheat? It’s like calling a woman a ‘cheat’ for stopping a rapist from violating her body.

I didn’t think tax avoidance was illegal. Perhaps I’m wrong. But the pendulum has swung in favour of the Daywalkers – those who feed on human blood during daylight hours – thanks to subjective laws.

How would a Libertarianz government manage this gruesome situation? By doing what Grinning John is too scared to do. Cut government spending to the marrow. Stop paying child-killers to breed. Privatise funding of everything except justice, national defence and upholding the rule of law.

Abolish the IRD, destroy the files they hold on hard-working New Zealanders, and hold another inquiry into their loathsome activities. I am sure this could be funded by New Zealanders who have fallen victim to IRD persecution, and by others simply interested in seeing justice served.

Most importantly, replace the current wishy-washy legislation with objective law based on upholding individual rights so that the law was clear. If banks with unlimited legal resources can’t get their tax vulnerability sorted, what hope do the rest of us have?  

3. Insurer: Health bills out of control – Private insurers, such as Southern Cross, are struggling to cope with claims by members and policy holders for the costs of medical care. ACT MP John Boscawen is quite correct in laying blame at the feet of medical colleges – aided and abetted, I might add, by statutory bodies such as the Medical Council. It is the lack of competition, under the excuse of “maintaining professional standards”, that allows doctors and hospitals in a restricted market to charge high prices.

The cost of obtaining private medical care would plummet if restrictions were lifted and doctors from overseas were allowed to enter the market with no restrictions apart from the existing ones that punish deceit and coercion. That would encourage existing services to lift their game, our two medical schools to radically rethink how they operate (and open them up to competition), and cheaper more affordable alternatives in health care.

How would Libertarianz help free up the health industry? By removing the government as a commercial influence. By disbanding the Medical and Nursing Councils. By allowing different levels of care – such as nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants at lower cost than someone with full medical training. By removing subsidies for practitioners of the favoured Western style of medicine to establish equality without prejudice. By selling off our shamefully decrepit public hospitals. By devolving the health budget back to individuals, private insurers and voluntary groupings such as trade unions and friendly societies. By opening our borders to medical refugees from socialist hellholes such as the United Kingdom.

The high cost of private health care is a natural effect of state interference in the health industry. A free market, allowing health care pitched at varying levels of affordability, is the answer to the current mess.

barker_lying_scumbag 4. Editorial: Labour loses moral compass – The “Data Research Party,” with few exceptions, are lying scum. This scathing editorial confirms it, exposing the mendacious activities of some of its senior vermin. Take the odious Rick Barker, for instance. Chucked out by the voters of Tukituki, Barker sneaked back in as a list MP - reason in itself to dump MMP as our electoral system.

hughes_lying_scumbag Barker advocates his pollsters misrepresent themselves under a false banner.

goff_lying_scumbag Party whip Darren Hughes – a ginger whinger who’s another electorate reject - backs the duplicity of Barker, as does party leader Phil-in Goff.

I wonder how many other lies Labour told or covered up during their nine years in office. I commend the Sunday Star Times for doing this once something Barker, Hughes and Goff evidently can’t at all - telling the truth.

See y’all next week!
Doc McGrath

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Blog stats

Bit busy at the moment to do the regular blog stats, so I’ll take a leaf out of Lindsay Mitchell’s book and do them this way.  Here’s the visits to NOT PC for the last two years:

BlogStatsToOct2009

BTW: Did you see Lindsay talking to Paul Henry on Monday morning about National’s timid welfare “reforms”? Take a look if you want to put them in some sort of perspective.

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If other countries jumped off a cliff, would we do it too? [update 2]

In the wake of that NZIER report saying, essentially, that NZ’s environmentalists should stop obsessing about feelgood bullshit like “greenhouse gas emissions” and “zero waste” [on which Crampton offers enthusiastic commentary] Nick Smith admitted in the midst of a TV3 report last night that the emissions trading scam he is about to impose on New Zealand industry will do precisely nothing to prevent, mitigate or roll back global warming.  It will do none of these things, he admits; but it is necessary, he says, ao we can impress people overseas. 

    “What we do with our emissions trading scheme, what we do around trying to convert to cleaner energy technology is, of itself, not going to change the future of the international climate,” he says.
    “What it is going to do is make plain that New Zealand is serious about doing its fair share.”

Given that Smith’s emissions trading scam is essentially a whole new burden on New Zealand’s struggling businessmen and women, this is the equivalent of saying we should shoot ourselves in the foot because everybody else is cutting off their leg.

When a NZ politician tells us we need to put the way others see us above our own well-being, it’s time to call foul – and “foul” is certainly the word to describe this minister.

And just who are we being forced to impress?  The environmentalists who are pushing this barrow? The Not Evil, Just Wrong blog reminds us just how interested in human well-being they are.  Here’s just some of the things said by some of the people who’ve at some stage recently inhabited the environmental movement:

10. “Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.” - Dave Forman, Founder of Earth First!

9. “If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower population levels.” - Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund

8. “We, in the green movement, aspire to a cultural model in which killing a forest will be considered more contemptible and more criminal than the sale of 6-year-old children to brothels.” - Carl Amery

7. “I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.” - John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

6. “The extinction of human species may not only be inevitable, but a good thing...This is not to say that the rise of human civilization is insignificant, but there is no way of showing that it will be much help to the world in the long run.” - Economist editorial

5. “The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans”- Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project

4. “Cannabilism is a "radical but realistic solution to the problem of overpopulation." - Lyall Watson, The Financial Times, 15 July 1995

3. “To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem.”- Lamont Cole

2. “If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS.” - Earth First! Newsletter

1. “We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or social change to come and bomb us back into the Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion -- guilt free at last!” - Stewart Brand (writing in the Whole Earth Catalogue)

These are not off-the-wall comments by fringe loonies (well, apart from Prince Phillip).  These people are mainstream environmentalists.

Astute readers will notice that a few of those quotes have appeared here before, in this comprehensive list of nastiness exhibited by the anti-human zealots of mainstream environmentalism.  Patrick Moore - a co-founder of Greenpeace - says in the film 'Not Evil Just Wrong' that he has a checklist he runs through when evaluating today’s environmentalists, and one of the first things he notices is that they tend to be 'anti-human.'

It’s these people Nick Smith thinks we should be sucking up to.

UPDATE 1:  There was something even more frightening in that TV3 report, which you can watch here.  See those kids at Pigeon Mountain Primary being indoctrinated – a ‘snapshot’ of school life that’s representative of what every NZ factory school is delivering to your children? Ten-year-old kids who don’t even know basic science who are being told by their “teachers” (who know little more) that their world is dying.

And people wonder why so many teenagers grow up so disenchanted.

UPDATE 2: The Ayn Rand Center’s Yaron Brook analyses the motives behind measures proposed in the name of combating climate change.  Watch Attack of the Warmists: The Battle for Climate Control at PJ TV.

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Gordon House – Frank Lloyd Wright

GordonHouse

Designed in 1956 for a site in Wilsonville, Oregon, the 2,100-square-foot Gordon House – one of Wright’s Usonian Automatic Homes – the original owners lived in it for the rest of their lives. Rescued from demolition in 2001 after both owners had passed away, it was moved to the Oregon Gardens in Silverton, Oregon, and re-opened in 2007.

Says Douglas Steiner’s comprehensive Wright Library site, from whence these pics come:

Gordon_House_2002    “There are many classic Wright details. The basic materials are concrete blocks, local cedar and a red concrete floor with radiant heat, designed on a seven foot grid. There are three sets of double wood framed glass doors on the East and West side of the Living Room. They open outward and are one and a half stories tall.
    “Two cantilevered balconies on the second floor with walls that step inward as they rise. Cantilevered and trellised roof overhangs. Rows of vertical block piers. GordonModelThere are windows with perforated cut-wood light screens. The hidden entrance. Flush vertical joints and raked horizontal joints. The vertical cedar siding is the exact height of the concrete block and lines up with the joints. Like many of Wright’s homes, he designed the built-in seating, many of the fixtures and some of the furniture.”

Gordon_Plan

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Privatising the Foreshore & Seabed: Get on with it! [update 2]

Otago Daily Times: “Prime Minister John Key says the foreshore and seabed legislation will almost certainly be repealed, but no decision has been taken on what might replace it.”

WHY HAS NO DECISION YET been taken on what might replace it, I wonder?  Even though everyone and their kaumatua has been trying to complicate things, it’s not like it’s at all complicated.

When the Foreshore & Seabed Act is repealed, just leave it where it was at before.

And where it was at before was with Maori needing to prove to the courts that they possessed a common law property right in their portion of NZ’s foreshore & seabed.  And if they could prove such a right to a legal standard of proof, then why on earth should anyone object?

What could possibly be wrong with recognising the right of people to claim the property in which they have a right?

What could possibly be wrong with the protection of property in which people can prove that right, which is all that a repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act will do.

And that’s all there really is to it.  See how uncomplicated it really is?

There’s a few points to be made, however, just to round up the complications people see in this.

THERE’S TALK THAT REPEALING the Foreshore and Seabed Act will simply “give” Maori the beaches.  This is wrong in two respects.

First, repeal would (and should) simply mean that Maori have a right to make a claim to what is theirs, not to be given what is not.

Second, it doesn’t mean that all Maori are awarded a right to all beaches.  That’s like saying, if the roles were reversed somewhat, that all men should be awarded rights in all the country’s fishing spots, and all white women get to own the pavements outside all the clothes stores – which even my least favourite auntie would know was absurd. But it doesn’t mean that at all. In fact it’s more like saying that your favourite store might be able to have its rights in the pavement outside its own store recognised by the courts, should they be interested in such a thing.

In other words, repeal simply means (and should mean) that specific parties have to prove they possess specific rights in a specific piece of land, foreshore or seabed, which rights would then deserve to be recognised in law.

And like the rights in a High Street pavement, that needn’t preclude there being other rights and covenants attached that protect other rights, rights such as access and so on, so everyone’s rights in a piece of land, foreshore and seabed are protected.

Common law is a beautifully uncomplicated thing.

THERE’S TALK THAT RIGHTS should be made non-transferrable, and only awarded to iwi instead of individuals. Why?  Let’s put on our colour-blind spectacles for a moment and recognise that if Maori can prove they have genuine rights, then why should those rights be so circumscribed?  Why should individual Maori miss out?   Why shouldn’t rights be transferrable – which means they can be used as collateral to help the owners develop the resource -- and be saleable, so they can end up in the hands of those who value the resource the most?

THERE’S TALK THAT MAORI deserve the rights to foreshore and seabed as some sort of gift under the Treaty.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They deserve the right to claim their rights  because, like every other New Zealander, they deserve to have their rights in property protected. But there’s the rub, isn’t it. There should be more than one race who has this right protected, shouldn’t there. You know, like One Law for All – which was what the Treaty actually brought to New Zealand.  Let’s use this as a call to arms for all property rights for all New Zealanders.

SO LET’S LOOK AT the real bright side here: If it’s done properly, repeal of the Foreshore & Seabed Act will be a fantastic step forward for property rights. Sure, if it’s done properly repeal will only take us back to how things were a few years ago, but there’s now so much more understanding of how a common law property right can be laid claim to than there was back then -- and there’s so much more support for the common law process by which it can be done. 

Crikey, even Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei thinks Maori should be given the right to seek common law title through the courts. Who would have thought we’d see the Greens supporting the privatisation of the commons.

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Quote of the day: On deflation

You should not be afraid of deflation.
You should be afraid of policies attempting to fight it.”

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, in his post ‘Is Debt-Deflation Just Beginning?

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LIBERTARIANZ SUS: Buying the cell?

You can’t cell a ban to Susan Ryder.

susanryder Politicians can certainly act quickly when they want something badly enough. As of last Sunday, it is illegal to use a hand-held cellphone while driving on New Zealand roads.

I’ve been opposed to this legislation since it was first mooted a few years ago, but even the Clark Government wasn’t stupid enough to enact it. To be fair, it had little choice. In spite of a publicly brave face right up until Election Day, I’m sure the party bigwigs privately knew they were buggered and didn’t dare give the electorate another chance to scream ‘Nanny State’ in the interim!

However, as some of us have said all along, it seems that the Nanny State really does start and finish with light bulbs and shower pressure as far as the present government is concerned.

And so to this latest piece of brilliance.

It was no coincidence that the cellphone-while-driving issue was resurrected around the same time as the run-up to the recent Referendum to repeal the Anti-Smacking Act. It was also no coincidence that it passed into law shortly after the Prime Minister scotched the outcome of the Referendum … no doubt to salvage some respect amid growing disquiet that he and his government were behaving with similar arrogance to that displayed by its predecessor. But in so doing, the Key government was behaving exactly like its predecessor, i.e., doing something in order to be seen to be doing something, and creating more bureaucracy into the bargain.

I had several run-ins with Leighton Smith on Newstalk ZB, who approves of the ban. “These people are a nuisance on the road!” seemed to be the thrust of his argument.

I put it to him that driving carelessly or dangerously is already against the law, as it should be. That we didn’t need a specific law for those doing so while talking on their phones; that bad driving was bad driving with or without a cellphone and should be dealt with accordingly.

Leighton refused to buy it. He reckoned that the distraction level was greater than say, changing the radio station or CD, to which my reply was “and if necessary, punish the offender more severely, but under the existing laws that encompass any and all poor driving.”

Alas, readers, I failed miserably in my attempts at persuasion. I could not seem to make him understand that I wasn’t defending unsafe driving – far from it. That I simply believed that enforcement of the existing laws was sufficient.

Why is it that Conservatives who understand and support the virtue of limited government, will happily do a U-turn and compromise that principle by calling for compulsion or bans over the odd thing they either hold dear or dislike, respectively? It’s very disappointing and they should know better.

I also predicted the following:

  1. That the ban will make little difference to the road toll and crash statistics
  1. That the LTSA will continue with their ridiculous, expensive advertising campaigns that have little effect upon the road toll and crash statistics
  1. That in the result of the above, the ban will be senselessly extended to include hands-free devices

As it happened, I didn’t even have to wait for the first two points to evolve. A headline in The New Zealand Herald last Saturday – the day before the legislation even came into effect – said that “experts” were already calling for the ban to be extended as such.

Just as well the radio became a standard feature in vehicles years before the legions of Professional Interferers made it their business to professionally interfere in everything we do. It wouldn’t have a show of passing the muster with today’s Nazis. Imagine the possible distractions!

PS: Further to this safety obsession, a lady from Plunket was on the radio yesterday morning talking about Guy Fawkes Day. She reminded us that fireworks could be dangerous and it’s better to look for a public display rather than ignite some at home. Animals don’t like them and children can get hurt. But if you do choose to let some off yourself, keep your children right away from them and don’t let them touch them. So don’t say you weren’t told. And if you’re a Conservative, don’t roll your eyes. ;)

* * Read Susan Ryder’s column every Tuesday here at NOT PC * *

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‘Beautiful Steps, #2’ - Lang/Baumann

2009-08_BeautifulSteps2_1

Sad to report, but this is not the exit stairs for the “council staff employed in planning, policy and strategy are most likely to lose their jobs in the Auckland council amalgamation” – of whom the number to be ejected could not be to many – or the point of departure for the health bureaucrats to be given the DCM, of whom the number is far too few.

No, the stairs are an “installation art” project attached to the Palais de Congrès, Biel, Switzerland for the 11th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition: Utopics, by “artists” Lang/Baumann [hat tip Duncan B.].

So images of slow swallow dives by pink-slip bearing bureaucrats are, unfortunately, only to be imagined.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

A postcard to “Crusher” Collins [update 3]

collins_300x200 Asset confiscation; suspension of your right to silence; expanded search and surveillance powers for an extraordinary range of government departments – I tell you what: I’m with Danyl here asking why is it that Minister for Police Judith Collins is so damn popular? And the country’s media so fawning?

Beats the hell out of me.

People say things like, “Oh, if you do nothing wrong then you’ve got nothing to fear from expanded police powers.” What fatuous nonsense. That’s like saying if you’ve got nothing to hide then there’s no need to hang curtains on your front window.

Expanding the scope of “what-you-can-do-wrong” is just one way the state can make you feel its hot breath down your collar.  What they’re doing here is enlarging the scope of what they can do to you even if you’ve done nothing wrong at all.  Even if there’s no real proof of wrong-doing.  Even if there’s no chance of any conviction, or of any finding of guilt—the government and its agencies will soon be able to do a complete end run around the protection of the court system to search you, to surveil you, and to confiscate what you’ve got, merely on their say-so that you’re someone who’s not to be trusted.

As an opponent of enlarged state power myself, I’d like to think that all of us in that team would be thought of that way.  Which is just one very personal reason I’m outraged at the overturning of yet more fundamental legal rights going back centuries that this government is wasting no time overturning.  Presumption of innocence?  A criminal standard of proof? Just cause? Due process?

It’s almost like the Nats don’t even know or care, they exist . . .

“The retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to establish that a crime has been committed.”  That’s a basic principle of Objective Law. What it’s being changed to by the Key Government is, to paraphase:

“The government’s retaliatory use of force will be unleashed to search for evidence that a crime has been committed, to deny your right to remain silent about any alleged crime in which you’re thought to have been involved, and to seize whatever assets the government deems to be forfeit from whomever they deem to be a suspect – under rules they’ll make up as they go along.”

Doesn’t sound like me to be praiseworthy.  Sounds to me more like something to fear.

Judith has already earned herself the moniker “Crusher,” despite not having crushed one car, and not looking likely to in the near future.  But she has already begun crushing some of your most basic protections against your being abused by the state and its multitude of agencies, quangoes and departments.

If you’re one of those who’s been thinking that HeadMistress Collins is doing good work here in making it “easier” to get to criminals, I would urge you to reconsider.  What she’s doing is making it easier to “get” the innocent, whether or not they’ve even displayed any criminality.

And if you can’t prove that someone is guilty in a properly established court of law, what gives you the moral authority to treat them as if you have?  Answers on a postcard, please.

UPDATE 1: No Right Turn spotted this chilling exchange on Sunday’s Q&A TV programme, on which HeadMistress Collins appeared:

"Paul Holmes pressed her on civil liberties, pointing out that the asset forfeiture regime was the end of "innocent until proven guilty". The Minister's response?

It's fantastic isn't it?

Yes, Really. We have a fascist as a police Minister.

It gets worse. What stops the police from abusing the vast new powers National (and, to be fair, Labour - because this bill and the Search and Surveillance Bill are both Goff's babies) has introduced? Apparently, the police are supposed to be concerned for their reputation, and afraid that they would "lose all credibility" if they victimised innocent people. Yeah, and I have a brewery in Mangitinoka to sell you. But Collins thinks we have other safeguards as well …  Lets look at those one by one, shall we?

Read on to watch NRT demolish them one by one.

UPDATE 3: And there’s this postcard from Scoop: Fascist Police States: Libz Habeas Collins' Corpus On A Spike

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Three out of a set of 121

Some of the country’s most highly-paid beneficiaries make their case for your support.

EntHideled

That’s just three out of a set of 12i over-paid beneficiaries. Why not collect the whole set?  After all, you’re already paying for them.

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Hallensteins defend murderer [update 2]

A recent exchange of correspondence between Hallensteins and a former customer, aka The Tomahawk Kid.

Dear Xxxxxx,

I write with reference to your email to the Hallensteins website regarding T Shirts with a print of Che Guevara on the front.
I am very sorry to hear that these T Shirts are offensive to you. There is no intention to offend anyone.
These T Shirt images are really just a reflection on a person who is probably more widely viewed as a revolutionary and a symbol of rebellion.
There is no question of hero status, or even fashion for that matter, merely a rebellious nature, which seems to appeal to people of all ages.
Thank you for your support of Hallensteins in the past, I do hope we can continue to count you among our customers

Yours sincerely
Roy Dillon
CEO
Hallenstein Glasson Holdings Limited
**************

Hi Roy - thanks for your reply

Unfortunately these T-Shirts are still in extremely bad taste.
May I suggest you do some research and find out how many people that chap with a rebellious nature killed and murdered.
Hallensteins are responsible for championing and glamorising a mass murderer whether that is your intention or not - ignorance of the facts is no excuse or defence.
Some school kids were recently in the news for saluting and bowing to a Swastika because they were ignorant of the attrocities of the Nazis. This was extremely bad taste - but they were ignorant children.
Che Guevara murdered and tortured anybody who did not believe in his version of communism.
This is not freedom fighting - it is murder.
He was a revolutionary - not for freedom, but for oppression.
He didn’t want people to be free to chose how they wanted to live - he wanted freedom from capitalism - so people could be forced to live under communism.
It is ironic that the system of capitalism that allows you to glamorise this thug is the system that he hated, and would have had you murdered at the blink of an eye.
I think you should change your mind on this - or do you intend to produce a line of mass-murderer T-Shirts?
Son of Sam, Stalin, Goering, Mao, Hitler perhaps?
May I suggest you read more about the man you display so proudly on your products: http://www.therealcuba.com/MurderedbyChe.htm

Xxxxxx Xxxxx

Hi Xxxxxx

There is no glamour, championing, hero status or otherwise intended, he appears to symbolise rebellion, nothing more, nothing less.
Thank you for your comments.

Yours sincerely
Roy Dillon

UPDATE 2: Tomahawk Kid responds:

I understand and am quite happy to hear that you do not intend to glamorise a murderer, but what you do not seem to understand Roy is that regardless of what you intend, you are glamorising him - you are pretending that he didn’t commit atrocities on other human beings just because they didn't agree with communism!
If you wish to symbolise rebellion, there are plenty of other popular culture heroes who didn't go around murdering innocent people who you could use.

[But if you really don’t care who you have on your shirts] why don't Hallensteins produce a Hitler T-shirt then? - after all - he just wanted a free Germany (free of Jews and blacks)
I am afraid your excuse is weak and invalid Roy, and for a well-respected family store is in very poor taste.
I'm afraid due to your lack of understanding of this issue I and my family will no longer be spending our money at a store that has such a poor and low regard of human rights - and that is quite a shame because I actually used to shop there quite a bit.
Regards
Xxxxxx Xxxxx

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Quote of the day: On inflation and deflation

    Inflation is classically described simply as an increase in the money supply. Although these changes will impact price levels, it doesn't necessarily follow that prices will rise when inflation is high. Instead, inflation may merely result in stable prices at a time when prices would otherwise be
falling.
    In the popular mentality, however, inflation is simply defined as prices rising. After decades of steadily rising prices, people seem to have forgotten that prices sometimes fall. In light of the bursting of a number of record-breaking, government-fueled asset bubbles, prices should be declining across the board (as they did in the Great Depression). The fact that prices are stable, or have even rallied in some sectors, indicates that inflation is already spreading across the economy.”

    - From ‘Stealth Inflation’ by John Browne,
      Senior Market Strategist for Euro Pacific Capital, Inc.,
      and former advisor to Margaret Thatcher
      [hat tip Rational Capitalist]

That pretty much puts the current arguments about “will we have inflation or deflation now” in perspective, don’t you think?

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Busybodies, One, Two, Three

There were busybodies all over the place over the weekend.  Busybodies making sure that you didn’t smoke in bars, drink alcohol in public places and – most importantly! – that you didn’t talk into your phone while your car was moving or while "stationary in the normal flow of traffic, such as approaching intersections, traffic lights or roadworks."

This was important work – or so all the busybodies seemed to think.  Didn’t matter if you were eating while driving, or putting on your make up, or playing with the radio or you iPod – just as long as you weren’t talking to someone on that little electronic device we call a phone.

Bloody busybodies. They’re everywhere.

But I have a confession to make. I'm a busybody myself.

Yes, I’m a busybody. There, I've said it.  You'll notice that I frequently tell off busybodies for their bossiness, but the perceptive among you have noticed I'm one myself.

I have strong opinions and I don’t care who knows it.

I think taxation is theft.  That a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away again. That where liberty is concerned, “moderation” is suicide. That the point of liberty is to make the world safe for reason.

I hold these opinions strongly and, like all busybodies, I think my opinions should be yours too.  And if you don’t like those opinions, I have others.

I think it's wrong to listen to rap and techno.  I think smoking cigarettes in company is impolite and consuming recreational pharmaceuticals is dumb – but I think it’s your right to do that if you choose to.  

I endorse teaching youngsters phonetics, admiring figurative painting and sculpture, and building homes following the principles of organic architecture. I think you should listen to Wagner and Duke Ellington, refrain from eating meat, and avoid bad beer altogether. I think you should follow Australian Football and support Geelong, read Ayn Rand, Raymond Chandler and Umberto Eco, and drink martinis under a starry sky while filing your subscriptions to The Free Radical and the MG Car Club and your membership in the Libertarianz.

Like Sue Kedgley and Steven Joyce and the nannies in ASH and and ALAC I'm opinionated and bossy, and I don't care who knows it.  There is one small point of difference, however.  The main point is, the little question of persuasion.  Of persuasion as opposed to force.

There are two kinds of  busybodies, you see: those who want to persuade you that you're wrong and they're right (that's me, and I am), and those who want to force you.  Those who appeal to reason to demonstrate the superiority of their ideas, and those who resort to the big stick.

Doesn't matter who's right in that end, since even if you're right and they're wrong there's nothing you can do once Nanny's stick comes out.

You who never understand the difference between persuading someone to do your bidding, and coercing them never truly understand or respect the crucial difference between treating someone as a slave and respecting them as a a free man.

Using persuasion rather than coercion is the recognition that human beings are sovereign individuals, with the right to make their own choices, and to commit their own mistakes. Using force takes their choices away.

One appeals to the human mind, to human reason. The other treats people as a subject, as a serf, as a mindless chattel.

The truth is this: That just because you feel strongly about something that gives you no right to impose your feelings upon others who may in no wise agree with you.

A new law is not persuasion. No matter how many other MPs you can persuade, the effect of that law is the assembling of the vast might of legislative, judicial and police powers to enforce this thing about which you feel so strongly. That's force. That's coercion.

Talking about bringing in a ban is not persuasion, it is not a "national debate we should be having." It’s simply the first act in a three-act drama of bullying to come.

I say think twice before reaching for a ban, or calling for a legislative smack around people’s head.

If smacking is bad because it uses force against children, as some people have argued, then why isn't force bad when it's used against adults (who -- unlike children -- do have the full power of reason).

If date rape is bad because it takes away a woman's right to refuse consent (and so it does), then so too is every form of coercion in that it too takes away the power of consent.

In his seminal essay on Persuasion Versus Force Mark Skousen argues, "The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilised society." And so it is. What's wrong with persuading people, rather than using force? What’s wrong with reasoning with them instead of reaching for the big stick.  Isn't that -- or shouldn't that be -- the mark of a truly civilised society? If you look for symbolism, you might think of it as reason against brute force, or the mind versus the gun.

Isn’t it more civilised to appeal to what’s in someone’s mind by reason, than to reach for a gun to refuse that mind permission to think?  As Ayn Rand sais, “Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins.”

How about we ban bans, and think about being civilised instead.

Freedom means the freedom to make mistakes.  It means leaving people free to make their own mistakes – to listen to rap and country music; to read Danielle Steel and Dan Brown; to smoke like a trooper and talk and text on their cellphones.

As Sir James Russell Lowell said, "the ultimate result of protecting fools from their folly is to fill the planet full of fools."

As the man says, if it makes sense, then they wouldn't have to force you.

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Muddle More

One of the worst hospitals I’ve ever visited has to be Middlemore Hospital. It’s a hospital the world shambles was invented for.

Many of the wards and buildings still being used were built by the Americans during the war.  The second world war.  The Americans did more with them in three years of war than the various bureaucrats in charge of the place have done in the sixty-four years of peace since.

As unpleasant places go, some of the wards at the back of the hospital really take the biscuit.

Even visiting the place is difficult.  Car parking is limited – unless you have a staff car pass – and walking from car park to the patient you’re visiting can require serious walking shoes: Not all wards have a car park close to them.  And when you’re driving into the place, you’ve got to be careful not to fill up the emergency ward with squashed children, since the ring road and systematic lack of footpaths round the hospital is cunningly designed to funnel pedestrians and their inevitable broods of children right into the line of traffic entering the precinct.

It’s fashionable to say that the hospital/facilities/bureaucracy at hospitals is barely functional, but the staff there are wonderful.  But I can’t say that either.

More staff seem more interested in themselves than they do in the patients they’re supposed to be looking after. At the emergency ward they’re largely intent on ensuring that visitors are excluding from getting in to see their loved ones, and in many of the other wards many of them seem to be there just to eat their lunch.

In fact, staff eating their lunch is more important in the scheme of ‘things Middlemore’ than patient health, welfare and privacy. Some of the darker, less pleasant wards have enclosed courtyards with gardens and barbecue areas attached.  But these are not for patients – patients are not welcome; these are for staff to eat their lunch.

And the “zero tolerance” policy that the politically-correct leadership of the hospital have implemented means that patients’ need for a private room to discuss treatment or bad news with their family can be intruded upon at any time by staff looking for a place to eat their lunch.  Nothing like discussing rectal medication and life-changing decisions while a complete stranger stares at you from across the room eating their sandwiches.  “Zero tolerance” means you can’t complain. It also means there’s precisely zero respect for privacy.

Someone once said that under socialism, all of people’s lives are lived right out in public.  If you’re not sure if you like discussing personal things in the impersonal mien of a bus terminal, then Middlemore Hospital is the place to test out your feelings on the matter.

I’m looking forward to my mother being released back into the wild shortly, hopefully free of another visit to the place any time soon.

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