Friday, May 27, 2011

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: It’s a faking-reality election again [updated]

The 2011 election campaign has started early, with both sides signalling already that their primary platform this year will be faking fiscal reality. It’s going to be a long few months.

  • That should leave room for someone, you would think, to begin stating the facts about the govt living beyond its means.  But it will take a lot more gimlet-eyed passion than this. (Maybe he needs a good Press Secretary … ? ;-)
    WHY ACT? A personal statement – Don Brash, F A C E B O O K
  • And here’s a reasonable question.
    Will ACT vote against the Budget? – T H E   S U B – S T A N D A R D
  • Mind you, it’s easy for politicians to fake reality with a press corps as dim as ours.
    Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? – Seamus Hogan, O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R
  • Oh, by the way, did you know the projected costs for the Auckland Super Shitty amalgamation are now projected to be out by a factor of 10.
    Local government minister Rodney Hide wrote in the Herald a year ago that “projected $94 million establishment costs … of the first Auckland Council” plus “a further $66 million on IT to finish the job post November 1" were “a drop in the bucket” compared to the $2 billion spent annually by Auckland's councils.” 
    Except now we ratepayers face not just the $1 billion debt left by then-mayor (and now ACT Epsom candidate) John Banks, but also the cost of half-a-billion dollars for new computer systems to run the city built by former ACT leader Rodney Hide.
    Someone has to be accountable for this – Russell Brown, P U B L I C  A D D R E S S
  • “The employment effect of a minimum wage is a classic example of the law of unintended consequences and Frederic Bastiat’s insights about the seen and the unseen. It also illustrates William Graham Sumner’s thesis about The Forgotten Man
    The Minimum Wage and The Forgotten Man – Art Carden,  B A S T I A T  I N S T I T U T E
  • Just as not all products are worth paying $15 to receive, not all jobs are worth paying $15 to have done...
    Do We Really Need a Minimum Wage? – Charlie Virgo, M I S E S   D A I L Y
  • Two weeks ago, Stephen Franks suggested the first move of new CERA boss Roger Sutton should be to free up affordable land.  Two weeks later, after lots of talk about what could be done with downtown with Other People’s Buildings (with or without their consent), we’re still waiting for him to listen to that suggestion.
    Roger Sutton’s first move – affordable land for his people? -  S T E P H E N   F R A N K S
  • “The ‘good land’ issue should have been clear to the central and local political authorities September last year – as [High Pavletich] explained at the time in the NZ Herald. Near 9 months later, the politicians are still dithering. Preference always trumps policy. If people can’t get good land here in Christchurch – people and business will go elsewhere. It is as simple as that.
    Earthquake highlights need to open city limits. – N Z   H E R A L D
  • Meanwhile, in the absence of being allowed to do anything with their own property, high levels of Christchurch residents leaving New Zealand to live permanently in Australia…
    Quake exodus sees Kiwis flock to Australia in April – Alex Tarrant, I N T E R E S T . C O . N Z
  • Not that things are great in the traditional Australian destination state, Queensland.
     The day the music died -  T H E   P U L S E
  • You don’t believe me when I say people are banned from doing anything with their property? Just ask this poor chap, arrested for trying to recover his own prope form his own house.
    Distraught quake cordon breach accused pleads not guilty – S T U F F
  • Meanwhile, the story of who the government is paying (with your money) to do things to other people’s property gets murkier by the minute.  For instance, most of the building and demolition that will (eventually) be done in Christchurch will be Fletcher Building—by government appointment. The Grand Chancellor demolition, for instance, for which Fletcher Building were awarded the tender by CERA, despite being $3 million higher than anyone else.
            Q .  Who appointed Fletcher Building to manage the demolition works and then, reconstruction works?
            A .  NZ Government firstly,  then CERA.
            Q . Who predominantly are the staff of CERA?         A . Fletcher Building employees on secondment.
           Q .  And who is the main single shareholder of Fletcher Building?
            A . The NZ Government, who with 275 million Fletcher shares, around 40%, is now the single biggest
                   shareholder in this new Govt Department. Aren’t “public-private partnerships” wonderful. And not at
                   all corrupt.

    [CORRECTION: The Government does not own 40% of Fletcher Building, nor is the single biggest shareholder,IN fact, government agencies account for only around 6% of the shareholding—the 276 million shares held by the NZ Central Securities Depository at 2, The Terrace, Wellington, are not held by the Government, nor by the Reserve Bank, but by an agency responsible for holding the shareholdings of mainly small, private “Mum & Dad” investors.
    I apologise for that error.
    The rest of the above criticism stands.]
    Fletcher
  • Who should be leaping out of the blocks to blame bad weather in the US, but Bill “Chicken Little” McKibben—a man who says mankind should simply surrender to suffering and disease rather than risk damaging weeds, rocks and mud puddles. Not only is Bill wrong ethically, he’s wrong on the weather too.
    Bill “Chicken Little” McKibben –  Don Boudreaux, C A F E   H A Y E K
  • “From bans on video games to drinks advertising, Australia has become the world’s number one nanny state. There is a PhD thesis waiting to be written some day about how Australia came to be the world’s number one nanny state; how a country that was once renowned for rugged individualism capitulated to puritanism with barely a whimper.”
    Australia: the world leader in illiberalism – Chris Snowdon, S P I K E D
  • How do you explain the mind of the modern liberal?  It’s the herd instinct, says David Mamet.
    The Liberal Mind Explained   - S M A L L   D E A D   A N I M A L S
  • Now this is seriously cool. An imaginary phone lets you answer calls on your palm. You don’t believe me, do you …
  • Finally, the CIA are to Search bin Laden’s Compound. (But first, Pakistan needed enough time to cart away any obvious evidence.) [HT Michael Yon]
    CIA to search bin Laden compound – W A S H I N G T O N   P O S T
  • “The effectiveness of the nuclear deterrent for over seventy years relied on the perception that in fact nuclear war would bring about the end of the world.” He’s right, you know, as this recently declassified 1958 film clearly suggests between the lines. “The men who produced [it] unwittingly left a testimonial to their greatest achievement, which, in retrospect, at least rivals the achievement of the Greatest Generation. It was the generation that successfully did not fight their war. We have not had a general war in nearly three generations. In the last reel, one of the fictional generals says, ‘we failed in our primary mission, but succeeded in our secondary mission, that of destroying the enemy.’ In actuality, their achievement was far greater. By luck or skill, they led us through the valley of the shadow of death to the 21st century.
    Armageddon 1958 – N O   M I N I S T E R
  • Meanwhile, back in the States… those trillions of dollars of stimulus “created/saved approximately 450,000 state and local govt jobs” … “and destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs.”
    Study Shows "Stimulus" Protected Government Jobs while Destroying Private Ones -  T H R U T C H
  • Mind you, there were a few private-sector jobs created. But you had to know someone…
    Obama skirts rule of law to reward pals, punish foes – W A S H I N G T O N    E  X A M I N E R
  • “Programming your children into STATISTS does not come cheap...”
    $500 Million Obama Administration Program Will Help Kids ‘Sit Still’ in Kindergarten
    – B R E I T B A R T
  • When Obama’s poll ratings are in the toilet, what dies he reach for?  Simple. (Well, it did work for that other famous demagogue.)
    • “This week, Israel celebrates its 63rd birthday. For most countries, that number would elicit a shrug of the shoulders. Not in Israel's case.”
      Happy Birthday, Israel! – David Harris, H U F F I N G T O N   P O S T
    • “To say that [Israel’s 1967] borders are, even implicitly, the starting point of negotiations, is to concede something that couldn’t be further from the truth: the idea that Israel was not justified in taking the land it took during the Six-Day War. To accept the 1967 borders as a starting point is to deny that in 1967 Israel was fighting a proper war of self defense, that it took that land because doing so was necessary to eliminate the threat against its citizens’ lives, and that it was therefore justified in doing so.”
       Why It Matters Whether The 1967 Borders Are the Baseline for “Peace” Negotiations 
      - Amy Peikoff, D O N ‘ T   L E T  I T   G O
    • Here’s one simple clue why Israel is so keen on KEEPING the 1967 borders that Israeli forces won when they repelled the Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi forces who had tried to drive the filthy Jews into the sea: Because in a country a tank could drive across in less than three hours, the 1967 borders were never defensible. [HT “We Say No To the 1967 Borders”]

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    • A tribute to the great man by another great man:
    • Be honest now, is this some of the best modern blues you’ve ever heard?
    • And some of the best Bach… (mein Galt, this is good!)

    That’s all from me.
    Have a great weekend!
    And maybe see you on Sunday?
    PC

  • 2 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Thank you very much Peter for a great set of interesting and informative pieces.
    (i) very surprised to read NZ Govt owns 40% Fletchers Building.
    (ii)the 2008 financial horrors were blamed on the failures of Capitalism. No doubt coming collapses will be put up as further proof.(Ignoring all the facts that show socialism is a failure [as well as being so immoral])
    (iii)"Two Chinese Bond Auctions Fail" by Zero Hedge, seems to signal high danger.
    (Iv) have we given permission for our politicians to be in continuous masturbation mode? They can't all be Brazilian accountants.
    We'd be better off if our politicians spent all their time getting brazilians, (at their expense) rather than ruining our country
    Peter

    5/27/2011 03:06:00 pm  
    Anonymous Mort said...

    How do the owners of the Grand Chancellor and their insurance company feel about having to pay $3m more than the next best offer?
    HTF can they get away with this?

    5/28/2011 11:01:00 pm  

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