Thursday, September 29, 2011

Leninism loses as students get freedom of choice

Finally, you are allowed to.  An issue I have followed for some time.

Despite the Orwellian double-speak of the compulsion touters, a majority finally appeared in Parliament to eliminate one of the most absurd authoritarian laws in the country - the one that demands that university students belong to and pay for a student union to represent them and provide services, whether or not they actually want it.
The critical central focus of the argument on this issue is one of whether rights reside in an individual or a collective.  Indeed this argument is one of the last gasps of true Leninism in New Zealand politics.  Some on the left argued that student unions are akin to "government" and that making them voluntary is akin to making tax voluntary.

When the Greens,  or the Labour Party would talk about "what students want", they weren't talking about individuals, they were talking about the people who students have been forced to pay for, and forced to have represent them.   Neither party, nor their philosophical comrades in the student unions could conceive that it was right for students to be represented, not by themselves making informed choices about whether or not to be represented at all, and if so, by whom, but by organisations that they were forced to belong to.  It had the odour of the people's democracy approach of one-party states that there need only be one party which represents "the people", not any others, because as long as it represents "the people" and "the people" are forced to support it, then how could it do wrong.

Well human beings do not have collective brains, they do not have a "general will", they are individuals.  They can make their own choices, and if most students do not want anything to do with a student union, then to demand them to belong and pay for it, is simply a form of petty authoritarianism.

Of course the true reason Labour and the Greens love the student unions is because they have been fertile, compulsorily funded training grounds for their junior politicians.   As most students are more interested in studying and their own lives, they ignore student politics, so the ones who often have been involved have tended to be those from the left who find warmth, comfort and friendship among the like minded.

The left thinks student unions will disappear, which speaks volumes about how much confidence they have that students actually value them.  When the heavy hand of state violence is taken away from students, the left is scared that they will run away from their comrades in the student unions.  If a student union can present itself as a body that offers services, opportunities and representation that students want, they will join.  If not, it will fail.

It is Labour, the Maori Party and the Greens who don't want their comrades to fail, who want people to be forced to pay for what they don't want or even hate.   No longer will the "anti-ANZAC Day" appeasers of Nazism, communism and Islamism be able to claim they represent students.

As a footnote, some time ago I asked what National MPs would vote it and vote against it.  I can't wait to find out who, if any National MPs disgraced themselves by being Leninists.

Calling the Euro project for what it is

On BBC's Newsnight, the Daily Telegraph's Peter Oborne confronts a European Commission bureaucrat (Amadeu Altafaj-Tardio) for his defence of the Euro being a great success, because it is a "political project" not an "economic project". Calling him an idiot, and then he proves it.

He said the UK had a budget deficit the same size as Greece, yet ignored that Greece's public debt was already two-thirds greater (per capita) than the UK, and the Pound had devaluated during the recession allowing exporters to become more competitive and reducing imports.  Greece had no such devaluation.  The comparison is meaningless.  He claims the Euro has "protected" economies, even though it has clearly damaged the prospects for the poorer southern economies.

Then former editor of the FT, Sir Richard Lambert is confronted for having supported Britain joining the Euro some years ago, claiming "the facts changed" when it was France and Germany breaking the rules in the first place (as if Britain would have been able to respond to that).   Peter Oborne then gets his back up because he is confronted with a book about the mistake it would have been to join the Euro by claiming that the title "Guilty Men" means Peter Oborne equates Angela Merkel with the Nazis - an emotive non-sequiter.   Then Lambert proves Oborne right by saying Germany should support Greece withdrawing from the Euro.

Oborne calls the bureaucrat idiot enough times that he storms out of the studio in Brussels.  

It's rather simple, the bureaucrats in Brussels, and the primarily French and German politicians pursuing their grand political project, have caused immense damage and they are unwilling to do what is needed to fix it.  Their only answer is more tax, fiscal union and to print more good money after bad to prop up a failed single currency project.

Watch and if you're not from the UK, note how television journalism can be professional, can have people with wildly differing views and be compelling.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Labour's lying, bullying, hectoring self is back

In the UK, the party conference season is rather curious, as all three major parties present themselves to themselves and the nation as offering solutions, answers and a critique about what is wrong with Britain.

The Liberal Democratic Party - the party without any coherent purpose - was patronising in it presenting itself as "In Government, On Your Side", as if the Conservatives are not.   However, it was more curious to watch senior Lib Dem MPs be reminded that they advocated Britain joining the Euro some years ago, as did the entire party.  None of them are willing to confess how wrong they were, and although there was a plea that the relationship with Europe cannot be abandoned, they all know they are on the wrong side of history.  Neither the party of economic responsibility, nor the party (anymore) of spending promises they need never consider having to keep, they face oblivion.

However now it is Labour - New New Labour.  The Labour of Ed Miliband, the unions' choice for leader.  The party that on the one hand opposes every single cut in growth of spending of the current government, has its Shadow Chancellor say "we wont promise to reverse any of the cuts".   The party that blames "the banks" for budget deficits, yet was running structural (non recession based) budget deficits every year after the 2001 election.  A small fraction of the government's public debt is attributable to bank bailouts, most of it is due to overspending over many years.   The party that in government loved the high tax revenues from a thriving financial services sector, now declares open war on it - even wanting a discriminatory company tax rate on that sector alone.   The party that in government happily schmoozed the entire news media, now declares war on one firm that owns two daily newspapers and one TV news network, calling it, bizarrely a "monopoly" (ignoring its ever beloved compulsorily funded dominant national broadcaster - the BBC).

A series of speeches have revealed more about how nasty, vindictive and utterly specious and false the British Labour Party is, and how willling it is to lie about the past and create a simplistic binary culture of "us and them" to fire up its drones, and those who it has nurtured to suckle on the state tit.

Ed Balls said that Britain entered the financial crisis with lower public debt than the US, France, Germany and Japan.  He picked those carefully.  The US, which had ballooning debt due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Bush's legacy of bribing the electorate with money.  France, which has not run a budget surplus for two generations.  Germany, which has had a legacy of reunification that it is addressing through growth, and Japan, which has been stagnant for well over a decade.  The UK actually had a higher budget deficit than all of them.   However, Labour likes to mix up the words debt and deficit, because too many journalists are too stupid to know the difference, but some are not.   Ed Balls pointedly refused to engage with Channel 4 journalist, Krishnan Guru-Murphy about why Labour ran a structural deficit for so many years.  

Like a vampire, Ken Livingstone, good friend of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's authoritarian socialist President, made a speech making promises to cut public transport fares, with no money to pay for it.   He wouldn't dare discuss raising council tax, which is his main source of income.  Then he dares compare the obnoxious antics of the Bullingdon Club of Oxford, which Mayor Boris Johnson once  belonged to, to the rioters.  Given Ken blamed the riots on spending cuts before, he is a dirty politician, an apologist for criminality and an opportunist.

Then Labour rolled out Rory Weal.  A fifteen year old.  Who pleaded about how the welfare state saved his family, about the family home being repossessed, with childish hyperboles about how the welfare state is being "destroyed" by the "vicious Tories", not noting it remains the highest item of state spending.  He went on about what would be done if he couldn't afford to go to school.  Well the Daily Mail has revealed what a ruse that was.  Rory is the son of a millionaire property investor whose business went bust, and the homes repossessed went for £359,000 and £500,000 each, now he lives in a 4 bedroom home with his mother and sister.   Hard life I think not, but good propaganda while it lasted. 

Less publicity was given for Ivan Lewis, Labour's shadow culture secretary, who called for licensing of journalists.  Continuing to claim that News Corporation is dominant in a market where others have the vast majority of readers and audiences, he wanted a system to "strike off" journalists who commit "gross malpractice".  Of course before that he said free speech was "non-negotiable", except it obviously is?  What happens to a journalist struck off who write a story for a newspaper, or a blog, or a broadcaster?  Rupert Murdoch was told that he cannot "assert political power in the pursuit of your commercial interests or ideological beliefs", how about the owners of the Guardian, or the Independent, how about the state as owner of dominant broadcasters BBC and Channel 4?  As Allister Heath said today:

journalism is a trade, not a profession; the idea that its practitioners should be licensed, that it should be a closed shop that only people who have passed a test can enter; and that a politically created quango can determine who is “right” and who is “wrong” and should therefore be banned is appalling and dangerous. It is a sure route to eliminating free speech and ensuring that only “approved” views can be aired.

However, it was Ed Miliband who has topped it off.  Talking about "good" and "bad" businesses, about "predators".  After citing only one example (a care home firm bought by a private equity fund that sold properties off), he and his acolytes couldn't name others.   He talks about a "a something for nothing culture" yet it was Labour that celebrated the growth of the welfare state, that never questioned allowing people from across the EU to come to Britain to suckle from the British taxpayer for a free home, income, education for the kids and healthcare.  He talks about the "the people who don’t make a fuss, who don’t hack phones, loot shops, fiddle their expenses, or earn telephone number salaries at the banks"... "the hard-working majority who do the right thing".

Who stood up for phone hacking, or looters?  How many Labour MPs fiddled expenses?  How are people who earn large salaries at banks NOT hard working?

Labour's new scapegoats are people who work at banks.  Ed Miliband's attitude is effectively to let the City of London go, to gut the financial sector of the country. 

He talks of "An economy and a society too often rewarding not the right people with the right values, but the wrong people with the wrong values.  Who are the right and wrong ones Ed?  Who is going to tell?  You? What are you going to do about it?  What is a "fast buck"?  What sort of regulatory environment will you create to make sure the economy and society reward "the right people"?  How do you know best?  He says "we must punish those who do wrong".  What is "wrong" to you Ed?  Given you support a 50p top tax rate, presuming earning more than £150,000 is "doing wrong".

He said "You believe rewards should be for hard work. But you’ve been told we have to tolerate the wealthiest taking what they can."  Taking?  Is it taking when you get paid a salary for hard work, or get a profit from a business that is thriving? 

Well here are presumably bad businesses "Big vested interests like the energy companies have gone unchallenged, while you’re being ripped off."  Unchallenged Ed?  You mean like how when YOU were Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for 1.5 years?  You mean when you implemented policies that force electricity customers to pay extra to subsidise the uneconomic renewable energy programme you forced on the energy companies to meet your fatuous commitment to hindering Britain's economy to let China grow unchecked and not address climate change. "
"So let’s break the dominance of the big energy companies. Let’s call a rigged market what it is. And get a fairer deal for the people of Britain." The six Ed?  The "rigged market" you were happy to support as Secretary for Energy?  Are you going to the Competition Commission about this, or just making up accusations again?

He claims Sir Fred Goodwin was paid too much when RBS collapsed, so will he be in favour of laws restricting executive pay?  How many businesses will want to stay in the UK after that?

He says "Are you on the side of the wealth creators or the asset strippers? The producers or the predators".  Who wants to wait until they are accused of being the wrong sort of business? What does that even mean?  Does it mean that when a factory shuts down, nobody should sell off the remaining assets for what they are worth?   Rory Weal's father was a speculator, he presumably wasn't a "producer" or "wealth creator".  He got loans to buy lots of properties and when the market turned, the bank foreclose and sold the properties for much less than he had paid for them.  The bank lost out because of his foolishness.   He was exactly what Labour opposes.

He cites "good businesses" which happen to be dependent on state contracts like "companies like Bombardier and BAe systems. Being sold down the river by this Government."  So Ed wants more defence spending?  He wants to break EU rules on government procurement and competitive tendering, to destroy a system that Labour set up for it to buy railway rolling stock in government?  He implies that Nick Clegg should intervene - parochial politics should win out over economic rationalism.

He said of the next Labour government "That we will manage your money properly".  Why?:  Whose money is it?  Who asked you to manage their money?  Did you fail to do so over the previous 13 years?

Finally, he tops it off with his worship at the altar of Britain's greatest religion.  The NHS, the biggest health authority in the world, and the second biggest government agency in the world that is not in China. He loves the religion so much he would sacrifice everything for it by saying:

"no greater public interest than our National Health Service" So if Hitler had won the war, but set up the NHS it would have been the top priority?

"Cherished by all of us". Bullshit

"Founded by Labour. Saved by Labour. Today defended by Labour once again" Ignoring the Tories are spending the same as you promised to spend. 

"Why does Britain care so much for the NHS?" Because you treat it as a religion that anyone who attacks it should be pilloried as a blasphemer?

"Because, more than any other institution in our country, the values of the NHS are our values. It doesn’t matter who you are. Or what you earn. The NHS offers the highest quality care when we need it" Bullshit.  I know of several who would have faced months of pain and agony on the NHS who went private.  It is not the highest quality, it does not have people coming from overseas to pay for it.

"And nobody asked me for my credit card at the door" What other public health systems do Ed? 

So let's really lie profoundly Ed "Hospitals to be fined millions of pounds if they break the rules of David Cameron’s free-market healthcare system. The old values that have failed our economy now being imported to our most prized institution: the NHS."  Free market healthcare system?  Really? So I can stop paying for the NHS and buy healthcare from whoever I like?  Oh no.  It's not.  It is like claiming North Korea has a free press.  The reforms, as little as they are, are not free market, but they are about putting accountability into this institution of centralised socialism, this monolith of bureaucracy, buck-passing and producers' interests.

You see the NHS exemplifies the "something for nothing", "vested interest", "cartel", "unaccountable" culture Miliband talks about, but it is his cherished state entity.  The NHS can do no wrong, it should just get hundreds of billions of money to just keep doing as it does, allocating health care by bureaucratic/political fiat, giving people health care regardless of who they are or where they came from, whether they are taxpayers, illegal immigrants or criminals.  It exemplifies Labour values - an international class centrally planned taxpayer funded monopoly dominated by strong professional unions, with no ethos of efficiency or customer service.

You might wonder if Ed has dreams of the same for journalism, energy, the financial sector or other parts of the economy.

Ed Miliband and his team have shown themselves for what they are.  A bunch of leftwing authoritarians, who want to label businesses as "good" and "bad",   Who talk of fiscal responsibility, but oppose any cuts in spending.   He wants rules on executive pay and rates bankers who earn large salaries alongside looters.   He wants to break up a "cartel" in energy and regulate prices, while (ignoring that he was once in charge of this sector) celebrating the health cartel of the NHS and lying blatantly about the severely cauterised reforms being implemented.  He wouldn't know a free market if it danced in front of him.  He talks of good businesses who are being let down, because the government didn't spend enough money it doesn't have, on them, or rig the rules to favour them.   

Most astonishingly, he almost completely ignores the global economic crisis.  One that was not saved by the pseudo-Keynesianism embraced by his party, one that the EU is mismanaging and which he is clueless about.

Labour's lying and spinning was legendary under Tony Blair, it continues with aplomb.  Lying about the budget deficit, lying about NHS reforms, lying about the "monopoly" and "dominance" of Rupert Murdoch (which was just great when NewsCorp papers loved Labour) and finally having a kid lie about his family's "poverty", when the kid's father exemplified exactly what Labour (now) despises in business.

It is a party of authoritarianism.  It likes to spend other people's money, like to tell businesses what to do.  It likes having a punitive tax on the financial sector.  It damns private equity firms generically, because it neither understands them, nor does its drones of envy dripping supporters.   The latter was perfectly exemplified by a chap from "the North" on BBC's Newsnight angrily demanding money from "the bankers who created this recession" and blaming everything bad on the Tories.  Angry, vacuous, intellectually dishonest.

I'll leave the end once again to Allister Heath:

Liberalism is dead in the Labour party: it believes in telling people who can and cannot be journalists, what is and what isn’t morally acceptable, and levying arbitrary double and triple-taxes on people it doesn’t like. Unfortunately, it has also lost touch with economic reality. The only good businesses Miliband mentioned were “real engineering” companies and those who “train, invest, invent, sell” (anybody knows a single firm that doesn’t do at least two or three of these?). The only “good companies” he mentioned by name were Bombardier and BAE Systems; the only business leader he name-checked was Sir John Rose, ex boss of Rolls-Royce. All three are long-established, manufacturers and sell lots to governments; I have nothing against them but it says a lot about Miliband’s priorities. What about the dominant services sector? And aren’t all firms that follow the law, create jobs and thus fund HMRC “good”? The only other firms he likes are small businesses “who can’t get a loan” (what about those that can?).

Labour has abandoned Blairism and is once again a party of the old left. Miliband has no credible plan whatsoever to boost the UK’s growth and competitiveness. How incredibly depressing
."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sloppy Dominion Post

I don't know Bronwyn Torrie, but her article called Councillor headed for North Korea demonstrates once again my point that journalism in New Zealand is hard to find.

She should be ashamed, the article should be withdrawn and rewritten.

The story is about how the Deputy Mayor of Porirua City Council has been invited to North Korea by the regime.  She is going paying 40% of the cost of the trip herself, the rest paid for by North Korea's useful idiots in New Zealand, the wholly sympathetic Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)- New Zealand Friendship Society.

Bronwyn's first faux pas is in calling it the "Korea-New Zealand" Friendship Society, as if there is one Korea.  Her second one is failing to do any research on it, otherwise she would have found out that the Society is very pro-North Korean.  Its own website admits this with the vapid comment "We were impressed by the DPRK position of forming an independent political philosophy and system which was Korean".  Impressed by the Orwellian pseudo-Stalinist ultra nationalist, ultra-militarism behind the most pervasive and absurd personality cult ever known?  Oh please.  Wouldn't have taken long to find that gem Bronwyn.   I can excuse that she didn't do the research to reveal that Society Chairman Don Borrie (who has visited North Korea many times) praised Kim Il Sung publicly in the 1970s in a book published in North Korea a copy of which resides in the Victoria University of Wellington library.

However, it is after she has reported the basic "ins and outs" of the story that she makes the biggest and most embarrassing amateur mistakes:

She said "Relations between North Korea and New Zealand have been cool since Kiwi troops fought to prevent South Korea falling to communism in the 1950s.

Relations became more frosty when North Korea began testing nuclear weapons in 2006
."

What? So New Zealand's relations with North Korea were worse when it had diplomatic relations (which it did in 2006) than when it was fighting with the UN Police Action to overthrow the DPRK after it invaded the south.  How could it be MORE frosty when New Zealand had diplomatic relations from 2001 (which were suspended in 2006) compared to fighting a war?

"The North Asian country has been largely closed off from the rest of the world since it became a communist state in 1948."

Well Bronwyn, it didn't exist before being a communist state in 1948.  There was no "DPRK" or "North Korea", there was Korea, indeed the north was claimed by the Republic of Korea which was declared weeks beforehand.  Better to say that "after it was formed as a result of the division of Korea by the Soviet refusal to recognise the government in Seoul" beforehand.

Other statements were correct, but then she comes out with this banality:

"foreigners have to gain permission to enter the country"

Wow, amazing.  Like getting a visa?  Like you need to do for China and Russia?  Like permission you get at every single border control point?  With the exception of the Schengen area in Europe and the British-Irish border, this isn't unusual.  Do you really expect to enter most countries without visas?

Finally, she finishes with this awful statement:

"Although the New Zealand Government opposes North Korea's regime, politicians have made visits there".

Bronwyn.  Where did you get this from? The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade?  The Minister of Foreign Affairs?  Your own laptop? How does the government "oppose" the regime? Do you think the DPRK would maintain relations with a country that "opposes" it?  How do you think the Ambassador from the DPRK accredited to New Zealand would take this report?

This article is best when it is reporting the basics, but it falls apart when Bronwyn tries to write about history or politics.  It has mistakes akin to a high school newspaper.

It's just another reason why New Zealand newspapers are NOT world class, indeed articles like this are simply unprofessional.

Shame on you Bronwyn Torrie, shame on the editors for letting this get published.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brash and cannabis UPDATED

I voted for ACT, once, in 2006.  It has disappointed me consistently since.

In 2006 I suggested to Rodney Hide to invite Don Brash to stand in 2008.  Well Don is standing now, without Rodney.

In 2005 I suggested Rodney Hide campaign in that election on legalising cannabis.  I was ignored.  Now Don is doing it.

The arguments in favour of it then are still valid now:

"ACT needs to be more than the party of Business Roundtable economics - sound though that is.

It needs to sell freedom...

Why?

Because there is nothing more fundamentally liberal, than asserting that adults own their own bodies, and have the right to ingest a substance on their own private property without the state criminalising them for it...

The Economist called for this two years ago - hardly a newspaper of the lunatic fringe."

As I said then, this move changes the political landscape.  A position monopolised by leftwing authoritarians (the Greens) is now taken by a party that has long purported to believe in freedom.   ACT can advocate for a change in cannabis laws based on principle as well as pragmatism.

It may risk a loss of conservative votes, but they will go to National anyway.  Brash can minimise it by being himself.  Hardly a dope-head, he can argue, convincingly, that the status quo has failed and that the problems of cannabis are better addressed by:
- Employers retaining the right to require testing under employment contracts;
- Drug testing as part of road safety legislation;
- Strict enforcement of laws against supplying to minors;
- Encouragement of educational and health measures warning of the health risks.

Don Brash in recent weeks has come out in favour of replacing the RMA with a property rights based approach, including putting such rights in the Bill of Right, ending Auckland's experiment with US style "new-urbanism", which is about restricting the supply of housing that people want, to encourage people to buy the housing the planners want, to use the transport they are making everyone else pay for.

These are great leaps forward for ACT in terms of being a party that believes in individual rights and individual freedoms.   I look forward to more!

UPDATED:  Unsurprisingly, ACT's replacement for Rodney Hide -John Banks - is having none of it.  It raises the obvious point, that for ACT to return to Parliament and actually be in favour of freedom, it is far better for North Shore voters to elect Don Brash and for Epsom voters to not vote for John Banks.   If ACT is going to have a purge of its anti-freedom factors then the man who left Auckland with huge public debt, and who voted against the legalising of consensual adult homosexual acts is hardly going to be any help.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why is the left scared of the Tea Party?

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne, is a Liberal Democrat Minister. He has presided over policies that inflate electricity prices (by forcing power companies to spend money on highly expensive "sustainable" power stations and charging consumers for it) and constrain the British economy so that China, India and the Arab oil sheikhdoms can increase CO2 emissions as much as they want. A month after the general election last year, when he campaigned with leaflets showing him with his wife and family, he was found to be having an affair. His estranged wife has claimed he pressured people to take penalty points for driving "for him", this matter is still with the Police. So he's quite a character.

Now he has attacked the "Tea Party tendency" in the Conservative Party, and so is calling up the demons painted by many others on the left, assisted by the left-leaning media (The Guardian, The Independent, BBC, ITN), that the Tea Party is a group of racist, theocratic, gun-toting nutters.  What he says he means is opposing those who want to renegotiate the UK relationship with the EU.  Yes, astonishing stuff - especially given the Labour Party in the early 1980s wanted the UK to withdraw completely.  That's called the Tea Party to the Liberal Democrats!

There are many Tea Parties, but their common theme is not racism against Barack Obama, it is not religious fundamentalism, it is not ultra-conservative views about sex, sexuality or religion. It is a belief in small government, fiscal responsibility and lower taxes.

Daniel Hannan, rightly identifying himself as the most like "Tea Party" oriented elected Conservative, says:

The Tea Party, perhaps more than any other contemporary movement, brings out the 'Yeah, but what they're really saying…' tendency...Many Lefties pretend – or perhaps have genuinely convinced themselves – that the Tea Party is clandestinely protesting against immigration or abortion or the fact of having a mixed race president; anything, in fact, other than what it actually says it's against, viz big government. The existence of a popular and spontaneous anti-tax movement has unsettled the Establishment. They'd much rather deal with a stupid and authoritarian Right than with a libertarian one. Hence the almost desperate insistence that the Tea Partiers have some secret agenda

You see to argue against smaller government and lower taxes would require some thinking, and justification as to why government is better at doing some things than the private sector, and why politicians and bureaucrats are better placed to spend your money than you are. That requires arguing on a point of principle. Far easier to just engage in scatological rhetoric, just make things up, or to claim it is some sort of corporate conspiracy that has fooled the stupid (or rather the poor bedraggled working classes the left love - when the vote correctly).

A solid argument between more and less government, more or less taxes would be healthy, and would involve challenging status quo politics.  It hasn't been had in the US, as Ronald Reagan was severely limited about what he could do, as he had a Democrat House of Representatives, and both Bushes have been decidedly uninterested about shrinking government. 

So the left should embrace that debate.  Give up its cheap empty and childish shots of racism and jingoistic smears and their own form of bigotry against ordinary people (many with limited education) who actually want to be left alone by the government.   Their patronising disdain, and unconcealed hatred for those trying to change the terms of political debate (the Vice President called them "terrorists" for wanting to constrain government spending), shows fear about engaging with the fundamental point.   It should be the core issue about politics in any liberal democracy.  It isn't minutiae about education or environmental or health or transport policies.

It is - what should be the role of the state?

From that, come the question about whether there is too much or too little involvement in specific areas.  However, that is the debate that is the nexus dividing politics in the US today.

It is about time that it became the very issue that politics elsewhere was based upon as well.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time for Assange's defenders to apologise

You've been backing an evil, self-aggrandising cunt.

Time for Keith Locke to resign, and for the Green Party to apologise, for their sycophantic embrace of this vile little man.

Time for the vapid conspiracy theory making tabloid scatologist Bomber Bradbury to apologise, and the smug Idiot Savant to do so as well.

Julian Assange had his moment in the sun about a year or so ago, when he was heralded as a hero by his publishing of stolen US diplomatic communications.  

Of course Assange has an agenda, I made that point late last year.  It is avowedly contrary to that of US and Western foreign policy, so like the vacuous kneejerk activists as they are, the hard left feted him as a "freedom fighter".   He fitted their world view beautifully. He was fighting the power, he was showing up how arrogant the US is, about its plans around the world, about its private meetings with diplomats, politicians and businesspeople.  Good old Julian, fuck the USA right?

Well I said a few weeks ago that he has published the names of anti-government activists in Iran and China, and informants from the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Now it looks a lot worse.  Nick Cohen in the Observer has written further about how vile Assange really is.  He talks of the David Leigh/Luke Harding book Wikileaks with this story.

"A reporter worried that Assange would risk killing Afghans who had co-operated with American forces if he put US secrets online without taking the basic precaution of removing their names. "Well, they're informants," Assange replied. "So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it." A silence fell on the table as the reporters realised that the man the gullible hailed as the pioneer of a new age of transparency was willing to hand death lists to psychopaths."

See for Assange, members of the TALIBAN are more moral than people who oppose them and support the US in opposing them.  Think about how much blind hatred is behind that view of his, how the worshippers of the dark ages, of totalitarian terror, of misogynistic tyranny are better than their opponents.

Then there is Assange's relationship with Israel Shamir, a friend of the Belarus dictatorship:

"On 19 December 2010, the Belarus-Telegraf, a state newspaper, said that WikiLeaks had allowed the dictatorship to identify the "organisers, instigators and rioters, including foreign ones" who had protested against rigged elections."

Nice that, of course this shouldn't surprise you.  Israel Shamir  (not his real name) was appointed as the Wikileaks Russian/Eastern European representative.  Shamir collaborated with the Lukashenko dictatorship in Belarus - Europe's last dictatorship, one that is little different from the USSR.   Shamir is anti-semitic, moving among such groups in eastern Europe.   Nice touch, means Israel can be so much easier to attack when you ask if you can get everything the State Department has "on the Jews".

Cohen says it goes further, as Wikileaks endangered opposition journalists in Ethiopia:

"Argaw Ashine fled the country last week after WikiLeaks revealed that the reporter had spoken to an official from the American embassy in Addis Ababa about the regime's plans to intimidate the independent press. WikiLeaks also revealed that a government official told Arshine about the planned assault on opposition journalists. Thus Assange and his colleagues not only endangered the journalist. They tipped off the cops that he had a source in the state apparatus."

Freedom fighters? No. Assange is uninterested in political freedom.  It's far from clear that he even understands it.  He is a the small town boy desperate for attention.

Cohen demands that his supporters be confronted and held to account:

"First, there needs to be relentless pressure on the socialist socialites and haggard soixante-huitards who cheered Assange on. Bianca Jagger, Jemima Khan, John Pilger, Ken Loach and their like are fond of the egotistical slogan "not in my name." They are well-heeled and well-padded men and women who know no fear in their lives. Yet they are happy to let their names be used by Assange as he brings fear into the lives of others."

Some are empty heads, others are typical left wing no thinkers.  However, it's hard to beat Bomber for the utterings of hyperbolic vacuity:

"Assange and wikileaks will be seen as a threat that needs utter annihilation because he disrupts the balance of power in a way no person ever has".

Bomber's an idiot, but Assange is a vile evil little prick who revels in his celebrity status, whose kiddi-socialism has gained him lots of sycophantic followers with similar levels of adolescent simplicity in their beliefs.   The types that attack the West, while living in it, because they like to be rebels, they want to believe that politicians don't tell you everything, that there are grand conspiracies between business, government and media to make sure you don't know the truth.  They ignore real dictatorships because that's not counter-establishment enough, after all the US, Europe and other Western countries already oppose Syria, Belarus, North Korea and the Taliban. 
I hope Wikileaks goes under, I hope Assange loses it all and has to get a real job, and I hope his vapid sycophants apologise for supporting this monster.  Then I hope they give donations to Reporters Without Borders to atone for their stupidity, and start supporting people who do support freedom.

Liberal Democrats don't have a market anymore

This weekend has seen the conference of the Liberal Democrats held in Birmingham.  Of course as the junior coalition partner in government one might think it is a chance to celebrate success - which is, actually, what those who are Ministers have been doing.  Yet it is all in the shadow of record low polling results, as hoards of Liberal Democrat voters have abandoned the party they supported - whatever reason it was that they supported it.

Indeed, that is the crux of the problem for this party.  Having been the third party in one form or another for over 80 years, government was almost always never on the cards since Labour usurped the Liberal Party as the major second party.  However, the Liberal Democratic Party is not the Liberal Party, it is a slut of a mongrel that has hobbled from election to election in the last 30 or so years finding whatever gap it could see in the market, bringing along its disparate parts to heel. 

When it was the Liberal Party, it had a market.  It rejected the social conservatism of the Conservative Party that had resisted the social revolution of the 1960s, but also rejected the Marxist planned economy approach of Labour.  It supported the EEC as a means to reduce barriers to trade with Europe.  Bear in mind that until Thatcher, the status quo was socialism, with the Conservatives hoping to contain industrial action whilst the unions made mischief when Labour wasn't in power.   In fact, in that ossified climate, there was a period when the Liberal Party looked like it was in revival, getting 19% of the vote in the first of two elections in 1974 under Jeremy Thorpe (who was easily the best performing party leader at the time, until scandal ended his career).   The election of Thatcher changed all that.

The Liberals merged with a breakaway wing of Labour - because Labour in the early 1980s was a party of neo-Marxism, with policies such as withdrawal from NATO and nationalisation of industries and unilateral nuclear disarmament.  The SDP comprised Labour MPs who wanted none of that, and they took the Alliance, later the Liberal Democrats on a slalom ride over the years.  Initially it was easy, while Labour was old Labour and the Conservatives were the party of Thatcher, but then New Labour came along and the Liberal Democrats took a swing to the left.  Free university education, abolishing taxes for the poor came along with hopping aboard the environmentalism agenda, supporting interventions to address global warming, and so being part of the movement against fossil fuels, in favour of wind and solar power, against aviation and roads, and in favour of trains.  It opposed replacing Britain's nuclear deterrent.  

The Liberal Democrats became the party of the left.  On domestic policy it was all about having more for free, for more regulation of businesses, for more spending on education and higher taxes on the wealthy and no taxes on the poorest.  On foreign policy the biggest boost was opposition to the invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and a high profile given to human rights, as well as enthusiasm for the EU.  The Liberal Democrats once advocated Britain joining the EURO for instance.

So in the 2010 election, Liberal Democrat voters were comprised of a lot of people for whom New Labour wasn't leftwing enough.  Refugees from New Labour who would never vote Conservative.  Some Liberal Democrats float between the three parties, but the party built itself up as a party of protest.  No to tuition fees, no to war in Iraq, no to Trident, no to Heathrow expansion, no to Euroscepticism, no to climate change. 

Most Liberal Democrat voters don't expect the party to be in power, so when it chose to go with the Conservatives, it burned off its protest vote credentials, and for many its leftwing credentials.   

Meanwhile with New Labour buried along with Gordon Brown's political career, "Red" Ed Miliband reclaims the left back for Labour.  So where do the Liberal Democrats go?

As they have hitched their wagon to the Conservatives, they believe in addressing the budget deficit.  They believe in having a reduced burden for business, and have gone along with the "free schools" idea.  Yet they have also stymied modest reforms for the NHS, effectively delayed the renewal of Trident and are now vetoing a cut in the top income tax rate.   

The Liberal Democrats are seeking a middle ground, which doesn't really exist.  While Ed Miliband has turned Labour back to the left, it is not the days of Foot and Kinnock, but looks more like the Liberal Democrats.  Rejecting the war on Iraq, supporting a green agenda. supporting more money on the state sector, Labour as the party of opposition with no competition, can now accumulate all opposition to the government.   The Conservative Party, having swung to the centre under David Cameron is now fighting in the middle ground, which despite the shrill rhetoric of the unions and Labour, is not engaging in some major culling of the state, nor radical reforms on any scale.  What do and can the Liberal Democrats stand for?

The quasi-religious environmentalism doesn't get much support in a time of economic malaise, especially with some households harassed by the recycling police and motorists fed up with punitive fuel taxes.  The anti-war rhetoric is worth little now that there has been withdrawal from Iraq and military spending cuts are more an embarrassment than a source of pride.   Claims for spending more money on the state don't wash at a time of modest austerity.   The past EURO enthusiasm is not something Liberal Democrats want reminders of.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, spoke at the conference of cracking down on tax evasion, he told of a half billion pound "infrastructure fund" to "create" jobs  and support infrastructure projects in financial difficulty, whatever that means.   Does he mean projects council have cut back on, or those that have gone wrong - like Edinburgh's tram abortion?

There was a project at the beginning of the coalition to cut unnecessary laws - a "Freedom Bill" - of which there has been little heard, primarily because when the public were asked what laws to abolish, they responded in droves.  The Liberal part of the Liberal Democrats is rarely heard of.

Having opposed serious reform of the NHS, the Liberal Democrats cannot be seen as a party of rational reform.  Having continued to push the green agenda, with calls to limit executive pay and a shrill line of banker bashing and blaming, it is hardly a party that is pro-business.  It can't hope to reclaim its Liberal credentials when it happily supports more government in so many areas.  Yet, it can't be a party of the left while tied to a party of the right.   

There could be a future for a Liberal Party that embraced smaller government, free market reforms and social liberalism, but not much of one.   There isn't a future for the Social Democrats, who are indistinguishable from old Labour - the party of envy, arrogance, belief in the state, belief in forever taxing the successful, and delivering monopoly social services.

It's rather simple after all - the gap the Liberal Democrats once filled were as the "other" protest party against government.  As part of it, they don't stand for anything other than restraining the ruling party.   Yet when 2015 comes along as people want to support the government, why vote Liberal Democrat instead of Conservative?  Whereas if you oppose it, why would you vote for a party that supported it the whole time?  

The ONLY future for the Liberal Democrats is if Labour makes itself so unelectable that Labour voters choose Liberal Democrats to constrain the Conservatives.   Yet that would be self-defeating for them.  For it would simply result in Labour winning less seats and in more cases than not, it would mean MORE seats for the Conservatives, increasing the likelihood of being able to govern in their own right.  

Given that electoral reform as a saviour wont be on offer again for many many years, the future is bleak for a party without a coherent philosophy or an identifiable market.   As a libertarian I hope it splits, and a Liberal Party can once again assert less regulation, social liberalism (including drug law reform), less government overall and lower taxes.   It would also mean rejecting EUphilia.  
Both major parties will be helping to give the impression that the Liberal Democrats are a third wheel.   They'd be right.  It is.  The Greens and UKIP both fill gaps in the market.  The Greens for the far left and UKIP for the Thatcherite Eurosceptic/somewhat libertarian right.  

The Liberal Democrats fill no gaps any more, and if they stay on their present course, face year after year of decline.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eurodelusion

Greece is going to default.  It is absolutely inconceivable that it is able to cut spending and raise taxes sufficiently to give confidence to lenders that it can service more debt.

The likelihood that German or French governments will make their taxpayers prop up the Greek profligacy is low, with Angela Merkel simply trying to bluff her way into ensuring there should be confidence in Greece.   Finally, the Free Democrats in Germany have started talking about alternatives to bailouts - whilst the CDU/CSU remains wedded to bailouts and the parties of the left can't think outside the box of European solidarity.

Greece will default, it may leave the Eurozone (as other Euro states fear contagion of the Greek effect), and will face a painful few years as its public sector is shrunk, its economy shrinks, lots will be out of work, then it will export, tourists will come and it will start to grow a real economy.

EUROPE is in a phoney war. The establishment is still in a denial about the inevitability of a Greek default; the markets don’t believe the politicians. The result is ever higher yields on Club Med debt, growing fears, extreme volatility in the pricing of banks’ securities, tensions in the money markets and a constant and destructive war of words. This chaos, and the dramatically lower share prices of many financial stocks demonstrates the uselessness and idiocy of the short-selling ban in parts of the Eurozone. It achieved absolutely nothing at all. The Eurozone needs to learn that grand gestures and propaganda don’t work. It should listen instead to the former president of the Argentinean central bank, Mario Blejer, who took over in the then devastated country in 2001 after its $95bn default. He thinks Greece, if it ever wants to salvage its economy, “should default and default big. You can’t jump over a chasm in two steps.” Argentina’s GDP collapsed by 10.9 per cent in 2002 before bouncing dramatically back.

A Greek default will be cataclysmic – but attempting to delay the inevitable threatens an even greater catastrophe.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rugby World Cup public transport success story

Large numbers of people arrived for the Rugby World Cup with nary a problem using some public transport. They were using the commercially driven public transport, that doesn’t need subsidies to operate or to reinvest in capital. It has vibrant competition and a wide range of services. It’s called aviation.

The airline industry has had a few years to plan for the Rugby World Cup and has managed admirably. Air New Zealand delayed retiring aircraft it would have sold, in order to provide more services on routes between the main centres, displacing turbo-prop aircraft to provide some more to provincial centres. It is also using mothballed Boeing 747s for two additional services to London via LA when it ends. It had increased services on its London-Hong Kong-Auckland route. Qantas has done similar keeping aircraft it was to retire to provide additional services for the Rugby World Cup. Other airlines have increased the size of aircraft flying to and from New Zealand.

You can’t pretend the airline industry is in a healthy state. Qantas is undertaking a substantial restructuring of its international services to stem huge losses, and Air NZ is undertaking a thorough review of long haul services given its own losses. Yet they and their competitors all are able to deliver people internationally (and the pair domestically) at a time of peak demand. The corollary of it is that at certain times on certain routes air fares are high, but then so is demand and people prepared to pay get seats, they get a generally consistent level of service. The airports too, all run on a commercial basis, handle the crowds with little fuss.
Contrast that to a mega local authority co-ordinating a rail service that it owns, sub-contracted to a management company on tracks owned by the state.

Finger pointing all round given it is the silly season (election), as the railevangelists blame the Government – because it isn’t completely craven to their endless demands for other people’s money to gold-plate a service that costs more in subsidies than it generates in fare revenue.

The Government blames the council that IT set up running on a network that IT owns. For years the ARC complained that it didn’t have enough control or authority over transport in Auckland, that there were too many agencies. Now it is the Auckland Council contracting Kiwirail, both government bodies. The railevangelists protest that a fortune of your money (well your children’s, they would borrow now and make you pay later) should have been spent years ago building a gold-plated system that would work like clockwork and handle peaks (don’t talk about the subsidies to run them – because we’ll just manufacture figures to claim roads are worse), ignoring that the current socialist administration has spent a fortune to electrify the network (but it doesn’t happen overnight) to meet their dreams. The socialist administration chooses to impose a benign martial law over the Auckland waterfront and blame the Council it set up, cravenly following almost the entire model it inherited from a Helengrad inspired Royal Commission.

Should this not all demonstrate how the incentives to perform for government are so abysmal compared to commercial organisations? Even partially government owned companies like Air New Zealand and Auckland Airport are models of efficiency compared to Auckland’s quaint little commuter railway.

It’s worth noting that there is plenty of public transport in New Zealand that operates efficiently, commercially, without taxpayer subsidy (the Air NZ bailout was unnecessary and the fault of government intervention in the first place) and handles peaks and troughs quite adequately. It also has very high capital requirements, is exposed to extremely volatile changes in input prices (aviation fuel) and exchange rates (affecting costs of capital and fuel, as well as demand). It’s called the airline industry.

On a more modest scale, the entire intercity bus operation also operates efficiently, commercially and without taxpayer subsidy, meeting the needs of tourists and people without cars, with little fuss and no state planning (and also maintains individually unprofitable services because they contribute to the network, such as Napier-Gisborne). The movement planners who are obsessed with using other people’s money to prop up the modes they like, but to take from the ones they don’t, who want to tell landowners to build higher densities because they think it is “good for them and society”, ignore all of that. For it would appear than when governments stop planning so obsessively how people get about, businesses and their customers rather remarkably, seem to manage quite well.

And if you think cities are different, ask yourself why freight seems to move with little effort in cities, the only problem it faces is when bottlenecks of infrastructure or poor pricing mean that the government owned networks stop functioning efficiently.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vileness appeared today

It had to happen.  The London Metropolitan Police has today protected about 100 protestors who in Grosvenor Square - the location of the US Embassy to the UK - held placards proclaiming "Islam will dominate the world", calling for an Islamic Caliphate for the UK and the US and celebrating that Afghanistan is a graveyard of US soldiers.  They deliberately broke the minute of silence held to commemorate the dead and are now celebrating the same on their website.  They burnt the US flag.


This is a war between ideologies, namely between those who stand on the side of Islam and those who stand on the side of democracy and freedom. In the West they use different terminologies, they call it a war between freedom and terrorism, it is strange though that all the "terrorists" are Muslim and all those Muslims have as there ideology Islam.

The claim is that the US has lost the ideological war.  They are worshippers of a death cult of slavery and depravity, they openly despise freedom, openly believe laws cannot be created except in the shadow of their misogynistic violent death cult.   They use the freedom of the West to fight against it,

It is worth noting that two groups counter-protested.  A group of Muslims appeared holding placards saying "Muslims against Extremism", "Keep the Silence" and "If you want Sharia, Move to Saudi".  Good for them.  The more British Muslims confront the Islamists the more it will be accepted that the majority of them live in the UK because of freedom, not to destroy it.   According to the Daily Mail one said "If the moderate Muslims all came out and spoke out, that would defeat them..I am proud to be British. I love my country. All these people are doing is breaking Britain apart."

Another group comprised the English Defence League, a group commonly described as fascist/far right, which is largely a bunch of working class men who are loudly and usually rather bluntly against Islamism.  The Police moved them so that the Islamist misogynists could have their protests.  For all of their faults, the EDL is at least NOT against the freedoms and secularism of modern Britain.  Indeed, treating them as being as bad as the Islamists will simply encourage recruitment.

What's most telling is that today, of all days, those who would destroy our way of life were allowed to be unspeakably disgusting and vile.  It makes a profound mockery of so called "human rights" laws that don't allow people to express offensive views based on race, sex, religion and sexuality, when people who hold those very views, are protected by the state to express them.

Now I would not stop people expressing those views, but would also not stop others counter-protesting, and would not move peaceful citizens on to let people protest.   Islamists sought to protest outside the US Embassy, knowing how inflammatory and offensive it would be, and got state protection to do so.  Would anyone who dared go to Muslim majority parts of Britain expect the same protection if they wanted to protest for a secular state, freedom and equal rights for women?

Why should the UK's 50p tax rate be cut?

Gordon Brown introduced the 50% top tax rate in the UK close to the end of his term as Prime Minister.  It cuts in at an income of £150,000, and the excuse was to help the public finances, the real reason was to tap the envy and class hatred of his voting base - the people who hate success, who wish they could earn that sort of money, or rather be given it.   The Daily Mail reported that the Institute of Fiscal Studies has said the 50p tax rate may not have raised any extra money because of the incentive it created to rearrange income sources and investment to avoid it. 

There are plenty of good reasons to scrap it, primarily because it is one of the highest top tax rates in Europe.  The UK already has the highest corporate tax rate in Europe.  The main problem it creates is being a disincentive to entrepreneurs staying in the UK and investing here.  What great incentive is there to taking risks in the UK if you face losing more than half of your income (including "National Insurance", which is another income tax) to the state?


There will be plenty who will shout about fat cats and bashing the rich. The merchants of envy will always have a crude populist appeal.

It sends a message that Britain isn't a friendly place for making a lot of money.  Yet it is obvious that there is only one reason why it likely wont happen - the class envy that somehow people on higher incomes "aren't paying their fair share".  

Allister Heath of City AM points out some real facts to show that, unlike the distorted image spread by the Labour Party, trade unions and leftist media, the truth is that the British government is dependent on the "Atlas" of high earners.   The idea that the "rich" have never had it so good, is proven as nonsense.

1% of income tax payers reach into the 50% tax rate, in that they earn over £150,000 a year.   Many of them are not paying more on most of their income (as the tax rate is marginal), but together than 1% pay 27.7% of the income tax in the UK.   The equivalent top 1% of taxpayers in 1982 paid only 11% of all income tax, by 2000 they were paying 21.3% - so much for the Tories being the party of the "rich".

14,000 people in the UK earn more than £1 million a year.  They together pay £14.2 billion in income tax.  They pay almost as much income tax as the 13.9 million people who earn less than £20,000 a year. 

In other words 14,000 pay as much in income tax alone to pay the entire Home Office budget, which covers Police, prisons and the entire criminal justice system.

The top 1% of earners together pay enough income tax and national insurance to cover half of the NHS budget, but the legions of worshippers of that religion (the UK's largest) are hardly grateful for that.

Heath concludes:

All sections of society already pay far too much tax. A wealth tax would be a moral and economic disaster, double or triple taxing income and making a mockery of property rights. We need growth and jobs, not hate and punitive taxation. It is time to halt the war on wealth.

Indeed, the disgusting lie that somehow everyone on higher incomes is some banker who made a lot of money out of bankrupting the economy should be confronted.  I heard it again this morning on the BBC.  The UK's budget deficit (heaven help those who don't know their deficits from their debts) is NOT caused by "bailing out the bankers" because not a penny has been spent on bailing on banks this year, and the proportion of public debt attributable to that is less than 10%.

The long term goal of UK fiscal policy should be to reduce the overall tax burden.  The 50p rate should go, but concurrent with that, in part to placate the envious, but also to contribute to the reduction in tax, the first £10,000 everyone earns should be income tax free.  I mean everyone, not clawed back from higher income earners by lowering thresholds, but make so everyone knows that the first £10k a year is their own money.   Workers, students, employers, entrepreneurs, the retired, everyone.

The only moral argument ever put for the 50p rate is to claim the "rich" should "pay their share", yet with 1% of taxpayers paying over a quarter of all income tax, means they do far far more than that.

Yes some have high earnings because of luck and inheritance, but many more do so because of the career path they chose, the businesses they set up, the investments they made and besides all of that, it is their money.  If you haven't stolen or defrauded people, then you are morally entitled to the fruit of your efforts.  


" Rather than harass such people, we should give them a medal for public service, in pointing out just how stupid our tax laws are... It's time to make tax simple and certain. And to ensure that our tax officials are public servants, not public inquisitors."

Part of that is to lower taxes across the board, whilst abolishing complicated rebates and exemptions, whilst putting a serious effort into cutting spending.   Nothing else will give the British economy a chance to be more than anaemic whilst the Eurozone looks to become the world's biggest welfare state economy, and the US remains addicted to borrowing from China to spend its way to depression.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9.11 some thoughts ten years on

The Western world today offers unrivalled freedom and opportunities for humanity.  It may have a small number of naysayers who use its freedom (and capitalism) to damn it, condemn it and criticise it (rarely offering alternatives), but people from all over the world strive to live there, to learn there and do business there.  The wealthy from Africa, the Arab World, Asia and Russia all flock to the West to do their shopping, to have a good time and to buy healthcare for their families and education for the children, even if they return to maintain and profit from the corrupt autocracies that facilitated their opportunities.

9/11 was an attack on modernity.  The philosophy of Al Qaeda, and indeed that of all Islamists is rooted in a rejected of globalisation and capitalism, one reason why retaliation gets such lukewarm responses from the far left in the West (those who moved on from appeasement of the USSR to eco-socialism).  However, it is far more than that.  It is a fundamental rejection of the enlightenment, of political and civil freedoms, of feminism, of secularism and religious tolerance.  It is the embrace of a stone age patriarchal theocracy that no more embraces the secularist leftists of the West any more than the Christian conservatives, or the libertarian capitalists.  It used the tools of modernity to attack it.

Some apologists of Al Qaeda claim it wouldn't have attacked the US if the US had no military presence in the Middle East, or if Israel was destroyed (and presumably replaced by an anti-semitic Islamist theocracy).  However, its interest is not in peaceful co-existence, its interest in peace is seen in how barbarically it treats girls and women - breeding chattels undeserving of education.  It is beyond disgraceful that so many leftwing feminists turn a blind eye to the brutality of Islamist attitudes and treatment of women, for they fear having conservatives, capitalists and true liberals as allies - so adolescently knee jerk they still are.

Peaceful people were murdered by Al Qaeda.  People who took flights and worked on flights, people who worked at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and neighbouring buildings.   Some died instantly, some knew they were going to die, some jumped, some were crushed.   For those who attacked, they were meant to die, their lives were a means to an end.  For that is the collectivist philosophy - that human beings and lives are meaningless, unless they are categorised, pigeon-holed and treated as such.   It was enough that they lived or worked in the USA - a legitimate target.

If my career had been a little different, it could have included me, or people who I know. 

So 9/11 for me is always a day of some reflection - that there are people ready to destroy modernity, civilisation and freedom, for their twisted, backwards, bigoted, totalitarian view of how people should live their lives.  That history did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union, that there remains people who don't think that human beings have the right to live their own lives, or to think for themselves.

Meanwhile, the freedom and capitalism the West allows also allows conspiracy theorists and deniers to continue to claim that it was a self-inflicted attack by the US, or carried out by Israel.  Whatever it takes to demean and defame the West, feeding the irrational frenzy of hatred, racism, religious insanity that infects much of the Muslim world.  Such people should be treated with the same disdain and irreverence as Holocaust deniers, Moon Landing deniers and flat earthers.  They are a step below those who think it was the USA getting its just desserts, which of course is legitimate if you too think human beings are but a means to an end.  If you think terrorism - blowing up bodies of innocent civilians - is ok, then 9/11 can be justified.  If you express sadness and remorse, but then go "but", you are justifying it, you're expressing the view that it could have been prevented if only someone else had done something that would have meant the perpetrators wouldn't have bothered to murder.   A bit like "it's sad he hits you, but...".    On this day, such people should be ignored, for they are not just wrong, but in appalling bad taste and a combination of stupid and evil.  Nothing can justify such mass murder.  Not even the echoes of vileness from those who have said "not enough bankers died".

As long as there are people willing to do violence to inflict their religious preferences on others, free people cannot rest to confront them and defend themselves and civilisation from their barbarism.  It is as destructive and evil as Nazism, as Marxism-Leninism, as all forms of eliminationist authoritarianism.   On 9/11 they extended from their own vile little fiefdoms of totalitarianism (Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia) into the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Bear in mind that they wouldn't have thought twice had you been there too.

For today we are all Americans.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Is Margaret Mutu's view of racism that unusual?

I first encountered the Critical Race Theory view of racism, that Margaret Mutu has so eloquently expressed, at university. It is part of a wider set of beliefs and philosophy that includes identity politics, race consciousness and Marxist social class analysis that abandons treating people as individuals, and focuses entirely on what they are, not who they are and what they do.

In other words, you can’t possibly claim that Professor Margaret Mutu, a senior academic at a university, is capable of uttering a phrase that is racially discriminatory and degrading, not because of what she says, but because of her subjectively determined (by her) racial background. She is, according to her “world view” (you can have as many as you like, they are all valid – except ones she disagrees with), less empowered than a minimum wage Caucasian labourer. You see, she sees people according to the colour of their skin (and a bit more than that, because “race” is more about “ethno-national identity”) not the content of their character.

When I questioned the notion that someone “who identifies as” Maori heritage “cannot be racist”, I was patronized and it was explained it was she has “less power” than me, despite us both being students at the same level in the same university (and the female Maori student having parents of professional university educated backgrounds, unlike my Glaswegian parents who left school at 15). 

You see, nothing else mattered but race, it apparently spoke more than just who your ancestors were - it defined your social standing, access to money and influence and life opportunities - except of course, that it really didn't.  However, reality is disturbingly complicated to subjectivists.

This extreme radical view of race, power and politics could have simply been confined to the corners of universities where the likes of Mutu could express their views, and have them robustly questioned, if they hadn’t permeated so successfully into the minds of graduates in the 1970s and 1980s, and so the New Zealand political and bureaucratic body politic. Of course, affirmative action isn’t racist, for anyone of Maori (or Pacific Island) background is inherently disadvantaged, and anyone who isn’t is already, by implication “lucky”. Blank out the white, Chinese or Indian kid who is the first in her family to go to university, the family on low incomes working hard to give their kids a fair go Blank out the daughter of two lawyers who I encountered getting a public sector scholarship to complete her legal education, because she was Maori. 

It isn’t about individuals, it is about the “system”. It is a philosophy that has been cultivated at universities throughout the country, in Maori Studies departments, Politics departments and even Law Faculties. It is why when Don Brash calls for “one law for all”, he is deemed to be racist. The very notion of equality before the law denies the view that there is inherent persistent racism everywhere, because Maori are not the dominant race.

It doesn’t matter that government isn’t based on race, it doesn’t matter that laws exist to protect individuals without regard for race, or that taxes and handouts are distributed on a similar basis. See Mutu can say most white immigrants are white supremacists, and it’s ok - but don’t you dare stereotype Maori, otherwise you are being oppressive –unless you are Maori, in which case either you’re having a laugh, or you’re “not really Maori”, but a traitor.

You see race based views of the world are indeed very black and white. You’re either with the structuralist, identity politics view, or you’re racist.   Why else would you reject it?  Like Mao, you either were with the Cultural Revolution, or you were a capitalist roader out to exploit the masses, who was worth less than a dog.

It’s tempting to invoke Godwin’s law, you can do so yourself. When you think of all people and their relationships with others in terms of race, you find lots of allies. Robert Mugabe is the obvious one, but you might add Slobodan Milosevic, Daniel Milan, Robert Kajuga. All people who thought about race, all people who put aside thinking about individual deeds and backgrounds.

However, in New Zealand you might add Hone Harawira. Indeed, the entire Mana Party would hold this view that Maori cannot be racist. By its mere existence, so would the Maori Party. It doesn’t think it is racist to be a political movement inspired to advance one “ethnic group”. That should be obvious.
Yet the same views are easy to ascribe to the Green Party. It carries with it the same neo-Marxist, power based identity politics view that pigeon-holes people based on race, sex and sexuality. Maori lesbians automatically have less power than Chinese heterosexual men. 

You see an objective definition of racism is to act to discriminate against someone purely on the basis of race. It isn’t based upon what race a person is who is saying “x are criminals” or “y are lazy” or “z are mostly fascists”. It is based upon what is said.

The 20th century is littered with the corpses and blood of millions who were killed not because of what they did, but because of what category of people they were deemed to be. Whether it be race, religion, sectarian group, profession, education level, family background or class. The pain and loss of this is incalculable, the waste of talent, creativity, joy and intelligence is inconceivable. 

The only way forward for any civilisation is to reject the history of treating human beings according to what psychologically made up (for this is all they are) group they belong to, and treat them as individuals and judge them by deeds and words, not classify them like farm animals. Mutu does the latter, how many more of our politicians are of her ilk?

For all of the flurry about how Margaret Mutu says she can’t be racist, she can largely be ignored except for her living off of the taxpayer. What shouldn’t be ignored is how many people standing for Parliament share her view? Does the Green Party believe Margaret Mutu was being racist? Does the Maori Party believe it? Does the Mana Party believe it? Does the Labour Party believe it?

Monday, September 05, 2011

Maori don't want to work and prefer welfare

Waikato University activist E. Powell today said that "Most Maori don't want to work, they'd rather sit around and live off other taxpayers and will mug and steal if they aren't given welfare ".  He said that, Maori "do bring with them, as much as they deny it, an attitude of brown supremacy, and that is fostered by the country".  He says movement of such Maori from different parts of the country should be restricted because it threatens race relations.

Powell said "New Zealanders generally support Asian immigration because they aren't lazy and don't come to live off the taxpayer, and Maori who understand a culture of hard work, independence and non-violence"...."They are in a minority just like Maori in this country. You have a minority of Maori who are very good, they recognise the racism, they object to it and speak out strongly against it"

Apparently in New Zealand it is acceptable free speech to stereotype different races and demand immigration restrictions based on race, based on simply making up what you think people are like as a group.

Nothing else can justify a university professor talking like this and still keeping her taxpayer paid job. 

Of course, while New Zealand has Margaret Mutu, South Africa has Julius Malema.  Racist, calculating, hate filled authoritarians, who if given the chance would happily kill those who oppose them.   They both embrace political violence, they both should be treated with the contempt that fascists are typically treated.

Nicky Hager - the agitprop agitator

Speaking of attention seeking pseuds, there is Nicky Hager.

Nicky is a poor little rich boy who like many others allegedly cares so much about poverty because he had none as a child.

He portrays himself as an "investigative journalist" but is no more impartial than Ian Wishart, but with a different point of view.  He is no journalist.  He is an agitprop activist, whose book is motivated, like his others, to help the Green Party at the election.   The way that his leftwing sycophants swallow his every word, and the Greens cheer him on, should make it clear that he isn't a supplier of objective assessment of evidence.   He writes propaganda designed to stir up opposition to the government, to push his own agenda, which is hardly difficult to follow.   His own far left activist history is hardly secretive, although most New Zealand reporters are either too lazy or too sympathetic to question him on his motives.

All of his books have been written from a perspective of far left anti-Western, anti-capitalist politicking.  His 1996 book (election year) Secret Power - New Zealand's Role in the International Spy Network raised nothing than anyone comfortable with New Zealand's place in the Western alliance of free liberal democracies would be concerned about.  However, Hager has had a long history in so-called peace movement, which always demanded the West disarm, whilst never showing much concern for its enemies.  

His 1999 book (election year) Secrets and Lies: The Anatomy of an Anti-Environmental PR Campaign again would not have concerned anyone who think state owned enterprises should pursue maximisation of the returns of their shareholder.  However, he wanted to scare people into thinking a government agency was advocating cutting native forests, something he thinks everyone right thinking should be opposed to.

His 2002 book (election year) Seeds of Distrust: The Story of a GE Cover-up again was much ado about absolutely nothing.  A technicality that had no material effect whatsoever, under a law that was practically unenforceable, was blown out of proportion, with unscientific scaremongering and hysteria.  Of course it is Green Party stock and trade to frighten.

His 2006 book (after the election) The Hollow Men: A Study in the Politics of Deception was an attempt to claim that because the Exclusive Brethren supported National, it was somehow a conspiracy because the Nats knew the church was spending money on campaigning in favour of a change in government.  Apparently National wasn't allowed to have a political campaign that wasn't fully transparent.  Hager hasn't written about Labour or the Greens and their political strategies, funnily enough.   Apparently only the National Party deceives about its agenda.

His latest attempt is another book to influence the election.  The book Other People's Wars naturally implies opposition to the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan with support from New Zealand forces.  The claim is that New Zealand's "independent foreign policy" (something Hager wants and which means never supporting the USA) was compromised.   He, of course, used property that wasn't his to write his book, but like Assange  "that's ok"  as for him, the ends justify the means.

If New Zealand had effective reasonably balanced journalists, he would be questioned severely about his personal political allegiances and agenda, and asked why he doesn't do a book about Labour's campaign strategy, or about the internal divisions in the Greens.   He ought to be balkanised for what he is - a Green Party supporter and leftwing activist, who is all very well preaching to the converted, but who can hardly be seen as balanced.   Trevor Loudon wrote a little about his background.  It's about time he was treated as what he is - the Green's highest profile campaigner outside Parliament.

Peter Cresswell knows exactly how to treat him too.