Friday, 4 May 2007

Beer O'Clock: M*A*S*H*: Drink this and you'll need a hospital.

This week’s 'Beer O’Clock' by RealBeer's Neil Miller is not a recommendation. It is a warning. It first appeared in Salient (Victoria University’s student magazine), creating a bit of a stir in beer circles with one writer saying “I think this beer review by Neil Miller has to be awarded an all time best for something, but I still haven't decided exactly what.” It may have been a compliment. We're not sure.

Normally, the sight of three colourful six-packs of beer inspires joy in my very soul. This time, I was filled with dread. The beers before me were the three new Mash lagers from New Zealand Breweries.

A weekend paper had called them “ad-wanker beers” just moments after their low-profile release. The reason for that low profile quickly became clear.

As I contemplated these bottles, all that was running through my mind were the prophetic words of philosopher-poet Han Solo: “I have a bad feeling about this.” I should have listened to Han.

I try to be positive about beer so I must note that the packaging is actually very clever. When tucked inside their packs, each of the beers appears to be a different colour. Once out, it becomes clear that the illusion of colour is produced by the cardboard pack itself.

All three beers however are pale and unappealing once poured, looking like nothing so much as something whipped up with cordial in a soda stream machine.

Mash Golden Lager (5%) is an insipid beer with a slightly unpleasant flavour. This lager is also the base for the other two concoctions. It is, broadly, a style of which the Germans might call “das sehr preiswert- este Bier“, which translates as “the very cheapest beer”. There is a hint of grassiness, which suggests that the Golden Lager has had some acquaintance with the noble hop. Perhaps it was once shown a picture?

While sampling the Golden Lager, I was watching Chuck Norris (in a bulldozer) fight David Carradine (in an armoured half track). This beer was so bad that I didn’t really enjoy the scene - but it wasn't the worst.

Next up was the lemon and lime flavored Mash Citrus Lager (5%). It has the nose of a budget dishwashing liquid, but doesn’t taste nearly as good. Those who defend the human rights of fruit will be pleased to know that it is unlikely that any real lemons or limes were harmed in the making of this beer – unless they were forced to drink it. This 'beer' can kill. Syrupy and sickly sweet, the Citrus Lager is awful ... but still not the worst.

That dubious honour goes to Mash Energy Lager (5%). This beverage (I am loathe to call it beer) contains caffeine, guarana, Food Acid 330 and flavourings. Yummo. It has the nose of a plastic mug filled with raspberry raro cordial. It is so thin it makes Bud Light taste like Guinness, and it finishes with the stomach-churning kick that only good old Food Acid 330 can provide. On a (somewhat) positive note, it certainly does give your gag reflex a good workout.

For the first time ever, my unofficial tasting panel complained bitterly about getting free beer.

These beers are probably best drunk cold. Very cold. No fridge known would get it cold enough - only the coldest place in the universe will do.

Many readers will be too young to remember the awful Fruit Hopper beers, which appeared briefly some years ago. Mash marks their unwelcome return to the market.

Hopefully, Mash beer will be like Geoffrey Palmer’s stint as Prime Minister – a brief, terrible period of history which is quickly forgotten.

LINKS: Real Beer
Society for Beer Advocates

ARCHIVES: Beer & Elsewhere

Al Bore: Creationist

A sad day for a Canadian warmist, who went along to pay homage to Al Bore and his slideshow only to find out that Warmist Bore is also Creationist Bore. Turns out The Goracle is as prone to Religio-Enviro-Babble as every other faith-based nutter. At the Neurotransmission blog the poor chap describes his moment of disillusion:
At first, I thought I was going to be in for a live repeat of the movie, but he did have some new slides, or at least slides that were not shown in the film... The real interesting part (for me anyways), was a few of his comments about a topic that I've been researching a lot lately - the battle between science and religion... he comes across as a man who is ready to accept science as the proper methodology (versus evangelical faith in biblical literalism). ... During his live slideshow today, however, he showed his true colors. One of his slides was a quote from Genesis, which he used to show that humans are the stewards of biodiversity...

The slide I found particularly interesting/shocking/sad, was his new(?) slide containing a graph of human population growth over the past couple hundred-thousand years. It started off good. He pointed at the beginning of the graph, showing the population of humans on Earth from 200,000 years ago, and referred to the "rise of humans."

Cool beans. So he believes that Homo sapiens evolved from other hominid ancestors, right? Nope. In the very same breath, he then continued to explain that according to his religious beliefs, this "rise of humans" was God's creation of mankind - apparently 200,000 years ago. His graph then changed to include the caption "Adam & Eve" above this starting point.

I started laughing, and I had to consciously blink my eyes and double-check the screen to make sure I was seeing it properly. Let me get this straight...the guy's entire presentation exists in order to present people with the scientific data showing that human-caused climate change is a fact. He does his very best to include references in all of the slides, showing to any thinking person that this data is not made up, that it comes from the forefront of our scientific research (there was many slides containing data from Science journal, and a few from Nature).

At the same time, he tarnishes his beautifully crafted presentation by not only stating his belief in creationism - but by placing the words "Adam and Eve" right on the slide (which is actually a scientific graph) as a caption explaining the beginnings of mankind.

Something doesn't add up here. On one hand, he is using science to predict the disastrous outcome of our current actions and rally support for taking proactive measures to make sure bad things don't happen, but on the other hand, he is clinging to stone-age beliefs that another very important area of science has proven wrong (that we humans evolved from other forms of life, and that every organism on Earth has a common ancestor)...

I should also note that at this point in the lecture (I'll call it the schism) he stated that there is no conflict between science and religion. He appeared as though he wanted to say more about this, and even mentioned the Scopes trial, but then decided to continue on with the slideshow instead.

Whaaaaa???? You tell me that anthropogenic climate change is a scientific fact (to the degree that science can use that word), mankind came from God's creation of Adam and Eve 200,000 years ago, there is no conflict between science and religion, refer to the Scopes trial, and then shrug it off and move on with the show?

The schism pretty much ruined the rest of the show for me. His message about climate change and our need to take action was great, inspiring even. However, I am now somewhat confused about the sort of man that is Al Gore. If you're going to be intellectually honest about issues like climate change, than why not carry through to the next logical step and apply this kind of honest thinking to everything?
That's a a question some Gore fans here might like to answer.

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Beer: What we're here for.

Beer built civilisation: you know it, Beer Geek knows it, Chas Featherstone knows it, Scientific American knows it, The Economist knows it, National Geographic knows it, this woman knows it (and has a unique way of paying tribute), and Guinness Breweries surely know it too, as this this delightful ad attests [hat tip Tomahawk Kid].

The rhythm of life -- and the pull of beer -- is together a truly powerful thing.

ARCHIVES: Beer & Elsewhere, History


HOUSING: For a few thousand more

Over the last few years market conditions, gold-plated regulations, consent delays and local authority contributions have between them added thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars and months of delays to the cost of building a house -- in the last eight or so years more than doubling the cost of building a new home, and more than doubling the time it takes for a consent -- and now the government wants to add "just" a few thousand more. In fact, they insist that you spend just a few thousand more --at least five thousand more according to the Master Builders Federation, and even more delays.

Why? One very simple reason, says our Leaderene:
"The Labour-led government," says Labour leader Helen Clark, "believes that New Zealand should strive to be the world's first truly sustainable nation."
'Sustainable' meaning, in this and every case, both "energy conserving" and "ever more expensive."

Bear in mind that this new increase is on top of the more than 300% increase in the cost of land in NZ cities and towns that have been over-zoned and zoned and ring-fenced by planners under the RMA -- and in the midst of what can only be called a housing affordability crisis.

Does it even make sense as a measure? Well, for my part, I like to encourage clients to super-insulate because it makes a better place in which to live; I like to design houses for the sun because that makes that house a better place in which to live -- but the key word here is encourage. Not force. People are entitled to make their own bloody choices about what it's worth to them. They're entitled to consider their own circumstances when making their own decisions.

Imposing yet another cost and more delays on new houses that are already seriously unaffordable -- that are already over-regulated, over-zoned, and experiencing enormous delays in consent processing -- and all in the name of today's buzzword, sustainability, is just bloody stupid.

As always there's a lesson here: there's something to learn about what this new buzzword means.

As John Brätland explains "sustainable" fundamentally "is a notion of... disciplining our current consumption" -- the "discipline" coming about by enforced sacrifice. Public control of industry and resources in the name of "sustainability," he explains, "is not only contradictory but also self-defeating." We can see that, can't we. Robert Tracinski explains that for environmentalists, the campaign for sustainable development is not motivated by a legitimate desire for development but a respectable veil behind which their anti-development, anti-industry, anti-technology philosophy can hide.
Thus, they tell us that there is something called "sustainability," a magic mechanism that will [allow continued] prosperity -- even as the environmentalists restrict the only known conditions for prosperity: free trade and industrialization.
There's nothing magical about "sustainability" that allows us to evade reality -- to think we can prosper while restricting all the conditions that make prosperity possible. The very idea is ludicrous. The idea for example that "energy efficiency" is a substitute for energy production in any industrial nation -- as that nation strives, in the Prime Minister's fatuous soundbite, "to be the world's first truly sustainable nation" -- is just another attempt to evade reality.

Consider for example that in the last dozen years the only thing that's grown faster than the cost of new housing has been the hysterical protests against building new power stations -- as new power plant after new power plant has been refused consent or has had conditions added to consents to make those plants unworkable and increased energy production impossible, we've been continually told that we must all make sacrifices to sustainability, and specifically to conservation of energy. As George Reisman explains, you don't need to look too hard to see either the foolishness of the notion that you can substitute conservation for production, or the the anti-industry philosophy that is concealed behind environmentalists' anti-energy fetish:
The environmental movement has been doing its utmost to sabotage energy production since the 1960s, long before it was able to latch onto the prospect of global warming. Its opposition to atomic power has nothing to do with global warming, nor does its opposition to the construction of dams to provide hydro-electric power. Indeed, if global warming and the consumption of fossil fuels, which it alleges is the cause of global warming, were really its concern, it would be a leading advocate of atomic power and of the construction of new and additional dams to provide hydro-electric power...

The only sources of power that the environmental movement is willing to allow are wind and sunlight. The first is subject to the proviso that birds are not killed by flying into the propellers of the windmills. The second makes no allowance for all of the times when sunlight is blocked, i.e., in cloudy weather and at night, when the sun has gone down.

Environmentalists like to say that there is a third alternative source of energy: conservation.

“Conservation” as a source of energy is a contradiction in terms. It is not a source of energy. Its actual meaning is simply using less energy. It is a source of energy for one use only at the price of deprivation somewhere else. Moreover, the logic of conservationism is not consistent with using energy saved in one part of the economic system to expand energy use in other parts. Those other parts are also supposed to conserve, i.e., to use less energy rather than more.

The objective of the environmental movement is and always has been simply the destruction of energy production.
That is what lies behind sustainability. When energy production decreases and housing gets ever more expensive -- as you're asked to make sacrifice after sacrifice -- to produce ever less and to "conserve" ever more -- just remind yourself that this is what sustainability really means. Sacrifice.

And that you lot keep voting for it.

LINKS: Drier homes will drive up building costs - NZ City
Toward a calculational theory and policy of intergenerational sustainability - John Brätland, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics [34-page PDF]
'Sustainable development's unsustainable contradictions - Robert Tracinski, Capitalism Magazine
The buzzword for this morning is sustainability - Not PC
It’s About Energy, Not Climate - George Reisman
Everyone's got an energy strategy: What we're short of is energy! - Not PC

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Choking Al Bore's horse

Al Bore lectured an audience the other day in New Orleans, where he declared without blinking that there is no legitimate scholarly alternative to his world view.

We know the man's a liar, but such an arrogant self-deluded liar? This is much like his self-declared "science is settled" pseudo-consensus about global warming, a non-existent totem upon which he's been insisting on since 1992! No legitimate scholarly alternative to his world view? Really!? As Walter Block, Economics Professor at New Orleans' Loyola University says, "I could send them a biblio that could choke a horse."

The Commons Blog for example has a full bibliography of scholarly writing that would gore anyone with his anti-everything world-view.

And here for instance [pdf] is a full twenty-pages of scholarly books, articles and writings put together by the Political Economy Research Center in which every line is opposed to The Goracle's anti-human world view.

Then there's the whole Austrian Economics Environment Study Guide (just updated), more scholarly than you could poke a ponga at, and just the sort of resource that everyone opposed to The Bore's world view should be eating up -- and just full of references, all of them to writing that would give Al apoplexy.

Or there's all the Ayn Rand Institute's many, many exposés of the anti-human philosophy behind Big (and getting Bigger) Al, and all diametrically opposed to his shit-eating, we're-all-gonna-die world-view.

And that's just getting started!

What about all those legitimate, scholarly climate sceptics who've shown there's more hot air in Al's film (and in his house) than you would need to flood the whole planet?!

Marlo Lewis's Skeptic's Guide to 'An Inconvenient Truth' for example.

Or all those scientists who appeared willingly in 'The Great Global Warming Swindle,' many of whom can be found in this series in Canada's National Post.

Or the many pro-environment pro-liberty enviro-blogs that exist, including: For just a starter on all the literature available that describes and supports a fully worked out pro-environment pro-liberty view, just to scratch the surface here, what about this short list largely put together by Walter Block himself:
  • Thomas Sowell on the great British documentary "Global Warming Swindle".
  • The Julian Simon-Paul Ehrlich bet. It can be found at:
  • The definitive refutation of the IPCC's infamous hockey stick. [PDF]
  • 'Climate of Fear', By Richard Lindzen
  • Anderson, Terry L., and Leal, Donald R. 1991. Free Market Environmentalism, San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute
  • Anderson, Terry L., and Hill, Peter J. 1981. "Property Rights as a Common Pool Resource," in Bureaucracy vs. Environment: The Environmental Costs of Bureaucratic Governance, John Baden and Richard L. Stroup, eds., Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press
  • Block, Walter, "Population Growth: Is it a problem?", in Resolving Global Problems into the 21st century: How Can Science Help? Proceedings of the Fourth National Conference of Canadian Pugwash, Ottawa: CSP Publications, 1989, pp. 30-61.
  • Block, Walter, "Dumping on the Economy: Why Artificial Prices Encourage Waste," in Journal of Pricing Management, Vol. 14, No. 2, Spring 1991, 21-26.
  • Block, Walter, "Resource Misallocation, Externalities and Environmentalism in the U.S. and Canada," Proceedings of the 24th Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference, 1990, 91-94
  • Block, Walter and Roy Whitehead. 1999. "The Unintended Consequences of Environmental Justice," Forensic Science International, Vol. 100, Nos. 1 and 2, March, pp. 57-67
  • Block, Walter. 1998. "Environmentalism and Freedom: The Case for Private Property Rights," Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 17, No. 6, December, pp. 1887-1899
  • Block, Walter. 1990. "Environmental Problems, Private Property Rights Solutions," in Economics and the Environment: A Reconciliation, Walter Block, ed., Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, pp. 281-332
  • Brubaker, Elizabeth. 1995. Property Rights in the Defence of Nature Toronto, Ontario: Earthscan Publications Ltd.
  • Cato, Leigh, ed., 1995, The Business of Ecology, Allen & Unwin
  • DiLorenzo, Thomas. 1990. "Does Capitalism Cause Pollution?," St. Louis, Washington University: Center for the Study of American Business, Contemporary Issues Series 38.
  • Dolan, Edwin, "Controlling Acid Rain," in Economics and the Environment: A Reconciliation, Walter Block, ed., Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1990.
  • Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1993. The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy, Boston: Kluwer
  • Horwitz, Morton J.. 1977. The Transformation of American Law: 1780-1860, Cambridge: Harvard University Press
  • Lomborg, Bjorn. 2004. The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
  • Machan, Tibor, 2004, Putting Humans First: Why We Are Nature's Favorite, Rowman & Littlefield
  • McGee, Robert, and Block, Walter, "Pollution Trading Permits as a Form of Market Socialism, and the Search for a Real Market Solution to Environmental Pollution," in Fordham University Law and Environmental Journal, Vol. VI, No. 1, Fall 1994, pp. 51-77
  • Moore, Thomas Gale, 1991, Central Planning USA-Style: The Case Against Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards, Stanford: Hoover Institution
  • Rathje, William L., "Rubbish!," Atlantic Monthly, December 1989, pp. 99-109.
  • Rand, Ayn, rev. 1998, The Anti-Industrial Revolution: Return of the Primitive, Signet
  • Ray, Dixie Lee, 1990, Trashing the Planet, Washington D.C.: Regnery Gateway
  • Reisman, George, 1996, "Natural Resources & the Environment," in Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics, Jameson Books, Ottawa, Illinois, pp. 63-122.
  • Rothbard, Murray N. 1982. "Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution," [pdf] in Cato Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring; reprinted in Economics and the Environment: A Reconciliation, Walter Block, ed., Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1990
  • Simon, Julian. 1981. The Ultimate Resource, Princeton: PrincetonUniversity Press
  • Singer, S. Fred & Avery, Dennis, 2007, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years, Rowman & Littlefield
  • Stroup, Richard L. 2003. Eco-nomics: What everyone should know about economics and the environment. Washington D.C.: the Cato Institute
  • Stroup, Richard L., and John C. Goodman, et. al. 1991. Progressive Environmentalism: A Pro-Human, Pro-Science, Pro-Free Enterprise Agenda for Change, Dallas, TX: National Center for Policy Analysis, Task Force Report
  • Stroup, Richard. 1988. "Buying misery with federal land," in Public Choice, Vol. 57, pp. 69-77
  • Stroup, Richard L., and Baden, John A., "Endowment Areas: A Clearing in the Policy Wilderness," in Cato Journal, 2 Winter 1982, pp. 691-708
How does that horse look?

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Birth From the Heart - Martine Vaugel

Part of Martine Vaugel's evocative 'Spirit' series.

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Thursday, 3 May 2007

Treating children like adults, and adults like children

We've been told over and over that children must be treated the same as adults -- that they should have the same protection under law. This, we're told, is the reason behind the Bradford/Dung/Clark/Palmer/John Boy anti-smacking bill, so children and adults are treated equally under law.

How surprised I was last evening then to hear on the radio a bureaucrat submitting to the select committee enquiry on Ron Mark's private members' bill, which would lower the age of prosecution for serious crime to 12.

If you do adult crime, then you do adult time -- that's the argument of Mark's bill.
Some children are already criminals [he says] and are getting away with crimes because they know they can... He says an age reduction would help police and courts deal with criminals and offer more protection to potential victims.
No way, said the bureaucrat (whose name I didn't get): even if they've committed serious crimes, she argued, you've got to treat children like children...

The irony appeared lost on the radio reporter, but no irony was intended by Children's Commissar Cindy Kiro, also submitting, who said treating children who commit adult crimes as adults would be wrong, instead the system should look at recognising criminal tendencies, early intervention and wishful thinking.

A different bill, a different story -- even on the same day! One day one group of people are arguing that children should have the same protection under law as adults, and the same day the same group of people are arguing that children should not have the same responsibility under law as adults.

Now, why do you think that is?

UPDATE: Further to yesterday's updates on the wording of the Smacking Compromise, Stephen Franks offers his own legal and political opinion:
Bradford wins complete s. 59 victory
Bradford and Clark must be howling with glee and derision. They’ve outlawyered (not to mention out-politicked) opponents of their Bill.

The ‘compromise’ words have no legal effect. They merely “affirm that the Police have a discretion not to prosecute“ - meaning that no new discretion is added, only the existing rules and duties apply.

Worse - to escape prosecution the smack must be “so inconsequential that there is no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution“. Those words can’t have had competent legal consideration from any opposing lawyer.

At the technical level “no public interest” is ludicrous. Of course there will be some public interest in almost every incident. 20% of the population have a passionate interest in forcing the rest to change their child rearing beliefs. That 20% has made it illegal to smack...
Read on here.

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To hell with John Boy.

Below is an open letter from Susan the Libertarian to John Boy Walton (seen here yesterday outflanking Helen on the left). Unlike dripping wet media morons like Colin James and sadly deluded Pink Tories like Whale Oil, Susan is not praising him for his "wise intervention." "To hell with him!" she says instead. I agree. To hell with the appeasing bastard.
Dear John

I'm so angry at what you have done this morning that I struggle as to where to begin.

Firstly, you and your party together with Clark and Bradford have thumbed your collective noses at the electorate that has consistently demonstrated strong disapproval of this bill. That you would ignore that is incredibly arrogant in the first instance, but then you worsen the situation by seeking an unwanted compromise! We didn't want the bill, per se, in the first place, let alone a pathetically vague amendment!

The fact is that parental smacking is still not illegal. You have allied yourself with the worst sort of bedfellows in Sue Bradford and Cindy Kiro, both of whom are out and out communists with odious longterm agendas. This bill will never stop monsters from brutalising children. It will still continue to criminalise good parents - which was always Bradford's plan.

From a political perspective you have well and truly cooked your own goose. Clark was seriously on the ropes with her tacit approval of Bradford's bill, particularly when her differing comments prior to the last election came to light. You have now played right into her hands and she's the winner. Had you not done so, you could have played this trump beautifully come the next election. Now you just look like the Neville Chamberlain you are. More fool, you.

I am so disgusted. Rather than attack the cause of the problem, you piss around with symptoms. Remember that when the country receives news of the next abused child, because it will happen. Remember it, too, when the Nazis at CYFS start removing children from perfectly good homes - because that will also happen.

Shame on you.

Yours sincerely
Susan Ryder

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Otahuhu College fire

I was sorry to see news of the fire at my old school yesterday, in the very building in which I learned my Technical Drawing and decided to become an architect (left). Very sad. But how badly was it damaged, I wondered?

Finding out what caused it seems easy enough: "The Fire Service," reports Radio NZ ,"says a contractor fixing a leak accidentally started a fire that damaged six classrooms at a South Auckland secondary school." But six classsrooms? The Radio NZ report this morning quotes "East Auckland deputy chief, Roger Callister," who says "there has been significant damage to the roof" -- which you can see in that small picture -- and also Principal Gil Laurenson, who says that "about six classrooms were lost."

But this morning's Herald report also quotes Mr Callister, this time saying that "fire damage was contained to two classrooms."

Just another example of why we shouldn't rely on journalists too much for our information.



Our cartoon for this evening, courtesy of The Free Radical magazine:

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Wednesday, 2 May 2007

'Exposed: The Climate of Fear'

With Britain's Channel 4 achieving worldwide attention and controversy for their doco 'The Great Global Warming Swindle,' looks like CNN is getting in on the act. Yes, CNN, who have a new film screening tonight across the States (and presumably worldwide) -- at 7pm, 9m and midnight Eastern Time, presented by Glen Beck.

Says our friend Lubos Motl at 'The Reference Frame,'
[Beck's film] will look at the physical basis, proposed policies, as well as the somewhat Adolfian methods to impose the so-called "scientific consensus".
Many of the same scientists who appeared in Swindle return for Beck's doco -- although it's not expected that Carl Wunsch will be appearing this time.


Some thoughts for the day ...

A "Brief Guide" to American newspapers

A "Brief Guide" to American newspapers, and who reads them.
  • The Wall Street Journal is read by people who run the country.
  • The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
  • The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country, and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
  • USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but really don't understand The New York Times. They do, however, like statistics shown in pie charts.
  • The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country - if they could find the time ... and if they didn't have to leave southern California to do it.
  • The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.
  • The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
  • The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
  • The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country ... or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy -- provided, of course, that they are not Republicans.
  • The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.
(Thanks to RC for sending on the guide.) Anybody like to try something similar with New Zealand newspapers? Or even ... blogs?

Smacking compromise

Some questions:

When exactly would prosecuting light smacking be in "the public interest"?

And WTF would an "inconsequential"smack look like?

So just WTF does this new Bradford/Clark/Key/Dunne/Palmer anti-smacking Bill mean:
the [new amended Bill] ... will state that police will have discretion not to prosecute parents or guardians for use of force on a child if that force is "so inconsequential there is no public interest in pursuing a prosecution."
Any ideas? Any at all? Does that tell you clearly in advance, in law, what you can and can't do?

Will it stop the criminalisation of good parents? And will it protect good parents from CYFS?

Answers on a postcard, please.

UPDATE 1: Craig Smith of the Family Integrity organisation has an important point to make on the Bradford/Clark/Key/Dunne/Palmer compromise:
It is not changing the re-write of Section 59 which is another clause in the Bill. So, the clause will not pass into the Crimes Act. It is simply a bit of commentary in the Bill. And as Bradford just said [on air] this is precisely what Police do now anyway.

And of course, parents who use reasonable force to correct their children do not use inconsequential force...they use force that is going to have consequences...the consequence of present and future corrected behaviour. Police will have to consider this a criminal act.

And of course, CYFS is most likely still to be advised by police, even when the force is inconsequential, for the force is technically illegal. Here is where our greatest fear lies.

This is total and complete capitulation by National. They've surrendered

Here then, unless there is some miraculous event in Parliament today, is what Section 59 will look like [subsection 2 is the kicker]:

Parental Control
(1) Every parent of a child and every person in the place of a parent of the child is justified in using force if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances and is for the purpose of --
(a) preventing or minimising harm to the child or another person; or
(b) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in conduct that amounts to a criminal offence; or
(c) preventing the child from engaging or continuing to engage in offensive or disuptive behaviour; or
(d) performing the normal daily tasks that are incidental to good care and parenting.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in any rule of common law justifies the use of force for the purpose of correction.
(3) Subsection (2) prevails over subsection (1).
Correcting your children, you see in (2), is a criminal offense. And (3) says that if there is a doubt as to whether the force was for correction or for prevention, the correction interpretation must prevail.

Until now, juries convict the accused of a crime when no doubt about it exists, when it is beyond reasonable doubt. Now, if charged with the crime of using force to correct your child, the existence of doubt will legally require the jury to convict you of the crime...

UPDATE 2: The Herald's Audrey Young follows in the present tradition of her paper's journalists getting it exactly backwards in saying,

Everyone's a winner in this compromise... The alternative would have seen Helen Clark force unpopular, unwanted and unclear law on the country.
What abject, unadulterated nonsense. What we have forced upon us instead is an unpopular, unwanted and equally unclear compromise, without even the opportunity for debate. If she really thinks New Zealand parents are winners in that, then there's no hope for her.

UPDATE 3: Susan has it exactly right:
John Key: "Politics has been put to one side and sanity has prevailed".

Wrong on both counts, you moron.

My God, I honestly thought I couldn't think less of the Nats than I did. I was wrong. How could anybody vote for them again?

And as for Bradford, what a liar. I heard her say earlier last month that if there was ANY amendment to her bill, she'd 'pull it' altogether. And for all her talk, a persistent 80+% disapproval rating was NOT 'robust debate.'

They really have shown their true colours, the lot of them. Illuminating as to how they forget who works for whom.
UPDATE 4: Just a reminder of my point made some weeks ago: this is about more than just smacking; as Cindy Kiro has indicated clearly enough, it's about nationalising children.

On that score too, a commenter at David Farrars' Kiwiblog reminds us of this section from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's 1848 Communist Manifesto, from which I quote:
Abolition of the family!

Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists...

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

But, you will say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.

And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention of society, dire or indirect, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention...
You might like to recall that Karl Marx hurled six children into the world with his much put-upon wife Jenny, but like Rousseau he never gave a thought for them or for their care. He 'socialised' his own children almost from their birth.

UPDATE 5: The Kiwi Herald has news that Clark and John Boy are to bury their few differences and will form a new Government of National Unity.
In a move that has stunned political analysts Helen Clarke announced that National and Labour will continue to work together to "advance the interests of good parents and good children everywhere -and all the other good people too."
A beaming Mr Key told reporters: "It seems so right that we should continue our new found common-cause this way."
Describing the moment when the leaders agreed to form the new Government Mr Key said that "after we had agreed on the smacking bill we went to shake hands and for a wonderful moment our eyes met. It was as though we both knew, at that instant, that our differences didn't matter anymore. In a sudden outpouring of emotion I began to say to Helen that we should unite as one, but she interrupted me and said 'John, I know. For the peoples sake let us now walk side-by-side.'

In the new spirit of co-operation Miss Clark and John Key will chair Cabinet "week and week about" while Michael Cullen and Bill English have already found a "lovely little bachelor pad to share."
Read the full 'news' here at The Kiwi Herald: Clark, Key Form Govt of National Unity.

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Can't do this; can't do that.

You know, every morning I wake up, brew a coffee, browse the news, and look forward to reading fine journalism and great events to discuss with you good folk.

This morning, like far too many mornings, I'm disappointed. Instead of great news and fine journalism, we're served up this crud [hat tip AB]:

Can't do this: the "controversial" $250 million Soho Square development in Ponsonby (left), opposed by "art and fashion leaders."

Can't do that: a "railway station-themed restaurant, cafe and function centre in rural Waimauku," opposed by "officers of the Rodney District Council and Auckland Regional Council."

Can't even do this: A proposed new house for a site in St Andrews Rd, Epsom (right), couldn't even get to consent because council's drainage infrastructure is unable to accommodate even one new house there -- and even though the drainage work proposed for the house will reduce demand on their own infrastructure, it still wouldn't meet the "gold-plated" standard the council now required for new drainage work (a standard that most existing infrastructure has no hope of meeting). A clear example of the tell-tale collision I blogged the other day.

Or at least not for three years: a "$180 million 30-storey mixed use development that would be the second highest building in Takapuna" (right). After three years of "negotiation" with council permission has now been acceded to; not permission to go ahead, but permission to go through a notified resource consent process.

Sheesh! And who would believe Building Consent applications are down: down to 25,740 houses and apartments per annum -- down from a high of 40,000 per annum in the seventies, and still much fewer than the 28,000 to 36,000 residential units that need to be built per annum to reflect demand (Hugh Pavletich backs up those numbers, and explains the inflationary consequence of not meeting them).

And can you believe how economically illiterate NZ Herald reporters are? In one breath they praise those who stop the plans of these (evil) developers, and with the next they're suggesting that rising prices are the fault of developers -- and never, ever will they consider the the idea that regulation that hogties developers needs to be slashed if housing supply is ever able to increase to sufficiently meet demand.

UPDATED, 11:56am, 2 May

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The 'Greenhouse House' - John M. Johansen

A very simple arrangement of spaces around a central couryard, under a great glass canopy. In this house you can have a beer in the sun without fear of being blown over. [Drawing is by Francis Ching, from the book Architecture: Form, Space and Order.]


Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Worldwide Religio-Enviro-Babble

What do you get when you mix faith and pseudo-science? The answer seems to be "laughable nonsense." Religionists -- mainstream religionists that is -- are up in arms about the global warming religion, and all are equally unhinged.

You'll recall Garth George's arrant nonsense on the subject: that he knew global warming couldn't be happening because God had "sent" a rainbow after Noah's flood to show he was "keeping his promise."

To that foolishness you can now add "the diverse 50m-strong conservative evangelical churches" of the US, many of whose leaders, says The Guardian, "say they are still not convinced that global warming is human-induced and have argued that the collapse of the world is inevitable and will herald the second coming of Christ." Opposing them are younger leaders who are "redefining environmentalism as 'creation care'," and now joining them is none other than the Pope, that guardian of all that is scientific, who declares that "abuse of the environment is against God's will, and we must all "respect creation" while "focusing on the needs of sustainable development." The story of all this religio-enviro-babble is here.

This is what happens when you abandon reason, and rely instead on superstition. But how do you decide who's right about your god's wishes when you all claim a direct line to your own imaginary friend? And how do you understand or deal with your differences on the the scientific evidence when the only means of 'knowledge' you respect is not evidential, but that so-called shortcut to knowledge that is actually a short-circuit: that enemy of reason that is faith?

UPDATE 1: A big surprise: the polar bears' picnic, The Daily Telegraph
This short report from the foot of Christopher Brooker's column is worth republishing in full:
When [Tony Blair's Environment Secretary] David Miliband sends every school in the country a copy of Al Gore's ... film An Inconvenient Truth, to alert our children to the horrors of global warming, he had better instruct teachers to avert their charges' gaze from the drama making front-page news in Canada.

The May blossom may be out three weeks early in England, but for three weeks off the coast of Newfoundland, a fleet of seal boats - bent on culling the seals that are a major threat to Canada's fish stocks - have been trapped in the worst ice for decades. Thanks to global warming, it has been so cold that about 40 are frozen in, and not a few, as their crews are winched to safety by helicopter, will have to be abandoned.

As the pupils watch Al Gore's heart-rending sequence on the plight of the polar bears, doomed by the vanishing Arctic ice, their gaze will also have to be averted from the latest study by the US National Biological Service, which finds that polar bears in Alaska are increasing in numbers to the limit that their environment can sustain.

This confirms last year's report by Mitchell Taylor that, of the 13 polar bear groups in eastern Canada, 11 are increasing in numbers, only two declining - one of these, on west Hudson Bay, being the one the global warming doomsayers concentrate on.

It is clearly vital that our schoolchildren's ability to think for themselves should not be undermined by alerting them to such inconvenient truths.
Guess that old Inuit wisdom was right, huh?

UPDATE 2: Lewis Black on the Daily Show extracts the urine out of fucking Earth Day and all those polluting emissions from fatuous shit-eating fucking celebrities. As Kenny says hopefully at SOLO, "When the Green lobby is ridiculed by the liberal media, there is still hope that environmental statism can be stopped."

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Foolish fallacies

More misconceptions and fallacies about capitalism and trade exploded today, this time by the Vigesimal Pundit, including old chestnuts such as 'war is good for the economy' (it's not); buying NZ-made is always better (no, not always); and profits are bad (well, no they're not.)

This was my favourite comment, on the foolish idea that we shouldn't care about growth; it concludes:
Moreover growth compounds, so if we grow our GDP at 4% a year your grandchildren will be 4 times richer than you. If we can get 6%, they'll be 27 times richer than you. If you support policies that get in the road of growth, you need to ask why you hate your grandchildren so much.

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Housing minister economically illiterate

It is now clear that Housing minister Chris Carter is economically illiterate.

At the end of last week he suggested that the solution to houses being seriously unaffordable -- with the average price being roughly six or more times the average income, as opposed to three times the average income as it has been in earlier times and still is in other markets -- the solution he said is new regulation to force developers to build affordable homes on land made unaffordable by earlier regulations. Somehow he thinks developers will be queuing up to lose money on new projects.

This economic illiteracy was lapped up by an equally illiterate commentariat, including Sainsbury, Campbell, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Then last night Carter dreamed a new dream. As the Housing NZ report issued ten days ago concluded, the problem with unaffordable housing is not lack of demand, it is serious restrictions on land supply that have pushed land prices up over 300% across a decade, and the construction of new houses some four- to twelve-thousand units fewer per year than required to meet demand. That serious demand-supply imbalance is what is driving the serious unaffordability of local housing. Carter's dream ignored that altogether. Carter's new dream is not to free up supply -- not to increase capacity, not to remove restrictions so that four- to twelve-thousand more houses can be built every year to house New Zealanders and clear the market -- but to inflate housing demand even more!

Housing Minister Chris Carter said last night [his "shared equity" scheme] would be a way to provide direct financial assistance to buyers faced with prices which would otherwise stop them getting into the housing market. "You would have partial ownership and share the results of any increase in value," he said on TV3 News. TV3 said a pilot scheme was likely to start in Auckland next year which could involve the Government paying for a 25 per cent or 30 per cent stake in a house.

Despite even a high school economics student being able to tell him what happens when you inflate demand while continuing to restrict supply, no one in the MSM has yet to call him the fucking moron that he is. Perhaps that's because they're mostly as economically illiterate as he is.

The answer is not to further inflate demand; it is to free up supply: to shred the RMA; to get the town planners' the hell out of the way and their hands off people's property; to allow the market in land to function just as every other working market does. If the housing unaffordability crisis could show us anything, it should surely be the imbecility and destructiveness of thinking that meddling mends markets. It doesn't: It makes them worse.

Economic illiteracy is not a winning strategy.

UPDATE 1: Right on cue, the economically braindead Herald columnist John Armstrong weighs in with an encomium to statist stupidity that begins by invoking the "spirit" of Michael Joseph Savage, which, says John Junior, "has been passed down through successive Labour ministers holding the housing portfolio," before sinking into a bottomless pit of nauseating stupidity when it calls the illiterate Carter both "smart" and "savvy" in succeeding sentences.

"Labour," says John, "can hardly be blamed for soaring house prices." Well, yes they can, since the Clark Government has done nothing to avert the outrageous restrictions on land supply brought about under the RMA, and everything to encourage an expanding exchange rate and soaring credit.

Armstrong just gets worse every time I have the misfortune to read him.

UPDATE 2: The economically literate Mike E is also a prospective first-home buyer, but he's no more impressed with Carter's dreams than I am.
This is the government proposing to *subsidise* 25% of a properties value. So for most places this would be about $100,000. To put this in perspective, what have I done, to make me deserve $100,000 of your money - why do I deserver it more than you do? why am I so special? The correct answer is, nothing, I am no more deserving of the money you earnt than you are. I can't support the use of force to have my assets subsidised by your work.
Frankly, who could justify that?

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Villa Malaparte - Adalberto Libera and Curzio Malaparte

The home for two decades of writer Curzio Malaparte, designed by Adalberto Libera

it "underwent a strange metamorphosis when the writer changed the architect's orginal plan." A site giving Malaparte's biography has this description:
Malaparte's house in Capri, sited on a promontory overlooking the Mediterranean
Sea ... has been called the most beautiful house in the world. Casa Malaparte, 28 meters long and 6.6 meters wide, was built on the windy and barren cliff of Massulto. As a manifestation of modern achitecture, it rejected the popular "Capri style." Malaparte worked busily with his house project between 1938 and
1942, and in November 1942 he announced that "the house is about finished..." Actually, it was not. One of his friends later told that Malaparte was always broke, because there was always a wall, or a bathroom, or a window to redo.
Jean Luc Godard, who set his film Le Mepris at the house, declared:
Rome is the modern world, the West. Capri represents the world of antiquity, of
nature before the advent of civilisation ... In short, the title of Le Mepris
could have been Remembrance of Homer.
The shot of Brigitte Bardot on the roof of the villa comes from Godard's film.


Monday, 30 April 2007

The wheels are coming off

A bad year last year, notes the Herald.

The latest consumers' price index showed a big rise in the cost of home basics in the past year.

There was a 4 per cent rise in the cost of food, a 6.9 per cent increase in electricity, a 10.6 per cent surge in gas and 8.5 per cent in water supply charges. The biggest hit was fruit, which shot up 34 per cent, followed by rubbish disposal, up 14 per cent... Coupled with that is a 3 per cent rise in rents, while house prices have risen around 14 per cent in the past 12 months.

You can't keep adding to the money supply by around twelve to fifteen percent year on year -- as the Reserve Bank has been doing -- and you can't go on a multi-billion dollar spending binge -- as the Clark Government has been -- and not expect to see the result in rising costs.

Inflation is another tax. Aren't we already paying enough?

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Clark and co must pay $194,000 'arrogance surcharge' says Darnton

The Labour Party has finally -- about time! -- repaid the $800,000 they stole from the taxpayer to help fund their election campaign, but Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton says there's still something more to be paid: An "arrogance surcharge." He explains in yesterday's press release:
"Of course, with the pledge card spending retrospectively legalised last year, there was no legal debt to be paid. The payment must therefore be a gift."

Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons agrees. When the Greens handed $87,000 over to the Parliamentary Service in February she said the payment was "a gift, not a debt." [1]

Darnton added, "A gift of this magnitude must be subject to gift duty." Using Inland Revenue's gift duty guide (IR 194), Darnton calculated the gift duty Labour owes as just under $194,000.

"This is a mess of their own making. If they'd just admitted that they'd taken the money illegally and paid it back in the first place there would be no question of this extra charge but they refused to admit they did wrong and then went and changed the rules. This $194,000 is really an arrogance surcharge.

"I expect Labour to announce that they will take their tax obligations as seriously as they demand other, more productive, New Zealanders to."
Bravo Bernard! This is the sort of thing real opposition leaders should be doing. If you like what Libz leader Bernard Darnton is doing, then you really should consider becoming a Libertarianz member and helping him out. Far better than sitting still for this vapid drivel from John Boy.

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Unaffordable housing: Another tell-tale collision

A great quote can sum up a whole human debacle in just a very few words, as this one does:
A traffic jam [says Andrew Galambos] is a collision between free enterprise and socialism. Free enterprise produces automobiles faster than socialism can
build roads and road capacity.
It's true, isn't it -- and still the socialists blame capitalism for 'overproduction' when the problem is the failure of socialism to produce. Forty years ago, for example, plans were drawn up for the expansion of Auckland's motorway system, plans only being brought somewhat to completion now, forty years later.

And still people demand that socialism produce our infrastructure.

That same collision of capitalism and socialism we see in our daily traffic jams is there too in NZ's severely unaffordable housing markets: a bubble inflated by the freewheeling demands of prosperity and credit and immigration colliding with a simultaneous suffocation of supply by the socialism of the state. Based on international comparisons, to meet demand New Zealand's annual build rate should should move between 28,000 to 36,000 residential units per annum. Instead it is currently around 24,000 and falling, restricting supply and exacerbating the bubble. At a time when greater supply is desperately needed to mop up exploding demand, 'planners' -- those throwbacks to socialism -- are throttling the supply lines we do have.

'Planners' -- who labour under the illusion that free people can be planned -- who have ring-fenced our major cities (which represent only 1.4% of the country's land), outside which they have prohibited real growth -- these stranglers of growth who infest local government will frequently wheel out the exhortation that housing must wait for 'infrastructure'; that house building should be severely resricted until roading, watermains and sewerage is built -- and the construction of this infrasructure is to be built (eventually) by this economy's luxuriating remnants of socialist planning. They insist that ratepayers and developers pay for 'new capacity' through levies, impositions and compulsory contributions, coupled with the same barking insistence that this 'capacity' will only be built when the socialist machine is good and ready, and meanwhile house builders and home buyers can go hang.

To paraphrase Andrew Galambos, "An unaffordable housing crisis is a collision between free enterprise and socialism. Free enterprise produces houses faster than socialism can build roads and infrastructure."

Free enterprise is producing houses faster than socialism can build infrastructure and capacity, and the socialists are still crying that the problem is too much free enterprise! We're back where we were in the sixties when you wrote a begging letter to ther Post Office asking for a phone line for your new house, only to be told that there was no capacity in your area, and no plans to build any. It's as if those same Post Office planners were now out there planning our cities, isn't it.

I thought of Galambos and the old socialist phone system this week when I read that in an Auckland desperately unable to keep up with the demand for new houses,
Transit New Zealand is appealing against the [3000-unit] Silverdale North residential project in Rodney, saying that the area does not have the transport infrastructure to support it... It says the development will have " far reaching adverse traffic effects" unless adequate roading upgrades are put in place.
Ask yourself who should be doing those roading upgrades? As a correspondent commented to me, how about Transit, the government's roading company, just get on and do the fucking job they're supposed to do instead of stopping those people who are simply trying to do theirs? It gets worse:
Transit has lodged an appeal with the Environment Court, despite having been aware of the development in its present form for a year.
There's nothing like socialist 'planning' to really demonstrate a lack of basic planning, is there. It took forty years to begin building the motorway extensions that Auckland's socialist planners said Auckland needed to grow -- forty years of increasing congestion while the world changed, Auckland grew up, and free enterprise kept producing cheaper and cheaper cars for Aucklanders to use to get around the city. It's those same socialists who are now demanding our cities grow only as fast as they can manage to plan and build new infrastructure.

Perhaps we should rethink how infrastructure is produced?

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Time for some good old-fashioned beneficiary bashing. Just so you know who's bludging off you, here's a wee pictorial essay showing some of the country's highest paid beneficiaries:

Several hundred thousand middle-income bludgers -- one-third of the country sucking off the state tit: NZ's most numerous beneficiaries.

The Two Jims' own cash machine: NZ's most unrewarding beneficiary. $138,000,000 so you and I can help "the little guy."

The Clark Government: beneficiaries of the Big Lie that unemployment has been drastically reduced.

Radio New Zealand: proud supporters of the culture of sucking off the state tit.

Town Planners: NZ's most destructive beneficiaries.

Consultants and mega-law firms: NZ's least self-aware beneficiaries.

Political parties with their hands in your pocket: NZ's most unashamed beneficiaries.

The country's mayors: NZ's most lack-lustre beneficiaries.

The Prime Minister: NZ's highest paid beneficiary.

Team New Zealand: arguably the country's most undeserving and under-performing beneficiaries.

New Zealand's beneficiary culture is alive and well. Sucking off the state tit is a lifestyle choice: a choice being made every day by hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who put their hands deep into your pocket.

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Sunday, 29 April 2007

Time to wake up. A storm is a'coming, and smoke and mirrors ain't gonna save us.

"A rising tide will lift all boats," said a euphoric Helen Clark before the last election, promising a steak on every plate through the beneficence of Labour rule. "A rising tide will lift all boats"? But it hasn't, has it.

Not every boat has been lifted.
  • Not the 300,000 still on welfare after two-and-a-half terms of Labour rule.
  • Not ratepayers, suffering under year-on-year exponential increases in the depth to which petty councillors raid their assets.
  • Not taxpayers, suffering under the two-dozen (and still counting) new taxes -- taxes brought in by a Government who had pledged in 1999 to add no new taxes -- and feeling the effects of a spending binge that's achieved nothing except rampant stagflation.
  • Not would-be first home-owners, priced out of the market by a perfect storm of regulatory restrictions on land supply, and by exponentially increased costs of land and building and interest rates.
  • Not ever-extended borrowers enduring mortagee sales (which doubled in number last year) as those hugely inflated interest rates bite.
  • Not producers, suffering under those hugely inflated interest rates.
  • Not exporters, suffering under exchange rates artificially inflated by Alan Bollard's economic ignorance.
  • Not creditors, attracted by all the extra credit in a marketplace awash with investors cashing in on Bollard's rates, credit piling up in more and more malinvestments just waiting to be washed away in the next storm.
  • Not the many young New Zealanders who emerge from the state's factory schools functionally illiterate and unable to function in a high-skills economy.
In fact, barely anyone except those who've taken advantage of the bumbling, for after seven-and-a-half years of Labour Government our national boat has been sinking beneath the OECD waves -- as their report this week shows anyone who bothers to read it, we are enmired near the bottom of the list of 30 countries measured, and going backwards. Real per-capita income here is diving like a sick man with a snorkel (see picture at right). All the great successes trumpeted out of Helengrad have been smoke and mirrors -- the unemployment figures massaged by the enormous increases in sickness and disability beneficiaries; the growth figures massaged by the government's multi-billion dollar spending binge, and by the massive credit attracted by inflated interest rates and the Reserve Bank's printing presses; the 'prosperity' financed on that credit and on the back of a housing 'boom' that's really an over-inflated regulatory bust.

Except for recipients of taxpayers' largesse -- those unemployed 'artists'; Welfare for Families Beneficiaries; subsidised film-makers -- and all those productive New Zealanders who've done well despite the regulatory and fiscal shackles placed upon them, we are as becalmed as those boats in Valencia were earlier last week.

The tide is high, and the world is moving on -- but it's leaving us behind. A world of economic golden weather has been pissed away in a sodden downpour of politically correct government, and the OECD has just shown us all the tab.

It's high time to wake up.

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Sunday Hymn: Suck up to Jesus.

The words of an old hymn, changed to reflect the reality of religious worship: a position wholly inappropriate to human beings; one of crawling appeasement -- on your knees before a figment of man's own imagination.


Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
This is our battle cry.
All ye who don't believe us
In Hell will surely fry.
To dogma we bow gladly;
To reason we don't bend.
The truth does not concern us;
We'd rather just pretend.

Kiss up, kiss up to Jesus,
Imaginary boss.
Oh, Great Hallucination,
Without you we are lost.
Our self-respect goes down with us
When we get on our knees.
But if we really grovel,
Salvation is a breeze.

Suck up, suck up to Jesus,
Imaginary friend.
It's party-time at your place
After our lives end.
To reach your cosmic Disneyland,
We'll genuflect and cower;
We'll kiss your ass forever,
Pretending you'll save ours.

But now I've done some thinking
About this savior-dude,
And after due reflection,
Here is what I conclude:
This mindless little carpenter
Was mentally unglued,
And thanks to his religion
Humanity got screwed.

I live my life for me now;
This is my sacred right.
I scorn all gods and masters;
On mankind they're a blight.
I'll raise the torch of reason,
Our one and only hope,
Until the cross of Jesus
Goes up in holy smoke.

Beware of true believers
Who try to suck us in --
Snake-oil hawkers selling
Imaginary sin.
They're dying to convert us
By sword or by the pen,
But if we fall for their lies,
We're suckers born again.

They have the nerve to tell us
We're sinful from our birth.
Their God is cruel and jealous,
Disdainful of our worth.
A pompous little potentate,
He's peevish, he's perverse.
Down with cosmic tyrants;
We have enough on Earth.

Now, pride and self-reliance
Are virtues to admire.
Be noble and defiant;
Live life as you desire.
The heaven that you seek is here;
It's well within your reach.
You hold it in your own hands
And need not God beseech.

May humans thrive forever --
Man, woman, girl and boy.
Our noblest endeavor
Is living life with joy.
And so with reason's counsel,
Stand up and go forth --
Claim your glorious birthright:
This life, this time, this Earth!!

[Pinched from Noodle Food.]