Friday, February 29, 2008

Student Loans


Free Money + Students = Massive Debt.

But it got Labour elected, so who cares.

Is Poneke about to undertake a journey of discovery like I did?


After posting about the Saudi Blogger Faoud al-Farhan and pressing our own government to speak up for him, once again Wellington-based blogger Poneke turns his attention to Saudi Arabia with a fine piece on the Commission for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice and its role in the arrest of a University professor.
"Like other Western nations, New Zealand sucks up to the Saudi regime because of its oil, but our embassy in Riyadh does take an interest in the appalling human rights abuses there, as mentioned in my articles on the detained Saudi blogger Fouad al-Farhan and the teenage rape victim who was going to be flogged until international uproar prompted a royal pardon," he writes.

Now, "Our Friends the Saudis", is a regular series of articles featured on Little Green Footballs, typically detailing some outrage committed by the Islamic kingdom. A few days ago, 57 Saudi men were arrested for 'flirting' at women in a shopping mall.
Central to such stupidities is the Commission that Poneke refers to , along with the muttuwa or religious police, to see that Saudi Arabia's brand of Islamic modesty is adhered to.
For 'Islamo-realists' like me, such barbaric practices have become common blog fodder with a whole raft of blogs exposing the evils perpetrated by followers of the Islamic faith.
Much material can be found on blogs such as Little Green Footballs, Gates of Vienna, The Brussels Journal, Western Resistance and, of course, the Religion of Peace.
More locally, reports of Islamic excesses will also be found on Crusader Rabbit, The Midnight Sun, Not PC and of course, No Minister.
It is not a case of being 'Islamo-phobic' but seeing the realities of a religion often sucked up by government. It's not just a matter of governments kow towing to oil rich Saudi Arabia but also the Islamists in New Zealand, Britain, the rest of Western Europe, Australia, the US and elsewhere.
On my last visit to Britain over Christmas, I was struck by the growing number of Islamic issues raised in the media, so many that even the leftist BBC could not ignore or downplay them. There were barbaric tales of honour killings, muslims beating up Polish immigrants for 'taking' their jobs, no-go areas for non-muslims, etc, etc, some of which I blogged about.
More recently, there has been controversy over the Archbishop of Canterbury calling for some recognition of Islamic law within British law, the UK government covering up budget blow-outs by resorting to Islamic banking methods and more terrorists being found training in the countryside.
Muslims currently make up two million or three percent of the UK population, but already they have much sway in political life and the attention of the media and establishment. How much attention might this be if Muslims made up ten per cent like in France, or more? New Zealand had at the last census 40,000 muslims, equivalent to one per cent of the population, but their numbers grow exponentially through immigration and their large families.
Now, one theme of Islamism, which reports show is becoming more radical with each generation, is the subjugation of women. Here we have Reuters reporting a 'hijab problem' - women being arrested for opposing Islamic dress codes. And to learn more about them, and the role of women in Islamic societies, then turn to the Koran, as outlined here.
Saudi Arabia, with its oil riches, its extremist wahabbist faith, which it exports to Europe, the US and New Zealand, is the lair of the Islamic beast.
I welcome Poneke's growing interest in the affairs of that country, something he seems extremely knowledgeable about already; and I hope it leads to a similar journey of discovery to what I have undergone concerning the world's fastest growing, yet most evil and barbaric religion.
If we are not careful, Poneke will have more to worry about the lack of role models for his daughters in a post-Clark New Zealand, but rather several decades from now, whether they will have any rights at all.

smoking ads that might work


The government's decision to force cigarette producers to put gruesome pictures on packets has led to some debate on the effectiveness of such campaigns.
Over at The Briefing Room, the view seems to be that the move will create a new market for cigarette cases.
Thus, a much more effective streategy is needed.
Yes, smokers are free to smoke, as long as they do it outside and only harm themselves.
But as the former partner of a heavy smoker I can only vouch what an expensive habit smoking is and what a turn off it is too. Smoking can strain a relationship.
Perhaps stronger campaigns such as these I found on You Tube might help some people give up their habit: Debi Austin from the US and a dead guy from Britain.
I also think seeing Michael Cullen paying tribute to the country's smokers by paying all that tax and dying early to save on superannuation, thus boosting the government surplus, would also be an effective anti-smoking advertisement.

The Clean Out Starts

In an excellent call, National Party spokesman Gerry Brownlee has fired the first shot into our politicised public service. Quite an unprecedented but necessary move, I think.



The next shot might well be a warning to 'communications managers' that their tenure will be limited.

Then, Adolf recommends that every six months all public servants should be required to sign a declaration that they will work to implement the policies of the government of the day and that failure to do so and/or evidence of obstruction will result in dismissal.

A Hive of treachery


Once he's cut the cake, just what will the Dear Deputy do with the knife?
According to the Hive, one of the better blogs around, it seems he will stick it into Dear Leader!
The Hive has joined the dots over various calamities Labour has suffered in recent weeks and appears to have found links to the grubby little finance minister.
Following on from a couple of other leadership specualtion stories, such as Mike Moore saying its time for Helen to go, and Chris Trotter praising Phil Goff, The Hive fingers Cullen via his speechwriter.
As the architect of Liarbour's failed economic policies in recent years, which have done nothing to uplift the country's economic standing nor the wealth of the populace, I see no reason why Liarbour would elect Cullen as its leader.
His budgets have been unpopular and he almost cost Liarbour the last election.
So while it might appear fanciful for the Finance minister to lead Liarbour, go on Mickey, go for it!
As a National/Act supporter I say you can only weaken Labour's case.

Now the hard times come!


More proof that Cullenomics is unravelling, as despondency in the economy deepens as food and fuel prices rise, along with mortgages.
What have we got to show for nine years hard Liarbour?
very little.
Remeber, until a few months back, New Zealand was basking in the best global economic weather for many a year.
Yyet, incomes barely rose and where they did rise, Cullen grabbed much of the extra in tax.
David Farrar over at kiwiblog recently revealed how little wages had risen under Liarbour compared with former National governments.
Anyway, times are tough, the 'economic slide' continues.
I was listening to Kerre Woodham on Newztalk ZB last night and while Kerre admitted to 'knowing nothing about economics' seemed quite gloomy, along with her listeners, many of whom were planning to go to Australia.
I had just driven through the Waikato countryside, leaving Hamilton for Tauranga, which was a beautiful sight to behold as evening and night approached.
What a rural Arcadia we live in. Pity that Helengrad is wrecking it!

Ha! Ha!




Another case of the left being hoisted by their own petard.
The EPMU has been silenced by the very same Electoral Finance Act it supported.
Now it must wait two months to see what campaigning the 'division' of the Liarbour party is allowed.
One might have thought that future Liarbour Leader Andrew Little (pictured above) might have realised that licking Dear Leaders bum over the issue might leave a nasty taste in his mouth.
While David Farrar supports free speech, it is great to see him using Liarbour law against the left to highlight the folly of their actions.

Irresistable Conclusion

What a pity journos and editors in this country lack a sense of the ridiculous.

The headline should have been:

He's Taken Off

Pre Mortem Examination

From Powerline, in its entirety:-

If You Love the Democratic Party, You'll Like the New York Times

Scott Rasmussen polled the New York Times, and the results are grim:

Just 24% of American voters have a favorable opinion of the New York Times. Forty-four percent (44%) have an unfavorable opinion and 31% are not sure.

Worse yet:

The paper’s ratings are much like a candidate’s and divide sharply along partisan and ideological lines. By a 50% to 18% margin, liberal voters have a favorable opinion of the paper. By a 69% to 9%, conservative voters offer an unfavorable view. The newspaper earns favorable reviews from 44% of Democrats, 9% of Republicans, and 17% of those not affiliated with either major political party.

There is a lesson here: if a newspaper devotes its resources and its inherited goodwill with the public over a period of decades to advance the interests of one of our political parties, sooner or later people will notice.

Pinch Sulzburger has frittered away his inheritance, as is evident from these numbers on the Times' recent attack on John McCain:

Of those who followed the story, 66% believe it was an attempt by the paper to hurt the McCain campaign. Just 22% believe the Times was simply reporting the news.

New York Times, RIP.

Posted by John at 10:01 PM | Permalink | E-mail this post to a friend |

Time for a United States of Europe

Nice piece from Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian this morning, ostensibly about Russia, but also shows exactly why all this talk about the EU becoming an EUSSR is bollocks. For instance:

Meanwhile, the countries of the European Union have been at sixes and sevens in their relations with Moscow. It's a general rule that if you want to see the EU at its most divided, supine and implausible, you should look at it from the vantage point of a rich, large, powerful country, be it Russia, China or the United States. Policymakers in Beijing, Moscow and Washington share views of the EU ranging from the sceptical to the contemptuous, for they see each national government privately coming, cap in hand, to make its own deal. Small wonder that Putin's Russia feels it can pursue its own national interests better by dealing with individual European powers. Europe, as it currently behaves towards Russia, China and the US, is a standing invitation to "divide and rule".

The kow-towing is personal as well as national. The former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, having smoothed the way for Russia's Nord Stream gas pipeline under the Baltic sea while in office, is now chairman of the pipeline consortium. In an interview less than 18 months ago, he was still publicly sticking by his claim that Putin is a "flawless democrat". Oh yes, and black is white.

A recent report by the European Council on Foreign Relations, a pan-European thinktank (full disclosure: on whose board I sit), documents this pathetic disarray. It also points out that if you treat the EU as a unit, it is potentially far more powerful than Russia. Its total economy is 15 times the size of Russia's, which barely outstrips that of Belgium and the Netherlands combined. About half Russia's trade is with the EU, while Russian gas supplies only 25% of current EU gas needs. As for "soft power" - the power to attract - Russia does not begin to compete. It's only because Europe is so divided that the tail wags the dog.

Congratulations, all those bozo nationalists working to keep Europe divided - you're doing a great job.

The Cunliffe Gambit - Updated

Whaleoil has dealt with minister Cunliffe's remarkable decision to sack the board of the Hawkes Bay DHB.

A few minutes ago at 0500, RLW led with the news that four of the five local bodies in the region have voted to challenge the decision in the courts with the fifth council meeting this afternoon to consider the issue.

Mr Cunliffe is not regarded as a complete idiot but in this instance it is difficult to see his decision as anything other than political voluntary euthanasia.



It is even more difficult to avoid concluding Cunliffe is under orders to protect Annette King's arse, or more precisely her husband, from embarrassing revelations of conflict of interest.

Two reasons given for sacking the board were (a) alleged conflict between the board and the CEO and (b) a dysfunctional relationship between the board and the minister himself. Adolf can't help but wonder why the board did not simply sack the CEO and why Cunliffe didn't just wait for a couple of short months for the voters to sack the minister.

Update: One wonders when the minister will deal to Waitemata and Capital & Coast?

Simple people must be asking "Why do we have surpluses while people are dying of cancer?"

Major Development: Annette King and her mates have obtained a court order preventing the DomPost from publishing details of the inquiry into her husband's shenanigans.

Caption Competition




Condoleezza Meets Kindaloozza

The Cunliffe Gambit

Whaleoil has dealt with minister Cunliffe's remarkable decision to sack the board of the Hawkes Bay DHB.

A few minutes ago at 0500, RLW led with the news that four of the five local bodies in the region have voted to challenge the decision in the courts with the fifth council meeting this afternoon to consider the issue.

Mr Cunliffe is not regarded as a complete idiot but in this instance it is difficult to see his decision as anything other than political voluntary euthanasia.



It is even more difficult to avoid concluding Cunliffe is under orders to protect Annette King's arse, or more precisely her husband, from embarrassing revelations of conflict of interest.

Two reasons given for sacking the board were (a) alleged conflict between the board and the CEO and (b) a dysfunctional relationship between the board and the minister himself. Adolf can't help but wonder why the board did not simply sack the CEO and why Cunliffe didn't just wait for a couple of short months for the voters to sack the minister.

Update: One wonders when the minister will deal to Waitemata and Capital & Coast?

Simple people must be asking "Why do we have surpluses while people are dying of cancer?"

Major Development: Annette King and her mates have obtained a court order preventing the DomPost from publishing details of the inquiry into her husband's shenanigans.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Parore on Ryder

The supremely arrogant, and totally overrated, Adam Parore cannot keep his mouth shut over Jesse Ryder.

"I take no pleasure out of getting something like this right," Parore told RadioSport today.

"It does point to a history of self-destructive type behaviour and it's really sad because as we all know now, the kid can play."

What were his predictions again?

1. Couldn't play. Result - Ryder scored 196 runs @ 49 in his maiden one-day series. Nice 1 Adam.
2. Too unfit. Result - see above and vital wickets and catches he took.
3. Loose cannon. Result - well maybe he is right on that one. But it was hardly a prediction of Nostradamus proportions was it and Parore was hardly the right person to make it.

After all, he was hardly a saint when playing for the Black Caps was he Cairnsy?

William F Buckley - RIP

Here is the obituary from the National Review and a more detailed account of his life from the New York Times.

Tim Murphy Goes Into Hiding

Like Adolf, Tim Murphy who edits The Herald will have observed that whenever Helen Clark says something is 'not being talked about' it is being talked about. It's a bit like that other endearing characteristic of her 'sorry bunch of sad sacks' administration - whenever they accuse National of getting up to no good, you can be assured Labour is already well practiced in the particular piece of nefarity.



So today's headline sends a clear message.

'No-one's talking about deporting Herald editor' - Clark

deathstare

Helen's Lucky and selfish generation!


As the country reels in yet another rise in Mortgage rates, Bernard Hickey at Fairfax fuels the housing affordability debate with an inter-generational attack on on selfish baby-boomers like Dear Leader who had it all.
Noting how an average mortgage consumes 80% of an average income, barring a lotto win , generations X and Y will have to rely on their parents should they ever get on the housing ladder.
My theory is that the New Zealanders who run the place haven’t really confronted and don’t want to confront the ugly truth. I’m talking about the generations who graduated in the 1970s and 1980s and who now run both central and local goverments, who run the media and who generally set the parameters in a national debate.
These are the generations who graduated without student loans into good jobs when a home loan cost less than 40% of after-tax pay to service. They bought houses before 2003 and are now sitting on massive capital gains. Many have become semi-professional landlords with fancy Loss Attributing Qualifying Companies that allow them to offset operational losses on their rental properties against their salaries to reduce their tax bills. They have become addicted to the tax free capital gains on these properties. They’ve started consuming some of those gains in the form of holidays, electronics, cars and boats financed through their mortgages.
And Bernard continues:
These generations are exceptionally attuned to anything that might threaten those capital gains. They are practised at the art of saying “NIMBY!” (Not In My Back Yard). They are also a generation that worships the idea of a big backyard or, even better, a quiet lifestyle block in the country. They have been raised and believe to their bones that urban sprawl and big motorways are a BAD idea. They either believe property developers want to rape the environment, or they themselves are property developers who realise the best way to make money is to drip-feed land and properties on to the market. This is a generation that believes building lots of houses that look the same in one place at one time is a bad idea. Building consent growth has been stalled since 2003.
Preserving the existing environment is preferred at all costs to development. The Resource Management Act and the bureaucratic minefield it has become achieved this subliminal aim brilliantly. The construction of impenetrable green belts delivered the coup de grace. It is now virtually impossible to build large-scale housing developments in New Zealand. Dwelling consents have dropped a third since 2003 when the boom started.
Bernard outlines what will be necessary to help remedy the problem.
Yes, the asset rich boomers will have to pay somehow.
As he notes, what good is sitting on a pile of cash, if your kids and grandkidds end up flying to Australia!
And as a member of Generation X, I think he could well be right.

Feminism is just so last century!

Poneke has produced a very thoughtful piece looking at women role models in New Zealand.
Poneke's worthy read says New Zealand has just gone through a ‘Golden Age’ with women in top positions such as Prime Minister, Speaker, chief of the judiciary, etc, etc.
And he laments what role models might remain for his two daughters in the near future, a time what I will call the ‘Post-Clark era’.
Well, I would hardly call Dear Leader and the Sisterhood ‘role models’ but I find Poneke’s neo-feminism so last century.
I am sure as a fellow journalist, Poneke has come across many, many women in top jobs in newsrooms, as much as men.
In fact, at present, I answer to as many women editors as men.
For me, women in power is nothing special.
I grew up in Britain when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, so having a woman in charge hardly seems novel.
Thus, when I arrived in New Zealand permanently, having Jenny Shipley in office, followed by Dear Leader was no big deal either.
Ditto with Theresa Gattung as the boss of Telecom, one of New Zealand’s largest corporates.
I think Poneke is right in seeing a ‘Golden Age’ for such career women, truth that equality has arrived, with other countries quickly coming up the rear.
I am sure over the Tasman, Julia Gillard will be doing her bit to depose Kevin Rudd, as others on the right sometimes claim/ fear. The US could well be led by Hillary Clinton.
But he need not fear its end. I doubt there are glass ceilings anymore. They have been well and truly shattered.
But what caused this?
Cactus Kate, in response, sees economic necessity as the big driver in women entering the workforce and Dear Leader as a money-grabbing socialist, a poor role model.
Cactus credits Sir Roger Douglas as the Godfather of New Zealand feminism.

Under the realities he raised, people learnt it was no longer possible for families to live solely on a man’s wage. Two wages were now needed to pay the mortgage.
In a similar vein, I could probably count Margaret Thatcher as a similar economic handmaiden to change.
The economies of many industrialised nations underwent severe adjustment during the 1970s and 1980s.
Many old well-paid jobs in manufacturing, or mining, jobs involving physical labour disappeared.Office-based service jobs appeared in their place. Jobs that were more likely suited to women.
As women left the kitchens and flooded the workforce in the 1970s and 1980s, they took the jobs that might have been taken by men.
Thus, unemployment soared and wages stagnated.It took years for labour markets to absorb a near doubling of the workforce.
Now, that might sound sexist, but looking in the newsroom, you might wonder that if that woman editor was at home raising babies, then you might be editor in place of her.
A mere generation ago, a male would have progressed further due to less competition.
Indeed, having a better job would have made you a better catch, more in a position to ‘keep’ a woman. But feminism and workplace equality has thus undermined the provider role for New Zealand and Western Man.
Nowadays, the feminists could well be right when they say a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. They can be big earners and breadwinners too.
Indeed, Cactus rightfully points to a UK survey showing 39% of British women earn more than their partners. My brother is a police inspector in Yorkshire, but his wife as an HR manager for an insurance giant earns even more than he does. And their twin daughters probably earn as much, if not more, than their boyfriends.
I don’t think Poneke need worry about role models for his daughters.I’d perhaps be more concerned about role models if he has any sons.
Recent years appear to show more emphasis on the teaching of girls at the expense of boys, and it is the underachievement of boys that seems New Zealand’s greatest problem.
We see media obsessed with knowing how well-placed women are on the National Party list, etc, lamenting the demise of Katharine Rich when she decided politics was not for her, when really if you can’t hack it as politician, or anything, then do something else.
I have written articles on ‘women in business’ or seen my colleagues work on similar ‘women in technology’ features. But what is special about women in the workforce? They don’t need special help. They have made it to the top and can hack it as well as the guys. Such feminist promotion of women seems so terribly prejudiced, patronizing and old-fashioned. It undermines their success, their position at or near the top, which one hopes would have been achieved by their own efforts, on merit.
Barriers, be they class, sexual, race and otherwise have broken down.
Business has learnt it does not profit to discriminate; and money, success and promotion chases the talented. Capitalism is the greatest destroyer of discrimination than anything else around.
Now, Britain, for example, has once more decided in its ‘classless’ society that it is again safe for the Tory party to be led by privately educated Oxbridge boys like Dave Cameron.
Likewise in the post-Clark era, New Zealand will decide it is safe again to have a man in charge, be it John Key, Phil Goff or David Cunliffe.
Should they want it too, there is nothing stopping Poneke's daughters running the Beehive or any of our largest corporations, well nothing but themselves.
And that’s the way it should be.
UPDATE: Poneke follows up his piece, noting other responses on the blogosphere.

H2 and the Slug Slithering Out?

The Web reports that Heather Simpson and party secretary Irish Bill are up for the chop, with the Little bloke from the EPMU to be installed as the slug's replacement.









All of these entertaining predictions from Vernon Small in today's DomPost. Unfortunately, there's no link and I can't find anything in the online version.

Is it peculiar irony that Small is reporting on Little?

Best Coment This Week

From Farrar's piece on the non standing Little fellow from the EPMU.

"
  1. Right of way is Way of Right Add karma Subtract karma +1 Says:

    Well, now it seems the rats are not only leaving the sinking ship, they are refusing to board!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thank God Dick Hubbard Didn't Try This...

The Mayor was recalled (forced to another election) because the voters disproved of her fire engine photo op. Hell, I've vote for her, even if she had no policies!

Can you imagine Dick Hubbard, stripped to his jocks with a couple of baubles dangling from his belly button?

Libberwals are nutters: Official!!


Apparantly, a scientist with no connections to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has concluded that liberals are nutty.

They are just like children who expect the state to do things their parents did for them as a child.

They haven't grown up.

Now, how this analysis would brand their more extreme socialist form, such as Dear Leader pictured here, remains to be seen.

Hat Tip TBR and Whale Oil.

Greedy Investers Get The PIP

Adolf has absolutely no sympathy for greedy investors who bought BlueChip's PIP product without bothering to take independent legal advice. Neither do I have any sympathy for the idiots who paid deposits of $135k and signed an authrity releasing those funds to BlueChip from day one, also without taking independent legal advice.

I heard about them (the PIPs) the day they were launched and recognized them for what they were. A desperate bid by a cash strapped company to buy itself some time as it looked for new Peters to rob in order to pay Paul.

Having said that, in the interests of balance, I hope the SFO manages do nail the oleaginous Bryerlcream and send him off for a long holiday.

Update: Adolf's educated guess has something like $15 mil to $20 mil worth of PIPs land mines exploding around the country during coming days

Confused Commentary?

Adolf greatly admires Fran O'Sullivan and enjoys her commentary, even when he disagrees with it. Today is such an occasion as she writes on the vexing problem of so called housing affordability.



The broad tenor of her piece is that National should get on board with the thrust of Labour's policy in this regard.

It seems to me that she, along with most other commentators, has confused housing 'affordability' with housing 'cost.' Among other things she says:-

"Increasing take-home pay and bringing down interest rates is a much harder feat to conjure up in the short term for either side. Anyone who believes an incoming National Government could perform that feat overnight must have been seriously astray in the mushroom patch."

The real key to housing affordability is that part of the equation which Fran and others seem to ignore. It is 'after tax income available for debt servicing.'

An overnight tax cut will solve the problem without recourse to hallucinogens.

Cutting tax rates across the board by 10% puts an extra $10,000 or $833 per month into a $100k salary earner's take home pay. That will service an extra $100k of debt which solves the affordability problem instantly.

Then the far more difficult problem of excessive housing cost can be dealt with over time.




Clark's Latest Blunder - Her Husband

In a remarkable act of desperation, Helen Clark has opened up her husband to the blow torch of intense scrutiny by media and bloggers.



Rumours of Davis's alleged homosexuality abound but hitherto have been off limits due to his non-involvement in front line politicking. He got away with his foolish letter to The Herald on the day of the Auckland EFB march but his attack today on the media, and in particular The Herald, render him fair game. You can see the first hint in the papers description of them as our 'first couple.' How American!

Peter Davis weighs in on the Owen Glenn fiasco:-

"Earlier, her husband, Peter Davis, wrote a letter to the editor over coverage of the Owen Glenn loan to Labour.

"The Herald has had great fun at the expense of a wealthy donor and a political party," he says."

Expect serious questions to be raised about Peter Davis' activities at Los Angeles airport.

The irony of it all is that the PM who, more than anyone else has accused others of Americanising NZ politics, during her administration has brought about the politicization of the Public Service and the dirt digging mud slinging US presidential style of election campaign. Mallard and Williams have been her surrogates.

Labour has dropped their neutron bomb, on themselves.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Here's some Nicaraguan coffee more to my taste

When I was at University in Britian during the late 80s, the lefties were gaga over the Marxist Sandinista terrorist government. There was barely a student cafe that did not sell Nicaraguan coffee, even if it was inferior to that from Brazil.

Anyway, UK blogger Guido Fawkes has found something much more to our tastes-
Contra Cafe. I wonder if it is available in New Zealand?

Fair Trade Coffee from Freedom Fighters

It is Fair Trade fortnight next week, let's be honest, fair trade coffee is not renowned for its great taste. Guido can recommend one fair trade coffee that tastes good and does good. Contra Café buys its coffee from a cooperative of 500 small-scale farmers in the north of Nicaragua. In the late 80s, many of the cooperative's members fought with the Fuerza Democrática Nicaragüense to defeat the Sandinistas. In 1990, these farmers laid down their arms when Violeta Chammoro defeated Daniel Ortega at the polls.

Today, the farmers live in peace side by side with former Sandinista fighters. They cultivate coffee on their small mountain plots. In caring for their coffee, they aim to produce a quality bean, to maintain the environment on which they depend, and to provide for their families. Unfortunately, they often struggle to meet the needs of their families on the small and volatile profits from their farms. Contra Café aims to make their earnings larger and more consistent.

Rest assured that this is a premium, tasty coffee that also pays producers more than the Fair Trade price, but unlike Fair Trade, isn't a handout, it is paying what this outstanding coffee merits.

There is also the pleasing ideological angle for those of us who supported their struggle for freedom when we serve it to our dinner party guests.


You can, as you pour for them, say that at the height of the Cold War, the Contra rebels bravely fought for political and economic freedom in Nicaragua against a Cuban-backed dictatorship. Their heroic efforts forced democratic elections and led to the fall of the Marxist Sandinista regime. Today, the cooperative of former Contras grows an exceptional coffee high in the mountains of northern Nicaragua. Contra Café roasts this outstanding coffee and delivers it fresh to your home. In addition a portion of Contra Café revenues are donated to Ollie North's Freedom Alliance charity which provides scholarships for the children of active duty service members killed or disabled in the line of duty in Iraq.

Of course you should really drink it out of a Free Trade Coffee Mug, in the Fawkes household we won't drink it any other way. So order the coffee online and help third world farmers who fought for freedom.
37 comments

Winston's Got His Answer Ready

Winston has got his big cheesy smile ready for his homecoming press conference.



"Mr Peters, where did you get the hundred grand?"

"I won it on the slots at Vegas.... Nyaa Nyaa Na Na Nyaa!"

And he'll expect everyone to believe him

It's Obama Bin Laden!


Has Hillary been playing dirty?
Obama's camp are saying so after this picture appeared on The Drudge Report.
It had led to a furore making headlines around the world.
Of course, in such post 911 times, even if George Bush has not won widespread support for his War on Terror and against Iraq, most people would prefer not to have an Islamist as President of the United States.
Is Obama one? Well, we know he has been educated at a madrassa in Indonesia and his middle name is Hussein.
Obama has also been consistent in his opposition to the war in Iraq, so his appeasement is similarly consistent and understandable..
Recent days have also seen speculation intensify as to his actual ancestry.
While Obama's Kenyan background has been well featured, there are extensive claims that rather than being of African-American heritage, Obama is actually of Arabic heritage, descended from Arabic slave traders!
What would Oprah Winfrey say?
But he has support from the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrahkhan, who is well-known for hating Jews, gays and believing whites aren't yet fully human.
Indeed, as Obama appears to have lied in his autobiography, the big papers in the US are similalrly uncovering discrepencies about his claimed African-American heritage too.
So the dirty Democrats are feeding an orgy of lies about an invented candidate so millions of guilt-ridden white liberals will show their non-racist credentials by voting for an inexperienced politico backed by Islamists, and as Trevor Louden notes, a whole menagerie of leftists and communists.
It all makes Obama's alleged cocaine snorting and c*** sucking, which I reported at the weekend, seem quite inconsequential.

What Dubbya Should Have Done To Keller

Helen Clark and Winston Peters must be green with envy. If only they could deport journalists who pass off political opinion as news.

http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200610/r113636_392453.jpg


Commodore Frankie doesn't muck around. Bloody cheeky Australian reporter got chucked out for being too clever by far.

"We also have the recent case of an opinion columnist in the Fiji Sun masquerading as a regular correspondent's writing front page stories. So blatant has been the Fiji Sun's disregard for ethics that these lead stories have explicit opinions contained within the article.

"These little tricks are getting out of hand and that is the reason why we have called everyone here to explain to you in detail once and for all the truth that continues to be misconstrued and disregarded by most sections of the media."

Now that's the way to deal with duplicitous journos and their hangers on.

Happy Birthday Helen!



Your party is 20-odd points behind in the polls.
Your opponent John Key is streets ahead as preferred prime minister.
Your government is old, tired and unpopular, and running out of ideas.
The papers are speculating about your future.
There is talk of dissention in the ranks.
It's not just the views of nasty right-wing bloggers like me.
Your main opponent has been forced to issue a denial, saying you are such a wonderful prime minister, the best ever.
Your party-aligned blog is promoting an inexperienced rival as a possible successor.
The economy is tanking. Property values are set to collapse.
Your interest rates are among the highest in the developed world.
Food and fuel prices are rising and incomes are constrained.
Your government has been riddled with incompetence , with cock-ups in health, education, the police, corrections, to name just a few.
Your government is corrupt and rorting electoral processes. People can see through you, they see how you are muzzling the opposition as best you can. They see how you reward baubles to your friends and sugar daddies.
What more can I say?
But Happy Birthday Dear Leader!
58 not out! well not for long !

Eat Yourself Fitter

I offer our readers a momentary respite from the otherwise-constant barrage of National Party propaganda. Fuck I hate election years.

The disastrous pseudoscience of Nutrition continues to stagger from one prize example of foolishness to the next. Today’s fine effort is the Nutrition column of the Listener of February 23 2008, in which a reader asks for dietary advice that would help avoid Type 2 diabetes, and is prescribed a diet guaranteed to increase their chances of getting it. The article is currently only in print, but will be online here from 15 March.

The (abridged) question:

Recent blood tests revealed I have blood sugar level problems. I was told this could lead to early onset Type 2 diabetes… Can you offer any specific dietary advice that would help?

The specific dietary advice (also abridged):

…six-plus servings of wholegrain breads and cereals to increase fibre intake.

…5+ servings of fruit and vegetables

Choose high-fibre and low-fat foods.

Here’s the bottom line, folks: if you’re pre-diabetic, it’s because you’ve become insulin-resistant and your pancreas is now struggling to turn out enough insulin to process the shitloads of blood sugar you flood yourself with every time you tuck into your high-carb, low-fat diet. Eventually it’ll be too knackered to continue the struggle and you'll be a Type 2 diabetic. The absolute worst dietary decision you could make would be to follow this nutritionist’s advice and make your diet even more high-carb and low-fat.

I don’t want to write a big long treatise on this all over the front page of our blog, but I’m happy to argue the case in comments.

Our Gilbertian Treasurer

Those readers not inhibited by a private school education will know of the glorious humour and melody which is Gilbert and Sullivan. These guys had a talent for blending words and music which has never been surpassed.

W. S. Gilbert
W. S. Gilbert




Take this example from The Mikado:-

Do you know the tune? - a brisk, lilting waltz.

Nanki-Poo

A wandering minstrel I —
A thing of shreds and patches,
Of ballads, songs and snatches,
And dreamy lullaby!
My catalogue is long,
Through every passion ranging,
And to your humours changing
I tune my supple song!
I tune my supple song!



Arthur Sullivan, 1842-1900

How might they have handled the comic opera which is today's New Zealand Labour government?


Mikey-Poo

A squandering wastrel I —
A thing of bribes and taxes,
Of socialistic spending,
And scheming double lies!
My surpluses are large,
Through every sector gouging,
And for my next election,
I give a subtle gong!
I give a subtle gong!


Warmenisers In Retreat

No less august journals than The Hive and the Wall Street Journal this morning carry accounts of the long overdue ascent of common sense alongside a countervailing decline in the credibility of the global warmenising religious cult led by the Prophet and his gospel according to Gore.

The journal laments the lack of media coverage of the hundreds of eminent scientists who defy the crowds of warmenists by holding a conference in New York to refute, rebut and generally debunk the nonsense propounded by Gore and the world's dedicated socialists. You can almost hear the protesters outside screaming 'Crucify them! Crucify them!'

Our very own Hive documents some remarkable and rare common sense emanating from Europe where carbon trading has been rejected on the grounds of damage to people's standard of living.

Adolf has seen no evidence to justify the foundational tenet of the warmenist faith, namely that rising CO2 levels lead to global warming. In point of fact, all the hard reliable data appears to confirm that there is no such link and that climate change is influenced in the main by solar activity. There is little doubt that human activity contributes to rising CO2 levels but that's about as far as common sense gets. Then the religious zealots take over and demand that we give up our three square meals a day and turn our country into a wilderness where we eat locusts while dressing in sack cloth.

Meanwhile, the NZ Labour Party and its intellectually handicapped sibling The Green Party have been diagnosed terminally ill, suffering from acute polloidal opinionitis and have determined their last living act will be to crush what economic life in our little country they have not already destroyed by inflicting on it a carbon trading regime guaranteed to plunge us back into the dark ages.




For this we can blame the once was witty economyst Michael Cullen for whom simple mathematics is a mystery - as evinced by the magical conversion of his Kyoto bonus into a Kyoto bill. He subscribes to the economyth that if we cut our throats first and then hand the knife to India and China they will do the same unto themselves.

The first thing John Key's government must do is put a hold on any commitment to Kyoto or any other carbon trading scheme while a proper independent inquiry into the evidence for and against climate change theory is held and a a careful cost benefit analysis of carbon trading is prepared and publicised.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Haemorrhoides Terminalus

Tracy Watkins described the last week for Helen Clark as:-

PM's hebdomas horrenda

Tracy didn't get it quite right. This pain in the arse Prime Minister finally has reached the end of everyone else's tether. She has become:-

Madame Haemorrhoides Terminalus

clark

It must be only a matter of time before the weak kneed support parties break ranks and bring to an end this disgracefully corrupt and inept administration.

Will the next opinion poll be the tipping point?

The knives are out for Dear Leader- it's just so 1990!!


Echoes of 1990 Britain here after a leader who won three successive terms of office for her party now finds herself a major liability.
A Stuff poll, as noted on The Hive today, noted Liarbour might do much better with a fresh new leader.
The country has stopped listening to her. John Key is streets ahead as preferred PM, something that doesn't usually happen to opposition leaders.
The Electoral Finance Bill and related hypocracies, such as Glenngate, is her Poll Tax.
Already the media are circling round and quizzing her potential successor.
Phil Goff has got his denial in, but like Michael Heseltine with his 'forsee no circumstances' comment all those years ago, will have given himself sufficient wiggle room should circumstances change.
Liarbour MPs will increasingly be doing the sums on what might happen should Dear Leader go with grace , or be booted out, or whether she stays.
They will do what they can to save their own skins.
For many in Liarbour, just what would they do in a life outside parliament should Liarbour be routed in Election 2008 as the polls predict?
This will focus their minds and self interest tremendously.
Seasoned observer Whale Oil forsees similar doom for Dear Leader.
For someone who has been raised on politics since a boy, since when he probably sat on Muldoon's knee as a youngster and no doubt threw up all over the dictator, he has seen it all before, as he recalls today.
So Dear Leader is toast. The Brothers and Sisters will be plotting in their back-rooms, smoke filled or otherwise. Her future is the bbq-stopper, the talk around the Liarbour watercooler.
Goff had to issue a denial about such a gathering of MPs just south of Auckland yesterday, just prior to his latest comments today.
The issue for Liarbour now, is will Dear Leader face the guillotine before the election, or after it?
What will be best for the party? What will help it survival and that of its MPs?
Will she stand down with dignity, 'fight on to win' and later backdown when the odds are against her, or will she be kept on as a lame duck.
Trouble is, while this blog has never been a fan of old Helen, we just might miss the old girl!
Indeed as Liarbour weighs up the prospects for a Thatcher-style matricide or regicide; post-Clark, life in New Zealand will never be the same again.

Issues for Captain Baubles


While Winnie can take kudos over his good working relationship on the international stage with Condileeza Rice, what about matters closer to home?
The Glenngate affair and potential funding of NZFirst or Winston First leads the Hive to look at NZ First Party funding.
The press pack have begun quizzing Captain Baubles, whom we recall must "get off his arse" to give Owen Glenn his Monaco post.
Here the NZ Herald says Baubles is 'refusing to clarify' where the NZ First president's mystery money came from.
"there was no big anonymous donation”, Mr Peters said .
When further pressed he said: “I have no idea what is being spoken of because no such thing ever happened.”
So there was no donation at all, notes David Farrar at Kiwiblog, and obviously Dail Jones was totally mistaken.
Ever the helpful chappie, David notes how the money might have appeared.
*Dail Jones confused his personal bank account with NZ First’s, when he claimed he had found a close to $100,000 mystery deposit
*It wasn’t a donation, it was an interest free loan!
*The donation was actually the term deposit maturing, and Jones got them confused (but it was maturing in December we were told)
*The money is actually aid money for North Korea from Condi, which Winston is meant to pass on.
As David adds, perhaps Dail Jones could release a copy of the bank statement to clear things up.
UPDATE: The excellent Hive has some questions about Winnie's funding for the MSM to follow-up.
UPDATE 2: Audrey Young demands answers.

The people are NOT listening to Dear Leader



Fairfax follows-up its Saturday poll which shows Dear Leader and Liarbour "Poll-Axed" with a breakdown on the issues.

Liarbour is increasingly out of touch as the polls show voters taking a more National approach to crime, education and tax cuts.

And today, Dear Leader has been on the radio promising "a tonne of ideas."

"We have to keep governing, we have to work on being a government of substance, a government of vision, a government which has got the big ideas," she said.

Trouble is, it is Liarbour's ideas, Liarbour's vision that frightens us. New Zealand does not want it any more. We can see the damage they cause in terms of education, our pockets, the economy, health, etc, etc.

Not only that, we see a corrupt, hypocritical regime that relies on "rich pricks" for funding, who are bought off with baubles; we see a party silencing the opposition, whose competence is so awful its mates like the EPMU are now hamstrung from campaigning; we see a government that doesn't listen over issues like smacking and crime.

And our increasingly shaky economy, slipping in the league tables, shows how Liarbour has frittered away the best economic weather in a generation.

The sooner Liarbour goes the better. But the longer they stick around, the greater their defeat will be. All John Boy has to do is smile and not frighten the horses. A policy that seems to be working very nicely thank you, even if some on the right have their reservations.

UPDATE: Tracey Watkins of the DomPost reviews the political week here, noting Liarbour's dilemma.

Gosh! Another Rat Deserts The Ship

If a few more trade union stooges and ex school teachers leave the political scene there'll be just twelve green bottle left sitting on the wall.

Mark Goshe joins the ranks of those who don't need another nine months to get the message.

Mark Gosche. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Is he / was he a cabinet minister? If so, I can't recall any evidence of him.

Good riddance.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You Might As Well Sack All The Managers

It appears NZ Cricket is run by a District health Board. They have more managers than players and the managers are incompetent simpletons.

Only a week after the discovery of cricket's next great talent, the man's minders allow him to punch out a plate glass window and injure himself sufficiently that he won't be available for three months.

Well done , chaps. Have another Gin and tonic.

The great global gay mafia





With the scuttlebutt about Barack Obama indulging in gay sex and cocaine in an 'upscale' hotel in 1999 while a senator, which I posted yesterday, it got me thinking.
'Is there a great global gay mafia?'
There are many rumours about our leaders batting for the other team.
There's Hillary Clinton for starters.
And, of course, we mustn't forget about our own Dear Leader, featured here on You Tube with 'consort' Judith Tizard apparantly 'coming out' at the 2007 Big Gay Out.
There's also gossip about UK prime minister Gordon Brown , with some allegations that he even had a fling with Tony Blair, which we also mentioned some months back!
I'm not aware of any gay gossip surrounding John Key, John Howard, Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher. And it seems a safe bet Bill Clinton, Don Brash and various presidents of France, including Nick Sarkozy, are all straight.
Of course, much gossip might well be innuendo and smear put about by opponents.
Do we really believe George Bush and Tony Blair were lovers despite their close relationship over the War on Iraq?
However, in the world of gay leaders, the Brits might have got there first with Ted Heath, (pictured here on the left of Margaret Thatcher) who was Britain's unmarried PM in the early 1970s, long before Ministers, both Labour and Tory, came out of the closet.
Heath's death a couple of years back renewed the speculation about his sexuality and whether a country like Britain could have a gay prime minister now. Indeed, could New Zealand?
I like to think that we could and that other than finding it a tasty bit of gossip, it doesn't matter if the country has a gay prime minister, or even if Helen Clark is 'seeing' Judith Tizard , a relationship now rumoured to be over.
What matters more about Dear Leader is that she is a tax and spend socialist dictator doing so many harmful things to New Zealand.
Anyway, if there is a gay mafia, or New Zealand is more tolerant, at least Liarbour's newest MP, maori lesbian Louisa Wall, could go far, assuming that she behaves herself!

Liarbour's Sugar Daddy


A delightful double in the Herald on Sunday today, which yet again confirms why the tabloid increasingly knocks spots off the Sunday Star-Times.
Fran O'Sullivan, on top of yesterday's masterful effort, today offers a quick successive punch looking at why Liarbour and Winston Peters are now happy to consider Owen Glenn as Honorary Consul to Monaco.
It wouldn't have anything to do with money, would it?
Even Deborah Coddington, whom I've often criticised in the past, has found some sterling words on the matter.
Every girl who's been around a few suits in her life knows there is no such thing as a free lunch. Last week, the Prime Minister, who seems to have led a very sheltered life when it comes to men and romance (and that's not necessarily a criticism), discovered the truth of this cliche.
Owen Glenn, Labour's 2005 electioneering sugar daddy, couldn't keep his mouth shut when it really mattered. He "kissed and told", so to speak, about his $500,000 donation and $100,000 loan, and Clark and party president Mike Williams now smell as sweet as the dead rabbits we hang on the fence to attract the hawks.
This is not just a scandalette, as one commentator said, but a stinky, hypocritical farce: Labour passes the Electoral Finance Act saying it makes political party funding transparent, and is caught hiding a donation of around $10,000 (10 per cent of an interest-free loan) - and from a "rich prick", no less.
Anyway, sugar daddies often want their payback somehow. Just what will it be or what has it been?

Dear Leader: " A tired Hillary Clinton!"



After Fairfax burnt their bridges yesterday with this delightful shot of Dear Leader in reporting Liarbour's latest poll disater yesterday, we now see Peter Don't making some more unfavourable comparisons.

I am sure I heard him attacking Liarbour over economic/tax policy the other week on Newztalk ZB, and in today's Sunday Star-Times, the Man with the Mr Whippy Haircut compares Helen to Hillary Clinton!

"Hillary Clinton oozes policy and experience and all of that, and you could say she is like Helen Clark. John Key is fresh and relatively unknown, and doesn't that sound like Barack Obama?
"If you've got a country that's feeling good about itself, and things aren't going too badly, the fresh face looks appealing. People are willing to take a punt,"
said Dunne, minister of revenue and leader of United Future.

To me that sounds somewhat unflattering and Don't appears to be burning his bridges with Clark and moving towards National in hope of guaranteeing his political survival. But with the polls showing National can government alone, Peter might be wasting his time.

In the meantime, David Farrar, the clever lad at Kiwiblog points out other similarities between Clarkie of Hillary. Politeness prevents me from pointing out another but I think Chuck Bird was thinking what I'm thinking. But rumour and gossip can be so cruel.

Inherent Ingrained Dishonesty

Matt McCarten pretty much nails it vis a vis Labour, NZ First, Own Glenn and the notorious Electoral Finance Act. McCarten is a pretty astute commentator.



But look at the little give away. The irresistible throw away lines.

".....National Party, which cynically arranged secret trusts into which big donations could be funneled."

and later

"But anyone in politics knows that there is no such thing as an anonymous donation of this size."

So all-pervasive is the inherent, ingrained dishonesty of the left that it is inconceivable (a) that the establishment of a trust is not cynical and (b) that National party politicians might NOT actually know the identity of major donors.

The difference between National and Labour is that National has a firewall between the party wing and the political wing while Labour does not.

It's a matter of governance. National good - Labour bad,

Going Bact To ACT

Over at Farrar's place there has been a mild interchange between Adolf and BlairM over his assertion that National's policies are the same as those of Labour.

My Photo

Here's his last comment:-

"Adolf… You really are a mindless party stooge aren’t you? And accusing me of being an ACToid is silly. I’m a current financial member of the National Party. I want to see National do well. But I caution the folks in charge that they are not going to get there by offering the same policies as Labour. Do you really think that Labour are just going to lie down and take it? Did they do that last time? No, and no.

The point of being involved in politics, as I repeat ad nauseum, is to CHANGE THINGS. I really really want to know what Key would change. Please. Pretty please. With sugar on top. What would they change Adolf? Do tell us. I can’t figure it out."

I get tired of hearing this mindless claim and I'm surprised to hear it from Blair, who people who know him tell me is a pretty bright spark. (It's almost as silly as the claim that president Bush lied about WMD in Iraq.)

So, here are just a few differences of which I'm aware - and I'm not active or known in party circles.

1 Less taxation along with reduced government spending. You can count on a reduction in the number of 'managers' in the health system and the number of PR flacks in the public service.

2 A more aggressive approach to dealing with young crims. (recently announced)


3 A far more innovative approach to underachieving school leavers.
(recently announced)


4 The repeal of the Electoral Finance Act.


5 The repeal of the Anti-smacking Act

That's just for starters with nine months of campaigning to go before the election.

Blair does not seem to realise that I and many other people are more interested in the character and moral fibre of the government than we are in individual policies. I'm voting National because I think they are better quality people in all respects than the scurrilous gang of shysters which is Labour, Dunne and NZ First. I trust them to produce good policy for all New Zealanders, all the time, not just in the heat of an election campaign.

Rodney Hide was right when he called for the return of those ACT members who flocked to National chasing after Dr Brash. Well Blair, Dr Brash is gone so I reckon the best way you can advocate for the 'different' policies you want is to go back and help rejuvenate ACT. You've got nine months to do it.

Then you can campaign as a coalition partner on specific policies and tell the voters which of those are bottom line policies for a coalition deal with National.

I really don't see how you will help National currently by asking them to prematurely reveal their policies for Labour to steal.