Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Bloody Imagination

No flair, no panache.

What's wrong with today's journos? Even with half a brain pickled in malt whiskey, someone could have come up with a better headline than

Pub move proceeds slowly


Come on guys! Even the village idiot could have seen the obvious headline is

PUB CRAWL

Major Triumph For English and NACTionalMP



For the first time in history a New Zealand finance company has been wound up with depositors receiving back every penny of their money plus all interest.

If that's not a one point seven billion dollar triumph for National I don't know what is. There are thirty thousand depositors who should remember on which side their bread was buttered when it comes around to election time.

That's what the headline and opening paragraph should read but you can count on the antique media being far away from reality. The last time anything similar happened was when NZI Bank was wound up by NZI Insurance group back in 1991 (I think) and every depositor was paid out in full. That was the first time in history a bank had been wound up without depositors taking a hit.

None of the so called professional financial reporters seems to have woken up to the fact that the gummint has taken in over $232 mil worth of deposit guarantee fees since the scheme's inception - with accrued interest now worth say $250 mil.

So when all the assets are sold and the gummint is repaid, there is every likelihood the deal will have cost the tax payer not one penny. In other words, there is enough income in the bag to offset a net loss of $250 mil. Funny how hard it is to find this odd little fact in the media.

It's interesting to note also that most of the non performing loans are said to be in the property development sector so Adolf scoffs at all the hysterical commentary talking about damage to the South Island's rural sector.

Damage, my arse. A few farmers who should never have been allowed to borrow in the first place will be sold up and their farms will continue to produce. That's as it should be and has always been - even when there were SMPs. Nobody seems to have stopped to ask the key question:-

How the hell can any farmer find himself unable to pay his interest bill when the dairy pay out is a staggering $7.10?

Sadly, one is forced to conclude that Hubbard is to finance as Crayfar is to dairy farming. Both in well over their heads.

The only question which remains unanswered for me is - how on earth did South Canterbury Finance manage to be accepted into the extended deposit guarantee scheme as recently as April this year? Who were the officials who carried out due diligence?

FROM THE OOOOOOPS - DID I REALLY SAY THAT FILE

Last week Julia Gillard said "The Party with the greatest percentage of the two-party preferred vote should have first crack at forming the new government".

Understandable with Labor then leading the Coalition 51% to 49%.

Right now the Australian Electoral Commission is reporting that the Coalition is ahead of Labor in the two-party preferred vote 50.01% to 49.99%. The Coalition also leads Labor by 619,000 in the primary vote.

I guess Ms Gillard will be hoping that the Governor General, with her links to the Labor Party, might be forgiven for ignoring her earlier advice.

Clearly though and even if Labor does manage to cobble together a minority administration it will lack the moral authority to govern.

But who said moral authority was part of the deal?

Ban Them For Life?

That's what the Dompost is recommending but Adolf thinks that is plain silly.

The Pakis will take only three days to select a whole new team of cheaters and chuckers, so there's only one answer.

Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, West Indies and England should simply refuse to engage in any form of cricket against any team from Pakistan. If India doesn't like it well it can go too.

Pretty simple really but it's the only real remedy for the serious illness which besets the sport of gentlemen and flannelled fools.

Where Did They Suddenly Go?

All those screamers and shouters for DEMOCRACY, that is.

The ones who accused Mr Hide of failure to consult after his consultations had been ignored.

Adolf hasn't heard a word from the Tree Pisser or the Head Slapper or the nameless editorialists who burbled on in their incessant anti-Hide ravings, now that the appointments of a number of key interim officials have been announced. One only has to look at the eclectic make up of the appointed team to see why these idiots are keeping their heads down. They have been snookered by the appointments of:-
  • A Black
  • A former Labour Party president
  • A former National Party minister and Commonwealth Secretary General
  • A former chair of the Auckland Regional Transport Authority
The money quote from Fran O'Sullivan is here. It's so tempting to ask her to list the political hacks by name.:-

Unlike many political candidates vying for the 20 elected ward councillor positions on the new Auckland Council, or, for a position on a local board there are no obvious political hacks in the CCO line-up.


Well done Rodney Hide.

Bad reputation

This is possibly a completely pointless post to put on this blog, considering its readers are no more likely to be enthusiasts for Stephanie Meyer's Twilight vampires/werewolves schtick than I am, but what the hell.


The Runaways ca 1976, with Joan Jett on far right.

Last month I watched The Runaways on a flight back from Aus. Good movie - the themes are so familiar as to be cliches, but the acting is good and if you're a child of the 70s and like hot girlies making big guitar noise, it takes you back 35 years without you even noticing. I never heard of the Runaways as a 14-year-old at the time, but I was a big Suzie Quatro fan back then (modern yoofs used to female "musicians" unable to play an instrument, dressing like cheap hookers and dancing like the stage crew just forgot to install the pole may struggle with this, but back then a woman in a tight leather jumpsuit playing a guitar could keep a schoolboy awake at night), so this was a great nostalgia movie for me.

The reference to the Twilight vampire movie franchise above is because Kristen Stewart has a lead role in both movies. I took my daughter to see Eclipse, the latest in the franchise last week (my wife took her to see the earlier movies but flatly refused to sit through another one, so it was down to me), and was surprised to realise that the vapid and boring heroine of the series, Bella, was the same actress who'd held me transfixed as an utterly convincing Joan Jett.

I'd seen occasional bits of the earlier New Moon movies due to my daughter watching them (repeatedly) on DVD, and considered it a laughable conceit that the vampire and the werewolf (the vampire centuries old, a rich, worldly sophisticate, and like the werewolf equipped with what are effectively super powers) are deeply, hopelessly, unshakably in love with this shallow, vacant, completely unremarkable schoolgirl. I'd put the blandness of the heroine down to the actress being a shallow, vacant, unremarkable schoolgirl herself, but in light of The Runaways I've revised that view - I now believe the Twilight series features a seriously good actress who is consciously portraying a blank canvas onto which the girls in the audience can project themselves. Her having a personality would only interfere with the purpose of the movie, so none is revealed. Once I realised this, her performance made a lot of sense - didn't make the movie any less risible, but I felt a lot more more respect for Kristen Stewart. Anyway, don't bother with Eclipse, but The Runaways is well worth a look.


Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, with Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie.



Kristen Stewart as a characterless, simpering placeholder for the girls in the audience to put themselves next to the cute vampire.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The day I stopped watching Cricket

19th March 2007
Some of you may remember me writing this;

"The Pakistan cricket coach has died following calls for his death from typical everyday cricket fans back home in Pakistan. What a thankless task it must have been trying to manage that shower of shit, Drug cheats, sledgers, ball tamperers and all round scum bag islamists.
No doubt the filth that passes for a cricket fan in the Islamic republic/ shithole of Pakistan will be assigning credit for this tragic death to their God.

Bob Woolmer was a fine man, cricketer and cricket coach. He did a fantastic job with South Africa and Warwickshire and was probably in line to replace Norman Stanley as the England coach.
Woolmer dead"

What can you say? Not much more than I said above really.
The ICC will do nothing of course, they never do. Shit, they let them off killing their coach, a front page open and shut case of massive cheating for cash on the front page of the News of the World is nothing compared to MURDER.

I am going to resume watching Cricket, but for one reason only.
My Bucket list.

Have ticked most of them off, in fact there is only two left.
As I am never likely to fluke a double date with Claudia Schiffer and Elle Macpherson I shall have to settle for the five day pass I have for the Boxing Day test in Melbourne this year.

The fact that there will not be any filthy, cheating, murdering scum from Shitistan on the field will make it tolerable.

Any attempts to enter reasoned debate on this thread will be treated with the goggle eyed frothing and hate filled ranting that our older readers may fondly remember.

More Lies From The Herald

Here's the headline:-

Deadline looms on $1.5b collapse bill for taxpayers


Here's the truth, buried deep in the text:-

Sources close to the company last week tipped a deal with overseas investors that could require as much as $600 million in taxpayer-funded sweeteners and would result in losses of about $250 million.
So, now that we've established that the true tax payer exposure is closer to $250 mil can we ask the Herald and any of it's idiot correspondents if they seriously believe the crap they write?

Do they seriously think for just one moment that the assets of South Canterbury Finance are worth a big fat ZERO?

What a guttersnipe worthless rag is this daily embarrassment to Auckland.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

KUDOS TO JUDITH COLLINS

and the National/Act Government (you will note the deliberate omissions) in deciding to continue to exempt Police/Military/Firefighters Bars from the restrictions imposed by the Liquor Licensing Act. The 'one glove fits all' approach is hardly the recipe for good policy making.

No matter that the soon to be ex-Commissioner Broad and Police Headquarters were locked into the 'PC' mentality nurtured so well under the Labour Government that he/they argued for doing away with the exemption. That just shows their disconnect from those at the coal face of their profession. Policing is a 24/7 operation and those doing the hard yards cannot just wander into their local to unwind. Clearly there are some in the community bereft of the wit or intelligence to figure that out. Equally clearly and isn't that good that they no longer have their hands on the levers of power.

As for the Military and I can attest that Officer's and Sergeant's Messes; Corporal's Clubs and OR's Canteens are run responsibly. Excessive use of alcohol is not the norm and anyone pushing the boundaries is likely to find themselves having a 'come to Jesus' talk with the system. It is also a matter of record that the consumption of alcohol in the military has markedly reduced over the past couple of decades.

Have no great knowledge of Firefighters Bars and have only been in one once but I can imagine that, like the police, there is a need to unwind after having to pull bits of bodies from cars and the like ... part of the coping process.

So, to end where I started. Congrats to Judith Collins for standing up to the wowsers and do gooders whose experience of the realities of life is probably limited to their time in the Scouts/Guides (with no reflection on those two very worthy organisations).

Spl Spl Spl Splutter Spit Spit

McCarten does himself little credit in today's collection of lies and splenetic abuse masquerading as political commentary. He usually does better.



So keen is this left over from the alliance (long dead and putrefied) to attribute death to the ACT Party that he rewrites the party's history and attributes to it the very same evil motives which saw his own party disintegrate - along with every other deluded socialist outfit in the world, from Russia to Britain, Australia and soon The United States.

Here's the first lie:-

Act was founded on the odious principle that human greed is the driving force of human progress and is to be celebrated as some sort of religion.

No Mr McCarten, I think you'll find if you ask people more knowledgeable than I about ACT, the party was founded on principles involving property rights and a person's rightful expectation to be rewarded for initiative and industrious effort. But don't let the truth get in the way of a lying and embittered ex party leader whose party died on him while he was in the saddle. Yes, McCarten is our last living example of political death.

Here's the next lie:-

When Act's gurus, Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson, were running the country they conned the people

To my knowledge Ruth Richardson was a member of the National Party but don't let the facts get in the way of a lying socialist in full flight.

An the next lie:-

It's fitting on Friday there were two policies Act claimed credit for. The first was convincing National to give all employers the unfettered right to sack new employees.

Unfettered eh? Not true. The law is extremely fettered with provisions requiring all sorts of procedures to ensure employees are not dealt with unfairly. But don't let the truth get in the way of a lying trade unionist in full flight.

And here's the last lie, dutifully trotted out at the behest of the Left.

The second was Hide appointing unelected directors to run 70 per cent of Auckland's assets without consultation with the region's mayors, as he'd earlier promised.

Adolf has pointed out in an earlier post that in fact Rodney Hide DID CONSULT with the Auckland mayors. They were asked by him for nominations but failed to respond.

Matt McCarten is the classic case of the bullshitting left winger. A so called champion of the workers who can't get his facts straight, who spends all his working hours dreaming up salacious crap for his newspaper column (paid for by evil capitalists) while his workers who pay his union dues freeze their arses off in Count Down stores around the countryside.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Herald Tries, Orsman Lies

In its daily drive to denigrate NACTionalMP the Weak- End Herald reaches new lows with this extraordinary headline and hit piece from resident Labour termite Bernard Orsman.

Here's the headline:-

Ministers renege on vow to consult mayors on Super City boards

Here's the buried clip way down in the text where few go to read:-
Last night, Mr Hide said he had written to all Auckland mayors in May and June asking them to forward nominations to the agency setting up the Super City to be considered as directors. Mr Brown had not nominated anyone, he said.

Mr Hide said he did not think it was appropriate to consult mayors on the provisional list for CCO directors, but, in most cases, the Government had left two or three appointments on each CCO to be made by the new Auckland Council after November 1.


Here's the free plug for Lyen Brown and the Tree Pisser:-

Manukau Mayor and Super City mayoral contender Len Brown yesterday said the ministers' promise had, so far, failed to materialise.

"Appointment without consultation is unacceptable. The CCOs will manage over 70 per cent of the assets owned by Auckland ratepayers.

"Aucklanders should have direct input into the composition of their boards. Given the failure to do so, no wonder people across the region are angry with the way the Super City has been set up," Mr Brown said.

That's the left for you. Their default position on every issue is to lie through their teeth. Brown failed to respond when consulted and then complains he wasn't consulted. Did he seriously think Rodney Hide would shuffle off to Manukau and say "Look here Len, here's the short list. Tell me which one you'd like and we'll appoint him."

You make up your own mind. Why would anyone pay over good money to buy such a disgusting pile of crappy junk as today's New Zealand Herald? And why would anyone want as Mayor such a pathological liar and swindler as Lyen Brown?

Friday, August 27, 2010

OZ ELECTION WASHUP #1

Trying to predict the final seats tally in their Lower House is a bit like trying to predict which Labour MP here will be next to spit the dummy but ....

As it stands and according to the AEC the Coalition are likely to end up with 73 seats, Labor 72, the Greens 1 and Independents 4. Simple ... not quite. Because the sole Green MP has declared he's supporting Labor that brings their tally up to 73 and because the so called National MP who defeated the long serving Liberal MP in the outback of WA declared that the Coalition couldn't depend on his vote that brings their total down to 72 with the now 5 'Independents' holding the balance of power.
Who said the Irish make things difficult?

So who will form the Government? Well, the Veteran correctly predicted a 'hung Parliament' so, for what is it worth, I am now predicting that Labor will form a minority administration with the Greens and some Independents and further, that uneasy alliance will implode in the next little while leading Australia back to the ballot box and the Coalition odds on to form a Government in their own right.

That is what I am hearing from my Liberal Party sources.

The whole thing is dependent on who gets first crack at forming a Government. You might think that the Party holding the greatest number of seats might be in the box seat. Complicated just a tad by the fact that the Australian GG, whose daughter is married to the Labor Party politician Bill Shorter, head kicker and prime orchestrator of the dumping of Kevin Rudd, has been advised there are no constitutional impediments to her giving first go to Gillard as the PM in being.

Really? So perception of bias doesn't matter a bit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?

Funny lot across the ditch

Where's The Union?

Adolf went down to Countdown at Sunnynooky this morning to pick up a few bits and pieces. (not vegetables)

He was greeted by an icy blast as he entered the store, which state of affairs has existed for some few months now. Upon completing his purchase he asked the assistant if the staff regularly went down with pneumonia every two weeks or so.

The question was asked half in jest but I'd have to say the answer was a bit surprising.

"Yes we do and would you please please ring up management and tell them."


So I did.

I'd have to say, I was well dressed for the cold with warm trousers and a Swanndri jacket but I found the shopping experience distinctly unpleasant.

I wonder if the idiot store manager has bothered to calculate the amount of power saving to be had by adjusting the thermostat up by just two degrees?

I wonder how much he might save in reduced sick leave costs and reduced staff turnover?

If I was working there I would be asking my union to intervene so I hope some lefty reads this blogpost and passes it on to the right shop steward.

The Herald's Daily Dose

Today's Herald continues with its daily dose of anti National Party rhetoric. This time its a non story about a 'whodunnit' in the cabinet room viz a viz the extension of the 90 day employment regime.

The Government's decision to extend 90-day new-employee trials to all businesses was made after a suggestion from the Act Party, and went against the recommendation of its own Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson.

The article was intended as a soap box for Trevor Mallard and a hit peice on Labour Mininster Wilkinson.

However, what Adolf finds revealing and intriguing is not the fact that ACT had considerable influence over this decision but rather the fact that this influence was being successfully exerted by Rodney Hide at the very same time some of his caucus colleagues were attempting to denigrate him and his leadership.

All I can say is this can be no better example of getting your policies accepted from within the tent rather than pissing into the tent from outside.

If they are so convinced of their righteousness, Dopey Douglas, Private Roy, Earwig-Derby and Tashkent would do well to go get themselves 50% of the party vote next year. Then they can do what they like. Meanwhile they do neither themselves, ACT, National nor the centre-right any favours.

New Zealand needs a stable sensible government of team players, not a gaggle of self adjudged stars whose massively indulgent egos outstrip their slim reserves of talent.

It seems to me the saner elements of ACT are doing a damned fine job and I look forward to reading of the stables being cleaned and to a strong electoral performance in 2011.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

ON ROGER McCLAY

Let me be very clear at the outset. I do not hold a candle for the now (dis)honorable Roger McClay.

He has shamed himself and it is unlikely he will ever find gainful employment in any position involving significant trust.

If one was inclined to put the boot in one might comment that perhaps things started to go pear shaped when he jumped fence to Winston First and became a Trustee of the now infamous Spencer Trust. I mean we still don't know what happened to the $154k supposed raised and supposedly donated to to Charity.

But I do think the outcry from the media and others about the so called leniency of the sentence (300 hours community service) is a dog whistle response which fails to take account of all that he has lost.

And the sentencing judge was wrong to suggest that he defrauded the organisations he worked for. My understanding is that he was entitled to claim travel expenses from those organisation and did so. But where he went wrong was that he also double dipped against his ex MP travel entitlement and as such he defrauded you and me a taxpayers.

But my point is that in addition to the conviction and sentence he is also certain to loose his Honorific and forfeit his QSO as well as his ex MP travel entitlement. McClay is now 65 years old and if we work that entitlement through (one return business class fare to London and 12 return trips to Wellington per annum) and based on the average male expectancy of 78.2 he will also forfeit something in the order of $192,000 (2010 dollars).

Taken as a whole I think the collective punishment fits the crime.

Whaleoil Takes Up Sport

Whaleoil is enjoying his unlikely entry into the world of local gummint politics.

Our resident nocturnal treepisser will live to regret accusing Whale of stalking because every move the besotted binger makes is being observed by ten thousand eyes and every wobbly step he takes as he moves from one bar to another doing important council business is being reported to the smiling and insatiable Whale.




After the elections, Williams will be just a piece of Road Krill.

If Whale is not careful he'll find himself representing a whole gaggle of North Shorians. A fate far worse than three months in the slammer for contempt.

Where Are All Those Palindrones Now?

Do you remember the myriads of MSM commentators and other loons from the left who mocked Sarah Palin at every turn? Do you remember the vast army of MSM Journolist types who rushed off to Alaska to dig up every bit of dirt on Sarah Palin and her family? Who literally made up stories when they couldn't find any real dirt?



Well guess who's laughing now?

Every candidate in the GOP primaries backed by Sarah Palin has come up trumps.

Adolf thinks the Left is in for a hell of a shock in November and the shock will be due in large part to the political intuition of this highly intelligent and vastly under-rated and denigrated first lady of US politics.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Whale's Day in Court

As we speak, Whaleoil is in court defending charges relating to name suppression.

Adolf doesn't agree with many things Whale does or says, including many of his actions involving name suppression. However I would be remiss if I did not wish a good friend all the very best of luck and fortune this day. I hope he achieves a satisfactory result and he and his family can get on without the uneasy thought of looming prosecutions.

Good luck Whale, Spanish Bride and Pod.

Audrey Young Goofs

You'd think someone of Audrey Young's experience would know the difference between an MP and a person who resides somewhere in the nether regions of a party's list so it with some surprise Adolf saw her name attributed to this piece of Herald junk.

At first I thought it was just an other fubar by an offshore headline writer but no, see the copy itself.

Act MP Peter Tashkoff has announced he will contest party leader Rodney Hide for the seat of Epsom.

You need to try harder, Audrey.

Good luck to Mr Tashkoff. He'd be better to keep his deposit and buy a one way ticket to Tashkent.

Why was it that people aren't respecting the Police again, Judith?

On Stuff this morning:

In 2005, then Senior Sergeant Dave Archibald was reprimanded for accessing the computer system known as National Intelligence Application during the trial of former police officers Shipton, Bob Schollum and two Mt Maunganui residents.

Mr Archibald was looking for information that private investigator and former colleague John Birmingham hoped might help Shipton's defence.

Apparently, a willingness to misuse the Police intelligence system on behalf of his criminal mates is just the kind of quality the Police value when looking for someone to head the Police College's investigation and intelligence school. Now, Archibald can pass on to new recruits his methods for handling intelligence information - hooray!

Apparently,

...he topped what police described as a very impressive field of candidates...


Oh, that just fills me with confidence, it really does...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mr Speaker Goes To War

There were some extraordinary moments during Question Time today.

The Speaker threw out Mallard and then proceeded to tear strips off the opposition.

Among other things he:-
  • suggested most of them lacked the intellect to ask tough questions of Ministers.
  • offered to conduct "Asking Parliamentary Questions 101"
  • told them the quality of their questions today was poor and needed to improve
  • threatened to disallow questions if the quality did not improve.
It was hilarious stuff. He even reminded John Key that the PM could be asked to leave the house.

Radio Left Wing Joins The Fray....

....with Sudden Death Syndrome.

Feilding is a place to be shunned. Don't go there as to do so is bad for your health, according to Radio Left Wing.



Fielding is a place afflicted with SDS. Yes sir, worse than SARS or CYPS or Swine Fly, if the mob doesn't get you then SDS will. 'Rubbish' I hear you say. Really?

Then why on earth add this bizarre afterthought to a piece on a triple homicide?

Police say the deaths are not related to the recent killing of Scott Guy, who was shot dead in the driveway of his farm near Feilding in July.

There have been other sudden deaths connected with the North Island town in the past two months.

Two people were killed in a mid-air plane crash in late July and Feilding soldier Tim O'Donnell was killed in Afghanistan earlier this month.


Update: The Herald chimes in with it's own feature story!!





Monday, August 23, 2010

I Didn't Think It Possible....

...for the Herald to redefine the meaning of banality.

This gem deserves the Wanganui Aeroworks award for banal, vacuous horseshit.

Police are not naming the rural road where the bodies were found but at least six homes spoken to by nzherald.co.nz had not seen or heard anything out of the ordinary today.

Consider the dynamic implications here. The Herald's intrepid team of sleuths has been choppered in at the first hint of trouble and they've interviewed six homes. (Maybe if they spoke to people instead of houses they might do better.)

The dumb bastards were in the wrong road and consequently have reported to GHQ (Granny Head Quarters) that there ain't nuthin' going on. Any decent newshound would have been eaves dropping on the cops radio traffic.

As Soon As I turn My Back........

..... all hell breaks loose.

  • Tevor Mallard accuses me of secretly obtaining classified documents (You see dear readers, Adolf is the only No Minister author who is a declared member of the National Party. I challenge him to repeat his drivel outside the house.)
  • Mallard's so-called classified document turns out to be the deluded ramblings of the politically demented.
  • Heather Roy makes Chris Carter appear to have the political smarts of Margaret Thatcher without the hats.
  • The Defense Minister allows himself to be conned into declaring classified the deluded ramblings of the politically demented.
  • Labor makes history in Australia by becoming the first, and probably the last, party ever to produce two None Term prime ministers in one parliamentary term. (They haven't quite made it yet but the people of Hasluck in WA are doing their best to make it happen.)
  • I find myself able to vote for Howick resident Whaleoil in forthcoming local gummint elections. That is sooooo funny. Well done Whale. It's about time somebody came along and injected some seriousness into this frivolous business of electing councilors.
  • Worst of all, after ten days of 32 to 36 maximum temperatures and complete internet deprivation, I'm back here pulling on more clothes than you'll see in all of Namaka village.
Oh and by the way, Fiji is looking great. More about that later.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Product endorsement


On a recent trip to Christchurch, I took the kids to visit an awesomely good tourist attraction called Tanks for Everything. These guys have a range of military vehicles including main battle tanks that you can either go for a ride in or drive yourself, depending on how much you're willing to shell out.

The people running it are safety-conscious, but only where it counts, not down to the "you can't touch anything because OSH wouldn't like it" level. The three of us were crawling about in the Centurion (ex-Australian, saw combat duty in Vietnam) when the owner calls out "I'm taking this guy for a ride in the T-55 (ex-Hungarian) - feel free to play around in here, just don't turn the turret so the gun's across my path."

I loved it as much as the kids did. Really, really wouldn't have wanted to be inside one in a combat situation though - I got into the loader's position in the Centurion, and not only was it claustrophobic, the path the breech of the gun follows when it recoils is a couple of inches from your shoulder. As well as that, the shells are stowed in every odd corner available, so you have to be trying to crouch down and pick up heavy objects while staying within the few inches clearance you've got from the gun breech. So, having found that pretty damn horrible I had a go in the T-55 - it made the Centurion seem spacious by comparison. I could just manage to get into the driver's position with the hatch open, but couldn't have closed it without removing my head - and I'm only about 5 foot 7. "Yep, Soviet tank crews were all little fellas," says the owner. "5 foot 3 was pretty typical. And their comfort wasn't a priority..."

Well worth a visit if you're in Christchurch. The staff are experienced and knowledgable about the vehicles, and much of the information you get about the difficulties of actually using them is hair-raising. It's expensive, but when you find out how much it costs to keep these things running, the price makes sense. It also explains why NZ isn't maintaining an armoured brigade.


Aboard the Centurion. Drivers seat is height-adjustable so you can drive with your head out of the hatch, for visibility. Apparently the periscopes on the hatches are so useless that drivers wouldn't close up unless absolutely forced to.


Inside the T-55's turret. F at the commander's periscope, gunner's eyepieces ahead of her, shot taken from loader's position across the gun breech.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Prepare to be disappointed

I was about to write a trivial, non-political post and realised many of our readers will be expecting some account of events of last week, in which it was alleged an ACT board member tried to pass leaked defence documents to a No Minister author - and that a failure to address that subject before writing trivial, non-political posts might be seen as a craven cop-out.

Allow me to pre-empt any such accusations. The author who was allegedly offered the allegedly-leaked documents hasn't discussed it with me, I haven't asked, and in short I know as much about it as anyone else who reads the newspaper, so expecting substantive comment on the subject from me is a forlorn hope. I will say that I've had some dealings with Nick Kearney and the allegation against him strikes me as ludicrously implausible. I'll also say that, in light of this post about an ACT staffer by Whaleoil, I'm not inclined to look any further for the source of the bullshit.

AUSTRALIAN ELECTION #5

OK, time to get off the can. The last 48 hours has seen a shift to the Liberals with one poll having the two party preferred vote at Labor 52% vs Liberals 48%; a second tied at 50% vs 50 % and a third at somewhere in between. All polling suggests that in the marginal seats the coalition is punching above its weight.

The second poll had the Labor primary vote dropping to 35%. If this is right conventional wisdom has it that Labor cannot win the election.

Weighing on my mind is the fact that the latest redistribution has 4 currently held Liberal seats now notionally Labor. None the other way - funny that.

More than happy to be proved wrong but my prediction is for a hung parliament with the Greens (winning the Melbourne seat off Labor) and the three Independents in the QLD seat of Kennedy and the NSW seats of New England and Lynn holding the balance of power.

Been a fascinating week over here. NZ hasn't featured in the news at all apart from some rescued fishermen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

AUSTRALIAN ELECTION #4

Spent today in the (Liberal) marginal seat of Paterson. Started off badly with the Newcastle Herald running a poll that had Labor taking the seat on the two party preferred vote 51% to 49%. If the Libs cannot hold Paterson then it's all over rover. Calmed down just a tad when told the Herald was a Labor supporting rag.

Drove to Bob Baldwin's election headquarters at Raymond Terrace. One thing that struck me on the way was the almost total absence of election hoardings from all Parties. I raised that early on in my interview with Bob's Chief of Staff to be told that their assessment is that Bob has such a high profile and recognition factor that money is best directed elsewhere. Can accept that but does it also mean that Labor is running a shoestring campaign? Not sure as their candidate is a Union organiser with the ability to tap into union resources. Perhaps the day of the billboard is coming to an end as in the six electorates I have travelled through you could count the billboards on your fingers. On the matter of campaign finance and I was interested to learn that there are no restrictions on expenditure. Provided you can raise it, you can spend it. Had to be so because the Bob Baldwin TV spots (lasting up to 1 minute) would not come cheap.

The Liberal Party does not place a huge store on membership and in Paterson members would number in the low hundreds. Nevertheless on election day they will have over 1,000 volunteers in the field. That is an impressive figure.

Their campaign strategy has inbuilt flexibility designed to counter the unexpected. While they have run a proactive campaign in recent days they have had to counter 'attack ads' by Labor directed against Bob Baldwin personally. I blogged on this earlier and their assessment is in line with what I expressed that those ads will backfire on Labor. Nevertheless, they could not be left unanswered and resources had to be directed to answer them. That was foreseen in their campaign planning.

So how will it pan out? My assessment is that they are relaxed (as ever they can be). That they have done what they needed to do. They are picking BB by 500 votes so it's very close and a seat to be watched. They think they will have a result by 10.30 pm (NZ time). Polls close at 6.00 pm local.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

AUSTRALIAN ELECTION #3

Been here at Lake MacQuarie a couple of days now and on Thursday I will be in the Liberal marginal seat of Paterson looking at the Liberal Party campaign machine. Apart from that seat the area around Newcastle where I am is solid red Labor territory.

Three observations. The first is that both Labor and the Liberals are making extensive use of 'attack' ads directed at Abbot and Gillard respectively. That is a little surprising to me as conventional wisdom has it that attack ads can turn into a negative for the Party using them.

The second relates to the saturation Labour Party radio and TV advertising here is a (supposedly) safe Labor area. I mean no-one is suggesting that the Liberals are in with a realistic chance in Newcastle, Charlestown, Hunter or Charlton yet we are being bombarded with Labor Party ads. Put the question and the answer straight back from my brother-in-law (who is a swinging voter) is that the State Labor Government is so unpopular that Federal Labor has been forced to divert resources into shoring up what should be theirs in spades.

Gillard got it right is delaying her campaign launch until yesterday. That gave her huge publicity (and momentum) at the start of 'finals' week. That momentum could stall if Abbot does well in the economic debate/town hall debate scheduled for tomorrow night. It is generally agreed that Abbot bested Gillard in the (quaintly named) Rooty Hill debate last week.

Still picking Gillard but 5 days is a long time in politics.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The USA is bankrupt

This is mandatory, obligatory reading.

The geopolitical machinations of the bankruptcy of the USA will be the story of the next twenty years.

In case there was any doubt

From Granny:
Manukau Mayor Len Brown told the audience about his work with the Sir John Walker Field of Dreams organisation.

"Is sport important? It is a core service, with all due respect to Rodney Hide in local government."

He said as Super City mayor, he would ensure that the Manukau policy of free pool use would be rolled out to the whole city. Mr Brown also promised free swimming lessons to children in years four and five at school.

So sport is a core service of local government, and schools, which are funded by central government, will now get ratepayer top-ups for free swimming lessons.

Why stop at swimming? How about free cycling lessons so kids can be safer when on their bikes. Then we could have free running lessons as a cardiovascular regime. In fact, we could have free athletic club membership; free sport club membership; free everything.

The only thing that won't be free under Brown will be society.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Move towards individual and local self determination, not away from it.

So who among you would disagree that Laila Harre has done a credible job with the transition of workers to the super city. I was a sceptic at the time but she appears to have done a good job of constructive engagement.
Harre, 44, was handpicked by transition agency boss Mark Ford for the role as "human resources and change manager". He knew her from his time as chief executive at Watercare, when she was on the Auckland Regional Services Trust that appointed him. Her critics will no doubt say she's getting out before the real hurt is felt - by those who have no jobs in the new council, those who have to swallow big drops in pay and conditions and those forced to travel to the other side of town to keep a job.

I saw an opportunity to practise what I preach as a unionist and that is to harness the benefits of worker participation, union protection, constructive engagements with management and implementation of change - and I think that's what we've been able to achieve."

The problem I have with the Super City setup is this. (my emphasis)
The Government is looking for efficiency gains and middle-management staff on individual contracts are the most vulnerable.
To what extent have staff on individual contracts been disadvantaged in favour of union members. Be clear that I have no problems with the efficiency gains per se. The issue is that larger organisations deal with larger organisations more readily. For the sake of stability the transition managers obviously made a deal with the PSA to preserve union jobs. So the super city dealing with the PSA and outsourcing to larger companies will leave the more entrepreneurial minded individuals on personal contracts out in the cold. Be under no illusion, this is a move towards a more corporatist society. The individual and the local community have less power, not more.

I begin to see how the UK Conservative policy of moving money and responsibility back to Councils can be used as the basis to spur a huge number of entrepreneurs to take the decision to go out on their own and set up their own business on the basis of a solid contract to supply services in a local area. A central or Super City government official with a budget of billions will want to deal with a representative of a large union or corporate. This has happened in Auckland.

The workers and managers of a large corporate are not entrepreneurs, even if they may like to think of themselves that way. Too many are process driven bureaucrats with an eye on their bonus and the next meeting rather than genuinely innovating. It is important to the distinguish between the likes of Tesco and Wal Mart who live or die by satisfying the consumer and those who grow rich on their government contacts and contracts.

The American system of local elections for judges sheriffs et al means there is strong local accountability. The more I see and think about the difference between the actions of Hide and National in Auckland and Canterbury and compare them with the actions of UK Conservatives the more I see how the New Zealand path is wrong.

More flawed promotion of redistribution

You may have come across references to The Spirit Level. A book claiming that inequality is the cause of society ills and justifying redistribution. The authors took some decent analysis on basic human genetics and extended it with dodgy analysis. hattip Tory Diary for noting The Taxpayer Alliance and The Policy Exchange ripping the analysis to pieces.
This debate is important as the new UK government embark on reform and the WWG in New Zealand consider the future direction of welfare. I will drop in a few relevant parts from both papers highlighting the arguments.

I liked this from the taxpayers alliance
In a classic work of economic history, William Baumol wrote that policy couldn’t really affect the supply of entrepreneurship – the ambitious and able would always find a way to try and get ahead – but could affect the allocation – how they tried to get ahead. In Ancient Rome it was viewed as degrading for honourable men to get ahead by working in industry or commerce, but extracting money from what we would now understand as abusing a political position was acceptable. In the early Middle Ages warfare was the best way for the nobility to improve their economic fortunes.
Personally I like the idea of people working hard to get ahead by peacefully providing goods for mass consumption through an an almost infinite number of individual personal choices rather than heading off to fight wars to enrich the nobility. Will I buy or won't I rather than will I die or won't I?
The policy exchange rebuttal analyses the basis of the debate between left and right before ripping into the statistics
For a time in the 1970s, the left thought that John Rawls had succeeded in making a
compelling case for egalitarianism when he proposed that we should think of ourselves in an ‘original position’ in which we have to agree on ethical principles of social organisation without knowing what position in society each of us will occupy.
Rawls said a ‘just distribution’ is the one we would all accept while we were operating
behind this ‘veil of ignorance.’ He was under no doubt that, in these conditions, we would agree to share resources equally.

But no sooner had Rawls established this argument for equality than Robert Nozick offered an equally compelling refutation. He likened Rawls’s ‘original position’ to the situation of a group of students being asked to agree on the distribution of examination grades before starting their course.
Nozick therefore proposed that we should gauge a just distribution simply by asking whether people have established a legitimate right to what they have.

Philosophers like Rawls and Nozick have helped clarify our thinking about inequality, but they have clearly not resolved the ethical dilemma at the heart of the issue. In the end, we are still left wrestling with our own consciences. If we privilege the needy, we undermine the deserving. If we recognise just deserts, the needy go
unheeded.
From this perspective, what really matters is not equality of outcomes, but
equality of opportunity.
Redistribution, like aid is useful for solving short term problems but ultimately does not make a community more cohesive or happier, it just drags back the wealth creators, to the detriment of all. (changed last sentence)


Saturday, August 14, 2010

AUSTRALIAN ELECTION #2

In my initial post on the Australian election I indicated that on balance my head overruled my heart and called it for Labor as theirs to loose. The last few days has seen the Liberal momentum stall and Labor edge ahead in the two party preferred vote.

The 'deal' between Labor and the Greens on the direction of preferences might just be the difference between winning and loosing for Gillard.

Polling of Green voters suggest that 86% will direct their second preference to Labor. Last election the figure was 80%. The additional 6% may well prove crucial in marginal electorates.

Post the election and Labor beholden to the Greens could lead to 'interesting times'.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Would you vote for this?

Check out this education policy straight from the ACT Party manifesto:

• Reward payments for great teachers.

• Rewards for School Improvement.

• Empowering local schools.

• Transparent information about school performance.

• Nationally recognised qualifications for students.

Rewarding teachers. Rewarding good schools. Empowering schools. Public performance information. National standards.

They're Gillard's education policies. I await the Standard calling them policies for the rich and teacher bashing.

Then there is this:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she has no intention of pretending to believe in God to attract religiously-inclined voters.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd was a regular at Canberra church services and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is known as a devout Catholic.

In contrast, Ms Gillard says that while she greatly respects other people's religious views, she does not believe in God.

Ms Gillard has been quizzed on personal topics including her attitude to religion and her relationship with her partner during interviews this morning.

She says does not go through religious rituals for the sake of appearance.

"I am not going to pretend a faith I don't feel," she said.

"I am what I am and people will judge that.

"For people of faith, I think the greatest compliment I could pay to them is to respect their genuinely held beliefs and not to engage in some pretence about mine."

"I grew up in the Christian church, a Christian background. I won prizes for catechism, for being able to remember Bible verses. I am steeped in that tradition, but I've made decisions in my adult life about my own views.

This is not an anti-Christian post. The issue is her standing up for her beliefs on a controversial issue. That's almost unheard of in politics today.

Then there was the answer to the question about how could she relate to families when she has never had kids. Her response?

How could Tony Abbott relate to mothers when he has never been one.

Fair point. Sharper than Clark, and much more right-wing.

UPDATE: I've just noticed another Labour Party, but on this side of the Tasman, producing information and not exactly telling the truth.

Labour is defending information it published in pamphlets being distributed nation-wide which compare household costs with and without a 15 per cent GST.

The taxpayer-funded pamphlets, of which there are hundreds of thousands, zone in on the impacts the Government's policies are having on public services and the income and spending power of New Zealanders.

The pamphlets include a basic statistics column citing an example of a monthly power bill figure of $189.34, saying "plus National's 15 per cent GST" of $28.40 it will increase the bill to $217.74.

National Party and Tukituki electorate MP Craig Foss this morning said the comparison as "misleading" and an apology and retraction was needed from Labour.

With GST having already having been introduced by Labour - and increased to 12.5 per cent - years before National came to power, trying to pass the increase off as 15 per cent when it was in fact going up 2.5 per cent from October 1 was not on, he said.

"They totally misrepresent the fact that GST is switching from 12.5 to 15 (per cent)...the fact that the taxpayer is funding these pamphlets makes it worse and I think the Labour Party owes New Zealand an apology and should issue a correction", he told NZPA.

Hilarious court gags

'Lady Gaga' packs punch, ends up in court

Or, to put it more acccurately:

Man beaten for being White in Public - "element of provocation," says judge.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Labour drifts aimlessly in an intellectual vacuum

The intellectual vacuum that is the Labour party.
David Cunliffe is supposedly their leading intellectual light. He mourns the death of Tony Judt in a post today.

Few writers have impacted me as much as Tony Judt in his
recent book “Ill Fares the Land“.

He notes the rise of the Third Way under Blair (and by another name under Clinton, and could we add locally Clark/Cullen?) as a triangulated response against the rise of right wing political hegemony.
He argues that with the end of those administrations the ideas of the Right once again hold sway. He asks what is worth saving of the social democratic project, and what is now to be done.
He concludes that nothing short of a strong and clear reclaiming of the values of quality, community and social democracy will equip the Left for the fight it must now win.


Not having heard of Judt I followed the wiki link to read about his ideas. The crux of which seem to be:
These problems, Judt writes, could find their resolution only in increased
national intervention. States would be called upon to redistribute
wealth and preserve the decaying social fabric of the societies they
governed. This conception of the role of the state is carried over – albeit
in slightly different form - into Judt's 2005 book, Postwar: A History of Europe
Since 1945
.

UPDATE: In the comments anon noted:
Labour may have always had a real "intellectual" vacuum but really they've
always had a very strong, vicious, ideology

Tory Diary notes 10 dictums by the Revd William Boechter and popularised by Ronald Reagan that are relevant and bear repeating here:

“You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

If redistribution is the best that the intellectual leading light of Labour can come up with then they are truly, and rightly, screwed.

Catch 22

I wonder how much his brainless wife's $375k vacation has had to do with this?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

RIP Sir Ron Trotter

A colossus of New Zealand Business



It is doubtful THIS Trotter would have endorsed Cunliffe.

Reasons for not deploying the LAV to Afghanistan

A new find for me. An NZDF forum where people with field experience are posting. This comment was an eye opener.
Where do I start,

The inquiry will be conducted by the Army, but what frank & balanced discussion / evaluation are you after, for eight years we have been in this province dont you think that the PRT would have a better grip on what the lay of the land is & more importantly the best vehicle to suit that land?, please explain to me who in NZ has beside those people that have served there can possibly offer & frank & balance argument why they are safely tucked away back in Gods own?.

The Army made the call on the NZLAV, have you ever seen photos of the area we operate in, this is not Helmend where its flat our TAO is the same as the Southern Alps but with no infrastructure at all, most MSR are dirt tracks or in some cases river beds. Where the contact occured is goat / thar country that you see on country calendar.

Ah the Pinz yes the GS version is an outstanding vehicle but lets take a gloser look at the armoured LOV or as we call it LOV(A) - 2.5 ltr turbo diesel carrying a 5.5 ton armoured shell unloaded, now lets fit it out for a 28 day patrol, we must add ammo, food, water, spare fuel, assorted batteries for the radios, spare vehicle parts, medical equipment, soldiers gear, soldiers ammo & body armour plus 4 x soldiers & our LOV(A) is in the vicinity of 7 - 8 tons now tell me how that 2.5 ltr motor is going to cope climbing a dirt track that equvilent to climbing up Arthurs pass?.

Heart & Minds or COIN as it called now, "Who has done any REAL research on this" now let me see lets try 1RNZIR & 40 years of Low intensity conflict while based in South East Asia, deployed Malayan emergency, deployed during Confrontation with Indonesia, Conducted Combat Operations during Vietnam but applying lessons learnt during the Emergency & Confrontation, jump ahead, Kosovo & Kiwi 1 Coy same application of lessons being applied, 1998 V Coy then NZBATT 1 in East Timor applyed the same lessons & also had to relearn some of those lessons again, Solomon Islands, Tonga now what research have you done? eight years we have been in Bamiyan do you think that all we do is sit in Kiwi base & play touch, lesson 101 include all local government resources to win an insugent conflict starting with the local Governor first.

What vehicle combo would you like to see?, where we were attacked only one force can clear on hold this terrain and thats Light Infantry so the vehicle traffic can safety transit through, Iraqi lesson now being applied in Afganistan by the insurgents the bigger the Vehicle the bigger the bomb, (note Canada were losing 1 x LAV a week).

Myth busting 101, its not the locals who are attacking the PRT, these people are from another Province, they are mainly criminal elements mixed up with Talibs, they are smuggling contraband from one province to another, usually they only attack from there side of the provincial border & they know that the PRT can not follow them up, they have learnt from 16 rotations, they know our ROE forbid us from clearing them out or crossing over. So what is holding us back our mandate as laid down by Government these then lay out the ROE that the PRT must abide by, Our mandate is Nation Building & force protection not offensive combat ops you want a change in vehicles then the mandate must change first now what government in this country is going to have the balls to do that.

Lastly dont you think that after eights years we have got to know the locals & have won there trust, your say things as if we were thick, we know every leader, every clan & what they want which is peace & the right to live, there children to be educated to have safe drinking water, hospital care the basics which we take for granted. Its a criminal element / talib that is causing trouble in our TAO & there not a thing we can do about it until we catch them on our side of the border or our mandate is altered until then we will carry on.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not One But Two.......

........by-elections looming for Labour.

The intelligent rats are leaving the ship with Winnie Laban bailing out to pursue a career in the halls of academe.

This should make for a most interesting by-election in the Mana electorate just north of Wellington. In 2008 Hekia Parata put up a spirited challenge with barely 2,500 separating the party votes for Labour and National. Clearly Ms Laban had a strong personal following and Labour may well struggle to attract an anywhere decent candidate.

What ever money Labour doesn't have to fight by-elections now has been divided by two Now they have only half of bugger all to fight in Mana and Te Atutu when Prissy Chrissy finally gives up.

Hilarious Headline

The dumbarsed dickheads at the Herald have struck again with this wonderful howler.

Police veterans win right to services internment


You mean you can't see what's wrong with that? Well bugger off then because you're too dim witted to be reading this blog.

So the poor bloody coppers have at last won the right to be locked up in military prisons.

Monday, August 9, 2010

AUSTRALIAN ELECTION

The lunitic Right fringe of the ACT Party will breathe a sigh of relief to know the The Veteran will be absent from the end of this week through until 25 August. I am in Australia as a guest of the Liberal Party looking at campaign tactics. I will be concentrating on the Liberal marginal seat of Paterson (NSW) held by the Hon Bob Baldwin, Shadow Minister of Defence Science and Personnel. Last election the two Party preferred vote was Liberal 51.5% (-5%) vs Labor 48.5% (+5%). Paterson is a rural seat north of Newcastle. The redistribution is thought to favour Labor.

BTW. Can anyone tell me why in Aust they opt for Labor over Labour?

While my heart tells me that the Liberals will win the election my head tells me otherwise. Neither New Zealand or Australia have a history of turning out a Government after only one term. In recent times (post 1970) there have only been three such occasions.

Nevertheless the manner in which Gillard rolled Rudd may prove decisive in the final result, particularly in Queensland.

Look for the Liberals to pick up seats in WA, Qld, NSW and possibly Tas and NT. For Labor to do well in Vic and SA. In WA and Qld the Mining Tax issue continues to bite Labor. Note too that in Qld and NSW you have two very unpopular Labor State Governments. Polls suggest that up to 45% of voters are influenced in their final choice by their perception of how well their State Government is performing.

Bellwether seats to look for include Bass and Braddon in Tas and Solomon in the NT.

There will be no change in the two ACT seats. Both are held by Labor with over 60% of the vote. Turkeys don't vote for an early Xmas.

And overlaying all of this is The Mad Monk vs the Photoshopped Puppet (c/w 'authentic' Ocker accent). Both have baggage.

As I said, my heart tells me one thing, my head the other. Going to be a fascinating ten days. Looking forward to it.

A Blameless Life

Adolf notes a recent comment from Milt on the hackneyed sameness of Sinner's many tirades on almost every comment thread.

The theme may be summarised thus:-

  • John Key - gutless
  • Helen Clark - evil (well I could run with that)
  • New Zealand - fucked
  • Douglas - should have been made a saint and his manifesto added to the New Testament
  • Labour - banned
Sinner reminds Adolf of the description of a candidate for Ministry which may be found in the Book of Order for the so called Grace Presbyterian Church. It goes something like this:-

'He (no bloody wimin allowed) shall be of a blameless life....' which led me to conclude that Jesus Christ himself would not have been good enough for this lot.

Accordingly Adolf has decided that starting today, his part of No Minister will be a sinner free zone for one week.

Those with biblical knowledge will understand how for that week at least, Adolf will be liberated from previous constraints. As it says in the good book:-

'He who is without Sinner among you, let him throw the first stone."

John 8. V 7 - 11

Having an arts & letters daily sunday evening

Arts & letters daily is a wonderful source of intellectual stimulation of a Sunday evening. Anything that looks like it might come from there that I comment on (the two China articles for example), probably does.

Read this one too on natural libertarians. It has relevance when considering my attitude to China.
Rightly or wrongly, natural libertarians are firmly convinced that no one else can know their best interests more than they do. They insist on remaining in charge of their own destinies and bristle whenever other people seem intent on taking charge of their lives. Because natural libertarians respect their own independence, they respect the independence of others. They do not aspire to control other people’s lives, but when other people aspire to control theirs, they will resist tooth and nail. The natural libertarian will behave this way not because of an ideology, but because of his or her distinctive attitude towards life


Confucian meritocracy as an alternative to democracy

The following extracts are from a pair of decent articles about how Chinese rule is changing. Understanding that China is heading along the path of an all powerful, albeit meritocratic, state clothing itself in Confucian ideals makes me deeply uncomfortable. I am certainly in favour of competent and moral politicians but believe that the best state is accountable to its citizens through balances to its power. Whether that be a strong constitution or a democracy ready to throw the bums out. The failed IPCC and ensuing climate hyperbole has shown how a steady stream of intelligent scientists have been willing to sacrifice scepticism and honesty for the benefit of their careers and sticking to the accepted mainstream. The Sanlu debacle posted by Adolf highlights how a state will do what looks best rather than what is right.

Communism has lost the capacity to inspire the Chinese, and there is growing recognition that its replacement needs to be grounded at least partly in China’s own traditions. As the dominant political tradition in China, Confucianism is the obvious alternative.

The party has yet to re-label itself the Chinese Confucian Party, but it has moved closer to an official embrace of Confucianism. The 2008 Olympics highlighted Confucian themes, quoting The Analects of Confucius at the opening ceremonies and playing down any references to China’s experiment with communism. Cadres at the newly built Communist Party school in Shanghai proudly tell visitors that the main building is modeled on a Confucian scholar’s desk. Abroad, the government has been symbolically promoting Confucianism via branches of the Confucius Institute, a Chinese-language and cultural center similar to the Alliance Française.

Of course, there is resistance as well. Elderly cadres, still influenced by Maoist antipathy to tradition, condemn efforts to promote ideologies outside a rigid Marxist framework. But the younger cadres in their 40s and 50s tend to support such efforts, and time is on their side. It’s easy to forget that the 76-million-strong Chinese Communist Party is a large and diverse organization. The party itself is becoming more meritocratic—it now encourages high-performing students to join—and the increased emphasis on educated cadres is likely to generate more sympathy for Confucian values.

..

the key value for realizing global political ideals is meritocracy, meaning equality of opportunity in education and government, with positions of leadership being distributed to the most virtuous and qualified members of the community.

..

Drawing on extensive empirical research, Bryan Caplan’s book The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies shows that voters are often irrational, and he suggests tests of voter competence as a remedy.

I also referenced this earlier article about Chinese presentation of itself. Ignore the laughable reference to Obama inventing smart power for America.

The Chinese government began to take the idea of “smart power” seriously years before the Obama administration made it an official premise of U.S. foreign policy. Unlike the American variety, however, Chinese “smart power” diplomacy does not shift investment from the projection of military power to foreign aid and public diplomacy, but deploys both of these at once—strategically, aggressively, and with increasing sophistication. As China has moved to extend its military influence from Asia, where it has dominated in a regional way, to parts of Africa, India, the Middle East, and beyond, it has also worked to convince the world that peaceful development is at the heart of its foreign policy.
..
The Chinese leadership has pledged an eye-popping $6.8 billion for this endeavor. By comparison, the United States currently spends about $750 million annually on international broadcasting; similar U.K. funding for the BBC World Service runs about $400 million.

Visible and enquiring!

Sean Fitzpatrick describing his attitude towards referees as captain. For those of you who remember his era of leadership this line should bring a chuckle.
I worked hard to be visible, respectful and enquiring towards the ref.

Welcome Bartholemew Longbottom et al.

I have noticed a vastly increased number of comments recently from what are fairly obviously pro chinese commentors. Most latterly on Adolf's recent post about Sanlu and Chinese standards.

I wondered whether it was just me being judgemental or whether there was something to it.
China’s public diplomacy strategy has also relied more and more on digital technology. The Chinese central government employs at least two hundred and eighty thousand people to troll the Internet and insert material to make the government look good. Many more work as Internet volunteers—from retired officials to college students in the Communist Youth League who aspire to become party members.
It seems my sense of smell is reasonable. People are entitled to their points of view. They are even entitled to slavishly follow their government or political point of view, whether through self interest or through genuine belief. Witness the Obama worship in the face of logic and reality. But the rest of us need to be aware of the motives behind what we read.

In any case, welcome to those Chinese commentors on this site and others, at least you have free internet access and a willingness to contribute to democratic debate. Perhaps you can learn something at the same time as presenting your points of view.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Off to a Flying Start

The Libs election campaign launch sounds like a real ripper.



On the day after the ALP's Mark Latham gave back to his party ten fold, every bucket of shit it ever dumped on him, Tony Abbott delivered a clear and concise manifesto. Among other things, an end to the financial excesses of Rudd's Labour, a sensible and immediate resolution of Rudd's boat people disaster and heavy penalties for convicted people smugglers

It appears almost everyone who is anyone on the centre right was there and Channel Nine has Latham reporting.

Gillard' outfit was labelled a soap opera, The Vain and The Ruthless.

In a tactical blunder, the ALP has delayed it's launch until just five days before the election. This will give the Libs heaps of time to talk up it's own policies in the absence of any from Labor and to focus the minds of Australian voters on the absolute shambles that is Gillard's Labor.

When she took over I thought she had a good show of holding on but not now.

It will be a rout.

And The Winner Is.....

.......by the toss of a coin,

Inconsistent, incandescent and incontinent.

Anonymous 6.44 p.m. please get in touch by email to arrange delivery of your prize, a pleasantly above average quality bottle of good Aussie red.

fiinkensein@gmail.com

Runner up (bad luck) was 'winnie, whiney and winey.'