Friday, August 22, 2014

Forgotten Posts from the Past: What I thought of Gordon Brown's administration in 2009

The rats are leaving a sinking ship, a ship that has let its tentacles grow the state in the UK in the past 12 years, run near constant budget deficits in a time of prosperity, promote speculation in the property market to support largescale lending by the populace, and pour buckets into an unaccountable and inept NHS, build up an assembly line education system, woefully limp wristed criminal justice system and a radical environmental agenda (crippling the economy), whilst wanting to implement an identity card system and increase surveillance of private citizens.

Miliband Labour looks little different.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

UK porn laws ban some comics

The death of Sir John Mortimer, barrister and writer, best known for writing the Rumpole of the Bailey radio play and subsequent television series, brought memories about his great fight for freedom of speech. His battles were many, the album "Never Mind the Bollocks" wouldn't have the word "bollocks" if he hadn't defended Virgin Records in court against accusations of obscenity. Mortimer famously engaged in a debate with well known moral evangelist Mary Whitehouse, and John Howard (then future leader of the Conservative Party) on free speech, citing how basically those who call for censorship think those who censor wont be harmed, but they are protecting the mass of the population, who are considered imbeciles.

However, the UK doesn't learn. As two pieces of legislation have taken it further.

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act has make it illegal to possess "extreme pornography". What is that then? It is extreme images which were produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.

Que Horreur! Sexual arousal? How dare THAT happen - not in BRITAIN.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Let's end child poverty say the Reds

Well so say the Greens, with their enormous "give free money to the parents of poor kids" electoral bribe, to be paid for by a tax hike.

It's classic dyed in the wool socialism and its central premise is that it is somehow caring to take by force from a small proportion of the population to give people money because they have children they can't afford to raise properly.

That's it.

When Russel Norman says:

Proud to pay 7c more income tax on every $1 over $140k so 200,000 kids can have food in their bellies 

It defies description.  What's he doing with the money now if he believes so much that it would be better helping poor kids?  Couldn't he just spend that money now on charities to help them?  Couldn't he convince others to do the same?  What's the mentality that says "if only the government took more of my money I could be helping the poor more"?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tough on law and order?

It's always an easy one for parties to trot out. I've seen it time and time again. Jim Bolger did it in 1990 with the slogan "A Decent Society". At the time it called for a referendum on capital punishment, which was quietly shelved.   ACT and National have both gone down this path in the past, but I'd take a more nuanced approach.

For me, a good law and order policy comprises several dimensions. It isn't merely "hang the bastards", it is a balance - as follows:

1. Recividist violent offenders should be kept from committing further crimes: It's simple, you have one chance if you are a violent (including sexual) offender, to do time, to rehabilitate and live a life of peace, but if you repeat you are deemed a threat to others, and detention is preventive. It is about protection of future victims, punishment coming second. Preventive sentences could be for a decade or for life, depending on the threat to the public. 

2. Rehabilitation for the first time offender: At the non-violent end of the spectrum, people make foolish, damaging mistakes. However, it is not a reason to write them off. The criminal justice system must exist to deter and punish, but for those entering it the first time the best efforts need to be made to make it the last time. That means not throwing young foolish men into dank prisons where they learn to be "staunch" and can learn how to be a tougher, harder criminal. It's more clever than that.  It deals with issues of literacy, teach useful skills, anger management and therapy if needed, in short it is a concerted effort to turn people around.

3. Protect the presumption of innocence: Our criminal justice system is built upon a simple presumption. You're innocent till proven guilty. That should never be watered down.  It must remain central to the criminal justice system.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dirty politics?

Nicky Hager's book, which of course like the healthcare, housing, education, incomes, public transport and much else of what Hager wants from government, should be free.

Kim Dot Com should be letting one of his "customers" copy it and spread it widely amongst the public if he was true to his belief in "freedom".

However, my first reaction was to notice how Russel Norman, who like the Green Party more generally, escapes a lot of serious scrutiny, bleating on about "negative attack politics"

The same Russel Norman who once decided to engage in name calling against me on the Green's Frogblog, as a response to my criticism of the scaremongering over EMR from cellphone towers, yet no such scaremongering over radio broadcast towers.  I wrote about it here.   It's hardly a big deal, but this is how politics is.

You see, attack politics are actually normal.  It's the norm for many politicians to be pejorative.  The left's primary pejoratives are to claim policies are "racist" and "sexist", or that those on the right "hate the poor" and are only in politics for the money (they of course, donate most of their salaries to charity), and finally there is the anti-semitic attacks on John Key and the childish "fuck John Key" contribution to intelligent discourse.

What is apparent is anger.  Anger from those who think they are entitled to spend other people's money without their consent, anger from those who want to tell other people what to do with their property, anger from those who don't like foreigners, or foreigners buying things they themselves can't or wont buy, and conversely anger from those who are fed up with being told they owe others a living, fed up with being told that some people are entitled to be listened to more, because of some aspect of their background.   The anger in politics is due to polarisation.  Those on the right are becoming more clearly cynical of answers that involve more government, while those on the left are less inclined to compromise with business, with those arguing to be left alone, and those who offend and upset them.

People are angry because most of them don't understand a lot about the complexities of modern economics or societies, and want simple answers, they also want politicians who will pander to their own prejudices about why things are as they are.  Conspiracies attract the feeble minded, and those who think governments have all the answers to block individuals doing things they don't like, don't like people saying no.

The real answer is that politics do not provide good answers for most problems in the world, but human initiative does.  By releasing people's ability to create, produce, organise themselves and to build, share and help each other, there are ways of resolving problems.  Government's don't do that, they use force.  Hager embraces the use of force, and is rather upset at there being a government that doesn't do it enough to the right people.

Hager's book from what little has percolated out simply seems to report that some bloggers are affiliated with the National Party.  Who knew?!?  Hager wont write a book about those affiliated with the Labour Party, or the Greens, or heaven-forbid the Kim Dotcom/Alliance Revival/Harawira Whanau First Party, because they are who he wants to have in power.  He talks about how bloggers deliberately try to get media attention to support one political point of view, yet he is guilty of exactly the same tactic when he puts out his books.

Hager's biggest problem is that what he purports others to do, is exactly what he is trying to do himself.  Pass himself off as "independent" and dedicated to exposing secret political deals, but he is anything but independent, and completely ignores anything going on on his side.