International Cat Speculators Since 2006

Archive for the ‘Fisk the Left’ Category

A picture is worth a thousand words, but about whom?

The saying is “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

I agree. I think this picture illustrates quite nicely just how unhinged the left are.

idiot spy

Even stupider, Idiot is on record on his blog making the most outlandish excuse for another piece of legislation which allows a government department to not just spy on, but to utterly destroy the lives of any of a very large group of New Zealand citizens.

In fact, Idiot has called on the government to use that law for that very purpose – to destroy the families of those who have dared to make “the wrong” political stand.

I speak of course, of the Section 59 law changes, and I/S’s infamous post-referendum post which I discussed here.

To this day, I still consider that post to be the most disgraceful thing ever said by a New Zealand blogger. I cannot think of a single instance where anyone has ever tried to push for political dissidents to be silenced by abusing state power.

But Idiot said that, and he still to this day supports the law that makes is possible.

Frankly, allowing the police to use GCSB computers is pretty tame by comparison. And unlike the GCSB, we’re not talking about fat Germans with more money than ethics. We’re talking about real, everyday New Zealand families who no jury would ever convict – indeed, even some who have gone to court and had their case dismissed!

I’d include a link to FF’s site on the topic, but it appeasers that dissent is still intolerable and they are undergoing another round of DOS attacks. So I’ll leave my readers to ponder the irony of the tolerant left.

(And yes, I’ve made this point before.)

Civility and Child Poverty

It’s been a while since I did a NRT fisk.

Asked how the government knows it is reducing child poverty, she says that it depend son how it is measured. Asked how it is measured, she is eventually forced to confess that it is not – something she finds hilariously funny.

Idiot can’t help himself. Handed the shiny toy of a minister acting like an ass, he just has to smash it up.

But its not funny. Child poverty is a blight on our society, which ruins lives, both those of children and of the adults they grow up into. Its immediate and ongoign effects are estimated to cost us $8.8 billion a year. And (and this cannot be stressed enough) it isentirely a matter of government choice.

It’s a matter of choice. Of course, like all Idiot/Savant’s most extravagant claims, that authoritative looking link is not linking to something that proves his point, but rather to one of his own posts. In that post he declares, based on a report from people who share his fact-free opinion, that “child” poverty would be fixed by… changing to another, slightly different method of throwing money at the problem.

Because if paying people something called “Working for Families” didn’t fix the issue, then clearly we need to call it something else!

Our government chooses to have 270,000 kids grow up in poverty. It chooses to waste their lives, and inflict on the rest of us the social cost of doing so. And it finds that funny.

Given the evidence he’s got for his interpretation for Bennett’s laughter (zero) why does he stop there? I mean, this is a guy who told us that the US secret service were planning on mowing down large crowds* of New Zealanders because they were bringing a minigun here.  I mean, why not claim that Bennett is laughing because she’s going to herd these kids into canning plants and sell them to the Chinese as safe baby food?

The Children’s Commissioner is right: the government needs a plan, and it needs measures and targets, so we can hold them accountable for their performance in this area. And then we’ll see who’s <expletive deleted>laughing.

And if Idiot had done a post outlining how the minister is laughing at the idea of measuring poverty, while claiming improvement  he’d have a post no one could reasonably disagree with.

But by ramping up the political spin to hyperbolic levels (and by flat-out making s**t up), he’s turned a gift-wrapped opportunity to show the public what’s wrong with the government into a crazy rant that no thinking person can take seriously.

It’s a point I’ve made a few times. Idiot wants to be seen as a principled guy who keeps out of the sewer, but when push comes to shove what he really wants is to be  just like the Whale Oil.

 

* I have a strong memory of a post that make this claim but it appears to have gone down the memory hole. However, the comment says much the same, ridiculous thing. Or maybe my memory is playing tricks on me.

You don’t get your own facts

It’s often said that you get you own opinions, but you don’t get your own facts.

Back in the 90′s, the government privatised Telecom. The new owners immediately ramped up dividends while under investing in new technology. The result was a second-rate phone network.

Now, technically it is true that Telecom was privatised in the 90′s, in that it was sold in 1990. (Though this article puts the announcement in 1989.) But in reality, it was the Labour government of the late ’80s that sold it. By saying “Back in the 90′s” this implies that it was the National party who government almost all of the ’90s who did the selling, which is absolutely not true.

So that’s the first sentence.

How about “The new owners immediately ramped up dividends”. To be honest, I have no idea, and it would be sort of tricky to find out since the company was privately owned for several months until it was listed on the stock exchange!

How about “while under investing in new technology”? Well, this one is what we call a weasel statement. Did Telecom invest in new technology? Absolutely. But did they invest enough? Well, what’s “enough”? What standard do you apply?

Certainly they had to pull their socks up. Clear communications came in with a hiss and a roar and started stealing toll customers. So they had to do things like improve their billing from rounding to the nearest minute down to the second to beat Clear’s 6 seconds.

The fact is, Telecom was badly run for years under the government. It was grossly overstaffed for one thing, with maintenance crews comprising of 4 men, only one of whom was usually needed.  This was changed so that staff worked one man from a van, and called in another van/man in the rare cases when they needed an extra hand. It had been improved as an SOE, but it was still something of a fixer-upper.

What about “The result was a second-rate phone network.” Actually, the second-rate network was what was privatised.

But the other question is, at what point in the past did private ownership result in a second-rate network? Because we certainly don’t have one now. Idiot’s statement implies that somehow the immediate effects of being sold caused our phone network to deteriorate. But Telecom is today still privately owned and today it’s as modern as any other telco.

When was this supposed low point? He doesn’t say.  Of course, he can’t, because he’s relying on people not remembering that under private owners and competition, Telecom’s phone service has steadily improved over the years. It hasn’t been asset stripped under any definition of the word. No one in their right mind would claim otherwise.

But Idiot has.

Tranz Rail was something of a mixed bag. It did well for a while, but it became increasingly clear that rail just isn’t viable in New Zealand. So the labour government of the time bought back the rails for $1 so they could waste billions of tax dollars subsidising it.

(In fact, talking about asset sales being bad is one thing, but how and examination of asset purchases? It is universally acknowledged that purchasing back the trains was a massive fail by the Labour government, grossly overpaying for old trains while Toll was left with the nicely profitable trucking arm of the company.)

But then there’s this:

Now Mighty River Power is signalling that its new foreign owners can do the same to our electricity system, raising its dividends to 110% of profits to provide them a quick buck for stealing a public asset. Its a political decision of course, to make the sale a “success” (for the buyers). And the result will be the same as that seen in earlier cases: the company will be asset-stripped and run into the ground, while the thieves laugh all the way to the Cayman Islands.

Now, it’s perfectly possible that the dividend rise is to make the company look good to sell. But given it’s the government who’s selling, what’s wrong with that? If we get a higher price, it’s a win for the taxpayer.

But for a guy who talks about elections so much, you’d think that Idiot would know that you have to have a majority stake in order to change a company’s policy. Let alone the financial moronicness behind calling an increased dividend an “asset” strip.

In reality, the “new owners” will get the dividend the government majority owners approve, and nothing more and they will have no way of changing that.

Hokitika airport and Idiot/Savan’ts insistence on staying in the gutter

Hokitika is extending it’s airport.

Every small town wants to be a big town. Most settle for building a giant fibreglass vegetable to “put them on the map”. But some have grander plans. For example Hokitika, a dipshit little town of around 4,000 people, wants to have an international airport, and so is spending millions of dollars extending its runway, on the theory that “if you build it, they will come”.

The airport in fact serves the West Coast region (33,000 people acording to Wikipedia) and particuarly the town of Greymouth which is only a short drive away. The article above states that the extensions will enable (among other aircraft) Boeing 737′s to land. 737s hold about 130 passengers, and are the most common passenger jet in the world. If anything, it seems odd that Hokitika can’t already land these aircraft, because there is certainly no where else on the coast that can.

Now it might be that the region won’t get tourist flights out of this extension. That’s quite possible, though they certainly won’t get any 737 flights without it. But if there’s a case to be made, make it truthfully and without the  fundamental stupidity of basing your case on abuse and sexual inuendo.

Finally, am I the only guy who noticed that the guy who describes Hokitika as “a dipshit little town” so often looks down his nose at other blogs for such abusive language? One wonders where that came from, perhaps it’s something to do with coming from Palmerston North?

—–

Heck, while I’m at it, I might as well do the next post too.

Utterly inappropriate

That is the only way to describe Kylee Guy’s letter to the Attorney-General asking for a harsh sentence for the man who according to a court did not murder her husband. [snip snark lecture on the legal system]

Its also fundamentally stupid, in that the letter with its public pressure may very well hand Ewen Macdonald grounds to appeal his sentence. But I don’t think the advocates of lynchmob justice think very hard about that – or indeed, at all.

It does appear that Kylee Guy doesn’t understand the role of our politicians and officials in the justice system. And there is no getting away from the fact that MacDonald was found not guilty of the murder.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Mrs Guy was a victim of several crimes, including the murder of her husband. The other crimes were committed by MacDonald, and on that basis I have some sympathy for her in what she is trying to do.

But I don’t see the point of making a great fuss over it. Reading the coverage, it seems that officials and politicians do in fact understand their place.

So why does Idiot see fit to use his blog to abuse the widow of a murdered man? Is it really worth it to call a grieving woman “fundamentally stupid” and imply that a victim is an advocate of lynchmob justice? Or does he consider that Ewen MacDonald, a man who has admitted a string of vindictive crimes, is the real victim here?

Fix child poverty – it’s easy.

No Right Turn has a go at Labour, but I’m more interested in this statement.

Last election, the Labour party did a good thing. After years of denying that its discriminatory Working For Families “in-work” payment denied assistance to those who needed it most, they listened to the evidence, and agreed to (slowly) universalise it in order to eliminate child poverty.

Got that? The in-work payment will eliminate child poverty.

Now, if you’ve got a family income of less than $36,350 a year (pretty sure the dole is more than that) and 4 kids you get $286/wk from Working for Families. (data here)

That means your income has gone by $14,872 a year to $51,222. About 30% of your income is now from Working for Families.

The IWTC brings you up to $55,122 – $3,900 more.

Which means that your income is now:

  • 66% your original income
  • 27% WFF Tax Credit
  • 7% IWTC

Now, I grant you that that $75 a week is something. It’ll certainly help people.

But will a payment of $75 really eliminate child poverty, when a payment of $286 didn’t?

What makes $75 the magic figure I wonder? What is it about that last $75 that is so important that without it, we have children dying in the streets, while with it we have eternal bliss?

Who knew it was so hard?

Actually, that’s an improvement

We all know unemployment is bad. But how bad is it?

One of the big themes of National’s New Zealand is the lack of jobs. There’s another example of this in theManawatu Standardtoday:…

not exactly desirable work, and yet it has six times as many applications as there are positions.

Actually, if Idiot were following the news, this is an improvement.

Nearly 2000 people have applied for about 100 jobs at the soon-to-be-opened Bunnings Warehouse in Dunedin.

That was 2 years ago – 20x more applications than positions. Sort of makes 6x look pretty good. (I’d also suggest that carting around heavy, rough sawn timber is a lot worse for your health than pushing a trolley of lettuce.) A few months earlier an Auckland supermarket received 2500 applications for 150 jobs.

So I call that as an improvement.

And yet National still slanders the unemployed as lazy

I’ve never heard anyone in the National party say the unemployed are, as a group, uniformly lazy. I have heard them say that they need more motivation, which is only too true (and here I am speaking from personal experience).

Funny thing is that since Idiot hadn’t even provided a link to his own rantings, let alone an external source, I thought I’d do a google search.

I think the results speak for themselves.

While I’m at it:

1. I hate tobacco with a passion. I think anyone who smokes is an idiot, and the tobacco companies deserve to be driven out of that business. But the fact is that every packaged product has the packaging as part of it’s marketing, so by definition when you remove all other advertising the packet is all that’s left. To say so is common sense, not an indication of some sort of conspiracy to circumvent the law.

2. Idiot claims (once again) that austerity is bad for the economy. Possibly, in the short term. But in the long term, the austerity of the 90s in this country set us up for the undeniable prosperity of the 2000s. In the meantime, the US have racked up eye-popping amounts of debt that will burden their government for generations, and have nothing to show for it except an unprecedented growth in conservative activism.

3. Just because Len Brown accepted a modest (and declared) donation, doesn’t mean jack. He’s simply opposing an idiotic motion by people who think politics is about posturing and pretending. When he  actually does something to support the proposal when there actually is a proposal, call me.

Private information in Public

No Right Turn highlighted this:

Today in Parliament, Labour MP Lianne Dalziel asked some questions about the fairness of the government’s bailout for red zone property-owners. Gerry Brownlee’s response? To dump the details of her earthquake claim into the Parliamentary record.

Again, this is an appalling act of information thuggery, involving deeply personal information. This is purely operational information, which should never have been in the Minister’s hands. And yet, when its needed for a political smear, its available to him. This suggests misconduct on the party of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, as well as a gross abuse of power by the Minister.

Now, I have heard very good things about Dalziel’s work advocating for her constituents on earthquake related matters, straight from the horses mouth. She is in my book a vastly different Labour MP from the likes of say, Pete Hodgson.

If what Idiot is saying is true, then is is indeed a very nasty abuse of power.

But then I notice a video at WhaleOil. That is video of what Brownlee actually said. And what he actually did is quote information that Dalziel herself had already made public.

And a check of the transcript reveals that the video is more or less accurate. (Emphasis in quote is mine)

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: So far, more than 3,000 people have accepted a Government offer and been settled. Further, many of those are in a far better position than they would have been in normal circumstances. There will be variations—that is clear. When you are dealing with 7,000 damaged properties and the Government is making an offer that allows people to make some choices, then I think that is fair. In the member’s case, we know the difficulty. She is being offered $87,200 for her land; she wants $200,000. She made that clear at the Local Government and Environment Committee, but it is not easy just to put a hand in the taxpayers’ pocket and pay it out to members of Parliament who are grumpy about the money being offered to them.

Hon Lianne Dalziel: Mr Speaker—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am on my feet. Order! These matters are sensitive matters. I have upheld the member’s right to ask questions, and I will watch Ministers’ answers. The member sought to make a personal explanation and brought into the House her personal situation. It has been talked about at a select committee; the Minister referred to that. I will be watching matters very carefully, but I want the House to come back to order.

Now it could be argued (as Whale does) that Brownlee was highlighting a conflict of interest – something that Labour knows all about. That’s BS.

But as much as the MP for Ilam has behaved as a bit of a bully, he did not do what Idiot is acusing him of. He did not take operational information from a government department and blab it all over parliament.

I think I’ve made the point before: Idiot/Savant could be a pretty decent blogger if he chose to stick to the facts. But in cases like this, where he insists on overstepping and by adding false information to true, he takes what should be a good, hard-hitting post and makes it into something that reflects more on him than on his target.

I’d have thought that’s self-defeating. But maybe that’s just the way the left in general like their politics.

The union says it, Idiot believes it, that settles it

Idiot really hates the idea of charter schools.

Destiny Church. They’ve announced plans to move their existing private school to South Auckland and re-establish it as a charter school in order to receive public funding.

LOL.

No, they have not. What Idiot’s own source says:

Destiny Church could receive money from the public purse if it establishes a charter school as part of a proposed new complex in South Auckland, an education union says.

Destiny’s school will move sites. That’s a physicial move, and going to happen.

If it becomes a charter school, that’s an institutional change and is merely speculated by the teacher’s union. There’s not a single quote in the story from the church itself. It doesn’t even look like they bothered to ask for one.

In other words, pure scaremongering. I suspect that Brian Tamaki may consider the charter option, but he knows as well as anyone that such a move may result in future policy changes wiping out the entire point of his school.

This is what charter schools mean: giving taxpayer’s money to cults to peddle their wackiness, without being subject to the normal curriculum or normal educational standards.

Idiot of course assumes that the normal curriculum isn’t wackiness. I’m not entirely convinced of that myself.

Its about paying for indoctrination, rather than education. But that is no business of the education system, and not something that government money should be spent on.

Idiot better be careful, he’s committing left-wing heresy here. Using the school system for indoctrination and social engineering is a pretty solid plank of any left wing movement. I’ve heard educators on National Radio proclaiming that they consider the job of the system exactly that, and they made it explicitly clear that they did not think that was a bad thing in the slightest.

I for one sincerely hope that Idiot continues such calls!

Update: Well, I stand corrected – to some degree. Brian is making it clear that he wants government funding for many parts of the project, on the basis that his church keeps people out of jail.

He’s actually right there. One thing that Destiny has done that is good is taking a bunch of young people and gave them discipline, turning around their lives. I noted a while back that NZ First put out a press release congratulating them for that, and today the Maori Party is doing the same. But I’m getting off topic.

Thing is, Brian is about money. (Well, he’s about Brian first but money is a close second.) So he’s clearly decided in this instance that he’s more than happy to risk the beurcracy’s backlash and play the game for what he can get out. When I wrote the above, I was thinking in terms of the Christian Schools I’ve known. Seems I would do well to remember that Brian continues down the road towards founding a mind control cult, with himself in the driver’s seat.

But one thing that did not feature in the TV One story: there was no claim that they were re-founding their school as a charter school. So (to the best of my knowledge) Idiot’s claim remains completely false.

The ACT party: Stealing Labour children since like, forever!

Been a while since I did a full fisk of Idiot.

As we all know, National’s support agreement with ACT included an out-of-the-blue infliction of charter schools.

Well, “out of the blue” for people who haven’t bothered to read what ACT has been saying about education, and who did a quick ctrl-f search on the policy and didn’t find the exact words “Charter Schools”.

This failed American model

Except that of course it’s used all over the place and has had a great deal of success in the right conditions.

will be trialled first in Christchurch East and South Auckland – both strong Labour electorates.

But not in Dunedin. Hm, why might that be?

Which invites an obvious question:

Brace yourself people!

why aren’t National and ACT trialling these schools on their own kids?

a) probably because these areas are where kids are being failed by the existing system

b) There are almost 12,000 National voters in Christchurch East, and 14,000 Labour ones. From that, I conclude that this particular evil scheme to bring good education to Labour children isn’t exactly well targeted – unless of course there’s some sort of laser detector above the door with the ability to detect the voting preferences of student’s parents.

Why aren’t they trialling them in Epsom, Helensville, and the North Shore? Surely if these schools are all they claim they are, then they should be beating down the door?

Of course the real, boring answer is that the trial is being setup where it’s needed most. But real, boring answers aren’t of any interest to a hyper-political conspiracy junkie.

Sadly, the answer is equally obvious: not even their supporters believe the schools will work – or at least, not strongly enough to risk the future of their own children (or their political career) on it.

This is the same idiot who complains when National and ACT supporters put their kids in private school.

So instead we have the usual story: the children of the poor get to be guinea pigs for the crackpot theories of the rich. And if it doesn’t work out, well, its not as if anyone important suffers, is it?

This paragraph actually makes me very angry. Idiot talks about a potential solution as though it’s evil, while it is in fact his own position which is most likely to deliver the bad outcomes he claims to oppose.

Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that the left are best for the poor. Labour is the party of Unions and when (as in this case) it’s fight between what’s best for the poor, or what’s best for the unions, the poor will lose every time.

If Key and Banks want to run this experiment, they should put their money where their mouth is: run the trial in their own electorates, and send their own kids to them. The fact that they won’t speaks volumes.

I for one hope that the trial succeeds in it’s goal – taking kids from poorly performing schools and improving their lives through better education.

Oil spill Fisk

I was going to fisk this post. Ok, maybe I will.

With the Rena now likely to sink and spill the rest of its fuel and cargo across one of our busiest ports and favourite holiday spots, its worth thinking about the future. Beyond the immediate cleanup, what policies can we put in place to prevent or mitigate such messes in the future?

Or to put it another way how can the left make political hay out of this tragedy.

I asked the Greens over Twitter, and their responsewas

For a start: 1. No deep sea drilling 2. Invest in infrastructure & capability of Maritime NZ… Also better engagement with communities when disasters do happen.

All of which seem like good ideas.

…and all of which are actually idiotic ideas.

The Rena has exposed the sheer inadequacy of Maritime NZ’s oil spill management plans, which are gone into in some detail by Brian Rudman in today’s Herald. Their three-tier response model places a significant part of the responsibility on organisations which either do not care (polluters)

Well, by definition polluters don’t care. But that’s irrelevant. Minor spills are cleaned up by those who create them, we are um, talking about a major spill here. Remember?

or are not properly equipped to deal with serious spills (regional councils).

Again, as Brian states (and Idiot ignores) regional councils aren’t supposed to be equipped to deal with serious spills.

Equipment needed to deal with severe spills is stranded in Auckland and takes significant effort to transport.

What a stupid idea, putting the equipment where it’s most likey to be needed!

The result is that they are effectively helpless when a big incident comes along.

Well, when a big incident comes a long in the wrong place it’s going to take some more organisation to get the spill cleaned up. But listening to the people who actually know what they’re talking about these things always take time and our response has actually been pretty fast.

Which in turn make the government’s plans to allow deep-sea drilling, with all the risks that that entails, pure madness.

I’m pretty sure that when someone saw the first plane crash back in 1903 or something, they declared that flying was pure madness too. But we move on and learn from every disaster, and today air travel is safer than it’s ever been and has made the world a much smaller (and one would suggest better) place.

As for the public, as we saw on Monday morning when oil began washing up and was left to locals to clean up (with no warning or guidance from officials, let alone organisation or reassurance that something would be done soon), the government’s communication has been… lacking.

Yea, outside of all those warning to stay off the beach, and reports about how the cleanup would begin when the slick proper hit the beaches, all the warnings about how toxic the oil… why, there’s been nothing at all!

Wait, could it be that people have just been pigheaded and short sighted at the first sign of oil on “their” beaches? No, it must be The Fault of the Government.

I hope the above sounds mad. Because I am mad when someone lies like that. The fact is that officials did give both warnings and guidance. People refused to listen. The government was very clear – this is a big job, handling a large, toxic mess which has only just started. But people got so panicked at the sight of small amounts of oil on the beaches that they lost sight of the fact that oil was going to be there for weeks to come. 

But there are other things we can do too. For example, its hard to understand how a ship can run aground on a charted reef in calm weather, unless the crew were negligent.

So we should tell every ship’s captain we meet to be careful.

The ship’s captain has already been charged with operating a ship in a dangerous manner, and the penalties there are appropriate for individuals. But clearly there’s a regulatory problem here as well. There are also issues around penalties for spills – the Maritime Act allows for a fine of up to $200,000 for a discharge of a harmful substance from a ship, while the RMA allows for fines of up to $600,000 for discharging contaminants without a resource consent, with strict liability. But that’s SFA to a shipping corporation,

Well, it’s not a trivial sum. But I agree that the maximum fine for this sort of thing needs to be drastically upgraded for large incidents like this.

and likely to be lower than the cost of running a ship safely so that it does not leak oil everywhere.

If you recall, Idiot once said that airlines would fly their planes in dangerous conditions deliberately because, heck, they were insured if they crashed.

He doesn’t seem to get the idea that companies lose money when stuff like this happens, that their reputations suffer and the lose profits because they aren’t delivering cargo. Let’s face it: even the most profit hungry and well insured shipping company in the world would never suggest that a ships captain take a shortcut over the location of a known reef.

Oh, and then there’s the fact that this ship isn’t leaking oil because it wasn’t maintained, or because costs were cut, it’s leaking oil because some idiot drove into a well marked reef. The cost difference in running a ship that runs into a reef and one that doesn’t is zero – a turn of the ships wheel.

So we need far better regulation of shipping, and far higher penalties for breaches, with actual enforcement so that captains and companies know they will face those penalties. Anything less is just inviting this to happen again.

Sadly, none of that changes one simple fact – sometimes people are stupid.

You could have a thousand regulations designed to stop ship’s captains from steering their vessels into the only reef in the harbour, but one day, someone is just going to not bother looking where he’s going.

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