The Plutocracy's Useful Idiots

Never underestimate the savage lust of the plutocracy's useful idiots

Never mind his mind, what’s on John Key’s iPod?

by cemeteryjones

The contents of politicians’ iPods became an election year staple in recent years, and we’d like to revive the trend. In light of today’s developments, we’d like to explore the contents of John Key’s iPod. On the back of an institutional scandal, John has gone indie, if not downright underground. Let’s call it a Beehive top five; a quick flick through this morning’s playlist reveals that John is spinning tunes from the following greats of the genre:

Number one: Joy Division – She’s Lost Control.

 

Number two: Magazine – Shot by Both Sides.

 

Number three: The Fall – Lie Dream of a Casino Soul.

 

Number four: Gang of Four – Damaged Goods.

 

And finally, number five: Mission of Burma – That’s When I Reach for my Revolver.

More George Carlin Quotes You Won’t Find On Whaleoil

by cemeteryjones

 

We all know why.

You know what? There’s only one person who needs to get out around here – see you in November!

by cemeteryjones

According to the Prime Minister, the author of the Salvation Army’s conclusions on declining housing affordability ‘needs to get out more’. I’m sure that people saving for a first home who just saw the minimum LVR doubled so that the government didn’t have to make any hard decisions which could potentially change the game for property investors would love to do so themselves.

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David Cunliffe: “I think it’s the commute to Helensville that’s getting him down, Mr Speaker.”

If you want to know what a select-fire tax-free plutocracy looks like, then here’s a ‘Top 10’ that the party who brought you the ‘rock star economy’ would rather not draw your attention to (hint: it isn’t the one that he got to read out on Letterman).

Just think how much less the government would be borrowing if these troughers paid as much tax on the rental income as you, your family, and your friends pay on your food.

John Armstrong: if at first the mud doesn’t stick, try lobbing softly.

by cemeteryjones

I have no doubt that it was with the heaviest of hearts that John Amstrong reluctantly penned today’s opinion piece ‘Labour avoids fallout in Taurima case’. His aim, as my own title suggests, was no doubt to try and correct that course of events, by subtly directing the public towards the connection; a subtle insinuation emanating a foul stench of bullshit. There’s comedy in the palpable desperation of ‘stretch the truth’ Armstrong as he goes grasping at straws;

There was a high risk that the surreptitious use of TVNZ resources by Taurima and other Labour activists working in the state broadcaster’s Maori and Pacific unit would rebound on Labour and prove to be extremely embarrassing for the party.

There was a danger that their behaviour would leave the impression Labour had no regard for impartiality in news coverage and current affairs programming.

That potential prospect had Labour’s leader putting as much distance as possible between the party and Taurima despite him having been a serious proposition for the party’s candidacy in Tamaki-Makaurau, one of the seven Maori seats.

The intention of today’s column is obvious; if at first the mud doesn’t stick, try lobbing softly. He pitched a bit harder yesterday, both talking up the Tuarima – Labour connection, and anticipating (and attempting to deflate) comparisons with right wing media personalities and their National party affiliations by offering the straw man comparison with Paul Henry, who openly wears his right wing political identity with pride. The difference, according to Armstrong, is that Henry’s affiliations don’t count, because he has accepted that he isn’t actually that electable. The sleight of hand upon which Armstrong’s argument relies, then, is that ‘political affiliations’ are only grounds for a confilct of interest if you are actively seeking to become an MP;

TVNZ was aware, however, that Taurima was considering standing in another Maori seat at this year’s election. At that point, Taurima should have been confronted with two choices: either sever your political affiliations or quit TVNZ.

This is where we really find the shit stain of insincerity smearing across the toilet bowl of Armstrong’s straw comparison; his argument relies on this point that ‘political affiliations’ only present a conflict of interest if it means you are seeking to stand. Ultimately, he claims, Henry is in the clear because ‘Henry has not been using the back rooms at TV3 to set up a clandestine branch of the National Party.’ Oh right, see that? Henry just openly sits there reminding his audience that he’d never vote for David Cunliffe, does everything he can to give John Key a smooth ride towards the elections, but all that’s ok – he doesn’t have National meetings in his office! Whether ‘clandestine’ is meaningful or not is another thing here – this matter is under an internal investigation right now, so whether the meetings were ‘clandestine’ or not remains to be seen (does it make a difference? If you aren’t a Labour or National member, you can’t attend a party meeting anyway, they’re restricted by nature. I think Amstrong is dogwhistling there).

Anyhow, the meaning of what at first glance might seem to be Armstrong’s use of arbitrary criteria for defining ‘political affiliations’ soon takes shape as the self-serving confection that it is. The ‘tell’ can be found in the deliberate choice of Henry as the straw figure of comparison, rather than Taurima’s fellow TVNZ employee, talking head [LOL] Mike Hosking. Because if Hosking had been the basis for comparison, then Armstrong’s hastily erected concept of ‘political affiliations’ would seem even flimsier that the paper-thin justification he presented yesterday. Armstrong’s sleight of hand only works if we accept his definition of ‘political affiliations’, which he has hastily corralled within his self-serving framework of those journalists currently or soon to be seeking election to parliament. Presumably, these are the only forms of affiliation which count as being grounds for a conflict of interest.

Mike Hosking’s ‘political affiliations’ give the lie to this facile and self-serving confection. Apparently you can MC John Key’s State of the Nation speech, but thats’s ok by Armstrong, because it’s fine to openly MC a political party meeting without damaging your independence with ‘political affiliations’, hell, you can probably even make money doing it – but you’d better not organise a political party meeting in your office! Armstrong’s colleague John Drinnan covered the issue in detail at the time, noting that Hosking’s boss at Newstalk ZB, Dallas Gurney, responded to questions about Hosking’s potential conflict of interest – bundled up with Hosking’s Lexus sponsorship and affiliation with Sky City Casino with a frank “So what?” No such luck for Shane Taurima!

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Not pictured: a cosy political relationship left-wing enought to meet John Armstrong’s definition of ‘political affiliations’

This, of course, is where the fish really starts to stink. At TVNZ, ‘a percieved conflict of interest’ was cited as a reason that Hosking would not be allowed to cover stories relating to Sky City during his time filling in when Mark Sainsbury was unavailable. This relates to his affiliation with the casino company, said in 2012 to be worth $48,000 in cash and perks (Paul Henry had a similar deal going, believed to be slightly more lucrative at $54,000). The Herald article covering this issue noted at the time, that when asked to comment on the nature of his casino deal, Hosking ‘said it was a “non-story” and he wouldn’t be commenting on it as the newspaper’s staff were “pond scum” and “reprobates”.’ The same article also notes that Hosking received the hospitality of Sky City Casino boss Nigel Morrison in Sky City’s Eden Park corporate box. The same Nigel Morrison who seems to have been caught up in John Banks’ donation rainmaking saga around the same time? The same time as Sky City won what was virtually a no-bid contract for a convention centre from Key’s government – two organisations which both Hosking and Henry shill for, with the two Johns at the centre of it all. But, of course, this doesn’t meet Armstrong’s criteria for ‘political affiliation’, because these guys are just engaged in openly biased work representing political interests in the media, not seeking to become MPs to represent ordinary voters in parliament.

This, of course, is why Armstrong had to use TV3’s Paul Henry as his straw comparison, and not Shane Taurima’s fellow TVNZ presenter Mike Hosking – it’s just too hard to keep splitting that hair. With Henry, it’s cheap and safe. All that remains is to try and fling the shit at David Cunliffe by proxy, and make it stick. Armstrong found that a hard fling didn’t do it, so he’s taking a leaf out of the Australian cricket team’s book, and trying to win the game with a soft underarm instead.

Finally, a word on Hosking’s support for John Key; in 2002-3, Hosking and his now ex-wife had a benny about the ‘invasion of privacy’ which they experienced when their children were photographed by paparazzi, and took the matter to court. He also supported John Key and John Banks’ entitlement to ‘privacy’ at their staged cup of tea in Epsom at the 2011 election. But he supports the continuation of John Key’s government, which has made it easier for the state intelligence agencies to spy on New Zealanders. The political right have nailed it, with their double standards happily hiding in plain sight.

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Oh yeah? Well we’ve got a lol detector, and this ad just triggered it.

Getting double standards past the public: the lie dream of John Armstrong’s casino soul

George Carlin Quotes You Won’t Find On Whaleoil

by cemeteryjones

Pertinent Carlin material from 0:43 to 1:12 and 2:50 to 3:30 – it always makes my blood boil when I see Cameron Slater quoting George Carlin in the service of his right wing, pro-plutocracy local branch propaganda. Watch this video and tell me that Carlin would support the kind of shit Slater spouts on his blog. The points he made about US politics at the time apply no less here and now in New Zealand. Slater is the child of the exact social circumstances and relationships Carlin describes in the second of his comments in the video (2:50 to 3:30).

Colin Craig Ignores Anti-Smoking Law

by cemeteryjones

My esteemed colleague, the honourable Consul Firmin blogged previously on Colin Craig and child poverty. We generally try to avoid doubling up wherever possible, but with Craig in the headlines once more – this time on the issue of child discipline – I thought I’d try and take the kids out of the equation and deal with an issue for the grownups. The shared concern of Consul Firmin and myself relates to the lack of empathy which we find in Mr. Craig’s interventions. I hope that, should he ever read this post or be made aware of it, he will see how his opinions and beliefs, when transposed onto those of people who don’t share them, can be a source of empathy. Some of Mr. Craig’s statements below have been altered for effect (hint hint); we only hope he doesn’t go Civilian on us for this! ON that note, the PUI would like to apologise to Ben Uffindell and Scott Yorke for any offence caused by a post which bites their style, and very badly at that. We promise we won’t do it again.

Today’s Herald article carries details of the interview, which we have reproduced below in a manner which illustrates our point:

During an interview on RadioLive today, Mr Craig was asked if he would start to smoke weed if the law was reversed. “I occasionally do it now,” he replied. Mr Craig told APNZ he did not expect any backlash from the admission.

Polling by Curia Market Research of 1000 respondents last year covered the issue of whether the law banning smoking weed should be changed to smacking weed being a reasonable form of recreation, with 77 per cent agreeing, he said.

Mr Craig conceded that did not necessarily mean the same numbers of parents were ignoring the law and smoking weed.

The law as it stood was too “ambiguous” because it said police would not prosecute a parent for a smoke unless it was in the public interest, Mr Craig said.

He said the physical possession of his own cannabis was technically against the law if police saw it in the public interest to prosecute.

“And how would I know what they think?”

He said mostly his usage consisted of “a joint or a cone or a spot from the oven”.

“I’m high for a moment,” he said.

The vast majority of occasions on which he used drugs were recreational, he said.

A police spokesman said they were satisfied that Mr Craig’s comments on radio this morning did not “amount to disclosure of an offence”.

“Police do not intend being drawn into a political debate on this issue in an election year.”

3News have also covered the issue (with their sister company, radio live, being the host of the original interview):

Mr Craig says since the (cannabis prohibition) law came into force, hard drug abuse rates have gone up and “great families” have been subject to investigation.

“The polling last year… showed that still three-quarters of New Zealanders think this law should be changed. That’s three out of every four New Zealanders still think this law is silly and ought to be changed.”

Instead, he says New Zealand should adopt laws similar to those in the Australian Capital Territory, where smoking is still allowed, and tools such as metal or wooden pipes are not specifically outlawed.

“It still lets good parents get on with the business of discipline, and if they want to have a little smoke on the downlow, they’re allowed to do that. But they’re not allowed to do anything like get on the horse or start using needles,” says Mr Craig.

“I think New Zealanders will breathe a sigh of relief and toke hard when this piece of legislation gets sorted out.”

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“Sorry bro, I’m pretty blazed. Can you repeat the question?”

Wake up, ninny; of course this is satire.

Trying to look on the bright side, maybe John Key could give him a portfolio like Transport? Corrections? Police? You be the judge.

No wonder libertarians like to keep government out of the market: they just want to spare capitalists the embarassment

by cemeteryjones

HT: Mickeysavage@thestandard

It seems that our resident (somehow perpetually publicly salaried) freemarket guru Bill English done fucked the dog again! Savage points out that the latest data shows that ‘the Cullen Fund shows the Government that it does not have to sell strategically important assets to improve the country’s finances, all it has to do is continue investing in the fund.’ Citing a report from over at Stuff, which notes

The “Cullen” superannuation fund has posted a return of 1.66 per cent in November, taking its overall value to $24.93 billion – roughly half the Government’s net debt.

Over the last 12 months, as world equity markets soared, it earned 27.76 per cent or about $5.5b. That was more than the Government’s asset-sales programme, which is forecast to bring in between $4.6b and $5b.

The fund’s annual return since inception in 2003 has been 9.55 per cent.

Just think, with so many markets bottomed out over the last few years, it would have been a great time to keep it growing – as National’s flagship policy of partial asset sales in the same period has shown, you make your money when you buy, not when you sell.

Back in April, Stuff also carried an article which notes that Bill English’s decision to supsend Cullen Fund payments was costing us a million a week. Digesting then-current information from Treasury, the claim is advanced that the lost opportunity has an extra sting to its tail:

That means that in 2050 the fund will cover just 7 per cent of the cost of superannuation, against 11 per cent under the full-funding model. In the meantime, the Government will also miss out on extra tax the fund would have paid from its higher earnings.

The best part of the story is, of course, seeing Bill English take one in the skull from the blowback of his own actions. A guest post at the Standard from May 2009, which anticipated the suspension of payments, noted that ‘National doesn’t like the Cullen Fund, and they would get rid of it if they could. When they nicknamed it after Cullen, they meant it pejoratively’, and in that sense this news is welcome egg on their faces. This egg will multiply if it looks like he left the next Labour-led coalition a structural time bomb, which is hinted at in the guest post:

the law says that if contributions to the fund are suspended, they have to be made up with larger contributions in the future. We pay either now or later but we pay. That way, it’s a sure thing that we will have the pot of money when we need it.

This adds weight to the author’s conclusion that English is counting the the resumption of payments being a political difficulty for his opponents. Instead, it may turn out to make him look as spiteful as he is incompetent. This is emphasised by comments attributed to Labour’s David Parker, noting that ‘English had described the fund as “a dog” when it was launched’.

Unfortunately for English, it looks like Labour’s dog has outperformed National’s bitch this time. Delicious really; the left teaching the right a solid lesson in basic economics, namely that investing in the name of the many (rather than divesting in the name of the few) isn’t a revelation, but just plain common sense. We should savour it, and I think I will. Let’s just go over that one again:

‘English had described the fund as “a dog” when it was launched’.

Reality:

Fund size: $24.93 billion

Return since inception: 9.55 per cent per annum.

Return over last 12 months: 27.76 per cent

November return: 1.66 per cent

Maybe what he meant when he called it a dog was that he had an ardent desire to fuck it? When will the public realise that this is no exception; the left plans to invest, while the right plans theft. No wonder libertarians like to keep government out of the market: they just want to spare capitalists the embarassment.

The libertards have gone and got me all nostalgic, so let’s celebrate another successful left wing policy outperforming its opposite number with a jab at their political patron saint.

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