Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Taming the Vampire Squid

Comment on this article by Ruth Potts at the  New Economics Foundation  concerning the proposed changes to the Bank of England Act, though equally applicable in all countries.

Of course the banks wield a very big stick when it comes to the damage they could do to a nation or government that threatens their hegemony. It seems unlikely, but we may hope the government are playing a bluff with the banks in order to buy time to organise a "coup de grace" against the vampires, placing them under administration, reforming accounts strictly into safe storage accounts for those who seek a safe home for their money, investment accounts for those that can afford to take a risk in order to seek a return on their capital and to "mark to market value" those toxic "assets", derivatives etc that the bankers have invented to inflate the apparent worth of their business and so justify their huge bonuses. The banks are certain to be as obstructive as possible in this matter. The political elite must realise that the unfettered growth of the financial sector in the last thirty years or so at the expense of the real economy has made the economy highly unstable, and that the social trauma of the inevitable deflation that must follow as night follows day will send the world into chaos and tyrany. The big question is- who will be brave enough to take the quantum leap?

Monday, October 4, 2010

What Might a Civil Emergency Caused by Supply Chain Collapse Look Like?

For a likely scenario I would consider what happened in Russia in the years following the revolution. The country was in disarray due to the aftermath of WW1, and they were also under embargo from the major powers who were also backing the "White Russian" forces in their counter-revolutionary civil war.

  The populations in the cities were starving, and the ruling communist party knew that they had better be fed or they would lose control of the situation, so they dispatched commissars with militia units to the rural areas to sieze food supplies from the peasants and "kulaks"(larger landowning farmers)who, of course were vilified as "counter-revolutionaries" in order to justify the appropriation of their goods. As a result of this many of the rural workers and experienced and knowledgable agriculturalists starved- guess what that did to the food supply?
  I suppose what I am saying is that, in this sort of a crisis, the government is more dangerous to you than random pilagers if you had the foresight to produce enough food to keep yourself and your family (which we do).

  Provision needs to be made to enable the movement of significant numbers of urban workers to be billeted in areas capable of food production- ideally with friends and relatives at first. Surveys need to be done to determine which areas of the country best produce the foodstuffs we mainly import (principally grains) which shouldn't be too difficut as NZ was self-sufficient in grains until the 1970's.

  The political parties will never address these issues as political power lies principally in the cities. City dwellers would be horrified by what I am suggesting (I can hear the cries of "Pol Pot" as I write) but how many of them have ever actually experienced an empty belly? Many city dwellers produce "wealth" on paper but in a crisis their efforts become completely nullified as they create no tangible benefit with respect to peoples immediate needs. In the longest term I would expect to see a reduction of urban population to between 10 and 30% of total population. I sincerely believe every one of us needs to develop three skill sets to survive and thrive- as a food producer, as a craftsperson, and a cultural / artistic component too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Snivelling MAF-Biosecurity Toadies Let Arrogant CRI Blunderers off the Hook Again!!

The defiant attitude of managers at various Crown Research Institutes that have been responsible for breaches of biosecurity conditions imposed in accordance with Acts of Parliament beggars belief.

They seem to believe that it is ok to ignore containment conditions if they consider them to be inconvenient or entailing costs on the basis of "we know best". If we all flouted the Laws of the Land because we judged ourselves to be above them on account of our superior intelligence, my what a sorry state we'd be in!

Perhaps if investigation and prosecution of the offenders was made a police matter rather than being left to ERMA and MAF-Biosecurity, both of whom seem overly familiar with the genetic science fraternity, we would see a sharpening of their sense of probity.

To say the Aridopsis seeds were "inaccurately identified as not-GE on import documents" verges on an abuse of language. "Falsely declared" would be less mealy-mouthed. Presumably the said documents had a signature- is signing a false declaration on import documents no longer an offence?

For Plant and Food’s chief executive to say that GM research helps to support industries worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the economy is stretching credulity beyond belief. GM plant science has failed to live up to expectations and has been dogged by a litany of horrors including reduced yields, crop failures, toxicity, pesticide resistant superweeds and pest tolerance. Meanwhile New Zealand's reputation for producing wholesome, natural foodstuffs is put at risk from the spectre of GM releases.

Rather than a simple "cut and paste" operation, insertion of genes into organisms has proved to be like a many sided Rubik's Cube, entailing multiple consequences, most of them adverse, which none of the pioneers could have forseen. None of the old hands who have dedicated lifelong careers in search of this particular Holy Grail are prepared to say "sorry, we were wrong". Like High Priests of some arcane religion or alchemists of old they continue to draw in accolytes to their futile search, thereby wasting talented young scientists efforts in pursuit of this perversion. One suspects that for many, the quest has become more important than the goal.

Many years ago, New Zealand had a global reputation in the field of plant breeding that was built on painstaking work, meticulous testing and record-keeping. Many of the grasses, clovers and forage plants bred fifty and sixty years ago are still in use or are the parent plants of todays varieties. This type of plant breeding may not be a "sexy" as the high tech GM approach, but it is proven to give better, safer results and the vast majority of the world's plant varieties are produced this way.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Roger Douglas addresses UK think-tank REFORM

My response to:-Better Democracy NZ: Reforming Public Services

By all accounts, it is perfectly reasonable to dismiss Roger Douglas as "selfish" or, to be strictly accurate, self serving. Douglas was a labour MP for twenty one years and a natural choice for the labour party heirarchy as his family had strong ties with the trade-union movement, and were actively engaged in politics. His father Norman and brother Malcolm were both Labour politicians. During the mid 'eighties, Douglas as finance minister pursued economic policies that were fully in step with the neoliberal policies of the Thatcher and Reagan administrations. As a result, he, with the support of the Labour caucus, managed to keep the Parliamentary Labour party in their careers by pursuing policies that were in direct conflict with the aspirations of the rank-and-file membership of their party. I say this neither to condemn nor endorse those policies, but merely to illustrate the self-serving nature of the political elite.

I agree that people need to take more responsibility for themselves, but to say they are "looking for the taxpayers to bail them out" is simplistic. The tax and benefits system is about co-responsibility and it is a form of insurance which some lucky individuals (like Douglas et.al.) will never be in the position of needing to avail themselves of. It is these individuals (or, rather, a subgroup of self-congratulatory ideologues) who vocally pursue this attitude of "devil take the hindmost". A few unfortunates will always need cradle-to grave support (or will we leave them on a mountainside to die, like the ancient Spartans?) The fact that there are people out there who abuse the system says more about the lack of moral values in our society which is in turn a result of a lack of social cohesion.

Why the emphasis on creating greater wealth?- the era of economic growth is all over bar the shouting. The global per-capita wealth has been falling since 1970, including right through the "efficiencies" of the Thatcher/Reagan/Douglas era and has nothing whatever to do with state versus private responsibilities. It is merely a function of population growth pitted against depletion of the worlds finite resources. Surely the most desirable outcome is resilient communities, from which the above-mentioned moral values, social cohesion and yes, even a full participation in meaningful democratic processes would naturally spring.

It is true that "many have come to accept that it is the responsibility of the government to continuously look after them" but this paternalistic attitude has been deliberately fostered by politicians of all persuasions in order to undermine the notion of citizens as Sovereign. it goes hand-in hand with the "trust us, we know what's best for you" attitude. Neither the established Left or Right has any interest in fostering "personal responsibility for our own lives" as it undermines the power of the Bureaucracy on the one hand, on the other the power of Corporate Capital. People who take "personal responsibility for their own lives" are fine if they are a few high-flying entrepreneurs, but a few million of them equals a revolution! There is no-one, NO-ONE! in the mainstream political arena advocating for rights, responsibilities and sovereignty of individuals. They are weeded out by party apparatus and the electoral system itself.

Given the chance, any public service will grow to the limit of available resources. Every sectional interest, be it health, pensions, education, defence etc. whether it be run as a bureaucracy or on a business model will seek to enlarge itself at the expense of others vying for the same funds. I do not believe that public sector inefficiencies necessarily cost more than extraction of profit by the private sector. Swings and Roundabouts. We need to decide how much to put in the kitty and what proportion goes to which service. Which we do. One thing is for sure, degenerate lifestyle choices makes for sick, lazy people who are a drain on us all. This goes back to moral values and social cohesion again.

Now is not the time to be encouraging people to be putting their hard earned cash into insurance companies and superannuation schemes run by banks. These loathesome snakes have been sucking the lifeblood out of society for aeons and are very soon going to get their come-uppance on account of the aforementioned "end of the era of economic growth". The banks are desperate to get "Mom & Pop" pension investors on board to justify future bail-outs when crisis comes round again (see here) (and here)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Compulsory Kiwisaver? Invest in your own Slavery!

Mr Sam Knowles, CEO of Kiwibank wants us all to be forced to put our hard earned loot into "savings" (or should that be "slavings") - better off stuffing the mattress with it, I recon, or using it for bog-paper for that matter.

"If we have compulsory taxation for retirement, we need compulsory savings. That's part of the balance of individual responsibility," he says. -Isn't that what's called a non-sequetor? shouldn't one of those "haves" and "needs" have a "don't" in front of it. Is this logically fallacious buffoon really a chief executive? One thing's for sure, he's an obedient minion of the Banking Elite (must be looking for a job in the private sector-or be a mate of weary banker John Key) who've got the governments of the world firmly by the short-and-curlies with their credit guarantees and now they're asking wage-earning workers to set themselves up as "human shields" to enable them to carry out a future heist. "Oh help, Mr prime-minister of some government in the not-too-distant future! the banks are failing again! Pleeeeeeze! bale them out again or we'll loose our pensions."

You could call this a lose-lose-lose-lose situation. First, the hard earned gets sucked out of the victims pocket. Next the victim spends years wellwishing those disgusting usurers whom he ought to hate and despise. Then when the banks have another crisis the nations are blackmailed into another support package underwritten by the very same taxpayer whose 10% premium they've been bludgeing for years. Eventually it all goes to custard anyway and the poor sod starves in old age or civil society picks up the tab yet again.

How should pensions work? - see my previous post

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Anti-Democratic Elitist Political Class

One thing that politicians, political scientists and civil servants have in common is that, in the main, they believe that the modern state is far too complex and interconnected with global political and economic forces to function in an autonomous way. That is to say, they believe that sovereignty has to be subservient to these forces. Thus the processes of government become a task of administration within the framework defined by non- democratic institutions such as the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and trans-national corporate businesses.

In order to maintain the credibility of their offices, the political establishment have to give the impression that they are functioning within the remit of democratic government. Thus we have the window-dressing of endless tinkering with minutiae of the law eg. the anti-smacking bill or the new seabed and foreshore act which the commentators say will make very little difference in practice. The proposed referendum on changing the voting system still leaves the same clique in power, albeit in slightly different proportions.

The greatest travesty against democracy in recent times- the suspension of elected Ecan councillors by the Minister for the Environment using his statutory powers shows the true colours of the political class- anti-democratic when is comes to the service of a couple of hundred fat-cat cow-cockies versus the democratic right of 300 000 Cantabrians- because of their slavish belief that the income to the nation of increased milk sales overseas is more important than democracy itself. As Steve Baron of Better Democracy NZ says tongue-in-cheek- "Perhaps we could also repeal representative democracy"- well here you see that repeal in action.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kieth Lockes Republican Referendum Bill Falls at the First Hurdle

Once again, the Green Party (who I ought to be a supporter of, considering my views on the environment) demonstrate their willingness to sup from the poisoned chalice, just as they did with the "anti-smacking bill". The Green party certainly buys into the whole "trust us we know whats best for you" gambit and ought to be a tendency within the Labour party for that is where they belong (the parliamentary party that is, there are many good people within the rank-and-file).

A President as head of state will, for all sorts of reasons that have been discussed here before, NOT deliver a better alternative to the Monarchy UNTIL we throw the treacherous "political class" of all shades out of the beehive and get some sort of mandated, recallable, delegate system going in it's place. This is a core requirement for popular Sovereignty, along with our State resuming sole right for the issuing of Currency, thus ending the disastrous result of centuries of usury that has seen the banks become so powerful that their interests have precedence over the interests of individual and national well-being.

The Political Class want rid of the Monarchy for the same reason they wanted rid of the Privy Council- They don't like ultimate authority vested in some institution that is not dominated by them or cannot be bought by them. For this reason even John Key is a closet republican and would have his party vote for a Republic were it not for the fact that a lot of their core voters are sentimentally attached to the Monarchy.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The best argument against a republic I have seen

( from stuff.co.nz / comments)
Keith #4 8:22am

Anyone who thinks that becoming a republic is just a matter of having a debate and then signing the legislation off has not bothered to read history. Most republics in history have been born out of war, revolution or constitutional crisis - not debate. And even most nations that became republics in the post-WW2 era have collapsed into some form of military or political dictatorship at some stage of their existence. Republicanism guarantees nothing in terms of democracy, even in countries with a European-based culture. France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain all suffered dictatorships in their early republican history and names such as Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Franco have become by-words for everything that can go horribly wrong in supposedly civilised nations. Even the United States could not avoid a brutal civil war early in its history. South Africa and Rhodesia both declared themselves republics in the belief that breaking their ties with Britain would solve all their racial problems. Instead, it just made things worse. Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe - is an absolute basket-case of a republic ruled by a racist megalomaniac. The republic of Fiji has spent most of its time under military rule. The republic of Turkey has just arrested most of its top military officers on charges of plotting a coup. The Spanish restored their monarchy after the death of the dictator, Franco, because they understood its unifying value in a politically-divided nation. Contrast these events with the relative political stability enjoyed by constitutional monarchies such as Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands and you can see what we have to lose. Yes, New Zealand may become a republic sometime in the future but there is no justifiable political reason to do it now.