Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Crash and Contempt

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  • Simon Grigg,

    Of course you tell me it is the Palin story that is killing McCain, "proof" of which can be found in polling coincidental with a large Wall Street reversal. I'd put your assessment at 80% smoke & mirrors.

    Once again Angus, polling proves a problem with you. Have you heard the much used phrase 'polling lag'. To blame the week's McCain drops on 'the economy' is either dishonest, or just plain silly. Half the polling was done before the crashes, and much of the rest on day one. The effect of Wall Street on polling is still some days off.

    Wander around the various polling sites, the drop off in positives for Palin have almost exactly coincided with McCain's fall. It was predicted and repeatedly by polling analysts and ain't stopped yet.

    She's a Democrat asset in making.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Too right. Key is runinng on the self-made man myth, let's have a little conversation about what a currency trader does and how he makes his money, and whether you'd want to put him in charge of a country.

    From the Big Book of Career Opportunities: a currency trader gambles with his employer's money, buying and selling foreign currency. If he gets it right, his employer makes a big profit and they give him a very big bonus for Christmas. If he gets it wrong, his employer goes down the gurgler.

    It is simple, really, and pretty much the same as borrowing to fund tax cuts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The Fed comes up with an $85 billion bailout to save AIG from bankruptcy.

    And, if I've read this correctly, the federal government now owns 80% of a deeply troubled insurance company and hopes the eventual sell-off will raise enough to cover the loan and the rather steep interest.

    Be interested to see how that crap shoot works out.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    After all, Cullen is trying to paint himself as the sober hand on the tiller. Not seeing much evidence of it so far.

    Other than everything is done in his first eight years as finance minister, you mean, or are you only ever as good as your last budget?

    Besides, I thought you weren't against questioning somebody's qualifications to govern a country. I'm not saying Key should be piplloried for having been a currency trader, but perhaps a slightly more critical and nuanced view than the current "he handled money, he made money, he's ready to go" couldn't hurt.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Rereading your own comments for typos couldn't hurt either, I guess. Apologies.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Rereading your own comments for typos couldn't hurt either, I guess. Apologies.

    Russell gets great, and very perverse, pleasure from the lack of an edit button here.....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Other than everything is done in his first eight years as finance minister, you mean, or are you only ever as good as your last budget?

    No, Giovanni, I'm talking about his sudden transformation into Dr. Phil -- might be marginally more serious economic questions for our consideration over the next seven weeks that Mike's bizarre forays into pop psych. I'm all for "critical and nuanced", but I'm still waiting for that failed academic who has never had a real job in life (see how easy it is?) to bring some.

    Or perhaps not. We shall see, and I'm scrubbing the dried blood and bone off the head-banging wall just in case.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm still waiting for that failed academic who has never had a real job in life (see how easy it is?) to bring some.

    How easy is it do what? Isn't lecturing for ten years at Otago university a real job now? And you could try beating being finance minister for nine with a stick.

    But you know, I'm not suggesting we start flinchin random mud, perhaps we could talk about what a currency trader does, it's all I'm saying. You seem to find the strangest moral equivalences sometimes.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Russell gets great, and very perverse, pleasure from the lack of an edit button here.....

    Long may it continue -- the phantom edit button has been this boy's best scapegoat for years!

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    How easy is it do what?

    Coming up with asinine poo-bites to bitch your political enemies with.

    Isn't lecturing for ten years at Otago university a real job now?

    I happen to think so -- and I've always thought it was a rather fatuous sneer to launch against people like Cullen and Clark, just as some folks on the left really have a very strange chip on their shoulders about farmers. On one level, I guess we all reach for social and occupational stereotypes because they're a useful substitue for thought. But Cullen's effort was just stupid, and launched at a time where it would have been nice if the Finance Minister had more on his mind that a campaign poo-bite.

    You seem to find the strangest moral equivalences sometimes.

    Not really, Giovanni. Stupid is stupid.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    I think I'll add "piplloried" to my lexicon, it has a nice ring. Not sure what it means yet but I'm sure someone can supply something appropriate

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Not sure what it means yet but I'm sure someone can supply something appropriate

    First you pillory the guy as per usual, then you slap him on the face with copies of Mr Pip. Hardback or paperback, depending on the nature of the offence.

    I've got to tell you guys everything, and it's not even my first language.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    I've got to tell you guys everything, and it's not even my first language.

    Ah but it's that Renaissance style and way with words you have.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Besides, why have a dog and bark yourself? ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    As long as we get a similar discussion about whether we really want to give someone this unserious a fourth term. After all, Cullen is trying to paint himself as the sober hand on the tiller. Not seeing much evidence of it so far.

    Craig,love you dearly, especially the early stuff, but sometimes, :)......As far as a similar discussion, can I just toss in $50 bucks a week tax cut does not make good economic sense now even if Mr leader of "I know how to make millions" party thinks so. How unserious do you think that sounds? Cullen may seem unserious to you, perhaps a little boring but "The cupboard is bare" is in my mind pretty accurate. The public have demanded a cut for many years without being serious about anything but personal greed and Labour saw fit to offer a token thanx to placate them. I don't see that as a problem, but now the cupboard is bare. Serious.
    I struggle (with all due respect) to understand why ,(oh why) you really think this will be a party for the likes of you as you seem pretty fair to me and I do worry . And I don't want a fight. Just thinking :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    You know, it's easy to get smug about Lehman's and the like.

    What happened back here, if people hadn't noticed, was that highly risky lending also went on. However, instead of investment professionals pricing the loans and stuffing up, they sold them to "little old ladies" who promptly lost all their money.

    Is ours a better system?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4362 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Besides, why have a dog and bark yourself?

    That is a lovely sounding proverb that some day I plan to understand.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Is ours a better system?

    no, but it is a lot smaller and more personal.<only half joking>

    but seriously, what went on in the housing markets and mortgage-backed securities markets in the US over the last 10 years makes even NZ's own little South Seas Tulip Mania seem cute and harmless in comparison.

    i point you to a nice, scary-but-true story...(actually, two connected stories)

    The Alchemy of Mezzanine-CDOs: “One of the Biggest Financial Illusions the World has Ever Seen”

    Wall Street Chop Shop

    from top to bottom, from the house buyer to the pension fund contributor, the whole thing is a scam. Multi-trillions, disappeared, into the ether. or someone's pocket. take your pick.

    tokyo • Since Nov 2006 • 628 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    @RB.
    Congrats on the whole autism conference thing. Sorry for ranting on your blog some more.

    I'm not sure we can discuss this much further without really risking the ire of David Collins (and your mind's made up anyway)

    I'm just concerned about a whole different side of this to you (and equally amazed you can't see it, no doubt). Where you see a danger of potential terrorists, I see a danger of potential police abuse of power using dodgy laws.

    but my view remains as ever: that a few people -- however righteous they seemed to themselves -- were doing things that absolutely warranted the attention of the police.

    A quick chat seems to have been in order after a couple of hunters came out of the bush with scary stories, but local police weren't even informed there was an investigation, for over a year. Have they never heard of an interview?

    I think you'll find that the police didn't "slander" anyone as a terrorist, and in fact carefully avoided using the term. They were obliged to advise people that warrants had been issued in relation to potential offences under the Terrorism Suppression Act and the Arms Act.

    I'm pretty sure they told whatever judge issued the warrant that they were dealing with scary terrorists, despite the complete lack of any actual terrorism. The masked thugs they sent 'round as a result kinda made it all public. I'm sure they didn't break any laws, but I'm also sure their investigations had found absolutely no evidence of terrorism of any sort, despite the judge issuing a fishing warrant in hope of finding some.

    In my view it was reasonable to suppose that there were potential offences under both.

    It was worth an investigation, because there was a complaint, starting with talking to the people that a couple of hunters thought were scary. If Mr Locket broke a law by his purchase of arms on the internet, go arrest him. Otherwise, remind them of applicable laws and leave them be.

    As it happened, Collins denied police permission to proceed under the TSA (which means some of the evidence gathered in support of the original warrants will not be admissable), largely because the law was too difficult to apply, but noted that the investigation had halted "very disturbing activities".

    Bah. There are things that are legal which everyone may do, and things that are illegal that no one may do, and licenses for everything between. "Very disturbing activities" has no legal meaning whatsoever, and isn't any sort of reason to go pointing guns at people or putting them in prison.

    See, I'm very disturbed by family first and the sensible sentencing trust, but I would hope the police don't go 'round, strip search their families, seize their computers and check all their personal contacts, imprison them, or anything of the sort. We live in a free country, and people are allowed to be disturbing to the eyes of others, as long as they don't hurt anyone in any sort of direct fashion while they're about it.

    Despite what the Terrorism Suppression Act says.

    It may be that what was going on was largely bullshit, and/or that the police mishandled their inquiry. But if someone takes your bullshit insurgency playacting seriously on account of there being real weapons involved, I believe your scope for complaint is somewhat limited.

    Please don't pretend you're surprised that Tama Iti is a political activist who owns a gun, and that he knows some people who are activists, and knows others who own guns, and a few who fit in both camps. It's ludicrous.


    Oh well, may a judge never be "disturbed" by a select reading of your associates' ramblings, Russel, lest they come for the bloggers.

    Since Nov 2006 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Simon Grigg - has anyone else noticed he is world famous on Air NZ?

    Those quiz question thingies that flash up on the TV screens between Wellington and Auckland have a question about a House Music club set up in the 80s by SG. Buggered if I can remember the answer :-0

    Oh, Yes, that was completely OT...as you were.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I agree Tussock, but bear in mind that our democratic system has been questionable for some time and the TSA was not the first. I recall when the misuse of drugs act came in. Basically there is no need for any warrant now because of this act and can in many cases be used for entry, just, on suspicion of drugs.
    A dear friend of mine said once (actually more than once, and then I tell him once blue always blue and then we laugh but I digress...) that, even if Scott Watson wasn't quilty the boys must have wanted him for something else, so he probably deserved it.My small point being, Is this supposed to be acceptable? How far are these laws creeping?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Amen to that man Tussock.

    Russell: As to what peace activists might do with silencers... I think you might have meant 'What would some alleged peace activists be doing with silencers?' Tarring all the arrestees with the same political brush, terrorist or otherwise, really doesn't help matters.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 401 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Ah, just read backwards to find the 'Let's not talk about things potentially incurring the wrath of the SG.' Zipping it now.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 401 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    Is this supposed to be acceptable? How far are these laws creeping?

    I think they're almost already there.

    The TSA casts a wide net. The only thing between that and other activists (without guns) is the person who denies/allows police permission to proceed under the TSA. In its first incarnation it wasn't so bad, but I seem to recall an extra bit, and addition/amendment, that went through with other legislation later. I have no detail now, it all disappeared with the last computer pfft and I'm to busy to faff around, am not excellent at using search engines.

    I'm told Annette King was talking about another Bill this morning, to do with the SFO. Then there will be the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Bill to follow after that. There is a huge net being cast, and this is a small country. All is needed for surveillance is a suspicion, but based on what didn't seem to be defined. Perhaps an 0800 line ?

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Those quiz question thingies that flash up on the TV screens between Wellington and Auckland have a question about a House Music club set up in the 80s by SG.

    Ha..really? Am I allowed to say How Bizarre?

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

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