Posts by tussock

  • Hard News: Terror panics and the war imperative,

    News is the things that are not happening to you. Unfortunately, our monkeysphere sense says they must be happening to someone, because there's only about 150 of us, and so the insignificant bullshit which fills the news scares the crap out of most folk. Politicians and the media know and love this fact, using it to justify whatever they were going to do anyway.

    News at 11: we're invading Syria. Because they have oil and only Iran looking after them, who we aren't scared of. The trick is in creating a sufficiently fearsome enemy (we give them money via the Saudis, to buy arms via the Turks, and then highlight the resulting chaos and death all out of proportion) that can justify our looming mission.

    Remember, Syria is our ally. We sent them people for especially cruel torturing just recently. Also, Syria is our enemy. They torture people, FFS, it's monstrous. We also torture people, but anyone who tries to prove that goes to prison, and we don't call it torture so that's fine.

    Nothing's going to "go down" in New Zealand that isn't already going down on a routine basis. There's scores of murders every year, they're not even news, one day one will be by or of an "Islamic terrorist" who no one suspected of any such thing (because they weren't, duh) and that'll be trumpeted from the rooftops as we parcel some young men and women off to secure the safety of future oil supplies. It's for their own good, you see, enduring this and manifest that. Democracy. Whatever floats your boat, keeps the protests manageable.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Inequality: Too big to ignore, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    Pfft. The Laffer curve's fine. It's just you get maximum tax take at 70%, rather than 30%.

    It's not about tax anyway, it's about shut up, rich people work harder than you.

    They don't, their life is a literal cruise, but it's not about how hard you work anyway, it's about shut up, they're just smarter and more deserving.

    They're not, it's not even correlated, once you correct for how much they spend trying to look smart, but it's not about smart, it's about shut up, you're just jealous.

    Studies show that isn't true either, feelings vary greatly but tend toward a love of what you have and dread of richer and poorer lifestyles alike, but it's not about that, it's about shut up, you can't change the system.

    I mean, you can, obviously, just change the system. A 70% top tax rate does give the state the maximum amount of money for health and education and justice and infrastructure and real safety initiatives and transforming the economy before the looming oil crash in a world of rapid climate change, but it's not about that, it's just that rich people love their life and dread becoming a little less rich.

    So they buy governments and have laws passed to protect their wealth, and spend their days setting the poor against the even poorer so they'll all vote for it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Inequality: Too big to ignore,

    The fundamentals of it all is you get a large number of people get 15% poorer so a small number of people can get 45% richer, and then the economy grows by 15% less and you have large numbers 30% worse off in real terms so small numbers can be 30% better off. Hurray.

    Only the few right at the top are about 1000% better off in real terms and they also own the government. So that thing where most people are 10k a year short of where they should be? That's not going to change. The people appointed to your news programs by ex-ministers of state for the National party will not be banging on about this. Newspaper editors under the control of very rich men will find something else to worry you with.

    Expect reports very soon of more te'rism and war and the need for strict monitoring of everyone's communication for security reasons and what are you, some sort of communist terrorist, anyway. We torture people, you know. It's a thing. Doesn't work and we do it anyway. Lock people up for years just for talking about it. Just say'n.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: A rather incomplete…,

    @NSA, 13 terrorist attacks in twelve years in China is 1 per billion people per annum. At that rate NZ would expect one every 250 years.

    Anyway, urgent legislation happens to counter urgent events. The recent urgent event being Kim Dotcom's big show before the election where a reporter showed up on an aeroplane to criticise the local security clown show.

    So they're getting the right to grab all of such people's data on the way in or out of the country. Because that should stop the pricks turning up in the first place. Plus being given the right to do all the stuff they're doing anyway, as per normal. Finally, y'know, t'rism, for the name. Scratching out some judicial oversight about some unused bullshit makes a nice red herring.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Garbage in, garbage out,

    So, let's say the National Party knows that hanging shit on poor people and nominal criminal types is a reliable vote winner with the swingers. For argument's sake (because it isn't always that way).

    Let's say then they wanted to win votes, desperately. To win the election. Which was very close despite Labour getting beat up in the press afterward. Because they wouldn't be politicians otherwise, eh.

    What would be their imperative to tell the truth? Say they asked for a few different reports over the years and one was clearly bullshit but served their interests. Even without trying to get a broken report, they get a lot of them anyway and can just hang onto the right bits of the right ones for election time. Because the sky is falling and it's not the time to rock the boat => votes.

    Surely that's the expected behaviour. They don't want to start a civil war or anything, but demonising people in counter-cultural social clubs, people out of work a long time, anyone the swing voter is unlikely to know personally, it wins elections.


    So when something comes out near an election, a bit close to dig into it effectively, and it's one of those shitty vote-winners for them, it's going to be bullshit. Not fabricated, just wrong and probably long ago corrected.

    It seems like that should be the default assumption, because it's something they are strong incentives to do. Ministerial wage type benefits. Prestige. Just the thrill of winning, really, compared to the kick in the pants of losing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Song of Angry Women,

    There's been a substantial fall in the number of people who couldn't really understand why misogyny was bad, in various forums I frequent, as a result of gamergate conversations. Not to mention the great deal of further instruction that arose, about treating people decently no matter who they are, even when they're not present (because they usually are, duh).

    People I never really expected to be convinced of that have come on side. Not that the arguments were pretty, but almost no one wants to be on the side that's … those guys. They are exceptionally creepy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Housing, hope and ideology, in reply to Richard Aston,

    eg The 3 Strikes policy , simple ( dumb) solution to a complex problem but I bet it pulled in the punters ( um voters) .

    3 Strikes was ACT policy when they got under 1%. National passed it because ACT is the vehicle for their policies that voters hate.

    @Land values.
    See, building housing is profitable, because you buy bare land and put houses and roads and sewers and communications on it which makes the land worth a lot more money.

    People do it for a living, because it's profitable (and you can hand off the risks to all sorts of suckers), but it's even more profitable to build mansions rather than public housing. Which is why National has been tearing down public housing to build private mansions.

    They know building houses for poor people is profitable to the state, they'd just rather not. Like their tax system starves them of money for public health and education, but there's plenty of money for huge new public spending on private schools and hospitals. Like the beneficiaries have to be treated like criminals all the time, but those regulations on employers are a bit tough because obviously none of them would ever abuse weak-ass employment laws.

    They say it's about cost. In a way that's even true, being a decent society would make it more expensive to get people to fluff their pillows for them. How inconvenient is it that the poor don't give you free housemaids any more? Benefit cuts, that's what we need. Market rents. Got to keep "costs" down.

    That's what people vote for. Privilege. Not how rich you are, but how much richer. Having a few things that other people can't have is much nicer than having more things, don't you know.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Housing, hope and ideology,

    It's the underpants gnomes all the way down, except they've got a step 2.

    1: Supply and demand works, for profit maximisation.
    2: Price-indexed subsidies to remove the price drag on demand.
    3: Profit!!!!!
    3a: Also a massive subsidy cost, borrowed from future generations. Suckers.

    Obviously if you cared about making rent prices come down, you'd increase the supply. Of things for people to rent. Like houses. Or reduce demand by taking people out of the rent market. By giving them a state house with a low rent. That's what works. For people who aren't landlords.

    So for a thousand people to support them in income related rents costs us $12 million, to build a thousand state homes costs us half a billion.

    So.
    1: It doesn't take a thousand homes to house a thousand people.
    2: If you actually build a thousand homes, you get massive bulk discounts, like how you can fit them all in a few big buildings.
    3: The money you spend on rent is a "loss", while the money on houses is an "investment". That means the house money is still on your books. Think of it as a $12 Million+ (you also get rents) return per annum on your $500 million- (how are they spending $500k per house anyway? They can get land cheap, prefabs cost fuck all, so whut?) investment.


    Which is to say, this is all about giving money to the bourgeoisie.

    (in Marxist theory) the class that, in contrast to the proletariat or wage-earning class, is primarily concerned with property values.

    Muldoon was the same with the subsidies for farmers in the little farm seats. Key is with propping up the dairy. Find the biggest, most precarious bubble in your economy, pump a whole lot more air into it whatever the cost, and hope like hell it holds until the next government's term. Meanwhile, more wine for the drunks: other people's sobriety is bothering them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Doing over the witness,

    If word gets around this thread could get really long.

    So I always like to drop into these conversations that if some thug beats the snot out of you or breaks all your stuff out of spite, it's bloody nice to have a police force that will take offence on your behalf and go sort them out, and then later also take them to court for you.

    Assuming someone can point them in the right direction and they happen to like the look of you more than said thug.

    The thing is the police really need to be quite gentle about even that, on account of how they've so often got the wrong end of the stick along the way. Not to mention all the victimless crimes that so easily fill in their charge sheets for them. Otherwise we end up with a lot more victims of the police and the law than of any actual thugs.

    Which is where you get the "jokes" about resisting arrest and assaulting an officer by bruising his knuckles with your face. Or bleeding on his uniform as a bit of a shocker from the US recently.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What to make of the spray, in reply to mark taslov,

    OK, so I don't think the government can use evidence from 2008 in the decisions they made in 2006. Time, it only goes one way.

    The numbers from medfacts.com are you seeing patterns in noise, confirmation bias. 1/256 is ONE PERSON. There's no R^2 there, it's not even a correlation, let alone causative.

    The "silent crisis" people aren't saying there's an increase, they're saying we could do more with the large numbers of people who die of that group of cancers and always have died from them. Which is where we could do more with pretty much everything in NZ. 30% tax doesn't pay for itself.

    People being evacuated after showing unusual reactions is because people who show early allergic symptoms from anything are prone to anaphylaxis with continued exposure. Metal. Plastic. Peanuts. Sawdust. Bee stings. Anything.

    Worldwide death rates for anything are useless for NZ. Almost everyone in the world is very poor, and those people die of things that don't happen here. Few of them live long enough to get our most common forms of death, heart attacks and cancer. We have more cancer deaths than poor countries because we don't die of everything else first.



    Yes, pesticides and herbicides and fungicides often show health problems in heavily exposed populations down the track, more so in the past (especially in NZ where things sometimes got dumped after being banned elsewhere, under the Bretton-Woods system you sometimes had to buy some awful crap to be able to export /aside). But they're mostly very rare and located in people who are regularly exposed in relatively massive doses. I've got a cousin used to spray for a living and had to stop after developing nasty allergies due to constant wind-blown exposure, unrelated congenital problems making it much worse. Nearly killed him one day and he finally thought better of it.

    But compared to normal stuff like particulates from road traffic (or, say, the sugar added to your food), the numbers exposed in dangerous amounts are tiny and so are the number of deaths. Workers are much better protected and the sprays are much better targeted at specific organisms.

    Like, the one farmer who gave himself a hundred doses every couple weeks for two years, that's not how people in Auckland were exposed.

    Since Nov 2006 • 488 posts Report Reply

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