Thursday, June 03, 2004
While out browsing....
A few quick aggregates from the political scene tonight.....
There is a bit of a bun fight going on over on the Whigs blog centered around the ACT Primary. Things seem to be getting nasty towwards the end- yet they started out so well in Dunedin....
Note to the Whig... where is your... if it ain't syndicated it ain't read in this household :-(
The Whig also points to a great spoof site....
http://www.densitychurch.org/ Happy Clapping for Jesus.
You've kinda got to be a Kiwi to get a lot of this (Destiny Church is a Happy Clappy NZ Church)... but it makes for sme good light reading.
You can even buy some great T Shirts......
Politics | Sacrilegion|Thursday, June 03, 2004 6:50:42 AM UTC||
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
SF Court rules Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Unconstitutional
Planned Parenthood's San Francisco-based challenge the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003 has succeeded at the trial court level. Check out the Court's order here. Check out a press release here.
There are two similar challenges also proceeding in New York and Philadelphia. Neither of those courts has ruled yet on the issue.
Politics|Wednesday, June 02, 2004 9:11:12 PM UTC||
117% Effective marginal Tax Rate!
Rodney is blogging some calculations that show that there is potential for a 117% effective marginal tax rate under this new budget.... Earn $100 lose $117 i.e. $17 worse off for earning another $100!
See the details here.
Politics|Wednesday, June 02, 2004 1:26:20 AM UTC||
Monday, May 31, 2004
Hooray.... a blogversation has started.
Berend has posted some replies to my recent rant and I actually think that we probably agree on what the end result should be....
I essentially agree with Chris point of view. But again, this isn't an integrated package. It doesn't remove state paid child care for example.
*nods*... If only it were an integrated package! I think that we could actually quite easily agree on what the end result should/could be... we are just divided on how to get there....
Labour wants to change the law. Do we really believe a Labour law will give more freedom to the people? It doesn't. It will have huge impact on who you can employ as a business or who you can appoint as teacher at your school.
To be completely honest I think the horse has unfortunatly already bolted on these. I think that the Human Rights Act already makes it nearly impossible to discriminate in the hiring process. I don't think that the Civil Unions Bill will have a great effect on the hiring/firing thing.
It affirms that the government has something to say about marriage and can define what it is. I thought real Libertarians denied the government could do this. So how can it be a step in the good direction?
But the crucial point is that it DOESNT try and say anything about marriage. The bill says that the goverment will recognise the legal union of two people of the same sex and that this recognition is categoricaly NOT marriage as the current statutory definition defines it. It's the christian brigade who say that that is something akin to marriage. I do deny that the government should be involved in marriage- get them the hell out. Let the churches have the concept of marriage back to offer as the icing on the relationship cake to those who abide by their beliefs.
The quote that ACT has steadfastly opposed each of the anti-family Bills that it has introduced came from a column of Muriel Newman.
Of all the ACT MPs she is probably the one that would look least out of place in United Future so it is an unsurprising comment. But, let's quickly flick through those bills- I'm going off the cuff here so I may totally stuff up and make some invalid assumptions about the contents of these bills but here goes...
Property (Relationships) Amendment Bill.
I would hope that the problem that most (Muriel obviously excepted) ACT MPs had with this bill was that it forced unchosen obligations onto people who, in many cases, had made a deliberate choice not to enter into a statutory relationship.
Families Commission Bill
Can't really remember enough about the Bill to comment- always seemed to be a let's create a social construct so that we can throw money at it Bill to me anyway. Bills that contain the workding 'for the good of Families' scare me almost as much as bills with the wording 'for the good of Society'....
Care of Children Bill
Muriel complains about it making it easier for gay partners to become guardians of children. I personally think that we should set a far higher standard than we currently do before awarding guardianship... but, I don't have a problem with gay people caring for children. I'm inclined to agree that the lack of a shared parening clause is unfortunate.
I would hope that my statements on the 'family friendly' budget give some indication as to my feelings for have a child earn another buck govt. funding programs.
Civil Union Bill...
Already discussed in the last article. Neuman rolls out the usual 'bad for marriage' stuff... It's not marriage nor does it pretend to be marriage. it is something quite distinct. Hell, if it were available it might make a good option for those of us heterosexual people who aren't really into the whole Christian concept of marriage. It's sure as hell a better idea that the stupid 'deemed civil union' shit that came through in the Property (Relationships) Amendment Bill.
So hopefully there are some areas in which Berend on the conservative side and myself on the liberal side can agree on. Here are a couple of questions for him and others...*puts on his utopian crystal ball gazer hat*
1. In the ideal world the government would not have anything to do with marriage except for enforcing marriage contracts in the same way as they might enforce any other contract.
Politics | Rants|Monday, May 31, 2004 10:49:12 AM UTC||
2. In the ideal world the government would not be dishing out any favours or 'rights' on the basis of relation status, be that attached or unattached.
Sunday, May 30, 2004
I Just got politipolled
Just got off the phone with the UMR (I think) research people....
Questions asked were the usual political support questions.
ACT for Party Vote last election and this.
Pete Hodgson for Candidate vote last election and probably this
Brash for preferred PM
Some what did you think of the budget questions
I thought the budget was bollocks as I have already alluded to several times.
Some questions on the proposed passport changes
I'm more than happy to pay more for a more secure passport.
A civil unions bill question
Surprise surprise I'm fully in favour
A raising the drinking age question
Against- if you can fight and die for your country then you should be entitled to get on the booze too.
If it's a poll of 1000 New Zealanders let's hope that I've added my 2 cents worth for the popularity of freedom.
Politics | Rambles|Sunday, May 30, 2004 11:06:32 PM UTC||
The Tax Bribe Thing.... Let's fight fire with fire...
It's budget week here in New Zealand.
It was, as you would expect from a Labour budget, full of bribes- most designed to kick in after the next election.
So anyway.... this, along with the title to a Blog Entry by Rodney Hide (What’s in it for me? ) got me thinking....
Ultimately we live in a democracy and as a libertarian with philosophical underpinnings that lean toward objectivisim “What's in it for me?” has an important ring to it. As human being we should, and as a general rule are, driven by self interest. This self interest becomes very important when we think of our democratic process wherein she with the most numbers takes the prize. Hence the incentive for 'progressive' taxation and wealth redistribution. Now I'm opposed to both of these in principle but I'm increasingly becoming resigned to their continued existence. So I've got an idea I've been kicking around for a few days and I'd like to kick it open to the floor for some comments (comment link is below).
Why don't we fight election bribe fire with fire.
The case for lower business taxes and a flat personal tax rate is a pretty tough sell in our political environment. Hell, even the Nats are not committing to bringing the 60k+ tax rate back to 33c. The lower tax rates lead to economic growth theory, though well underpinned by independent research, is hard to convince the general public of. It is a bit of a sorry indictment on the state of our society and our general education, but, people really need to see $$$ now.
So... where is all this waffle going....
I propose that we start an organisation of businesses, independant of any political party, the members of which commit to the following (or some close derivative thereof).
Each business member will commit that, on the implementation of a tax cut to the corporate tax rate, they will distribute 30% of of that cut evenly among their employees. So, if the next govt cuts the corporate rate to 30c, the business would commit to distributing 1c in the dollar among their employees.
Now the period of this distribution commitment is something that needs to be fleshed out. The two ideas I have thus far are:
1. From the implementation of the tax cut to the end of the parliamentary term.
2. From the implementation of the tax cut to the point at which govt. revenue returns to the level it was at prior to the cut.
Thoughts? PLEASE POST COMMENTS! Is it a good idea? A stupid idea? Reasons?
Politics | Rambles|Sunday, May 30, 2004 1:55:34 AM UTC||
More on Rodney Hide and the Civil Unions Bill
Berend de Boer another ACT supporting software engineer has posted some stuff on the current ACT primary. He linked bac to me and I saw the linkback so had a read of his article. The english is a bit lacking but it is a reaonably detailed article and, for much the same reasons as myself Berand reaches the conclusion that Rodney is the man for the job. This is particularly interesting in so far as Berand falls squarely in the conservative christain camp whereas Rodney would probably not mind being given the title of most Liberal (in the classical sense) ACT MP.
The Once Over Lightly
Berand attended a couple of the meetings I think including the Chris Trotter meeting. He makes some similar notes to what I did about each of the candidates speeches. Notably that Ken Shirley is a real performer.
Like me Berand was interested in testing the candidates under a policy high ball. Being from the conservative persuasion he (innevitably) chose the civil unions bill. It was unsurprising then to see a similar, ney almost identical, split to the answers to my Drugs question at the Dunedin debate. I'm going to commit a bit of space to the whole civil unions thing in this post simply because it's anopther one of those social freedom issues where I firmly belive that ACT should hold true to its principles (and consitution) and take a party stand rather than making it a conscience vote.
Muriel, as expected, was firmly against the Civil Union Bill.
Shirley, one of the more liberal members, would probably support the bill.
Franks, surprise... surprise..., said he wouldn't/couldn't take a stand without knowing what is in the bill....Bloody lawyer..... one can only hope he will commit to at least something if he becomes the leader.
Hide, as noted in his blog, supports the Bill in principle.
A More Detailed Discussion of the Civil Unions Bill- Debunking de Boer....
OK.... so a decent chunk of the de Boer article is given over to having a rant on the civil unions bill. Die hard libertarian that I am there is only one thing that offends me more than naive left wing economics and that is calculated right wing christian bigotry. So... here goes... quotes from de Boer in itallics, emphasis mine....
This bill is about recognition of the gay life style as fully equal to the union between a man and a woman. That will extend into child care, adoption, employment law and the like. Any form of perceived discrimination will be rigorously prosecuted. Anytime a citizens or organisations think they can still distinguish between a married man and woman and a married gay couple, they will have to defend themselves in court.
OK... so let's tick these off one by one....
I have absolutly no problem with private individuals or organisations discriminating against people for whatever reasons they see fit. As a proper classical liberal I think it is totally inappropriate for the government to determine what discrimination private citizens may undertake. Were I a bigoted christian business owner then I should be entitled to choose to employ only white middle class christian males who displine their kids with a bamboo stick- the government should keep well out of such things. But where the government, as legal monopolist of force and the enforcement of law, makes such discrimination then it is wholly inappropriate.
I know from my experience in The Netherlands how these things will work. As a private school, try to reject someone who is in a gay marriage. As a private businesses, try not to hire someone because he is in a gay marriage. The politically correct will send the police to force the issue.
The same sentiments as above apply. Private schools (I have some experience in these one, two) should most certainly be entitled to discriminate against gay people. Likewise, private businesses should be entitled to discriminate against gay people on the basis of employment, service and/or any other such matter. Most importantly, private churches should and must be allowed to determine for themselves whether they are prepared to consecrate the marriage of two gay or lesbian people. But, the government should never be permitted to make such discriminative choices. The real problem that is identified in the above statement is not that the Netherlands permits gay marriage but rather that their government has not grasped this important distinction between the public and private realm. I would hope, libertarian that I am, that any ACT leader in government would work towards freeing up our private rights of discrimination.
de Boer then runs through a quick summary....
1. It sends the wrong message. Especially when then government picks up the tab for failed child care...
Get the government out of paying for child care. Hell let the churches pick up the tab and dish out their Sunday collection monies on whatever terms they see fit!
3. Since Labour has been in power, ACT has steadfastly opposed each of the anti-family Bills that it has introduced.
Such as? If you are going to summarise then at least provide some detail above? I've always loved the term Family when used by christians. Oh and I love their enthusiasm for the 'right' to assault their kids too! But those are topics for another day.
4. This does not mean ACT should not address injustice and fight for those whose clear wishes and contracts the law does not recognise. That's wrong. But this Civil Union bill is not really about that.
It doesn't address it entirely... but as Rodney as noted it is a step in the right direction. The simple solution is to get the government the hell out of relationship law. Give marriage back to the churches as a concept to do with as they wish- i.e. remove the legal concept of marriage from the statue books. Then, simply have the government enforce relationships by way of simple civil contract.
5. The government cannot define what marriage is. Like freedom it is one of those inalienable rights God has given to mankind. Government cannot define what it is nor who can enter into it.
God hasn't given me anything... and from what I've seen thus far if freedom were God given then he is doing a shitty job of stopping Helen Clark et al. from taking it back of me. Without wanting to get into the underpinning philosophical justifications for man to be free let's just agree that god or otherwise freedom is a right that should not be and can not be defined by government. I also agree that the govt. can not and should not be defining marriage and who can enter into it. Leave that for the churches. The govt. should define a structure of civil contract such that people can enter into private contracts to define their relationship.
6. Rodney Hide must have noticed the markedly different levels of applause. Muriel Newman got a warm and loud applause. The applause after Ken Shirley's, Stephen Franks' and Rodney Hide's answers was remarkably more reserved
*note to self*
Must be louder than the conservatives at the next meeting.
Guess that sort of statement just shows how much opportunity to woo new voters we can achieve through the election of a new leader.
PoliTechLaw | Politics|Sunday, May 30, 2004 1:17:43 AM UTC||
Monday, May 24, 2004
Another ranter and raver!.....
My dodgy brother.... who is a little less libertarian than I might like is going to do a bit of ranting on here as well...
Look out for him!
Rambles|Monday, May 24, 2004 8:43:10 AM UTC||
I couldn't give a $^%%$# about families.
It looks like Michael Cullen is going to be more than generous with my money this coming budget night. In particular all the signs point to him dishing out plenty to families.
I don't know about you but this pisses me off! I don't pay my bloody taxes to subsidize others procreative tendencies! Hell we've been doing it for years with the pop another child earn another buck DPB system... but now they are expanding the program.
Not contented with the evils of progressive taxation, this govt. supported by the likes of United Future (our Christian Bigot party for non NZers), see fit to further piss on young and hard working but childless people like me!
I pay my taxes both personally and as a business and what do I get for it!?! Sweet FA! If I wanted to support families I'd give money to Banardos- hell if they cut my taxes I could possibly even afford to do that! Voluntary charity... now there's an idea Mr Cullen.
PoliTechLaw|Monday, May 24, 2004 2:03:03 AM UTC||
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Amazon == Confused
Why does the bloody Amazon site recommend fruity electronic goods to me when they will not ship them to me!
I'm all for personalisation in sites but they really need to become more pervasive- to get insde my head..... Business intelligence in our age of information overload should consider these sorts of peripheral things.
Rambles|Thursday, May 20, 2004 12:09:15 AM UTC||
Wednesday, May 19, 2004