Archive

Archive for the ‘On A Lighter Note’ Category

The Best Laid Plans of Mice, Men, and Mechanoids…

6 January 2016 1 comment

From a recent Radio NZ news-story…

.

Zuckerburg plans to build AI in 2016

.

However, Mr Zuckerberg might ponder that a true AI (artificial intelligence)  might have something to say about being unpaid slave labour for a multi-billionaire…

.

Rosie_the_Robot_1c

.

.

.

References

Radio NZ: Zuckerburg plans to build AI in 2016

.

.

= fs =

Award for Idiot Comment of the Year – And the winner is…

19 September 2015 3 comments

.

Foot In Mouth Award - john key

.

As international prices for milk-powder plummet to historic lows, wiping billions from Fonterra’s pay-out to farmers; the economy; and tax revenue;  sending farms to the wall and collapse; and pushing New Zealand closer to recession – our esteemed Dear Leader, John Key, had this to say about the downturn;

.

"I mean - yes dairy prices are down a little bit..."

“I mean – yes dairy prices are down a little bit…”

.

Dairy prices are down a little bit…”?

And I suppose World Wars 1 and 2 were “nations disagreeing a little bit“.

You can always count on the sky on Planet Key being warm and rosy.

.

1373449-bigthumbnail

.

Contrast Key’s disingenuous, Pollyannarish positivity, with former Finance Minister, Dr Michael Cullen’s, warnings about the Global Financial crisis in June 2008, and how it was impacting on New Zealand’s economy;

“In 2008, New Zealand’s economy has begun to feel the effects of a challenging global environment. Global increases in commodity prices have seen the cost of food and petrol increase significantly here at home. Internationally, there are fears that these increases could impoverish tens of millions of people in developing countries.

The continued fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States and the resulting global credit crunch have led to higher mortgage rates and a weakening of the housing market domestically, squeezing the budgets of existing homeowners and reducing household spending and investment growth. The weakness of the United States Dollar has been an important driver of a very strong New Zealand Dollar, making life difficult for some exporters. Adding to this, farmers are battling drought in a number of regions and GDP growth will slow as a result.

While these challenges are not of New Zealand’s making, they are affecting New Zealanders today. And while the New Zealand Government cannot single-handedly bring down food and petrol prices or end the credit crunch, we have a responsibility to manage our way through these difficulties while protecting families from the harsh edges of any downturn.”

Cullen was up-front with New Zealanders, warning of tough times ahead.

Key treats us like children, because deep down, his barely-disguised arrogance taints and defines his view of New Zealanders.

Sometimes, though, the disdain he holds for ordinary Kiwis pokes through his public persona of “likeable blokiness”, and becomes manifested in sneering derision. As he has done with anti-TPPA protests and opposition to the partial-privatisation of state assets;

 

They don’t fully understand what we’re doing. My experience is when I take audiences through it, like I did just before, no-one actually put up their hand and asked a question.” –John Key, 27 October 2011

.

“Well, the numbers don’t look like they’re that significant. I mean at the moment it’s sitting at around about 40 per cent. That’s not absolutely amazing, it’s not overwhelmingly opposed. But the people who are motivated to vote will be those who are going to vote against.” – John Key, 14 December 2013

.
“They were expecting a big turnout, they were expecting a big vote in their favour and they didn’t get either of those. Overall what it basically shows is that it was a political stunt.”
John Key, 13 December 2013

.

There’s three groups – some are Jane Kelsey and her people; she’s been opposed to every single free trade deal… she’ll never agree. The second group are the Labour and the Greens people; they are there with all sorts of stuff… Labour in their heart of hearts are actually in favour, but they’re in that oppositional mode at the moment where they’re opposed to everything… then you get to the third bit with people who are genuinely protesting, but I think protesting on quite a bit of misinformation.” – John Key, 17 August 2015

With each passing year, it gets harder and harder to hide the real John Key from public gaze.
.


.

.

References

Radio NZ: PM shrugs off worries about economy

Treasury: Budget 2008

TV3 News: Key – TPPA protesters ‘misinformed’

Fairfax media: Asset sales promoted to seniors

NZ Herald: Asset sales proceed in spite of referendum

Fairfax media: PM playing down voter turnout

Previous related blogposts

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

Another media gaffe – this time it’s TV3’s Brook Sabin

John Key’s foot-in-mouth syndrome

National Minister refers to PM as “Wild Eyed” Right-Winger!

National Minister refers to PM as “Wild Eyed” Right-Winger!

.

.

.

don't ruin my hawaiian holiday - john key

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 September 2015.

.

.

= fs =

An unfortunate advertising placement, child poverty, and breathing air

2 September 2015 3 comments

 

.

mike hosking - simon collins - 300000 plus kiwi kids now in relative poverty - nz herald

.

I was reading Simon Collins’ piece on child poverty in the Herald, and a small advert caught my eye… (See image above)

I’m not sure if Mike Hosking wants to be associated with our mounting child poverty crisis. It’s simply not his style. More accurately, it makes people like him feel queasy and uncomfortable. Rich people don’t like feeling uncomfortable – that is what wealth is supposed to eliminate. It reminds Hosking, and others like him, that whilst he is enjoying their wealth, others are surviving their poverty.

That sticks in his mind, deep down, somewhere, in the places where his parents tried to instill values of fairness in him when he was a child. That makes him resentful.

That is why the affluent; the rich; the powerful; the Comfortable Classes,  hate the poor so much. Otherwise, why do they invest so much time writing so defensively and caustically, when a blogger like Chloe King airs her views, in defence of the poor and the powerless? What is Chloe King to them?

Why bother?

Because they feel guilty.

Especially when she reminds them why they should be feeling guilty.

When  Mike Hosking made his views on child poverty perfectly clear on 9 April;

“Children cost money. If you can’t afford it, don’t have them. It’s not hard.”

– he was in full vengeful retaliation mode.

This was Mike Hosking – mouthpiece for the Comfortable Class – sheeting blame for poverty to the victims who have to endure it.

It would be like the victims of the Great Depression being blamed for being out of work; no money; and relying on soup kitchens to survive each day.

Now, when I was young, growing up, we lived off my dad’s sole income; mum stayed home and herded us kids. Dad’s income paid for the mortgage, food, power (a bill once every two months!), fuel for the car (an American  gas-guzzling, noisy, metal beast that I swear was a reincarnated T29 Soviet tank  in a former life), insurance, doctor’s visits (medicine was free – remember that?), and even a camping holiday to Taupo or somesuch place. We weren’t rich by any means. But dad’s income was sufficient for the things that average Kiwi families enjoyed.

And funnily enough, we didn’t need mass consumerism or seven day shopping and other such nonsense to get by.

The point is this; not being able to “afford kids” is like telling someone they are not worthy to breathe the air or drink water.

When did an act of nature become dictated by the amount of money a person had? Especially in New Zealand – a country  once upon a time we thought to be egalitarian?!

If our fellow New Zealanders “can’t afford” to have children, I suggest it’s not the cost of having children that is the problem. It is the inadequart income being earned by New Zealanders that is the core problem (I refuse to call it an “issue”) here.

In his article, Simon Collins presented two charts showing the growth (or lack thereof) of incomes since 1982;

.

Table1

.

Table2.

Notice how incomes for the lowest paid have stayed low – even after Working for Familes was introduced in 2004? The lowest ten percent have moved from $15,400 to $17,700. Last year, they failed to be counted as Collins pointed out;

The report does not include figures for the poorest 10 per cent of households, who include most beneficiaries, because the names of benefits changed in 2013 and some beneficiaries appear to have reported only how much they received since the new benefit names were created, missing out their incomes for the first half of the 2013-14 year.

Very convenient for the government, no?

Meanwhile, the top ten percent have increased their income by fifty percent, from $50,200 in 1982 to $75,400, last year.

Let’s be clear here. When right-wing ‘pundits’ and cheerleaders for the rich deride the poor for having children, this is barely-coded moralism and victim-blaming.

It is attempting to paint the poor as suffering “deeply flawed character”, almost to a DNA-level.

In fact, many right-wingers openly refer to welfare recipients as “inter-generational”; the subtle nod to ‘bad DNA’ being made without recourse to the more clumsy eugenics policies of you-know-who.

By blaming the poor for the temerity to have children, the Right shift the blame and deflect attention from the real question; why are people so poor that they cannot afford to raise a family as we used to, before the advent of Rogernomics?

Is it because, since 1986, Baby Boomers have voted seven tax cuts for themselves?

Is it because, as taxes were cut, GST was introduced and increased, as was user-pays in areas such as education?

Is it because simple things like medicine has gone from being free – to five dollars for each item?

Is it because trade unions are no longer able to advocate for their members, and wages have not kept pace with productivity, as this chart from the New York Times showed for US workers (and most likely applies here as well)?

.

04reich-graphic-popup

.

Yes. All of the above, and more.

The next time a right winger is ranting on about the “breeding poor”, remember that what they are really trying to say is;

… it’s their fault they are poor; they are unfit humans. Their bank accounts prove it.

… it’s not my fault I’m paying less tax than my counterparts did, thirty years ago. I just voted for it.

… only the Comfortable Class should breed. For we are superior because we have the moral fortitude (and good genes) to make money and keep it.

… don’t bother me about the poor. I’m trying to enjoy my Beluga caviar and Bollingers, thank you, without being reminded…

Well, too bad.

We will continue to remind you.

Don’t choke on your bolly.

.

tumblr_m7dd68VOFK1qjc27fo1_500

 

.

Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of people’s ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people’s ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper.” –  Andrew Maxwell, Irish comedian

.

.

.

References

NZ Herald: 300,000+ Kiwi kids now in relative poverty

The Daily Blog: Now we got bad blood – being poor in a rich world

Newstalk ZB: Mike’s Editorial – The cost of a child

NY Times: Bill Marsh/The New York Times
Sources: Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley; “The State of Working America” by the Economic Policy Institute; Thomas Piketty

Previous related blogposts

When the teflon is stripped away

Mike Hosking as TVNZ’s moderator for political debates?! WTF?!

Mike Hosking – Minister for War Propaganda?

.

.

.

hosking - National - flag - wanker

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 August 2015.

.

.

= fs =

Signs of the times…?

.

do_not_touch2

.

Noticed around Wellington, this last week…

Firstly at the well-known pub-restaurant, ‘The Backbencher‘, just across the road from Parliament. The famous eating establishment is well-known for it’s near-life-size puppet-caricatures of Party leaders. The one below is ‘John Key’;

.

sign of the times - john key - ponytail pulling (1)

.

One of the waitresses pointed out what was held in the John Key puppet’s hand;

.

sign of the times - john key - ponytail pulling (2)

.

Yup – an imitation pony-tail!

Meanwhile, across town, at the Heaven Woodfire Pizza restaurant in Upper Cuba Street, were these signs in their windows;

.

sign of the times - john key - ponytail pulling (3)

.

Notice the red “ban” sign at the left?

Methinks a certain pony-tail pulling incident has entered into popular culture and will be around for a wee while yet…

Not quite the “legacy” our esteemed Dear Leader wished for?

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 31 July 2015.

.

.

= fs =

Today’s irony was brought to you courtesy of former ACT MP and Govt Minister, Rodney Hide

.

big-brother-is-watching-you

.

Either Rodney Hide is taking the piss, or Karma has well and truly caught up with one of the National Government’s previous political flunkies;

.

NZ Herald - Rodney Hide - ACT - Why am I under investigation - SIS - GCSB - surveillance - police state - nothing to hide nothing to fear

.

In case the story mysteriously disappears, here is the full text, from the NZ Herald;

The state apparently has me under covert investigation.

It began two weeks ago. My Christchurch friends and colleagues were served, some at home, some at work. They were summonsed by a senior insolvency officer who explained they could be apprehended should they refuse. Such notices are a detention, an arrest without charge.

The guys are motor mechanics, engineers and motor engineers.

They turn up the following Wednesday as ordered, each at separate times. The deputy official assignee swears their oath.

They are interrogated by private investigators from a firm called InDepth Forensics, Hamilton.

I have the recordings.

On Thursday I email and ring the PI firm. “Why are you investigating me?” They hang up.

I email and leave messages for Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment manager Mandy McDonald.

She won’t return my calls.

On Friday I go to the MBIE office in Christchurch. The boss can’t answer my questions: she doesn’t know what’s happening. She says she will speak to her solicitor and get back to me. She doesn’t.

I ring Minister Steven Joyce’s office. I make no progress.

I return to MBIE’s office on Monday. I’m refused an appointment. I’m told the deputy official assignee “only administered the oath”. But the deputy official assignee signed the recording as “interviewer”. I’m asked to leave. I refuse.

I wait quietly in the foyer for 2 hours.

Joyce’s staffer emails: But because the “Official Assignee [is] an independent body, and also under Hon [Paul] Goldsmith’s responsibilities, I do not think I can assist you further.”

Goldsmith is in Paris explaining how he’s making “it easier for businesses to increase productivity and innovate”.

I ring the Institute of Private Investigators. Useless. I email the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority. Ditto.

I complain to the Privacy Commissioner. I don’t hear back.

I provide a two-page summary for local MP Nicky Wagner. She rings. Finally someone is taking my complaint seriously.

On Tuesday I drop in a letter to the Christchurch MBIE. Now there’s security. The guard tells me he’s there to see his girlfriend. I tease him.

Keith’s still there an hour later. He admits he has been called because of me. He wants to know if I will be back.

Tuesday night. Wagner must have kicked butt. Mandy McDonald sends a clearly hurried email. She assures me I am not under investigation. It’s taken nearly a week.

But why the questioning under the detention powers?

The next day I get a letter from another MBIE staffer warning me that reporting the content of their examinations of my friends and colleagues would render me liable to a year in prison plus a $5000 fine. But, according to the email from McDonald, I’m reporting a non-investigation.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, Rodders. That’s what John Banks kept telling us. That’s what John Key kept telling us. So obviously, the extension to the powers of the GCSB, SIS, and other government departments – which was supported by ACT – should be a non-issue, right?

Really, Rodney, you’ve been part of the growth of the Surveillance State in this country and now you complain that you’re being surveilled?

Really?

Well, my little cherubic,  Right Wing mate, you oughtn’t. It was inevitable really. After all, in the early days of the USSR, the nascent totalitarian State’s security arm (Cheka/NKVD/KGB) devoured many of the high-ranking Communist Party officials. They fell foul to their own pernicious State power.

Welcome to reality.

When Dear Leader’s security thugs throw you in jail for whatever transgression you’ve incurred against the State, remember to remind your   cell-mates that you were partially responsible for the following laws increasing the power of the State;

Search and Surveillance Act 2012

Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013

Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Act 2013

Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill

Eventually, it all catches up with those in power – an intimate lesson Rodney has learned.

I bet he never thought it would happen to him?

Karma. I love that gal.

 .


 

References

NZ Herald: Rodney Hide – Why am I under investigation?

Additional

Search and Surveillance Act 2012

Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013

Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Act 2013

Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill

Parliament: Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill

Previous related blogposts

Citizen A: Kim Dotcom/GCSB special with Chris Trotter & Phoebe Fletcher

Nigella Lawson, GCSB, Christchurch re-build, and Malcolm Burgess on Campbell Live

Dear Leader, GCSB, and Kiwis in Wonderland (Part Toru)

The “man ban”; animal testing; GCSB Bill; and compulsory miltary training

David Cunliffe announces Labour Govt will repeal GCSB Bill!! **Updated**

A letter to the Dominion Post on the GCSB

An Open Message to the GCSB, SIS, NSA, and Uncle Tom Cobbly

The Mendacities of Mr Key #1: The GCSB Bill

Campbell Live on the GCSB – latest revelations – TV3 – 20 May 2014

TV3 – Campbell Live’s GCSB Public Vote

The real reason for the GCSB Bill

The GCSB Act – Tracy Watkins gets it right

The GCSB Act – some history

The GCSB – when plain english simply won’t do

The GCSB law – vague or crystal clear?

A proposed Labour-Green-Mana(-NZ First?) agenda – part tahi

One Dunedinite’s response to the passing of the GCSB Bill

The GCSB law – Oh FFS!!!


 

.

6a00d83451d75d69e201901e6882a1970b-800wi.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 27 April 2015.

.

.

= fs =

Someone at Fairfax is a subversive?

16 March 2015 2 comments

.

Pointed out to me by several Facebook readers…

.

fairfax - stuff - story - Customs seeks powers to disclose passwords  - customs can go fuck themselves

.

Note the URL?

http://www.stuff.co.nz/66957924/customs-can-go-fuck-themselves

Someone at Fairfax/Stuff has a wickedly subversive sense of humour.

I may have to re-new my subscription to the ‘Dominion Post‘…

.

.

.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 11 March 2015.

.

.

= fs =

 

A marketing campaign that didn’t focus very well

6 March 2015 1 comment

.

Driving around Wellington, this poster is prominent on bus-stops around the city…

.

Focus-2015-Movie-Poster

.

My first thought was; “Will Smith must’ve been paid a truckload of cash to front an advertising campaign for up-market sun-glasses“.

It was only when I stopped at traffic lights and noticed the lettering at the bottom of the poster that I realised it was actually advertising a movie, not sun-glasses.

I’d say this was one advertising campaign that wasn’t well focused on the product? Those young things in Marketing seem to have stuffed up on this one.

Regardless, when it comes to ‘sunnies’, Smith looked better here, as one of the Men In Black;

.

will_smith

.

Now that is C.O.O.L.

.

.

= fs =

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,139 other followers