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NZ Herald mis-represents Green Party spokesperson on synthetic ‘highs’

21 June 2013 3 comments

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Legal highs linked to deaths - coroner

Acknowledgment: NZ herald – Legal highs linked to deaths – coroner

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In a shocking piece of misleading journalism, the NZ Herald yesterday (14 June) mis-quoted Kevin Hague, the Green spokesperson on Health issues.

Herald journalist Kurt Bayer claimed that the Greens supported using animals for testing “party pills” (also known as synthetic ‘highs’).  Bayer wrote,

The SPCA and Greens today finally agreed that some animal testing of party pills was necessary for the sake of keeping young people safe.”

Source: Legal highs linked to deaths – coroner

This was shown to be wrong when the Greens posted their actual media release on-line on their website. The release stated,

The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf

The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf

“The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee…”

Source: Bill a win for communities and animals

Bill a win for communities and animals
Bill a win for communities and animals

The Green Party statement went on to specifically state their opposition to animal testing,

“However, we will still be putting forward our amendment to rule out the use of data from animal testing being used as proof of safety.

“Our amendment is much simpler and more practical to enforce than the Minister’s amendment and doesn’t allow any animal testing.

We have not seen any evidence that we need to allow animal testing of recreational drugs. In fact, the evidence we have seen is that all the proposed animal tests can be replaced with modern and effective non-animal tests,” said Ms Mathers.”

Source: IBID

The Green Party statement was in stark contrast to the story penned by Bayer and published online at 3:15 PM on Friday Jun 14. The offending portion stated,

 The SPCA and Greens today finally agreed that some animal testing of party pills was necessary for the sake of keeping young people safe.

An amendment limiting animal testing has now been included in the Psychoactive Substances Bill.

“This bill is a necessary and practical step to end the harm caused by allowing untested drugs to be the market,” said Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague.

“We support strong regulation for party pills and legal highs – we can’t continue to put our communities at risk.”

The third and fourth paragraphs appear to indicate Green support for the first paragraph, which is erroneous.

The Green Party position was more accurately reported on Radio NZ’s website,

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Animal testing must be last resort in legal highs tests

Acknowledgment: Radio NZ – Animal testing must be last resort in legal highs tests

The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf
The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf
The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf
The Green Party welcomes the Psychoactive Substances Bill as it is reported back to the House today, and is delighted that an amendment limiting animal testing has finally been included, despite the submissions on animal testing being rejected by the chair of the Select Committee. – See more at: http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/bill-win-communities-and-animals#sthash.JM62c6sB.dpuf

This issue was brought to this bloggers attention by Facebook user Jeanette Wilkinson who, at first, took the Herald story at face-value. Ms Wilkinson wrote on the DiscussioNZ page,

“I am extremely disappointed with the Green Party right now…in fact your credibility has taken a huge dive in my eyes upon reading this article below …especially where it mentions the Green Party finally deciding that SOME animal testing is required on animals for vile dangerous and totally unnecessary evil party pills and substances … I thought the Green Party would have some common sense and not support this at all and be inclined to have unnatural and dangerous chemical highs banned completely!”

When the actual Green Party policy was brought to Ms Wilkinson’s attention she accepted that the Green Party’s actual position had been mis-represented,  and also added,

” I also believe that synthetic highs should be illegal and banned then none of this controversy would be happening and wouldn’t that be a much better result for all moreso our young people?”

In a series of tweets by this blogger, I brought  Kurt Bayer’s attention to the mis-reporting of Green Party policy on animal testing, and asked for his response,

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Kurt Bayer twitter profile

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@KurtBayerAPNZ Hi Kurt. Your story “Legal highs linked to deaths-coroner” appears to have misquoted Green policy. http://tinyurl.com/mq6k6gx

@KurtBayerAPNZ Will you be publishing a correction? Note, I am in process of blogging this story.

@KurtBayerAPNZ I can email you my draft blogpost for you to comment on. Would like your response on the record.

As at midnight on Saturday, no response had been received from Bayer.

It will be interesting to see if the Green Party pursues this matter through the Press Council.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 June 2013.

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References

Green Party:  Bill a win for communities and animals (14 June 2013)

Bill a win for communities and animals

NZ Herald: Legal highs linked to deaths – coroner (14 June 2013)

Facebook link: Discussion NZ

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Babes and boofheads…

20 June 2013 6 comments

It seems that the sexualisation and exploitation of our daughters continues unabated,

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Facebook 'Babe' page taken down

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Facebook ‘Babe’ page taken down

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A bunch of anonymous kids say  “they don’t see much wrong”  with  taking images of  girls from various  Facebook pages, and reposting it on a sleazy ‘Babe of the Day’ page.

‘I and the other two admins of the page are aware that the page may look a bit creepy but as all three of us are high school students and under 18 ourselves, we don’t think we are doing too much harm.”‘

Acknowledgement: ODT – Concern at pupils ‘babe’ web page

These kids did not ask for permission to use the girls’ pics – there is no consent implied or given. And the kids responsible for the page seem utterly oblivious to a practice which objectifies these girls.

If I were a father with a daughter, and her pic had been lifted and exploited in this way,   I would take a dim view of a bunch of adolescent  boofheads portraying my daughter(s) as objects for someone elses’ gratification.

Our society is sex mad already enough already, without Gen X (or Y or whatever) adding their bit to it.

And the irony of this entire sleazy affair?

One of the administrators of the site, who wished to remain anonymous, defended the page when contacted yesterday.

Acknowledgement: IBID

The administrators of the site, who wished to remain anonymous…”

So they value their anonymity, do they?

I wonder why? If their little past-time is as inoffensive as they believe, why don’t they come forward?

And put their own pics up for people to gawk at?

It appears they value their own privacy.

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KGB, CIA, STASI, SIS… Facebook?!

18 June 2013 5 comments

Now I’m being interogated by Facebook with demands for information,

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Facebook questions

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!?!?

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Bugger off!

I’ve no doubt Facebook already has more than enough info on me. I sure as hell am not giving them one iota more of personal info.

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Categories: Global Tags:

Pre-register your disinterest in buying Mighty River shares

14 March 2013 3 comments

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Pre-register your disinterest in buying Mighty River shares

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Not keen on buying shares in state assets you already own?

Are you wanting to pre-register your dis-interest?

Get in quick, now, and we’ll guarantee all pre-registrants 25% extra of NO shares at all!

This Facebook page is a great idea, and a simple, 5 second means by which you can indicate your disinterest in the sale of our state assets!

Get in Now! Get in quick!

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Pre-register your disinterest in buying Mighty River shares!

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Click the ‘Like’ Button to go to the Facebook Page!

Click the ‘Like’ Button to go to the Facebook Page!

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(And don’t forget to share this with your friends, family, workmates, etc! The more the merrier!)

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Judith Collins and the Bain of her ministerial career…

31 January 2013 3 comments

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Bain compensation decision months away

Source

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It must be true; David Bain has an enemy in the current National Cabinet. Someone (Collins?) has taken it upon her (his) self to ride roughshod over the Privy Council, the re-trial, and retired Canadian judge Ian Binnie, to come to their own conclusions.

If anyone ever wondered what it would be like to have political control of our judicial system – this is pretty damned close to it.

“Justice” Minister Judith Collins is quite openly holding up David Bain’s claim for compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

After publicly trashing retired Canadian judge Ian Binnie’s Report into the matter – along with his reputation – Collins sought a “peer-review” from Robert Fisher, QC.

Fisher duly rubbished Binnie’s report and recommendation for compensation as “flawed” (see:  Bain compo recommended but Binnie report ‘flawed‘). In turn, Fisher’s “peer review” was rubbished – evidently he hadn’t read up on the Bain case!

Months have passed, it appears that Collins is stonewalling. Evidently, a final decision is yet more “months away”.

Now there is talk of Collins requesting another “independent” review.

Well, I hope she’s not going to be looking overseas. After National’s crass, insulting behaviour over Justice Binnie, I doubt any other Jurist would take up an offer from this current National government.

Instead there is talk of an “independent panel”.

Oh, really? How independent? Not too independent, I think – Commissar Collins might not like it.

And if an Independent Panel came to the same conclusion as Justice Binnie – what then? Best of five – two more “independent reviews”!?

If an independent panel deliverers the “wrong” result, perhaps Collins could ramp up the decision-making process. Perhaps a nationwide referendum? We could poll all 4.4 million New Zealanders whether or not to pay Bain?

If we go down the referendum road, it should be a low-cost affair. After all, the Nats are struggling to balance the books and are practically taking money from schoolboys and girls doing paper rounds. So a referendum should be done on the cheap.

Maybe via electronic means?

Facebook!?

Imagine deciding a human being’s fate – by just a click –  *Like* or *Don’t Like*.

The Village Mob, 21st century-style.

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internet_lynch_mobs_Cleverbot_said_Im_correct-s391x337-96144-535

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Thank the gods for progress.

[Note to National: This blogpost was mainly satirical and suggestions to use Facebook, or any other electronic means, to determine whether or not Bain should be compensated were an exercise in satire. My suggestion is, quite simply; stop farting about and PAY the man!]

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References

Radio NZ: Minister not ruling out new report on Bain claim

Dominion Post: Bain compensation decision months away

Other Blogs

The Pundit: Crowdsourcing the Binnie report (and the Fisher report on the Binnie report …)

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Christians – can we vote on YOUR marriage now?

22 January 2013 13 comments

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Lobby group presents petition against same sex marriage

Source

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72,000 signatories to Family First’s petition want the right to vote on other people’s right to be married?

That would be fair – if the rest of us had a chance to vote on whether or not those 72,000 Christians (?) should be married or not.

We could make it totally democratic and run on-going Referenda on  couples, through Facebook. Each couple could state their case to voters and the public could vote “Yay” or  “Nay”.

Is it too late to have a belated vote on whether Mr MCoskrie (and Garth McVicar!?) should be allowed to be married? (Not to each other, I mean. Although… )

This is how ridiculous it gets, that so-called “Christians”  think it appropriate to vote on other peoples’ private lives.

Little wonder that so many view religious fundamentalism as intrusive in our lives.

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Facebook-Like-or-Dislike

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(Note: with apologies to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Pantheists, etc, who are more tolerant. )

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Other blogs

Ideologically Impure: Marriage equality and polygamy

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National – the Party of free speech?! Yeah, right.

13 September 2012 10 comments

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Around 8pm on 13 September, this blogger posted on National’s Facebook page – see: NZNATS. I left a message leaving links to two of my recent blogposts,

They must not’ve like the message nor my questions. The post I made vanished within minutes. No explanation offered by the operators of that FB page.

I left a comment querying the disappearance of my posting,

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That was gone under sixty seconds,

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One more try.

This post referred to National party policies regarding unemployed, solo-mums, and other beneficiaries. A pertinent topic worthy of debate, I thought?

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The result? Another disappearance,

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It seems  that National is not a Party that brooks dissent or welcomes questioning of it’s policies. This is symptomatic of a Party that has lost trust in the public and fears people.

The term for this state of affairs, I believe, is a seige mentality.

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Add your voice – call for a Snap Election!

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Dissatisfied with our current government that seems to be more intent on helping their corporate friends, rather than ordinary New Zealanders?

Despairing at a Prime Minister who seems more intent on photo opportunities than addressing issues such as growing unemployment, child poverty, increasing Third World diseases, and other worsening social issues?

Displeased at the rampant  cronyism involving dodgy politicians with “bad memories” and casino operators?

Disappointed that despite public opposition, that National still intends to sell off our state assets and farmland to overseas investors?

You can make your  voice heard, with a simple click of your mouse,

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Click here

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Spread the word! If we can get a million “Likes” on that Facebook book, it will put the s***s up this government!

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And now a word from the racist Right…

2 January 2012 2 comments

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Something that one of my readers found on Don Brash’s “Facebook” page,

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When I read that, my first reaction was; “more-of-the-same” from the racist right wing nutjobs that unfortunately live in every community, and every country (and probably every inhabited planet throughout the Universe).

My second reaction was that whoever wrote it is not very bright and is either exagerating for effect – or simply trolling for pleasure. (Racists do that – simple things for simple minds, n’all that.)

It also reminded me of John Ansell’s work for ACT, with the Iwi-Kiwi billboards and the more recent “Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?” advert that ran in some daily metrolitan newspapers (but not others, which ethically refused to run the contentious them).

Ansell quit ACT in July when even the party hierarchy found his racist ranting too much to stomach.

That so-called “email” quoted by Brash on his FB page sounds suspiciously like Ansell’s style; over-the-top; irrational; and bitter/twisted.

The “email” doesn’t even make sense,

Yet my children cannot walk …to school without being abused for simply being white…”

Where does he live – Kabul?

“…we cannot draw the same assistance as our fellow dark-skinned citizens…”

Unfortunately, the un-named “author”  of that hate-mail doesn’t specify precisely what “assistance” he is referring to.

“…we are heckled by the roaming mobs of Maori when out and about…”

Wow! Break out the armoury! It’s World War III in some un-named part of the country!

Though one wonders why the author simply didn’t call the police to report these mythical mobs?!

“…and I just have to accept this treament in my own country …”

Ummm, really,  call the Police?

“…I’ve had an absolute gutsful, and simply cannot take this anymore. I have gained employment in Australia and will be taking my entire family there in January 2012.”

Hmmm, have fun, Mystery Emailer. There’s a Welcoming Committee for you.

The surprise is not that raving right wing wierdos exist – but that someone as supposedly intelligent, articulate,  and well-educated as Don Brash would publish such drivel on his own Facebook page. No wonder ACT couldn’t move fast enough to send this “odd fellow” packing.

Bizarre stuff.

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Additional

Act ad man quits after blasting ‘apartheid’

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Now you see it, now you don’t!

11 November 2011 7 comments

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I found John Key’s Facebook page and thought I’d take a few minutes to ask him a couple of pertinent questions,

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The post last about 15 seconds before it disappeared into the void of cyberspace,

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When I made another post, lamenting the quick disappearance of my questions, that too vanished. This time even faster. National must have quite a crew monitoring that Page.

Oh well, C’est la vie.

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Silly Idea # 341,907,774

26 August 2011 56 comments

Floating cities: PayPal billionaire plans to build a whole new libertarian colony off the coast of San Francisco

  • Ocean state would have no welfare, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons
  • Platforms would house 270 people and hundreds could eventually join together

PayPal-founder Peter Thiel was so inspired by Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand’s novel about free-market capitalism – that he’s trying to make its title a reality.

The Silicon Valley billionaire has funnelled $1.25million to the Seasteading Institute, an organisation that aspires to launch a floating colony into international waters, freeing them and like-minded thinkers to live by libertarian ideals.

Mr Thiel recently told Details magazine: ‘The United States Constitution had things you could do at the beginning that you couldn’t do later. So the question is, can you go back to the beginning of things? How do you start over?’

Life on the ocean wave: A design for one of the floating cities which Peter Thiel wants to start constructing next year off the coast of San Francisco

Green land: An aerial view of the city, complete with landcaped gardens. Mr Thiel believes many of the islands could eventually be joined together

Design for living: This island even has a high-level helicopter pad. The cities would be constructed on oil-rig like terminals

The floating sovereign nations that Mr Thiel imagines would be built on oil-rig-like platforms anchored in areas free of regulation, laws, and moral conventions.

The Seasteading Institute says it will ‘give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get’.

Mr Theil, the venture capitalist who famously helped Facebook expand beyond the Harvard campus, called Seasteading an ‘open frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government’.

After making his first investment in the project in 2008, Mr Thiel said: ‘Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public sector models around the world.

‘We’re at a fascinating juncture: the nature of government is about to change at a very fundamental level.’

Light city: Peter Thiel called the project, Seasteading, an ‘open a frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government’

Mr Thiel and his colleagues say their ocean state would have no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

Mr Thiel said: 'the nature of government is about to change at a very fundamental level'

Aiming to have tens of millions of residents by 2050, the Seasteading Institute says architectural plans for a prototype involve a movable, diesel-powered structure with room for 270 residents.

The long-term plan would be to have dozens and eventually hundreds of the platforms linked together.

Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who is working on the project told Details that they hope to launch a flotilla of offices off the San Francisco coast next year.

‘Big ideas start as weird ideas,’ Mr Friedman said.

He predicted that full-time settlement will follow in about seven years.

But while some Ayn Rand acolytes may think the idea is brilliant, it’s not without its critics.

Margaret Crawford, an expert on urban planning and a professor of architecture at Berkeley, told Details: ‘it’s a silly idea without any urban-planning implications whatsoever.’

Big ideas: A close-up of how one of the islands could look. The billionaire founder of Paypal has invested $1.25million to create a floating island utopia

Mr Thiel told an audience at the Seasteading Institute Conference in 2009 that: ‘There are quite a lot of people who think it’s not possible.

‘That’s a good thing. We don’t need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don’t think it’s possible they won’t take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it’s too late.’

I fully support founding such a colony. In fact, I’ll donate $100 for a (one way) ticket for Don Brash to migrate there.

I’ve suggested – on several occassions – that neo-liberals who want to live in a free-market, minimalist government, zero-tax, user-pays society have just such a country to migrate to: Somalia.

Somalia is perfect and meets their criteria in every respect.

Of course, as part of user-pays, they would have to pay for their own security; their own private police force. And why shouldn’t they? After all, why should other taxpayers pay for protection of someone elses’ property, in a User Pays nirvana?

Strangely enough, as far as I’m aware, no neo-lib has ever taken up my offer.

And stranger even still, neo-libs seem to prefer living in New Zealand; a country built on collective efforts by it’s citizens to build up every aspect of present day society; electricity sector, education, railways, health, roading, police, bridges, libraries, etc. Even telecommunications, airlines, and television started off as tax-payer funded services. All paid by our taxes.

Private enterprise was focused on providing citizens with supermarkets, clothing, shoes (once upon a time), and other consumer goods. It was a good balance.

“Mr Thiel and his colleagues say their ocean state would have no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”

No minimum wage? But… who would clean their toilets?

No building codes? On a free-standing oceanic city? Oh, I can see that working… not.

Few restrictions on weapons. I can see gun nuts loving that. Including gentlemen like Anders Behring Breivik, David Gray, Martin Bryant, et al.

Call me cynical, but I doubt if Peter Thiel’s  ‘Seasteading’ project will succeed. For one thing, human nature is involved – and as we all know, human nature can be a bugger of a thing to deal with.

Secondly, what happens if Thiel’s ‘island’ gets in trouble? Perhaps struck by a hurricane? Will the Seasteaders expect rescue from the international community? And will they be willing to PAY for assistance? (User pays, of course.)

The article further states,

“The Seasteading Institute says it will ‘give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get’.”

Uh oh. That sounds perilously close to that pesky concept popularly know as “de-mo-cra-cy”. Damned dangerous, that “de-mo-cra-cy”. What happens if, in time, the population of ‘Seastead’ elect a government that is more interventionist?

Will Thiel then build another libertarian community? To get away from the first ‘Seastead’, taken over over “leftists”?

Personally, I think Somalia would still be a cheaper option.

Let’s be honest here, though.

This is about one thing: money. Thiel wants to keep as much of his money as possible and not pay taxes.  There may be other, immensely wealthy individuals, who feel lifewise.

Well, I say “good luck” to them. Let them set up their little sovereign “Island State”. Let them learn the hard way that a functioning, balanced,  society involves more than just having a bloated bank balance. A dynamic society is a collection of mutually supporting groups and individuals – not just a handful of wealthy people.

My guess is that this little “Profit Paradise” will not last long. Nor will it be self-sufficient. And, the inhabitants will still want to spend (most of) their time on the US mainland, socialising, doing business, and all the other things that the rest of us enjoy.  Their Island State will be nothing more than a taxation “bolthole”; a floating bank account.

And herein lies the dishonesty of such an idea.

But if billionaires want to spend their entire lives on such an Island, and not leave, then they are welcome to it.  Imagine being forced to live your life in one little area; never leaving; and associating only with others of your ilk.

It’s called “prison”.