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Monday, May 16, 2011

Dear Don - in response to your Dear John letter

Dear Don

How's it all going then? After attempting to implement your garden variety bigotry as Economic conservatism last time with Exclusive Brethren money you tried to deny, you are back from your cryogenic chamber fuelled on the tears of the poor to take over ACT in a corporate coup to proclaim Maori privilege and denounce John Key on his performance to date.

On this last bit we can agree.

John Key has done nothing to help the poor of NZ and has only succeeded in handing over more tax to his wealth class while increasing corporate welfare at the cost of public welfare.

We both agree on that Don, where we part company is in what to do about it. You Don want to implement hard right economic policy as social policy. Economic Darwinism where the rich will advance while the poor fall won't adjust our crooked social justice imbalance. I accept that the 2008 crash is a crises of capitalism and that the full social impact of that collapse has not yet hit us fully and that a radical agenda is needed. That radical agenda however is Keynesian managed capitalism, not more of the free market dogma that led the planet into this economic collapse in the first place.

To bypass any of this criticism Don, you have resorted to race baiting bigotry that made the hollow men such a fascinating read. I pointed out last week some of the outrageous behind the scenes chicanery you and your spin Dr's adopted when trying to convince NZers of the lie that 'Maaaaaaaaori get too much' in your Orewa speech...

The speech gave a sole concrete example of Maori privilege. This was the Nelson-Tasman Public Health Organisation (PHO), which, it said, 'is required to have half the community representatives on its board representing local iwi, even though the number of people actually belonging to those local iwi is a tiny fraction of the population covered by that PHO'.

The interesting thing about the example is that the staff in the National Party leader's office knew that the Nelson PHO was not typical. They discussed the risks resulting from this 'one good example' in fact being an exception. But it still went into the speech and no effort was made to explain that most PHOs are different and that their structures are decoded by local GPs and other representatives, not by government requirement.

Having generated public reaction and outrage from the subject of race-based privilege, Brash's staff found themselves being asked by journalists for evidence and examples of the supposed widespread abuses. You might imagine that the staff would be eager to hammer home the most powerful allegations in the speech. Instead, the internal communications show them urgently trying to bat enquiries away. The power of the speech had come from emotional lever pulling and button pushing, not factual accuracy. As soon as the media started asking about the facts, the staff started dodging and ducking.

For instance, a couple of weeks after the speech, Brash's media staff received an email New Zealand Herald reporter Ruth Berry who was writing a backgrounder on 'race-based funding'. She asked National to say what it meant by this term and to name the top 10 examples of race-based funding which it would prevent. Instead of being pleased, Richard Long was immediately defensive. He forwarded her email to Peter Keenan and Murray McCully saying, "Can you confer? We need to come up with a credible holding answer for these, that will avoid "National gone to ground and can't answer" type articles. The DomPost is doing similar, as you are aware.'

Long proposed that they say the information was not yet ready or available - 'Something along the lines of this week we commissioned the first in what could be a series of professional reviews of legislation to judge the full extent of the infiltration and what needs to be done to remove/correct etc. This will not be hurried and we are not prepared to address this in a piecemeal fashion.'

Media assistant Phil Rennie chipped in that they needed to talk the media out of expecting that major examples of race-based funding existed. 'Isn't the point though not the amount of money,' he added in an email, 'but the principle, and the resentment that this racial differentiation creates? We need to dampen down media expectations that we are going to uncover big monetary figures.'

Don, you knew your 'Maaaaaori-get-too-much-one-law-for-all' rhetoric was a lie and you had a set disinformation campaign to throw mainstream media off scent if they started questioning the veracity of your dog whistle. We know this because the Hollow Men emails clearly catch you out discussing how to lie to the media over the 'Maaaaaori-get-too-much-one-law-for-all' race-baiting.

Luckily we have Tapu Misa to cut through your bullshit...

Tapu Misa: Myth of the persecuted white majority
Legend of the Persecuted White Guy, as American writer David Sirota noted in Salon.com last month, is the latest iteration of "the most resilient parable in American cultural mythology".

From the 1980s, "when it was alleged that civil rights initiatives (affirmative action, busing, etc) were persecuting whites, to the last decade which lamented whites as 'America's forgotten majority', to the present political moment in which the first African-American President is accused of caring only about his fellow minorities and harbouring 'a deep-seated hatred of white people'," it's been an enduring narrative.

But while recent prominent stories in Newsweek and USA Today have claimed that the economy was rigged against white males, and that older white males were hurt more by the recession than anyone else, the evidence has told a different story.

The black unemployment rate in March, for example, was almost double the jobless rate for white workers.

"Far from being 'forgotten', persecuted or 'without a freakin' prayer'," wrote Sirota, "white men still very much retain their cherished privilege, so much so that their problems are presented by the media as the most pressing national emergency - even when, on the whole, white men still occupy a comparatively enviable position in our economy."

Where does this "unquestioned-yet-unsubstantiated" trope come from? Sirota suggests that it's been fed in part by a backlash - white anxiety in the face of a changing world in which white dominance is no longer guaranteed - and in part by "naked political opportunism".

Symptoms of the same paranoia can be found here. Paul Henry wanting a governor-general who "looks and sounds like a New Zealander". Labour MP Damien O'Connor bitterly complaining about ordinary (white) blokes like him being left out in the cold by the apparent domination of the Labour Party by unionists and a "gaggle of gays".

And The Myth of Maori Privilege, which was put to such good use by Don Brash in 2004 after he wrested control of the National Party leadership from Bill English.

You are dusting off this technique and playing the same old game to wrap your hard right economic agenda in populist bigotry rhetoric in the hope the race baiting smokescreens your fundamentalist free market madness.

For those rednecks who love to hate, your race baiting will be music to their ears and I have no doubt you will get over 5%, but for the moderates who flocked to John Key's big blue tent strategy of moderately holding the middle ground, you will be as popular as a cancerous growth. Moderates who may have indulged Key's wildly undefined mantra of 'change' last time won't lend their party vote to a far right Brash-Key Government.

Thanks for helping NZ see John Key for the mock moderation he has always pretended to be and highlighting what would be gone by lunchtime if you became Finance Minister.

Please keep it up.





At 16/5/11 3:56 pm, Blogger James said...

Just a shame that it WAS Keynesian economics that lead to the crash Bomber.....no free market in the US for over a hundred years.Fannie Mea,Freddie Mac....none of that shit in a FM. Indeed for there to be a free market there must be a total separation of state from economics....care to claim there has been?

And Maori favouritism alive and well in this country...its just not aimed at the individual Maori but the non existent floating abstraction that is "Maori".Those who can tap into the myth trough it at the expense of the rest of us.

At 16/5/11 4:18 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

I very much disgaree and suggest you are missing the role of free market failure that crashed the economy in 2008. Your basic, basic, basic reading of the crash is more Leighton Smith than intelligent insight, let me help you.

Great Recession Vs Great Depression

As for your dreadful misreading of the myth of maori priviledge, I'm going to assume that entire section I took out of the Hollow Men you just ignored did you? You ignored how Brash knew 'Maaaaaaaaaaori get too much' was a lie but said it anyway, and you ignore that the National Party actively plotted to misdirect media who queried the lie too closly? That is a lot to ignore for you to arrive at your point James.

At 16/5/11 8:00 pm, Blogger James said...

For there to be a free market there must be a complete separation of state from economy...econ 101 buddy.Show me where that was occurring in the US at any time in the last 100 odd years.This also makes a nonsense of the silly claim by the economically illiterate that NZ had a free market revolution in the 80's....god if only.We wouldn't now be in this mess.

JM Keynes has all the credibility of Nicky Hager...that is little to none.

At 16/5/11 8:03 pm, Blogger James said...

Here ya go Bomber.....go learn something.


"Tomorrow evening our friends at the Auckland Uni Economics Group tackle a subject that should interest everyone: the Global Financial Crisis—an event of such so importance it’s already become capitalised. This, from their mail-out about tomorrow night:

At this Tuesday night’s meeting we will begin looking at what is often termed the global financial crisis. It is not surprising that the ‘bust’ resulted in many asking what caused the downturn. But …

… are the true culprits being identified and placed under the spotlight?
Or are innocent parties are being blamed?
Will stimulus, quantitative easing, bailouts and too-big-to-fail get us out of The Great Recession?
Or will they only make things worse?
These are crucial questions—for what is currently being decided will affect every single one of us for many years to come.

Look forward to seeing you soon.
U0A Economics Group

DATE: Tuesday 17 May
TIME: 6pm
ROOM: University of Auckland Business School,
Owen G Glenn Building, Room 219 (Level 2) [Map here]"

At 16/5/11 8:40 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

sorry James - I thought you were a real person, not a not PC acolyte nutbar - that's why you say there has been no milton friedman free market dogma implemented and hilariously claim it's Keynesian managed capitalism that is to blame.

Tell Peter Creswell there's no such thing as a political correctness.

At 17/5/11 9:30 am, Blogger AAMC said...

Here are a bunch of Nobel prize winners who disagree with you James. I appreciate the lecturers at Auck Uni are probably very good and all....but I reckon these guys have an opinion on Economics 101 also.





At 17/5/11 11:47 am, Blogger dave said...

This is still deckchair stuff. Keynes tried to rescue capitalism from the capitalists. Failed. Brash vs Hone is good because it will finally mobilise the hard core of the class war and show that parliament is no more than a game show and the real power struggle will be over who controls the economic levers - employers or workers. When it comes to the crunch employers cannot employ workers who refuse to work.

At 17/5/11 12:22 pm, Blogger mark said...


At 17/5/11 9:14 pm, Blogger Nitrium said...

Keynesian economics might have a chance of working if any government actually practiced it. Keynes advocated SAVING surpluses during the boom years, and SPENDING these savings during the inevitable bust years to smooth out the dip. Instead we have governments blowing all the surpluses on the bottomless pit that is education and healthcare (Labour) or tax cuts (National), leaving NOTHING in the kitty during the bust. Please explain how DEFICIT spending is indefinitely sustainable? When will it ever be paid down? Sooner or later you have to acknowledge that the ENTIRE TAX REVENUE will disappear into interest payments on the outstanding debt due to endless cycles of "Keynesian" economic policy that really isn't. The utter dishonesty promulgated by the media in all its forms is mind-boggling.
P.S. Bailing out "to big to fail banks", finance companies, and corporations with tax payer money you don't have is also NOT Keynesian economics.

At 18/5/11 9:14 am, Blogger AAMC said...

"Bailing out "to big to fail banks", finance companies, and corporations with tax payer money you don't have is also NOT Keynesian economics."

No shit! We've all figured that out Nitrium, but then had they truly practiced Keynesian economics as you've described it, rather than worshiped at the feet of those 'fresh water' Economists and their barmy deregulation theories, perhaps we wouldn't have had to bail out those banks now would we?

It's what led to the need for the bail out we're discussing, and asking if regressing back to more of the same is likely to be a solution.


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