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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bugger the Polls, tax the rich and hold the line sleepy hobbits

Another bout of bullshit cheap brainfart telephone polls burped out of the mainstream media this week, Petra (bless her) on TVNZ Breakfast earnestly asked Phil Goff, 'how do you turn things around when your polls are so bad'.

Phil was way too polite.

Phil should have attacked the polls, should have pointed out that the landline methodology so favoured by the expedient and under paid journalists don't work in a recession this steep, that the NZ Herald digi poll using the exact same failed methodology predicted the race between Banks and Brown was neck and neck (Len of course won by a landslide), that the very same failed methodology predicted Hone would only win by 1% in Te Tai Tokerau (he of course won by over 9%).

Phil should have pointed out that these cheap telephone brainfart polls are attempting to manipulate public opinion rather than reflect it.

Which is of course exactly what the mainstream media are attempting to do by allowing a Government propagandist and pollster like David Farrar unchallenged space to peddle his soft sell push polling messages as 'political columns' and is the reason why most of the mainstream media continue to base their headlines on gutter raking by whaleoil who has predicted Phil Goff will be rolled more often than the West have proclaimed victory in the war on terrorism.

Watching our incompetent mainstream media's love affair with John Key in our first official cult of no personality has reminded me there are two types of NZer - the Shire Volk who support an unjust system because they benefit from it and the sleepy hobbits who just bounce from candy flossed news story to candy flossed news story without challenging any of the real issues.

In short we've dumbed down debate so far, that a smile and a wave can win an election. How cringe worthy. How ugly. How casually fascist.

As the brilliant Gareth Morgan so righteously points out in his brilliant column today...

One could be forgiven, in the light of the jargon of government-appointed tax working groups and welfare working groups, for believing that the main tax policy objective is to stop tax dodging and the main redistribution issue is to end welfare bludging. That's how dumbed-down and myopic the New Zealand discussion on tax and distribution has become.

...he is of course right. We have been so led in our thinking by a mainstream media who are as uncritical as State Libyan Television into refusing to even comprehend that our tax system is the egalitarian back bone of our nation that prevents us becoming a plutocracy by the elites, in the interest of the elites, and for the elites.

Much better that we bennie bash those who are powerless and force parents back to work rather than look after their child and create a tax system that enriches the wealthy while robbing from the poor. Better we are led to bitch about tax cuts and ignore the 210 000 NZ children in poverty while the 150 richest families gain in one year $7 billion, better that we don't question how we were plunged into an economic recession that demands those who had no hand in creating it do with less.

As far as the mainstream media are concerned, it is better we stay sleepy hobbits.

But I believe we are made of sterner stuff, I believe that sleepy hobbits can wake up and I believe those bonds of social obligations via redistributive tax were forged in fires far deeper than the pockets of our vacantly optimistic Prime Minister. When the rich and poor of NZ fought on the battlefields where our Nations honour was tested, they stood shoulder to shoulder and held the line. THEY decided that if all shared in the sacrifice of democracy, then all should share in the fruits of that democracy.

The mainstream media never tell us that narrative about ourselves.

Mike Williams reminds a spooked left that there is plenty of time for the polls to turn and that we need to recognise that the Rugby World Cup was always going to dominate until the 5 weeks when we could debate the issues. NZ has one of the highest voter turn out rates in the OECD, we take voting seriously and Goff can beat Key one on one in those debates because the free market dogma Key espouses has failed, and continues to fail.

Anthony Hubbards echos points I've made about Key's vacant optimism becoming his greatest weakness...

National's biggest asset will begin to shed its value. The smiley face might even become a liability, an empty grin amid the ruins.

...where I disagree with Anthony is that a Labour plus Greens Plus Mana Party majority would be the worst of wins, it would show a majority do not want to follow the punitive free market privatization solutions suggested by Key. Where I agree with Anthony is that at this stage, Labour simply haven't done enough to deserve a win and they are running out of time to earn that.

The reality for Phil is that by having the leadership handed to him by Helen, he didn't earn it. Political leadership is about seizing power, it can not be handed to you, without the blood of victory, the throne is crowded and not singular in direction. That political truism however is no excuse for allowing the Government to win, if Key is re-elected a punitive bennie bashing agenda mixed with a privatization agenda will swamp this country and damage our communities once again, just like they did last time when we saw our suicide rates sky rocket to the national shame they are today. We can not write off an entire generation of NZers for the interests of the wealthy so they continue to justify their 'right' not to be taxed more.

While National will have the most votes on the night, they may have no coalition partners and proof that not even they believe the mainstream media's nonsense of 60% support is that they are desperately cutting sleazy deals around the political spectrum to hold onto those tails so the dog can wag.

The message for those on the left of NZ is clear - hold the line, only the mainstream media and right wing fantasists believe this election is in the bag.

The final word to Gareth...

It requires abandoning stereotypes that populist politics incites. It is not true that those on benefits or not in paid work are inferior, and need to be whipped out of their complacency, that they would be "better" people if they were in paid work.

Yet the Welfare Working Group's recommendations which National is now implementing assume just that.

That our consumer society has become so mesmerised by materialism that the common belief is that everyone should be in paid work is testimony to the corrosion of what we value and our obsession with material gain, no matter how trivial. We have, sadly, lost the plot.

As Adam Smith said of the materially poor: "The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature as from habit, custom and education."

There is nothing lackadaisical about the poor.

Our tax and welfare policy is in urgent need of reconstruction so it ensures equal opportunity for all to participate and fully realise their potential in society in its widest sense - whether it be the paid or the unpaid workforce.

The chauvinism in policies that disparage unpaid work - whether it be care of the elderly, juveniles or of the community - has run way too far and will alienate more and more.

Time for sleepy hobbits to wake up now, John's smile and wave holds no answers for us as a country.



At 23/8/11 1:00 pm, Blogger Nitrium said...

What a shame Gareth Morgan doesn't start his own party, so that I can have someone credible to vote for. Clearly NZers are fully committed to reelect The Smiling Assassin, and the consequences are something we are just going to have to live with. Maybe, just maybe, if we lose the Rugby World Cup, NZers will be so depressed they will run this vacuous Government out of office before they ruin our country even further. We can but live and hope.

At 23/8/11 1:08 pm, Blogger Dovil said...

I think it needs to be dumbed down with facts.

1. How much income would have been generated without the tax cuts versus the record amount of borrowing we are now undertaking?

2. How much income are state assets generating?

3. How many jobs have been lost vs how many created since National has been in power?

4. How many young people have been denied access to tertiary education or training? What is the domestic vs international student ratios and have they increased?

5. Has this had an impact on young people needing to access welfare?

6. Under National how have real incomes and wealth in the bottom, middle and top tiers moved?

You could set it all out with cat macros with speech bubbles coming out so that people would read it.

At 23/8/11 5:51 pm, Blogger Tim said...

One of the big reasons we'll never 'catch up' with Australia is that somewhere in the last quater decade (perhaps when David Lange urged a cuppa and a lay down), NZers have indeed become sleepy Hobbits - whereas generally Australians don;t appear to take as much shit doled out to them by gubbamints without protest.
Wake the fuck up NZ....the only sovereignty that will be left before too long will be corporate sovereignty - and most of that will be owned offshore.
Why don't people stop and think (for example) just WHO these 'mum and dad' investors might be?
Why don;t they actully THINK about what the consequences of privatisation of assets might be (we already have a dismal record - Telecom; Wisconson Rail; et al).
One wonders whether that off the cuff comment from Muldoon about raising intelligence is in fact still true.
And JUST WHAT is it about Key that people find so frikken attractive? IS it the assumption that because he's rich, espouses "esprayshun", smiles and waves - that he somehow actually knows something about the economy? WHY haven;t the msm actually gone and asked some of his former colleagues what the fck they think of him. The one thing that stands out to me about his era of financial womder boys is Nick Leason.

At 23/8/11 9:41 pm, Blogger Tar and Feather The Bastards said...

Whats going on here . . .there's far too many people making far too much sense with in either articles or the comments. Actually getting facts and figures that can be compared and scrutinised instead of being shrouded in candy floss and coloured smoke. And when was the last time you heard a multi millionaire like Gareth Morgan talking like that.

At 24/8/11 9:33 am, Blogger countryboy said...

Float , if you will , above the seemingly bewildering shambles that is our political system . Look down and see it [sic] as a single entity . Now , what do you see ? I don't know about you but I see Aliens ! There is an Alien infestation in NZ ! What is being foisted on us is not human , or humanist . The perpetrators of this neo liberal regime defy common sense by propagating mass dysfunction , fear and anxiety . Why ? Would it not be in the best interests of the Rich to give out a little love so as they don't have to worry about multiple home security alarms or having the Porsche scratched by growing hoards of poverty stricken , sociopathic malcontents ?
Now , look down on us lot . The 'ordinary ' people of this Land and what do you see ? I don't know about you but I see a land populated by individuals praying to be materialistically rich and cursing their luck for not being so . And why ? Because we've been conditioned to believe money gives us protection from Alien tyranny . Here's the kicker ! It's the Aliens who print the money ! HAh ha ! If you want to kill out Aliens , UNITE IN YOUR WORK PLACES DUMMIES ! Then DO NOT BORROW MONEY DUMMIE ! If you need to borrow money to buy a TV , read a fucking book instead DUMMIE ! If you need to borrow money to buy a flash car BUY A SHITTER WITH CASH OR CYCLE DUMMIE ! Must have Digital TV ! Wank ! Self leveling , air bagged , ABS braked , multiple orgasm causing, nob extending automobiles ! Wank ! Don't get me wrong here , I like a nice car , tv and stereo's etc . What I loath is how the Aliens have drafted us into the cold boney hands of the Debt Pimps to enable us to scratch the itches they supplanted into us via media driven , brainwashing techniques AKA TV commercials . It's no longer about women and men with ideals and fighting for them in a combative political arena for the good of all , it's about Aliens feeding off our good lives as we slave for the unattainable ideal THEY peddle . Our masters sit around boardroom tables in far off lands and every time they swig down a draft of Single Malt Scotch , a kid in Otara can't afford a glass of milk . I say wank thus I win ! Brown and Black and White and Yellow ! UNITE ! Old and grey and straight or Gay UNITE ! The police and the gangs ie Black Power and The Mongrels UNITE ! You're being used and abused by Aliens ! Has anybody seen John Keys belly button ? Exactly ! Paula Bennett ? She's ( It's ) not of this Earth !

At 24/8/11 12:06 pm, Blogger Frank said...

When Gareth Morgan, Bernard Hickey, and other economists start warning us that National/ACT's policies are not creating a fair society - then that's a fairly clear warning to our society.

It's not just the electorate waking up to what Key and his cronies are up to - it's the road that society has taken since 1984.

With nearly a quarter of a century since the neo-liberal reforms that turned NZ into "NZ Inc." - we still have growing poverty; unemployment; social dislocation; and a pervasive culture of greed.

Only the most ideologically blind and/or ignorant can believe that "everything is hunky dory", when it is clearly not.

Unfortunately, the Baby Boomer Middle Class has realised that they wield absolute power when it comes to elections. What the Baby Boomers want, the Baby Boomers get.

Free university education? *check*

Tax cuts after we've done with free Uni education? *check*

User pays for our next generation for a Uni education *check*

More tax cuts for us Baby Boomers? *check* and *check*

No wonder that many of the young generation are telling us to "get f**ked" and buggering off overseas.

This was a very telling comment from a Dominion Post article;

""I would never live there anyway, I feel just like my whole generation were basically sold down the river by the government. I don't feel connected at all, I don't even care if the All Blacks win.

"I just realised it was futile living [in New Zealand] trying to pay student loans and not having any life, so I left. My missus had a student loan and she had quite a good degree and she had paid 99c off the principal of her loan after working three years." "

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5488966/Student-loan-avoiders-told-to-pay-up

Talk about inter-generational theft.

But the younger generation have realised this, and have voted with their feet. Can't say I blame them.

At 24/8/11 2:46 pm, Blogger slydixon said...

Its all so simple! To catch up with Australia all we have to do is increase our land area 10 to 20 times and fill it with bauxite, uranium, copper and diamonds plus various other minerals that the voracious Chinese economy is buying hand over fist. Australia is physically a much bigger richer country and its economy is entirely propped up on mineral export. If the Chinese stop buying Australia is fucked.

At 25/8/11 8:08 am, Blogger frances jane said...

Ergo, Countryboy plus slydixon equals: Chinese sell rare earths & minerals to Aliens in exchange for clones of politicians who will sign like fair trades, media rorts, war machinery & enslavement campaigns, humans getting hooked up to computer interfaces in a programme called the singularity. Smile, wave & scan, the future just began. ( I know Helen Clark was cloned, the real one never would have signed a free trade with china that's just not something a human being does to their country, plus, when she was P.M. she appeared in two different venues at the same time in Whangarei. Truly, it was reported(separately) in the two local newspapers)

At 25/8/11 11:39 pm, Blogger flemhoof said...

i have appreciated gareths views for some time, throw the net a bit further and you find countries like iran who have hundreds/thousands of poets, lybia and the tuareg musicians, the list goes on, all part of societies fabric, and a richer cloth it is. having every convenience on maxed out credit is not an aspiration, it is emptiness, like the vacancy sign on shonkeys head


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