Open mike 13/12/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 13th, 2012 - 89 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

89 comments on “Open mike 13/12/2012”

  1. The latest Roy Morgan poll is out.

    Somehow, unbelievably so, National is up slightly to 45.5%.  You really have to wonder what they have to do to dent their support.

    Labour is up 2% to 33.5% at the expense of the Greens, down 2.5% to 11%.  I am surprised by this.  I thought that the Greens have been on fire this year and are just more nimble and focussed in responding to issues.  Labour really need to sort this out.

    Yesterday was a good example.  Delahaunty bet Mahuta to a response on Parata’s idiot decision to close Salisbury School.  And although Chauvel did well against Collins in Parliament the Greens managed to come out saying the report should be released first.  Labour needs to respond to issues more quickly.

    NZ First at 5% is still the kingmaker.  The thought of a Labour – Green – NZ First coalition fills me with dread.  It would be very unstable.

    Labour is still behind its election result in 2008.  We still do not have cause to celebrate …

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2012/4847/ 

    • Morrissey 1.1

      The polls will stay at the same depressing level until Labour gets a decent leader.

      • One Tāne Viper 1.1.1

        +1

        Or allows its effective communicators to do their jobs without being accused of undermining the ineffective ones.

        • aerobubble 1.1.1.1

          They could be just holding their guns as the election isn’t for two years…

          …unless Key uses something to call one, like Maori water rights victory in the appeals court.

      • Neoleftie red striped viper 1.1.2

        Perhap a unified team approach would be better, let the heavy hitters loose to provide support to shearer.
        Also this election will be won by the members at grass roots level and not in the msm, the Tory mcontrol have embedded too many hooks and levers into the system for labour to counter successfully a that level so revert to a mass party a catch all non elite parand hit hit the streets.

      • David Viperious H 1.1.3

        Or Even better a decent Caucus, to go with a decent leader

    • higherstandard 1.2

      I would think the most people who are polled don’t give a fuck outside of the two months on either side of an election, still it keeps the money rolling in for the pollsters and gives a bit of excitement to political tragics.

    • tc 1.3

      ‘We still do not have cause to celebrate …’ but the Hollow men do Mickey.

      Carry on trev will be the pillow talk your a real hero etc etc.

    • coronial typer 1.4

      This solidifies Shearer’s position going into the barbeque-conspiracy season.

      Maybe it’s time to agree with rOb, confess our sins, light the yule log, kiss the secretary, skoll the nog, unwrap the presents, get trollied, grops the wife’s sister, hang the roofer, confirm our fealty, accept surveillance of this site and our actual names, O Come O Come Emmanuel, and at the end of the day, all the humming and harr-ing is just water under the bridge, we get in behind, watch the Boxing Day cricket, mate – I mean Mayte, Rugby was the Winner and we’re all winners, water off a duck’s back, delay the Visa payments again, and on January 1st at dawn take all our collective unrealised dreams that will never happen under Labour, take those dreams out, bury them deep in the offal pit, and every Christmas come back and do the same thing, and dance around David Cunliffe’s grave and tramp the soft warm earth down singing “Coulda Would Shoulda” and “Should Old Acquiantance Be Forgot …”

      …and go and defeat National.

      Too soon?

  2. One Tāne Viper 2

    Thanks very much, anti-science activists.

    A whooping cough epidemic sweeping the country has claimed the life of a 6-week-old Christchurch baby.

    What’s the law on self-defence again?

    • muzza 2.1

      Yes of course vaccinating pregnant mothers would have saved this unfortunate prematurely born child, and are you trying to tie this death to the un-vaccinated child who died, the one it mentions with the underlying health conditions!

      One other pertussis death has been reported this year. It involved a 3-year-old unimmunised child with underlying health conditions from another part of the country.

      Yes because that sentence really does a nice job of confusing multiple issues, but ensuring that the less able thinkers, link both these deaths in the article to lack of vaccination!

      Then you sign your comment off with an idle threat.

      Disgraceful, even by your low standards!

      • One Tāne Viper 2.1.1

        “Epidemic”, you tiresome cretin.

        • muzza 2.1.1.1

          Underlying health conditions – What were those again, oh the article didn’t say what they were!

          Stuff.co.nz – Scientific/Medical reporting of the highest quality!

          Still, these articles aimed at illiciting emotional responses from stupid people who think they know everything, which is what it managed to do!

          • One Tāne Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            “Epidemic”. Ep-id-em-ic.

            • One Tāne Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              PS: Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story:

              To assess the impact of anti-vaccine movements that targeted pertussis whole-cell vaccines, we compared pertussis incidence in countries where high coverage with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccines (DTP) was maintained (Hungary, the former East Germany, Poland, and the USA) with countries where immunisation was disrupted by antivaccine movements (Sweden, Japan, UK, The Russian Federation, Ireland, Italy, the former West Germany, and Australia). Pertussis incidence was 10 to 100 times lower in countries where high vaccine coverage was maintained than in countries where immunisation programs were compromised by anti-vaccine movements.

              My emphasis.

              • Colonial Weka

                Please go look up the failure rate of the pertussis vaccine. Then please present proof that the premature baby and the one with the underlying health conditions wouldn’t have died if we they had been vaccinated.
                 
                And yes I understand your point about the epidemic, but I still want you to answer the question.

                • One Tāne Viper

                  My argument does not rest on the specific details of the cases mentioned: it relies on the fact of the epidemic, and the fact that anti-vaccine campaigns increase the incidence of pertussis by ten to one-hundred fold.

                  If you have a failure rate in mind, cite it. Bear in mind that there is more than one pertussis vaccine, and the Ministry of Health’s statement:

                  Risks associated with the vaccine.

                  In some overseas trials of acellular pertussis, between 0.7 and 2.6 recipients in 10,000 had fits or shock-collapse, neither of which cause long-term problems. These reactions have not happened in overseas trials of the vaccine now being used in New Zealand.

                  There is no association between the vaccine and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

                  Anaphylaxis is very rare.

                  PS: I don’t like the new authoring format!

            • muzza 2.1.1.1.1.2

              @ echo off

              Conflation – Con-Fla-Tion!

              Confirmation – Con-Fir-Ma-tion

      • Lanthanide 2.1.2

        You know that whooping cough is a communicable disease, right? It doesn’t just spring out of nowhere spontaneously?

        If everyone in the community around the 6-week old baby, and the 3-year old had been immunised, they would not have been able to catch whooping cough. Therefore they would not have died from whooping cough (could still have died from something else, though).

        It’s called herd immunity.

        I heard from my sister that when someone is expecting a baby now, GPs are starting to round up all of the family members likely to have contact with the child and giving them vaccines for whooping cough, to help prevent it being transferred to the newborn.

        • higherstandard 2.1.2.1

          “If everyone in the community around the 6-week old baby, and the 3-year old had been immunised, they would not have been able to catch whooping cough. Therefore they would not have died from whooping cough (could still have died from something else, though).”

          I’m a very strong advocate of immunisation, however, this is not factually correct, pertussis vaccine is not 100% effective and it’s immunogenic effect can wane over time. However it is certain that effective immunisation campaigns for Pertussis and other infectious/non infectious diseases are among the most effective interventions within the health system and that in this case effective immunisation would most likely have lessened the chance of this outcome.

  3. Morrissey 3

    TVNZ’s shallow talent pool really starting to bite
    Television One Breakfast, 6:45 a.m., Thursday 13 December 2012

    Is there really nobody better than Rawdon Christie to front Breakfast television? Not only does he lack on-air rapport with his female co-presenters, but his comments on practically everything are comically ill-informed and naïve.

    A particularly sad example of his lack of nous was evident this morning….

    NADINE CHALMERS ROSS: I just find it extraordinary that this minister is trashing the reputation of this expert and yet she will not release the report.

    RAWDON CHRISTIE: But Minister Collins must have a good reason for not disclosing the report. She’s a VERY canny operator.

    PETRA BAGUST: Hmmmmm.

    RAWDON CHRISTIE: I mean, she’s a VERY smart politician.

    NADINE CHALMERS ROSS: Hmmmmm. We-e-e-e-e-ell….

    Christie continues to blither on in support of the government, while the women maintain a tense silence. I predict the axe will fall on this fellow before long…

    • muzza 3.1

      Good back stories of the situation, including reference to the Binnie press release HERE

      EDIT: The calibre of those who present *news* in NZ is so awful, it begs the question.

      What is their job!

    • freedom 3.2

      but they are raising the bar with Toni Street taking over from Petra for 2013. -sarc

    • Ennui in Requiem Mass for CV 3.3

      There is nowhere squalid enough in Purgatory for such slothful commentary. It gets worse however, pure hubric content abounds. Check this…..is this the fare that you the living have been reduced to by their media?http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/celebrities/8070895/Miley-Cyrus-dog-dead

    • tc 3.4

      Rawdon Christie is TVNZ’s answer to Bruce Forsyth, ‘nice to see you…. to see you nice ‘

      A vacuous shill for the NACT gov’t is what TVNZ has always been about since mid 08 as that man Joyce knows how to control the message via his usual tactics honed from his time at mediawonks.

      The only one with credibility is Peter Williams and he’s too smart to take those gigs and to busy playing golf with the right folk in remuera. He knows they need to keep at least one face the geriatrics (their core demographic) can recall.

  4. KhandallaMan-an Absolutely Fabulous Viper 4

    Labour are now back to the consistent level they maintained throughout the Goff period. 
    National are consistently 8-10 points below where they were in that period.
    The Greens are consistently running 4 points up and NZ First with 4-5 points.
    The only substantive difference from the 2008 election is that the Greens are up and ACT is gone. 
    4-5 point swing to the “left” from the “right”. All gains to Greens. 
    Labour has a lot of work to do.
    Keep working on the membership numbers. A strong team on the streets is our only hope. 

  5. rosy viper 5

    The government is going to work with speed to implement the recommendations of the Pike River inquiry

    Mr Joyce said the Government would put into effect the 16 recommendations of the Commission, aimed at addressing systemic failures in the health and safety regulatory regime, as soon as possible.

    “We owe it to the families of the victims of Pike River to ensure we follow through promptly on every recommendation the Royal Commission has made,” said Mr Joyce …

    … Mr Finlayson said Government will decide early next year what form the new independent regulator would take. He said the taskforce would advise the Government on other key recommendations by the end of April next year, when it is scheduled to report back on New Zealand’s entire workplace health and safety system.

    Independent regulator are now deemed essential for mine safety, but the ideology that spawned the Pike River disaster is still alive and kicking in this government. The independent assessors for monitoring vehicles on the road, in particular trucks, is at risk of being sidelined.

    “Larger trucking businesses may be well placed to self-certify compliance with certificate of fitness requirements because they carry suitably qualified maintenance staff.”

    I guess we’re not going to have a massive pile-up of trucks and cars and dead people all at once, but this will increase road accidents. A slow but certain increase in preventable injury and death.

    Deregulating road safety – another disaster waiting to happen.

    • vto viped 5.1

      You’re exactly right rosy viper. The ideology has been shown to have fatal flaws, the consequences of which are the likes of Pike River and leaky homes, amongst much more.

      There is no way the same ideology that led to Pike River can be allowed to apply to heavy trucking. What are they thinking? It will kill people. Like it has already.

    • colonial locus 5.2

      Entrepreneurs are by definition risk-takers, as are gamblers, hedge-fund managers, currency traders and all their ilk. Risk takers do not believe that it’s ‘worth’ investing a large amount to prevent very low probability events – irrespective of the severity of the consequences.

      This government has absolutely no intention of putting in place adequate risk management and safety regulations let alone establishing a regulatory authority with the necessary technical expertise, resources and clout to ensure the regulations are adhered to.

      Your example of mindless deregulation of trucking absolutely demonstrates this government’s lack of genuine concern for safety, and epitomises their total disregard for learning from international best-practice.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    GPJA: The Watch House Tape – American Embassy ‘extremely happy’ with policing of protest

    The recording was made early Saturday evening in the public waiting area at the Auckland police watch house after the protest against the TPP negotiations that afternoon. The senior sergeant was in an adjoining room speaking loudly on the phone.

    The recording was started after the officer was overheard boasting that an officer had hit John Minto in the eye during the protest. (We have witnesses who heard this although it’s not on the attached recording)

    However the tape raises serious questions about the police role at the TPP –

    • Why do police see themselves as particularly accountable to the US embassy?
    • Why are the police dealing directly with the US Embassy rather than via Foreign Affairs for example?

    • freedom 6.1

      Why was Stuff asking the Police for photos? Do they no longer have their own photographers?

    • Hard to see why they even bother pretending anymore. Just an answer to that one question – why would the police be talking to the embassy? is enough. Dirty and smelly and low – that crack about John Minto boils my blood too.

  7. Another Viper 7

    It is a pity Charles Chauvel was not leading the charge against Collin’s handling of the Bain case.
    Jamie-lee Ross would have been dog tucker had Charles been the Labour front man.

    Does anyone know if Charles is away? Or ill? Justice is his portfolio.

  8. Another Viper 8

    On the TV One Breakfast show…

  9. karol 9

    Gordon Campbell on Collins shoddy tactics (can’t get the WYSIWYG link button to work:
    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2012/12/13/gordon-campbell-on-judith-collins-handling-of-the-bain-compensation-report/

    It gets worse. In the process, Collins also showed an unfair predisposition to consult with the prosecution. Collins sought “advice” on the Binnie report from the Solicitor General – whose office spent the best part of two decades maintaining Bain’s guilt. She is, of course, free to consult anyone she likes, but it is reasonable to expect she should do so in an even-handed fashion. Instead, she (at the very least) discussed the contents of the report and sought advice on it from the prosecution, while denying Bain’s defence team anything like a similar courtesy. She also hired Robert Fisher QC to provide a “peer review” of Binnie’s report – but, as Labour justice spokesperson Charles Chauvel has pointed out on RNZ this morning, Collins either doesn’t know or won’t tell us what Fisher’s terms of reference are, and what level of documentation he has been given to enable him to conduct, within a mere matter of days, a meaningful evaluation of Binnie’s report.

    • r0b 9.1

      Just put up a post on this.

      • karol 9.1.1

        Excellent.  Thanks r0b.  I was also feeling I should try to post something on it, but don’t have the energy/time to put together my own take on the issues.

        • r0b 9.1.1.1

          I know the feeling! And I’m happy to quote from much better writers than I on occasion…

          • karol 9.1.1.1.1

            Yes, I was also thinking that I couldn’t produce a better post on the issue than Gordon Campbell’s.  He’s one of, if not THE top NZ journalists, IMO.

    • lprent 9.2

      …can’t get the WYSIWYG link button to work

      Appears to have been the one casualty of the wordpress update last night. Added to fix list.

    • aerobubble 9.3

      Collins doesn’t want to be the minister who compensated Bain.

      So she needs cover.

      Leave it to the prosecutor, after all they’ve been messing with the issue for ?two decades? now.

      So what’s the chance, just before Christmas, Bain to get compensation?

      Well it needs to be signed off by cambinet, so no, no chance.

      Which leads to the other outcome, they will never pay out.

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    Where all the tories at?

    I thought POAL was going to to take the union to the cleaners, that their legal advice was rock solid, that it was all a cunning plan that the union had fallen right into?

    Nah?

  11. bad12 11

    What’s a promise from Slippery the Prime Minister really worth???, my opinion, well known,is that anything that that Slippery little Shyster says should be treated as suspect,

    Slippery has just spent the past 4 years re-decorating the office of Prime Minister in colors,tone, and, intent so as to have it carry all the prestige and gravitas of a sales shack parked among the tin on any used-car lot situated in an Auckland back-street,

    We will know more later as Slippery is at the moment engaged in a meeting with the families of the Pike River Miners,

    He seems to be there with intent to apologize for the deregulated Government actions that aided and abetted the Coal Company in it’s game of Russian Roulette played with the lives of the Miners,

    The families of those Miners seem to be there to ask Slippery, as the Prime Minister, to honor His promise to ‘do everything in His power to bring home the bodies of their family’,

    What’s a promise from the Slippery Prime Minister worth???…

  12. POAL has just been fined $40,000 for hiring scab labour in an attempt to break the MUNZ strike.

    It was reportedly paying a foreign engineer $10,000 a week to do work that the MUNZ employees could otherwise do.

    In a stinging criticism POAL is said to have made “calculated decisions” to break the law.
    “Containers were stacked around the perimeter fence and the engineering workshop which obscured the vision of (union) employees on the picket line.” This occurred after a striking member had taken photographs of the scab workers and then complained to POAL about its actions.

    It really is time for Len Brown and Auckland Council to step in because POAL is clearly out of control.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10853815 

    [lprent: fixed the link – had the HTML for a & in there ]

    • One Tāne Viper 12.1

      Weird: the link goes to the Herald front page, but works if you cut and paste it. 
       
      I look forward to all the law and order wingnuts condemning PoAL demanding a retrospective law change to validate PoAL’s low-life actions.

    • karol 12.2

      Gee, the issues are coming think and fast: more than one blogger can post about.  Funny all this stuff is being made public at the same time, and just after the House went into recess!

      • One Tāne Viper 12.2.1

        In more news from the Third World

        If your employees lack job security, feel overworked and under-rewarded, then there is a high chance that they will be attracted to economies or organisations that are continuing to grow strong, and that offer greater opportunities for career development and reward flexibility.

  13. bad12 13

    From RadioNZ National news at noon, the Minister of Injustice will release the ‘Binnie report’ after 2 o’clock this afternoon…

  14. One Tāne Viper 14

    Useless incompetent is useless and incompetent. Nothing to see here.

    “For the 31 people who attended the camps prior to April this year, 61 per cent reoffended within six months…”

    Context: NZ prison recidivism rate ≈ 50%
    Norway prison recidivism rate ≈ 20%

  15. Chris 15

    Notice how filthy lying hypocrite Slater hasn’t got the guts to post about the Ports of Auckland getting slammed for employing strike-busting contractors. Coward.

    • alwyn 15.1

      He has actually. I looked just now and there is a post on the subject.
      I didn’t read it but the title was “POAL fined today 40K…” so he certainly mentioned it.
      His site apparently only lists the date of postings, not the time so I can’t say whether it was before your comment.
      However the oldest comments are at least two hours ago so it may have been about the time you put your remark up.

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    Internet Explorer tracks cursor even when minimised

    A security researcher has published yet another reason not to use Internet Explorer for anything, under any circumstances: it can track your mouse cursor movements, even when it’s minimised.

    Affecting all versions newer than IE 6.0, and with no plans for a fix by Microsoft, the bug is demonstrated here (not being an IE user, this El Reg hack hasn’t tested the game).

    As the notice from spider.io states, the exploit “compromises the security of virtual keyboards and virtual keypads” – often used as a “secure” login that defeats keyloggers.

    I don’t use IE as it’s been the most insecure browser for quite some time and now it shows that it’s even more insecure.

    • Colonial Weka 16.1

      It tracks the mouse cursor movements, and then what?

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1

        And then the mouse becomes as suspect as the keyboard as far as security goes making such things as Kiwibanks’ KeepSafe less secure due to the fact that keyloggers will be able to log the mouse as well.

  17. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 17

    Just heard that a Duisenberg car was passed in at an auction on reaching bids of $6.4 million NZ?but the owners didn’t feel that was a sufficient price for them. I thought you might like to know where all that money that is retained by the very rich and/or successful criminals goes to.

    Investing in practical manufactures that employ non and semi skilled people at a reasonable wage, little. Paying inflated prices for beautiful objects like hand-made cars, diamonds, works of art that an artist could never live off in their own lifetime, lots. And going to seminars where one meets like minded people, has a good nosh and hears about the latest methods of tax avoidance or evasion.

  18. McFliper 18

    fuck me – I really thought we’d hit the limit of bunksie’s barefaced contempt for all things ethical or credible, but then there’s this comment during the week’s coverage of child poverty:

    ACT’s John Banks says the Government’s trial of charter schools will help lift thousands of disadvantaged children out of poverty.

           
    Indeed. And a kick in the balls will help restore sight to the blind.

  19. Dr Terry 19

    It is Christmas, so let’s just try (as hard as it is!) to have compassion for Banks as he is suffering from a tragic state of total delusion.

  20. lprent 20

    Darn… After months of staying within our “free” 25GB international traffic limits, last month we blew out to 103GB above it. Good thing that the price dropped to $1/GB…. Still increases our monthly costs by about 50% effectively without warning. Good thing generally. Bad thing for costs.

    Part of that was a change to the backup systems. Most of it was the big jump in comments and people reading comments. But I’m going to move the primary server back offshore so we can get more stable cost structure than what happens over the southern cross.

    • karol 20.1

      I feel a donation coming on next time I go to my bank.

      • lprent 20.1.1

        Don’t you worry about it and please don’t. Authors are the last people I’d call on. They write those interesting posts… I’m more irritated because I thought I had that completely under control.

        In fact no-one (apart from me) needs to worry about it. We have a more than a years worth of server costs in the bank these days. It is slowly accumulating into an acceptably sized defence fund and hedge against server costs. (But donations from non-authors are always welcome of course….)

        I’ve spent much of the last couple of years pushing the server costs  down to the point that we could run something several sizes of what we have now on donations if we had to. That ideal requires that we’re not paying more than $300 per month. I’ve held it down to ~$360 per month for the last 4 months.

        The problem is that I get essentially free traffic inside NZ, but overseas traffic, most of which is unwanted bots keeps blowing my targets.

        But basically keeping the primary server in NZ is just too hard to stay inside my budget because of the frigging Southern Cross cable costs.

    • One Tāne Viper 20.2

      Is it wise to advertise this? Could vindictive scum like Clare Curran exploit this to cause problems for TS?

      • lprent 20.2.1

        Not much anyone can do about it. The server will be going offshore soon for several reasons.

        1. I don’t like the proposed cyber-bullying bill because it violates several tenets of long standing internet principles and principles of natural justice. The simplest way to argue about it will be show other people on the net how to shift their systems to completely avoid it. One part of that is show how to hide servers in other jurisdictional locations.

        2.  The costs on the southern cross cable are ridiculously high and damn near force servers to locate offshore. Politicians like Curran should exert effort making themselves useful rather than playing their silly games. Getting some competition in the overseas cables into NZ would help a lot with encouraging businesses to stay here.

        3. I want flat costs for the servers to help with budgeting. These days I should be able to drop the costs of the primary server down to something that is essentially flat and about half of what we pay now until we triple in traffic volumes again.. That would put the total server cost back inside the easy donation envelope again.

        4. I have to pass this through the trust, but once I move the server and check it for loads, I’ll probably pay well in advance.

  21. just saying 21

    LPrent,
    Is there any chance of you returning the “donate” option that existed before the incomprehensible PayPal, as an alternative to it? Where the system just asked users to punch in their credit card details, and that was it.

    My bank is Post Bank, and the wait time at this time of year is astronomical, and getting a park nearby is unlikely too.

    • lprent 21.1

      What about internet banking? I was removing the PayPal as it has been some time since anyone used it. Mostly they just put it in using direct internet banking.

      The Standard Trust account at Kiwibank

      Account: 38-9010-0427551-00
      Set the Particulars to ‘Donation’

  22. For those who havnt read the nice Michael Roberts blog, the latest on “Apples, robots and robber barons”. It features Keynesian Krugman who worries about sounding Marxist, and then dispenses his fallback arguments that technology can save capitalism from nasty ‘robber barons’.

    http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/apples-robots-and-robber-barons/

    …”Wow! exclaimed Krugman, struck by this figure which shows the share of income going to labour at a post-war low. He comments: “So the story has totally shifted; if you want to understand what’s happening to income distribution in the 21st century economy, you need to stop talking so much about skills, and start talking much more about profits and who owns the capital. Mea culpa: I myself didn’t grasp this until recently. But it’s really crucial.” 11 December.

    So we need to start talking about profits and who owns the capital. Yikes! This smacks of Marxist economics. And indeed, in another post, Krugman recognises just that. “I think our eyes have been averted from the capital/labor dimension of inequality, for several reasons. It didn’t seem crucial back in the 1990s, and not enough people (me included!) have looked up to notice that things have changed. It has echoes of old-fashioned Marxism — which shouldn’t be a reason to ignore facts, but too often is. And it has really uncomfortable implications.” Indeed, it does.

    Krugman considers whether we are reverting to Marxist talk. “Are we really back to talking about capital versus labor? Isn’t that an old-fashioned, almost Marxist sort of discussion, out of date in our modern information economy? Well, that’s what many people thought; for the past generation discussions of inequality have focused overwhelmingly not on capital versus labor but on distributional issues between workers, either on the gap between more- and less-educated workers or on the soaring incomes of a handful of superstars in finance and other fields. But that may be yesterday’s story. ….the wage gap between workers with a college education and those without, which grew a lot in the 1980s and early 1990s, hasn’t changed much since then. Indeed, recent college graduates had stagnant incomes even before the financial crisis struck. Increasingly, profits have been rising at the expense of workers in general, including workers with the skills that were supposed to lead to success in today’s economy…

    Why is mainstream economics suddenly waking up to these issues? Maybe it is because some mainstream economists have had a revelation about how capitalism really works. Maybe they have a sense of injustice about labour’s share. It seems Paul Krugman fits those two explanations. But for others, it is more likely that the mainstream is aware of the social implications of growing inequality and the threat to capitalism itself if things go on the way they have been.

    If the advanced capitalist economies remain in a long depression and income inequalities remain, the likelihood of social explosions is going to increase. Faith in capitalism as the only system that works will fade like belief in Christ – but much more quickly. That is the fear for the mainstream. It is the same fear that drove Keynes in the 1930s to look for new and more radical ways to ‘save capitalism’ from its own flaws. The strategists of capital reluctantly accepted some of his prescriptions for a while as Keynesian prescriptions appeared to offer a way out of slumps within capitalism. But when Marx’s law of profitability exerted itself during the 1970s, Keynesianism was dropped for neoliberal (neoclassical) policies that aimed to drive up the share of profit and squeeze social benefits. Now the neoliberal policy has failed and the mainstream (mainly the Keynesians) are issuing an emergency warning. Yikes – this is the longest post yet! STOP.”

    • Draco T Bastard 22.1

      Keynesianism is a means to prop up capitalism but it will still fail as the modus operandi of capitalism is to take all the wealth and give it to the few. Neo-liberalism, on the other hand, is a justification for taking all the wealth and giving it to the few in larger chunks which always results in an even bigger crash than what we got under Keynesianism.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.2

      For example, one of the reasons some high-technology manufacturing has lately been moving back to the US is that these days the most valuable piece of a computer, the motherboard, is basically made by robots, so cheap Asian labour is no longer a reason to produce them abroad.  Robots mean that labour costs don’t matter so much and capitalists can then locate in advanced countries with large markets and better infrastructure.  Even the low wages earned by factory workers in China have not insulated them from being undercut by new machinery.

      This.
      This is exactly what I’ve been saying for some time now but it has a major problem under the present socio-economic system – the majority of people (ie, the workers) lose all and accumulation to the owners accelerates the end result of which will be an even greater crash and, eventually, revolution. The only option we have is to replace capitalism but no political party seems willing to admit that.

      • red rattler 22.2.1

        “no political party seems willing to admit that.”
        Mainstream, capitalist political party. Not surprising since they are committed to managing capitalism in all of its decline and dotage. There are however anti-capitalist parties, small as they may be still, pointing the way.
        There are left currents and huge debates surrounding working class uprisings such as the Arab Spring, the strikes and Occupations of the EU and US, and ‘third-world’ movements like Bolivarianism in LA and more recently the miners strikes in SA. All of these show that there is an awakening of an anti-capitalist movement in the masses that is looking for political vehicles to transform dying capitalism into some form of post-capitalist, socialist society that can take all the huge advances of capitalist development and turn it to social good.
        Part of this process is a reactivation of the rank and file in the old social democratic parties along class lines which is what we see happening in the NZ Labour Party. In particular radical youth are driving this process. Out of that there will be a regroupment of the working class into some form of anti-capitalist party.
         

      • VindowViper 22.2.2

        Yes. The automation and technology are not the problem in themselves; it is the fact that they are owned by the capitalists who use them to displace labour and aggregate an increasing portion of wealth to themselves. The problem is not the hammer; it’s fools using it to smash porcelain.

        Ultimately it is labour that gives value to things (aside from their embedded energy and environmental costs). When the labour content plummets to zero, prices and profits also drop to zero.

        It’s a completely stupid and self-defeating system.

        • Neoleftie 22.2.2.1

          All too true vindow viper, and too few of us provide any sort of a challenge, the mainstream left is quiet lite blue and any red is fading to pink..off well if climate change and the oilprovide the great event can’t shake the tree tleft the true left or nleft progressive left will simply fade away.

  23. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 23

    red rattler said
    “Faith in capitalism as the only system that works will fade like belief in Christ ”

    I differ. As capitalism decays and people suffer we will turn more to whatever religion dominates our horizon.. Christianity was supposed to be based on Jesus Christ’s teachings, which were generally good ones and elevated ordinary people for respect alongside the rich.

    His teachings have been perverted and converted into another form that supports a handy hierarchy for the didactic and upwardly mobile into either of the states of ephemeral soulfulness and other-worldliness or a materialistic club offering supposed membership privileges.

    A lot of Christianity relies on Old Testament ideas that are acknowledged by Christ but then superseded by his new teachings. Christ remains as a teacher and leader who is inspiring of hope and viable pathways through problems to a better society. The religious however do not always find the right path even if they look for it, which many don’t.

    One of these right things would be to donate some money to The Standards costs soon. A practical step along the pathway.

  24. Morrissey 24

    Cringe-inducing banter on Jim Mora’s show
    National Radio, Thursday 13 December 2012, 4:15 p.m.

    At the start of each episode of The Panel, that ever more dire and dismal Jim Mora vehicle, a valuable seven or eight minutes is squandered by preambulatory banter, which is almost always dull, and often excruciatingly dull. And sometimes, as happened on today’s programme, things get said that must make Mora wonder why the hell he bothers with the irksome chitchat regime foisted on him by his producers….

    Jim Mora: Michelle Boag and Brian Edwards, two of the smartest operators in the tangled worlds of media and public relations!

    Brian Edwards: I just LOVE coming on this programme. You always say the nicest things about me.

    Michelle Boag: Jim’s obviously full of the festive spirit. *

    Jim Mora: Yes I am actually.

    Edwards: Good, otherwise we’d think you were just a CRAWLER.

    Mora: [feigning hurt feelings] That’s defamatory.

    Boag: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    After the 4:30 news, it’s time for the SOAPBOX, where the panellists talk about “what they have been thinking about”. Let’s see what Boag and Edwards—“two of the smartest operators”—have been occupying their minds….

    Brian Edwards: I’m just getting so annoyed with table-hoggers in cafes and restaurants.

    A long, uninteresting and unenlightening discussion ensues.

    Later, Jim brings up the story of a man who has been sacked (allegedly) for criticizing Auckland Transport. This provokes Michelle Boag into a display of illiterate fury….

    Boag: I find this INCREDULOUS!

    Edwards: No you don’t. You find it incredible. You are incredulous.

    Boag: [impatiently] Yes, all RIGHT!

    * Here’s a video clip of Boag doing her key schtick—trying (unsuccessfully in this case) to intimidate….
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/7094218/Boag-keeps-eagle-eye-on-ACC-story

    • QoTViper 24.1

      On this we may eternally agree, Morrissey: Jim Mora is shit. RNZ could replace him with a Speak-and-Spell operated by a Dobermann and you’d get more insightful, better-researched questions out of it.

      • Morrissey 24.1.1

        I think the problem is mainly to do with his producers. They insist on the obligatory “pleasantries” at the start of each show. Jim often sounds weary and bored when going through these deadly opening remarks.
         
        And it’s the producers, not Jim himself, who lump him with guests who are often dull and inarticulate.

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