Crisis cuts both ways

Probably the most interesting thing that struck me in Someone Else’s Country was the role of crisis in providing cover for the enaction of extreme legislation in both the 84 Labour government and the 91 National government. In both cases, economic “crises” (quotes cos the 91 one seemed… thin) provided the impetus for the ramming through of massive economic reforms – which were un-publicised in advance – under FPP. (And the peculiar mechanics of economic illiteracy among Cabinet members of both governments which allowed the ideologues their head, and the extent to which it was Treasury driving the reform.)

In any case, the importance of the crisis factor for today’s situation being, of course, that the next government will likely inherit a global economic crisis, which will provide cover for whatever the hell they claim is the only option to save us. And that makes the prospect of a National government a damn sight scarier, and increases the relevance of stuff like The Hollow Men – remember, John Key was Brash’s deputy throughout that process… – which is all about not revealing just how freakily right wing your wet dreams are to the electorate because they will justifiably burn you at the stake.

The other thing of particular note, on reflection, is just how lucky we are that MMP replaced FPP, as the referendum seemed something of an offhand gesture from the politicians, which they were surprised the public was overwhelmingly in favour of (after a decade of dictatorial reform, how odd). The doco was made in 1996, so we don’t get the comparison with the MMP era in the film, but having lived it, yeah, democracy and negotiation seems well preferable to democratic dictatorship. (Also, interesting that Michael Laws claimed Helen Clark was part of a biparty group who were dead against MMP, but disbanded because they realised how bad it looked to be working together on that issue… funny how things work out).

The most random factoid was that Bob Jones’ New Zealand Party had stood on a platform of what was essentially Rogernomics, way back in the Muldoon era. I don’t think I knew that.

And finally, it was striking that yes, actually, almost every time they open their mouths, almost every member of the Business Roundtable does seem like a soulless cunt in need of a severe beating.

Someone Else's Country

Wow. Someone flipped a switch and now it is officially spring and everyone is out on the waterfront.

Anyhow.

White Fungus is putting on a free screening of Someone Else’s Country, a doco by Alister Barry (who made a film out of The Hollow Men, among other things, which is playing for another few days at Paramount) about the 80’s reforms and Rogernomics, with a panel discussion featuring Alister Barry, Nicky Hager and Tim Bollinger.

Monday Sept 29th, 6pm, Massey Uni lecture Theatre 10A02, old museum building.

This seems pretty worthwhile. See you there?

(Oh, and, as ever, daylight savings seems a really useful time to point out that as we can all collectively decide that a fundamental abstract ordering principle of reality, such as time, will arbitrarily change, and it is fine, that we can also do this with our economic and political abstractions, etc, and it will be fine.)

Quick! Let pop culture distract us!

As if we needed any more evidence that science is in fact religion, consider that we consistently ignore the prophets of doom…

Anyhow, this has been spreading the last couple of days. Millions of tonnes of methane at the arctic has been freed up by melting permafrost. This is considered one of those tipping points towards ever ratcheting up warming, and death for life as we know it (not death of the earth, per se, since that will adapt fine and cover over our skeletons starved in the streets of our abandoned cities.)

Oh, and this is a nice review of nine years of Labour government. Now seems as good a time as any to note: do we really trust John Key to navigate us through the storms to come? Because the conditions at sea are going to swamp the ideology of the captain. Total global recession, and massive global climate shift. This requires vision, character, and a basic connection to reality. None of this is noticeably present in Key.

a picture is worth a thousand words

…but I don’t have a digital camera.

Anyhow. The view from the lounge window.

Visualise, if you will, one of the standard Wellington green recycling bins. See a tall hedge with green and red leaves. See grey cloud mist occluding the far hills. See trees bending and thrashing in the wind.

Now see the green recycling bin embedded in the hedge, ten or twelve feet above ground – almost as high as the streetlight to the left of the hedge.

Yep, it’s windy out.

anyone got a spare computer?

Tech dood sez my laptop is stuffdzor in some mysterious way, probably either CPU or motherboard, and I may as well get another one than get it fixed.

For a variety of reasons, some financial, some futuro-logistical*, some purely pragmatic in the moment, this is made of Poop.

So yes. Just collating options here. Anyone got a spare computer? 🙂

* I is writer. I can make wordzis.

because we care about our country

Some young people came around doorknocking to get me to vote National.

I did not eat them.

Instead we had a rather jolly conversation about democracy and politics. They were nice enough, but unable to expand upon the empty rhetoric they had been drilled with about what National stood for and would do, in the end suggesting I ring the candidate they were stumping for, which would be highly amusing, I imagine. I avoided ranting but hopefully planted a seed or two by asking questions.

Anyhow, it was good to see young people actively engaged with democracy, even if they are sadly misguided. 😛

Reminds me I should get off my arse, too.

economic petition

Wow. I stop paying attention and ranting about how the economy is stuffed and will collapse and then it starts happening in earnest and mainstream politicians are now muttering “transparency” and “regulation”. Of course, how far it goes is another matter; whether or not this is an actual acknowledgment of fundamental flaws with capitalism itself, or just a matter of trying to keep the status quo afloat.

Anyhow. Avaaz have a petition to be delivered to the EU encouraging regulation of global finance. You may as well go sign it.

ingest me

Common plastics chemical linked to human diseases

LONDON (Reuters) – A study has for the first time linked a common chemical used in everyday products such as plastic drink containers and baby bottles to health problems, specifically heart disease and diabetes.

Until now, environmental and consumer activists who have questioned the safety of bisphenol A, or BPA, have relied on studies showing harm from exposure in laboratory animals.

But British researchers, who published their findings on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed urine and blood samples from 1,455 U.S. adults aged 18 to 74 who were representative of the general population.

Using government health data, they found that the 25 percent of people with the highest levels of bisphenol A in their bodies were more than twice as likely to have heart disease and, or diabetes compared to the 25 percent of with the lowest levels.

“Most of these findings are in keeping with what has been found in animal models,” Iain Lang, a researcher at the University of Exeter in Britain who worked on the study, told a news conference.

“This is the first ever study (of this kind) that has been in the general population,” Lang said.

[…]

BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear shatter-resistant material in products ranging from baby and water bottles to plastic eating utensils to sports safety equipment and medical devices.

It also is used to make durable epoxy resins used as the coating in most food and beverage cans and in dental fillings.

People can consume BPA when it leaches out of plastic into liquid such as baby formula, water or food inside a container.

In the study, the team said the chemical is present in more than 90 percent of people, suggesting there is not much that can be done to avoid the chemical of which over 2.2 million tons is produced each year.

[…]

“Bisphenol A is one of the world’s most widely produced and used chemicals, and one of the problems until now is we don’t know what has been happening in the general population,” said Tamara Galloway, a University of Exeter researcher who worked on the study.

Breton

So Andre Breton was booked to go to Mexico and talk about Surrealism. He gets off the plane and there is no one to meet him. After waiting around for a while, he makes his way to the venue he is supposed to speak at. It is locked and empty. With no hotel booked and no way to contact anyone, he makes his way to a bar and starts drinking tequila. A man walks in and asks if a certain man, call him Signor X, is there. Upon having Signor X pointed out, the man walks up to him, shoots him dead, and leaves.

Eventually Breton is found by his hosts at the bar, and informed that they had completely forgotten he was coming, and had organised nothing. He stood to give an impromptu talk to the small group gathered, beginning “I came here to talk to you about surrealism, but in Mexico, I see, I don’t dare.”

[Anecdote paraphrased from a book on Remedios Varo.]

wah

My loyal lappy seems to be struggling with basic functioning, in a possibly terminal fashion, or at least one requiring major surgery. This puts many plans sideways until rectifiable.

Oh well. It’s sunny. Time to go outside.

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