No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Psycho Milt

"I have always maintained I had nothing to do with the donations"

Or, to quote a more famous politician, “I am not a crook.”

One thing you could be pretty sure about when the SFO charged people over criminal fraud involving donations to the National Party was that the instance referred to by Jami Lee Ross wouldn’t be a one-off. Sure enough, it wasn’t:

The Serious Fraud Office prosecution of four people over donations to the National Party involves not one but two $100,000 donations – in June 2017 and June 2018.

I’d say another thing we can be sure about is that it didn’t just involve two instances – it sounds like this was normal practice. 

I have two things to point out regarding this:

1. The usual reason for anonymising large donations from private interests to a political party is that the private interest is expecting to get influence in return for the donation and doesn’t want people drawing connections between the donation and the political party subsequently acting in its interests. National and NZ First are both providing good examples of that right now.

In that context, it’s worth mentioning here that at least one of the donations involved in this prosecution, and possibly both, came from a leading figure in the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front organisation, which exists to promote CCP influence over foreign countries.  Simon Bridges’ and Todd McLay’s recent sycophancy towards the CCP should be seen in that light.

2. The SFO says:

“The defendants adopted a fraudulent device, trick or stratagem whereby the … donation was split into sums of money less than $15,000 and transferred into bank accounts of eight different people before being paid to, and retained by, the National Party.”

That fraudulent device was described to Simon Bridges by Jami Lee Ross in the phone call Ross recorded:

…the way they’ve done it meets the disclosure requirements – sorry, it meets the requirements where it’s under the particular disclosure level because they’re a big association and there’s multiple people and multiple people make donations…

Bridges doesn’t bat an eyelid.  Clearly this is a normal practice being described. So, what would the United Front expect in return for this anonymised donation? After saying there’s no catch, in a moment of pure comedy Ross says:

You may recall at the dinner they did discuss candidacy, and another Chinese candidate.

Oh, right – no catch, just an expectation that they get to nominate a National Party list candidate. Again, Bridges discusses this as though it’s normal practice.  And, apparently, upwards of 40% of NZ voters have no problem with voting for a party involved in serious fraud. 

Written by Psycho Milt

February 17, 2020 at 5:08 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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It wasn’t me, and anyway you can’t prove it

Looks like Jami-Lee Ross was telling the truth about National having split a $100,000 donation into smaller amounts so they wouldn’t have to reveal it was from one of the CCP’s United Front representatives – four people are facing criminal charges by the Serious Fraud Office

So the big question now is whether he was also telling the truth about Simon Bridges being heavily involved.  Bridges points out that he hasn’t been charged and this proves he wasn’t involved in decision-making about a very large donation to the party he leads. Well, good for him.  Who am I, someone without the funds to fight a defamation suit, to suggest that his claim is somewhat implausible?  Naturally I make no such suggestion. 

I am interested in the ethical standards of the people aspiring to lead the country, though.  As with the data theft incident last year, the ethical bar that Bridges feels candidates need to clear is “No criminal charges were laid.”  This latest incident elaborates on that, adding the feature “You can’t prove I was involved in those criminal acts.”  Apparently, upwards of 40% of the country’s voters consider this as high a bar as they want to set for ethical standards in government, which leads me to wonder how the fuck we manage to keep topping the Transparency International rankings for lack of corruption – those other countries must be run by some very dodgy bastards indeed. 

Written by Psycho Milt

January 29, 2020 at 4:44 am

Posted in New Zealand

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You couldn’t make this stuff up

Just trying to get my head around this. Simon Bridges goes to China on a trip arranged by Jian Yang, the allegedly “former” Chinese intelligence officer serving as a National Party MP, for a photo op with Guo Shengkun, the head of China’s version of the Gestapo, followed by an interview in which he praises the the Chinese Communist Party and says what a privilege it is for NZ to have had such successful dealings with it.

We can only ponder what business Bridges had with the CCP’s Minister of Public Security. Because the meeting was arranged by Jian Yang, MFAT has no transcript or notes of the discussion, and Bridges certainly isn’t saying. Seems reasonable to assume a transcript of the meeting could only prove horribly embarrassing to him.

You have to wonder whether he really would be embarrassed though, given his latest trip abroad. Just in case there were people who weren’t thinking “Seriously, what the fuck?” after his China trip, Bridges headed off to the Philippines to meet up with various Duterte government enthusiasts for extra-judicial killing. Here’s Bridges posting about what a “privilege” it was to meet Teddy Locsin, Duterte’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs:

I love the way Bridges writes that tweet as though he were the PM, but that isn’t the most interesting thing about the tweet.  More significant is that Locsin’s a well-known Nazi sympathiser. He’s openly wished for an Auschwitz-style “final solution” for drug addicts, and here he is telling everyone the Nazis have an undeservedly bad rep:

If only they hadn’t made that foolish mistake and had instead killed millions of the right people, huh?  Seems like a top bloke – no wonder Bridges felt it was such a privilege to meet him.  The other people he met were also keen on extra-judicial killing.  I guess he took Mark Mitchell along due to Mitchell’s own previous involvement in that, not that Mitchell will answer questions about whether he might have done any of the extrajudicial killing himself – such modesty, how rare in a politician!

It’s kind of disturbing that no National supporters appear to find any of the above even slightly disturbing, it’s all just BAU.  For the rest of us though, the Philippines trip in particular sheds a new light on Bridges’ constant dog-whistling about gangs – clearly, he’d consider it a “privilege” to be able to adopt the Duterte approach to drug addiction here.

Written by Psycho Milt

January 22, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Pregnant men, lesbian dick and all the other fun of the postmodernist fair

I’m posting this not because I particularly wanted to publish something about it, more so that I’ve got something to link to that explains my thinking on the subject.

Most readers of this blog are probably unfamiliar with disputes that go on among left-wingers, so I’ll explain: just as the right has a deep philosophical split between religious conservatives and classical liberals, the left has a deep philosophical split between materialists and post-modernists. Even if you haven’t noticed that split, you’ll probably have noticed there’s a real shit-fight going on at the moment between gender identity activists and feminists – eg, the de-platforming of the Feminism 2020 event by Massey University at the behest of trans-gender activists and its rescue by, of all people, David Seymour of the ACT Party, who arranged for it to be held at Parliament (his support isn’t actually all that surprising when you think about it, because materialists = rationalists and therefore have a lot in common with classical liberals – it’s funny how often I agree with Nick K, for example).

I’m poking my nose into that shit-fight between the feminists and gender identity activists a lot more than you’d expect, given that I’m neither a woman nor confused about what sex I am. The reason is that it’s the current major expression of the left’s materialists vs postmodernists divide, and I sure do have a horse in that race.

Hopefully it won’t come as any surprise to regular readers of this blog that I’m very much in the materialist camp. For those unfamiliar with the terms:

Materialism holds that the universe consists only of matter and energy, and everything can and must be accounted for in those terms, eg what a religious person might call your soul exists only as electrical energy within the physical organ that is your brain, and your mind’s unique nature is a product of evolution, the combination of genes provided by your parents, and the environment you grew up in. Physical reality is the most important thing in materialism.

Post-modernism holds that we are the products of historical and social context and that we should therefore be skeptical of any reference to physical reality because our understanding of it comes via our society and culture. The things we consider to be objectively true effectively aren’t, because we can’t be sure to what extent our thinking has been influenced by social factors like ethnicity, religion, philosophy, culture etc.

To be fair, postmodernism isn’t entirely lacking in lessons for us, eg it’s a good idea to keep in mind that what we imagine to be objectively true is actually heavily influenced by our culture, upbringing and experience. That said, we materialists reject the central premise of postmodernism. Physical reality does actually exist, the scientific method gives us a flawed but usable understanding of it, and (most importantly) physical reality isn’t altered by your feelings about it.

This is where the clash between feminists and gender identity activists comes from. If you’re a materialist, physical reality says gender identity is bollocks: Homo Sapiens is a sexually dimorphic species, ie it reproduces sexually via two sexes, male and female, those sexes’ bodies have clear physical differences and any individual Homo Sapiens is inevitably one of those sexes regardless of whatever feelings they may have on the subject. To the materialist, “gender” is nothing more than a bunch of bullshit stereotypes a particular society applies to each sex.

However, if you’re a postmodernist, gender is what counts. People tell themselves they know what physical reality is, but they’re just bullshitting themselves and the things they think they “know” are mere products of their history and social context. That means, in this instance, that if you feel sure that your gender is different from the one suggested by the physical features of your body, it’s no-one’s place to tell you that you’re wrong, and gender therefore consists of a large spectrum of whatever people want to say it is. At the extreme, it means biological sex doesn’t exist – if  you’re equipped with a penis but consider yourself a woman, then that’s a female penis. If you have ovaries and a uterus but consider yourself a man, that’s a male uterus. This is where the idea that “men” can be pregnant comes from.

If you’ve read this far, you’ll be able to figure out that, as a materialist, I’m not chuffed with the postmodernism of the gender identity activists.  To a materialist, you can’t opt out of physical reality, nor can you change it just by declaring it to be something other than it is.  On that basis, the idea that a woman is anyone who declares themselves one, or that someone who becomes pregnant and bears a child is a man, can be dismissed out of hand as ridiculous. (NB: it might be tempting to conclude that in that case the great majority of people could be called “materialists”, but that isn’t so – for example, religious people tend to share the same view, but they arrive at it via a very different philosophy.)

I’m framing this here as a philosophical dispute, but for feminists there’s nothing abstract about it, ie if any man can declare himself to be a woman and thereby have access to women’s changing rooms, rape crisis shelters etc, that’s a clear and present danger to women.  The intensity of the fight feminists are putting up against gender identity activists should be seen in those terms – to me it’s just a philosophical argument, but women don’t have that luxury.

As you may also have noticed, materialists, and especially the feminist ones, are regularly denounced as “transphobic,” “bigots” and worse when it comes to this issue, so I should address that.  Gender dysphoria exists – it’s a mental disorder in which your mind is convinced you’re the opposite sex. It’s been around for a long time and the people who suffer from it tend to find that it’s a hell of a sight easier to change your physical appearance than it is to change your brain, so they change their physical appearance and live as the opposite sex, with all the difficulties that involves. I’m sure as fuck not going to tell them I know better than them what the best way to deal with their problem is, and only the lowest scumbags on the planet would mock or harass them, let alone assault or murder them (I guess even among the lowest scumbags on the planet there’s a hierarchy). Gender identity activism, on the other hand, is something new, is entirely a manifestation of postmodernism and is entirely bullshit.

For example, if you’re a “man” who’s decided to hang onto your female reproductive system because you’d like to bear children, don’t try and bullshit us you’re suffering from gender dysphoria.  Whatever your problem is, gender dysphoria isn’t it. Likewise, if you’re a “lesbian” equipped with a beard and a penis, your problem is something other than gender dysphoria. Actual transsexuals can only cope with their problem by changing their appearance so they can pass as the opposite sex, which is fairly difficult to achieve if you’re a pregnant “man” or a “woman” with a beard. For the most part, this flood of “trans” people is better described as postmodernists, albeit maybe postmodernists with a fetish.

Written by Psycho Milt

January 13, 2020 at 6:00 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with

"Law-abiding" criminals

It’s a given that lots of people won’t obey laws they think are stupid – the history of recreational drug use in the western world in the last century offers us a gold-standard example.

When I was younger, I routinely ignored NZ’s laws against recreational drugs other than alcohol or tobacco, because those laws were pointless and hypocritical.  Most people I knew did the same.  None of us were criminals in the conventional sense, in that we didn’t rob people, assault them etc, but the police and the justice system certainly considered us criminals.

I didn’t have a problem with that then and don’t have a problem with it now. In cases where no harm to others can be caused by breaking a pointless and hypocritical law, the ethical responsibility is not with citizens to obey it, the responsibility is on lawmakers not to pass such stupid laws in the first place.

I mention this due to the current squawking from firearms owners (or at least, their lobby group) over the government’s gun buy-back scheme.  The scheme finished yesterday with upwards of 56,000 rifles handed in. The gun lobby’s mouthpiece, Nicole McKee, wasn’t happy about it:

Despite our best efforts to encourage compliance, we know owners have been so disappointed by the settings of the ban and its poor implementation that many can’t bring themselves to comply.

I don’t recall seeing McKee encouraging compliance, mostly I’ve seen her implicitly encouraging non-compliance, but that aside this is pretty much the same as the recreational drugs one, right?  Some people won’t obey laws they think are stupid.  Well, it’s kind of similar but  I do note a couple of significant differences:

  1. There’s a caveat in my calling NZ’s recreational drug laws “stupid” – the bit about “in cases where no harm to others can be caused by breaking a pointless and hypocritical law.”  In the case of lethal weapons, there’s a shitload of “harm that can be caused to others” and therefore the law in this case is neither pointless nor hypocritical. 
  2. None of us back then would have thought to puff ourselves up in the media as “law-abiding recreational drug users,” because that would have been simply untrue.  We were “law-breaking recreational drug users.” In the firearms example, we now know who the “law-abiding” firearms owners are – they’re the ones who’ve complied with the law and handed in their banned weapons.  Any that haven’t handed theirs in are law-breaking firearms owners, and the police and justice system should and hopefully will treat them as criminals.  

There are some bright spots here:

Written by Psycho Milt

December 20, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Living a lie for fun and profit – Chris Bishop edition

Regular readers will be familiar with my thesis that National is doing a delicate balancing act to try and conceal its Anthropogenic-Global-Warming (AGW) denial from voters by paying lip service to AGW while satisfying its base by vigorously opposing any efforts to deal with AGW that would affect its constituents’ BAU (eg, see here, here and here).  Admittedly, it wasn’t a particularly difficult thesis to come up with, given the abundant evidence for it in National’s policies, speeches and votes in the House.  This week, Chris Bishop has helpfully published some further evidence to support my thesis.

Stuff reports:

Bishop said that better fuel economy standards and uptake of hybrids and electric vehicles had undermined the principle of a user-pays roading system. 

He said it was time to “move away from fuel tax as a proxy to road use”.
National is proposing a transition to funding the NLTF through road user charges (RUC), which are currently used by diesel and heavy vehicles like trucks. 

The RUC is charged on motorists per kilometre travelled, and is paid for by the motorist in advance.  

Bishop argued that new technology will mean RUCs, charging motorists for each kilometre travelled could be rolled out for all road users over time.

So, yeah, if you’re an AGW-denier, this policy makes perfect sense. If AGW is bullshit, of course drivers of fossil-fuel vehicles shouldn’t be subsidising drivers of electric vehicles and a shift away from fuel taxes is needed to ensure EV owners pay the same as dinosaur-vehicle owners for our roads. Same with this bit:

The party has also set its sights on the Government’s “feebate” scheme to encourage people to buy EVs. The feebate works by putting a fee on petrol vehicles which is used to subsidise electric or fuel efficient vehicles. 

Bishop said the party “rejected” that policy as “it’s complicated and too punitive”.

Thing is, those policies only make sense if you’re an AGW-denier. If you’re not one, these are immediately, clearly, obviously counter-productive, regressive policies that can only sabotage efforts to reduce AGW and mitigate its effects, ie they protect and encourage fossil-fuel vehicle use rather than trying to reduce it.  I know that various National Party officials and MPs read this blog – if you disagree, feel free to make a case for how these policies make sense in any context but AGW-denial.

Written by Psycho Milt

December 16, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Reasons to be cheerful, part 4

Because “Reasons to be cheerful, part 3” was already taken by one of western civilisation’s great heroes, RIP.

This particular reason to be cheerful is that, unlike the UK, NZ no longer uses FPP for its electoral system and instead implemented a proportional system back in the 90s.  The UK’s situation, in which a party that gets 43% of the vote can win a “landslide victory” and Labour’s “crushing defeat” under Corbyn consisted of getting a few percent less than Labour’s 2005 “crushing victory” under Blair (32% vs 35%), is the same one that used to afflict NZ.  Thank your lucky stars we no longer have to suffer such distortions of voter intent in our elections.

Byron Clark on Twitter has illustrated what the Tories’ “landslide” victory would have looked like under a proportional system:

I’d question whether the LDP really counts as “left-wing candidates,” but it’s a useful illustration.  It’s worth keeping in mind, before spouting any “the people have spoken” bullshit or wittering on about rejections of socialism, that only a minority voted for the Tories.  That’s the kind of misrepresentative government we used to get in this country – governments elected by a minority, with the size of their majority bearing no relation to how many voted for them.  Give thanks that that’s no longer the case.

Written by Psycho Milt

December 14, 2019 at 7:34 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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Oh, I bet he doesn’t

On Stuff this morning, Simon Bridges says he doesn’t see any reason for tightening up NZ’s electoral finance laws in light of recent examples of how the existing laws facilitate corruption:

National leader Simon Bridges says the revelations around NZ First’s funding this week do not necessarily mean electoral laws need to be changed.

Given that National also uses a foundation to conceal the identity of its donors and is currently under Serious Fraud Office investigation into whether it split a donation of $100,000 into smaller amounts to avoid declaring it, it’s no surprise at all that Bridges isn’t keen to see those activities restricted.  Life for both National and NZF would become a lot more difficult if our laws made it harder for the wealthy to buy influence.

It’s almost comical to see National MPs pontificating about this. Maybe after they’ve shut down their own foundation and told us what happened to the non-declared $100,000 that quite likely came from the United Front, they’ll have a little credibility.

Written by Psycho Milt

November 23, 2019 at 7:42 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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You betta check yo self before you wreck yo self

Picture yourself as a defence lawyer having to get up and claim that your client “accidentally” killed someone by bludgeoning them in the head repeatedly with a hammer, and you get a feel for the job poor old Ian Brookie has had the last couple of weeks.

In TV and the movies, people get their neck squeezed for a few seconds and they’re dead. IRL, you have have to cut off someone’s breathing for upwards of five fucking minutes to kill them.

Have a think about that for a moment. You have to squeeze someone’s neck with your hands hard enough to cut off their breathing and you have to maintain that pressure for more than five minutes to kill them. The muscles in your hands don’t like exerting continuous pressure for minutes at a time and would be telling you after a couple of minutes that they really want you to stop.  The person you’re strangling would be unconscious after a couple of minutes but you’d have to maintain the pressure for several minutes even after they’d stopped struggling to be able to kill them.

In short: strangling someone to death requires significant physical exertion and mental determination – you have to work pretty hard to achieve it.  Don’t try to bullshit us it just happened by accident while you weren’t paying attention.

The only hope I have from this case is that, in future, defence lawyers will just stare blankly at a murderer trying to claim he strangled someone to death by accident and say “Seriously, no jury’s going to believe that. You might as well plead guilty now and trade that off against your sentence.”

Written by Psycho Milt

November 22, 2019 at 8:16 am

Posted in New Zealand

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OH DEAR, HOW SAD, NEVER MIND

You really have to feel a tad sorry for our respected co-commentator Psycho Milt with the news here that Labour has dumped all over Land Information Minister Eugenie Sages’ decision on the Waihi Mine.  

In many other parliaments such a decision might have provoked a walk-out by the coalition partner but not here in little old NZL for the Greens have nowhere to go. A rod for their back fashioned by themselves with no help from anyone else.    The best analogy I can think of is the ‘battered wives syndrome’ … no matter what indignity is inflicted upon them they keep coming back for more because of their dependence and the hope things will change for the better.

One feels for Milt as the battered wife (sort of).     

Written by The Veteran

October 11, 2019 at 9:25 am