observation · politics

The four kinds of National voter.

  1. The will-always-vote-National voter

    This voter supports National the same way a sports fan supports a particular team. It’s likely that they vote the same way their parents did. It’s not a kind of support that comes from consideration of policy, rather it’s just backing a team.

  2. The house-owning voter

    Although not explicitly – National pretty much ran on a policy of not doing anything about the housing crisis. Their single housing specific policy was to increase the first home buyer grant, which is great if you’re the one selling your house. There’s $10,000 more you can sell your house for.

    I think a lot of kiwis who have already bought houses, don’t want to see an end to the housing crisis. They want to see houses continue to rise – so they can double their money like they’ve seen others do.

  3. The I-don’t-like-beneficiaries voter

    I think a lot of New Zealanders are sick of what they see as a perverse incentive to welfare dependency in New Zealand – and they’re not without merit.

    The single thing I’m most critical of Labour and Green about is their head-in-the-sand ‘everybody should have kids if they want them’ attitude. For educated middle class New Zealanders who put off having kids till they’re in their 30s, seeing a system that seems to enable people who care about their kids far less they do, they can’t abide by.

  4. The I-believed-Nationals-lies voter

    National conducted a campaign of fear mongering about inheritance taxes, and lies about Labour increasing income tax or not budgeting properly.

    This has always been National’s strategy – portray Labour as idealistic but incompetent, and that somehow ‘greedy = good business sense’- ignoring that during the last Labour government – they managed to quite successfully produce a budget surplus.

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observation · politics

Why didn’t Obama tell everyone about the Russians before the election?

It’s become clear recently that the FBI was investigating both Hillary Clinton’s emails and Russian attempts to interfere with the US election.

Comey has faced criticism – why did he come out about additional Hillary emails ten days before the election, but didn’t mention the Russian interference?

Surely Obama would have been briefed about this.

Why didn’t Obama hold a press conference and tell everyone what was going on?

Is it really that the extent of it hasn’t come to light until recently?

It feels like the Obama establishment really fucked up on this one – instead of fighting like the Russians are – by exposing information, they’re opted for a strategy of secrecy. Hardly does wonders for their credibility.

 

observation · politics

I don’t understand why the reaction to National’s super announcement is even a thing.

National recently announced an election policy of raising the age eligibility to NZ Superannuation to 67. 

Labour’s immediate response was to say that they’ll keep at 65:

 

16178538_10154298797211452_2470921586960955911_o.jpg

 

Here’s the thing. It’s not like National’s policy is pulling the rug out from the under the feet of people here expecting the retire in a couple of years. National’s policy doesn’t take effect for another twenty years.

Twenty years. That’s so far in the future that for most people it doesn’t really warrant serious consideration, in terms of what career decisions they make or where they buy their house.

The discussion has been framed as a baby boomers vs millenials thing – but this policy really doesn’t affect baby boomers. Baby boomers will be well into their 80s by the time this policy takes effect.

This really affects generation X – people who are about 40 now – or the children who were born to baby boomers who were about 30. (These generational categories are awfully grey, but assume that baby boomers were born 1945-1955).

Perhaps this policy is just clever politicking by National. They harness the baby boomer resentment by announcing a change to the pension, while not actually doing anything.

If anything – it’s Labour that fumbled this one – allowing National to frame the political divide, while Labour is firmly in a reactionary position.

observation · politics

Select quotes from Donald Trump’s inaugaural speech

Source of quotes: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/20/donald-trumps-full-inauguration-speech-transcript-annotated/

Identifying enemies

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. … The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.

January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

I mean, that’s quite serious rhetoric.

Classic ‘fall from grace’ imagery

America will start winning again,

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

 

The US military is depleted? What world does Donald Trump live on?

…and I will never ever let you down.

Did Donald Trump just rick roll us?

Strong, worrying isolationist tones

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.

it’s going to be only America first, America first.

An isolationist attitude is not going to help solve global problems. I think freetrade + paying for carbon is the answer.

Misc.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.

I actually quite like this.

observation · politics

An uneasy shared interest – The Trump Regime and the Anti-Free Trade Left.

anti-wto.jpg

In the early 2000’s the anarchistic left held anti-globalisation and anti-free trade as one its core issues.

You had events like the 1999 Seattle WTO protests.

More recently the attention has been on the TPPA – the left generally opposing it.

Commentators have pointed out that perhaps the only issue that Donald Trump has been consistent on, is his isolationist stance.

In the 2016 US Election, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton said they oppose the TPPA, though in the case of Hillary, I can’t help but wonder if this is a political compromise on her part. Bernie Sanders also opposed the TPPA. 

I don’t really understand why people oppose the TPPA. The main argument I’ve seen is that it gives corporations the power to sue governments if they pass legislation that contravenes the treaty. However, my understanding is that this would only allow corporations to sue if the countries government is passing legislation that in contravention to the trade agreement. I’m not sure that the trade agreement is anti-environment and anti-workers-rights itself.

Given that TPPA also takes place in the a context of governments trying to make progress on climate change (Barack Obama supports the TPPA, and is clearly for making progress on climate change) – I don’t think there’s a conspiracy that makes the TPPA a fundamentally anti-environment conspiracy.

So the question I have for those on the anti-globalisation left – that Donald Trump says he’s going to rip up NAFTA and opposes the TPPA – is that in itself a good thing for the world?

observation

Ironies of American democracy – The Greatest Democracy and the Most Freedom

Meta note:

This post has almost no research at all. I did read the wikipedia pages about separation of church in state in the US and in New Zealand
It’s more an intuitive impresion. Is that an acceptable thing in this post-truth society?
It would be good to do some research and put a bit more detail into my claims.

A lot of Americans have the idea that America has the greatest democracy in the world, the most freedom, and that other countries are jealous of this freedom.

Let’s be fair to Americans and acknowledge that at some point, this might have been true. The American democracy is one of the worlds oldest democracies after all.

Democracy

There are glaring issues in American democracy:

  • Rampant gerrymandering.
  • It’s a first past the post system. Proportional representation is common throughout the rest of the world.
  • There appears to political dynasties: eg. The Kennedys, The Bushes, The Clintons.

Freedom

The US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.

Religious freedom

The separation of church and state is often touted tenant of American democracy, and makes up a part of its constitution – in the first amendment.

New Zealand by contrast, doesn’t have a so explicitly defined separation of church and state; and parliament starts with a Christian prayer.

However, religion isn’t a particularly big factor in New Zealand politics. By contrast, in the US almost all representatives profess to be Christian or Jewish, presumably because there is a considerable political cost if they don’t.

Religion also appears to play a large part in public policy – for example you see the debate about whether creationism should be taught in schools, and abstinence only education.

Law

In New Zealand, abortions aren’t technically legal. They’re not legal except in the case where the mother’s health will suffer. This loophole allows any woman to get an abortion, almost all doctors happy to say that a woman having a baby that she doesn’t want, regardless of reason, would be a detriment to her health.

In the US on the otherhand Roe v Wade establishes the legal right for women to have abortions, but then you see states putting up all sorts of barriers that make it far harder to get an abortion in the certain parts of the US, than it is in New Zealand.

observation · politics

An interesting follow up to my Wikileaks post.

A month ago, just after the election of Donald Trump, I wrote a post entitled ‘Is Wikileaks in cahoots with Russia‘ where I suggested that Wikileaks appeared to have an obvious political agenda.

I’ve since unfollowed them on Facebook – but I did check in on them today – and have a look at this Wikileaks Facebook post:

picture 1.PNG

wiki2

A pretty interesting change in narrative in the comments section since I last checked.

If you’re not already aware – there’s also a theory going around that Wikileaks has been compromised, that that Julian Assange is no longer alive/at the embassy.