Sarah Palin interviews Donald Trump – what the internet was designed for!!!

I saw online last week that Sarah Palin was going to be interviewing Donald Trump on her One America News Network show I initially was gravely concerned for the safety of the world. It was a deep concern with a warning in the recesses of my mind where all I could think was that if these two ever crossed paths then all life as we know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light but then I remembered that was a the warning from Dr Egon Spengler to the other Ghostbusters as to why they shouldn’t cross their streams. Mind you, allegorically sparking, the crossing of two such moronic individuals may lead to the same outcome.

When I realised what I was going to be able to view I couldn’t contain myself, I was so excited to see exactly what the internet has been designed for, right up there with kids on pain medication and cats falling off tables, that I went into convulsions of excitement

These two are the epitome of the American electoral system, they are featherweights when it comes to political nous, but among enough of the American voting population heavyweights in popularity. They went toe to toe for 10 minutes, only pausing long enough to remove their noses from each others backsides to take a breath, with conservative pablum and complaints about the lame stream media being biased and asking ‘gotcha’ questions like “what’s your favourite bible verse?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the American political system…mostly because I don’t live there and can look at it from the relatively safety of New Zealand. American politics is the best entertainment show in the world and with Mr Trump, who communicates like a seven year old, and Ms Palin coming together it was like the two best comedic characters in that show combined for a brief moment bringing joy to the world (outside America).

The content of the interview can be viewed below, I would encourage you to watch it to see what the world could look like if either of these people would be involved in the Whitehouse (which I don’t think they will) but for now, as I have used a couple of movie references in this post, it’s probably appropriate that I now use one that best identifies what the interview actually was.

From an outsider looking in, the only thing greater than having Donald Trump go deep into the Republican primaries, would be if he announced that Palin would be his running mate…OMG I am having palpatations at just the thought of the 24 hour news networks covering them. Seeing Palin in a situation again where she has to fend off other ‘gotcha’ questions like “what newspapers do you read?” is almost too much for me to take.

I think I need a lie down.

The full “interview”

Flexi-Super ‘aint quite there

I personally like the idea of Peter Dunne’s Flexi-Super…but something is not quite sitting right with the concept.

I get the impression we are hearing a collective sigh of relief that all of a sudden, someone has finally addressed the ‘issue’ with Super that everyone has been talking about for the past few years. Problem is, this doesn’t address it.

The major issue has been that the economy cannot afford Super with our aging population, and as we are being told that this is fiscally neutral, it does nothing to address that. That being said, Dr. Don Brash said on Radiolive this morning that he wasn’t so sure if it would be neutral, but unless the Government, via Mr. Dunne, is trying to slip a reduction in costs past the country, then this doesn’t ‘fix’ the issue of cost.

The other thing about it is that I think the majority of people will take this at 60, not wait. Can we please see some projections about that?

My rationale is this.

If my wife and I take Super at 60 we get $403 a week, if we wait until 70 we get $885 a week and there is a sliding scale for the decade in between. If we take $403 a week we have received nearly $210,000 before we reach 70 and take a cent. This would then take us another four and a half years to catch up to before we are then better off. So we wouldn’t see a benefit of taking Super at 70, until we are close to 75 and with the average life expectancy being 80 in NZ at the moment, who would be willing to take that financial risk.

I like the idea of giving people the choice and I like the idea that people groups who have shorter life expectancies could get Super earlier but I have major concerns that New Zealanders are going to think the ‘problem’ with Super is solved, and it’s far from it.

NZ Government ‘kowtowed’ to the US over Dotcom

Yesterday Barrister Gary Gotlieb stated in court that NZ ‘kowtowed’ to American business interests in the case against Kim Dotcom.

This statement comes amongst revelations that the seizure of Dotcoms property was illegal because “police applied for the wrong kind of order” according to Justice Potter

Kim Dotcome has been granted $60,000 per month to live off, access to his 2011 Mercedes and the crown needs to pay him $5,000 for legal costs to sort out the incorrect seizure of his goods.

In court yesterday Barrister Gary Gotlieb stated.

”Someone else in the world will be doing it, and simply to bend towards business interests in America, which is really what it’s about, kowtowing to business interests in America, I would have thought would not sit comfortably with many New Zealanders.”

And for me I agree with much of this statement,

When I interviews a retired FBI agent of 32 years who looked at the case for me, he stated quite plainly that the case came from the Motion Picture Association of America amongst other, they complained and the FBI sprang into action.

Crown lawyer Anne Toohey said that American was not controlling this extradition situation, it is handled under crown law

”Every day we get requests for forms of assistance from all countries all over the world, including restraint of assets, execution of search warrants and that manner of thing. For us it is really daily business.”

This still has the feeling of American sneezing and the NZ catching a cold to me, I hope it’s proven otherwise but I will continue to follow this case with great interest.

Ports back down, win for unions…but are we still at an impasse?

I interviewed Garry Parsloe a couple of weeks ago and we came to the conclusion together that the situation is at am impasse. If the Ports ultimately want contracting, and the unions want a collective contract then there is no way forward.

Today we hear from Richard Pearson from the Ports of Auckland that they have put a halt to contracting out the work for four weeks, and altough he claimed the Ports had a ‘bulletproof’ case, today they are heading back to the table ‘in good faith’.

Richard Pearson has admitted publicly that the best result for the Ports (in his opinion) is to end up with contracting out the work, so how can he come back to the table ‘in good faith’. As I stated in the post linked above to Garry Parsloe….

“[The Ports] have the right to contract, if they want to stick by that right to do, there is an impasse correct?”

To which Mr. Parsloe replied

“There is an impasse”

So here is my question…how is this going to be any different in 4 weeks from what the situation was last week? If both sides are at the same place, then nothing has changed.

The only logical conclusion I can come to is that the Ports have had legal advice maybe advising them their position isn’t ‘bulletproof’ so they are having to come back to the table before court action tells them to.

I just don’t see the resolution here being any different from what it was yesterday, last week, or last month

UPDATE: We have just offered Garry Parsloe to come on to today’s show and talk about the issue, he has declined. We will still be putting a call into Richard Pearson

Another Romney flip-flop over gas prices

Mitt Romney, the king of ‘flip floppers’, has done it again and this time it’s around gas prices.

Yesterday he spoke out about why prices were so high.

“When he campaigned he said he wanted to raise the price of gasoline,” Mr. Romney said of Mr. Obama at a pancake breakfast here Sunday. “He said that under him energy costs would skyrocket.”

So yesterday it was Obama’s fault that gas prices were so high less than a month ago…

“I think the American people know that to a certain degree gas prices are driven by what’s happening around the world, supply and demand.”

Mitt must not have gotten the memo sent out by the Republican Party to make sure places like FOX News were not talking up small improvements in the economy but focusing on gas prices and unemployment.

So what’s all the hub-bub about with gas prices? Sure the prices has gone up in America…but to what?

Prices in the weekend averaged $US3.81 a gallon.

$US3.81 id $NZ4.61 and a US gallon is 3.79 litres

That means in America they are paying the equivalent here in NZ of $NZ1.22 per litre, close to half what we are paying here…I think it’s time to get over it America and count your blessings

No wonder he was so grumpy today

I was at Car-fe today, if you are not aware it’s Matthew Ridge’s business and c an I say from a business model it is an awesome investment. I counted I think 40 cars that had either been cleaned, were being cleaned or were waiting to be cleaned…and that was only over an hour or so, Cha-ching!

I paid $60 for what the call ‘New Car’ and I have to say the outside looked great, probably about as good as you could get it looking…however the inside certainly did not look ‘new car’. There was plenty of vacuum-able grit/dirt left under the seats which was visible and the surfaces were only lightly wiped over. Outside great…inside average so maybe a ‘B’ grade…but probably not worth $60…if it was done to ‘New Car’ standard then it definitely would be worth the money.

Matthew was there rushing around the vehicles huffing and puffing, seeming a little gruff. I don’t know whether this is his usual business practice or if he was having a bad day and then I saw this article on stuff.co.nz.

It would appear sadly that his little girl and sporting superstar SBW have called it quits. As a dad it must be hard to have your little girl’s relationship splashed all over the papers…sheesh I wouldn’t want it.

I just wonder now if he was a little more distracted than he would be on any other day.

Crafer, Crafer everywhere with not an valid point to be seen

Oh my goodness! Are we still talking about why the ‘Chinese’ shouldn’t buy Crafer farms? This conversation has been going on for what feels like an eternity…and just like Christmas…it’s back before you know it.

The Overseas Investment Office authorised over 1,000,000 hectares of NZ land to be sold to foreign nationals or consortium’s from Germany, Australia, Canada, South Africa and many other predominantly ‘white’ countries…all I am looking for is consistency.

I don’t think NZ land should be sold off shore, although it’s not as serious as many would have you believe for a couple of reasons. One, they can’t take it anywhere, and two, when the foreign entity wants to sell it, NZers have the first rights again to buy it i.e. it’s not ‘lost forever’. However I think that leasing is the sensible option for overseas investors…but then again if I am a farmer and I want to sell…and no one can afford to buy my property…leasing may not be an option so why not sell to the highest bidder then?

Consistency would be showing the same kind of abhorrence to any international sale as we do to “the Chinese”. I think it’s undeniable that there is massive xenophobia and maybe even racism over this sale.

I wrote about this last year on my old blog. The audio link is no longer working in that post so here it is again, your typical talkback caller with no evidence, just rhetoric, posturing, xenophobia and ‘gut feelings’

We have a couple of possibilities here. One is that Crafer Farms does not sell, two is that it does sell. If it sells to a NZ company or individual it’s likely it will be for far less than an international bid…but it’ll be NZ owned (blah. blah, blah). If it sells to an international group they will inject far more into the economy to get the farms up and running. If it is bought by one of these Chinese groups they will make the milk powder in NZ, employing more Kiwis, and then send it to a part of the world where the children desperately need this kind of product…where is the dilemma?

The latest news is that ‘the latest’ conglomerate from Asia that wants to purchase the farms with the same old people wanting to block it making their loud voices and creating fear amongst Kiwis that ‘we’ll soon be paying to rent our own land’. Well that decision is out tonight or tomorrow. I am sure talkback will be busy.

America still using Atom bombs all these years later…except this time it’s in the form of SOPA

Kanye West 'Loves MegaUpload'

The latest news in this whole Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed the debate until Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time).

Firstly so we have an understanding, these bills work together, they are ‘sister bills’, SOPA in Congress and PIPA in the Senate.

The purpose of these acts is to “tackle the problem of foreign-based websites that sell pirated movies, music and other products.” For me, that in itself is not a bad idea, there is a problem with illegally downloaded copyrighted product, and I do think that taking a song, album, piece of software or movie is theft, however we get into problems when we try to figure out who is to be held responsible for these downloads and how we hold them accountable.

Yesterday, on behalf of the FBI, NZ Police raided the old ‘Chrisco Mansion’ in Coatsville and arrested several NZ Residents for their involvement sharing copyright property via their website MegaUpload.com which is said to be the worlds largest file sharing site. Not that we have the full story yet but I think this case will go far beyond the SOPA and PIPA issues as in news reports of the last 24 hours numerous more serious charges have been laid against these gentlemen like ‘racketeering’ and ‘money laundering’, that just says to me there’s more to this particular case than sharing the latest Rhianna album. It also needs to be noted that SOPA and PIPA haven’t even gotten close to being passed yet so whilst this has become the poster child for the potential power of those acts, it really doesn’t relate to them.

That all being said I am a little uncomfortable with three elements of this case.

  1. NZ Police doing the dirty work for the FBI
  2. The site http://www.MegaUpload.com being taken down by American officials, doesn’t American law, like ours, tell us we are innocent until proven guilty…how can that decision be made already without these accused men having their day in court
  3. Many celebrities, the kinds of people who should want their ‘intellectual property’ protected support, use and voice their ‘love’ for MegaUpload

Something doesn’t seem quite right when all these artists are singing…literally…the praises of this ‘evil site’.

This conversation then splits into several ‘strands’. The first is internet piracy.

I am completely against the idea that someone, somewhere can get for free, a piece of art (be that music, movie, software…whatever) when they should be paying for it. If you or I had intellectual property to a physical item, we wouldn’t be happy about someone taking for themselves, then copying that item and passing it around for free. This would effect our sales. To me internet piracy is theft, there is no other explanation…taking something for free, when the owners of that item want to you pay for it…is theft.

The second is, “who are the pirates?” Which becomes cloudier. Example, I watched an episode of South Park the other day on line because I missed it on the TV. Now it was free to air on FOUR, but technically what I did may have been illegal…have I committed a crime under current law, or under newly proposed copyright law? I am not sure. If it was ‘free’ on FOUR then is getting it for free on the ‘net seems ok. But technically maybe not. And then there’s also the issue of copyright holders ‘losing revenue’. I wouldn’t ever use this as an excuse for ‘stealing’ but there is truth in the idea that some people who download copyrighted product from the internet will never purchase that item, so there is no money lost. This is a weak argument for ‘stealing’ but there is some truth for ‘a few’ internet users.

The third is who should be responsible for that theft and how should they be held accountable. Well again that becomes cloudy. If it was a physical item being stolen, then it’s the person who takes the item from the shop that you would charge…but these are not physical items and there needs to be many complicit people involved to make this file sharing work. Therefore it would seem that the logical conclusion to to make the site accountable…easier said than done.

If the site is active in the distribution of the copyrighted material, then fair enough, hold them accountable. But what is someone uses the site for reasons it wasn’t intended. MegaUpload.com seems on one level to be a valid way of people sending their files around the world, just like DropSend or Box.net and many others. So what if the people running that site are just being used as ‘pawns’ for illegal activity to happen around them? It could be the difference between lending someone your car to rob a bank, and having your car stolen and it then being used in a bank robbery. In one case their is active accountable…in the other there isn’t. That’s what sites like Wikipedia are worried about, someone puts a link on one of their articles, then technically they will be in breach of these new laws.

Jon Stewart had an interesting take on it, click here to see as WordPress doesn’t allow flash to be embedded.

To me it seems like this is an issue of Corporations wanting their pound of flesh, and they are entitled to it. The Corporation pays for the album, movie, television show…whatever…and they don’t want it stolen. It’s a little different in places like NZ because our artists, especially music, really do struggle. In larger societies I don’t think downloading the latest Coldplay album would effect Chris Martin’s net worth…but done enough times it would affect Capitol Records profits, dones over 100 artists at Capitol Records…well you can see how it works. But what always seems difficult to understand is how Corporations get the support of, and action taken by, federal agencies like the FBI so quickly.

In 2010 the Supreme Court of the USA decreed that Corporations have the same first amendment rights as people when it comes to Freedom of Speech, it’s called Corporate Personhood.

Corporate personhood is the status conferred upon corporations under the law, which allows corporations to have rights and responsibilities similar to those of a natural person. There is a question about which subset of rights afforded to natural persons should also be afforded to corporations as legal persons.

This gave Corporations the right to spend as much money as they want on political campaigns but I think it has gone so much further.

I think today, in America, Corporations have far more rights than people. And one of the scarier parts of this is that Corporations, in America, have more rights than people who may, or may not be doing some illegal, in a mansion in Coatesville.

Revisiting the idea that these guys who run MegaUpload may, or may not, have committed crime(s), yet their site has been taken down. The power that these Corporations wield to get a sentence carried out, before a court case even happens is frankly scary. Imagine if this was a ‘person to person’ theft or crime. Would the accused be subject to action that you would expect with a conviction…the answer is ‘No!’

It seems that the legislation is far too heavy for the issue at hand and will catch out many whom the acts are not aimed at. I wouldn’t say it was using a sledgehammer on a fly, as the issue of copyright infringement is much larger than a ‘fly’ but maybe it’s something like demolishing a building with an atomic bomb.

Greed and some other deadly sins at the Ports of Auckland

The Ports of Auckland is currently being held to ransom by it’s workings looking for better pay and conditions. We can never know exactly what the ‘behind the scenes’ conditions are like but let me lay these details on you and you can make your own mind up.

Ports of Auckland has lost $27 million per annum of trade from this strike, that means Auckland City has lost income and the economy of Auckland will be worse off for it. The Maritime Union of New Zealand workers have been in negotiations for better pay and conditions since August 2011. What I want to know is what do they currently get, what have they been offered and what do they want?

According to a Damien Grant article in the NZ Herald on Sunday Port workers currently earn $91,000 per annum and seem to work just 26 hours a week. If this is accurate then that’s an hourly rate of $67.31 per hour…not bad. Without sounding too right wing and judgemental, these workers are typically unqualified and lowly educated. Some of them will have qualifications in areas such as operating special machinery or vehicles, but on the scale of a teacher, nurse or doctor there isn’t too many that would get turned away from this job…if there were any vacancies.

What they are being offered is as follows.

  • A 10% rise on hourly rates.
  • Performance bonuses of up to 20% on hourly rates.
  • Retention of existing entitlements and benefits.
  • And a new roster system that will provide increased operational flexibility while allowing workers to plan their rosters a month in advance.

So that’s a salary of more like $100,000, a bonus scheme which could take the total to more like $120,000, no losses of current entitlements and benefits and more flexibility to plan their work/life balance. Seems a pretty good deal to me.

What do they want? The answer is ‘More!’

I don’t have a problem with people striking, I also don’t have an issue with Unions and how they represent their members. My big issue with this from the Union side of things is that they now have a strangle hold on the Ports of Auckland, they know this strike has cost the Port $27 million so far (let alone what they are losing on a daily basis) and if they keep their foot on the throat the Ports will fold to their every demand. That doesn’t seem like negotiation to me, it seems like thuggery and bully-boy behaviour. How many Kiwi’s would like the chance to earn upwards of $120,000 per annum, in a little or no skilled job. What happens next when the Ports of Auckland lose more business and then need to lay people off due to their workload dropping…what will the Union do for those members then?

The remaining question is this. Is the Maritime Union currently doing what is best for their members? If they are then I guess they should continue this action, if they are not they are ultimately going to hurt the people who employ them to speak on their behalf.