Free speech battle brews between feminist and trans-activist groups

From Gezza:

A company has pulled posters commemorating women’s suffrage after pressure from LBTGI youth groups who say the feminist blogger behind the poster campaign holds transgender exclusionary beliefs.

Phantom Billsticker’s managing director Jamey Holloway says the company previously hung posters for Wellington writer and activist Renee Gerlich as part of women’s suffrage projects. This year marks 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand.  At issue this year were complaints triggered by the tagline “suffragists worked for the female sex – stop rewriting history” that appeared on Gerlich’s posters – a statement some see as denying transgender women’s right to identify as women.


One of Wellington activist Renee Gerlich’s posters commemorating women’s suffrage. The tagline has been criticised by some as promoting the rejection transgender women’s right to identify as women.

Tabby Besley, national co-ordinator for InsideOUT – a group that advocates for young people of minority genders and sexualities – says the tagline displayed a subtle transphobia.

Phantom asked InsideOUT for advice after receiving complaints about Gerlich’s posters. Her understanding was the posters were harmful to trans and gender diverse people. “It’s a platform for what we see as hate speech … her blog is full of incredibly harmful words,” Besley says.

WRITING BY RENEE: https://reneejg.net/
Trigger warning: feminism, women’s rights

Holloway says many posters had been ripped down around Wellington and a “large number of people” had asked the company not to poster Gerlich’s campaign – but there were also calls in support of Gerlich.  Holloway says while it was not his job to “police a fight between marginalised groups” quashing anyone’s right to free speech was something the company was loathe to do.

“It’s an easy decision with clear hate speech or denigration, this is a lot more difficult – and I don’t necessarily think I’m best placed to make the call, but someone has to,” Holloway says. Gerlich had said she would take the matter up with the Human Rights Commission – a move the company welcomes.

The core issue was not the posters themselves, but Gerlich’s blog, Holloway says. In it Gerlich criticises a lack of voices in media from gender critical feminists on gender identity, while saying the promotion of gender self-identification was constant.

Questioning trans-activism often resulted in a backlash especially the use of the label TERF – trans-exclusionary radical feminist. “This slur is today’s ‘witch’ and is often accompanied by other insults as well as threats of violence, ostracism and loss of livelihood,” Gerlich said.

More ….
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/106356864/free-speech-battle-brews-between-feminist-and-transactivist-groups
… … … …

For heaven’s sake. The RadFems & The Intersexers collide. I guess Jordan Peterson would have some predictable views on all of this.

Now the latest Gender Fluid fad is starting to run smack bang into the Pro-Fem/Anti-Men fad AND Transgender Rights AND the Free Speech thing!

Gawd luv a duck ! Stop the world. I want to get off.

⚔ Sir Gerald 🛡

“Some idiotic female reporter” versus Winston Peters

From Gezza:


I posted a comment yesterday evening about watching the last minute or two of Winston Peters’ final Monday post-Cabinet Press briefing via Lurchy’s live link. And that all I managed to catch was some idiotic female reporter loudly asking him if whisky should be swilled or swallowed – & his frustrated response.

I thought it was such a pathetic, vacuous question I mentally switched off remembering how it ended & just wondered who the “bimbo” was.

Looks like the “bimbo” might have been a senior Herald poltical reporter, Claire Trevett? And that the whole point of the question was to manufacture a situation where she could provoke him into commenting on Peter Goodfellow’s anti-Peters remarks at the weekend’s National Party conference.

Because she’s chosen to make his response – threatening that if Goodfellow cared to repeat his remarks outside of the party conference he, Winston, would tell everyone why Goodfellow shouldn’t even be the President of the National Party – the highlight of her report from the Press briefing.

It was a classic Winston threat – a ‘hint’ that there might be some dodgy doings or dirt that he will reveal. But which, if it came to it, might in fact turn out to be nothing more than a smart arse personal attack on his abilities.

It still irritates me, though, that this is what a senior reporter for the Herald set up to create a sensationalist headline & makes me despair about how low the bar for the standard of political reporting has dropped.

Has it always been this low – or was he fair game on this this one? Was this really something of political importance we needed to know?

Interested in others’ thoughts.

Claire Trevett: Winston Peters scores himself E for Everything is Awesome

 

We don’t know how lucky we are

From Gezza:


More outrageous injustice from another of Trump’s repressive regime “good friends”

Egypt: Cairo court sentences 75 protesters to death

An Egyptian court has sentenced 75 people to death for participating in a 2013 protest against the overthrow of the country’s democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Senior members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organisation were among those ordered executed by the Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday for their involvement with the sit-in demonstration at Rabaa Square in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The rulings will be referred to Egypt’s chief Islamic legal authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding opinion. Egyptian law requires any capital sentence to be referred to the Grand Mufti before any execution can take place.

The Mufti’s decision is rarely ignored by the courts. In 2014, the Mufti rejected a death sentence proposed for the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, who is part of the same case. Badie has since been sentenced to life in prison. A final verdict is expected by September 8.

More…
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/07/egypt-cairo-court-sentences-75-protesters-death-180728101431551.html

No member of the Egyptian military has even been investigated for the deaths of several hundred unarmed protesters murdered by the Army when its commander El-Sisi seized power. A Middle Eastern Egyptian political commentator on Aljazeera tv described the charges against many of those condemned to death by the heavily politicised Egyptian Court as “ludicrous”, with “no evidence to support them”, as frequently happens with political rivals & prisoners in Egyptian Courts.

I expect that the sentences will all be commuted to life imprisonment, although with Egyptian courts & maybe even the Mufti being simple extensions of the ruling repressive regime – like in most Middle Eastern countries it seems – who knows?

The commentator observed that the Egyptian Courts’ lack of respect for fair trials & the repressive government’s suppression of any questioning or dissent is only likely to continue – & possibly even increase – as El-Sisi is further emboldened by the uncritical, self-serving, ever-increasing, arms sales & support of the US, UK, & other Western European governments. Like Israel’s Netanyahu apartheid regime has been.
… … …

I agree entirely, I thought to myself. But, listening to him, I couldn’t help also thinking that, while I’m appalled at the lack of any evidence of our Western democratic notions of free speech & a fair trial in Egypt & other Middle Eastern countries, Egypt has an ongoing problem suppressing ISIS & other Islamic extremists, & there was a fairly high probability that the Courts under the democratically elected-rule of The Muslim Brotherhood would become increasingly theocratised, &, given how things are elsewhere in the ME, that Muslim attacks on, and repression of, non-Muslims or dissenters would very likely be as, or more, frequent than they have been under the El-Sisi regime.

And that thank my lucky stars I was so blimmin fortunate to have been born & to live in this country, at this time in its history. Where, here, we get to whinge & whine & snarl & scream abuse & hurl mud & sex toys (if we’re loopy enuf, or aggrieved enuf, & we’ve a mind to) at our governments or their representatives, & to protest about real & imaginary injustices – to our hearts’ content – without ever having to fear getting shot, or arbitrarily beaten up & arrested, at any time, for non-violent protest, by ruthless government-sponsored thugs & torturers.

And we also don’t have to worry that some well out-of-date, oppressive, misogynistic, intolerant, savage, inhumane, diabolically awful religion might alternatively determine what our laws and penalties – for example for ‘grievous offences’ like blasphemy, & homosexuality, & starving kids stealing a loaf of bread, & apostasy, or practising or converting to another deluded Abrahamic religion – or just rationality – should be.

Whatever criticisms might be justifiably levelled at the failings of our Justice system, at least critics & political activists here are subject to the law & fairness & natural justice. And those people who our goverments do sometimes try & harass – thru the Courts, via an implausibly deniable wink to the police senior hierarchy, or thru other government agencies unquestioningly doing their political masters’ bidding – they seem to always end up having their democratic rights respected & reaffirmed, compensation often being ordered, & the agencies who stepped out of line – or outside their legal boundaries to try & silence, intimidate, or punish them – being strongly censured by our Courts.

The famous philosopher, Frederick Dagg, put it thus:
“We don’t know how lucky we are, boy. We don’t know how lucky we are.”

Well … Yes, we do, Frederick. And we should never forget it. And it’s up to every one of us to make sure it stays that way.

Latest Lizzie Marvelly rant

From Gezza:


This time it’s another anti-men one – telling women she’s not anti-men.

Occasionally I’ve even been accused of perpetuating hate speech, so perhaps the free speech coalition (or whatever Brash et al are calling themselves these days now that their favourite egregiously offensive speakers have decided not to come to New Zealand) should add me to the list of undesirable rabble-rousers whose free speech rights should be defended to the death.

Although, as I signed Renae Maihi’s petition, I suspect I may fall on the wrong side of the free speech argument, namely as someone whose right to free speech defenders of free speech rather wish they didn’t have to defend.

What the hell does that last sentence even mean?

Recently, however, another accusation of hate has come to light. Apparently, I’m a man-hater. A [male] friend of my partner told her last week that I should write a column about how great men are every couple of months or so to make up for all of the columns I write that give him the impression that I hate men. A kind of “yay for the gents” puff piece to cancel out all of my shrill shrieking would apparently balance the scales.

An old friend of my father also protested to him on the golf course a few months ago that I was being a bit hard on middle-aged white men. Clearly, for some people of the white and male variety, I’ve struck a nerve.

No you haven’t, you are just hearing what a racist, ageist, sexist young bigot you are.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Over the past few years, I’ve heard – from writers much more experienced than myself – that it’s difficult to be a white man these days. “Pale Male Stale is nothing but racism, sexism and ageism wrapped in a pithy phrase,” Jason Krupp wrote in the National Business Review a few years ago.

Oops – there – don’t just take it from me.

Being “an ageing, conservative male” is an “unpardonable sin”, wrote Cameron Slater late last year. People “fair of skin and male of sex” are members of “a despised minority”, Karl du Fresne pontificated in May.

When it comes to pontificating, lady, you leave The Pope in your dust.

It appears that I have added to these gentlemen’s suffering. The least I can do is offer my heartfelt apologies. How challenging it must be to be part of a demographic that is paid more than any other across most sectors, that is better represented than any other in almost every boardroom and in Parliament, and that occupies the vast majority of positions of power in nearly every society.

Unfortunate realities aside, however, I feel that I should set the record straight. I hate inequality. I hate discrimination. I hate sexism and misogyny. But I don’t hate men.

Pull the other one. And the rest of it continues in similar vein.

So this column is for … the good blokes. The ones who support women, who stand up for justice and equality

That’s me 👍🏼

and who don’t interpret advocacy for women’s rights as man-hating.

That’s me too. 👍🏼

Equal pay doing for the same job just as well as any bloke, I’m all for. Should be that way right now. But research & stats actually show that most confident, successful, women are content to be doing what they’re doing, not working 80 hours a week, and not slugging it out in dangerous, so therefore high-paying, jobs, or STEM fields which tend to pay well because they require a high level of training & skill.

But there are plenty of women doctors, lawyers, accountants, and they aren’t sitting on their butts. They’re starting up their own businesses, and standing up for themselves, & busting the boundaries – not just being whining, anti-men bigots, like you.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=12095666

Molyneux and Southern in Melbourne

From Gezza:


Melbourne

The Hume Highway was closed after the protesters gathered at La Mirage Reception and Convention Centre in Somerton, the venue for a talk by Lauren Southern and spilled on to the road. Officers tried to subdue the crowd with pepper spray as they clashed with mounted and riot police.

The Canadian commentator, who is touring with her fellow countryman Stefan Molyneux, is expected to share her controversial views on multiculturalism, Islam, and feminism.

Right-wing activist Neil Erikson filmed protesters before being hauled away from police. He and two other men are charged with affray and riot over an incident outside an event by controversial commentator Milo Yiannopoulos last year.

Ms Southern was expected to cause trouble, with the alt-right YouTube star making headlines since she touched down in Australia. The 23-year-old arrived in Brisbane wearing an “It’s okay to be white” T-shirt, after warning news.com.au she would cause “chaos” with her notorious brand of “free speech”.

The right-winger earlier hit the streets of Melbourne to stir up controversy, although her efforts to generate outrage ahead of her talk tonight appear to have fallen flat.

Even those who bought tickets to the first event of her Australian tour were given minimal detail about where the talk is. In a message to participants, organisers of the event thanked people for their understanding and patience about the secrecy around the location. “The fierce opposition to this event by the extreme left elements of Melbourne has been breathtaking in their determination to make it as difficult as possible for us to bring this tour here,” the message said.

Complicated measures have been introduced to keep the location of Lauren Southern’s talk secret. Source:YouTube

Security around Ms Southern’s talk is reportedly costing organisers thousands with Victoria Police reportedly sending them a $68,000 bill to pay for resources to be used at her show. An email from Victoria Police quotes the total cost as $230,000 but said police would only charge her $67,842.50, News Corp Australia reported.

After violent activists turned Melbourne streets into a war zone during a talk by right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos six months ago, he was also sent a $50,000 bill to cover the heavy police presence.

The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism has organised a protest in Melbourne to “show fascistic ideas will always lose in Melbourne” against Ms Southern’s show. It called her “a notorious racist and Islamophobe”.

On Saturday she appeared on Sky News, making it clear that she was “happy to be white”. “If I were black I could say I’m proud, if I were Asian I could say I’m proud, if I were any other ethnicity I could say I’m proud because that’s how our culture is, but if I’m white and I say I’m proud the media will go nuts,” she said.

More … includes embedded video of protestors swearing, banging on, & trying to stop the bus.

–  Protester rushes stage as activists clash with police at far-right Lauren Southern’s Melbourne event


My take:

She makes a good point & is likely to be sort of correct there, on that last bit about the media “going nuts” if she wore a ” Proud to be white” T-shirt in the US, Canada & Australia. But I don’t know if that’s necessarily true of the UK or New Zealand.

I think “the media” doesn’t actually much care one way or the other that she’d wear a T-shirt saying that. This is sensationalist stuff. It’s clicks and viewers. They are more interested in stirring up & then videoing & showing & reporting on the number & type of violent & abusive “liberal” left wing & Muslim young radicals who will straight away come out, gang up, scream slogans like “Nazis!” & cause mayhem because they hate her.

Because for such people whether all or any of it is true or not doesn’t matter. They don’t like it. They don’t agree with it. They usually can’t just calmly & intelligently dispute or refute it. So they have decided the only thing to do is try & ensure that people mustn’t listen it. That people who do are demonised or scared to do it in case they and/or their property are attacked.

What Southern is doing, like Jordan Peterson is doing, is raising issues like:

  • immigration & border control failures,
  • who should decide immigration policies,
  • what numbers are manageable, and what criteria should be required,
  • whether immigrants should assimilate or not,
  • whether religious or cultural behaviours, beliefs & values of some individuals or groups fundamentally clash with those of Western Europeans & eventually may – or already do seek – to replace Western liberal European values & laws in the areas they dominate
  • what are the costs vs the benefits to the host country of different types of immigrant categories (skills, family, guest workers vs locals)

*Are the increasingly strident claims of extreme, radical, or even now mainstream feminists (whatever that word even means now) that men are suppressing women’s career development & actively or covertly preventing them gaining positions of power & responsibility, access to high-paying jobs, and just basically fundamentally unnecessary as per the famous radical lesbian feminist adage “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” – actually even TRUE?

Increasing evidence now suggests not. And that this now-longstanding criticising & even demonising of “men” appears to be one cause of the growing incidence of confused, anxious & dysfunctional young men & women in places like the US.

As far as I can tell Southern hasn’t claimed that whites are superior to black or brown people.

She seems to saying that – in the face of now decades of constant criticism & verbal attacks on the ‘cultural domination’ of Western countries by white people (who have actually in recent decades been surprisingly ethnically, religiously & even culturally tolerant – compared to, say, the real, legalised, institutionalised, religiously-prescribed & indoctrinated patriarchal misogynism & intolerance prevalent among Muslim people in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia etc) – she is actually Proud To Be A White European – & she thinks approved immigrants should only be those who will contribute, not cost, & will assimilate into her own country’s prevailing culture of one law for all, free speech, & otherwise complete colour blindness.

She draws attention in her movie FARMLANDS to the ongoing & unreported anti-white discrimination, & murders & attacks on white farmers in isolated communities in South Africa.

Somebody should. Mandela would.

There’s no case for moral relativism such as “ha ha it’s their turn now” because Whites segregated & controlled the place for decades before they finally, for many reasons – including international sanctions & condemnation – accepted that it was morally wrong & surrendered power to ‘democracy’. A democracy which has rapidly became astoundingly, but not entirely surprisingly, corrupt under black majority rule.

Any government practicing or advocating discrimination, dispossession without compensation, ignoring, or condoning the oppression, repression, or murder of any group who are no threat to the survival or wellbeing of another group is just wrong. Whoever does it. Whenever they do it.

Molyneux is riding the same wave as Southern. However he is also a conspiracist & in my view a generally more suspicious sort of character because he also pushes false & misleading information. But many of his messages deal with the same issues.

They are all issues which I think DO need to be frequently discussed in a free, open, fair, & still-evolving, generally harmonious, democratic society like ours and other similar countries – which want to remain that way.

Free Speech – are we for or against it?

Post from Gezza:


“OPINION: It seems I’m as Aryan as you can get, with a DNA test to prove it, but I’m less thrilled about it than Lauren Southern, the suitably blonde agitator who wasn’t allowed to speak at the Auckland Council’s Bruce Mason Centre.

The 23-year-old self-described journalist calls to mind an inane pop song once banned by the BBC, Jump Up and Down and Wave Your Knickers in the Air.

She’s white and proud and wants to kick arse about the accident of her birth, for which she has no more reason to preen than the rest of us whiteys. But boy, is she shrill, is she self-righteous, and is she in-your-face provocative.

Rosemary McLeod: The Free Speech Coalition is wasting its money.

ROSEMARY MCLEOD

Rosemary McLeod: The Free Speech Coalition is wasting its money.

I’ve taken a dislike to her. In case you wondered. Southern and fellow Canadian Stefan Molyneux are internet identities with a far-Right agenda that would have appalled Bruce Mason, a leading Kiwi playwright and sensible liberal.”

More…

… … …
As I posted the other day, Rosemary McLeod is at it – a classic liberal feminist, playing the “Nazi Aryan Maiden” card, without citing any actual evidence to back up what she appears to have heard elsewhere.

She, like the rest of us, has no idea exactly what these two were going to say, & she is appalled that Don Brash is in favour of allowing people to express “racist” views. I happen to agree with Brash on this.

My take: Molyneux is a sleazy character who, among other fad topics of appeal to the low-IQ North American conservative to far right spectrum reportedly peddles the debunked “IQ is linked to race” theory. I haven’t yet seen him doing this – but I wouldn’t be surprised if he does.

if you’ve watched a lot of his 90 -120 minute plus interminable online harangues – as I now have – after half an hour of his superciliously snide side-comments you can quickly write him off as awful to listen to, devious, a frequent distorter of facts & outright liar, whose false claims among the facts are easily disproved and dismissed. Which is what should happen.

So far I haven’t heard him directly advocating that whites are superior, although the hoary old ‘race-based IQ’ revival he is said to promote carries that obvious implication, disguised as it is with the false claim that Ashkanazi Jews are top of the high IQ list and whites are only at third from top in the pecking order.

Southern is another story. She doesn’t lie. She holds strong views about the values of Western European culture & systems & argues against people and groups who practice white racism & have cultural practices, ideas & values that conflict with or are inconsistent with them, & challenges those who allow, support, or encourage people traffickers to keep up the flow of floods of people from such countries into Western countries, where there is evidence of the real & projected adverse outcomes & impacts on the host populations & their own cultures that these sudden massive influxes create.

Both of them seem to have views also on the impact of feminism and its attendant anti-male rhetoric & influence in modern society because of the negative outcome statistics for, basically, emasculated, anxiety-ridden, lost young men – often fatherless – who have grown up indoctrinated by a female-friendly childcare & education system and are now showing up quite prominently in sociological studies apparently believing that being typically male makes them violent, dominating, evil people, & so never become young men & never get out there & realise their potential.

That, contrary to the incessant clamour of strident feminists, stats show that, in the US at least, ‘the system’ is actually now benefiting women far more than men, something which is not known and/or acknowledged by feminazis.

These are valid issues that need an airing & to be discussed in rational debate. I have never heard Southern claim anything about whites or females being superior.

In this article I think McLeod proceeds to display her own intellectual superiority blinkers. I think she rather proves their case that free speech is now actually being suppressed by such people as Rosemary who just don’t want to hear & debate this.

PRAYER FROM AN ATHEIST

Guest post from Gezza

The only way to cure Islam’s ills is to educate Muslims out of believing the Quran. To do that, you also have to educate the Jews out of believing the Torah & the Christians out of believing the Bible.

All of them derive their basis for belief from the first scribblings of unbelievable myth & bullshit in the Jewish Scriptures, & all are demonstrably false.

All of them, & all other supernatural religions, have become interwoven over centuries into the ethnic, cultural & national identities of scores of religious sects & diverse peoples throughout the globe. They have driven land grabs, wars and strife for eons. False beliefs taught to ignorant people of long bygone ages still lie at the very heart of most of the worst tensions & strife between nations & ethnic groups & cultures around the world today.

Of them all, Christianity, while influential in the development of the better aspects of Western civilisation, especially over the last century, has probably reduced the most in direct influence on Westerners, as secular morality has developed & improved on the limits of the so-called 10 commandments, & the Golden Rule. (Even the Golden Rule is reportedly actually quite common to many religions & societies around the globe, or at least between believers or members of the same group.)

Christians forget that making slaves of people from other nations is still sanctioned by God (& Jesus never countermanded Mosaic Law) in the Bible. It is time people looked at the Torah, the Bible and the Quran only as important historical Books.

The Bible played an undoubtedly important part in the development of Western Civilisation & law, but, when you put the pastor outside, clear your mind of the reinterpretations you’ve been fed by the priestly class, & simply read it plainly, end to end, it is instantly revealed, self-evidently, as merely a collection of 3rd 4th & 5th hand scribblings about historically unsupportable superstitions, myths, magic, & logical & scientific nonsense.

It is the story of a savage, jealous, vengeful, murderous, infanticidal, rape & slavery-condoning God who Christians still say – notwithstanding that he ordered and /or committed these heinous acts – MUST be good! Because he is God. And God is good. So he must have had a good reason for such horrific cruelty & immorality. This is just bizarre. Truly daft that anyone can try to rationalise it with pathetic defences about relative morality meaning it was good behaviour from Jaweh for those times, but it’s not now.

Modern, secular society Christians, as empathetic, intelligent, social, human beings whose ideas of morality have now gone well beyond the Bible’s, would NEVER willingly choose to do these horrible things to other people. With the blinkers of highly selective Christian teachings off – the Judeo-Christian God’s actions & commands are actually evil by today’s standards. Jaweh orders the Israelites to commit murder, genocide, rape, infanticide for heaven’s sake. If he came to earth today, he’d literally be in the dock for crimes against humanity!

The same, & new, maybe worse, errors, horrors, pointless, repressive, oppressive, conflicting, bloodthirsty, outdated regulations, bad science, teachings, & beliefs of superiority over others, dictated by a middle-aged Arab warlord, are set out in the Quran & Hadith that Muslims are forced by their theocratic rulers and family & social pressures to believe & take with them wherever they go.

I don’t hate these religions, per se, but I know beyond any reasonable doubt they are false & well out-of-date.

And I DO hate how the contortions & distortions of these ludicrous scripts can be twisted in the minds of gullible believers, who suspend their rationality, & listen when imams & pastors tell them these clusters of confused crap mean something totally different to what they actually say – really, only out of the instilled fear of everlasting torture if they don’t believe it, or the need of desperate or fearful people to call on some hoped-for divine universal power to help them deal with adversity in their daily lives, and give them vain hope of some vague glorious reward of everlasting life & happiness in a hereafter beyond their inevitable expiry date on this earth.

There is NO actual evidence of any such thing. You won’t be seeing your pet dog or the roast lamb you ate for lunch in Heaven either. (Well, I’m an agnostic really. I can’t absolutely guarantee that there is no more existence for our personalities beyond this earthly lifetime, but it’s such a remote possibility that the probability of our death being our complete end of existence would be well in excess of 99.99999%. And it’s an absolute certainty, in my opinion, that in the unlikely event I’m wrong, any existence beyond our earthly one would not be anything like what’s promised in any of these dreadful Holy Books.)

In my view, all children should be given a secular education. They should be taught, first, written language & mathematics, then logic & reasoning, & science, & then told to forget their preachers, & their parents’ beliefs, & be instructed to just read these Holy texts, without reinterpretation, from start to finish. If, by the end, they haven’t figured out:

“WTF? Who can seriously take this garbled rubbish recited to ancient sheep herders & camel drivers as divinely inspired instructions to humanity?”

they should then learn the history of the people who, it is claimed, wrote them, and of how they spread their religions, and warred over them.

That would, hopefully, be the end of the religions, & when their believing parents finally pass away, they could just bury them respectfully, & then just put their Holy Books on the shelves in the Great Myths & History sections of libraries, & focus on establishing or evolving the fairest & most tolerant sets of values, ethics & laws that fit their own ethnic cultures & customs, settle their border squabbles, & renew good relationships with other people & cultures who live in this world – without this bloody religious dogma continually overpowering their reason & humanity & pitting devout, deluded believers & their descendents forever against each other.

Value your separate customs of dress & hospitality, & languages, & other delineators of your cultural & national identities & borders. Live freely in the places your cultures now belong, or have belonged for centuries, & welcome visitors from different lands who respect your customs while there.

If you move to another place, adapt to their culture. If eventually, in the future, we can all meld together with common evolved values & customs & laws & behaviours, so that borders can effectively disappear, there is maybe hope for a true paradise on earth – but that is a long, long way away yet, in my view.

In the meantime, for heaven’s sake, please, read, THINK, & then throw out all the false Gods that tell you you are a special & favoured people, & that all the other gods & their deluded believers are wrong! Humanity MUST outgrow these mythical supernatural rulers if we are ever to evolve the kind of world we really want.

We need to learn to love & live the life we have to the full. It is the only one we have. We need to grow up & face this fact. It is time for us to put away these childish fairy & troll kings – & become better than them.

Terms of Reference for Labour’s Tax Working Group

Post by Mefrostate:


Yesterday we discussed the members of Labour’s upcoming Tax Working Group (TWG). They have also released the terms of reference. This map of pathways and forbidden forests will guide the noble Sir Cullen and his merry band of experts as they pursue their quest.

It begins by outlining the government’s overall objectives for the tax system. Many of these are bog-standard principles of taxation: efficiency, simplicity, fairness, equity. While these have long been the basis for New Zealand’s broad-base-low-rate framework, there are a few twists to fit the goals of this government.

No surprises, the left-bloc endorses a progressive tax and transfer system. But they also target revenue and expenditure at 30% of GDP, which is toward the low end of the OECD. They specify that the system should promote productivity. Finally, sustainability gets a mention, hinting at an environmental element.

Based on these objectives, they direct the TWG to report on:

  • Whether the tax system operates fairly in relation to taxpayers, income, assets and wealth
  • Whether the tax system promotes the right balance between supporting the productive economy and the speculative economy
  • Whether there are changes to the tax system which would make it more fair, balanced and efficient, and
  • Whether there are other changes which would support the integrity of the income tax system, having regard to the interaction of the systems for taxing companies, trusts, and individuals.

While the final bullet suggests alignment between the company, trust and personal tax rates, this was already a key recommendation of the 2010 incarnation of the TWG, and was largely achieved by the former National government. The top income and tax rates are 33%; companies pay 28%.

Getting more specific, the TWG should consider in particular:

  • The economic environment that will apply over the next 5-10 years, taking into account demographic change, and the impact of changes in technology and employment practices, and how these are driving different business models,
  • Whether a system of taxing capital gains or land (not applying to the family home or the land under it), or other housing tax measures, would improve the tax system.
  • Whether a progressive company tax (with a lower rate for small companies) would improve the tax system and the business environment, and
  • What role the taxation system can play in delivering positive environmental and ecological outcomes, especially over the longer term.

All signs seem to point at the potential for a tax to stymie rising house prices. Grant Robertson confirmed this when announcing the TWG: “At the moment the tax system appears unfair – for example, it doesn’t treat income from speculation in housing as it does income from work “. It will be good to combine this with a consideration of the role of automation in workplaces, and capital’s increasing share of income.

The TWG are directed to report on the idea of having a progressive companies tax, with lower rates for smaller firms. SMEs enjoy exemptions in many countries, but I’m not aware of any with an explicit set of brackets which vary with company size. While this could boost competition, it would seem ripe for exploitation.

There is an explicit mention of using the tax system to deliver environmental outcomes, and one of the members is Marjan Van Den Belt, an ecological economist. We can expect some interaction with the upcoming Zero Carbon Act and the climate commission, which are being developed concurrently.

All-in-all this seems a pretty comprehensive set of issues for the TWG to grapple with. However, I’m more concerned by the laundry list of forbidden areas which are outside of the scope:

  • Increasing any income tax rate or the rate of GST
  • Inheritance tax
  • Taxation of the family home or the land under it, and
  • Interaction with the transfer system

In my view it is absolutely ridiculous have a full review of the tax system that completely excludes increases to tax on income, consumption, inheritance and owner-occupied property. What is the point in gathering a diverse set of experts if they can only work with their hands tied? This seems to stack the deck for Labour’s long-cherished capital gains tax, and will completely undermine the value of the final report.

This could be a big problem for Labour if they use this TWG to take a capital gains tax to the next election. I can just imagine English (or his replacement): “Labour have basically gathered some master chefs but only given them dough and tinned spaghetti, so I don’t think anyone’s surprised that they’ve cooked-up a capital gains tax.” And I’d have to agree.

General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

Media watch – Tuesday

14 November 2017

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.