“Don’t get sick, losers”

Paul Little seems to have bee on some bitter pills when he wrote his latest column, Can’t afford meds? Don’t get sick. 

Maybe some twisted pills as well.

So now you’re interested in the Trans Pacific Partnership. After years of warnings about the free trade agreement’s potentially disastrous effects on lapdog countries such as ours, which have been straining at the leash in our enthusiasm to see the deal signed off, the public has been given a hip-pocket reason to give a toss.

There have been a number of quite successful free agreements that have enabled New Zealand to become a relatively  independent trading nation.

“Lapdog countries such as ours” is an appalling description. Would Little prefer we were a poor, isolated backwater country?

Hitherto, objections have centred on far-fetched scenarios involving large corporations gaining control of nations’ intellectual property, suing foreign Governments for not doing their bidding and other nightmares.

Yes, there has been a lot of scary claims about what will happen, alongside claims that they don’t know what is being negotiated so don’t know what will happen. Paranoia promoted by a vacuum of knowledge.

Then John Key, in an uncharacteristically gauche move, admitted the cost of some medicines would go up under the TPP. This is hardly surprising. When the aim of a deal is to end protection, things tend to be left unprotected.

That’s contradictory and incorrect, the aim is not to “end protection”. The cost of some medicines could go up if greater protections are given to original drugs over generic drugs.

The PM has been such an enthusiastic supporter of the TPP that when he has no choice but to admit it has a tiny downside, you know it’s serious and almost certainly not the worst of it. He might have thought no one would notice – after all, health is almost proverbially something we take for granted.

We don’t know how serious nor do we know “the worst of it” because no agreement has been reached. The talks have stalled.

Any trade agreement has potential downsides, the aim is to negotiate more upsides than downsides. If you don’t get that you don’t make the agreement, as turned out in Hawaii yesterday. I wonder if Little wrote his column before he knew that?

But meddling doctors’ groups, not yet discredited in the way teachers, beneficiaries and unionists have been after decades of neoliberal governments, led the charge in deploring this possibility.

A few bitter pills there.

Our tough love Government must find this galling. Medicine, in its mind, is probably an extravagance indulged in by people who don’t have the mental fortitude to deal with illness and chronic conditions with positive thinking and a can-do attitude. Can’t afford medicine? Don’t get sick, losers.

And there’s some twisted pills.

So the Government has said that when – not if – costs go up, it will find the money to cover the difference. Governments, you’ll remember, usually get their money in one of two ways – from fabulously wealthy benefactors who dip into their own pockets to keep the country running; or from taxpayers.

Little seems to be getting his concoctions mixed up here. He seems to be taking a swipe at party donors “fabulously wealthy benefactors” which has nothing to do with Government revenue.

And as we have long known the tax burden falls disproportionately on those of limited means, who are also likelier to be poor, as the gap between richest and poorest widens, partly due to measures such as the TPP.

“The tax burden falls disproportionately on those of limited means” is an an often repeated nonsense. Those of the most limited means are provided for by wealthier people who pay the bulk of the tax.

Measures such as TPP type trade agreements stop New Zealand from going broke. Sure “the gap between richest and poorest” would be much narrower if we dind’t have trade agreements, we’d all be much poorer.

The final TPP talks are taking place at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali in Hawaii, where every guest room has a Heavenly Bed, equipped with “a custom-designed Simmons Beautyrest pillow-top mattress set, cozy down blanket, three crisp sheets, a comforter, duvet and five fluffy pillows”. Heavenly Dog Beds are available on request.

It’s a good choice of location when it comes to selling the TPP. It shows us the standard of living we can all expect when the agreement goes through.

Perhaps Little would prefer trade negotiators stayed at Couchsurfing in Maui – the standard of living we could all expect without trade deals.

And for those of us worried about paying for medicine, just imagining what it’s like to sleep on a Heavenly Bed, or in some cases, just under a roof, will take our minds off our woes and stop us feeling sorry for ourselves.

Little seems to see himself as one of the poor who have to pay $5 for prescriptions in New Zealand. He certainly seems to be feeling very sorry for himself.

Some readers may have been lured into viewing a Seven Sharp item, widely re-posted online, in which Professor Jane Kelsey demolished some of the propaganda being used to sell the TPP and explained what it will really do.

Who is peddling propaganda? Kelsey has been campaigning against the TPP for a long time, warning “what it will really do” – when she is not complaining about not being told what it might do.

This is the Jane Kelsey who “is a key member of the Action Resource Education Network of Aotearoa (Arena), and is actively involved in researching and speaking out against the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, free trade and corporate-led globalisation.” – Wikipedia.

Kelsey “is an outspoken critic of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks.”

Unfortunately, she did not do it in terms simple enough to be understood by Mike Hosking, who continued to frame his encounter with Kelsey in terms of winning, losing and point-scoring.

It’s not as if Kelsey or Little would resort to point scoring.

Please do not adjust your set – I am reliably informed this was an aberration and not an indication that Seven Sharp has taken to giving air space to intelligent commentary.

That’s Little’s concluding paragraph. After all the bitterness expressed about the TPP, trade, John key and the Government all he has to end with is a petty diss of another media outlet.

This column is not an indication that Little has taken to giving air space to intelligent commentary.

Paul Little sounds like a bitter loser. A sick column.

Standard: banning dissent and behavioural control

Some typical irony and hypocrisy at The Standard as Lynn Prentice promotes their wonderful qualities in A short history of The Standard – Maoriland Worker. He promotes Standard ideology:

And the policy statement that starts as

We encourage robust debate and we’re tolerant of dissenting views. But this site run for reasonably rational debate between dissenting viewpoints and we intend to keep it operating that way.

And:

Commenters can write what they like provide they stay within the bounds of our very liberal behavioural policies.

But that’s not how ‘the Labour left’ and Prentice operate, as demonstrated before long in the comments thread.

Maui:

We need workers engaged in their politics like they appear to have been one hundred years ago. We need to ban celebrities, ban Hoskings and get people thinking about the society they live in again. If people were engaged we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now, with workers being treated as slaves, profits going into private and fewer and fewer hands, and the environment being treated as a toilet.

Banning whoever you don’t like may not be a great way to engage workers. Ian responded:

wow. A 1 way ticket to North Korea and you get your utopia. You will probably be dead within a few months but too bad.

[lprent: if You want to troll then please avoid doing it on my posts – use OpenMike. Next comment in this troll vein on my post and I double your last ban. ]

A typical Prentice ban threat to someone not toeing the groupthink line. Not only is he demonstrating his usual intolerance of debate and dissenting views, he makes a mockery of “the bounds of our very liberal behavioural policies”.

As an acceptable comrade in the collective Maui continues:

It’s funny you don’t realise the country you live in now looks more like North Korea than what I’m proposing.

Yeah, right.

You live in a country where a third of voters chooses our ruling Government, where corruption is king, referendums are ignored and where parliament isn’t used to vote on important issues.

Complaints about ‘a third of voters chooses our ruling Government’ are not uncommon but complainants ignore the fact that 100% of voters have a choice whether they vote or not. The likes of Maui seem to think if the ‘missing million’ were made to vote it would be for them.

Transparency International rates New Zealand at 2/175 at the least corrupt end of their index, compared to North Korea at 174/175.

There’s good reason for our flawed Citizen Initiated referenda to be ignored. There is a comprehensive binding double referendum process under way right now.

But debate on this nonsense is not tolerated at The Standard.

I wonder why you didn’t bring up the 1st Labour Government either, could it be you don’t want to attract attention to a winning hand.

Odd comment. The 1st Labour Government ruled from 1935 to 1949, just after the Great Depression and through World War 2. Very different times to 2015. The last Labour Government lost power as we went into a local recession followed by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Labour history is interesting, but it isn’t a recipe for success well into the 21st century. Neither is banning dissent and imposing behavioural controls.

Rule of Standard Farm: We encourage robust debate as long as you’re a compliant comrade (except Bomber).