Monday, 30 December 2013

Money can't buy Academic integrity

Money can't buy academic integrity, but Charles G. Koch can buy veto rights to hiring academic staff at Florida State University.

It could hardly be more fascist a corporation having so much control in a state institution. Except perhaps if CGK were to become president of FSU, but he won't do that it is too much of a time commitment, so instead he has minions do hiring and firing at FSU economics department.

This is an obvious and blatant attempt to buy credibility for views favourable to Koch Industries and Corporations in general thus giving fascist friendly propaganda the appearance of Independent support.

See Also:
    Raw Story

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Fox's "war on Christmas" is bogus?

While Americans Atheists just want Christmas to keep a minimum safe distance from government, nd over the years Fox has made outrgeous statements concerning attempts to religous observances out of government sphere, including Bill O'Reilly's "Christianity is not a religion" and this year Megyn Kelly's "Jesus and Santa are just white", ignoring that Jesus would have been an olive skinned Semite, and Santa a Turk.
It turns out there really are people who would enjoin people from saying Merry Christmas and here is one of them.

Since Muslims also believe in the Christ figure as a prophet they qualify as Christian in a loose sense. so like Fox the only people fighting the war on Christmas are Christians or at the least the religious.

Spaghetti Bolognas is a beautiful Pastafarian sacrament, Ice cream is a nice desert, if you mix them, you ruin both.

Please help save Pastamas from the professors of satirical religion at Fox news.
May you be touched by his noodley appendage. Ramen!
Merry Pastamas!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Big Russian Bear just playing?

OK, so earlier this year 30 peaceful Greenpeace activists were arrested by shot firing, knife wielding security forces, charged with piracy, and were locked up for months while the court determined that the piracy charges were bogus, and new charges were laid for hooliganism, which lacking any element of hate would also be determined to be bogus, as the Russian Supreme Court has already ruled in the case of Pussy Riot.

There is only one hitch, the court may not get to make that determination, because the Arctic 30 have been included in an amnesty bill along with Pussy Riot. Pussy Riot may be home for Pastamas. Arctic 30 given the limitations of travel arrangements made be home for New Year.

So this is good news His Noodliness has tugged on the Russians to remind them of his complex carbohydrate goodness and that he values being nice to people who disagree with them.

It's not like the arctic 30 or pussy riot need amnesty, they did not break any laws. The Amnesty gambit is like an excise in saving face, after all it is one to be a fool before the Flying Spaghetti Monster (sauce be upon him), quite another to be misanthropic for the FSM really doesn't like that, it hurts his beer buzz. None the less, they have earned a place at the beer volcano, today.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Australia coal: an insecure investment

A new study from Oxford University, indicates that much of Australia's coal reserves will become stranded assets.
On the back of environmental concerns China is set to eventually move away from coal, leaving perhaps 2/3 of Australia's coal reserves untouched by 2050.
This comes after New Zealand's Solid Energy a state owned coal producer went belly up on the back of weak international coal prices and unrealistic dividend demands from the New Zealand government.
The new Oxford report calls in to question the wisdom of new mining expansions and coal port projects.
One project of particular environmental concern is a coal port expansion project off Abbott Point, Queensland set to make the port the largest in the world. Located near great Barrier Reef, this project has raised concerns that it will add even more pressure to an already under stress natural treasure.

Perhaps what we are seeing here is a desperate and delusional industry driving a credulous government ready to believe any business is good business. Well, Rio Tinto are not fooled. they're divesting over AU$3b from coal production.
The carbon bubble is coming, China is moving away from coal on the back of localised environmental concerns already. Coal fired energy production is causing acid rain in China and Japan while Shanghai plants turn the colour of the Tokyo sky. These are the most innocuous effects compared to the destabilization of the climate.
The carbon bubble offers perhaps the best business reason for divestment, a close second is perhaps the rapidly growing divestment movement of Universities, churches and cities around the world are making the choice to divest from extractive carbon industries. So to add to weak demand for coal and other extracted carbon, the extractive industry is going to find financing a tougher market in which to raise capital investment funds.

See also
   Sydney Morning Herald
   Carbon Tracker
   The Gardian GBR under threat from coal port expansion

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Fox News' War on Pastamass rides again, with casualties

This week Megyn Kelly made the preposterous claim the gift giver of the annual solstice is an elderly obese Caucasian male who flies a magical sleigh towed by magical reindeer capable of overcoming mythical gravity.

Her comments were so embarrassing she was asked to give the following night a miss on her own show. Clearly mainstream Pastafarians should not have to put up with such ignorant comments, even from a comedian, like Ms Kelly. She returned after her one day sabatical, apollogetic, barely.

What Ms Kelly clearly does not understand is that gravity is just a theory and no magic reindeer are required to overcome it.  All you need is the cooperation of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

She also fails to understand that an elderly some centuries old could not possibly be fit enough to visit every country in 24 days , let alone 24 hours. And the guy she picked hasn't done a lick of track-work in a century, and clearly pigs out at every stop.

These new Christians are deluding themselves they will use any excuse they can to deny the Flying Spaghetti Monster a place in their emotionless hearts. They arrogantly profess to know the truth and yet the deny the Flying Spaghetti Monster and all his complex carbohydrates goodness. You would think should be more greatful to he who boiled for their din-dins.

The Truth(tm) as we Pastafarians  have always known it for centuries is that the Flying Spaghetti Monster delivers toys to good little cabin boys and bar wenches, and he doesn't need gimmicks to do it, he flies and has noodley appendages, everything a FSM needs deliver toys to three billion trainee crew.

Thankfully we don't have to rely on artistic impressions of our noodley saviour, being a bit of a whore for the camera's attention he generously provides us with many opportunities to see his noddliness on a regular basis. And Clearly not Caucasian.

Here he is in New Zealand Summer 2011, checking to see if John Key had followed his advice and not run in the election earlier that year. His Noodliness is reported to have  been "most disappointed".

In 2012, visiting Rome, he suggest Pope Benedict should get some rest. His Noodliness is reportedly "very pleased" that they accepted his advice.

In 2010, he visited mecca to ask if the would "Please stop beheading people who don't believe in me, it's not nice. I don't require them to believe in me, It is just nice if they do and beheading them kinda ruins my beer buzz. So please, will you stop?" Shortly after a mob came at him with machetes. He later commented "It's a good thing am the Flying Spaghetti Monster. They seem to have lost the whole point of what I'm trying to do with this world, ... and that's party. I don't know Cthulhu had anything to do with their behaviour, but it looks suspicious."

See Also
    Media Matters

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

NZ Census:Religion declining faster, Christianity deposed

According to the 2013 census taken in March, New Zealanders are losing their religion even faster. With the non-religious now numbering 41%.

Christianity is no longer the "majority view". That claim was once made by lobbying groups and political parties, laughable as was give the diversity of opinion on social and political issues among New Zealand Christians from liberal Presbyterians and Anglicans to conservative billboard-slashing Catholics and cultist Exclusive Brethren and Jehovah's Witnesses.

The news is being celebrated by Humanist, atheist and secular groups. The news is of special concern to the Secular Education Network an association of parents concerned about the attempts to indoctrinate of their children against their wishes through an opt out system and inadequate notification, and neglectful handling of children who have been excluded from religious instruction. An example of this treatment is of a 7 year old made to sit in the timeout corner, normally used for children who are disrupting class.

See also
    The NZ Herald

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Brick

A friend described my blog as "almost poetic" in it's criticism of right wing politics. I figure why almost, lets go full on poetic.

So, this morning enchanted with the idea of  how we are all connected through economy, and how too many of us struggle for basic needs while a few sit in arrogant judgement of "poor choices" "free loaders" and "welfare queens". I found something that clearly shows another way of thinking. Thomas Paine observed that Native Americans did not know poverty until the Europeans turned up. But more importantly economics does not judge, nor does the brick.
The brick was made to build a civilization.
It lays by it's fellows and together they hold strong,
supporting each other for the defence of what lies within,
bravely standing against wind and the rain,
having no concern for profit or how much money it will have at the end of the day.

They do not look down on each other.
They don't libel unemployed bricks as drug addicts or lazy.
A brick does not scheme to exploit lower bricks.
High bricks only reach their giddy heights by the support of lower bricks
High brick do not judge low bricks.

Can we build our society like bricks, we we do not judge each other,
where we raise each other up instead of tearing each other down.
Can we learn to share our wealth?
can we understand that giving away riches allow them to return multiplied?
People were made to build a society. Just as the brick was made to build a civilisation.
Shall we come together like bricks and build a structure to weather the elements?

Discarded bricks make break, they may build a new piled structure,
and again they will support each other.
They may move, and give each other room,
and they may smash down an old order and create a new.
The more discarded bricks there are, the greater the peril and the need to change.
No popular movement has ever failed once 3.5% of the population support it. Get informed, get out there, get active. Save capitalism and democracy from the fascists.
While I am a progressive, I'm mainly a pragmatist, capitalism is a useful tool in economics, but pure capitalism is a nightmarish  horror show that make Resident Evil pale in comparison, and we can the failures of more ideologically driven capitalism in many advanced economies. If governments do not account for the social well being of it citizens, they doom themselves to replacement by revolution at the polling booth or other means.

See also

Friday, 6 December 2013

Dear Westpac

Today I'm writing to Westpac Zealand Limited, to let them know they Things they are doing are losing them business, my business.
I'm not he only one hundreds of Wespac NZ customer wrote them this week. to seend a clear that their investment int the Coal mining company that is about mine a world heritage site with unique species is unacceptable to its customers.
In my case is is not the only issue that makes them less than ideal to deal with, so as soon as I don't have to, I wont.

6 December 2013

Attn: Peter Clare - Chief Executive Officer

Westpac New Zealand Limited
Level 1, 16 Takutai Square

Dear Peter,
    having banked with Westpac New Zealand Ltd for over 20years, and enjoyed low fees Elect account. And a consistent and reliable service, Over time I have myself being increasingly troubled by features of the bank are somewhat less attractive.
  1. Funding of catastrophic climate change investment invest in old-carbon extractive industry projects. Including but not limited to proposed Denniston Plateau which appears to me be a worthy natural world heritage site.
  2. The extraction of Billions dollars of New Zealand's money supply expatriated to offshore parent companies.
  3. Not allowing customers like myself to choose a higher minimum payment rate on our credit cards and not allowing me to shift to a cheaper credit card product without first changing banks.
  4. I also share the concerns of many that certain large banks exploit derivatives markets, to the cost of the productive economy on which the vast majority depend for their livelihood and any hope of a descent life in which people can meet basic needs of food and accommodation, educate themselves and their children, enjoy leisure time, save for retirement and contribute to their communities.
At this, point I no longer feel that I want to continue doing business with Westpac any longer than I have to. At this point that period appears to be at most year, after that you may not see my account for dust.
Yours sincerely,

A Concerned Customer

UPDATE 7 Dec 2013

It appears Westpac may be missing the message here. I found this at the Newtown branch office in Wellington. Seriously Westpac, what I many others have been saying over the last week is don't be evil. At least Google knows "don't be evil" is a good idea enough to at least say it, even if they ignore it by joining the American Legislative Exchange Counsel (speed dating for corporations who want to game the system and legislators who want to let them).

Monday, 2 December 2013

How scroogenomics is destroying capitalism.

The modern Scrooge character is very different to the Scrooge of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Not only is the 21st century Scrooge a grudging employer paying only what is required by law (if that), but also holds clients and customers in smug contempt for not realizing he's conning them he may well also be a clinical psychopath or sociopath.

His definition of a successful economy is fairly narrow by many standards, to him it is one that makes him even more obscenely wealthy than he already is. When asked about others his response is "I want my fair share, and that's all of it."

We should all be familiar with how Dickens' Scrooge was a grudging employer to Bob Cratchet. Today we have the Wall Mart Heirs, who instead of spending US$7billion dollars to raise their workforce out of poverty bought stocks in their own company to boost the share price. They didn't even use revenues to do it. the made US$17b in revenues last year, and could easily have raised all associates wages by over US$5/hr. Saving the US tax payer US$1.2b in public assistance.  Walmart did arrange a sort of swap meet, so that associates who were struggling for thanksgiving could get a little extra. Which might sound good to some, but letting other people be generous on your behalf is no more than an abdication of your own responsibility to act as a decent human being or ethical employer. If corporations are people according to the Supreme Court judgement, then some corporations can be cheapskate assholes of dubious lineage and infect with the pox. As I write SCOTUS is considering whether corporations can have a religion. If so, does this mean pagan corporations get to sacrifice virgins to their volcano Gods?

The race the to bottom for wages and prices is a loosing game for everyone. Like a room full of people where everyone has a gun and an unlimited supply of ammunition. Any can shoot in any direction if you get shot, you must shoot twice, since every one is blind folded, the game only ends when the last person standing has no one to play with.

As wages are driven down, for example by big box retailers, they starve competition and other community enterprises of custom and of business. But they also starve manufacturers of demand because of the suppress wages in the retail sector and fewer retail workers can to buy manufactured goods as often. Primary producers are also affected as wage become so low worker struggle to put food on the table. Manufacturers and producers are forced to raise price or reduce their employment costs either by paying less or laying off staff, sometimes they sell of plant and equipment, and in some cases shut down all together. This can become a positive feed back loop. Fewer goods at lower prices in a market with reduced liquidity, further reduces liquidity as manufacturing and production workers join the ranks of the un(der)employed, further reducing liquidity, and suppressing retail activity until the bankster has no one to play with. To how these low wage employers hurt non-competition. A big box hardware will hurt cinema business, because none of it's staff can afford a night at the movies or a restaurant meal if disposable income is $2.74/week. Smaller competitor retailers are forced to lower prices, and pay for that in reduction of and or wages. Or they close up shop and get work out of town or in a big box retailer.

The economics of big box retailers, are sensitive to factors that are different to small retailer models, because the operate on smaller margins, market shifts make them more fragile. As consumers we can take advantage of that, and push them to do the right thing, and we may even get a better bargin in the process. Costco for example pays a living wage, and offers most of its workers a quality health plan, while many of the remainder get a $500 cheque for buying their own health plan. Support these guys and other ethical employeers sends a message, that the market will not accept starvation offered by a greedy few. CostCo is also cheaper than Walmart. You may find bulk purchasing difficult, so get together with friends or form a community to shop and swap. Shop at the big box, and divide and swap portions purchase among yourselves, you may be to on sell some items on ebay.

Another Black Friday has just rolled by leaving 4 dead and 67 injuries. perhaps this indicates a desperation born of thirty of race-to-bottom corporate strategy, or hyper consumerism. Either way there has to be a better way than for corporations to act like douces and blame the victims when it all goes belly up.

It was once a requirement that corporate charters included the responsibility to offer a public good. Bring back that requirement would almost see and end to corporate psychopathy(see The Corporation - a documentary that uses the DSM IV to diagnose corporate behaviour). That required was removed in the first half of the the 20th century. Since then corporate ethics in the US have been on a downward slide, which lately appears to be very well greased with a mixture of crude oil from the Gulf of Mexico and "produced" water from the Pennsylvanian Fracking fields. But that is a another story