New Post March 20, 2016
Trump, a loudmouthed braggart: Clinton a proven liar: And is John Key an asset to this country? The born to rule mentality…
“Liberty cannot be preserved without knowledge among the people…of the character and conduct of their rulers. “John Adams
Hillary Clinton has a proven record as a liar, and anyone reading Christopher Hitchens’- No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family – an assessment of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s stay in the White House, is left in no doubt that Httchens was sickened by the corruption he recorded – this, by a writer whose natural sympathies lay with the Democratic, rather than the Republican Party. Similarly, that Donald Trump (who has openly boasted that he paid the Clintons to attend his wedding – his practice is to operate with an eye to possible pay-back in the future) may possibly become President of the United States, inevitably makes so many wonder what has happened to that country. On record as praising Princess Diana’s beauty (he attempted to woo her after her marriage failed) he has said he would have slept with her “Without even hesitation”.
Immoral, arrogant, narcissistic, and megalomaniac all seem to be routine descriptions of the man the Republican Party are saddled with. However, On January 26, President Everett Piper, an Oklahoma College president, in a blog titled “Trumping Morality” explained why he would not be inviting Trump to the university. One doesn’t have to be overly religious, or agree with all his analysis, to recognise that among the accusations Piper makes about Trump are his disregard for the fundamental values that keep a democracy stable, respected and strong…that these basically Christian values should bring home to us the fact that, irrespective of our personal beliefs, it is these which have so long safeguarded Western society. Nietzsche, the virulently anti-Christian German philosopher, although he deplored Western civilization’s underpinning by Christianity, arguing that there is no essential morality that governs all of us…nevertheless admitted that “Christianity is the light of the West”.
What if that light is under ever-increasing, even virulent attack? What does Donald Trump represent? And what about the whole flawed concept of the importance of “ leadership” now taking precedence over the far superior one of every individual being responsible for his her actions – particularly when our leaders – far from commanding respect – need challenging?
For an interesting and refreshing analysis, see:
“Anyone who is pro-abortion is not on my side. Anyone who calls women “pigs,” “ugly,” “fat” and “pieces of a–” is not on my side. Anyone who mocks the handicapped is not on my side. Anyone who has argued the merits of a government takeover of banks, student loans, the auto industry and healthcare is not on my side. Anyone who has been on the cover of Playboy and proud of it, who brags of his sexual history with multiple women and who owns strip clubs in his casinos is not on my side. Anyone who believes the government can wrest control of the definition of marriage from the church is not on my side. Anyone who ignores the separation of powers and boasts of making the executive branch even more imperial is not on my side.
Piper ended his blog saying that he will not sell his soul “to a political process that values victory more than virtue.”
There are lessons here. The consensus is that Trump’s enormous popularity comes from people’s anger at a dug-in political establishment with a born-to-rule mentality. The public is rejecting professional politicians, and America is not alone. All around the world, differently framed according to different customs, the background and history of people, the political establishments are being challenged. So what about closer to home?
In this country, is it also time to take a closer look at a leader whose inappropriate antics, pilloried overseas, have made him a national embarrassment? And while we note that “Second-placed Senator Ted Cruz has raised Jane Kelsey-ian concerns over the TPPA’s potential to undermine sovereignty,” we should be asking John Key why his government is ignoring the same potential threat to undermine our sovereignty – by pretending it doesn’t exist. Moreover, as a Lyttleton correspondent reminds us, “Six years ago, our Prime Minister dismissed the notion of investor-state dispute provisions in trade agreements as “far-fetched”. Now we find that in becoming a party to the TPPA, we are (according to Alan Morrison Associate Dean for Public Interest and Public Service Law at George Washington University Law School) agreeing to submit the validity of our laws to 3 private arbitrators whose decisions are not subject to appeal.”
So who still maintains a belief in John Key, regarded as highly evasive when he doesn’t like the questions, and who has openly admitted that National deliberately withholds, as long as possible, information required to be given under the Official Information Act “if it is in its best interest to do so” ? His government is legally obliged to respond to OIA requests within 20 days. However, Radio New Zealand reported it took 17 months for the government to release official advice on child poverty which RNZ had requested.
Wouldn’t it be nice if our media asked the PM the hard questions for a change – and pressed him for less evasive answers? For example, Key’s government is playing, as ever, Follow the Leader – so that not even one brave dissenting voice speaks up, to represent New Zealanders’ concerns. Key has ignored concerns that New Zealand, under provisions of the TPPA, would not be able to establish protections for our farmland, our countryside and our housing stock – in other words, he has not prioritised New Zealanders ‘interests. Moreover, another wide-awake correspondent notes that “in what’s already been signed in the TPPA, NZ has already given away its sovereign right to restrict foreign, non-resident ownership of land and property. “Apparently “Australia, Singapore and another nation were granted exemptions from this section of the TPPA, which means those countries still have the authority to create laws to restrict foreign ownership, if they decide it’s in their respective country’s best interests.” But New Zealand didn’t even ask for an exemption.
Why not? This correspondent suspects it’s because those running the present government don’t care about ordinary people, our land and our future. “They seem to care only about trade, taking care of their moneyed mates” and prioritising the interests of big business. Certainly there is now a well-established perception that the government favours the interests of foreign investors, particularly from Communist China, over those of New Zealanders. We now know, for example, that multinational companies in this country are avoiding paying tax on a massive scale. “ A major Herald investigation by Matt Nippert, has found that the 20 multinational corporations most aggressive in shifting profits out of New Zealand overall paid virtually no income tax,despite recording nearly $10 billion in annual sales to Kiwi consumers.
“The analysis of financial information of more than 100 multinational corporations and their New Zealand subsidiaries showed that, had the New Zealand branches of these 20 firms reported profits at the same healthy rate as their parents, their combined income tax bill would have been nearly $490 million.” Instead, New Zealanders must reach into their own pockets, to compensate for this lost revenue.
The anti-establishment backlash is now well and truly here. And has John Key’s squandering of scores of millions of dollars on a vanity wish to change the flag – which would deprive New Zealanders of hundreds of millions more if he succeeded – helped bring about a tipping point in this country? It increasingly looks as if this is the case, and there is no doubt that something is stirring in the West when two such utterly unsuitable candidates as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are now virtually neck and neck vying for the presidency of the United States. The question has to be asked – how suitable, too, is John Key as a Prime Minister who should first of all be safeguarding and prioritising the interests of New Zealanders? There are now more than a few questioning what is happening to this country, and what is behind it all.
Why the “rockstar economy” nonsense – when Finance Minister Bill English is now seemingly trying to remove the distinction between a government surplus and a government deficit? As reported in late January, he signalled before Christmas that “with tax revenue under pressure from low inflation and slower growth” (let alone multinational corporations being allowed to evade tax due) “a more flexible approach to budget surpluses is to be preferred – a sort of – close enough is good enough’ attitude that does not distinguish between a small surplus and a small deficit.” No doubt this is highly convenient for a Minister of Finance, when our cash-strapped economy has begun to be an embarrassment to the government. Moreover, according to a Dominion Post commentator, the Labour Party‘s analysis of the budget last year showed that health had taken a 1.7 billion cut since 2010. This puts huge pressure on DHBs, means longer waiting times for treatment, and doesn’t give Pharmac enough money to fund some treatments already available to people in countries with stronger public health systems.”
I have a good friend very much respected in the community, holding a high academic position – one of those now increasingly rare academics who refuses to tread a PC line as iwi money starts pushing on all our institutions what are basically racist demands for preferential treatment. By now, we all know someone with a similar story to what he recently experienced. Having broken his hip in a cycling accident and being rescued by ambulance staff, he was scheduled for emergency surgery. However, he had to wait six hours at the hospital (people are now stacked up in corridors) before he even got a bed. And until he got the bed, he was allowed no pain relief, because he had no ward allocation.
He was finally operated on late at night, but others in his ward with broken hips had been waiting 2 to 3 days before they undergo surgery. And, as he said, each time he has had a follow-up appointment to hospital, he has had to wait up to three hours to be seen. “The surgeons are in such sort short supply they have to race off to do emergency operations and then come back to the patients like me who have fixed appointments. Sometimes people aren’t seen at all. They are told they have to come back next day and wait again, because no doctors are available. It’s unbelievable. It’s like the Third World. To waste $26 million on a flag referendum is completely irresponsible, and shows that Key is completely out of touch with the real problems facing this country.”
A recent newspaper report told of Colleen Beaton, who has spent three years unable to use her left arm, battling with the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB ) to prove she was in enough agony to receive the surgery she had been referred for. With her left knee now deteriorating, it is the third time Mrs Beaton has been denied surgery, although arthritis has affected most of her joints and her right knee is deteriorating. The elderly in Christchurch city warn that a human scandal is looming, with hundreds being refused elective surgery and the CDHB struggling to cope with them. New Zealanders are now not even being assessed, let alone treated.
So what is the government prioritising instead? Key’s vanity project and iwi settlements now not only increasingly dubious, as they are unable to be challenged in court, but are now being perceived, rightly or wrongly, as being rubberstamped by a Minister of Treaty Negotiation over-close to iwi litigants.
The public is more and more seeing too much of what is happening in this country as political correctness gone mad, as with the government starving the health budget – while it squanders scores of millions of dollars elsewhere – not on only on the inexcusable flag referendum and the ongoing iwi gravy train settlements of more than doubtful validity. The Waitangi Tribunal has long thoroughly discredited itself by endorsing claims and making recommendations to government which have brought it into disrepute. From the beginning it was set up as a highly flawed institution, with input allowed only from Maori – not from those challenging what are now in many cases carefully massaged claims. It’s been common knowledge for some time, for example, that reputable researchers have been told they wouldn’t get paid unless they removed from their findings facts which showed that various claims weren’t sustainable. Yet such is the degree of corruption in this country – and corruption it is – that the tribunal has not been disbanded – and that both Parliament and the media too often basically endorse its findings without properly scrutinising them.
When I read a columnist claiming that the Arab spring could never happen here, it’s obvious that he has no real idea that for many New Zealanders things are close to the tipping point. They don’t want to vote National, but they despair of Labour performing as even a halfway decent Opposition. The Greens, though useful in some areas as the conscience of Parliament, are too far to the left to be more than a fringe party. And New Zealand First, running the most effective opposition to National has its leader thoroughly blacklisted by the mass media.
It would be hard to find anybody who regards the Present Prime Minister as a well-educated, statesmanlike leader with a strong knowledge of history and a determination to do the best for New Zealanders. On the contrary, the apparent prioritisation of foreign interests over those of New Zealanders themselves has provoked not only a deep unease, but a growing anger throughout the country. Whereas a decent Opposition would offer some hope, Labour’s feebleness has instead removed from so many any prospect that things are going to get better.
And in a deeper layer even than that of the overtly political establishment, the question has to be: who else is running the country? And why has there been such a prolonged attack on the best of our institutions, a long determination to close them down, or to minimise funding to those genuinely helping people? The Salvation Army, in a recent damning report, claims that government agencies are inventing new numbers and changing the definitions of targets to make their performance seem better. Apparently they are under pressure from the government to come up with favourable results, and previous calls for greater transparency have been met with a “quite disingenuous “government response.
Why, for example, was the former Queen Mary Hospital in Hamner Springs, doing such excellent work in helping to rehabilitate alcoholics, closed down, in the face of stiff opposition from those pointing out there was really nothing with which to replace it? What about the shockingly inadequate number of facilities available throughout the country for the mentally ill – or those trying to wean themselves off drugs?
A visitor to a unit for the mentally ill in Nelson reports that faces all day stare at television screens or a wall, although, the PC boast has long been that returning people to a (often non-existent) community is more humane. However, the former Ngawhatu hospital “provided park-like surroundings. There were large amounts of free space outside in the ‘beautiful gardens’ for patients to do activities such as golf, tennis and croquet. These park-like surroundings Ngawhatu offered are not seen at the NMHU (Nelson Mental Health Unit) now – but patients are in residence for a much shorter time. The NMHU offers a small outdoor space with a tiny amount of grass to roam around on and a water feature in the middle.” However, for all the politically correct vilifying of “institutions” and the undoubted abuses that too often occurred, many mentally isolated or disturbed individuals do not get the choice to live with the close companionship and feeling of safety, coupled with privacy, that they would prefer to being thrust out into an unwelcoming city environment.
And this is progress? The Save the Children shops all over the country are now being closed down, even though they have not been running at a loss. It seems that those making the decisions think that more money can be made this way – although the shops themselves, staffed by dedicated volunteers, were popular and served as a useful reminder of the work done by the organisation. I recall, too, that when Labour Minister Richard Prebble closed down all over the country the post offices in small towns, that the social costs were considerable. These small, valuable post shops were so often the heart of the community, and towns died with their loss. Prebble admitted, when questioned, that even those making a profit were among those closed.
What about the frightened women and children at the now increasingly cash-strapped women’s refuges? And as a very important attack on our institutions, what about the deliberate dumbing down for five decades now of the teaching of children – so that most New Zealanders have never even studied history at school – or been encouraged towards academically challenging course – let even other basic competencies such as writing and speaking well? No fault of theirs, largely. The attack on education, as with our other institutions – including the medical schools, teacher training colleges, the nursing establishments and universities – has been very much part of the long planned “March through the institutions” which the Italian communist Gramsci encouraged his followers to take on – as the best possible way to undermine the West – and bring down its democracies. Some would argue they are succeeding only too well.
Ah, but we have guardians of society, the media – scrutinising the actions of government and those in high places, ready to analyse wrong directions, to investigate possible corruption and the undue influence of big business and wealth, – recognised as buying the more attentive ear of politicians. The media are supposed to be the Fourth Estate, keeping an objective eye on what the politicians are up to, on behalf of the public at large. However, the trouble is that individual media spokespersons with a highly public profile are far from non-partisan. Nor are they particularly bright, or even well educated and knowledgeable -so very many of them – but they tend to regard themselves as experts in the line of media coverage they’re assigned to. As a result we encounter the flagrant bias, the badmouthing of politicians who challenge them – as we see with the extraordinary witchhunt that mainstream media commentators direct at the New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters, ignoring the fact that New Zealand First’s stated aims on its website are not only completely unobjectionable but mirror the wishes of the majority of New Zealanders – one law for all – and no special deals on behalf of race.
People trust politicians even less than they ever did, and that there is a restlessness abroad which is looking for a new political configuration to control the power of politicians who represent their own interests – rather than the country at large. People also no longer trust “experts” – and the global warming cargo cult is a very good example of how it is very hard to argue so-called experts out of a mindset upon which their salary depends. How many of us would disagree with an Australian Spectator article pointing out that “Experts talk a lot of junk, and the more famous they, are the more hooey they talk. “As John F Kennedy (or more probably his speechwriter) pointed out, “too many have the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought”.
Given that neither our politicians nor our experts can be relied upon to respect the wishes of the people – which is basically what democracy is all about – then it is high time for people to realise that they can individually flex their own political muscles, and insist on being heard – even insist on themselves making the decisions about which directions the country should take.
This is the 100 Days movement, gradually reaching around the country as people begin to realise its potential. Its insistence is on a 100 day period for any legislation passed by Parliament to come to a halt – so that the voting public can scrutinise it and either accept or challenge it. The Swiss have used it so successfully that they have become the most prosperous of all democratic countries. It is the people of the country saying yes or no to their politicians which has made Switzerland so successful that its Parliament refers to the Swiss people as sovereign – and abides by their decision.
For more information on how this genuinely democratic system works, and for its potential for New Zealanders to control our politicians – check out our 100 Days movement at www.100days.co.nz – and support us. We will succeed if each of us reaches out to and tells family, colleagues, neighbours, friends, so that we become a tipping point to effectively challenge our autocratic government – and to reclaim this country.
This means each of us – for every individual counts.
© Amy Brooke, Convenor. See my book: The 100 Days – Claiming back New Zealand – what has gone wrong and how we can control our politicians.
Available from Howling at the Moon Publishing; http://www.copypress.co.nz –or at http://www.wheelers.co.nz/books/9780987657381-100-days-the-claiming-back-new-zealand/?page or able to be ordered through any good bookshop.