Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Crazy Gang Nation

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  • Sacha,

    I'm impressed by how forthright and impolite the coverage has become - seems like a tipping point for at least some US journos. Let's add Esquire to the mix:

    We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too. We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government.

    ...

    We did this. We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons.

    ...

    The only real consequences will be felt by the millions of people affected by what this Congress has forced upon the nation, which was the whole point all along.

    Among other things, the Library Of Congress is closed as a result of what the vandals have done. Padlock study and intellect. Wander aimlessly down the mall among the shuttered monuments to self-government. Find yourself a food truck that serves monkey brains. Eat your fking fill.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19697 posts Report Reply

  • anth, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    I can’t think of another mature democracy where gerrymandering or disenfranchisement are seen as legitimate political tactics.

    Auckland Council was set up by National/Act with the smallest ward having 66.7% as many voters as the biggest.

    Of the 20 councillors the 4 with the least number of voters/councillor are all right wing. Meanwhile the 4 at the other end of the scale, representing 30% more voters, are 3 on the left and 1 on the right.

    Since Nov 2006 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to anth,

    Doesn't the Electoral Commission determine ward boundaries?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19697 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Sacha,

    Councils determine their own boundaries, subject to the oversight of the Local Government Commission. In Auckland's case, I think the LGC did it. They're the same people BTW who imposed at-large voting on Palmerston North despite its council voting against it (after hearing public submissions, whcih were unfavourable).

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1713 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Likewise, Douglas controlled the inner Cabinet and so had a majority in Cabinet, which had a majority in the Parliamentary Party which had a majority in the House. You don’t need FPP for this (although it helps), you just need party discipline and a certain degree of idiocy.

    Douglas also controlled the party funding, independently of the strategy committee, which would have to go cap-in-hand to him in 1987. He reserved a proportion of total donations for his own projects -- chiefly helping out candidates and MPs regarded as "one of us".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • David MacGregor,

    The US is going rogue - and we want to be their best friends. It's a funny old world.

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Shutdown_Blues?src=soc_fcbks

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This is really interesting: Americablog founder John Aravosis reports on his day-one experience with the Obamacare exchange in Washington DC.

    What Americans pay for prescription medicines is insane.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • anth, in reply to David MacGregor,

    I think the LGC did it

    Yes, it was the Local Government Commission. It was at least an improvement on their earlier draft where the difference between number of voters was a factor of 2 rather than "only" 1.5.

    If I remember correctly much of the problem was the MPs promising rural areas, especially Rodney*, that they'd have their own representative despite the low number of residents.

    *I mean the district/ward, not singling out the ACT MP who was heavily involved.

    Since Nov 2006 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Closer to home, Prostetnic Vogon Joyce is applying his latest il-logic to tertiary ed.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Tangentially related but interesting piece here discussing studies that show how pollies in the US perceive the views of their electorates.

    This probably applies globally, too: I remember reading something recently in the UK about the gay marriage debate - someone who sat in on the house of lords debates and was struck by the gulf between the issue as it appeared to be perceived by the lords, and how it was percieved by of the electorate at large - yer (every)man on the clapham omnibus, as it were.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Sacha,

    I'm impressed by how forthright and impolite the coverage has become - seems like a tipping point for at least some US journos. Let's add Esquire to the mix:

    I wouldn't call it a tipping point in that case - Charlie Pierce has been in fine and apoplectic form about the Republicans in general and the Tea Party in particular since, oh, well before the Presidential elections last year.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Young, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What Americans pay for prescription medicines is insane

    Gives a worrying insight into what we will be paying for prescription medicines once Pharmac has been eviscerated by the TPP.

    Glenfield • Since Jun 2013 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Brown, in reply to Gary Young,

    I have just returned from the States. My monthly drug bill there would be in the region of $1200 a month. Here it is $30. In Britain (I have dual passports)it was zero.

    Piha • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Brown, in reply to Paul Brown,

    I am talking prescription drugs here!

    Piha • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Young, in reply to Paul Brown,

    And perhaps that goes some way towards explaining why Republicans are so enraged by the concept of 'affordable' in the Affordable Care Act.

    Glenfield • Since Jun 2013 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald,

    These Republicans swore an oath to protect & defend their country. Why are they not being charged with treason?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Harry Musgrave,

    One point I read on the debt ceiling and a potential default.
    It may well be that the legislature can 'legally' decide to prioritise their spending and thus choose to avoid a default BUT there is a question as to whether they can techincally do it. There will be a lot of different computer systems set up to automatically pay bills at teh appointed times. Changing those to pay the desired ones correctly and cleanly would be no small task. (Especially as there is no agreement to pay someone to do that either.)
    A definite long term consequence of a default (and most likely of this potential default) is an increase in overall interest rates for US debt - and also the world economy needing to get it's head around the situation that there is no global safe place to leave your money with no risk of losing it.

    Since Jul 2009 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Harry Musgrave,

    It may well be that the legislature can ‘legally’ decide to prioritise their spending and thus choose to avoid a default BUT there is a question as to whether they can techincally do it.

    As I understand it, any such "prioritizing" would be done by the executive branch. While it would be amusing to see the Tea Party getting a brutal reality check on their masturbation fantasies -- slashing military spending to keep making interest payments on US bonds would (arguably) delay an immediate sovereign debt crisis. But I'm not sure making the Tea Bagged GOP squirm is worth the risk.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Andi,

    Lyttelton • Since Feb 2011 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Paul Brown,

    I just posted these figures as a Facebook status update and one of my many Republican relatives responded with "it's about to get worse". AS IF THAT'S POSSIBLE. Honestly, it couldn't be harder to get through to these people if they were actually enclosed in brick walls.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    Councils determine their own boundaries, subject to the oversight of the Local Government Commission. In Auckland’s case, I think the LGC did it.

    Wearing ER hat, Local Govt Commission determines boundaries with input from Councils. The Commission is required to pay attention to population dynamics (which is why a census is important) and to achieve some kind of parity between wards. For Auckland, there are roughly 10k residents for every Local Board member.

    For the Super City the previous legacy Councils all submitted about which wards should be created where, but it is the Local Govt Commission that draws the boundaries and makes the final ruling.

    Doffing said hat.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Danielle,

    Honestly, it couldn’t be harder to get through to these people if they were actually enclosed in brick walls.

    Oh, try getting told with sublime confidence how the streets are clogged with wheezing, plague-ridden corpses in horrible countries with "socialized medicine" no matter how many silly, ignorant foreigners tell them -- often in astoundingly intimate detail -- that they're wrong. Really, it would be perversely amusing if it wasn't so thoroughly condescending.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What Americans pay for prescription medicines is insane.

    They can always make them from cheap, illegal drugs.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    What Americans pay for prescription medicines is insane

    What we would pay for absolutely essential presciption drugs would also effectively deny then to the people who wouldnt be able to function without them.
    2 of my whanau are dependent on such: one for Venlafaxine (upwards of $700 a month) and the other for anti-rejection drugs (for a major organ transplant) = upwards of $1500 per month...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Islander,

    And when I visit Wellington Hospital next month for a rare tooth condition, I'm really hoping not to become a medical bankruptcy statistic of the kind that is usually seen in America.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

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