Robson On Politics – Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Robson On Politics – E-News - Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Raising labour productivity
"Economic progress consists in the rising productivity of labour." wrote Karl Marx in his 19th Century book, Capital: [Vol. 3, p. 261, p. 820]. I'm interested in the efficiency of parties' labour-intensive canvassing and my party's performance relative to our antithesis, ACT.
ACT spent nearly 5 times more than Progressive
According to NZPA, ACT spent $1.4 million last September and the Progressive Party $318,297. With that $1.4 million, ACT gathered 34,469 votes; Progressive's $318,297 yielded 26,441 votes. Applying the magic formula to empirically measure the relative efficiency-ratios of the 2 parties' labour-intensive canvassing to raise funds, and votes received, I invite you to calculate the size of the efficiency gap between ACT and Progressive labour.
European Union's economic vandalism against Kiwi farmers
In the past seven days, we've had the EU decision to suspend issuing import licences for Kiwi butter which acts as a timely reminder of its discriminatory "quota" regime. What it all means, at the end of the day, is that our exporters will take another financial kick in the guts.
The EU aren't the only trade vandals
Our Foreign Minister meets the Secretary of State today. The NZ Trade & Enterprise has limited advice to potential Kiwi exporters into U.S. markets with cryptic references to some of the pitfalls facing our efficient farmers seeking to get produce onto the shelves of New York and LA supermarkets. Pitfalls come in the EU form of arbitrary "quotas" to limit our exports, and where those economic apartheid walls don't keep efficient Kiwi produce out of those protected markets, then, well, there are very effective "tariffs walls" (America has massive tax rates to stop us from ever having a fair fair go at competing for their consumers' dollar).
But there's more...
But that isn't the half of it. The real crime are the distortions in third markets by subsidies to U.S.-based agricultural exporters that compete with our un-subsidized exporters for consume dollars in South America, Asia and across the urban supermarkets of the Middle East.
So Mr Peters and Ms Rice will have plenty to talk about then
The trade policies of the U.S. not only cut Kiwi living standards unfairly, they also literally kill the potential for liberty, prosperity and hope for millions of un-subsidised Third World farmers.
Our national interest is to drain the swamps of poverty in the Third World in which political extremism, and terrorism, trhives, which is why our national interest is diametrically opposed to the US government's destructive stonewalling of a successful multilateral Doha Development Round in favour of one-on-one exclusive, bilateral trade deals with a series of militant regimes - from the absolutist kingdoms of Jordan and Morocco to Israel and with others on the way including with the totally undemocratic Sultanite of Oman.
Pull down the separation barriers between people
Since my last newsletter, the Lebanese Party of God (Hizbollah) has abducted a couple of Israeli soldiers and the Israel Defence Force has destroyed lots of bridges, ports, highways and, of course, civilians in Lebanon. When a couple of soldiers from the Israeli army get kidnapped, it is front page news across the Western world, but it all no doubt looks very different on the ground in the territories where the Israeli army is an army of occupation protecting one group of settlers against another group, those actually losing their village lands and liveliehoods.
Our "National" Party, which you'll recall had wanted to risk the lives of young New Zealanders by sending them to invade Iraq a few years ago because Mr Bush and Mr Blair whistled, is now demanding we follow Mr Blair and Mr Bush again and join their trade and aid sanctions on Palestinians. National wants us to cut all relations with Palestinians in Gaza/West Bank because 40%+ of them voted for the Hamas Party in elections earlier this year, but there is no mention of suspending relations with Israelis because 40%+ of them voted for its militant government.
Land home to Jews, Christians, Moslems, Druzes
The thing about the Holy Land is that it has always been the home of a diverse mix: Jewish, Orthodox Christian and Moslem key among them, but including also some very small communities like the Druze and Samaritans.
The State of Israel claims to be a democracy, but not as we know it. For starters, tens of thousands of people born in Israel, and their children, live as stateless people barred from of Israel and stuck in the refugee camps established for them in neighbouring territories like the tiny sandpit called Gaza, the West Bank, in the Lebanon and in Syria.
These people, barred from living in their homeland and not entitled to vote in Israeli elections, elected their own Palestine Legislative Council earlier this year but Israel has now arrested most of the senior ministers without charge which means the Palestine Authority no longer exists and the Palestinians in Gaza/West Bank are disenfranchised both in Israel and in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories as well.
See: Jeff Halper’s article “The Matrix of Control” – http://www.mediamonitors.net/halper1.html
Kiwi pediatric cardiologist now working in Palestine
For an insight into some of the practical challenges of living in the environment imposed on Palestinian civilians, Radio NZ had an interesting interview with Kiwi pediatric cardiologist, Dr Alan Kerr. Listening to stories of medical students having to crawl through The Wall to get between their university lectures and their field work at the hospital, and the plans to plug those holes to stop the throughfare, is spine-chilling daily racist humilitation.
Israel = Serbia; Lebanon = Bosnia
One of Israel's first big "incursions" into its democratic neighbour, Lebanon, was in 1968 when Israeli commandos blew up thirteen airplanes at Beirut airport. That 1968 action, the media said at the time, was to show how tough Israel is against Palestinian terrorism, although I'm sure many of the Lebanese civilians caught at the airport would have wondered how blowing them up was very tough.
Israeli forces regularly attack Lebanese villages and having been doing so for decades. Ironically, the Hizbollah Party which is now one of Lebanon's bigger parliamentary parties, was originally formed in the 1980s as a resistance force to the Israel occupation of Lebanon at that time - the occupation, we were told then, would end Palestinian terrorism.
Lebanon is a state of minorities: Multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religioned. Lebanon is to Israel what Federal Bosnia is to the Serbian and Croatian nationalist militants: An existential threat to racist ideology.