The Dim-Post

December 14, 2012

Quote of the day, most obvious quote imaginable edition

Filed under: books — danylmc @ 8:15 am

Jarndyce v Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in course of time, become so complicated that no man alive knows what it means. The parties to it understand it least, but it has been observed that no two Chancery lawyers can talk about it for five minutes without coming to a total disagreement as to all the premises. Innumerable children have been born into the cause; innumerable old people have died out of it. Scores of persons have deliriously found themselves made parties in Jarndyce v Jarndyce without knowing how or why; whole families have inherited legendary hatreds with the suit. The little plaintiff or defendant who was promised a new rocking-horse when Jarndyce v Jarndyce should be settled has grown up, possessed himself of a real horse, and trotted away into the other world. Fair wards of court have faded into mothers and grandmothers; a long procession of Chancellors has come in and gone out; the legion of bills in the suit have been transformed into mere bills of mortality; there are not three Jarndyces left upon the earth perhaps since old Tom Jarndyce in despair blew his brains out at a coffee-house in Chancery Lane; but Jarndyce v Jarndyce still drags its dreary length before the court, perennially hopeless.

- Charles Dickens, Bleak House

December 13, 2012

Fisher Binnie Idiot’s Summary (I am the idiot)

Filed under: crime — danylmc @ 6:02 pm

My initial take is:

Binnie: Was asked to advise Cabinet on whether he thought David Bain was innocent on the balance of probabilities. Binnie has not concluded that Bain was innocent ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ or guilty on the basis of the evidence, because – he argues – the police investigation against him was so incompetent that guilt or evidence could not be determined, and the initial prosecution should not have taken place. Due to these ‘extraordinary circumstances’ Bain can be said to be innocent in a legal sense. Binnie feels that due to actions by the New Zealand police and judiciary there has been a miscarriage of justice against David Bain and that the state should compensate Bain for this.

Fisher: Argues that Binnie wasn’t asked to determine whether there were extraordinary circumstances, or whether the justice system should pay restitution to Bain because of the way it handled the case. It asked him to weigh the evidence and determine his guilt or innocence on the balance of probabilities.

The worst crime imaginable

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:17 am

Via Audrey Young at the Herald:

Justice Ian Binnie revealed last night that he identified the failure of the Crown to preserve evidence in the David Bain murder investigation as one of the “extraordinary circumstances” that the Cabinet should take into account in considering Mr Bain’s claim for compensation.

Neither Ms Collins nor Justice Binnie alluded to the actual evidence to which they were referring but a strong part of the Bain case has been the police investigation and destruction of evidence.

The controlled burning of the house and crime scene at Every St in Dunedin soon after Mr Bain’s parents, two sisters and brother had been killed with a .22 rifle destroyed much evidence including the footprints made by bloodied socks.

I suspect we’ll hear more of this sort of thing. Recommending a payment to Bain would be unpalatable to Collins, Minister of Mob Justice, but not – I suspect – a deal-breaker for the Cabinet. Binnie’s real crime is to criticise New Zealand’s police and judiciary – so Collins waited until  the House rose for the year, and now she’ll dump the report during the silly season accompanied by a peer review highlighting any perceptible error.

December 9, 2012

All enemies foreign and domestic

Filed under: blogging,Politics — danylmc @ 9:33 am

Now that they’ve rid themselves of the threat of David Cunliffe, the Labour caucus has turned their sights on their real enemies: the Labour Party membership and the Greens. John Armstrong, senior Herald amanuensis ran a column yesterday consisting of a warning dictated to the Green Party by Labour’s leadership:

Now that David Shearer no longer has to worry about a knife being plunged into his back – at least not for a while – he needs to tackle another longer-running attempted putsch of a very different but equally serious kind.

Along with other colleagues, the Labour leader is getting increasingly perturbed by the ever more brazen campaign by the Greens to try to displace Labour as the major party on the centre-left.

Shearer, meanwhile, is understood to have given several senior spokespeople greater rein to criticise the Greens if they seem too far out of line with Labour’s thinking.

Essentially the Greens are the tail that is wagging too much on the end of a rather distracted and sometimes slow-moving dog.

In the end it is down to Shearer to give the Greens the occasional flick to remind them who is the senior partner in the relationship. But it is a delicate matter. Still, expect a tougher line from Labour from here on.

I doubt this struck much fear into Russel Norman’s heart. The current trend in the polls – Labour gaining, National declining, Greens holding steady, NZ First above 5% – is the best direction Labour could possibly wish for. Are they going to risk that trend and go to war with the Greens for the left-wing vote? (I guess it’s possible. When Labour sees the Greens steady at around 11% of the vote I don’t think they think ‘that’s money in the bag for a left-wing coalition’, but rather ‘That’s 250,000 votes that belong to us that the Greens have stolen.’ If Labour had that vote share they’d be neck and neck with National. So a war for the left is conceivable, but not very sensible.)

Labour’s other new front are their own members. There have been a few posts on The Standard recently about the Labour leadership trying to censor party members from commenting on blogs. And now a couple of the authors on the Standard have announced they’re retiring from the blog after pressure from the party.

My understanding of what’s happened here is that most authors on The Standard comment under pseudonyms. And they’ve commented on the Labour blog Red Alert using those same pseudonyms. Now, when you comment on Red Alert you have to provide your real email address. So these have been matched to Labour’s membership and the dissenting members have been contacted by party officials. All pretty creepy.

December 4, 2012

Perhaps I can help

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:02 am

DPF wonders why the government is getting a second opinion on compensation for David Bain, after having sought an extensive review by Canadian Judge Justice Ian Binnie. Is it the money? The unpopularity of compensating Bain? Issues with the quality of the report?

Here’s my guess. Justice Binnie’s report finds that the police and the Justice Ministry acted unethically and incompetently in investigating and prosecuting Bain, and the heads of these organisations are collectively losing their shit over the findings and warning their Minister that the report will be ‘bad for the country’ because it will undermine public confidence in the justice system. The second opinion is about diluting the first report.

December 2, 2012

Sealing the dick vote

Filed under: psuedopolitics — danylmc @ 9:50 am

John Tamihere is back in the Labour Party:

So can he get on with his fellow Labourites?

“Look, I don’t have to get on with these people. I’m joining the Labour Party. I’m not joining the ‘Women’s Party’, I’m not joining the ‘Union Party’, I’m not joining the ‘Gay Party’, I’m joining the Labour Party.

On the one hand, mainstream parties have to be broad churches and accommodate a wide range of views. On the other hand, you don’t see a lot of potential National candidates joining up because they hate farmers and the Auckland business community and want to sort them all out.

November 30, 2012

Photo of the day, the hand that mocked them and the heart that fed edition

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 7:53 am

What’s important here is that the National Archive makes regular backups of some New Zealand blogs – including this one. So countless millions yet unborn will also be able to appreciate this photograph of the berries and currants I foraged from my garden and ate in my muesli this morning.

So this actually happened

Filed under: psuedopolitics — danylmc @ 6:50 am

Gerry Brownlee on inner city rail in Auckland. Skip forwards to 3:25.

November 29, 2012

Various arguments

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:17 am

DPF links to a column in the Dom-Post arguing against Sue Moroney’s redundancy bill, and adds:

Redundancy provisions should be negotiated on a case by case basis in collective or individual contracts. One size fits all laws are bad and kill jobs.

That’s the classic libertarian stance. The problem is that – as usual – the outcomes are completely perverse. People with valuable skills can generally negotiate redundancy clauses, but they can also, generally find new jobs really quickly. Most workers who don’t have valuable skills won’t have the bargaining power to win redundancy payouts, and in the event of an economic downturn they’re the most likely to lose work, and they’ll find it harder to get re-employment.

As is usually the case, the libertarian argument here is a privatise the profits, socialise the costs argument. Having the flexibility to sack marginal workers at no cost is great for business, but those workers still need to eat, pay for accommodation, support their families and so on, so the taxpayer picks up the cost via the unemployment benefit. (I guess the real libertarian argument is that everyone who can’t negotiate redundancy should shell out for unemployment insurance.)

Also, this Herald piece by Rodney Hide on child abuse. His argument goes like this:

Police statistics on violent crime show that many children who are killed are murdered by their mother:

Five of the 15 children killed by mum were newborn babies whose mothers concealed their pregnancy and killed their babies immediately on birth. Six children were victims of their mother’s suicide.

Hide applies his intellect – that put the ACT party where it is today – and tries to figure out what’s causing this. Turns out it’s the welfare system. Because life on the DPB is so awesome, young woman are murdering their own babies and/or committing suicide to avoid it.

I’ve made this point before, but the primacy of the ACT party in New Zealand public life is so weird. The Mana Party consistently outpolls ACT, but if there’s a left-wing government I really doubt we’re going to see Hone Harawira get to revolutionise our education system while Annette Sykes and John Minto get put in charge of Commissions to figure out how to ‘fix’ New Zealand’s economy, and Malcolm Martyn Bradbury gets a Herald column.

November 27, 2012

The difference

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 6:22 am

Is that McDonald’s ‘I’m loving it’ slogan does correspond to attempts to make their food taste good, via high salt, fat and sugar contents, while the ‘New Zealand: 100% pure campaign corresponds to us filling our rivers with shit and trying to turn the countryside into open cast mines.

If the ‘I’m loving it’ campaign operated on the same level as the ‘New Zealand: 100% pure’ campaign, McDonalds would put chunks of jagged metal in all their burgers and regularly tear-gas their diners, and I guess their CEO could defend that by explaining that ‘I’m loving it’ was a little like New Zealand’s tourism slogan . . .

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