Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sick of being told what to think

Newspapers didn't used to be brimming over with opinion. TV newsreaders didn't used to overlay their own reactions to the stories they read. Talk show hosts didn't use to confine callers to the topic of their choice and bully anyone who failed to agree with their own lines. National radio hosts didn't used to be aggressive and rude and over talk the people we actually want to hear from.

There is no end of 'personalities' who want to be the star, the oracle, the influencer. They cross over from radio, into print, into telly and saturate us with their own particular brand be it bighead blowhard, shallow hand-wringer, self-regarding 'sage'... most are big on ego and short on humility.

The week that was  reached a new level of talking heads hell-bent on whipping up outrage against their own bete noire.

And when it's not political targets it's any number of causes pushed without regard for facts. 

It's overwhelming. I try to stop listening and reading. The clamour bores me rigid yet angers me all at once. It would depress me if I had the capacity for depression.

It's simple really. I am sick of being told what to think. And the crowd of tellers seems to be bigger and louder than ever before. It's like a great big wave crashing down on your head...

Otherwise, I am leading a perfectly happy life:-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"The Other Side of Partner Violence"

Today three men released a report entitled,
The Other Side of Partner Violence 

Their profiles:

Craig Jackson is a former child and educational psychologist now retired who joined the New Zealand branch of ‘Families Need Fathers’ in the late 1970s prior to the establishment of the Family Court in 1981.  He also helped to establish the Wellington-based ‘Equal Parental Rights Society’ and trained fellow psychologists to complete psychological reports to help guide the Family Court in issues affecting the custody of, and access to, children.  He has maintained this interest over the entire 33 year history of the Court, also making submissions to the Ministry of Justice’s Review on the Family Court.  He made separate submissions on domestic violence and the repeal of the Bristol clause to the Electoral and Justice Select Committee hearing submissions on the Family Bill subsequently enacted in October 2013. 
He has also acted as a support person for men in contested care of children issues before the Family Court.

Hans Laven is a clinical psychologist with a professional interest in domestic and wider violence.  He presented submissions on this topic to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee on Family Law Reform.

Dr Viv Roberts is a General Practitioner with thirty years experience.  He has dealt with many families in crisis, some involved in Family Court proceedings.  He has taken a special interest in fatal male suicides and the motivations involved and in attempted suicides by women.  He has appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee to make submissions on this topic. 

Credible voices you would think.
The Preamble
 So large and extensive is the international literature on domestic violence that it is possible to quote selectively from studies that support the ‘frame of reference’ of both the women’s lobby groups and the men’s lobby groups.
The aim of this paper is to review recent New Zealand reports concerning family violence, and to consider the extent to which selecting reporting and manipulation of the statistics have both exaggerated and misrepresented the problem of intimate partner violence.
Internationally respected findings from articles on domestic violence originating from the Christchurch and Dunedin longitudinal studies have not been quoted in the most recently issued reports by women’s lobby groups who have dominated the debate so far with extensive press publicity given to their findings.  By contrast the men’s lobby, less well organised and less cohesive, have experienced great difficulty in getting their side of the story heard in the media.
In a democratic society such as New Zealand’s when dissenting views on other social problems are encouraged, the lack of balanced debate on the problem of I.P.V. is far from healthy.
This report aims to redress this lack of balance and to highlight the pressing need for a more ‘gender-proportionate’ understanding that all forms of I.P.V. cut both ways and that it is not exclusively a gender-specific male as perpetrator, female as victim problem as it is too often made out to be by the women’s lobby groups.
There is now a general consensus from both the New Zealand and international literature that women inflict physical violence on their male partners as often as men do, although the injuries they inflict are not as severe as men’s assaults on average.  These studies together describe intimate partner violence including psychological violence as mutual, bi-directional and intergenerational.  Only the intergenerational dynamic is discussed in the Tolmie and Herbert reports.
In spite of their apparent academic rigour and their authors’ academic credentials, it is submitted that these studies are more in the nature of ideological polemics than scholarly undertakings that would impartially review the family violence literature in a balanced way. 

Family First put out a welcoming release but when I asked Bob McCoskrie if he'd had any interest he said none.
The media coverage has been light to say the least.
Tell me, have you heard about it?
(Good on Tim Fookes, NewstalkZB, Wgtn, for interviewing one of the authors this morning.)

The more things change...November 26, 2014

Welfare produces disincentives that end up harming the very people paying for it - farmers and employers.

Here's a piece from the NZ Herald November 26, 1934 - 80 years ago.

That some steps are necessary to transfer single men from relief to private employment cannot be seriously contested in face of the fact that a strong demand for farm labour is unsatisfied. In directing its certifying officers in country districts to refuse relief to single men who are capable of doing farm work, the Unemployment Board will be generally supported. At the present time relief may be unusually attractive because of the promised Christmas bonus and also because holidays are not usually available to farmers and their employees at this- time of the year. The unemployment problem will never be solved, no matter what the conditions of trade and industry may be, if relief conditions approach near enough to those of ordinary employment to rob men of initiative. In any case, there will always be a fairly large body of men scattered through the country, but concentrated mainly in the cities, who will be content with relief or the alternative sustenance as long as it is available. They have always been casual workers, who find the discipline of daily routine irksome, and some are not efficient enough to secure regular jobs. The first duty of the Unemployment Board is to see that men suitable for farm employment are drafted to it in preference to remaining on relief. The board's organisation ought to be equal to the responsibility of selecting suitable men for farmers, and farmers will facilitate its discharge if they make their requirements known to the officer of their immediate district. In the cities there seems to be need for better staff work, for complaint is being  made that people who have employment available are often unable to find anyone to take it. The reason seems to be that many of the men obtaining sustenance are not at hand when needed. - Employers will help the board if, as is suggested by Mr. Slaughter, more use is made of the Government Employment Bureau, which is in a position to supply suitable men. It would be an advantage if the Government officials could also be fully informed of the amount of aid that is being received from public and private charity organisations by many individuals.

Fast forward to 2014,

Venture Southland enterprise and strategic projects group manager Steve Canny said many young Southlanders were unemployed but a lot of agriculture jobs were available.
To address the issue, the Southland Futures project has been developed to draw 15- to 24-year-olds into jobs in the agricultural sector. Federated Farmers, Work and Income, Southland District Council and Venture Southland are involved...
SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds said the institute was trying to provide pathways into jobs for young Southlanders not in education, employment, or training (NEETS).
The number of NEETS in the 19-24 age group was a worry and, despite offering training pathways, the numbers were not dropping, she said.
"We are concerned that when we offer staircasing level 2 and 3 programmes specifically targeted at NEETS as an introduction to move on to further specific trades qualifications, these young NEETS are not coming off the unemployment benefit and onto the programmes as a step in the right direction."
Perenniel problem where the actual cause is never addressed.

Of course the incidence of work avoidance - in which I include people who opt for parenthood over self-sufficiency - is on a much greater scale today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Upward mobility reduces as single parents increase

Thanks to a reader who sent in the following finding:
Research by Harvard economists, Chetty et al. concludes that the single strongest correlate of upward economic mobility across geographic regions of America is the fraction of children living in single-parent families.