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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bush appointee shits on endangered species in favour of big business

Just when you didn’t think you could hate all that President Bush stands for anymore than you currently do, here is a story from the Washington Post about a Bush appointee who has refused to protect endangered species in favour of big business. Un-fucking-believable.

Bush Appointee Said to Reject Advice on Endangered Species
A senior Bush political appointee at the Interior Department has rejected staff scientists' recommendations to protect imperiled animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act at least six times in the past three years, documents show.

In addition, staff complaints that their scientific findings were frequently overruled or disparaged at the behest of landowners or industry have led the agency's inspector general to look into the role of Julie MacDonald, who has been deputy assistant secretary of the interior for fish and wildlife and parks since 2004, in decisions on protecting endangered species.

The documents show that MacDonald has repeatedly refused to go along with staff reports concluding that species such as the white-tailed prairie dog and the Gunnison sage grouse are at risk of extinction. Career officials and scientists urged the department to identify the species as either threatened or endangered.

Overall, President Bush's appointees have added far fewer species to the protected list than did the administrations of either Bill Clinton or George H.W. Bush, according to the advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity. As of now, the administration has listed 56 species under the Endangered Species Act, for a rate of about 10 a year. Under Clinton, officials listed 512 species, or 64 a year, and under George H.W. Bush, the department listed 234, or 59 a year.

The dispute is the latest in a series of controversies in which government officials and outside scientists have accused the Bush administration of overriding or setting aside scientific findings that clashed with its political agenda on such issues as global warming, the Plan B emergency contraceptive and stem cell research.

The 5 facts of global warming

Here are the 5 facts you need to know about global warming

1 The atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen strongly
since about 1850, from 280 ppm (a value typical for
warm periods during at least the past 400,000 years) to
380 ppm.

2 This rise is caused by humans and is primarily due to
the burning of fossil fuels, with a smaller contribution
due to deforestation.

3 CO2 is a gas that affects climate by changing the earth’s
radiative budget: an increase in its concentration leads
to a rise in near-surface temperature. If the concentration
doubles, the resulting global mean warming will
very likely be between 1.5 and 4.5°C.

4 In the 20th century, global climate warmed by ~0.6°C).
Temperatures in the past ten years have been the highest
since instrumental records started in the 19th century and
for at least several centuries before that.

5 Most of this warming is due to the rising concentration
of CO2 and other anthropogenic gases; a smaller part is
due to natural causes, like fluctuations in solar activity.

Climate denial old white man fantasy

I’ve got a theory about those who are climate change deniers. I listen to Mike Laws on Radio Live and Paul Henry on Breakfast fumble for excuses to explain climate change. They deny venomously that it has anything to do with human activity, it is not their wasteful consumption that leads to global warming – they will throw at you sun spots and volcanoes and that global warming is a ‘natural’ thing. They will point to fucking aliens, anything other than their way of life to explain climate change. And who could blame them? Who would want to admit that their wasteful way of life may end the Earth? Who wants to willingly give up their privileged existence to something more humble and sustainable? These are the old white men who have loved their luxury and don’t want to be told that it’s unaffordable, just as the Indian and Chinese middle classes don’t want to be told that the western lifestyle they have longed for is now unaffordable. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is all unaffordable and unless we start making radical changes within the next 10-15 years than we will breach those ‘tipping’ points built into the environment which, once breached, will only speed up a dramatic and rapid climate change scenario.

But let’s look at some of the claims of our old white friends – that it is volcanoes and sun spots that effect global warming and that the Earth naturally cools and warms. Duh! Well of course that is true, volcanoes and sun spots DO effect the weather and there is a natural occurring heating up and cooling down BUT none of those things can account for the type of warming up that we are seeing now – the only thing that explains that is anthropogenic interference (human interference). The natural cooling and heating of the Earth like the Milankovich cycles doesn’t answer what we are seeing now, and as the Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences points out….

The prevalence of abrupt nonlinear (rather than
smooth and gradual) climatic change in the past
naturally leads to the question whether such changes
can be expected in the future, either by natural
causes or by human interference. The main outside
driving forces of past climatic changes are the
Milankovich cycles. Close inspection of these cycles
as well as modelling results indicates that we are
presently enjoying an unusually quiet period in the
climatic effect of these cycles, owing to the present
minimum in eccentricity of the earth’s orbit. The
next large change in solar radiation that could trigger
a new ice age is probably tens of thousands of
years away. If this is correct, it makes the Holocene
an unusually long interglacial, comparable to the
Holstein interglacial that occurred around 400 000
years ago when the earth’s orbit went through
a similar pattern. This stable orbital situation leaves
unpredictable events (such as meteorite impacts or
a series of extremely large volcanic eruptions) and
anthropogenic interference as possible causes for
abrupt climatic changes in the lifetime of the next
few generations of humans.

Significant anthropogenic warming of the lower
atmosphere and ocean surface will almost certainly
occur in this century, raising concerns that nonlinear
thresholds in the climate system could be exceeded
and abrupt changes could be triggered at some
point. Processes that have been (rather speculatively)
mentioned in this context include a collapse of the
West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a strongly enhanced greenhouse
effect due to melting of permafrost or triggering
of methane hydrate deposits at the seafloor,
a large-scale wilting of forests when drought tolerance
thresholds are exceeded, nonlinear changes in
monsoon regimes, and abrupt changes in ocean circulation.
Of those possibilities, the risk of a change in
ocean circulation is probably the best understood
and perhaps also the least unlikely. Two factors
could weaken the circulation and bring it closer to
a threshold: the warming of the surface and a dilution
of high-latitude waters with fresh water. The
latter could result from an enhanced atmospheric
water cycle and precipitation as well as meltwater
runoff from Greenland and other glaciers. Both
warming and fresh water input reduce surface density
and thereby inhibit deep water formation.

Monday, October 30, 2006


It’s all so obvious

I might have mentioned this before, but the most logical choice for a leader to unify Iraq – that can save it from armed religious fanatics – is Saddam Hussein. The US may be left with little choice as bad turns to worse. Why do you think he’s still under US guard.

At some point Rumsfeld is going to have to ask his old mate for help – and pray he’s in a forgiving mood. It’s the only option left. Yes his crimes against humanity were terrible as his trial continues to show, but isn’t a failed state, a hotbed of terrorism, Al Qaeda’s new base, isn’t that all much worse? The only person with a proven secular track record, with solid anti-Iran credentials, with Sunni credibility and experience using the state apparatus to effectively control subversive elements is…Saddam.

He’s a son of a bitch, but he could be their son of a bitch (again!)

What other option is there? More US troops as the unpalatable meat in a civil war sandwich? A death toll creeping up to 4000 by the end of Bush’s term, 5000? They could put Saddam back in with a US place guard inside the “Green Zone” and start blaming him for all the terror they had previously been unleashing – they would stop leveling the Sunni towns and start on the Shiites Iranian-backed terrorist strongholds. As long as the US gets the oil, reduces it’s casualty rate and has a bulwark against Iran, who really cares about democracy? So, how to get Saddam in – coup or byelection? What’s the CIA scenario? “I mean, fuck it, Condi, giving independence to Kurdistan will put the shits up Iran, Saddam can have the rest of Iraq and take the blame for the price of our oil – it’s win-win.”

DON’T FORGET Tim’s Book and magazine collection for the Prison Library, please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 7
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!)
PRN 60477981
Hawkes Bay Prison
Currently appealing sedition conviction

Donald Trump for President

In the opening sequence for his TV show ‘The Apprentice’, the them song screams, ‘Money, money, money, money – MON NAY!’ Which brings me to the current US midterm elections, the sheer sum of cash required to pull off a successful election makes sure no matter if you are Democrat or Republican, right wing or really right wing – you are forever in debt to the sleazy money grabbing corporate whore who donated the cash you needed to get a shot at the top job to begin with. So why not just hand it over to rich people and do away with the pretense, wouldn’t it be great to watch Donald Trump telling Donald Rumsfield, “You’re fired”!

GOP Retains Cash Edge Over Resurgent Democrats
Democrats continued to raise large amounts of campaign cash this month, but not enough to erase the Republicans' multimillion-dollar lead.
According to the parties' latest financial disclosure statements, Democratic Party committees outraised the national GOP committees during the first 18 days of October. Riding a wave of optimism about the party's chances of gaining seats in the House and the Senate in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, the Democrats' national reelection committees collected $25.9 million in the period. The Republican committees raised $18.6 million in the same period.

In addition, three dozen or more Democrats seeking seats in the House that are occupied by Republicans raised at least $1 million in the current election cycle -- the minimum that, political experts say, would enable a challenger to mount a full-fledged election bid.

There is an easy way to stop online propaganda

Al-Qaeda takes its fight to the internet
The American government is failing to counter Islamists' online propaganda that could propel militancy into the next generation, experts say.
From the Middle East, Asia and Europe, extremists have built an extensive internet library of sophisticated texts on the ideology that underpins violence against the West and other enemies, Western analysts and intelligence officials said on Saturday.

"It's a steady, stealthy indoctrination aimed at creating a whole new generation of jihadists. And scandalously, it is unopposed," said Stephen Ulph, who studies the Islamists' use of the internet for the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington think tank.

See, there’s an easy way to stop online propaganda isn’t there folks? It’s called ‘stop-doing-whatever-it-is-you-are-doing-that-is-fucking-them-off-so-much-that-they-want-to-kill-you’ – how about let’s start by getting out of their part of the world and force Israel to stop occupying Palestinian land? The reality is that these crazy fanatics are building more and more support – if we don’t stop giving them justifications, then the violence will only become more and more extreme – getting angry as Stephen Ulph does from the Jamestown Foundation misses the point that we in the West hand Islamic fundamentalists all the reasons they need to use violence against us.

Amerikan Justice

I loath the outright racism that is Amerikan Justice – and I love how Simon Power (breathlessly tipped to be the next National Party leader in 2100AD) wants to adopt their private prison system here in NZ should he ever get into power. Here is a delightful little documentary of how dem prisoners got treated in Hurricane Katrina – where innocent men have been locked in with the violent just because they were black.

>Prisoners of Katrina
A year after Hurricane Katrina, This World finds out what happened inside Orleans Parish Prison as panicked inmates, left without food or water, rioted and broke out.
"What about the prisoners in the jail?" the sheriff had been asked as city leaders ordered the people of New Orleans to flee the hurricane heading their way in August 2005.

"The prisoners will stay where they belong," he decided.

It was a decision he would later regret.

In the chaotic days that followed Hurricane Katrina, the image of thousands of orange-clad prisoners crouching on a broken bridge - held at gunpoint by a few overstretched guards - was an unforgettable image.

This is the untold story of almost 7,000 inmates - some murderers and rapists, but others never even charged - who found themselves trapped in the city jail as it flooded.

Olenka Frenkiel reports on a justice system already near to collapse, and on its final tipping point: Katrina.

I’m afraid you deserve to die

No one really likes listening to the impending environmental doom proclamations from those on the left. It’s not so much that our friends on the right don’t care, they just hate having to agree with hippy lefties who have been screaming about this problem for 15 years. After so much derisive comment thrown at tree huggers, God forbid they actually turn out to be right all along. The consumption culture of capitalisim and all the wasteful pollution it has wrought is far preferable to boring topics like sustainability - who wants to connect this selfish greed with the general lack of compassion for our fellow human beings when there are plasma TV’s and cosmetic surgery to dream about?

Why just the other day I was watching Paul Henry do his usual slap stick routine laughing at environmentalists, I wonder where he will live when the ice caps melt?

Whenever I paint the right as uncaring on the environment I get the usual howls of indignation that I am creating a strawman argument just to have a go at the right – bullshit! The right wing haven’t given a fuck about the environment any more than a rapist cares about the woman he has just raped – that the National Party have only just now gotten around to ‘thinking’ about the environment has more to do with trying to woo over liberal voters than it does to any belief that global warming is happening – even Don Brash is yet to be convinced. Sadly for our right wing friends they can pretend no longer. Sure, they spit on environmentalists and ignore scientists (or worse, focus on the anti-global warming nuts who are funded by oil companies), but the right can’t deny one of their own acolytes, this time an economist. Forget trying to point out that we are one race and have responsibilities for eachother, don’t try pointing out the destruction to our only home planet – such wider issues of compassion have no anchorage in right wing theory – just point out the fuckers are going to bleed through their wallet, and lo and behold – CHANGE!

Climate change 'brings huge cost'
Climate change could end up cutting global growth by as much as a fifth unless drastic action is taken, a key report obtained by the BBC has warned.
But taking action now would cost just 1% of global gross domestic product, economist Sir Nicholas Stern said.

Without action up to 200 million people could become refugees as their homes are hit drought or flood, he added.

An international plan to tackle climate change is needed to prevent a global recession, the UK review said.

"On the basis of Sir Nicholas Stern's report, we would be crazy not to take action," said the BBC Business Editor Robert Peston.

"Stern calculates that not doing anything would be a reduction in the value of the global economy of 20% - we would all be a fifth poorer as a result of climate change - which he says would be as big a shock as we would get from a global war."

The study will spark a fierce political debate on green taxation as this is the first major contribution to the global warming debate by an economist, rather than a scientist.

The Terminator Embryo

In science fiction, the computers become self aware and decide to turn on mankind, but as plans to bring robots to the battlefield continue with the US aiming to have it’s first autonomous robot soldier on the battlefield by 2035, questions of ethics are foremost in the mind of experts rather than any fear of AI robots hellbent on eliminating the scourge of mankind. My favourite quote however in the following piece from the Guardian is that while testing new robot fighter planes, they are accompanied by two manned fighter planes ready to shoot the robotic one out of the air in case it ‘malfunctions’.

Launching a new kind of warfare
Robot vehicles are increasingly taking a role on the battlefield - but their deployment raises moral and philosophical as well as technical questions
In November 2004, during the second battle of Fallujah, an American uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) - a robot plane - located a mortar battery that had been hampering the US operation to retake the town.The mortar's position was logged by the UAV's operator, who was sitting at his desk in Nellis Air Force base near Las Vegas, thousands of miles away. Using the internet, the operator contacted the operator of another armed UAV at a desk in central command ("Centcom") - a safe area away from the theatre of war, with centres in Kuwait, Qutar or Iraq.

The two operators swapped information on the mortar in a secure internet chat room, guiding the armed drone to its position to destroy the mortar and its crew.

According to Lieutenant General John Sattler, commander of the coalition forces at the battle, it was a proving ground for the use of remote vehicles. "We learned that UAVs can provide the coordinates required for artillery as well as aviation [targeting]. Our UAVs gave us the grid coordinates of an enemy position and allowed us to clear the area for fires and estimate collateral damage," says Sattler.

The new remote-controlled technology was also tested in 2001 in the Tora Bora caves in Afghanistan, close to the Pakistan border, believed to be the last stronghold for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida fighters. Sending soldiers into the caves to try to capture fighters inside would carry huge risks. Instead, the US sent in armed Talon reconnaissance drones - small tanks equipped with camera and sensing equipment, and armed with anything from a sniper's rifle to rocket launchers. They were used to identify caves and positions held by al-Qaida.

Information gleaned from the Talons was used to direct what rapidly became a mopping-up operation - although bin Laden was not caught.

But that is only the beginning. By 2015, the US Department of Defense plans that one third of its fighting strength will be composed of robots, part of a $127bn (£68bn) project known as Future Combat Systems (FCS), a transformation that is part of the largest technology project in American history.

The US army has already developed around 20 remotely controlled Unmanned Ground Systems that can be controlled by a laptop from around a mile away, and the US Navy and US Air Force are working on a similar number of systems with varying ranges. According to a US general quoted in the US Army's Joint Robotics Program Master Plan (http://tinyurl.com/yl7s52), "what we're doing with unmanned ground and air vehicles is really bringing movies like Star Wars to reality". The US military has 2,500 uncrewed systems deployed in conflicts around the world. But is it Star Wars or I, Robot that the US is bringing to reality? By 2035, the plan is for the first completely autonomous robot soldiers to stride on to the battlefield.

The US is not alone. Around the globe, 32 countries are now working on the development of uncrewed systems. In the UK, Qinetiq, the former Defence Research Agency which owns Foster-Miller, manufacturers of the Talon system, confirmed that it has developed remote bulldozers and earthmovers and that its technology could also be installed in tanks - and scientists at Qinetiq told the Guardian two years ago that it had built a robot fighter plane. When flown on test flights, they said, the fighter is accompanied by two crewed fighters, whose role is to shoot it down if it malfunctions.


Sunday, October 29, 2006


Leadership Book Changes

Those who followed the run up to last year’s election on this blog will recall the virtual reality book that was run on odds for the election date and then party results. The latter especially proved fairly accurate and notably the Labour-National head-to-head option even bested Centrebet and the other “real” bookmakers. The daily analysis, commentary and readers/punters participation made it a particular highlight of the year for me.

So with Dr. Brash’s oscillating fortunes to the forefront of public discourse it seems time to establish a betting (virtual of course) market. In other jurisdictions punters have real-time access to real bookies offering real odds with real money; in NZ the TAB has a monopoly on bookmaking and at any rate they would not enter this field fore both political and practical reasons (with sports they need authorization from a controlling body – would the Speaker of Parliament give approval? 10.000 – 1). So it falls on this blog to attempt to meaningfully quantify the clawing ambitions of our leaders in terms we all understand. It will be updated on a crisis-by-crisis basis.

Please leave your picks in the comments section.


$1.06 - Clark
$8.00 - Mahary
$11.00 - Cullen
$25.00 - Goff
$2000000.00 - Field
$28.00 - All Others


$1.50 – Key
$2.15 – Brash
$6.00 – Power
$6.00 – English
$9.00 – Brownlee
$1000000.00 – Connell
$15.00 – All Others

Bets close day before next election day. Simulated only: not authorized by the TAB.

DON’T FORGET Tim’s Book and magazine collection for the Prison Library, please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 7
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!)
PRN 60477981
Hawkes Bay Prison
Currently appealing sedition conviction

Torture and then disappear

This is the way to win the war on terror, torture a confession out of a Muslim, use that confession as part of your reason to invade Iraq, and then have the Muslim ‘disappear’ into the labyrinth of secret CIA prisons when the confession turns out to be a lie.

Confession That Formed Base of Iraq War was Acquired Under Torture: Journalist
An Al-Qaeda terror suspect captured by the United States, who gave evidence of links between Iraq and the terror network, confessed after being tortured, a journalist told the BBC.

Iban al Shakh al Libby told intelligence agents that he was close to Al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and "understood an awful lot about the inner workings of Al-Qaeda," former FBI agent Jack Clonan told the broadcaster.

Libby was tortured in an Egyptian prison, according to Stephen Grey, the author of the newly-released book "Ghost Plane" who investigated the secret US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisons that housed terror suspects around the world.

US President George W. Bush confirmed the existence of the network of CIA holding facilities overseas during a September 6 speech defending controversial US interrogation practices.

Libby was apparently taken to Cairo, Clonan told the broadcaster, after being captured in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

"He (Libby) claims he was tortured in jail and that would be routine in Egyptian prisons," Grey said.

"What he claimed most significantly was a connection between ... Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. This intelligence report made it all the way to the top, and was used by (former US secretary of state) Colin Powell as a key piece of justification ... for invading Iraq," he told the broadcaster.

Powell claimed in a UN Security Council meeting in February 2003, weeks before a US-led coalition invaded Iraq, that the country under Saddam Hussein had provided weapons training to Al-Qaeda, saying he could "trace the story of a senior terrorist operative", whom Grey alleges is Libby.

"At the time, the caveats to say this intelligence was extracted under torture were not provided," Grey said.

Grey said that, after being held in Egypt, Libby was transferred to a secret CIA facility in Bagram, just north of Afghanistan's capital Kabul. The journalist said he had also met other people held in that facility who describe the torture that Libby faced at the CIA facility.

Since then, "he disappeared", Grey said.

"Like hundreds of other people arrested after September 11, he's vanished into a sort of netherworld of prisons where astonishingly, President Bush now says the prisons have emptied. "

Oxfam has last laugh

Remember all the criticism thrown at Bono and Oxfam with their attempts to end poverty? Looks like New Zealanders do care and don’t listen to the nay-sayers…

Kiwis back Bono
The Make Poverty History campaign has experienced a huge surge in NZ membership since its endorsement by the Sunday Star-Times two weeks ago. A spokesperson said new on-line sign-ups had leapt by 3000%. Around 4000 people are now members.

The United States of Torture

“Duh, we don’t do’s da torture here” said President Bush. Don’t you love how drowning a man isn’t considered torture? Hahahaha, here’s more from the touring comedy show that is Amerikan justification for torture.

Bush enters Cheney 'torture row'
US President George Bush has reiterated his position that the US administration does not condone torture, following comments by Vice-President Dick Cheney.
In an interview, Mr Cheney agreed that "a dunk in the water" for terrorism suspects during questioning in order to save American lives was a "no-brainer". His comments have provoked outrage from anti-torture and human rights groups.

When asked about the remark, President Bush said that the United States does not use torture and was not going to.

Mr Cheney is assumed by human rights groups to have been referring to "water boarding" - a technique in which suspects are made to think that they are drowning.

President Bush did not comment on particular techniques.


In Defence of the Huata’s

If he ends up in this unit, I’ll defiantly have to interview W. Huata. He and his wife actually live just over the wire – right next to this prison where they have an orchard. Great for visits – walking distance. He might be in a unit close enough for Donna to lob parcels of inspirational Afro-American poetry to him from their property. It’s all so tragically fortunate.

Not pleading guilty was probably the worst error. At that stage, in our system, it is a double-or-nothing game: either you’re publicly absolved and walk out free or the sentence you would have got had you pleaded guilty earlier is then doubled in automatic response to the use of resources and your unremorseful disposition. I guess they’s gamblin’ folk. And the appeal: that’s not usually double-or-nothing, it’s more akin to Russian Roulette. There’s a small chance it could actually get worse and render the process a double slap across the face – at this point usually enough for the person with the mechanical digger, gouging away at the bottom of the pit, to stop digging and start the long climb out. And good luck trying to convince the parole board it’s all tickety-boo when you’re appealing it – the ultimate failure to take responsibility.

I’m not sure what sort of financial damage was really done to the Pipi Foundation because of the Huata’s actions however. My understanding was that Donna got the funding (which caused the Foundation to come into existence) by politically strong-arming the National Coalition government over the issue of her personal vote. If true, that raises obvious conflict of interest concerns, but even if false, her later antics were clearly inappropriate given what the government funds were supposed to be used for…oe was it? If the Foundation met all the govt. requirements and had enough surplus for the trustees to distribute without the necessity of internal paperwork who’s business is it? If the Foundation doesn’t consider itself a victim of wrong doing (the offer of payment to Donna last month would seem to confirm this) then is there a problem?

Since I don’t have access to all the information I may be wrong on some of this, but as I recall the whole series of allegations stemmed from the Huata’s catching a secretary doing what they were doing – but on a much smaller scale. I suppose they thought they were entitled to it, or could at least retrospectively authorize it (the Labour party’s very familiar with that concept) whereas what the secretary was doing was “theft as a servant”, and Wi (I think it was) wanted her prosecuted. At this point she retaliated by pulling the pin on what she knew would look bad for her “bosses”. It was Wi’s attempt to unilaterally authorize expenditure by way of altering the books (secretly) that constituted a perverting of the course of justice and thus put him even deeper in schtook.

Now I’m not sure if the Trustees of the foundation complained or wasted to prosecute the Huata’s – my understanding is the Police did it anyway – but that situation raises some questions touched on in a previous post: the unwilling victim. Indeed there are solid reasons why an organization may want to avoid prosecuting; chief amongst those is damage to the credibility or public standing of the organization and secondly the disproportionate effect it may have on staff/directors etc. who may be guilty but have nevertheless contributed invaluably to create the organization. The Pipi Foundation has suffered, undoubtedly, from the prosecutions.

In all of this I am assuming the payments were unauthorized in terms of having not followed the correct procedure as well as being misrepresented in accounts – all of which is dishonesty. The question I have put is did the trustees authorize the prosecutions (as the victims)? Because their actions afterwards don’t square with aggrieved victims. And if they didn’t then why did the Police? It seems to me a case where the Huata’s paying it back and keeping the integrity of the Pipi intact would have been appropriate. Were they given that opportunity? Or did the Police act pre-emptively and thus force them into the untenable defensive position they took to try and avoid a c5riminal conviction? In that question the Huata’s might claim that racisim and “tall poppy” hating is a systemic factor in the Police decision to pursue them. They might say that less successful, less Maori, people in a similar bid would not have been pursued – that a quiet word of “well deal with this internally, mate” would have ended any further investigation.

All I’m sure about in this sorry saga and fall from grace of a hitherto outstanding example of determined Maori success (in a Pakeha world of business and politics) was that it came undone because they would not extend the same rules to others that they had made for themselves. In that respect, and perhaps that only, does their fate seem justified.

If I ever meet him here, I will be sure to ask for his version of events – in fact I’d hear him out on anything other than the poetry.

DON’T FORGET Tim’s Book and magazine collection for the Prison Library, please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 7
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!)
PRN 60477981
Hawkes Bay Prison
Currently appealing sedition conviction

Hamas evil, Israeli fascists ok

Hmmm, the Palestinian Government is being financially suffocated because of Hamas, yet the Israeli Government have just taken in the far far far far far far right Yisrael Beitenu party into their coalition without any problem.

In a frightening but long expected move, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has brought the Yisrael Beitenu party into his coalition government. The party's leader, Avigdor Lieberman, is to be vice prime minister and, as "Minister for Strategic Threats," a key member of Israel's "security cabinet" in charge of the Iran portfolio.

Yisrael Beitenu is a dangerous extremist party with fascist tendencies that has openly advocated the "transfer" of Palestinians, including the transfer of Arab towns within Israel to a Bantustan-like future Palestinian entity. It has made clear that a Jewish supremacist state is more important than a democratic one. The party, whose strongest base is among Russian immigrants brought to Israel in the 1990s, surged at the Israeli election earlier this year, taking eleven seats in Israel's 120 seat Knesset.

In an interview with an Israeli newspaper in September, Yisrael Beitenu leader Lieberman said: "The vision I would like to see here is the entrenching of the Jewish and the Zionist state...I very much favour democracy, but when there is a contradiction between democratic and Jewish values, the Jewish and Zionist values are more important." (Scotsman, October 23, 2006)

In addition to espousing ethnic cleansing, Lieberman has a long history of inciting discrimination, hatred and violence against Palestinians within the Jewish state and living under Israeli military occupation in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. When he served as minister of transport in a previous government, Lieberman called for all Palestinian prisoners held by the Israeli occupation authorities to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses ("Lieberman blasted for suggesting drowning Palestinian prisoners," Ha'aretz, July 11, 2002). He has proposed to strip the citizenship of, and expel any Palestinian citizen of Israel who refuses to sign a loyalty oath to the Jewish Zionist state ("A Jewish demographic state," Ha'aretz, June 28, 2002).

In 2002, Lieberman declared, "I would not hesitate to send the Israeli army into all of Area A [the area of the West Bank ostensibly under Palestinian Authority control] for 48 hours. Destroy the foundation of all the authority's military infrastructure, all of the police buildings, the arsenals, all the posts of the security forces... not leave one stone on another. Destroy everything." He also suggested to the Israeli cabinet that the air force systematically bomb all the commercial centers, gas stations and banks in the occupied territories (The Independent, March 7, 2002). And, he has proposed bombing Egypt's Aswan Dam, despite that country's peace treaty with Israel since 1979. What will he propose to do to Iran?

Did Israel use Uranium in it’s attack against Lebanon?

Robert Fisk makes for some uncomfortable and unsettling reading once again with his latest column questioning if Israel used radioactive weapons in their last war on Lebanon…

Scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam and At-Tiri, the scene of fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that uranium-based munitions may now also be included in Israel's weapons inventory - and were used against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or guided bombs showed "elevated radiation signatures". Both have been forwarded for further examination to the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry - used by the Ministry of Defence - which has confirmed the concentration of uranium isotopes in the samples.

Dr Busby's initial report states that there are two possible reasons for the contamination. "The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash ... The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted uranium." A photograph of the explosion of the first bomb shows large clouds of black smoke that might result from burning uranium.

Enriched uranium is produced from natural uranium ore and is used as fuel for nuclear reactors. A waste productof the enrichment process is depleted uranium, it is an extremely hard metal used in anti-tank missiles for penetrating armour. Depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural uranium, which is less radioactive than enriched uranium.

Israel has a poor reputation for telling the truth about its use of weapons in Lebanon. In 1982, it denied using phosphorous munitions on civilian areas - until journalists discovered dying and dead civilians whose wounds caught fire when exposed to air.

Not the brightest of boys but the kids are ok (all things considered)

Youths face legal action over violent web videos
Teens who appear in homemade video clips posted on internet sites such as YouTube could be opening themselves up to police prosecution.
Videos of New Zealand school students fighting - including some from the prestigious Auckland Grammar - were brought to public attention last week and police say they could become involved.

"If there was a complaint, police would investigate," said police spokesman Jon Neilson.

What makes me laugh about the new fear of young people posting fights on YouTube is that we aren’t dealing with the smartest young minds here are we? As the boys get indentified, they can expect to see the serious side of posting such violent images, hardly the new social collapse is it? But this story tops a long list of stories about Society’s new love/hate affair with ‘yoof’. I don’t think we have a ‘yoof’ problem, we have an adult problem, as Finlay MacDonald points out in his latest column, “Ever since they were invented, teenagers have been causing adults great anguish. Whether they were wiggling their hips to Elvis, hanging out at milk bars, wearing flowers in their hair or safety pins in their cheeks, it has always been the same. They are a menace to society, a sign of the rot spreading within our moral core, a generational time bomb, out of control and out to get us.”.

This fear mongering has reached a new level as NZ is painted repeatedly by the media to be on the verge of social collapse because young people haven’t been hit enough ‘to learns some respect’. I think Finlay gets closer to the truth when he states, “So let's not gloss over the fact that today's teenagers are also the test spawn of the post-Rogernomics age, born into the great commercialised, corporatised, professionalised, privatised, individualised, incentivised, globalised world that is their only experience of social reality. People wonder what happened to the sense of community, to civic values and neighbourly trust, that once seemed central to the national spirit. Could it be that it was replaced, not by degeneracy per se, but by the crowded emptiness of the mall, the soulless efficiency of the drive-through, the vicarious violence of video games, the vapid brand-awareness of hyper-consumerism and the sweet tasting oblivion of discount liquor”? . Yoof and the behaviour they copy are taught, adults need to ask where such behaviour is being followed and look at their own actions before blaming yoof for copying it.

Helen & God

Left should fight right 'biblical verse for verse'
Labour needs to add a religious faction to the party to combat the rise of the evangelical right and challenge groups like the Exclusive Brethren.
The suggestion was made yesterday at Labour's party conference by Victoria University academic Paul Morris, and welcomed by party president Mike Williams as a "very promising idea".

Prime Minister Helen Clark said churchgoers were mainstreamed right through the party but she would be "absolutely delighted" if such a wing was pitched. "The issue (for the Labour Party) is tapping into social justice Christianity which has principles identical to our own."

I’ve blogged a couple of times about religion and a new movement in America which is going back to its liberal compassionate roots – if Labour are looking, there are plenty of examples in America right now trying to reclaim Christianity from the far right…

love one another, please

Sign the Jacksonville Declaration

Help make justice and compassion the hallmarks of our country. Add your signature to this letter. Let the Political and Church Leaders of the Religious Right know they do not speak for you. Help them hear a different understanding of Christian values. Add your voice below.

To The Political and Church Leaders of the Religious Right:

As responsible and patriotic Americans, we can be silent no longer. In light of the deepening polarization in our country's social and political life, we feel compelled to speak out to you in a spirit of sincerity.

For many people, your words and actions have identified Christianity with radical, far right politics. We believe that your use of Christianity has sown the seeds of deep discord in our nation and throughout the world. Hear some of your own words:

"You owe liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ."
-- Church Leader Bob Jones, to George W. Bush after 2004 election

"I hope the Supreme Court will finally read the Constitution and see there's no such thing, or no mention, of separation of church and state in the Constitution."
-- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas)

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence…in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."
-- Dr. D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries

"…the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated…"
-- Tony Perkins, Family Research Council

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians … the ACLU, People For the American Way … I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'."
-- Rev. Jerry Falwell, on Pat Robertson's 700 Club discussing the WTC attacks

We must tell you now that you do not speak for us, or for our politics. We say "No" to the ways you are using the name and language of Christianity to advance what we see as extremist political goals. We do not support your agenda to erode the separation of church and state, to blur the vital distinction between your interpretation of Christianity and our shared democratic institutions. Moreover, we do not accept what seems to be your understanding of Christian values. We reject a Christianity co-opted by any government and used as a tool to ostracize, to subjugate, or to condone bigotry, greed and injustice.

If your politics flow from your faith, then we do not know the Jesus you claim to follow. We cannot imagine a Jesus who would say:

"You are strong and powerful; your ideals are noble. Make war to spread those ideals."
"The end is near - So it doesn't matter what you do to my Father's creation."
"Heal the sick - Provided they can pay."
"All are welcome at the table - As long as they are the same as we are."
"Follow me - And help me form a government to force others to follow."

Do you believe such statements truly reflect Christian or American values? Do these views follow what Jesus taught? Do you think it is genuinely American to steer our country toward a Christian theocracy? Is it Christian to foster intolerance? Is this the path to which Jesus leads us?

We say "No". Instead, we say "Yes" to values Jesus plainly and passionately practiced. Listen to his words:

"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
-- John 13:34-35

We hold up to all fellow Americans the heart of Jesus' teaching: his unwavering commitment to justice, compassion, responsibility, equality, and care "for the least of these". These are values Jesus taught, and they also serve among America's finest traditional values. Our political views flow from these values.

We also reaffirm a well-established American commitment to a clear separation of church and state. In your statements you often characterize America as a "Christian nation". We strongly disagree. As a nation of immigrants, America has been a land of freedom and diversity. Separation of church and state helps ensure liberty and justice for all Americans - not just those who are like-minded. Hear these words:

"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Know that you do not speak for us. We oppose so many of your words and deeds. But though we may disagree with you, we offer this declaration in a spirit of openness. We hope you will respond in kind. We call on you to stop dividing our country with your words and actions, and we invite you to turn to compassion and justice, values that Jesus lived.

In Truth and Faith,
Christian Alliance for Progress

The problem for John Key

Key has the numbers - if not the timing
National party leadership hopeful John Key is believed to be backed by at least half the caucus - but questions are being raised over whether he has the killer instinct to topple leader Don Brash.
A senior MP said Key's failure to mount a leadership bid, despite the support of between 24 and 30 MPs - from a 48-strong caucus - was raising questions over his political instincts.

Each time Key had seemed to gain momentum for a challenge, his plans appeared to have stalled, the MP said.

Helen Clark always said that NZ is Conservative with a little c, but I also think we are Racist with a little r. The problem for John Key is that Don Brash has activated a deep racist itch within white NZ that has toppled the ’understanding’ all Political Parties had adopted in terms of race relations in this country (ironically cemented in place by National’s Doug Graham). Don has opened an ugly side of NZ and it has in turn gifted National with the type of Poll numbers which only excite and agitate grass root sentiments. John Key and the other ‘new national blood’ feel uncomfortable with Don’s rhetoric and want to find ways to work with Maori, not dictate terms to them. Sadly though there is a chunk of National’s vote who have been tickled red around their neck by Don’s garden variety talkback bigotry and anything short of ‘puttin’ Maaaari in their place’ is not going to be acceptable to National’s older B&F (Businessmen and Farmer) base vote. Don has set the expectations by appealing to the lowest parts of our personality, John Key doesn’t share those views but has to live with the expectations – better Don crucifies himself with his next cock up and sink those expectations rather than take the top job and be forced to play to them when National desperately need the center ground to win the next election.

You can’t cocktease redneck NZ and not expect them to want a wank and ole’ fashioned Don is one to dance with the date who brings him.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The new rape excuse just like the old rape excuse

Fear, moral panic, the end of Western Civilization is about to occur – a Muslim Cleric says that it’s all women’s fault for getting raped – we need new tough terror laws and a repealing of civil liberties to deal withy this! In fact we need to demonize all Muslims now!

Cleric says uncovered women like abandoned 'meat'
SYDNEY - Women who do not cover up are similar to abandoned "meat" making them responsible for sexual attacks, a senior Islamic cleric has said.

The Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali, has outraged female Muslim leaders with comments he made during a Ramadan sermon to 500 worshippers in Sydney last month.

"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?" the sheik asked.

"The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hajib [Islamic headdress], no problem would have occurred."

Hmmm, that doesn’t sound very new does it folks? Men have been blaming women for getting raped since the earliest of times, those dozen or so Australian boys yesterday who videoed a sexual assault on a mentally impaired girl originally started off trying to say she had given her consent – when in doubt, blame the slut.

Is the Cleric’s comments offensive, of course they are – but there is nothing new in what he is saying, men have tried using it as an excuse for years, but we don’t point the finger and scream ‘terrorist’ do we? Let’s take another Australian example of the Bulldogs pack rape allegations in 2004….

In a police incident report, the 20-year-old woman claimed to have been thrown fully-clothed into a hotel swimming pool in the early hours of Sunday morning, stripped naked, and repeatedly raped vaginally, orally and anally. When she was later found slumped in the hotel car park she was grazed, bruised and hysterical, and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.

The Bulldogs' management has rejected this version of events. They say that the woman had consensual group sex with eight players on the previous Wednesday, but only slept with one of them on the Saturday night in question. She had climbed naked into the pool and tried to entice players to join her around 7am on the Sunday morning, but none took her up on the offer. "They really did not want anything to do with her because they thought she was a scrag," one player told the Sydney Sun-Herald.

The Bulldogs themselves emerged as victims, with a photograph of laughing players on the way to the beach captioned: "Weight of the world on their shoulders." But several articles later alleged that league teams take part in group sex as a bonding ritual, and claimed that the "roasting" of "bun-chicks" is a relatively common occurrence.

"Some of the boys love a bun. Gangbanging is nothing new for our club or the rugby league," said one player.

Speculation has also centred on the women who hang out with players, describing them as "groupies" and making the eternal suggestion that they are always "up for it".

"Don't think she was an innocent player in all this," said another Bulldog. "After the Wednesday night she gave her number to one of the boys and said 'come around and bring the whole team around'."

So sluts who get raped by sports teams are asking for it, and it’s not really the lads fault. However, a Muslim Cleric says the same bullshit and it’s a national crises. The cultural double standards are unbelievable and as Muslim men and Christian men line up to bellow about doing it to ‘protect the honour of their women’ it is women of both cultures who are still being raped and blamed by men of all cultures.

Grow up.


Police Racial Profiling in the 21st Century

I don’t think I mentioned the optional form us heinous criminals are asked to fill out when we render our DNA to the police so they can frame us help detect crime. It asks the criminal to list the ethnic composition of their parents and grandparents: European, Maori, Chinese, Pacific Islander, Indian, etc.

Now, why would the police want to do that? I searched the form for an agency but all I could see was it was for the police. Hmmmm. How very interesting. How very perplexing. How very….unsettling. Yes it is voluntary, but what would the police possibly want that for? And are they aware given the off-hand guess-work or deliberate mistakes by the criminal that their testing will have highly suspect results?

They wanted fractions of ethnic composition, that is to say racial composition, that is to say racial blood quotient, that is to say a promulgation of Dr. Brash’s amateur racial hygiene and eugenics programme, perhaps? What’s next – phrenological calipers and head gauges? Is this a police search for the “warrior gene”?

I note the police aren’t asking anything other than racial blood quotient and this is to be used for the DNA sample. They aren’t asking if your parents or grandparent’s were criminals, they aren’t asking about medical complaints or disabilities or anything at all except race. Why? So they can analyse some suspect DNA and tell the public they’re looking for a person whose mother’s father was half Jewish and Indian and father is Pacific Islander and European on his mother’s side? Why not height? Why not weight or build? Why only race?

DON’T FORGET Tim’s Book and magazine collection for the Prison Library, please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 7
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!)
PRN 60477981
Hawkes Bay Prison
Currently appealing sedition conviction

Winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan

Can someone remind me when was the last time someone invaded Afghanistan and won? And how does killing civilians help in winning over the local population and is it time to think of pulling out? Remember when the Taliban said they would hand over Bin Laden if the Americans showed them evidence of his involvement? I wonder what would have happened if American fury hadn’t clouded their judgment and had negotiated with the Taliban instead of invade?

Dozens of Afghans killed in Nato raids
At least 50 civilians were killed in Nato bombings in southern Afghanistan earlier this week, according to local government officials and witnesses.
Nato admitted that it had received credible reports that several civilians were killed in Panjwai but insisted that 48 Taliban fighters had died during the heavy fighting.

The operation had targeted Taliban who were attacking aid deliveries and reconstruction projects in the area, Major Luke Knittig, an International Security Force (Isaf) spokesman, said. Troops used "precision strikes" against Taliban, he added.

"Very sadly, civilians continue to get caught up in these engagements with tragic results," Knittig said.

After visiting the wounded in hospital, Naik Mohammad, a tribal elder, said that 60 civilians had died in the incident on Tuesday. Villagers also put the death toll at 60 died while a member of the Kandahar provincial assembly said that 80 had been killed.

Last time kidnapping 2 soldiers justified invasion – what about kidnapping 9000?

One of the reasons Hizbollah kidnapped Israeli soldiers, is because of the shocking number of Palestinians and Lebanese who are simply arrested and held without reason. With the men of a family in prison for little more than being Muslim at the wrong time in the wrong place, many Palestinian families suffer immense economic devastation, because the men are the bread earners. The Israeli policy goes a nasty step further, by keeping prisoners in Israel, they sever ties and connections to the family by denying them access. Wouldn’t it just be easier to get out of the occupied lands and allow the Palestinian people to live in peace? Doesn’t the occupation damage both peoples?

Israel prisoner treatment condemned
An Israeli human rights group has accused the government of violating international law by moving Palestinian prisoners out of the occupied territories.

B'Tselem, a body that monitors human rights in the West Bank and Gaza, said in a report released on Thursday that most of the 9,000 Palestinians being held by Israel were illegally imprisoned inside the Jewish state.

"The vast majority of Palestinian prisoners are held in prisons inside Israel, and not in the occupied West Bank,in contravention of international humanitarian Law," said B'Tselem's communications director, Sarit Michaeli.

"In order to guarantee basic human rights, they should be transferred to prisons in the West Bank where Palestinians are allowed to travel," she said.

Aid workers are innocent! Libya must release them now!

The case of the six Health workers who have been tortured in Libya and charged with spreading AIDS must be released immediately!

Libya Aids evidence 'worthless'
A British science journal has said that the evidence against six foreign health workers, accused in Libya of deliberately infecting more than 400 children with the Aids virus, is worthless. In a news report on Thursday, Nature, one of the world's most prestigious science publications, said that it had acquired a copy of a document written by five Libyan physicians in 2003 that is the cornerstone of the case against the five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor. The journal had the document translated into English and asked independent experts to assess it.

Even the troops don’t want to be there

US troops call for Iraq pullout
More than 200 men and women from the US armed services have joined a protest calling for American troops in Iraq to be brought home, organisers say.
The soldiers said they did not think it was worth their while to be in Iraq and questioned the use of repeated tours of duty.

The campaign, called the Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq, takes advantage of defence department rules allowing active duty troops to express personal opinions to politicians without fear of retaliation.

The appeal posted on the campaign's website at www.appealforredress.org said: "As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq.

"Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for US troops to come home."

The website allows service members to sign the appeal that will be presented to members of congress. Organisers said the number of signatories had climbed from 65 to 219 since the appeal was posted a few days ago and Wednesday when it was publicly launched.

Rapid climate change a reality

If we continue unabated with a culture of consumption and the pollution it brings, we could have breached the environmental tipping points built into the planet that once breached only magnify the climate change. Rapid cataclysmic climate change has the potential to plunge the planet into an ice age, and scientists studying the desalination effect on ocean currents fear that historical evidence shows such rapid climate change can occur within a decade. The reality is grim, if we do nothing we could see the end of the planet within our life time.

Ocean array acts as climate alert
Measurements from a network of monitors stretching across the Atlantic Ocean could offer an early warning of "sudden climate change", scientists have said.
Underwater instruments measuring the temperature and salinity of seawater will detect any change to currents that regulate Europe's climate, they said.

A UK-led team of researchers said the data offered the most detailed picture of the ocean's circulation patterns.

He said the findings demonstrated that they were able to monitor changes, and act as an alert to any sudden shifts in the ocean circulation that could have a profound impact on the UK's and north-west Europe's climate.

"The ice core records suggest sudden warming or cooling happen on a scale of about a decade. The timescale for temperature change, which are in the order of 5-10C (9-18F), also happen in about a 10-year period," he explained.

The United Gates of Amerika

Under pressure to try and do something to win back conservative support, Bush has signed up to militarize the Mexican border by proxy. This idea first surfaced a month after Subcomandante Marcos threatened action similar to the Zapatista uprising in the 90s, just before the right wing ‘won’ the Mexican election. I wonder if the American’s see it as a border or the new frontline of terrorism.

Bush approves 1000km of fence on Mexico border
WASHINGTON - President Bush has signed election-year legislation to build 1126km of fencing along the US-Mexican border to combat illegal immigration, prompting a strong protest from Mexico.

Republicans hoped the legislation would give them a boost as they try to head off a strong Democratic attempt to take control of the US Congress in November 7 elections.

"We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility seriously," Bush said in a signing ceremony at the White House.

But Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderon said in Ottawa after meeting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he deplored the move because "the fence doesn't resolve anything" and will cause more Mexican deaths on the border.

"Humanity committed a grave mistake in building the Berlin Wall. I'm sure that the United States is committing a grave mistake in building this fence," Calderon said.

Financier tortures rabbits

From the ‘what the fuck’ file.
Rabbit-torturer appeals
A New Zealand-born Sydney financier jailed for 16 months for mutilating and killing 17 rabbits and a guinea pig is appealing against his conviction, saying he was mentally ill.

Brendan Francis McMahon, 37, was convicted and sentenced in July to a maximum 16 months in jail on 18 counts of aggravated animal cruelty.

McMahon tortured the animals to death in his office.

Ummmm – you tortured animals to death in your office? Not just a couple, but 18 of them – ummmmmm – yeah, you don’t get to go to the petting zoo any longer okay. Torturing animals is a clear indicator of psychopathic tendencies, let’s pop this charmer somewhere he can get help. Perhaps being forced to read Watership Down?

When in doubt, bash a beneficiary

You have the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years, you are being seen as PC fags by the population, your popularity is sagging, you need to do something symbolic to look tough, you’ve already suggested increasing the drinking age to 20 – what can you do? Bash beneficiaries of course! Even the old ones Bomber? Yes – especially the old ones!

Job search compulsory for welfare beneficiaries
Unemployed people will be required to undertake a job search programme if they want to claim a benefit, under changes to the welfare system.

Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope yesterday announced the shake-up, saying the expectations being placed on beneficiaries were reasonable.

"It's not a stick approach."

Those aged over 60 and their partners aged over 55 will be work tested.

Would you put Jesus in jail?

There is a new political movement within religious American society that is moving away from the far right conservatism and moving towards the progressive liberal theology of Martin Luther King.

This movement is 30million strong and is much more focused on global warming, anti-war and a deep compassion for their fellow man – which is always what I thought religion should be about – it is good to see that this movement is being carried here in NZ with the creation of this new group.

Groups unite to campaign for punishment without jail
Two Christian groups working in prisons joined forces yesterday to start a campaign to persuade New Zealanders to keep more people out of prison.

The Salvation Army and Prison Fellowship invited all MPs to a meeting at Parliament to hear from a high-powered reference board for the campaign, led by former Governor-General and Anglican Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves.

The Salvation Army's director of social policy, Major Campbell Roberts, said other measures, such as treating mental health problems and addictions, would be more effective in reducing crime than locking offenders in jail.

"We are locking more people away than previously, and for longer periods, but if you said to most people, are they feeling safer, the answer would be no," he said.

"Often the only response that we have to punishment is prison, but there are other options. There are things that are working well. People need to know that."

New Zealand's jail rolls have risen by a third since a tough new sentencing law was passed in 2002, and the country now has the fourth-highest imprisonment rate in the developed world.

Congratulations to the Police

Chris Kahui was charged last night with murdering his twin sons. Congratulations must be offered to the Police for standing so tall in the middle of such public outcry and criticism during an active investigation. The Police always handled this case the way they needed to handle it and the bullshit that was generated from the heat of this makes me wonder how easily and willingly New Zealanders would hand over their human rights. Look at how much talk this case has prompted that we should dump the essential right to silence – a right that is the cornerstone of understanding the power relationship of the individual against the state. That New Zealanders would call for their own rights to be destroyed (mindless of the Big Brother consequences) in the venomous heat of this tragic case says more about the deep anger some feel towards what Chris Kahui represents than any desire for justice. Chris Kahui is the face of brown beneficiaries, the drinking bludger in a state house living off our taxes and the killer of his own twin babies – the venom this has stirred in other New Zealanders has reached fever pitch as New Zealanders now call to have their right to silence removed. In our collective rage, we are prepared to slash our own throat in terms of our legal rights. Such a frenzied attack on our own rights is not the rational thinking of citizens angry at a shocking crime, it is the howling of the mob screaming for those pent up stereotypes to be crucified for public execution.

I think this stopped being about the Kahui twins a long time ago.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

CIA Blowback continues

Not content to accept that they fucked up in Somalia by backing the local warlords against the Islamic Courts Union (just because they are Islamic), the CIA have continued poisoning this wound by now backing Ethiopia to send troops into confront the Islamic Courts Union. The US have spent nearly $19 million worth of weapons shipments and ‘loans’ in 2005 and 2006 to Ethiopia, and it is scheduled to ship an estimated $10 million in 2007 which includes sales by the US-based Private Military Company (don’t you love the name?) in Virginia.

Somalis sign up to fight Ethiopia
The Islamic Courts Union in Somalia has begun recruiting thousands of people in response to alleged military action by neighbouring Ethiopia, amid fears of all-out war across the country.
A day after claiming to have captured an Ethiopian military officer in fierce weekend battles with a militia allied to Somalia's weak government, the union on Wednesday said at least 3,000 people had enlisted for combat.

Not content to leave the situation after such a cock up by backing the Somalian warlords, America wants to support a regional war.

That will teach those terrorists!

Victim Support

The State simply doesn’t do enough for victims of crime. Real strategies aimed at helping victims of crime need to be adopted if our idea of a compassionate society is something we really want to achieve and some of the suggestions put up at a recent victim support conference are good ideas that need some exploring by Government. With a dirty great surplus, it is the least we can do to those hurt by the actions of others.

State should repay costs of crime, says Victim Support
Victim Support groups are proposing a radical "parallel justice system" that would compensate victims for crimes even where the offending criminals can't be caught or can't pay.

They also want legal aid for victims on the same basis as offenders - a move which chief executive Marie Knight admits "would probably almost double the legal aid bill", currently $97 million a year.

Is this how the Republicans might win the elections?

Let’s be very clear – Bush stole the 2000 election in Florida – it has been proven, it is unquestionable the only thing that troubles me is whether or not he managed to do it again in the 2004 election. For those who wish to question this, check out how the Republicans managed to kick off the Florida voting rolls 97,700 black sounding names (black sounding names vote for Democrats) through a dodgy electoral roll company called ChoicePoint, the very same dodgy electoral roll company who were caught by the FBI this year in Mexico City with Mexican electoral roll details which could have helped defraud that election.

Which brings me to this news story from the Washington Post

Report Warns of Potential Voting Problems in 10 States
Two weeks before the midterm elections, at least 10 states, including Maryland, remain ripe for voting problems, according to a study released yesterday by a nonpartisan clearinghouse that tracks electoral reforms across the United States.

The report by Electionline.org says those states, and possibly others, could encounter trouble on Election Day because they have a combustible mix of fledgling voting-machine technology, confusion over voting procedures or recent litigation over election rules -- and close races.

The report cautions that the Nov. 7 elections, which will determine which political party controls the House and Senate, promise "to bring more of what voters have come to expect since the 2000 elections -- a divided body politic, an election system in flux and the possibility -- if not certainty -- of problems at polls nationwide."

In a state-by-state canvass, the 75-page report singles out places, such as Indiana and Arizona, where courts have upheld stringent new laws requiring voters to show poll workers specific forms of identification. It cites states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, which have switched to electronic voting machines whose accuracy has been challenged. And it points to states such as Colorado and Washington, which have departed from the tradition of polling sites in neighborhood precincts.

The report of the clearinghouse, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, is the latest of several warnings in recent weeks and months by organizations and scholars who say that electoral problems persist in spite of six years of efforts by the federal government and states to correct voting flaws. The flaws gripped the public's attention after the close 2000 presidential election, which led to recounts in Florida and the intervention of the Supreme Court.

And check this out from the best reporter on this issue, Greg Palast

Recipe for a Cooked Election
A nasty little secret of American democracy is that, in every national election, ballots cast are simply thrown in the garbage. Most are called "spoiled," supposedly unreadable, damaged, invalid. They just don’t get counted. This “spoilage” has occurred for decades, but it reached unprecedented heights in the last two presidential elections. In the 2004 election, for example, more than three million ballots were never counted.

Almost as deep a secret is that people are doing something about it. In New Mexico, citizen activists, disgusted by systematic vote disappearance, demanded change — and got it.

In Ohio, during the 2004 Presidential election, 153,237 ballots were simply thrown away — more than the Bush “victory” margin. In New Mexico the uncounted vote was five times the Bush alleged victory margin of 5,988. In Iowa, Bush’s triumph of 13,498 was overwhelmed by 36,811 votes rejected. The official number is bad enough — 1,855,827 ballots cast not counted, according to the federal government’s Elections Assistance Commission. But the feds are missing data from several cities and entire states too embarrassed to report the votes they failed to count.

Correcting for that under-reporting, the number of ballots cast but never counted goes to 3,600,380. Why doesn’t your government tell you this?

Hey, they do. It’s right there in black and white in a U.S. Census Bureau announcement released seven months after the election — in a footnote. The Census tabulation of voters voting in the 2004 presidential race "differs," it reads, from ballots tallied by the Clerk of the House of Representatives by 3.4 million votes.

This is the hidden presidential count, which, with the exception of the Census’s whispered footnote, has not been reported. In the voting biz, most of these lost votes are called "spoilage." Spoilage, not the voters, picked our President for us. Unfortunately, that’s not all. In addition to the three million ballots uncounted due to technical "glitches," millions more were lost because the voters were prevented from casting their ballots in the first place. This group of un-votes includes voters illegally denied registration or wrongly purged from the registries.

Another reason to boycott the Beijing Olympics

A couple of you had posted sites to this story, I am horrified that innocent people should be shot, “like dogs” in this manner. Here is another reason to boycott the Beijing elections.

Cold reality of Chinese occupation
A few minutes of jerky video footage shot by a Romanian cameraman on a mountaineering trip brought the plight of Tibetans under Chinese rule into Western living rooms this month.

For once, the world was able to watch the cruelty of occupation as it played out. In the video, a Chinese border guard calmly opens fire from a mountain ridge on a group of unarmed, defenceless Tibetans below, as they struggled through the snow to escape from occupied Tibet.

Two figures drop to the ground.

"They're shooting them like, like dogs," says an incredulous voice, one of the other mountaineers standing beside the cameraman. And then the camera trains on the dead body of one of the Tibetans in the distance.

It was a moment that changed the way the world looks at China. In recent years, all the talk has been of a liberalised China, the world's fastest growing economy that has put the worst excesses of its totalitarian past behind it. But this was a rare glimpse of another China, and of a modern-day Iron Curtain.

For once, there were witnesses.

Now the full story of what happened that day in the Himalayas has emerged. Survivors have spoken out in Delhi this week, and their accounts can be pieced together with those of the mountaineers who witnessed the shooting.

The group whose members were casually picked off as they struggled through the snow by the Chinese border guard had already been walking for 17 days. They had waded through deep snow and struggled over ice and rock. They had gone without food or sleep, and they were exhausted - all to escape the Chinese occupation of their homeland. It is a journey that is made by thousands of Tibetans every year as they continue to flee the occupation.

"There was no warning of any kind," Thubten Tsering, a Buddhist monk who was one of the group of refugees that day, said. "The bullets were so close I could hear them whizzing past. We scattered and ran."

There were 75 of them in the group when they left. Only 41 made it across the border into Nepal, and on to India.

Adding Israeli insult to Palestinian Injury

Isn’t this a delightful insight to occupying other peoples land…

Settlers attack Palestinian farmers
Jewish settlers have attacked a group of Palestinian farmers with rocks and sticks, wounding at least three people.
Ibrahim Salah said his family was working in its field of olive trees west of Nablus when about 50 settlers descended on the area, some of them wielding metal bars and carrying guns.

He said his son, Basel, was hit on the head by rocks and taken to a hospital. Witnesses said four other people were lightly wounded. Israeli troops arrived shortly after the incident and dispersed the crowd, evacuating Salah to a hospital, the army said. The incident occurred near Havat Gilad, one of two dozen unauthorised West Bank outposts the Israeli government has pledged to dismantle. Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and US-led road map peace deal of 2002 called for a freeze on their construction.

Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, said three Palestinians and one settler were lightly wounded in Wednesday's violence. He said the farmers did not coordinate their work with the authorities, as is customary during the harvest season.

'Rampant construction'

Repeated attacks by settlers in recent years have led the army to dispatch troops to protect the farmers during the harvest season. The olive harvest this year is expected to yield a bumper crop, making it essential to the economic survival of cash-strapped Palestinians. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Jewish settlements are expanding in the occupied West Bank in defiance of Israeli law, citing a government report.

The paper said the findings came from a secret government two-year study that came across "rampant construction".

Is it smart to do this?

If you wanted to calm tensions, why would you want to sit three naval strike groups off Iran’s coastline?

US Naval War Games Off The Iranian Coastline:
There is a massive concentration of US naval power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Three US naval strike groups off the Iranian coastline are deployed: USS Enterprise, USS Eisenhower and USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group.

The naval strike groups have been assigned to fighting the "global war on terrorism."

Tehran considers the US war games to be conducted in the Persian Gulf, off the Iranian coastline as a provocation, which is intended to trigger a potential crisis and a situation of direct confrontation between US and Iranian naval forces in the Persian Gulf:

"Reports say the US-led naval exercises based near Bahrain will practise intercepting and searching ships carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles.

Iran's official news agency IRNA quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official as describing the military manoeuvres as dangerous and suspicious.

The Iranian foreign ministry official said the US-led exercises were not in line with the security and stability of the region. Instead, they are aimed at fomenting crises, he said." (quoted in BBC, 23 October 2006)

Is Bush crazy enough?

My fear in all this talk about ‘new directions for Iraq’ is that Bush may be crazy and stubborn enough to actually increase troop numbers and send MORE American troops into Iraq.

BAGHDAD, Oct. 24 -- The top American commander in Iraq said Tuesday that he may call for more troops to be sent to Baghdad, possibly by increasing the overall U.S. presence in Iraq, as rising bloodshed pushes Iraqi and American deaths to some of their highest levels of the war.
Washington Post


Police Commissioner backs away from Taser comments
Police Commissioner Mr Broad yesterday conceded that there would be pressure to arm police if Taser guns, using an electric current, were found to be unsuitable in trials, the Dominion Post reported. Mr Broad cited "strong forces" wanting police to carry guns but did not elaborate on who they were.

Hmmm, so as a member of society, I have to accept the cops using Tasers WITHOUT ANY independent police complaints authority who can prosecute Police who overstep the mark if they misuse Tasers (like they misuse pepper spray and police dogs) or ‘strong forces’ will arm the cops with guns. Hmmmm, kinda sounds like I’m being threatened to accept Tasers or I’ll face cops with guns doesn’t it folks? I don’t trust cops with the weapons they have now, why the fuck would I trust these pumped up, ill trained alpha male power freaks with guns?

Police Commissioner Broad quickly backed away from his statements once they were challenged by Radio NZ

Speaking on Radio New Zealand today, Mr Broad again declined to name who the strong forces were, and when asked if the words were appropriate conceded "probably not".

"I want to support the considered approach and warn against a reactionary approach," he said.

A ‘considered response’ Police Commissioner Broad? And what do you consider threatening to arm the Police with guns if we protest against Tasers? Is that a ‘considered response’?

Why doesn’t Police Commissioner Broad be honest with the NZ public and say this?

“Look NZ, here’s the deal – no one wants to be a cop these days ok, after the whole beating up people from the Springbok tour, we lost the respect of the Middle Classes, and becoming a cop was about as socially acceptable as beating your children in public. So we are left scrapping the bottom of the societal barrel with poorly trained inarticulate cops who aren’t physically confident and only have thug force backed up with an array of non-lethal weapons to overcompensate for their inability to diffuse situations. So unless you are willing to give us more tax money to expand our paltry 19week police training course and better overall resourcing, we are gonna need no more questions asked stun guns ok”?

NZ at its best

This has to be one of my favourite stories of the year, to me, it shows NZers at our best. Our need to invent things in this country because of our distance from the rest of the world has led to some brilliant ideas, and when those brilliant ideas are aimed at helping others, I honestly believe we show the best sides of our national character.

Low-tech filter turns muck to drinking water
A water purification device developed in New Zealand that can operate without electricity could bring widespread benefits around the world.

Christchurch inventor Russell Kelly has also caught the eye of Nasa, which has been so impressed with his invention it has allowed him to use its iodine technology (used for treating waste) and Certified Space Foundation brand - as it believes the devices will have a "significant beneficial impact on mankind".

"I didn't realise what a big deal it was at the time," said Mr Kelly, who set out four years ago to create filter systems that could be used in remote areas with badly polluted water supplies.