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Friday, November 30, 2007

Three Stooges

Olmert and Abbas smiled stiffly at Bush's words on Wednesday but did not shake hands, as they did awkwardly at Tuesday's international conference in Annapolis, Maryland.
The two sides will continue with a meeting on December 12 in Jerusalem. But serious questions remain about the viability of the new peace effort.
All three leaders - Bush, Abbas and Olmert - are politically weak at home, raising doubts whether they can make good on their promises.

It's all a bit pathetic. They are each desperately unpopular with their own people. Bush couldn't even pronounce their names - he had to mumble them - and he's the turkey who's supposed to be facilitating this thing. This charade of deciding how much land Israel will be prepared to give back after its built a giant military wall around every fucking millimetre of it. The elected Palestinian Prime Minister's government in the over-flowing Gaza ghetto refugee camps meanwhile doesn't appear to enter into the equation.

Why are we not boycotting Israel? Because we will be accused of anti-semitism? It will damage our relationship with the US?Because the NZ government is controlled by a settler population which has a similar confiscation policy?

And right when all the Arab leaders are at a conference:
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has urged European countries to end their military cooperation with US forces in Afghanistan in an audio tape aired by Al Jazeera television.[stuff]

Clashes as Musharraf sworn in

Alt Tv/Fleet FM breakfast news comment
Clashes as Musharraf sworn in
Violent clashes broke out last night in Lahore between police and lawyers after President Pervez Musharraf was sworn in for a second term. Demonstrators threw bricks, glasses and sticks at police who blocked the path of about 200 lawyers as they tried to march from one court complex to another.

This really has become a farce, Musharraf sacks the Judges who won’t endorse his ‘election’ because he was still in charge of the military at the time of his ‘election’, replaces the Judges who said no with a bunch of judges who will say yes and hey presto democracy a la Pakistan. I don’t wish to sound cynical but if this is what we in the west have to side with in our war against terror for democracy, we lost.

Burton warrant sat in in-tray 13 days

Alt Tv/Fleet FM breakfast News Comment
Burton warrant sat in in-tray 13 days
A warrant to arrest Graeme Burton lay in court and police in-trays for 13 days, delaying the search for the murderer who then killed again. Police had been on high alert for Burton since he was freed in July 2006, with an internal file note advising that he was "highly violent and anti-police" and that "he will appear calm and casual but will attack without warning or provocation". The courts issued a warrant for the arrest of Burton on December 22 - a month after police had told his probation officer he was on P, taxing drug dealers and could murder again. But as offices closed and staff went on leave at Christmas, the warrant was not picked up and acted upon till January 3, the same day armed police were told he was assaulting a man with weapons in an inner-city Wellington apartment. Burton continued to evade police till January 6, when he went on a gun-toting rampage, killing father-of-two Karl Kuchenbecker and injuring four others in the hills of Wainuiomata. Yesterday, at the coroner's inquest into Mr Kuchenbecker's death, the lawyer for his family, Nikki Pender, asked why The Dominion Post had reported the warrant had been issued the next day, yet police remained ignorant of its existence for nearly two weeks

Following the inquest over the last couple of days one gets the distinct impression that the left hand had no idea what the right hand was doing, sure they’ve all made the right noises about new procedures and checking systems now, but that’s all a wee bit late for the Kuchenbecker family – the reality is our prison system is an antiquated, corrupt, violent environment so lost in a pit of despair, no one takes responsibility for the final product coming out because everyone knows the final product inevitably ends up worse than when they went in.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Peak blog

Bad news from Wiki:
Gartner forecasts that blogging will peak in 2007, leveling off when the number of writers who maintain a personal website reaches 100 million. Gartner analysts expect that the novelty value of the medium will wear off as most people who are interested in the phenomenon have checked it out, and new bloggers will offset the number of writers who abandon their creation out of boredom. The firm estimates that there are more than 200 million former bloggers who have ceased posting to their online diaries, creating an exponential rise in the amount of "dotsam" and "netsam" — that is to say, unwanted objects on the Web.

Oh dear. I suppose "novelty" also applies to Facebook and myspace and 2ndlife etc. too.

The Farce continues

Alt Tv/Fleet FM breakfast news comment
Mid-East leaders to launch talks
Israeli and Palestinian leaders are holding talks in Washington that will culminate in the launch of their first direct negotiations in seven years. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli PM Ehud Olmert are meeting US President George W Bush separately and jointly before a White House ceremony. The talks follow a US conference in which both sides agreed to aim for a peace deal by the end of 2008.

With all due respect, seeing as the democraticly elected party Hamas isn't even allowed at the conference I fail to see how this is anything other than wondow dressing for Bush's 'L-E-G-A-C-Y". Apparently the world will forget the last 7 years of stupidity on a global scale because he shook hands with Israel and Palestine.

Alcohol consigns unborn to jail

lt Tv/Fleet FM breakfast news comment
Alcohol consigns unborn to jail
Youth Court judges plan new measures to identify offenders with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in the wake of research showing that 60 per cent of babies born with the syndrome eventually get into trouble with the law. American experts Kathryn Kelly and Judge Anthony Wartnik told a youth offending conference in Wellington yesterday that young offenders with the syndrome should be treated differently from others because they are "disabled, not defiant". The syndrome, caused by mothers drinking alcohol during pregnancy, has a variety of effects in different people, with a third born with facial deformations such as a smooth upper lip without the usual ridges. Ms Kelly said most victims suffered brain damage which made them unable to focus or learn from experience, easily frustrated, quick to anger and unable to understand the consequences of their actions. She said US studies showed that 60 per cent got into trouble with the law, 50 per cent engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour and 45 per cent developed alcohol or drug problems themselves.

If this is true, I wonder what historically was the advice given to pregnant women? What if we’ve only found this out now to our detriment – let’s see “unable to focus or learn from experience, easily frustrated, quick to anger and unable to understand the consequences of their actions”, sounds like very human traits we see in many, many people. Perhaps it’s time the real costs of alcohol should start being acknowledged a little more vigorously .

Hospital pays mums $100 to go home early

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Hospital pays mums $100 to go home early
Mothers will be given a $100 supermarket voucher if they leave hospital within hours of giving birth, in a bid to deal with the national shortage of midwives. The two-month-long Capital and Coast District Health Board scheme has been tagged "bribery" by a health group. Board spokesman Michael Tull said yesterday: "We're encouraging people to go home straight from delivery ... without going to the post-natal ward." The vouchers cannot be used to buy alcohol or tobacco. The scheme revives similar ones used in Auckland and Waikato that were ditched in the 1990s after they failed to encourage shorter stays.

This is just outrageous, who would take the $100 food voucher? A mother who is extremely poor and desperately needs the food voucher, that level of poverty makes the mother a member of a high risk group whom we see time and time and time again leading the most difficult of lives. We rely on observation by a group of Social Services to make sure everyone is ok and that’s something that could be checked off over a 48 hour period, but to encourage poor people to leave within 6 hours making that observation time a mere glimpse in an over crowded and hectic hospital environment, just seems to me to border on the criminally negligent.

Brain expert calls for driving age to be raised to 18

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Brain expert calls for driving age to be raised to 18
A leading brain expert has called for raising the driving age to 18 to better match the age at which young people's brains mature. Dr Simon Rowley, a paediatrician at National Women's Hospital and trustee of the Brainwave Trust, told a youth offending conference in Wellington yesterday that young women's brains did not fully mature until about 18, and young men's brains often not until their early 20s. He also supported a plea by Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft for the age at which young offenders transfer from the Youth Court to adult courts to be lifted from 17 to 18. "We should not be treating the adolescent in the same way we treat an adult," Dr Rowley said. Dr Rowley said the most crucial period of human brain development was the first three years of life. But recent research had found a second growth spurt in the brain starting just before puberty - about age 11 for girls and around 12 for boys - and lasting for another eight to 10 years. Brain scans showed that some brain functions shifted in those years from the primitive amygdala, which controls basic emotions, to the pre-frontal cortex, which handles "executive functions" such as rational thinking and decision-making. "That tells us that the adolescent brain is still under construction, and that adolescents are emotional rather than rational creatures," Dr Rowley said. "They are impulsive. So why would you put someone like that behind the wheel of a car?"

This is an area of debate that I’ve been very interested in for some time – if biology tells us that human brains are simply not formed until after 18, then demanding to hold teenagers accountable as adults is an irrational debate – while under the influence of the more impulsive and emotional amygdala part of the brain we can understand why teenagers don’t think through the consequences of their actions because the development of the frontal cortex hasn’t been biologically completed. Now that’s not an excuse for illegal or deplorable behaviour, but it is a reason why young people are impulsive, illogical and have this inability to see the consequences of their actions – instead of damning young people when they fuck up – we need to be much more understanding and sympathetic – they haven’t had the hardware or softwear upgrade to make them adults, trying to judge them as such is unjust and actually stupid.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The person responsible for the two week old "New Zealand Civil Liberties Union" website (US-based) hosting the leaked Urewera 16 police "terror" file/affidavit has just sent me the following email:
Please feel free to link Tim. As the site says, it came about as a result of recent abuses by police and judges against civil liberties. The proof of what a communist regime we live in is that - while no one has questioned the accuracy of what has been printed - the entire government is trying to shut it down and has threatened prosecution.

It has all the hallmarks of being leaked, ultimately, by one of the accused for the purpose of countering all the police leaks. It is not entirely successful because people will take from it what their prejudices dictate. For those who see the 16 as terrorists they will think themselves vindicated, for those who see the 16 as wannabe terrorist role-players with a lot of talk and not much else they too will think themselves vindicated.

So what's in it? A year's worth of month by month breakdowns of every txt msg sent between the "Urewera 16" and bugged conversations in cars, in their camp, on the phone and on the internet along with the police undercover/covert surveillance observations and the inside narking of an informant (that has had all their details and content deleted) in this copy of the original search warrant evidence.

Obviously it looks bad for the accused on first reading because it is designed by the police to make them all look bad and convince a court official to authorise a search for firearms; but having read it - 150-odd pages of it - I can see in isolation the quotes are damaging, but if this is all the police could come up with after having intercepted so many conversations and having obtained so much material over the course of a year it is difficult to believe they ever had a realistic chance of laying any Terrorism Suppression Act charges.

There are no money shots here: no gotcha moment, no oath to commit an offence, no plan at all - let alone detail of a plan - that could seriously, credibly be a terrorist act. Some juicy quotes for talkback, sure. But what have we got here? If we go through the basic questions we get these answers: What is this terrorist action going to be? - No idea. When is this terrorist action going to take place? - No idea. Where is this terrorist action going to take place? - No idea. How is this terrorist action going to take place? - No idea. Who is going to participate in this terrorist action? - No idea. Why is this terrorist action going to take place? - Lots and lots of ideas. Conjecture over why without any when, where, how and who was always going to be a completely untenable basis to lay TSA charges. The police knew it would fail and I think they knew that the evidence they were after and would find at the searched addresses would not yield enough to lay those TSA charges. It was just a try-on that would prejudice the suspects and keep them in remand.

There is abstract, vague debate, remarks in passing etc. amongst the participants about everything, but no decisions. And then there's the enthusiasm for the courses: some people keen as, others trying to get out of it, postponements, all sorts of excuses. Some parts of the conversations Iti goes into Yoda mode; some of it is unfathomable, some of it is listed as [inaudible] at key points while other parts are amusing and involve people expressing caution about the desirability of any action. The police build a case around these Urewera camps and tracing the movements of four firearms - that is the crux. The judges involved granted interception warrants and given the information it was based on I think they were wise to allow surveillance - to find out where this whole thing was going because many of the characters involved are loose cannons and the activity sounds potentially sinister and reckless.

The police use the term "quasi military training" in every other sentence - but this is not a crime. But it is also probably a fair characterisation. They could also have been viewed as conducting revolutionary, guerilla, self-defence or militia training. They supposedly had counter-interrogation training as well and were supposedly using scanners in their counter-intelligence against police. This proves what? It seems organised enough and thorough to be NZQA approved. The issue now (post-TSA heat) is were the ones who don't have firearms licences unlawfully in possession of firearms at any point - and were the purchased/imported firearms referred to actually illegal? I have no idea about these issues because I haven't seen enough information.

We do not know what the police have found in their private emails or what was on their computers either (maybe nothing if it hasn't been leaked yet :) All we have to go on is what people from both sides are putting out in the public domain - prejudicially. We ought to remain skeptical until this evidence has been tested in court. Snooping through people's private conversations will always yield incriminating excerpts. If the media and bloggers are to usurp the traditional role of the jury system with our trial-by-media "grand jury" system then we should keep this firmly in mind when we review the "evidence."

So we are left with many questions:

Concerning the activists:
Is any training using firearms an appropriate activity for the activist community? - are monthly trips to the gun club OK?
Is any training using firearms an appropriate activity for the Tuhoe community? - are monthly hikes to the bush wananga OK?
Is it a sound idea for middle class kids and immigrant/foreign nationals to simulate a civil war scenario up in the Ureweras under some form of Tuhoe invitation?
How would an armed confrontation have played out? - and was this ever fully envisioned? If the end result of an armed rebellion by Tuhoe in the Urewera is the UN being called in to keep the peace between them and the Crown then is that a legitimate method? - is it legitimate if firearms are only used in self defence? - why even go there?
Is the activist community split? - and over what issues? - does it need to be?

Concerning the police:
Is the rumoured $8m cost of the police "Operation 8" the main reason they wanted to brand the accused as terrorists? - if the operation only took a month and cost $50,000 would they have bothered with the TSA?
They acted when they did - not to prevent a terror action but because they were satisfied it was unlikely to happen and that is all they would get?
Why did they block in Ruatoki and go over the top?
It was wrong for the police to keep them locked in prison for reasons (the TSA) that they knew would not be substantiated? - is this part of getting more powers? - how does this play with the current review of the Police Act?
Were the police mainly after PR against the activist community as a whole, to tarnish them?

Anyway, given the training undertaken involved how to deal with the police, ending the revolutionary exercise with a real world OTT police crack-down was probably an invaluable lesson - for everyone.


Alt Tv/Fleet FM breakfast news comment
Ethiopia 'bogged down' in Somalia
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has acknowledged that his troops cannot withdraw from the conflict in Somalia. Mr Meles said he had expected to withdraw his soldiers earlier in the year, after Islamists had been driven out of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. But he said divisions within the Somali government had left it unable to replace the Ethiopians, while not enough peacekeepers had arrived. Some 60% of Mogadishu residents have fled clashes in the city, the UN says.

I’ve been blogging a lot about the situation in Somalia since the Islamic Courts took over last year and I am amazed at the mainstream media memory loss that has enveloped this issue, a memory loss that now has the US scripted as the savior with a now justifiable military presence off the coast of Somalia. It’s not like I’m even asking the media to stretch their memory back to the US backing of the Barre dictatorship during the 1980’s which helped create much of the situation which lead to the anarchy of the warlords or how that environment actually contributed to the rise of the Union of Islamic Courts. I’m just asking the media to remember what happened last year! The CIA backed the warlords last year against the Union of Islamic Courts because American’s can’t tell the difference between terrorists and nationalistic movements that have a genuine grievance. In the Bush world view where “Muslim=terrorist, and if you say otherwise, then you’re a terrorist too” there is no scope for reason.

While discussing the current situation in Somalia, there is NO mention of this CIA cock up. Once the population of Somalia found out that the hated US were backing the warlords, the Union of Islamic Courts received populist support and became a popular movement that once in power, brought a semblance of order that had been denied them by the era of the warlords. America refused to learn anything from this and turned to backing Ethiopia as a force, this has lead to the invasion and will only start another Islamic guerilla conflict that will again draw support for its genuine complaints regarding America fucking around once again in Somalia’s internal politics.

That this entire situation has now been sold as a legitimate issue where America has some sort of international peace making role to play is audacity from a country already jaw dropping in its display of unilateral self interest dressed up as ‘spreading Freedom Democracy Inc’.

My interest in this was first drawn by the death of Martin Adler which I blogged on last year…

Reporter and cameraman, Martin Adler, was the foreign journalist shot by an unknown assassin in Mogadishu last week during a rally for the new power block in war weary Somalia, a collection of Islamic nationalists.

This movement is non-Al Quada connected and was given popular support when the United States started arming the existing Somali warlords. The levels of justified anti-western sentiment amongst a population desperate for law and order was rallied with enough widespread support that the position of the Islamists has more mandate than any of the squabbling groups currently trying to claim Somalia.

The Americans in an almost identical historical mistake have put any opponents of the Koran on immediate Pentagon pay rolls with the same failed counter insurgent tactics that were brutally used in South America by fuelling paramilitary death squads with the defence of anti-communist fervour.

The fact that the policy of supporting the warlords has blown back so appallingly is bad enough, but it comes from a long history of blow-back where CIA 'black ops' play God with the internal politics of another sovereign state for 'national interests' and end up creating the monster they were trying to contain. Amongst this ghoulish galleries most recent graduates hang the pictures of Saddam and Osama. In most situations it is a reactive nationalism that seizes back the initiative from American supported dictatorships. These movements then get tagged by the Americans as Islamic terrorists or communist guerillas, once tagged the military aid starts pumping to find another warlord to support American hegemony in the region.

One would hope that the Americans would re-examine their heavy handed tactics but news that neighbouring (Christian) Ethiopia is gearing up to invade Somalia with tacit American support begs the question: who is the more fundamental, the more hell-bent on confrontation and control of the Islamic World, Bush or Bin Laden?

All of this clumsy proxy-war foreplay was being watched by Martin Adler. As the enormity of the American policy failure dawned on the media, attention from journalists is the last thing dirty wars need, and a good way of hostile governments to do that is by assassinating journalists. Kate Peyton, BBC Producer was killed in almost identical circumstances some months earlier and before that, 20 journalists have been killed during the current American sponsored warlords' reign.

The first time perhaps we ever saw Martin Adler's work was a piece he had done embedded with the American infantry in Iraq. The story had won him the Rory Peck Hard News award. It was a brilliant and terrifying report from a psychological front line of confusion and moral self-doubt with Marines roughing up Iraqi civilians during house to house raids. The highlight were comments from a gung ho Marine leader who stated he would shoot any Iraqi dead without excuse. The honesty of his words making the reasons for the war as empty as those searches for weapons of mass destruction. Adler was a remarkable journalist who went to the fringes of our global interests and recorded our naked vileness. His murder has become the starting point for another moral blind-spot into which American-backed Ethiopian forces have scuttled.

The people of Somalia deserve better than that.

I still believe the people of Somalia deserve better than this, and that Martin Adler reminded us that people deserve better from their media.

mid week funny - ouch

This email is currently doing the rounds - v funny

> > Brad,
> >
> > It would be difficult for me to be any more miserable right now, I
> > feel like the worst person ever. First, let me start by saying
> > that I am truly truly sorry, and I hate myself for hurting you. Of
> > all the people in the whole entire world, you were honestly the
> > last person that I would ever want to wrong in any way. There is
> > no excuse at all or anything that happened, so I won't even try
> > other than to say all of us had WAY too much to drink, and I did a
> > stupid thing. I can handle you being p1ssed at me, I absolutely
> > deserve it, I can even handle the ugly words that were exchanged
> > between us, what I can't handle is thinking that you see me as a
> > different person. It is weird, The world looked funny yesterday, I
> > couldn't crack a smile if you paid me, there are songs I can't
> > listen to, and I just feel beyond crushed. I don't know if you
> > meant everything you said to me, and I am hoping that you didn't.
> > I know that I was wrong on many levels, but I am also hoping that
> > this is something that we can deal with. I know it sounds totally
> > crazy and stupid, I can't imagine my days without you. It is
> > totally strange and weird to say that, and you could say that my
> > behavior didn't reflect that, and you would be correct. I hate
> > feeling like you hate me, and I hate feeling like all of your
> > friends think I am a terrible person, because I am not. I know
> > there is nothing I can say or do to take back what happened.
> > I am so sorry.
> >
> > Elizabeth
> >
> > Dear Elizabeth,
> >
> > Thank you for your concern. I'll be sure to file it away under "L"
> > for "Long-winded diatribes from drunken whores I couldn't care
> > less about".
> >
> > You did a stupid thing huh? No...doing long division and
> > forgetting to carry the one is "a stupid thing"; Mixing in a red
> > sock with a load of whites is "a stupid thing"; Blowing some guy
> > in a bathroom for 45minutes while I sit at the bar wondering if
> > you're taking so long because you ate too much bran that morning
> > isn't as much a "Stupid thing" as it is grounds for permanent
> > removal from my social calendar.
> >
> > To be honest, I'm not sure if it was more amusing that you went
> > and degraded yourself in a public toilet not once but twice in a 2
> > hour span, or that you seemed to think that by saying "Well, I
> > didn't F**k him" somehow gave you a clean slate. So forgive me if
> > I couldn't care less if the world "looked funny" to you yesterday.
> > Since your world revolves around blow dryers, golden retrievers,
> > Prada Bags and Jelly Beans, I'm sure it must have been most
> > unsettling to actually have to consider someone else's feelings
> > for 24 hours straight. The good news for you is that my friends
> > don't think you're a terrible person, they just think you're the
> > average run of the mill cum-guzzling blond who commands about as
> > much respect as your average child porn collector.
> >
> > By the way, for the amount of time you claim to spend in spin
> > class you really must be doing something wrong to sport the
> > thunder thighs you do. Watching you parade around my bedroom in a
> > thong was a little like watching sea lions mate. Thought you might
> > like to know.
> >
> > PS. I forwarded about 100 people on this email.
> >
> > Talk to you never,
> >
> > Brad

Welcome to the new reality

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Welcome to the new reality
The price of an imported used car is set to rise after the Government imposed limits on exhaust emissions in a bid to cut pollution. From January 3, imported used cars made before 1998 will in effect be banned, unless they meet emissions standards to be toughened in 2009 and 2012. Though the initial standards are softer than those outlined in May, the Independent Motor Vehicle Dealers Association warned the rules would increase used car prices by about $5000.

As much as the used car industry wants to bitch and post nasty adverts attacking the position of the Government, the reality is that car prices HAVE to go up in an effort to curb emissions from shitty cars, that HAS to be backed up with a new fine system for car exhausts that exceed emission standards as the industry’s main claim is that more expensive cars will mean people will hold onto shitty cars longer, this must be tackled with emission cameras, similar to speed cameras that measure the emissions of a cars exhaust as the car passes it, and if the emissions from the car are too high, the owner has a photograph of the license and a fine is sent. Those two sticks have to be tempered with the carrot of real investment in public transport to offset the increased costs of private transport costs, indeed all revenue made from emission fines or emission standards should go to public transport.

Maori opinion of police plummets after raids, says poll

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Maori opinion of police plummets after raids, says poll
Nineteen years of painstaking police work to build links with Maoridom have been dashed by the recent treatment of Tuhoe in the search for "terrorists", a new poll says. Wellington law researcher Moana Jackson has repeated a poll he did of 2000 Maori people in 1988 which found that Maori ranked the police 20th out of 20 occupations, and found that earlier this year the police had climbed to 11th out of 20. But he went back to this year's sample again 10 days ago - after the police search for terrorism suspects in the Ruatoki area - and found that police were back down to 20th out of 20 again.

And wasn’t this always going to be the fall out from sending in the Police Ninjas? Yes I think the cops had a right to be concerned, but the way the cops went in to land as steeped in historical injustice as Tuhoe with the ninja squad could only get one reaction, and that would be to radicalize moderates – if the police are going to play at terrorist busters they have to start being smarter with the way they approach it otherwise all they do is exacerbate the situation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The 156 page police affidavit

I've read it - we are debating if we should post the link here - it's fascinating stuff - for me it says the Police action in Ruatoki was an over reaction, that this could have been dealt with in a less ninja police style - but that the Police had every right to be concerned and claims that everyone of the Urewera 17 are as pure as the driven snow is just wrong. I said that we would hear arrogant boasts in this evidence and that middle NZ would be very, very, very angry and I challenge the activist community AGAIN to state that protest with guns isn't on. I feel my stance has been vindicated by this affidavit.

Bush hopeful for Mid-East peace

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Bush hopeful for Mid-East peace
The US President, George W Bush, has expressed optimism about the prospects for peace in the Middle East, ahead of this week's conference in Annapolis. Speaking before holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Washington, Mr Bush said he wanted to see "whether or not peace is possible"

Has the President been drinking and snorting cocaine again? If peace between Israel and Palestine is so important, where the hell has he been for the last 7 years of his presidency? The greenlight Bush has given to Israeli aggression under the bullshit auspices of ‘self defense’ gives Bush no mandate to do anything short of leaving office. If Bush wants to help, how about stop the 6 Billion dollars of ‘military aid’ which in reality is corporate welfarism for the military industrial complex who in turn give the Republicans (and Democrats) huge party donations at election time, to stop Israel having such a crippling military advantage that they are forced to settle justly over the lands they have stolen from the Palestinians rather than giving them such military might they can continue to build settlements on the West Bank on land that is NOT THEIRS and continue a brutal 40 year occupation that ironically mimics the same group punishment tactics seen in Europe in the 1940s.

Saudi rape victim 'having affair'

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Saudi rape victim 'having affair'
Saudi justice officials say a woman who was sentenced to prison and flogging after she was gang-raped has now confessed to an extramarital affair. The case of the unidentified woman, 19, drew international criticism after an appeal increased her 90-lash sentence to 200 lashes and six months' jail. The justice ministry statement rejected "foreign interference" in the case. It insisted the ruling was legal and that the woman had "confessed to doing what God has forbidden".

Oh she ‘confessed’ did she? That would be a ‘confession’ in Saudi Arabia, the country with a very long history of torturing confessions out of people, oh why didn’t you say so, it makes the whole thing so much more acceptable – of course you should whip a woman 200 times for being gang raped because she ‘confessed’ to adultery – why on earth were we so harsh on poor Saudi Arabia – probably anti-Muslim western sentiments OR it could be because this is a despicable affront to reason and human dignity and is just one more reminder of the disgusting oil addicted relationship we have with an extremist fundamentalist regime who can piss on Human Rights with a freedom matched only by the United States.

Tough rap for gang member

Alt TV/Fleet FM breakfast news comment
Tough rap for gang member
The arrest of a man for playing loud, expletive-laden rap will be music to most ears, but has rung alarm bells for civil liberties lawyers. Auckland Council for Civil Liberties president Barry Wilson, a barrister, said the arrest was dubious and needed testing in court. "Just because someone doesn't like the sound of it - that's not enough, it's got to be pretty serious stuff [to warrant an arrest]." There were important considerations, including the Bill of Rights, which allows for freedom of expression, and ensuring it was not just the police officer who was offended by the behaviour, he said.

The cop didn’t like the rap music? Shouldn’t we get a list of songs from the Police we are allowed to play before they arrest us? Would Rage Against the Machine be acceptable? How about ‘Fight the power’ by Public Enemy? I’d guess all NWA would be out and the less said about Ice T’s ‘Cop Killa’ song the better. Perhaps the Police could post suggestions of music citizens can listen to, what might be in a Police Officers musical tastes, The Carpenters, anything played on Easy Listening radio – they probably wouldn’t like Elton John cause he’s gay (lets not forget the boys in blue used to arrest the boys in pink in the 1980s). It would be like one continuios blue light disco where the mild and meek sounds of acceptable music would play loud right up till 9pm curfew. Great.

Wealth gap leaves our youngest at most risk

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Wealth gap leaves our youngest at most risk
Children have been left behind in the economic prosperity enjoyed by New Zealand over recent years, child health advocates say. They are urging politicians to reconsider the use of money for initiatives such as tax cuts, and what it could do to improve the health of children - those suffering most where poverty exists. A damning report into the health of New Zealand children released yesterday by the Paediatric Society and pulling together the "jigsaw" of all available data on child health paints a grim picture of disparity. Despite some bright spots, the report describes a clear emerging trend, with those living in poverty significantly more likely to suffer. Marked ethnic disparities are also apparent between Maori and Pacific Island children, and their European and Asian counterparts. It emerged in the report that New Zealand's hospital admission rates for childhood skin infections have increased to double those in Australia and the United States. Serious skin infections are common in overcrowded households. Vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough continue to occur at rates higher than other developed countries. Immunisation targets of having 95 per cent of children fully immunised at 2 years stood at 77 per cent in 2005. Admission rates were much higher for those living in the most deprived New Zealand households. Children living below the poverty line were also more likely to have respiratory problems, exposure to household smoking, and abuse.

I’ve blogged for some time on the fact that there are two NZs, those doing well from property speculation wealth and parallel imported consumerism, and those not doing so well. There is always a howl of indignation from those enjoying the fruits of the Labour Party economic white rainbow for pointing out that the pot of gold seems so beige. According to those who frequent Kiwi Blogh poverty is something that happens in other peoples countries and there is no way that should stop them getting more bigger larger creamier tax cuts. The fact that so many children live in poverty in NZ and that poverty has a direct impact on their health should be a deep embarrassment, it won’t be, it will be used as another reason why harsher penalties should be used against those unfortunate enough to earn less than $60 000.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Howard's lesson

SMH article:
The Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce also said Work Choices was critical to Labor's victory.
The Coalition's campaign to sell Work Choices, using $121 million of taxpayers' money, along with an $11 million TV blitz by business, also flopped, as union officials standing against Liberal MPs triumphed.

So there's hope for National next year if Labour pass the Election Finance Bill? Act spent millions each election and that was only just enough to get it over the 5% threshold, Howard lets $121m be spent on backing his policy and even with the kick-in from his corporate mates (more than all the money spent by all the parties on a NZ election campaign) he loses so badly he gets booted from his own seat. That's where $132m got him. How far will Aunty Helen's "sustainability" and "working for families" Labour party re-election campaign slogans official common-sense Government information services get her?

Taser 'a form of torture', says UN

Taser 'a form of torture', says UN
The United Nations Convention Against Torture has linked the taser stun-gun to torture, one month before a report on the weapon is due out from the New Zealand Police. "The use of these weapons causes acute pain, constituting a form of torture," the UN committee concluded. The committee said studies have been carried out overseas showing the Taser was dangerous and can cause death. The comments are included in the committee's thirty-ninth report and come two weeks after unarmed Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died in a taser related incident. In a graphic YouTube video, Mr Dziekanski was shown to be shot by police using stun guns at an airport in Canada.

Hmmm - seeing as we went with the TSA to pacify the UN - spose there won't be any issues from the cops if we listen to the UN on Tasers?


RNZ reports National saying the new Aussie PM will not be focused on NZ. That's the message directly from Rudd himself in two separate speeches where he didn't mention NZ, but mentioned everyone else. It is hard to think it could be worse than some of the unilateral or reneging that has gone on in the past. Rudd's first real hurdle is how to get their troops out of Iraq without damaging the US relationship.

The first priority is ratifying Kyoto not Iraq:
But while he intends to immediately overturn Howard's opposition to the Kyoto pact, Rudd has said he would negotiate a gradual withdrawal of Australian frontline forces from Iraq.

Gradual. Hopefully he can get them out without a single Australian death - like the NZ govt. getting our "Engineers" out without a fatality to remind the nation of the co-operation with the US over Iraq.

I've just heard Clark say (on a TV One News item) that Rudd will withdraw Aussie troops from Iraq and that "of course we were never there". The re-writing of history begins. Yes NZ troops/"Engineers" were sent there and ended up guarding British bases - they were there alright.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Sunday Newspaper Brunch Club

On the Sunday Newspaper Brunch Club today at 11am, Sky Digital 65, Wallace Chapman from Kiwi FM Breakfast and Ben Thomas from the NBR

News that caught my eye –
News that Caught my eye
1: Fairfax Poll at the beginning of the week - labour 40% - National 45%

2: The EFB - Anonymous Donations hit - The Herald still claiming issues

3: Police complaint - albiet 8 years late - that protestors were wrongly stopped from protesting against the 1999 visit of the chinese leaders

4: Clint Rickards 'resigns'

5: Case of Father hitting his kid

6: Saudia Arabia and the raped girl woman about to get 200 lashes

STORY 1 - Rudd Wins - HOS
How dirty did this election get with Liberal candidates sending out bogus leaflets?

Thousands of teen offenders may escape being dealt with by an adult court under moves to lift the minimum age from 17 to 18. The government is drafting law changes to bring New Zealand into line with a United Nations convention. O'conner says that we are just doing it to stay in line with the UN - he wasn't complainging when that's what we were doing with the TSA

STORY 3: Qantas TV awards - SST
Robyn Maclom - Best TV Drama Actress
Antony Starr - Best Actor
Outragous Fortune - Peoples Choice
3 News - Best News
Duncan Garner - Best TV Journalist
60 Minutes - Best Current Affairs
LET US SPRAY - Best Investigation
Mark Sainsbury - Best Presenter
Sunday - Best Weekly Current Affairs
Pulp Sport - Best Comedy

STORY 4: Legal Aid Row for Bain - HOS
A question mark is hanging over David Bain's murder retrial after claims inadequate legal aid funding has been made available to fight the charges.
The row is expected to delay the case, which had been scheduled for May next year - and his legal team has warned "a worst-case scenario" could be that Bain fights the charges without any legal representation at all.
The Legal Services Agency has rejected an application by Bain's defence team for more legal aid funding, claiming while the trial is "complex", it is no more complex than other trials it has funded in the past.
Currently Bain has legal aid funding for lead counsel Michael Reed, QC, Helen Cull, QC, lawyer Paul Morton and supporter Joe Karam.
The request was to provide funding to increase the defence team by another four solicitors, who would primarily be employed to help analyse the more than 100,000 pages of evidence.
Adding to the cost of the trial is the number of defence witnesses Bain's legal team plans to call. In the original trial there were only three, including Bain - for the retrial, up to 100 are expected to be called.
The Crown has a team of detectives, three firms of solicitors and research and administrative staff working on the retrial. The whole case is expected to cost taxpayers up to $15 million, with around $4 million of that devoted to legal aid. An extra four defence counsel would add at least a further $500,000 to the total bill.

FINAL WORD: Owen Polland winning the 'taking Paul Henrys Foot in mouth for the team award'.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Australian election results

The Australian Election Commissiontally board is up and running. And Howard's seat - one to watch.

------------UPDATE 1:30AM------------
Oh and Howard's full-on endorsement of Peter Costello as his ordained replacement as leader during his concession speech was outrageous - wasn't it. It seemed totally inappropriate - it's surely up to the caucus to decide - and he ain't gonna be in it - so shut-up. That Turnbill guy survived against the odds in a Sydney seat (unlike Howard) and he had a moment there when he looked like the new leader - which I guess is what Howard's trying to head off.

------------UPDATE 1AM------------
Labour wins. Was Bennelong a seat to watch or what! That last minute shift by the bookies was the tip off. He just conceded it.
HOWARD, John Winston Liberal - 48.86%
McKEW, Maxine Labor - 51.14%

She's about 500 ahead with all booths reporting. On the national scene:

Enrolment: 13,645,073 Votes Counted: 74.46%
Party Votes Percentage % Swing %
Liberal 3,517,670 36.03 -4.37
Australian Labor Party 4,308,250 44.13 +5.78
The Greens 747,680 7.66 +0.64
The Nationals 519,756 5.32 -0.42
Family First 193,987 1.99 -0.03
Democrats 67,252 0.69 -0.49
One Nation 23,374 0.24 -0.88
CDP Christian Party 82,537 0.85 +0.25
Citizens Electoral Council 20,792 0.21 -0.13
CLP - The Territory Party 30,012 0.31 -0.02
Socialist Alliance 7,966 0.08 -0.04
The Fishing Party 1,554 0.02 +0.00
DLP - Democratic Labor Party 4,313 0.04 +0.03
Climate Change Coalition 7,303 0.07 +0.07
Conservatives for Climate and Environment Incorporated 2,376 0.02 +0.02
Liberty and Democracy Party 12,360 0.13 +0.13
Non-Custodial Parents Party 636 0.01 +0.00
Socialist Equality Party 3,281 0.03 +0.03
What Women Want (Australia) 2,847 0.03 +0.03
Independent 206,973 2.12 -0.20
Non Affiliated 898 0.01 -0.02
.... 0 0.00 -0.38
FORMAL 9,761,817 96.08 +1.56
INFORMAL 398,020 3.92 -1.56
TOTAL 10,159,837 74.46

Enrolment: 13,645,073 Votes Counted: 72.89%
Coalition Votes Percentage % Swing %
Liberal/National Coalition 4,462,131 46.69 -5.51
Australian Labor Party 5,094,356 53.31 +5.51

The Greens get 7.66% but don't win a single House seat. That's First past the post. Thank the heavens this country was bold enough to change to a proportional system. The Greens in Aussie will pick up some Senate seats - though all the TV coverage is elsewhere. they are picking up Senate votes in NSW 8.29%, Vic 9.93%, Qld 7.45%, WA 9.33%, SA 6.38%, and the Green's Bob Brown is definitely back in in Tasmania with a 17.74%, ACT 21.91%, NT 9.38%. So the question to the Greens in NZ is this: why are you doing so badly compared with your counterpart in Australia?

Now Rudd is giving a very pre-rehearsed (I've heard many of the lines before) and masculine speech to convey authority and inclusiveness, but he's so slick it's slightly unnerving. He's committed firstly to paying back the unions by dealing to Howard's work choice labour laws. The cunt doesn't mention NZ at all when he's listing the ones he will work with. NZ is in the "other" category. And he's a former diplomat so it probably wasn't a slip either.... not that we actually care, but you know - it would have been nice - it would have been polite.

The numbers

The NZH has more analysis of the USD collapse:
The Fed's trade-weighted major currency index bottomed at 71.11 on November 7, the lowest since the era of free-floating currencies started in 1971. Against the yen and European currencies, the US dollar is now worth about a third of what it was in the days of fixed rates.
In 1971 Nixon had to take the US off the gold standard because of the expense of the Vietnam War (and as I recall France kept demanding payment in gold rather than dollars). Hmmm, Iraq? Even their central bank wants to revalue.

And speaking of money, Fletcher's wins the Eden Park upgrade - by default it seems. If the project is as badly handled as most of them are in Auckland it will be a licence to print money for them. The share price was down however on Friday but maybe that was before the announcement.

And the Aussie election. Because of the more complicated preferential voting system the electoral commission is urging competence with spoiled ballots normally running at about 5%:
Across Australia there were 639,000 informal votes and Sydney was over represented [...] In completing the green House of Representatives ballot, voters must number every box for the vote to be counted. On the white Senate paper electors have a choice of marking 1 above the line or numbering every box below.
Yes, all the boxes must be filled in for the House seats; and in the Senate if you don't want to give all your votes to the one party:
At the last election 10,183 (or 11.8 per cent) of the votes were informal in the western Sydney seat of Greenway - considerably more than the 883-vote winning margin.

Voting closes 8pm NZDT in Eastern Australia.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Howard almost even money in own seat!

It's all bad news for Howard (note the Green and ALP ads on the site):
The Prime Minister became visibly frustrated as questioning over the distribution of the bogus pamphlets in the marginal western Sydney seat of Lindsay took up half the questions in his final nationally televised speech ahead of tomorrow's vote.

And the SMH has a pork-o-meter registering $11 billion more promised by Howard than by Rudd. More Green party ads here - they must of spent a bit in online advertising. Also they have connexions to all the you tube party ads.

Meanwhile the bookies have it going all Labor's way. Centrebet has ALP@$1.21, Coalition@$4.50. But more extraordinary than that is the betting on Howard's Bennelong seat:
HOWARD, John (LIB) 1.72
MCKEW, Maxine (ALP) 2.00

I've heard of two differing polls: Neilsen has the ALP with a 14 point lead: ALP 57 / Coalition 43, but Galaxy poll is closer: 52/48. But the mood seems certain and the bookies are rarely wrong.

As he might say: Errrrrrrr I'm errrrr..aahhh fucked mate.


Police lay 40 charges against Taito Phillip Field

Police lay 40 charges against Taito Phillip Field
MP Taito Phillip Field has been charged with 15 counts of bribery and 25 counts of attempting to pervert justice. A High Court ruling in October cleared the way for police to prosecute him for bribery and corruption. Field has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer Simativa Perese says his client remains optimistic about his chances. "Now the matters are in court, it's inappropriate to go into the basis for that. But that is a matter of public record - that he's maintained his innocence and asserted his innocence," Mr Perese said. He is due to appear in the Manukau District Court at 10am on Monday to face the charges announced today. The charges centre on allegations Mr Field gave immigration assistance in return for free or low-cost labour on properties he owned in Samoa, South Auckland and Wellington.

OUCH! It takes time, but justice does catch up now and again, and it couldn't have caught up with a nicer chap - the sheer gall of Phillip Field, elected into a position of influence and power, who then turns that position into one of manipulating the trust of those who are weak, and his greedy exploitation of that trust is so jaw dropping you really can't wait to wipe the smirk off his face. 40 charges of bribery and attempting to pervert justice should do the trick.

Dirty filthy Australian Politics

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Dirty filthy Australian Politics
A rare drenching rain fell on Canberra yesterday as Prime Minister John Howard arrived for his final big push for victory in tomorrow's election. With the rain came more bad polling news and - far more seriously - a scandal that drove his message aside and dominated what he had intended as an inspirational plea for support in a nationally televised address. In Sydney the husbands of a retiring Liberal MP and the candidate standing as her replacement were implicated in the distribution of bogus flyers from a non-existent Islamic organisation lauding Labor support for terrorism and the Bali bombers. The scandal could not have come at a worse time for Howard, with a Newspoll in the Australian giving Labor a clear lead in every mainland state except Western Australia, and a nationwide lead of 10 percentage points over the Government. If Labour can’t win now, nothing short of John Howard eating a baby live on TV can do it – but how dirty are the politics – a false leaflet showing Labour supporting the Bali Bombers? How low must one go to win in Australia?

Rickards resigns as a pig in shit

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Rickards resigns as a pig in shit
Clint Rickards has received about $700,000 since being stood down as assistant police commissioner amid pack rape allegations. The man who was being groomed as the country's first Maori police commissioner resigned yesterday, just months out from a scheduled disciplinary hearing at which he had vowed to fight 11 internal police disciplinary charges.
Though his contract was not due to expire till December next year, police are refusing to say whether Mr Rickards - who has been acquitted of sexual offences at two separate trials - will receive a taxpayer-funded exit package. Louise Nicholas - who first made public rape allegations against Mr Rickards and former policemen Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum in January 2004 - said she was disappointed Mr Rickards would not appear at February's hearing to face up to the lifetime of hurt he had caused her and other women. "Another chapter's closed. But I know that he did some bad things and he's able to walk away from it. I think that's the hardest thing for me and the others."
What can one say any further on this case? There will be those who cry out that he’s had his trial(s) and he’s been found innocent (even though the Jury were not aware that his two co-accussed were serving time for identical sado-masochistic ritualistic gang rape and that later the Detective in charge of the case was prosecuted for perverting the course of justice by covering for his cop mates and throwing the case) – and then there are others who will be astounded someone with as much smoke billowing from them can still manage $700 000 while stood down, apparently because there is no fire. We have employment law that is there to protect us all, and sometimes those who deserve no sympathy from us can find haven there – yes the courts are an old boys network, yes the cops are the worst offenders in that old boys network, yes they cover their arses and yes as designers of the systems of power, they get the all access passes – but despite that, Rickards has been crucified in that most destructive of places, Public Opinion – the man will never hold down a job of any standing again and the sound of his name is synonymous with throwing up in your own mouth, he has been demeaned as badly as any of the women who came forward to claim accusations against him and their resolute stance in the face of his arrogance showed who the real heroes were. Goodbye Clint, if I’m certain of anything, I know that the majority of decent NZers are disgusted with you, you feel their eyes every time you are on the street - karma will get you Clint.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

We’re in Afghanistan fighting for feminism and women’s rights yet not a word at Saudi Arabia

I remember many of the justifications for war in Afghanistan, the one that made me giggle was women’s rights, I’ve never thought of US Marines or NZ SAS as particularly feminist organizations, but what do I know? I do find it surprising that if we are in Afghanistan fighting for women’s rights, not a word at Sudia Arabia for this insult to reason…

Saudis back rape victim sentence
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have defended a judicial sentence of 200 lashes for a rape victim. The justice ministry said in a statement that the sentence was justified because the woman was in a car with an unrelated man. The 19-year-old, who has not been named, was travelling in a car with a male friend last year, when the car was attacked by a gang of seven men who raped both of them.

So the woman is to receive 200 lashes for being raped in a car with a man she wasn’t related to? How backwards is that, I mean how really, really, knuckle dragging backwards is that? It is so against what Islam stands for, it’s as warped as those American Christians who protest soldier funerals because they believe every soldiers death is God punishing America for not burning homosexuals at the stake.

Question Time (updated live)


Thursday, 22 November 2007

Questions to Ministers

Gerry Brownlee wants to know about the election bill's progress - Cullen gets in a dig.... Speaker announces some report about their parliamentary junket to India. Now Gordon Copeland wants to complain about a young mate of his not getting into the gallery because he was a protester. He had to personally vouch for him. Keith Locke agrees it's a problem, but the Speaker just wants to get on with it.

1. Hon MARIAN HOBBS to the Minister for Tertiary Education: Has he received any reports on the proportion of New Zealanders holding a tertiary qualification?
Pete Hodgson: 40% of all NZers hold a tertiary qualification - 13% Bacheor or higher. [As Mahary used to say "more good news, New Zealand!" No-one cares about this patsy - Nats are poised for next question.]

2. Hon BILL ENGLISH to the Minister of Justice: Does she agree with the chief executive of the Electoral Commission, Dr Helena Catt, that interpreting parts of the Electoral Finance Bill is “almost impossible”; if not, why not?
Annette King: No, she said "she didn't use those words." Must be clearly identified and spend within limits. CEO clear: "inducement to vote" is crucial point. [very long answer - grim-faced colleagues behind her are motionless]. She thinks putting stuff in the commentary of the bill will be enough [ahh, that's funny - why don't you just do it properly? Bill English doing a good job so far - he sounds as if he's done his research.] "Don't be Mr Angry - just keep calm!" says King [he's rattled her! - she's got her back up now]. English: no-one understands it - run risk of prosecution for corruption later on. King fends it off: many people will get legal advice. English: How stupid is this? King: the Nats can't buy it like they did last time [now that is weak, a very weak response] King: it's not my role to individually interpret the Electoral Act. [said in exasperation - Speaker is similarly,] Cullen says it isn't fair on King to put up with barracking. [she doesn't need help does she - is she failing that badly?] Turei (Green): Brethren undermines free speech [is that what she said?] King: Brethren's Tasmanian involvement accused Greens of bestiality [ ... wrong on so many levels].

3. JILL PETTIS to the Minister of Health: How does New Zealand perform in terms of OECD statistics in cardiac health care?
David Cunliffe: [more good news etc. Barbara Stewart of NZF asks something - you never see her]

4. Hon BILL ENGLISH to the Minister of Justice: Is it the Government’s intention that publicity should not be considered an election advertisement under the Electoral Finance Bill if it refers only to “the Government”, and doesn’t mention any particular political party; if so why?
Trevor Mallard yelling out loudest before he can even ask it. English gets another bite at the cherry -question 2. King: it's all about context. English: gives example. King: It's not my job to interpret that.

5. Hon PETER DUNNE to the Minister of Justice: Is the Government considering further amendments to the Electoral Finance Bill; if so, what are they?
And now Dunne gets to help her out. King: Often technical amendments are made. Heather Roy: megaphones? Internet? King: In my view yesterday's anti-EFB could not attract any criminal sanction. [oh, so now she can give legal advice!]

6. GERRY BROWNLEE to the Minister of State Services: What are the terms of reference for the State Services Commission inquiry into the Ministry for the Environment’s employment of Labour Party activist Clare Curran, and will the inquiry investigate claims made by Erin Leigh that Ms Curran was “being employed to look after David Parker’s personal political agenda”?
This is what TV3's gallery correspondent set up on yesterday's news. Brownlee: He skillfully avoided the question. [yes- he did - I can't even recall what he said, sorry] Mallard: Leigh was incompetent - she had complaints, Curran was employed to fix up her mess. She came in in an "agitated state to clear out her desk" - and then invoiced them for that quarter hour! [Brownlee didn't get to far on that one - Mallard's too long in the tooth to be easily wrong-footed]

7. HONE HARAWIRA to the Minister responsible for Climate Change Issues: Kei te hari koa a ia ki te maro o te noho here a te Kawanatanga ki tana kaupapa whakaheke hau kino tukunga ki te rangi; meina ae, he aha ai?
Translation: Is he happy with the Government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; if so, why?
Pete Hodgson: yeah we're working on it. Harawira: policies will increase age of vehicle fleet. Hodgson: no "it's junk".

8. Hon Dr NICK SMITH to the Minister for the Environment: Does he stand by his statement on Tuesday this week in respect of the decision by his Ministry to employ Labour Party activist Clare Curran for strategic communications on climate change, that “it was in breach of the operating policy”, and “There is a fast-track authority method that could have been used quite properly in this case, and it was not.”; if so, who does he hold responsible for this breach?
Mallard: they're looking in to it. [Smith's questions are very long - Mallard answers very precisely and as short as possible] Smith: Govt's interference is dodgy. Mallard: I accept their was a breach with quotes, looking in to it. Smith: House is etitled to an answer. Point of order: Cullen: This minister isn't responsible - stuff was said in select committee. [first defender position again - trying to bail Trevor out, Speaker seek's "clarification"]. Mallard: no-one said Parker "directed" anyone to employ Curran. [this is all beginning to sound like bitter internecine Wellington political-bureaucratic bullshit that must go down all the time]

9. DAVE HEREORA to the Minister of Commerce: How do today’s announcements on the outcomes of the review of Parts 4 and 4A of the Commerce Act 1986 contribute to the Government’s economic transformation agenda, in terms of its focus on promoting investment in infrastructure?
Dalziel: "methodology" [at which point I tuned out]. Auckland airport OK about it.

10. Hon TONY RYALL to the Minister of Health: Has he been advised of any recent reports on hospital productivity?
Cunliffe: yes. Ryall: Peter Davis [PM's husband] report was positive [for 1990s]. Cunliffe: health inequalities under National. Ryall: He said resources have doubled over decade - why can't you get better results? Cunliffe: it will pay dividends over years, elective surgery up 5%. [but how much was spending up?] Ryall: asks same question again. Cunliffe: the public decided the Nats were bad in 1999 and kicked them out. [like that's an answer]

11. JEANETTE FITZSIMONS to the Associate Minister of Transport: Does she expect proposed vehicle exhaust emissions standards to reduce the number of premature deaths from air pollution from vehicle exhausts; if so, how many lives does she expect this rule change could save?
Harry Duynhoven: no specific advice - a report in July said "500 NZ'ers die prematurely each year". [really? Prove it.] Quality of fuel is better. Scrapping scheme. Brown: School buses will double in price. Duynhoven: 200 buses on way now, aim at better buses. Fitzsimons: 435,000 days each year lost through particulate emissions [really? is that in the same report? that sounds astounding].

12. KATHERINE RICH to the Minister of Education: Why does he continue to tell the House that the Ministry first knew of sex abuse allegations made against the principal of Hato Paora College on 3 August 2007, when he had been advised that the actual date the Ministry was first aware was 1 August when the Ministry received a call from the media?
Chris Carter: Process in place since 1996 - that was followed. I have now answered 6 almost identical questions about this from Rich. Rich: did the school followed all aspects: Carter: yes. Rich: at time of appointment though... [she's chipping away - she thinks there's a rat here somewhere, but often politicians will get on to something that yields nothing, this sounds like one of them].

Electoral Finance Bill now under discussion.
Bill English gives a good, solid speech - I can't see John Key doing this well. Because the bill is a constitutional issue it gives him a strong platform to denounce Labour for being partisan and eschewing consensus.

Judge tells smack father: 'You can't get away with that now'

Judge tells smack father: 'You can't get away with that now'
A father convicted of assault after smacking his son on the bottom has been told by a judge that parents cannot get away with such behaviour any longer. The eight-year-old boy suffered a bruised shoulder after his 33-year-old father pulled him onto a bed and bent him over his knee, smacking him three times with an open hand across the buttocks. The man, whose name was permanently suppressed, was sentenced to nine months supervision including anger management at Masterton District Court yesterday. Police claimed the boy also suffered bruised buttocks, but the defendant disputed this, the Wairarapa Times-Age reported. The man had arrived at his home in Masterton from work in the evening, to be told the boy had been in trouble at school. He had confronted the boy in the bedroom where the offence occurred. He later told police he had over-reacted and lost his temper. Judge Anthony Walsh told him, "one time, maybe, you could have got away with this, but you can't do that now". Judge Walsh said there were "other ways of disciplining, short of violence." "You must understand that what you did amounted to an assault. Our law has been amended so that children are protected." Judge Walsh asked the man's partner, who was seated in court with a victim's adviser, how the boy was now. "He's playing on it, like, 'you can't sit next to me, Dad,'" she said. The woman said her partner was still relating to his son, "but not the disciplining  I'm doing that."
"As a parent, all parents know children can be challenging," Judge Walsh told the defendant. "But you're the adult, and you need to take responsibility and sort it out."

What part of 'don't hit the kids' don't he get?

Bush 'involved' in CIA leak case

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Bush 'involved' in CIA leak case
A former White House press secretary has said the US president was involved in misinforming the public over the leaking of a CIA agent's identity. In an excerpt from his book, Scott McClellan says George W Bush helped mislead the public over the role in the affair of two White House aides. The CIA agent, Valerie Plame, says her identity was leaked because her diplomat husband opposed the Iraq war. Mr McClellan's book is not scheduled for publication until April and the excerpt released was brief. It refers to a White House press conference he attended in 2003. At the conference, Mr McClellan told journalists that the two aides Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in leaking Ms Plame's identity. The excerpt reads: "There was one problem. It was not true. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice-president, the president's chief of staff, and the president himself." Mr McClellan, who served as press secretary from 2003 to 2006, has made no further comment on the excerpt. I’ve always hoped this would be the way Bush would leave office, Americans have this inane tendancy to love their President even if he wrongly invades 3rd world countries and flattens them (ask the 200 000+ South Americans who died from Amercan funded paramilitary death squads if Ronald Reagan is the greatest ever Republican). There is a simplicity about the American mainstream dialogue that borders on the handicapped, where invading Iraq may be forgiven in the national interest, the President getting caught out clearly lying is a cardinal sin. Apparently to lie for America is great, to lie for oneself is careless, and American’s are all about hokey flag blinded manners, if Bush gets caught out lying it will be for many of his evangelical followers akin to sex with Hillary Clinton. Bush deserves to not only be booed by Democrats as he crawls out of the White House, it would also be lovely to see him hissed out by his moral majority Republicans as well. January 2009 can’t come soon enough.

Oil hits record above $US99

ALT TV/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
Oil hits record above $US99
Oil has soared to record highs, drawing within a hair's breadth of the $US100 milestone as the US dollar plumbed new lows and the onset of cold US weather stirred anxiety over winter supplies. We are going to have to start thinking about a world where oil is $100 per barrel PLUS, the rising middle classes in China and India want their Western lifestyle whether we like it or not, add to this the peak oil factors and we have a 19th century technology that has no future in the 21st. The absolute denial we seem to have on this issue is only matched by our denial on global warming, and when I say denial, I don’t mean ‘awareness’ – everyone is ‘aware’ of the issues, we refuse to do anything about it, we have no government who will stand up and make the calls necessary to tackle our oil addiction, so dig deeper into those pockets. I love the fact I don’t own a car.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The General Parliamentary Debate (updated live)

Will some member please take notice of miscellaneous business:

Pete Hodgson Lab: It has been one year since John Key took over as leader
Interrupted by massive and sustained applause by National! Cullen intervenes to demand his time be reset. On mentioning this again more applause from National. What a great start. Then follows a dozen points of order, each more pedantic than the last. So the Chairman starts it again.
Pete Hodgson: A man all hat and no horse... Bill English said of Mr Key... "Flittered and bounced from cloud to cloud" He's wearing some sort of ribbon on his lapel - must be for combating male baldness or something. Yelling a lot, very confident considering his star is waning (after cabinet reshuffle).

Lockwood Smith Nat: They said the other day... he was "discombobulated"... 87% go to Aussie Most people leaving for Aussie in 25 years. Inevitably it's all about tax. Tax, tax. Controlling us... Helen knows best... can't tell us what to say in election year... it's corruption

Chris Carter Lab: Calls Bill English Mr 20% - oh dear they'll never let him live that down, but I think the Nats have forgiven him. Says Key sat through a racist meeting in Hobsonville about State housing. I want to talk about the big Gay out... he didn't have the guts... about the civil union bill. He came to the Ghandi Centre... mispronounced the Governor-General's name three times... said he liked their restaurants. And this from a guy who went up to Waitangi and stood on a flag and then dredged up old emnities of the tribes he was speaking to!!! This guy's unbelievable. Now that was a faux pas - not what he described happen with John Key.

Tim Grosser Nat: Odd sort of clipped English speech, very precise - reflects his trade negotiation background I suppose. The politics of redistribution starts talking about the ancient migration of the Austronesian people, a history lesson, but very little impact. Poor performance really - not on point.

Doug Woollerton NZF: Oh what a grey, grey man. A nasally, uptight voice. What an automatic turn-off. What was he saying again?... whatever.

Clayton Cosgrove Lab: He must have shaved that bit in between his eyebrows because he's looking a lot less like a Romanian coal miner that he used to. God, he even sounds like Mike Moore - same voice, speech everything. What was he talking about?

Jill Pettis and her paint-stripping shrillness intervenes to point out Gerry Brownlee said something naughty - said Labour are liars. The speaker says chill out.

Lindsay Tisch Nat: What an old party hack this man is. Another awful, uptight voice. Classic accent too and he even says "gummint". What a time-server, a real party man. He has energy - but it's all about business surveys and tax etc. very boring subject matter. I'm not going to go through them all - thank God!

Moana Mackey Lab: She's very chipper, like she might be promoted or something? She's another party hack, her Mum was an MP. Steve Chadwick next to her chiming in on cue with various hand signals and supporting statements.

John Carter Nat: That last speech... was a load of dribble. Oh that mostache. It's been movember for Hone for years now - one endless movember of looking like Groucho Marx. And he's wearing his parliamentary rugby team blazer - like Shane Jones does (is it a Northland thing?) - as if he's in the bloody All Blacks or something. What a dreamer. He likes pointing. If you turn the sound down it's like he's conducting an orchestra (albeit Yeltsin-style). He just got in a jab about "socialists".

Shane Jones Lab: Speak of the Devil. And yes he's got his blaser on too. Lots of shouting, lots of posturing. Typical Jones bluster. He is the definition of bluster all that National Party bitching. He gets pulled up on that but the Speaker isn't offended. Accuses Exclusive Brethren of ripping down Labour posters.

Sue Bradford Grn: Youth workers esp. circular deliverers working as independent contractors - wages as low as $1.67 an hour. They have no protection... keeps adult wages down? Good points here, pity there's almost no-one in the chamber whatsoever.

Eric Roy Nat: Now this guy's an old timer. THe issues that threatens the fabric of democracy... is the Election Finance Bill Well he's on message. Very grey - a sort of intelligent version of Bob Clarkson by the looks of it.

Scratch number 6, Ian Smith

So he wasn't dead after all, but is now.

1 out of 10 and only a month and a bit left. This isn't shaping up to be a good year. If only Mr Mugabe could help me out before the new year.

C'mon Bob, just let go.

Death List candidates for 2007:

Ariel Sharon, Israeli fanatic, former PM (brain died 2005)
Kurt Waldheim, Austrian former SS Nazi & UN Sec-Gen.
Suharto, Indonesian former dictator.
Fidel Castro, Cuban El Presidente.
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean dictator.
Ian Smith, Rhodesian dictator (dead already?)
Margaret Thatcher, British dictatrix.
Ronnie Biggs, British train robber.
Billy Graham, American religious fanatic/Presidential confidante.
2007 NZ Idol 2nd Runner-up, of a failed attempted suicide.
If Ian Smith is actually already dead then I’ll replace him with the current Algerian dictator Abdelaziz Belkhadem.

‘military intelligence’ has Iraq reporter facing terror charge

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News Comment
‘military intelligence’ has Iraq reporter facing terror charge
The US military says it will recommend criminal charges against an Associated Press photographer detained in 2006 on suspicion of helping Iraqi insurgents. The Pentagon says additional evidence has come to light proving Bilal Hussein is a "terrorist media operative" who infiltrated the news agency. The case will be passed to Iraqi judges who will decide if he should be tried. AP says its own investigation has found no evidence that he was anything but an Iraqi journalist working in a war zone. The agency's lawyers say they have been denied access to Mr Hussein and the evidence against him, making it impossible to build a defence. AP's president and chief executive officer Tom Curley told the BBC he believed the US military simply wished to keep Mr Hussein in jail as long as possible. He said the US did not want news coming out of Anbar province, which he called an "information black hole". Would this be the same military intelligence that originally suggested Saddam had weapons of mass destruction in the first place? Isn’t it a wee bit suspicious that at the same time this award winning Iraqi journalist is bringing information out of Anbar province the American’s are doing all they can to shut him up? The American military are working under time constraints as the law obliges them to release Bilal Hussein by December 12th unless legal proceedings are started again, which surprise, surprise the Americans are trying to do with this new ‘military intelligence’.

Yawn. Sure.