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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Can I have a "Praise Jesus!"?

I do personally treasure a belief on a modern, secular society. But I believe it to be more imminently compromised by a major political party secretly getting into bed with an authoritarian religious sect like the Exclusive Brethren, than by a tiny handful of immigrants. - Russell Brown's Hard News

Does not compute, RB.

He makes this criticism in context of Dr Brash's much anticipated (ie. over-hyped) Orewa speech tomorrow (?) where there may be an anti-muslim immigrant stance based on the dribble of teasers released by official sources prior to the speech.

I don't like the Exclusive Brethren either, but political parties take money from almost everyone and have meetings with almost everyone and then after meeting and taking the money of almost everyone then proceed to screw almost everyone over by doing almost nothing that everyone wants. Party leaders can be at Anti-Zionist/Pro-Palestine marches in the morning and then at Anti-Palestine/Pro-Zionist rallies that same afternoon - that's what politicians are like: they are vote whores and that's never going to change. For a cult that involves both Christianity and a form of burqa the Brethren are an anathema to most non-brainwashed non-misogynists and I think their backing of National (and Brash's feigning of ignorance on the matter) was a tremendous fumble despite not really being of the magnitude of the axis of evil their opponents made it out to be.

However for Brown to suggest that that is worse than "a tiny handful of immigrants" is utterly incorrect - especially if we are to take his statement about treasuring a secular society at face value. State schools that are supposedly "secular" routinely yield to the pressure from Muslim cult groups to enforce the headscarf/mini-burqa on their female students. That is the thin end of the wedge. A Christchurch school has set up a mosque/prayer/room for this cult. It is the Muslims pressuring formerly secular schools into giving them rights (and rites) in connexion with their cult. Will this encourage other cults to do the same? There was a case in Wellington of a Christian cult taking cult lessons at lunchtime that seems to suggest the cultification of state schools is under way. It must be resisted. That sort of brainwashing shit must not be allowed to happen on school property during school hours. The current system of officially "closing" the school during a prayer or a cult lesson is completely unacceptable and against the spirit of a secular state education system.

There is an almost endless drain of naivety that accompanies this issue - a suspension of reality - as many people (and not all from the Left) in one breath condemn Christians and in the next think it fine for Islamic cults to set their own uniforms for schools and practice their "beliefs" (ie. the warped doctrine that their repressive family is in the grip of) at school. That sort of compromise extends the power of cult groups and encourages them. How can they get out of their oppressive marriage contracts when the school says they cannot be free of their cult uniform? How can females be told in school they can do anything - but when the males of the family insist they wear the emblem of the cult and they are given no help by the school in resisting? And as for arguments about females wanting to wear it!? - They have been brought up/brainwashed since birth into thinking they must - for a child to say they are choosing to wear it is for a child to admit their mind is enslaved.

And as far as beliefs go political parties too are in the same league. Would a school tolerate party arm bands being worn? Gang patches being worn? Would they tolerate political doctrine being disseminated on school proprety at lunchtimes and arm bands being worn and checked upon and a separate party HQ being housed on campus? Would people be comfortable with that? With gangs making sure their patches are worn properly and a gang room set aside? Is their a sunstantial difference here? At least gangs aren't promoting a foreign allegiance!

We hear stories from all over the globe about Muslims wanting their law (Sharia) to be enforced for their members and for the State to change the law to enable their cult members to do so. In the northern states of Nigeria they are in the majority and have done so. It is not just the Christians that are not happy - so too are many Muslims. In the US and elsewhere it is the hardline fundamentalist Christians that seek to have their type of laws enforced in a similar fashion. Same story there - many Christians are unhappy about this (eg. anti-evolution theory, ant-gay, anti-happiness laws in some states of the US). The lesson is Do not, under any circumstances, let these fucking cult freaks anywhere near a school. And keep the fuckers out of the country. If they have on their application "Priest" or "Imam" or "Bishop" etc. they must be turned back. We ought to actively resist the foreign cults at a governmental level rather than take their money and change laws to suit their voters (esp. the Labour party). RB should be more upset that Steven Ching got on the Labour list due to $$$ and was very reluctantly jettisoned after a series of dodgarama revelations than National's Brethren connexion. Labour was quite happy for this Ching character to be an MP despite his ethical failures because of money and ethnic relations. They are a dirty bunch.

I take issue too with RB's assertion that Muslim immigrants are a "tiny minority". Maybe now that is correct. In the near future? [Stats Dept. says in 2001 Islamists numbered 23,637 - only about 0.5% of the total population (BTW: Jews were 6,636 and "no religion" was a massive 1,028,049)] I wonder what the census in March is going to show? A decrease in Muslims? - I don't think so. Thanks to the stupid "family reunification" category there will be many more elderly cultists winging their way here to enforce their beliefs on their children and provide a cult backbone as well as a linguistic and behavioural police for these new immigrant families who may have otherwise have integrated successfully but instead will be enduring a traditionalist existence under the over-bearing tutelage of their elders. In Auckland Muslims are plentiful and visible. Men in white Arab-style outfits shuttling their black burqa-ed womenfolk around are not merely occassional sightings anymore. These medieval Afghanistan-like scenes are not just in the Koran-belt of Sandribad and Roskillistan either.

What is the point of them living here? If inter-marriage is the base of modern NZ then we are eroding that significantly by allowing people here who obviously have absoultely no intention of ever allowing anyone from their group to marry (or it seems even communicate with) those outside of their foreign clique.

Many Indians here are Hindus and have been growing quickly (Stats Dept 2001: 39,864, 1991: 17,661, 1986: 8,148) and have a reputation for dodgy marriage practices, violent misogynism and cult behaviour - all without the neccessity for silly headgear. The same criticisms as above can also be put upon them to some degree. Go through the all the cult groups. Jewish and African male (and female) genital mutilation rituals comes to mind as both religious and ethnic barbarism it would be good to outlaw on a rational rather than racist basis. The lists go on and on.

Remember the nature of the cult group is its exclusivity and systems of control - and parental pressure for their children to marry inside the cult and have many children (incl. in-breeding) is part of that. That is usually their core function: to perpetuate themselves. Unfortunately that means that for any outsider they will have to convert to get to marry. So the cult grows while the non-cult population decreases and the objective of a secular state slips further away. There are apparently parts of the UK where this scenario is playing out, incl one city councillor who can't speak English and needs a translator and state schools adopting muslim-style uniforms [no link].

Are you a cultist? (in a NZ context)

  • You wear a religious garment on more than one occasion per week. (If you wear a small item of religious jewellery more than once a week you could still be an atheist/agnostic.)

  • You attend or participate in a religious ritual more than once a week.

  • You deny your children any opportunity or possibility of opting out of the cult.

  • You will not marry someone other than a cult member.

  • You accept that your cult beliefs are exclusively correct and/or are timelessly correct.

  • You accept the instructions of cult leaders.

  • Tahi "yes" - you're a bit religious.
    Rua "yes" - you're a bit of a fundy.
    Toru "yes" - you are a fundy.
    Wha "yes" - you're a cultist.
    Rima "yes" - you're a fundy cultist.
    Ono "yes" - you're a nut-bar fundy cultist.

    Our immigration should keep out anyone with two or more "yes" answers. The chances of anyone answering four "yes" and integrating adequately into NZ society is almost zero if there are any language barriers. At five "yes" CYFS should be checking on the kids.

    Oh, and to the nut-bars in anything that purports it is a "cultwatch" or similar Christian type organisation supposedly against cults, I'm sorry, but you are one too - only scared (paranoid) that the other cults are more successful.

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    Your right to know (how to safely get out of Mexico)

    --------------------UPDATE 7:35pm:--------------------
    No Mexican maps for illegal migrants
    A Mexican government commission says it will suspend plans to distribute border maps to migrants planning to cross the border illegally. Miguel Angel Paredes, the spokesman for the federal Human Rights Commission, said the decision wasn't because of US complaints, but because human rights officials in border states expressed concern that the maps would show anti-immigrant groups where migrants were likely to gather.

    I had to laugh at this report:

    "A Mexican government commission says it will distribute 70,000 maps showing roads, rescue beacons and water tanks in the Arizona desert to curb the toll among those crossing the border illegally.

    The National Human Rights Commission, a government-funded agency with independent powers, denied the maps - similar to a comic-style guide booklet Mexico distributed last year - would encourage illegal immigration.

    Officials said the maps would help to guide those in trouble to rescue beacons and areas with mobile phone reception."

    Yes, yes it's for their own safety etc. but really, it makes you think: Indonesian nautical charts for the Tampa-types? Ahmed Zaoui's SE Asian tourism guide and make-your-own travel documents series?

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    PM on pa with the G-G

    Did anyone else notice on the TV pictures of yesterday's Ratana celebrations the presence of the Governor-General? I'm sure I spotted her amongst the dignitaries.

    The Ratana Church is more than just a religious sect it is - or should I say - was, a political movement of Maori who wanted the Treaty of Waitangi upheld and land taken wrongfully from them by the government to be returned. Since becoming allied to the Labour Party in the 1930s the political element seems to have died off. Like most Maori attempts at self-determination the Pakeha elements of government have been remarkably successful in buying them off.

    It is strange however that a religious/quasi-political event such as their annual celebration (of their founder's birthday) should attract the presence of the Governor-General. Does she attend other religious functions? Does she attend other religious-political functions? Has the Governor-General ever attended Ratana Pa before?

    I ask these questions because:
    1. I am anti-religious and think it wise that the representative of our Head of State should not associate with overtly religious (ie. cult) events.
    2. I do not think it wise that the representative of our Head of State should attend "political" functions either (although the nature of the event seems to be pan-political - so that criticism is somewhat blunted).
    3. The current PM banned the last Governor-General from attending Waitangi (which I think ought to have caused a constitutional crisis given that Hardy-Boys wanted very much to attend and is the ex-officio Chairman of the Treaty grounds trust board) so may have instructed (ie. ordered) this Governor-General to be at Ratana (with her).

    Did the PM order the G-G to be at Ratana as an extension of her mana?

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Snot easy being Green

    From Green Party leader Jeanette Fitzsimon's "State of the Planet" speech yesterday:

    "2006 could be the year in which you join or form a local water care group to keep the sewage and the farm runoff out of the rivers or the sea... the year in which you work with your neighbours on pest and weed control."

    Hypocritical, ineffectual, weak - this women is pathetic. She excuses her husband's reckless fire hazard actions of their slash and burn agriculture methods (which they decry) and has nothing but praise for the government's utterly derisory response to the didymo (Rock snot) infestation. How about she do her bloody job and protect this country's river eco-systems that are being destroyed by didymo? Do they care about our rivers or do they care a great deal more about nebulous social justice tangents? Are they the "Green" party or not?

    I do expect them to aggressively lobby the government and rally public support for a didymo eradication programme to save our rivers. At present the South Island is being sacrificed and the North Island will follow. Any such programme to stop this effectively (ie. eradication) would have support across many different sectors and would help energise the party as a popular campaign. But they seem to want to ingratiate themselves to the ruling party in a continued courtship that is an abusive dominator/victim relationship.

    Their leadership doesn't exist and their caucus consists of apostles of victimhood, diviners of the apocolyptic - martyred not by their enemies but by their own ineptitude.

    They just don't understand politics - and they seem not to even understand their own environmental agenda. When it comes to practical matters of urgent attention which go to the very heart of green doctrine they have no answers, no plans, no ability to react, no concern. They are a laughing stock. They are hypocrites. They simply do not care.

    Sunday, January 22, 2006

    Sunday Session

    Radio Live tonight 10pm-1am.

    Once again we have female journalists on the subject of female paedophilia (under-age sex) in the Sunday Star-Times. The tone is far too soft and goes too far in viewing the offences in terms of the offender and their myriad excuses. We know how a man would be treated - and it would be far harsher. The offenders "mental illness" is an aggrevating factor not a mitigating one as the judge seemed to have thought. The whole thing is distateful and sickening. Anyway we'll be talking a lot about that no doubt...

    Quite a few good law/order/justice stories in the news this week.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Palm irony

    Walking past the Auckland Regional Council's headquarters yesterday I realised that the three large palms on one corner (St James & Hopetoun St) are in fact Phoenix Palms - the ones they want to designate as hazardous. Given the hysteria surrounding alleged "political correctness" *massive jaw-at-180 degrees yawn* swirling around this issue - may I suggest the ARC literally start in their own backyard first.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    Bashing Maori - performance art at the highest level?

    12:50pm: John Tamihere and Willie Jackson on Radio Live are interviewing Richard Mitai-Ngatai over the wero/Maori welcome assault case.

    RMN: "I apologise to the man and the nation... I needed to remove the man from the line ... things went awry... I do not apologise for who I am... the realm of sacred ... spur of the moment... should have walked away..."

    WJ/JT: Why did you remove him?

    RMN: "His gestures were demeaning... police report said it happened at the end...[disputes this] he was the only one that was doing what he was doing... people come on [the marae] ignorant..."

    WJ: Was he getting cheeky?

    RMN: "[He was] Looking around, smirking and smiling... during the ceremony.. I moved away from the man and selected another person... I was trying to ignor him... I turned to the tourist guide and said remove him... he spoke to him - should have removed him... he stopped what he was doing for a brief moment..."

    He's very fortunate to be given 150 hours community service and not 6 months Periodic Detention. Despite being deliberate I don't think a jail term would have been imposed on any man for a single headbutt on another man no matter what the situation - even if they did have previous convictions (which he did not).

    Maybe the tourists need to sign a waiver beforehand? "Undersigned may be headbutted or struck with a weapon for continued breach of protocol after warning." Aue!

    I'm trying to envisage what actually occured and what the actions of this tourist were that were so offensive. I'm imagining that this guy was just behaving like a gawping jerk who, despite all of the instructions, acted as though he was at Disneyland instead of at a very intense, serious and ritualised performance. He didn't seem to grasp it - he didn't seem to respect the man or the situation. And RMN, after issuing a warning, just lost it. Silly man. He's contrite, he knows that he was wrong and that he made a very silly and regretable mistake. He lost his job because his employers (the Tamaki brothers) are smart and competent operators - he objected to this - but tough luck, headbutting customers constitutes grounds for instant dismissal in any civilian job. Some people don't think he is contrite because he wants to keep his job - that is incorrect - they are different issues.

    Performers are sometimes precious in their actions. Some divas/prima donnas are known to have stormed out of their own shows because of cell phones or talking. Nina Simone, amongst others, was supposed to have done things like that... and I kind of respect them for it. It upholds the integrity of their art form. Yes - people get injured/people get only a fraction of what they paid for - but the standards of the performance are maintained and people who attend after this will be even more aware (hopefully if they notice the news) of the importance of adhering to protocol. In that aspect this event actually enhances the culture by making the consequences for participants real.

    The problem in RMN's case is that he said the tourist guide was not present when that visitor offended again. Now what was RMN to do? Break character (as it were) interrupt the performance and have this guy disturb and lessen the event for everyone? Or contnue with it and continue to ignor this guy who would continue to disturb and lessen the event for everyone? Or stay in character. Think about it - he must have been fully eye-balling the guy before the headbutt, and that was this guy's last chance to comprehend that if he didn't stop what he was doing he would get it. How many death-looks does a person need from a Maori guy with his eyeballs popping and weilding a taiaha? If this Dutch guy doesn't understand body language and the intent behind a threat then Darwinian evolutionary theory suggests he's going to get it. The Mana of the warrior and the performance demands that this guy behave appropriately, and the honour of the manuhiri also demands that he behave appropriately. Language and "cultural" differences are not really relevant here - he was the only one who just did not have the mental ability to act in a socially acceptable way at that performance.

    The more I think about it the less sympathy I have for that Dutch tourist. Let's have an interview with him. It would be good to have his perspective and whether he was on drugs, was retarded or whatever. Maybe it's a reaction to the sulphur down their in 'vegas? Am I being too harsh? Let's find out:

    One of these things isn't like the other
    A self-preservation test for Dutch tourists



    Well, how did you do? Did you know which pictures are of a person trained to take your head off in a single blow with their weapon and which picture is of a person that has a flower that squirts water for the amusement of children?

    I can't help but recall Joe Pesci's line in Goodfellas: "Do I amuse you? Do I look like a clown?". Now the Dutch might dress up as "Black Peter" - the negro slaves that assist St. Nicholas/Santa - at Christmas as their cultural contribution to inter-racial awareness, however it seems that even with such a background the ordinary Dutchman could still be expected to comprehend the differences between that and actual people who aren't Dutch and white... surely?

    How many times have you been trying to do something important and some dickhead just doesn't get how to behave? You feel like giving them a damn good slap. And now we are reminded why we are best to think it and never do it. Even if in all good people lurks a Joe Pesci pistol-whipping/head stomping urge that just seems so right in the situation; we know that deep down - unless we hold a Crown warrant - there will be inevitable repercussions.

    Film Review: Memoirs of a Geisha

    It goes on general release in New Zealand tomorrow (Thursday 19th). Here's my review:

    "Memoirs of a Geisha
    Director: Rob Marshall. Cast: Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Ken Watanabe.

    This English language film based on the popular novel by American Arthur Golden in which a nine-year-old peasant girl and her sister are sold into a city Geisha house in the 1920s is an epic. She's good looking and works her way up through the catty office politics to become the most expensive Geisha and eventually runs a house of her own after the war. It feels like a mini-series; but what Shogun and Richard Chamberlain were to masculinity and the Japanese military order, so Geisha and Zhang Ziyi are to femininity and Japanese sexual perversions.

    With Chicago director Rob Marshall at the helm we see an eye for sets, lighting and costume winning out over the sentimentalist and sloppy suspension of Mr Spielberg at the producing end. For a male perhaps the plot is too narrow, even trite - the main characters all being female - there is no-one to really relate to and when the war finally comes we see precisely none of it. But this isn't for him. A him may have written it as a kinky bondage male fantasy but the struggle for power is totally on her terms in this soft-core version.

    The exalted quasi-prostitute/mistresses possess an air of the tortuously sublime. The aesthetic proclivities of the Japanese are taken to their depraved ends by the bestial traditionalist arch-chauvinists. The girls must tread a fine line in the courtship/negotiation ritual of the virgin-fixated noblemen. Thank heavens they weren't fixated on the music aspect of the art of the geisha - it was not something you could exactly whistle.

    Ritual upon ritual, costume upon costume - this is either going to be enthralling or insurmountably boring. But this is a sumptuous saga. The colour is dark, but rich and the twilight world of a sub-cultural élite is captured in that context. It is a fairly lengthy undertaking that will probably not disappoint those who have read the book. The defloweration dance is a highlight."

    I'm a stingy prick, I know, and so I only gave it 3 & 1/2 stars.

    I've already had various hits looking for "defloweration" via my last post about this movie where I mentioned the term (including my only visitor from the Islamic Republic of Iran). I'm sure they were all just horticultural students doing research.

    Oh, and I saw in Granny Herald that some wankmeister gave the truly awful Broken Flowers five fucking stars. Out of a hunderd maybe, mate! Wanker, wanker, wanker. I'm sorry, but honestly, you are. Did you have your beret over your eyes and ears during it and fell asleep because it was so tediously boring and then had to make it all up based on what other wankers had to say? Is that what really happened? Is that how you got 5 out of 5? If it was in French would it be 6 out of 5? Wanker.

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Forecast: Vague with possibility of the opposite occuring.

    Weather forecasts are just a joke aren't they. At the moment in Auckland it is cloudy. It's not overcast - although that looks threatening - and they aren't rain clouds (yet), and it is sunny in patches, but it it is definitely cloudy and has been all day; it is also very windy/blustery. I gathered all this data from looking out of the back and front porches at various points today where I can see across to the Waitakere Ranges and back to the city.

    National Radio's Metservice has been reporting all day that the weather here is "fine." Auckland, despite containing 29% of NZ's population isn't mentioned by name and is presumably lumped into all the other districts that are "fine." Westland and Fiordland on the other hand that contain less than 1% of NZ's population have detailed analysis of each of their district's weather. Radio Live (unsure of source data) reports that Auckland is similarly "fine" but notes that it is windy.

    Now, I know for an absolute fact that it is cloudy and windy in Auckland, almost to the point of being overcast. It is not "fine." unless that just means "not raining". Sadly this is somewhat typical of weather reports let alone actual forecasting for future weather events which seems like 50/50 most of the time. What is the use of these forecasts when they are:-
    1. Blatantly and consistently innacurate.
    2. Focus on places where almost no-one lives at the expense of places where most people live.
    3. Are vague in the extreme.

    These three points are applicable to TV news weather as well to some degree and annoyingly their "tomorrow" forecast is only to 6pm the next day - and so there is no actual forecast for tommorrow evening and thus their assertions about tomorrow's afternoon have no context in which to be judged as we do not immediately know what is to follow.

    The vagueness is beyond a joke. How many times have Metservice given the old "fine with showers" or "possibility of some scattered showers" sort of reports. It is meaningless. Make a call! What do they pay you people for? Are there going to be showers or not? We want to know whether it will rain or not - that is our primary concern. Everyone knows that it rains sometimes, but to stick that in almost every forecast is useless. And the only times they don't.... is that rain, dear?

    There was a TV news item on these issues about a week or so ago where an independent forecaster was giving Metservice heaps - they need the criticism to help lift their game. They have some ground to make up.

    UPDATE 5:38pm--------------------------

    A poll on the TVNZ website has these results today (this is a coincidence BTW - I found this poll after posting):

    How do you rate New Zealand's weather forecasting?
    14% Excellent
    48% Good
    27% Poor
    11% Very poor

    Ignorant bastards, these people who respond to these internet polls. Maybe it's just that bearded McDavit guy from Metservice stacking the vote.

    Sunday, January 15, 2006

    The Sunday Session

    AKL 100.6FM/702AM. WEL 98.7FM CHCH 738AM.

    Talkback number: 0800 723 465. Listen here.

    Mr. Selwyn & Mr. Bradbury review the week:10pm-1am

    Myself and my occassional contributing blogger are back on air tonight for our weekly wireless programme.

    For the purposes of research and continuing professional competency I have a 3rd Edition (1935) of the BBC's "Broadcast English: Recommendations to announcers regarding certain words of doubtful pronunciation." The foreword by Lord Reith from 1928 mentions that the first Chairman of the Advisory Committee was the Poet Laureate. In this later edition the Chairman is George Bernard Shaw.

    It is a fascinating document in many respects and as I read it I can't but help picturing a man in a double-breasted suit in a dimly lit studio speaking the words into a gigantic old microphone with a large Smiths Electric clock on the wall above him while the panel operator moves big bakelite dials with a cigarette in his mouth.

    p. 10: "There is implied the idea of a standard pronunciation... but it is quite evident that we are not entitled to conclude that there is one and only one right way of speaking English."

    The rugby commentators, esp. Messrs Mexted and Allen, will be delighted with that!

    So they make their recommendations acknowledging the legitimacy of variations but wishing to produce, nonetheless, a uniformity of "educated" speech. Here is the entry for one of the 779 words they consider to be of doubt:

    "CELTIC: 'seltik; the pronunciation 'keltik is recommended for Wales"

    Does that mean in Wales, or does that mean when speaking of Wales or the Welsh? I used to pronounce it with an s and at some point many years ago changed to k - except for the sports team the Boston Celtics which always seems to be with an s. I have no idea why.

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    Death to America! Attack Waihopai spy base. Destroy US Air Force base in Christchurch. Kidnap US Ambassador.

    Are you listening now, Barb?

    The USAAISC at Fort Huachuca, Arizona have been regular readers of this blog. That is their right, as it is a public site open to all. The American military's searching of websites for intelligence purposes was even featured on one of the network TV news programmes this week - so what I am saying isn't going to be a shock to anyone who has been paying attention. They visit other blogs in NZ too, not just mine. But are they just passively searching for key words and monitoring or is it more invasive than that?

    So if this ever gets to human eyes at whatever outpost of the Pentagon that deals with people like me, please take note:

    To whom it may concern,

    Any staff (incl. "Plans, Anal & Int (PAI)" - sounds nasty) of the US Military at Fort Huachuca or elsewhere.

    I see you, too. Casting an eye-ball on the good people in Fort Huachuca I note the goings on there reported by the local KVOA news:

    "Iraqi officers will attend the Center in Sierra Vista. Fast says all are highly qualified officers who have been thoroughly checked out. The goal, she says, is to train Iraqi security forces to function on their own. Fast says the center also is preparing a cultural training video for the Army that'll include a recent interview with the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations."

    So it's important "cultural" stuff... like how to monitor blogs in the Pacific maybe even?

    And who is this Major General Barbara Fast? What qualifies her to be the Commandant of Fort Huachuca?:

    She was the Abu Graib commander:

    "However," Hess reports, "Karpinski said Fast 'routinely denied the board's recommendations to release detainees in this category who were no longer deemed a threat and clearly met the requirements for release,'" Taguba's report states."

    Some authorities make it sound as if she was an unindicted war criminal:
    "Barbara Fast
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Major General Barbara Fast is an officer in the United States Army. In her recent posts her responsibilities have been in the field of military intelligence.

    Major General Fast was the most senior military intelligence officer serving in Iraq during the period of time when the most infamous abuse of prisoners occurred. She is one of the senior officers critics believe should have been held to account for that abuse.

    Major General Fast has not received any official reprimands for the performance of her troops. She was recently assigned to command the Army's intelligence school at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. This is generally regarded as a promotion and a sign of the Bush administration endorsement of her performance in Iraq."

    Karpinski was female as well - was it a femdom (?) thing? Is that what torture gangs are all about? Prying voyeurism? What exactly are the search key words?. Is she just after dodgy sodomy photos and extreme humiliation pictures? Is that what this scanning is after? She's going to be mightily disappointed with metaphors.

    I see that Military Intelligence Online says: "The United States Army Intelligence Center's mission is focused on Leading, Training, Equipping and supporting the world's premier corps of Military Intelligence Professionals - imbued with a warrior spirit, self-discipline and mutual respect."

    Or they are the world's premier corps of blog trawlers - imbued with a techie spirit, snooping and mutual suspicion.

    The Centre for land Use Interpretation has this:
    Major communications and intelligence center for the military. Located on 73,272 acres (114 square miles) in southern Arizona, Huachuca is home to units such as the Army Intelligence Center, the Army Information Systems Command, and the Joint Interoperabilty Test Command. More than 12,000 people work at the base. Also at Huachuca are field test facilities and test ranges for communications systems and equipment, including an electronic proving ground complex, associated with White Sands Missile Range and Aberdeen Proving Ground."

    That's some major installation right there. A minute possibility one of the 12,000 is an ex-pat Kiwi or is on secondment or a GI just genuinely interested in the State Highway 20 connection through Waterview and the NZ consitutional reform debate... or maybe not. So let's find out who you may be.

    Who is this mystery caller IP

    OrgName:    Headquarters, USAAISC
    OrgID:      HEADQU-3
    Address:    NETC-ANC CONUS TNOSC
    City:       Ft Huachuca
    StateProv:  AZ
    PostalCode: 85613
    Country:    US
    NetRange: -
    NameServer: NS03.ARMY.MIL

    Oh, really!

    RTechName:   Castro, Gil
    RTechPhone:  +1-520-538-1245

    OrgTechName:   McDonald, Michael R.
    OrgTechPhone:  +1-520-538-4047

    I'll be ringing them later if I get bored.

    Will you be bringing a disguise later on and changing IP addresses? Wellington Embassy perhaps? Is that who the gets delegated the assignment?

    I'm not the only one who knows of their operations either and is monitoring and reporting on them, noting these addresses:

    DoD Network Information Center 7990 Science Applications Ct M/S CV 50 Vienna VA 22183-7000 United States:
    HQ, 5th Signal Command DCSOPS DNCC ASE-OP-OF APO AE 09056 United States:
    HQ, 5th Signal Command DCSOPS DNCC ASE-OP-OF APO AE 09056 United States:
    HQ, 5th Signal Command DCSOPS DNCC ASE-OP-OF APO AE 09056 United States:
    Headquarters, USAISC ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC DIR USANETA APO AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Unit 15271 ATTN AFSK-OS-TNSOC APO AP 96205-0044 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC DIR USANETA APO AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC DIR USANETA APO AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC DIR USANETA APO AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, USAAISC Attn: ASOP-OI Fort Huachuca AZ 85613-5000 United States:
    Headquarters, Third United States Army Building 363 G6 Fort McPherson Atlanta GA 30330 United States:

    And others have been discussing the more invasive measures of Imperial probes in another forum:

    I have my Sygate Personal Firewall set to ask me if Generic Host Processes tries to connect to the Internet. Yesterday it prompted me that armyg1.army.mil is trying to connect to Generic Host Processes. Now, I don't work for the military or anything like that. I denied the request. A few minutes later it asked again. I did a Whois lookup on armyg1.army.mil and came up with this:
    Host unreachable -

    Headquarters, USAAISC
    Ft Huachuca

    I called the "800" number on this and a guy answered "I.T.". I told him of the issue that I experienced and all he said was: "that IP is part of our proxy range and our RC guys might have hit a proxy box." "IT is nothing to worry about okay sir?"

    I this goofy or what? I did some research and Ft Huachuca is the head of Army intelligence and also has a huge IT branch. I also found a site that Lockheed Martin is involved with an Electronic warfare program at Ft Hauchuca: http://www.it.lockheedmartin.com/client...achuca.cfm

    I'm a pretty straight and narrow guy. I mainly google search for school and check my e-mail. What does this mean?"

    and the reply:
    "It seems a little scary, doesn't it?

    Some people say it is most likely nothing.
    Others think certain keywords you type trigger an alert with whatever the government uses under the guise of National Security.

    I posted a similar thread in July, which can be viewed by clicking here.

    I guess the question would be, "Did the alerts subside after you made the phone call?"

    A related archived front page article /a5352-Botnet_with_10_000_Machines_Shut_Down.html
    explained some possible scenarios, and linked to this article:

    This is just my perspective. Wish I could provide some technical answers for you."

    and then:
    "Ft Huachuca does indeed have a HUGE Army IT department - so that is legitimate. However, I would not be concerned that they are looking at you - if they were, you would not be able to tell it was them.

    I suspect they have something not configured just right. If it continues, keep calling and complaining - be polite. Record date and time and name and rank of individual. If it continues, call back and ask for the supervisor or OIC (officer in charge) you will eventually get someone's attention and it should stop. Be sure that you mention that you have made print outs of all attempts.

    If after several attempts to have it stop to no avail, politely suggest that next time, you are going to ask your local chapter of the ACLU to look into it for you because you feel that the US Army trying to break into the computer of a private US citizen is in violation of your Fourth Amendment Rights. And politely (always politely) ask for that OICs name and rank for your records.

    Or before contacting the ACLU, you could also right a letter to

    Commanding Officer, AISC
    Fort Huachuca, Arizona 85613

    It will get to him. And explain what has happened and that you need his help in understanding why the US Army is trying to access your personal computer, and in making them stop before you feel you are forced to contact the ACLU. Include a brief time line of events and even a copy or two of the print outs. I assure you someone will be answering some questions in short order - as a retired military communications/IT guy myself, I would love to be a fly on the wall when that conversation is going on!"

    Yes, why? Why are you trying to access this man's computer? And what exactly is the scope of your operations? If you are targeting Americans domestically then the rest of the world must ask themselves what their treatment will be? What spyware have you downloaded to computers you deem to be threats?

    On the hope that this reaches a human (who has the task of reading long posts):

    Thanks for being so open in not disguising your address. Now let me be open: Please don't attack my computer, if you want to discuss my progress in harming the interests of the United States of America in this country and around the World and/or military doctrine, please email me: tselwyn@tumeke.org

    Always happy to chat :)

    Tim Selwyn

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Foreshore Act complication

    The summer of safety stories marshall themselves between the NZ Herald's red flags:

    Controls for cars on the coast called for

    More people will die on Northland's beaches unless something is done to control vehicles driving on the sand, a Far North beachside resident says.
    Police, councils and the Department of Conservation share his fears. The Northern Advocate newspaper has received a flurry of calls from coastal residents and visitors concerned about the behaviour of some beach drivers...

    Waitakere police had launched beach patrols with officers on quad bikes, a possibility in Northland.
    Kaitaia police Senior Sergeant Gordon Gunn is concerned a major accident could occur. "The beaches are classed as roads, and they have a speed restriction of 100km/h and all the normal road rules," he said.

    So, now that the government has confiscated the beaches they are now bringing out the police force? Maori kiatiakitanga is being replaced with central state authority and that is presumably legally unquestioned now. Quite apart from the long-standing problems exhibited and enumerated in the report is the matter of the Foreshore and Seabed Act that has a deliberately vague statement that the public has:

    "s.7 (d) The right to engage in recreational activities in or on the public foreshore and seabed."

    Now this is totally undefined and will have to go to court to figure out - because they rushed it through parliament without due consideration to what the hell they were doing (and because they ignored my submission because I was against confiscation). Is shooting recreational? Is driving recreational? They are open questions now as to whether they are rights. Any attempt to contain it better be watertight (as it were) or section 7 (d) must surely be read widely (in keeping with the wording) to include everything not specifically excluded. Any lawyer representing someone caught in breach of any purported restriction will be wise to pull that section out as a defence.

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    Best of 2005, Part II

    29/08/2005: Awatere-Huata's jailing racist?

    "Should convicted offenders (like her) be sent to jail immediately on a pre-emptive basis, without the need of a pre-sentence report, on the presumption that the sentencing judge will definitely give a jail term?...

    Now having intimate and unfortunate personal knowledge of how the system works I have a great appreciation for the American system (from what I understand through television programmes!) whereby the convicted offender remains on their current bail terms until the appeal time expires at which point they must present themselves at the jail to be taken into custody. This allows for family matters, children, finacial affairs etc. to be put in order. This is very important as our system of immediate jailing makes victims out of family, children, business partners etc. who have their stakeholder suddenly removed...

    The chances of rehabilitation or reintegration after release are going to be harder if the offender has lost their house/flat/children/business/job only for want of not being given a few weeks to sort everything out. If the courts think that part of the punishment is the shock and family/financial trauma they are peverse indeed. If an offender must serve time in jail then would it be unjust for it to start at the expiry of their appeal time? Awatere-Huata didn't even have time to appeal her conviction let alone her sentence! They would still serve the same amount of time behind bars, so why the unseemly rush?"

    And later on the racism angle:

    "The problem with throwing the term "racist" around is that it is too often boys crying wolf and dilutes the many real instances of racism. I've been accused of that too, but it is utterly incorrect (and anyone who says different is an apartheid-worshipping, indigenous baby-eating, genocidal, skin head, Nazi racist.) "

    25/08/2005: Treasury forecasts

    Here's how the coalition system works:

    "Cullen allocates $10-20m annually for each coalition or supporter to do with as they like on their pet projects. And the cheap whores whore their whoring whore votes for that whoringly whorefully risible amount like the filthy whores of whoredom they are. For Anderton it is a crony-capitalist lolly scramble "regional development" circus. For the Greens it was the energy efficiency conservation authority thingy quango thingy that puts stickers on appliances to say whether it lives up to Jeanette's puritan standards. For the Family Common Sense Christian Worm party it was a flakey Families Commission."

    23/08/2005: "Race relations" on the TV1 head-to-head leaders debate

    "Brash: When asked "who is a Maori?" Instead of saying: "I don't care about race" or "unlike under Labour's policies that won't be the question National will ask when making policy..." or even "That's a question that a Pakeha can't really answer" etc. instead, right on cue, the slow motion car wreck that Sainsbury dreamt, starting happening. He said (probably with a prolonged "Errrrr") "Well, legally..." and ended up about percentages etc.- at one point he looked like he might be going to pull out a phrenology kit. What an idiot. If he says he doesn't care about race and then starts telling Maori who they are and aren't, like a racial hygiene quack from the 1930s then what credibility does he have? Idiot. He's like a human muppet.

    On Maori Party compromise on abolishing Maori seats he refused to rule it out. Ha!

    On immigration: Clark belted him with probation idea is treating them like "criminals" - and he left it hanging with a series of denials. The guy is such an amateur. He forgets she's not human: it's a vampire zombie in a lifeless, disfigured, humanoid husk."

    And in a follow-up post:

    "Don fails to fire, equivocating and qualifying, allowing himself to be walked all over by the heavily made up Zombie Queen. Prebs just said "ate him alive" on the post analysis - good call. Brash almost said he would vote for her when asked by the moderator to quote their good points to each other. As far as landing punches goes - Mark Sainsbury landed more than Brash and he was being a good neutral host. "

    21/08/2005: Our unsuccessful democracy

    "When the English-accented leader of the Liberterianz Party says he wants to abolish the Treaty of Waitangi, when Michael Cullen and Dale Jones - both originally English nationals (and maybe still are) - write the Foreshore and Seabed Act so that it implicitly imputes that if a Pakeha has touched Maori property it becomes the property of the government and thence can be leased off in perpituity to Pakeha, when we have both major parties trumpeting the sale of Crown land to Pakeha farmers as policy but make it tourtuous for Maori to regain property taken unjustly from them, we have to wonder if we have really made any progress at all in liberating ourselves from such a disgraceful situation. When we have members of Parliament who are also citizens of other countries what credibility do they have in forging our future when they are fundamentally conflicted?"

    15/08/2005: Lange

    "The reason I wrote ill of you, from time to time, was because you could never live up to the high expectations you had made it possible to believe in.

    His works live on.

    Let some order of public service occur - it would be appreciated by many."

    And Gosche organised a service at Mt Smart's Supertop which I attended. It was a very fitting occasion despite the Samoan Finance Minister giving an infomercial for his book.

    11/08/2005: Constitutional convention blog now live

    "The site for the constitutional convention is now up and running. All contributions welcome. They should be brief and to the point. Please make sure your comments are anon. or else they will be deleted. This is to allow participants to discuss the issues rather than each other.

    It's a bold new experiment in on-line participatory democracy and anything in the current agenda can be discussed including the timeline and format etc. as well as the listed suggestions for discussion points. Whilst I intend to moderate it to start with I hope that can be circulated to others in time. We'll see how it goes."

    I have to move the agenda forward and will be doing so shortly.

    10/08/2005: If I was standing for Auckland Central...

    "The key message would be:
    I'm asking only for your electorate vote so we can get rid of the useless, time-serving, lacky, Judith Tizard and elect someone with a long-term plan to solve Auckland's transport crisis and will have that plan as the sole non-negotiable item for joining a government. Oh, and all the other socially liberal stuff you would expect with the only fascistic items being of a nationalistic rather than conservative rationale... The "Minister for Auckland." She is an insult to the collective dignity of the electorate."

    04/08/2005: Time to cut the M-FAT

    "Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The most useless of all our government departments. Take a knife to these bastards now...

    MFAT chooses almost exclusively Masters graduates as staff. MA's in particular. This creates a class of academics that are expected to conduct our affairs overseas and provide policy to the government. Academics are good at using, formulating and proliferating jargon, writing reports that no-one is expected to actually read let alone action, having no sound grasp of reality, and finally, being well over-paid for the services provided. In short they are professionally adept at the art of doing nothing...

    * The Solomon Islands starts it's descent into anarchy with spiralling inter-ethnic violence. The Solomon's government begs us for help because they cannot solve the problem themselves. MFAT advises Phil Goff that we should studiously do nothing until they have solved their problems themselves at which point we will provide the support that they no longer need! This sounds insane but this is exactly what happened. It was the Australians that finally decided to do something, initiated the dialogue and organised everything, even inviting us along - at which point the NZ media crowed about how we were doing something on the assumption that we had something to do with it - but we were an afterthought and had in fact made the situation worse by our inaction despite the retrospective lie that we had not done nothing....

    * The French colonial territories in the Pacific, despite being the scenes of massacres, forced de-population and , nuclear testing and general oppressive policies that occur with colonies, a scurge that the UN was mandated to deal with, is openly congratulated and welcomed by us because our policy is to do nothing. We encourage French aid to even our own territories! The PM goes on about how France has a great role to play in the Pacific! Straight out of the MFAT bible, that one.

    * Last, and the worst of all by any standards was our culpability for the Rwanda genocide. We spent days furiously lobbying and pulling in favours to get that spot on the Security Council back in '93. This would be Don McKinnon's crowning achievement. Brought up in America as the son of a diplomat (and now Commonwealth Secretary-General) Don, though a politician, was a natural MFAT man. During our month chairmanship in April 1994 (shared with Colin Keating) on April 7th to be precise the 100 days of genocide in which almost a million Rwandans were massacred began. In January The Canadian peacekeeper reported to Kofi Annan (the useless head of peacekeeping operations) that genocide was imminent. By mid-April at least it was obvious what was occuring. For the record:

    April 15 was the first of two days of UN Security Council debate on next steps in Rwanda—for which the Rwandan ambassador was present and about which he reported back to the interim government in Rwanda. Over that same weekend, aware the UN Security Council was in retreat, the interim Council of Ministers, the genocide’s architects, met in Kigali and decided to take the program of extermination to the rest of the country.

    So America's little helper chairing the UN's highest body. What a proud moment. I bet almost everyone reading this has no idea that the fate of Rwanda affectively lay in our hands. As an MFAT nadir, this was just unfathomably monumental. Oh sure, it's not our fault, America and France would have blocked anything... whatever. We had our chance, on the world stage, and we did nothing and almost one million died."...

    There is this absurd notion floating around, although never stated overtly in print that I can find - a sort of a myth - that not only was NZ one of the founding members of the UN, but that Peter Fraser had a strong hand in it's foundation and strongly advocated for smaller states in the UN. I find that all rather hard to believe. Given the fact NZ still had not cut the "official" apron strings of British dependency (The Statute of Westminster) the idea is somewhat laughable. We have no track record of independence of thought or action whatsoever.

    We like to think we are a little battler nation and can be proud of our record and hold our heads high in the great pantheon of nations... blah, blah, blah. But the truth is quite different. We are not willing to sell our vote because we simply give it away. We have no international sense of our own position as an independent state and even less, negligently less, of our own regional position and responsibilities let alone the moral fortitude to swim against the weakest tide."

    Our seeming co-operation in the Indonesian annexations of East Timor and West Papua remind us of this also.

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    Death List 2006

    It's a damnable chore, especially since I got no-one last year, (esp. on account of never putting the Pope on) but I want to restrict it to people whom I dislike this year. There's only 10 so they all have to be reasonable picks plus a few outsiders and at least one New Zealander. I put architect I M Pei last time because I thought the whole pyramids thing was over-done, and Liza Minnelli because she has that awful, breathless, OTT, theatricality - all of which isn't really enough of a reason. So this year I'll stick to the more dodgy characters and try to get more women on:

    Death List candidates for 2006:

    Ariel Sharon, Israeli Nazi
    Augusto Pinochet, Chilean Nazi
    P W Botha, Afrikaaner Nazi
    Margaret Thatcher, Supporter of Israeli, Chilean and Afrikaaner Nazis
    Elena Milosovich†, Serbian Nazi
    Kurt Waldheim, Nazi Nazi
    Billy Graham, American religious fanatic
    Ronnie Biggs, Robber
    Yoko Ono, "Artist"
    Bob Tizard, Grouch*

    There are some other sites dealing with these issues. This enterprise may seem a little goulish and most people pick celebrities regardless of their contribution to humanity; but picking "evildoers" is sort of empowering, in a gambling way. I will forward my choices to my local Keeper of the Lists.

    † You know perfectly well who I mean: Her name is Mirjana Markovic - I was getting the names confused with Ceauçescu's missus.
    * Curmudgeonly rather than evil - he's just more realistic a pick than pricks like Dail Jones. UPDATE: And I've just thought of Jim Anderton too - but he did save that guy last year.

    Quiz Night Stats (2005 season)

    Well done team Emily Williamson, just crunched the numbers.

    Played: 26.
    Placed: 26 (14x1st, 11x2nd, 1x3rd)
    Average score: 88
    Lowest score: 68 (just scraped in third)
    Highest score: 102

    This was our best year and we are now one of those hated teams where people groan at us and mumble obscenities when they announce the scores. And if we don't come first there's a geniunely felt atmosphere of delight in the room. The only time the other teams' bad sportsmanship wasn't on show was when we scored 102 and received the first (and maybe last) spontaneous applause. Not even we thought it was possible to get over 100 until it happened (the max. possible score is 110).

    And what makes it worse for them all is there are only three of us. They really do hate us - we feed off it and it makes us stronger.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Iraq - settling the debt

    Iraq is entering the international debt market this month according to this Times article:

    "Iraq plans to issue the bonds, worth about $2.8 billion (£1.6 billion), as part of a complex debt restructuring aimed at settling claims with some of the country’s largest commercial creditors...
    The bonds will pay an annual coupon of 5.8% and are due to mature in 2028. The debt will be guaranteed by the Iraq Government.

    Doesn't say in which currency the debt is issued though. Be interesting to see what confidence the speculators/investors have in the country.

    Public holiday surcharge - Air NZ customers paying for air next.

    I have been told that Air NZ does not process credit cards on the holidays over the internet?! So my flatmate had to telephone them as the only alternative - at which point there is mumblings about the software not being able to do stuff on a public holiday and then the bastards whack on a $30 service fee. It is described in the receipt (that was emailed to him!) under the heading "Fee Type" as "New Issue". As in whatever new issue comes along they'll charge an extra 15%? What about "New rort" that's a bit less vague and a lot more factual.

    Bad enough that some cafés put on 15% for public holidays but Air NZ has concocted some excuse to screw their customers to pay for time-and-a-half at the call centre by the sounds of it. Opportunistic price gouging. What is next? Will they then conspire to have the call centre turned into an automated machine that tells everyone to pay online with an extra internet service fee of 15% on top of the 15% that the automated phone would have charged? That is where we are heading. The Commerce Commission won against the airlines recently in an advertising case - maybe they should be looking at these other dubious practices too.

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    Queen Street: Is it really about the trees?

    On the left the whatever trees; right are some native plantings already on the lower part of Queen St.

    Mr Bhatnagar is joining the fray. The issue: Auckland's golden mile "massacre" tree replacement. He's asked me to link the story - and I shall. NZ Herald reporting:

    "Prominent Aucklanders are taking legal action to stop the Auckland City Council removing the 20 condemned trees in Queen St. Lesley Max said the council did not seek or heed the views of Aucklanders when it sought resource consent to remove the exotic trees and replace them with natives as part of the $30 million Queen St upgrade.
    The so-called "Queen St massacre" is set for January 13 and 14, although Mayor Dick Hubbard has said he will consider options to keep 20 of the 36 trees tagged for removal between Mayoral Drive and Wellesley St...
    Lesley Max has banded with veteran newspaper campaigner Pat Booth, NewstalkZB host Leighton Smith, former Hobson Bay Community Board members Stephen Goodman and Aaron Bhatnagar and several others to take the legal action...
    The group was seeking an interim injunction to stop the council removing the trees..."

    I see three streams of issues driving this one (in order of importance):

    1. Partisan/ideological/political gain that can be achieved on a potentially "populist" issue by conservative/right activists against the left majority council and Mayor.

    2. Conservative/reactionary/cultural cringe knee-jerk backlash to anything "native" at the expense of anything "exotic" (this type of warped thinking has seen Muriel Newman and her White concerned citizens committee objecting to local Maori changing a mis-spelled Maori name! - does it get any more blatantly racist than that? Could it possibly? Are these the same people who want to keep the Union jack? is that what the axis of opposition is?)

    3. Concern for shade cover and the general amount of "greenness" of the street.

    (Issue three is very much at the bottom of the list from what I can tell at this stage.)

    On the aesthetic issue I would prefer the iconic - and I use that often over-used term in it's true sense here - iconic form of the cabbage tree and the nikau palm over the scraggly, scruffy, anonymous, utterly un-unique, anti-iconic, nothingness of whatever nothing exotic trees (whatever the hell they are?) that we have at present. The only issues are 1) the lack of shade cover with those natives, and 2) Isn't it the pohutakawa that really represents Tamaki Makaurau?

    Where were these people, including the King Honky, Leighton Smith, when the Britomart project was being re-written and the massacre of QEII Square took place? The fuck knuckles of the Council decided to turn the only open space of Queen Street with all it's pohutakawa trees into a bloody bus depot, a large unusable, unfriendly, anti-pedestrian ashphalt expanse and I don't recall any objections, petitions or injunctions for that. Not one. That is a far more important issue than those exotic trees - by a long, long way.

    Turning back the clock: Left: Until c.1957 it was trams, then trolley buses (and a cabbage tree planting in the median strip) until c.1971, and from then until about two years ago it was a public, pedestrian, tree planted, open space. Right: back to a wasted, shitty ground level public transport depot.

    Before:Happy people enjoying the square with fountain and pohutakawa trees.

    The original briefs for Britomart made it clear that, and quite logically, the QEII pedestrian space should stay and the buses be placed at the sides or behind or anywhere except in that public space... so after the Council get through with it what happens?... They create a public square at the back, where no-one will see it or use it and put all the buses out the front where once people enjoyed an open and somewhat green space. And I've heard every ridiculous excuse from the local Lefty apologist that it would cost too much and the buses had to go somewhere and that small discrete spaces were "in" now and large squares were "out" .. etc. etc. I don't think he even really believes what he was saying - he was just towing the party line. And this is something done under the John Banks Council! [Disclosure: I did tender a plan for the redevelopment involving creating a bigger square by moving the CPO building back and having the new arena immediately to the rear - all things I stand by today].

    You see, compared with that issue, I really just don't care about whatever happens to those trees. They are without any merit, save for shade (and it so struck with the shadows from high rise towers that it is moot) and the fact they are a green colour. Other than that they ought to be completely dispensible. At least if the trees were iconic the street would actually be memorable for trees rather than just bad parking, banks and over-priced shopping. All the hysteria over the "massacre" seems misplaced and for ulterior motives. Ask anyone what the trees are on Queen St? Would they know? I think they are conifers or beeches - I'm not sure at all. If those trees were worth saving we would all at least know what they were.

    You see why Hubbard switched to keeping some of them by the sounds of it - he just doesn't need the aggro. If you want to beat him up over something choose another issue - there will always be plenty.

    And is it not hypocritical for the sort of anti-RMA people (who complain about the authorities having to consult the public at all with things like motorways) to now be whining to the council and using the RMA to hold things up? What happened to "just get on with it" and "too much useless talkfests" etc? Oh how they change their tune when they have a chance at an anti-PC crusade. This is what it is isn't it?