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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Iraq not so great this time of year?

Bets on for 'last chopper out of Saigon' scenario in Iraq? 12 more months?

This from 60 minutes
The Bush Administration is concealing the level of violence against troops in Iraq and the situation there is growing worse despite White House and Pentagon claims of progress, journalist Bob Woodward said in advance of his new book. Insurgent attacks against US-led forces in Iraq occurred, on average, every 15 minutes, he said in a 60 Minutes interview to be broadcast on Monday. "It's getting to the point now where there are 800-900 attacks a week. That's more than a hundred a day," he said in excerpts of the interview released yesterday before the release of his book on the administration, State of Denial. "The assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying] 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,"' Woodward added.

Is Don secretly working for Helen Clark?

In an attempt to clear up what Don had to say about Maaari not being an indigenous people – Don has sent the Herald an opinion piece which says if too many Maori die of lung cancer, it’s essentially their own fault.

What the fuck? Don attempts to make up for calling into question whether Maori are an indigenous people by telling them that it is their fault for being killed by lung cancer? Who is writing this mans speeches? Is it John Key? Only Don could turn an explanation into an accusation over lung cancer?! National can not win with Don as leader – look at this crazy shit he is saying – let’s put aside the fact that there are loopholes all over such a stupid exclamation in the first place – let’s just look at it from a tactical point of view. National needs to be seen as a lot more palatable to those Auckland middle class sensibilities, do you think that a) describing all of Maoridom as not indigenous and b) following that up by then blaming lung disease rates on Maori – how do you think that plays out in those areas of the population National are trying to woo across. This sort of talk is not going to win them over, it will confirm those suspicions that Don could do God knows what if elected. Helen was right about Don being cancerous, it’s the National Party he is killing though.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Free corruption

I think the whole concept of lobbying a politician stops being lobbying the second some type of cash incentive or ‘gift’ is offered and taken up. When brown politicians do this we bay for blood, white people on the other hand manage to make ‘koha’ an artform.
This from the BBC

Disgraced US lobbyist Jack Abramoff had more extensive contacts with the White House than previously admitted, a Congressional inquiry is to report. Mr Abramoff and his associates had as many as 480 contacts with the White House, according to draft copies of the report circulated to the media. But administration officials say the report is based on records that are "widely regarded as fraudulent". Mr Abramoff has admitted conspiracy to bribe public officials. Correspondents say the Congressional inquiry findings could be embarrassing for the White House.

How to become a fascist state: Producing the body Amerika style

Amerika more and more resembles a fascist state in my mind. I wonder if this was what Germany was like in the 30s – Bush has put intense pressure on his nervous Republican’s and by agreeing with some bullshit nicety condition changes in Prisoners rights, he’s managed to pass into legislation the effective destruction of Habeas Corpus as prisoners now no longer have the right to challenge their detention and treatment in a federal court. To overturn a legal principle that in part philosophically bound the concept of America legally and morally, for ‘security’ reasons is a jaw dropping event that will barely get reported.

It reminds me of another event in 1933.
"On February 27, Hitler was enjoying supper at the Goebbels home when the telephone rang with an emergency message: 'The Reichstag is on fire!' Hitler and Goebbels rushed to the fire, where they encountered Hermann Goering, who would later become Hitler’s air minister. Goering was shouting at the top of his lungs, 'This is the beginning of the Communist revolution! We must not wait a minute. We will show no mercy. Every Communist official must be shot, where he is found. Every Communist deputy must this very day be strung up.'

"The day after the fire, the Prussian government announced that it had found communist publications stating, 'Government buildings, museums, mansions and essential plants were to be burned down... . Women and children were to be sent in front of terrorist groups.... The burning of the Reichstag was to be the signal for a bloody insurrection and civil war.... It has been ascertained that today was to have seen throughout Germany terrorist acts against individual persons, against private property, and against the life and limb of the peaceful population, and also the beginning of general civil war.'

"The day after the fire, Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to issue a decree entitled, 'For the Protection of the People and the State.' Justified as a 'defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state,' the decree suspended the constitutional guarantees pertaining to civil liberties: 'Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.'

"Two weeks after the Reichstag fire, Hitler requested the Reichstag to temporarily delegate its powers to him so that he could adequately deal with the crisis. Denouncing opponents to his request, Hitler shouted, 'Germany will be free, but not through you!' When the vote was taken, the result was 441 for and 84 against, giving Hitler the two-thirds majority he needed to suspend the German constitution. On March 23, 1933, what has gone down in German history as the 'Enabling Act' made Hitler dictator of Germany, freed of all legislative and constitutional constraints.

"One of the most dramatic consequences was in the judicial arena. Under the Weimar Constitution judges were independent, subject only to the law, protected from arbitrary removal and bound at least in theory by Article 109 to safeguard equality before the law.' In fact, in the Reichstag terrorist case, while the court convicted van der Lubbe of the crime (who was executed), three other defendants, all communists, were acquitted, which infuriated Hitler and Goering. Within a month, the Nazis had transferred jurisdiction over treason cases from the Supreme Court to a new People’s Court. There was no appeal from its decisions or sentences. Occasionally, however, for propaganda purposes when relatively light sentences were to be given, the foreign correspondents were invited to attend.'

Now I don’t know about you, but there seem to some interesting ‘snap’ moments in all of that. I can see other similarities between 1930s Germany and America today as well, are gays to the Republicans what the Jews were to the Nazis, that same outright hatred towards the other that is somehow accepted as an expression of legitimate religious faith?

Rich lefty bribes and Exclusive Brethren splits

Here is the problem for Tariana – by coming out and alleging that a wealthy businessman tried to offer $250 000 for the Maori Party to cuddle up to Labour, she has in fact suggested someone tried to bribe her and that can’t be tolerated in a Democracy, so the pressure has to be for her to reveal who did that to the public.

The Maori Party's revelation that a wealthy donor offered it $250,000 to side with Labour has rebounded on the party, which is now under intense pressure to name the person involved. Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia yesterday gave fresh details of the alleged attempt to get her party to back Labour after the election. She told Radio New Zealand that the offer of money was made through an intermediary whom the party knew "very well". Labour Party president Mike Williams said today that the mystery would-be donor is not Owen Glenn, the ex-pat millionaire who has given donations to Labour.
NZ Herald

And just when it couldn’t get any more messy, those Exclusive Brethren pop up again, this time trying to split NZ First

It has been claimed the Exclusive Brethren tried to split New Zealand First in a bid to get National into power last year. New Zealand First MP Ron Mark says his party came under extreme pressure from the religious group immediately after the election. The church was seeking a National, New Zealand First, United Future, Maori Party coalition.
Mr Mark claims the Brethren asked him to convince Winston Peters to do a deal with National Party leader Don Brash. Failing that, he says the church wanted him and two or three of his colleagues to break away and do a deal with Dr Brash themselves. Mr Mark rejected the idea and was surprised Brethren members persisted with it for as long as they did. He said a group of Brethren members first approached him before the election to gauge NZ First's policies on moral issues such as homosexuality and prostitution.

Daniel Pearl killer innocent?

Here is a fascinatingly complex little story from Aljazeera.

General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, has said the head al-Qaeda operative accused of planning the September 11 attacks either killed or took part in the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in January 2002. Musharraf's claim, made in his memoirs released this week, could now be used to try to clear Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, one of Pearl's four convicted killers, who is appealing against his death sentence. The president accuses Khalid Sheikh Mohammed of taking part in Pearl's killing in Karachi, after his kidnapping. Musharraf said: "The man who may have actually killed Pearl or at least participated in his butchery, we eventually discovered, was none other than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al-Qaeda's number three." Some US officials and Pearl's newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, had previously suggested that Mohammed had killed the journalist. Mohammed was arrested in Pakistan in 2003, and is in US custody in Guantanamo Bay.

This is made much more complex by the fact that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh has been accused of sending Mohammad Atta $100 000 (lead 9/11 hijacker) on the orders of ISI General Mehmood Ahmed who resigned once the allegation was reported. Some have suggested that Ahmed Omar Saeed Shiekh hasn’t been executed for his conviction of the Daniel Pearl murder because of what he will say, others say he was convicted because he knew too much. Interestingly, French journalist, Bernard-Henri Levy, in his well researched and critically acclaimed book, Who Killed Daniel Pearl? - Levy concludes that Daniel Pearl was murdered because he was investigating the links between al-Qaeda and the ISI.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


The Command Principle

When was the last time anyone in NZ resigned their office on a matter of principle, or refused an order because it was illegal, unconstitutional or unethical? I can think of public official whose jobs were terminated one way or another or golden parachuted to safety etc. but I can’t recall a resignation on principle. Surprisingly, counter-intuitively it’s the politicians themselves that display acts of principle: Tariana Turia quitting Labour the most recent example (Matt Rata before her).

The Judiciary are insulated in legislation and makes rulings contrary to the government’s position all the time without any overt personal moves against them. Oh sure, Cullen (the Attorney-General) can criticize their independence but nothing more than authoritarian rhetoric – at the moment).

There have been “whistle-blowers”, those who leak information, a vast array of incompetent, over-paid officials who have eventually been found to resign only after they have been afforded the dignity of an exit package and an unwarranted positive testimonial. Embarrassments like Judge Beattie (found “not guilty” while his co-accused judge pleaded guilty) can be shifted sideways to anonymous postings (Accident Compensation Appeals Authority in Beattie’s case), but someone speaking up at all, let alone being punished? I just can’t say I’ve heard of that, except at the relatively low-level like Corrections Dept. staff member Jossie Bullock or nurse Neil Pugmine who were dealt with by their employers for their going public on issues that alarmed them.

I raise the issue of the seemingly systematic timidity of public officials because of the petition I wrote to the Governor-General imploring her to refuse assent, or at least delay assent, to the Foreshore & Seabed Bill in 2004. She signed it while on holiday immediately after it was couriered to her before seeing the petitions. Now for her to have even delayed the signing would have been a constitutional crisis of sorts, but the circumstances certainly justified it. On lower order issues one would think the ability and justifications for stands on principle would occur far more often. Apparently not.

It could be argued that officials do what they can within the rules and their battles are unsung, but I’m not convinced. As the movie Judgment at Nuremburg illustrated even those Germans who were used as prosecution witnesses had often gone along with the Nazis to an unacceptable stage of active collaboration.

Nixon wanted to fire the special investigator delving into the Watergate affair and instructed his Attorney-General to do so. Because it was constitutionally improper he refused and Nixon sacked him. Within hours he brought in the new Attorney-General and asked the same of him – he also refused – and Nixon then instantly fired him. Then he finally found one who would fire the investigator. I fear that in the NZ system, that is to say the Westminster/Crown system, he would have been sacked first go with not even so much as an argument and probably scant media scrutiny too.
So I watch the current Prime Minister’[s criticism and that of the Attorney-General (he’s not a lawyer) of the Auditor-General with expectancy. He has had the temerity to publicly rebuke the ruling Labour Party’s fraudulent election spending. Not that he’s alone in this of course, they had had warnings from many electoral authorities over it before it happened. Under the aegis of the State Services Commission he is safe…for now.

I recall though the flip-side of the “whistle-blowers” – the government’s little helpers (why else would they – apart from ideology and partnership?). I’m thinking here specifically of the former Solicitor-General, Terence Arnold, the principle head-kicker for prosecuting Opposition M.P’s (and humiliated in front of the Supreme Court with the watery evidence against Ahmed Zaoui) who was earlier this year elevated to the Justice of the High Court and Appeal Court. What appears to the outside observer as Mugabesque political persecution has apparently been repaid with a judicial role. I’m particularly alarmed and not confident that Arnold is appropriate because my Appeal is set to go before that court in the near future. What will someone with an authoritarian track record make of sedition?

The close knit nature of NZ’s legal fraternity (or should that be sorority?) as well as the other elites poses crucial questions of independence and objectivity as no-one wants to damage their careers by upsetting the cozy arrangements. Indeed, combined with the rigid power structures and command oriented institutional history, I wonder if they could even identify what principles are worth having let alone be capable of defending them.

DON’T FORGET Tim’s Book and magazine collection for the Prison Library, please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 8
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

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

Another home goal for Don?

After Don’s outrageous claim in the weekend that Maori weren’t indigenous because they have slept with white folk, Tariana Turia has severed any contact the Maori Party may have with the National Party saying there’s no point in talking to someone so “divorced from the realities of this country”. AMEN SISTER!

Looking at the latest polls, there is no way National is going to be able to form a Government without the help if the Maori Party - how wise was it to come out and effectively claim the entire race of the political party you need to cut a deal with doesn’t really exist?

Guys, Don is a clown – no wonder Helen Clark cemented the man in place by forcing the troops to rally around him with the release of his extra-marital affairs – HE CAN’T WIN AN ELECTION. Calling him cancerous rallys the left wing of the Labour Party who are leaving to go to the Greens.
This from the Herald

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is severing her relationship with Don Brash saying there's no point in talking to someone so "divorced from the realities of this country". It comes after the National leader questioned whether Maori remained a distinct indigenous group because few if any "full-blooded" Maori remained. Two National MPs, Tau Henare and Georgina te Heuheu, also distanced themselves yesterday from Dr Brash's remarks. Dr Brash said he was "obviously disappointed" by Mrs Turia's comments and did not know what it was she found offensive. "I frankly don't care who wants to call themselves indigenous. I've got no problem at all if she wants to call herself indigenous, if Tau does, or anyone else."
The split between Dr Brash and the Maori Party has implications for a future coalition arrangement involving the two parties.
Recent polls show the Maori Party could yet hold the balance of power at the next election and could be critical to helping National or Labour form the next government.

Farmers not Happy (are they ever?)

Farmers are just like University Students, never happy, but looking at this recent spat with Transpower, it looks like Farmers have a right to be pissy with the Electricity company equivalent of the Soprano family.

The gist is this – Transpower wants to upgrade their lines – Farmers want compensation (I’m guessing for damage to their property/cost to have them on their land?) and Transpower says that in terms of rights to free access, this was all settled in 1950 legislation. Which seems a little disingenuous because the 1950 legislation only guarantees access for service maintenance work, not a complete upgrading of the entire grid.

But when you are negotiating with the Sopranos, they tend to give you offers you can’t refuse – Transpower has responded by threatening legal action.
This from the Herald

More than 50 South Auckland farmers will refuse Transpower access to their properties this summer, beginning a new battle in the war between the power giant and the rural community. Transpower last night threatened legal action if it was refused access. Communications manager Chris Roberts said that, if access were refused, restoration of faulty lines would be put in jeopardy and long power cuts could be the result. But Auckland Federated Farmers say that "unless access and easement agreements with annuities" can be agreed upon with Transpower their gates will remain shut to linesmen.

US Drivers blame Bush

It must be bad in America when even as oil prices go down, Bush gets blamed. This from BusinessWeek

Energy experts pin the sharp decline in gasoline prices on basic market forces. Tell that to many motorists, however, and their eyes roll. Two out of five Americans believe the November elections and politics -- not economics -- are behind the plunge at the pump. Retired farmer Jim Mohr of Lexington, Ill., rattled off a tankful of reasons why fuel costs may be falling, including the end of the summer travel season and the fact that no major hurricanes have disrupted Gulf of Mexico output. "But I think the big important reason is Republicans want to get elected," Mohr, 66, said while filling up for $2.17 a gallon. "They think getting the prices down is going to help get some more incumbents re-elected."

According to a new Gallup poll, 42 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that the Bush administration "deliberately manipulated the price of gasoline so that it would decrease before this fall's elections." Fifty-three percent of those surveyed did not believe in this conspiracy theory, while 5 percent said they had no opinion.

Branson starts delivering

If the ideas Branson is starting to throw out after his big call on cutting airline emissions is true, it is a bewildering eye opener to how much waste exists in our wonderfully lean free market capitalist economy, where is Lenin at a time like this?
This from the BBC

The global aviation industry must work together to tackle climate change, Sir Richard Branson has said.

Up to 25% of the world's aviation carbon dioxide emissions could be cut if airlines, airports and governments worked together, the Virgin boss said. Sir Richard last week pledged Virgin profits worth $3bn (£1.6bn) towards renewable energy initiatives. He is now urging others to support a cross-industry forum to tackle the "growing problem" of global warming. In New York later today, Sir Richard will outline proposals he claims would save over 150m tonnes of carbon emissions a year. "With global warming, the world is heading for a catastrophe. The aviation industry must play its part in averting that," he said.

The aviation industry is responsible for around 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions.


In October the call to Make Poverty History is getting louder - much louder!

With help from our friends at C4, Oxfam is hosting Oxjam - a nationwide month of music with a message: that together we can bring an end to extreme poverty.

Read on to find out how you can get involved – go along to a gig, volunteer at an event or even put on your own Oxjam– like Live8 in your back yard!

Bands such as The Bleeders, Dimmer, Anika Moa and Ddub have already come on board and more are joining all the time… Go along to one of the many gigs and you'll also be in with a chance to win the latest Apple iPod.


This is getting embarrassing now. The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was leaked and stated that the Iraq war was creating more terrorisim than it was fighting. This is a massive blow to Bush because it is a report that covers all 16 intelligence departments. This is as good as it gets in terms of a reality check on the sunshine and lollypop fight for women’s rights and Democracy that the Bush Administration paints Iraq out to be.

Bush’s response yesterday was full fury at those suggestions and stated that he would release the whole report just to show everyone he was right.

Yeah well, 24 later and the Bush Administration NOW say that they can’t publish the full report now and prove their point because it would give out vital information that would help the enemy. What a load of arse, the rumour from those who have seen the report is that it tells a much grimer view of what is really going on in Iraq, and that if it was released it would cause political upset. This from the BBC

The Bush administration has defended its partial release of a report linking the Iraq conflict to global terrorism against calls for the full report.

A White House aide said the terror report could not be released in full because of national security issues. Opposition Democrats argue that the parts of the intelligence report declassified on Tuesday do not give Americans enough information. There are also rumours of a damning second report being held back.
Jane Harman, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, suggested this alleged second report, focusing only on Iraq, was being "held until after the November [mid-term] elections".

She had not seen the alleged report, but added: "I hear it paints a grim picture."

Why does China have the Olympics again?

I have never been happy with China having the Olympics. While western consumer culture feed from a massive jump in wealth (at a terrible expense to the environment), may make China seem cuddly and friendly, scratch below the surface and you have a totalitarian brutal government that censors the internet and continually breaches international human rights. One of the dirtier abuses is the forced harvesting of human organs from executed prisoners sold on the black market to the wealthy. This from the BBC

The sale of organs taken from executed prisoners appears to be thriving in China, an undercover investigation by the BBC has found.

Organs from death row inmates are sold to foreigners who need transplants. One hospital said it could provide a liver at a cost of £50,000 ($94,400), with the chief surgeon confirming an executed prisoner could be the donor. China's health ministry did not deny the practice, but said it was reviewing the system and regulations.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes visited No 1 Central Hospital in Tianjin, ostensibly seeking a liver for his sick father. Officials there told him that a matching liver could be available in three weeks. One official said that the prisoners volunteered to give their organs as a "present to society". He said there was currently an organ surplus because of an increase in executions ahead of the 1 October National Day.

China executes more prisoners than any other country in the world. In 2005, at least 1,770 people were executed, although true figures were believed to be much higher, a report by human rights group Amnesty International said.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Double Standards?

I notice that when a catholic nurse was shot dead recently there were many comments about how this proved the Pope right and what a violent bunch those Muslims were, it’s interesting to note no comments when it is the other way around and Muslims see themselves being attacked as part of a wider campaign against them.

This from Aljazeera
A Muslim cleric is reported to have been shot dead by gunmen in Russia's southern spa town of Kislovodsk. The country's Interfax news agency quoted police as saying the assailants fled late on Monday after killing the imam of a mosque in the doorway of an apartment block where he lived. A police officer was also wounded when trying to stop two armed people in the street. Kislovodsk, like many parts of southern Russia, has a strong Russian nationalist Christian community which eyes with suspicion the growth of a Muslim population arriving from the impoverished Caucasus region. Ethnic tensions in many parts of Russia have become a cause of concern for authorities, alarmed by the increase in racist attacks. Analysts have said that by the year 2020, one in ten Russians could be Muslim.

Personally I think most religions have a lot to answer for in terms of creating misery – and I think the Pope pointing the finger at the Muslim religion with Christianity’s history of butchery is a bit rich. I think Jihadist Islam has simply replaced communism as the movement of choice to fight on behalf of the injustices of people with no end in sight of their circumstances. Remove the conditions and injustices that breed this level of fanaticism and you have a real chance to win over the hearts and minds. Bombs don’t achieve this, in fact they make things worse.

Does it strike anyone else that Bush hasn’t actually read this report?

I had one of those moments today when Bush announced that he would declassify the National Intelligence Estimate leaked intelligence report that suggests the Iraq war is now fuelling and creating terrorism rather than fighting it. It is a remarkable report that is the final nail in the coffin for any justification of the war in Iraq as a fight against terrorism because it carries all the weight of the American Intelligence community. So when Bush announced he would declassify the lot as a way to show everyone that the quotes lifted by Democrats didn’t show the full picture I had that moment of doubt, “Shit, does Bush have something else to add, have I jumped to the wrong conclusion, maybe Big Bush Bear was right all along”. Well, after just watching Bush on CNN and BBC today and seeing where he is focusing his argument, all he has extra to offer is the statement from the NIE that al Qaeda has been disrupted and are less effective.

Less effective? After a couple of years war and over $300 billion spent, I would want a hell of a lot more than ‘Less Effective’. I almost wonder if Bush actually read the bloody thing because there is nothing in this NIE report that holds up his side of the debate other than the claim that al Qaeda is less effective – which in terms of a counter argument, is as weak as piss.

The reality is that the war in Iraq is NOT about terrorism it is about taking control of an area in the middle east that is of global strategic importance to America. But asking Mom and Pop to hand over the fruits of their loins to get killed for cheap oil isn’t much of a rallying cry, so Bush needs to create the terrorist bogeyman. This is all making for a fascinating mid-term election.

Is Labour as guilty of taking money as National spin suggests?

I’ve just read the 17th June, 2005 report on Government and parliamentary publicity and advertising report written by the Auditor-General, KB Brady. Now as someone pointed out to me, “nowhere in it does it say anything has been updated it calls for the rules to be clarified (presumably with various committees coming together over some months) certainly no way it could be done prior to the election”

And I note in the report that there is a possible loophole here for Labour…
There is no guidance as to how this should be applied in the period before Parliament is dissolved. However, there is clear potential for MPs’ and parliamentary parties’ publicity and advertising activities in the weeks and months leading up to a dissolution to bring considerable party political benefit. That potential increases as political content is permitted in such publicity and advertising.

Until the final report is released, I think throwing around the word Corruption by National is very misleading.

Global Warming doesn’t exist

Like the voices that have shut up supporting the Iraq war, global warming was first laughed off as a tree hugger myth. Now the only people who don’t believe it are the companies who will have to pay carbon taxes and National Party supporters and Farmers and SUV drivers. National Party Farmers who drive SUVs are the worst. I would add ACT party voters in this as well, but there just aren’t any left, perhaps we could get some carbon credits for that?

If we don’t dramatically alter the way we live we will see the full effects of global warming within 15 years, and once that process starts there will be no stopping it. This fact is conveniently avoided by every political party except for the Greens.

Here’s some more proof from the BBC for those who reuse to face up to the realities of Global Warming

The world is the warmest it has been in the last 12,000 years as a result of rapid warming over the past 30 years, a study has suggested. Nasa climatologists said the Earth had warmed by about 0.2C (0.4F) in each of the last three decades. Pollution from human activity was pushing the world towards dangerous levels of climate change, they warned. As a result, plant and animal species were struggling to migrate fast enough to cooler regions, they said.
"The evidence implies that we are getting close to dangerous levels of human-made pollution," warned James Hansen, head of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York.

Israeli Justice

Someone help me out with this, perhaps one of those self-righteous Israel supporters – how does dropping a million cluster bomblets on civilian areas in Southern Lebanon by Israel not amount to a war crime?

This from BBC

Up to a million cluster bomblets discharged by Israel in its conflict with Hezbollah remain unexploded in southern Lebanon, the UN has said. The UN's mine disposal agency says about 40% of the cluster bombs fired or dropped by Israel failed to detonate - three times the UN's previous estimate. It says the problem could delay the return home of about 200,000 displaced people by up to two years. The devices have killed 14 people in south Lebanon since the August truce. The manager of the UN's mine removal centre in south Lebanon, Chris Clark, said Israel had failed to provide useful information of its cluster bomb strikes, which could help with the clearance operation. Last month, the UN's humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, accused Israel of "completely immoral" use of cluster bombs in the conflict. Israel says all its weapons and munitions, as well as their use, comply with international law.

Oh and while we are asking questions – how is this beating up mentally ill kids justifiable?

While media attention is elsewhere – Israel has stepped up its attacks on Palestinian land, last week the BBC reported on an IDF launched attack on Um al-Nasr to ‘capture terrorists’. During this raid the IDF destroyed and demolished homes…

When the villagers gathered under a guava tree to tell their story, Subhiya Mouamr's son, Riziq sat among them. He has a mental disability, and he does not hear or speak well His relatives say that the first they knew of the Israeli raid was the sound of Riziq screaming in the night. His sister, Leila thought that a fight had broken out with the neighbours. She said she rushed out to find Riziq being beaten by soldiers. Above his blackened eye a large plaster still covers a wound. His family believes that Riziq may have lashed out at the troops. "I asked them what they wanted with him - saying that he's sick," said Leila. "They told me to shut up." Then Leila said the soldiers opened fire on two other relatives racing to the scene.

The IDF have killed 200 Palestinians in the past 3 months, how is this in any way justifiable?

60 000 more troops for Free-dumb De-mock-racy

ABC news reports that American Generals are now suggesting America needs an extra 60 000 troops…for what should be the question.

The strain on the Army from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has become so great that top officials are now privately saying the only long-term solution may be to make the overall size of the Army bigger, adding as many as 60,000 troops, ABC News has learned.

It's not a request or a recommendation yet, but senior Army officials have discussed this for weeks and are now in agreement that the Army could meet its worldwide obligations more easily by expanding the overall size of its force.

Let me get this straight – YOU WANT MO MONEY?

Apparently exporting Democracy Freedom forced at the end of an M16 isn’t nearly as cheap as we were first told. Remember how the Bush Administration laughed at the idea that the cost of war in Iraq would EVER go over $100 Billion – it’s currently over $300 Billion.

And now Bush just got slammed by his army chief that they don’t have enough cash – this from Guardian

George Bush suffered a serious rebuke of his wartime leadership yesterday when his army chief said he did not have enough money to fight the war in Iraq.

Six weeks before midterm elections in which the war is a crucial issue, the protest from the army head, General Peter Schoomaker, exposes concerns within the US military about the strain of the war on Iraq, and growing tensions between uniformed personnel and the Pentagon chief, Donald Rumsfeld.

Three retired senior military officers yesterday accused Mr Rumsfeld of bungling the war on Iraq, and said the Pentagon was "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically". Major General Paul Eaton, a retired officer who was in charge of training Iraq troops, said: "Mr Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision-making."

The rare criticism from the three officers, all veterans of the Iraq war, is an embarrassment to Mr Bush at a time when his party had hoped to campaign on its strong leadership in the "war on terror".

The officers echoed the findings of the National Intelligence Estimate at the weekend, which said the Iraq war had fuelled Islamist extremism around the world. They also accused the Pentagon of putting soldiers' lives at risk by failing to provide the best equipment available. "Why are we asking our soldiers and marines to use the same armour we found was insufficient in 2003?" asked Thomas Hammes, a retired Marine Corps colonel.

The criticism comes amid an unprecedented show of defiance from the army chief, Gen Schoomaker. The general refused to submit a budget plan for 2008 to Mr Rumsfeld, arguing the military could not continue operations in Iraq and its other missions without additional funds, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. The seriousness of the protest was underlined by Gen Schoomaker's reputation as an ally of the Pentagon chief. The general came out of retirement at Mr Rumsfeld's request to take up the post.

$7.5 Billion lost in 3 years of Iraqi corruption?

How could you steal 7.5 Billion in 3 years and not have anyone notice?

BAGHDAD, Iraq Arrest warrants have been issued against 88 former Iraqi officials, including 15 ministers, on charges of corruption, an independent anti-corruption commission said Tuesday.

Among those wanted are 61 "living as fugitives abroad," said Ali al-Shabout, spokesman for the Public Integrity Commission. Interpol has been informed that they are wanted for prosecution in Iraq, he said.

The agency, which answers to parliament, is run by a judge who serves a five-year term. It was established in 2003 after the U.S.-led invasion.

Iraq has been struggling to deal with endemic corruption in the civil services.

Al-Shabout said the agency has documented the loss of US$7.5 billion (about €6.0 billion) through corruption over the past three years.

Mainstream Education

There is concern that some students are just not succeeding in mainstream schools, that their behaviour problems are simply too extreme and that it is becoming a health and safety issue for teachers.
This in the Herald today…

Graham Young, president of the Secondary Principals' Association, says schools are increasingly having to act as social welfare agencies.

He believes it is time to ask whether teenagers with serious behaviour problems should be educated separately.

Here’s what I think – yes there needs to be some type of alternative education centers set up for kids who would drop out of school anyway or get expelled because of their behaviour issues. I’m on the board of trustees for Youthline, and we run an alternative education center that has some amazing kids in it, but who simply don’t work in ‘mainstream’ education. But alternative education needs to be seen as a last resort, and my beef with Graham (I was arguing with him on Radio NZ last week) is that he is the sort of guy who would use alternative education as the first resort to disruptive teenagers as opposed to the last resort.

I don’t think ‘mainstream’ education works for everyone and difficult kids do need extra resources and help, but in a world of education as business, troublesome students become a problem to the bottom line by supposedly damaging their precious bankable reputations. Of course you can’t have teachers threatened or other students held back – but the threshold has to be high so as to not allow schools the ability to just dump the problem kids and keep the ones that will make them look good. Alternative Education centers for those deemed too much trouble have to be heavily resourced with very low teacher/student ratios, and the Government would have to cough up a lot more cash for this to be feasible.

Has the Dragon lost her Gold?

What the hell is going on here? Annette Presley has been dumped VERY PUBLICLY – in a business sense, and just as a matter of basic courtesy (not to mention employment law) wouldn’t you inform the person before you notify the public?
This from the Herald
Mr Dick struck yesterday morning, sending out a press release saying Ms Presley was quitting her executive role to pursue new opportunities.

Her Dragon's Den commitments and other business interests meant she was not up to date with the business, he said.

Mr Dick said he had been communicating with Ms Presley by email, and had not met her face to face for some time.

The only shock is his shock

How was Brian Connell ‘shocked’ by getting suspended from the National Party caucus? The guy gets publicly blamed for confronting Brash in caucus over his extra marital affair, he has a history of pissing everyone off and he ran foul of the last leader Bill English. Is Rakaia in some sort of different dimension where the outside world doesn’t actually intrude?

10 other things that might shock Brian

1: Your haircut is not cool
2: 2 + 2 = 4
3: Don Brash fucking hates you
4: The National Party fucking hates you
5: You are supposed to attack the people on the other side of the House when in Parliament
6: Getting suspended doesn’t mean you will now be on ‘Dancing with the stars’
7: Farmers don’t know everything
8: Beige jackets went out of style with your haircut
9: This doesn’t mean that Maurice Williamson is your new mate
10: Suspended isn’t something to put in your CV

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Top Gear really Top Wanker?

Here is a fascinating counter to all the Top Gear love by Johann Hari, check it out…

Ho ho. For Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and their army of Top Gear speedophiles, driving cars so fast they can smash a skull or kill a child has been a subject for uproarious laughter and acidic hate for years now. Clarkson has declared “speeding is no big deal” and shouldn’t be punished with points on your license. He has in the past supported the gangs of thugs going around smashing the British speed cameras that have – according to independent studies – saved over 1000 innocent lives. And he has derided anybody who disagrees as a “health and safety Nazi.” His acolyte ‘Hamster’ Hammond said that because of these views, Clarkson should be made Mayor of London so he can “roar around London in a Lamborghini with a mayoral flagpole, shooting cyclists.”

Now Hammond is lying in a hospital bed, his life very nearly ended by this adolescent need for speed. I wonder if Clarkson, as he stared tearfully at the wounds of one of his best mates and comforted Hammond’s wife and kids, thought back to all the times they have used Britain’s massive death-toll from speeding as a glib punchline. Did he remember the column he wrote recently, in which he declared, “Of course, in France speeding is endemic and this means they have a far, far higher death rate than we do. But let’s be frank here. You can’t really judge a country by the number of people who don’t die in car accidents”? Did he remember the snarling contempt with which he responded to pleas from the AA and some of Britain’s most senior traffic cops to stop encouraging people to break the law? Does he see now why we “Nazis” try to slow cars down?

You want feces with those fries?

Forget the arguements about Billions in advertising and the whole ‘just get off the couch fatso’ intellectual comeback on obesity and fast food, this piece on Campbell Live last night had an excellent interview with the author of Fast Food Nation and pointed out that the actual food being sold tastes great but is total shit (literally) in terms of health. Interesting to see that the Fast Food industry is using Tobacco industry tactics now, moving away from the smart middle classes who are now not eating as much fast food, and aiming their marketing directly at the poor.

Ronald must die!

Law of intended consequences

This is so funny

Chavez boosts Chomsky book sales
A book by left-wing US author Noam Chomsky has reached a bestsellers' list after Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez praised it at the UN last week.

A speech by Mr Chavez cited Chomsky's 2003 critique of US policy, Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance, as an "excellent book". Mr Chavez also said US President George W Bush was the "devil" who had left the UN podium smelling of "sulphur". Chomsky's book spent the weekend at the top of Amazon.com's bestseller list. The 77-year-old linguistics professor told the New York Times newspaper last week that he would be "happy to meet" Mr Chavez. He said he is "quite interested" in Mr Chavez's policies and regards many of his views as "quite constructive". Mr Chavez urged his audience at the UN General Assembly to read Chomsky's book, saying it would help explain "what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th Century... and the greatest threat looming over our planet". Holding up a Spanish-language edition of the book, Mr Chavez said "the hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species".


The Shawshank Repetition

This unit’s library is rather pitiful. The spiteful former occupant of the room the library is in has withheld many good books in a locked side room and no-one can get in. I’ve tried – because I’m the librarian. It’s an honorary non-paying job and since I founded and co-owned a secondhand bookshop (Nostromo Books 598 Gt. North Rd, Grey Lynn) I guess I must be over-qualified for the role of managing less than 100 titles.

Wilbur Smith’s epic chronicles of super-macho Victorian elephant slaughterers seems to be the backbone of a bleak expanse of Readers Digest condensed novels and 80’s paperback fiction. Half of the Stephen Kings have had the last couple of pages torn out of them as well as parts of the covers cut into to provide rigid ends to rolly cigarettes, or “other cigarettes”. There’s one cookbook from 1982 with photos of burnt dishes and other inedible fare that makes our dry mash dinners actually look appealing – and that is certainly saying something.

There are a few good titles and I still haven’t seen the return of the one about Mafia and some of the more modern fiction. Ben Elton’s ones are still untouched however.

The National Geographic’s are circulating, like most of the library’s other magazines, privately now without the need to go through me. I guess most books too are passed from one another and won’t see the library for a long time – which is fine – as long as people are using them. I try to open each Sunday after the old re-runs of the original Star Trek finish on Prime and after the game of Touch is over.

Eventually I’ll have to get into that room and liberate all the good books that are trapped therein. But things move glacially in here. So, to avoid accusations of being part of the problem and not part of the solution and having seen the Shawshank Redemption and the efforts that Tim Robbin’s character went through to get a decent library up and running, I now appeal to those with unwanted or surplus books and magazines to send them in to broaden and enlighten the twisted and criminal minds of the prisoners in this unit.

Please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 8
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

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

Clinton Fucks Fox

I hate Fox News with a passion, it is the most one sided biased bullshit I have ever seen (try watching Fox News stoned and tell me you are not watching the mouthpiece of Satan). The Clinton interview on Sunday was hilarious as Clinton ripped Fox News to shreds, here is the Transcript....

WASHINGTON — The following is a partial transcript of the Sept. 24, 2006, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":

WALLACE: Mr. President, welcome to "FOX News Sunday."


WALLACE: In a recent issue of the New Yorker you say, quote, "I'm 60 years old and I damn near died, and I'm worried about how many lives I can save before I do die." Is that what drives you in your effort to help in these developing countries?

CLINTON: Yes, I really — but I don't mean — that sounds sort of morbid when you say it like that. I mean, I actually ...

WALLACE: That's how you said it.

CLINTON: Yes, but the way I said it, the tone in which I said it was actually almost whimsical and humorous. That is, this is what I love to do. It is what I think I should do.

That is, I have had a wonderful life. I got to be president. I got to live the life of my dreams. I dodged a bullet with that heart problem. And I really think I should — I think I owe it to my fellow countrymen and people throughout the world to spend time saving lives, solving problems, helping people see the future.

But as it happens, I love it. I mean, I feel it's a great gift. So, it's a rewarding way to spend my life.

WALLACE: Someone asked you — and I don't want to, again, be too morbid, but this is what you said. He asked you if you could wind up doing more good as a former president than as a president, and you said, "Only if I live a long time."

CLINTON: Yes, that's true.

WALLACE: How do you rate, compare the powers of being in office as president and what you can do out of office as a former president?

CLINTON: Well, when you are president, you can operate on a much broader scope. So, for example, you can simultaneously be trying to stop a genocide in Kosovo and, you know, make peace in the Middle East, pass a budget that gives millions of kids a chance to have afterschool programs and has a huge increase in college aid at home. In other words, you've got a lot of different moving parts, and you can move them all at once.

But you're also more at the mercy of events. That is, President Bush did not run for president to deal with 9/11, but once it happened it wasn't as if he had an option.

Once I looked at the economic — I'll give you a much more mundane example. Once I looked at the economic data, the new data after I won the election, I realized that I would have to work much harder to reduce the deficit, and therefore I would have less money in my first year to invest in things I wanted to invest in.

WALLACE: So what is it that you can do as a former president?

CLINTON: So what you can do as a former president is — you don't have the wide range of power, so you have to concentrate on fewer things. But you are less at the mercy of unfolding events.

So if I say, look, we're going to work on the economic empowerment of poor people, on fighting AIDS and other diseases, on trying to bridge the religious and political differences between people, and on trying to, you know, avoid the worst calamities of climate change and help to revitalize the economy in the process, I can actually do that.

I mean, because tomorrow when I get up, if there's a bad headline in the paper, it's President Bush's responsibility, not mine. That's the joy of being a former president. And it is true that if you live long enough and you really have great discipline in the way you do this, like this CGI, you might be able to affect as many lives, or more, for the good as you did as president.

WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on "Fox News Sunday," I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I've got to say, I was surprised. Most of them wanted me to ask you this question: Why didn't you do more to put bin Laden and Al Qaeda out of business when you were president?

There's a new book out, I suspect you've already read, called "The Looming Tower." And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, bin Laden said, "I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of U.S. troops." Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the Cole.

CLINTON: OK, let's just go through that.

WALLACE: Let me — let me — may I just finish the question, sir?

And after the attack, the book says that bin Laden separated his leaders, spread them around, because he expected an attack, and there was no response.

I understand that hindsight is always 20/20. ...

CLINTON: No, let's talk about it.

WALLACE: ... but the question is, why didn't you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?

CLINTON: OK, let's talk about it. Now, I will answer all those things on the merits, but first I want to talk about the context in which this arises.

I'm being asked this on the FOX network. ABC just had a right- wing conservative run in their little "Pathway to 9/11," falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report.

And I think it's very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn't do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush's neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn't do enough said I did too much — same people.

They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in "Black Hawk down," and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations.

OK, now let's look at all the criticisms: Black Hawk down, Somalia. There is not a living soul in the world who thought that Usama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk down or was paying any attention to it or even knew Al Qaeda was a growing concern in October of '93.

WALLACE: I understand, and I ...

CLINTON: No, wait. No, wait. Don't tell me this — you asked me why didn't I do more to bin Laden. There was not a living soul. All the people who now criticize me wanted to leave the next day.

You brought this up, so you'll get an answer, but you can't ...

WALLACE: I'm perfectly happy to.

CLINTON: All right, secondly ...

WALLACE: Bin Laden says ...

CLINTON: Bin Laden may have said ...

WALLACE: ... bin Laden says that it showed the weakness of the United States.

CLINTON: But it would've shown the weakness if we'd left right away, but he wasn't involved in that. That's just a bunch of bull. That was about Mohammed Adid, a Muslim warlord, murdering 22 Pakistani Muslim troops. We were all there on a humanitarian mission. We had no mission, none, to establish a certain kind of Somali government or to keep anybody out.

He was not a religious fanatic ...

WALLACE: But, Mr. President ...

CLINTON: ... there was no Al Qaeda ...

WALLACE: ... with respect, if I may, instead of going through '93 and ...

CLINTON: No, no. You asked it. You brought it up. You brought it up.

WALLACE: May I ask a general question and then you can answer?


WALLACE: The 9/11 Commission, which you've talk about — and this is what they did say, not what ABC pretended they said ...

CLINTON: Yes, what did they say?

WALLACE: ... they said about you and President Bush, and I quote, "The U.S. government took the threat seriously, but not in the sense of mustering anything like the kind of effort that would be gathered to confront an enemy of the first, second or even third rank."

CLINTON: First of all, that's not true with us and bin Laden.

WALLACE: Well, I'm telling you that's what the 9/11 Commission says.

CLINTON: All right. Let's look at what Richard Clarke said. Do you think Richard Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden?

WALLACE: Yes, I do.

CLINTON: You do, don't you?

WALLACE: I think he has a variety of opinions and loyalties, but yes, he has a vigorous ...

CLINTON: He has a variety of opinion and loyalties now, but let's look at the facts: He worked for Ronald Reagan; he was loyal to him. He worked for George H. W. Bush; he was loyal to him. He worked for me, and he was loyal to me. He worked for President Bush; he was loyal to him.

They downgraded him and the terrorist operation.

Now, look what he said, read his book and read his factual assertions — not opinions — assertions. He said we took vigorous action after the African embassies. We probably nearly got bin Laden.

WALLACE: But ...

CLINTON: No, wait a minute.


WALLACE: ... cruise missiles.

CLINTON: No, no. I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him.

The CIA, which was run by George Tenet, that President Bush gave the Medal of Freedom to, he said, "He did a good job setting up all these counterterrorism things."

The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.

Now, if you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: After the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden.

But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got after 9/11.

The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would've had to send a few hundred Special Forces in helicopters and refuel at night.

Even the 9/11 Commission didn't do that. Now, the 9/11 Commission was a political document, too. All I'm asking is, anybody who wants to say I didn't do enough, you read Richard Clarke's book.

WALLACE: Do you think you did enough, sir?

CLINTON: No, because I didn't get him.


CLINTON: But at least I tried. That's the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried.

So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted.

So you did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me. What I want to know is ...

WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, sir.

CLINTON: No, wait. No, no ...

WALLACE: I want to ask a question. You don't think that's a legitimate question?

CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of.

I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, "Why didn't you do anything about the Cole?"

I want to know how many you asked, "Why did you fire Dick Clarke?"

I want to know how many people you asked ...

WALLACE: We asked — we asked ...

CLINTON: I don't ...

WALLACE: Do you ever watch "FOX News Sunday," sir?

CLINTON: I don't believe you asked them that.

WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions of ...

CLINTON: You didn't ask that, did you? Tell the truth, Chris.

WALLACE: About the USS Cole?

CLINTON: Tell the truth, Chris.

WALLACE: With Iraq and Afghanistan, there's plenty of stuff to ask.

CLINTON: Did you ever ask that?

You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch's supporting my work on climate change.

And you came here under false pretenses and said that you'd spend half the time talking about — you said you'd spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7-billion-plus in three days from 215 different commitments. And you don't care.

WALLACE: But, President Clinton, if you look at the questions here, you'll see half the questions are about that. I didn't think this was going to set you off on such a tear.

CLINTON: You launched it — it set me off on a tear because you didn't formulate it in an honest way and because you people ask me questions you don't ask the other side.

WALLACE: That's not true. Sir, that is not true.

CLINTON: And Richard Clarke made it clear in his testimony...

WALLACE: Would you like to talk about the Clinton Global Initiative?

CLINTON: No, I want to finish this now.

WALLACE: All right. Well, after you.

CLINTON: All I'm saying is, you falsely accused me of giving aid and comfort to bin Laden because of what happened in Somalia. No one knew Al Qaeda existed then. And ...

WALLACE: But did they know in 1996 when he declared war on the U.S.? Did they know in 1998 ...

CLINTON: Absolutely, they did.

WALLACE: ... when he bombed the two embassies?

CLINTON: And who talked about ...

WALLACE: Did they know in 2000 when he hit the Cole?

CLINTON: What did I do? What did I do? I worked hard to try to kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president, we'd have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him.

Now, I've never criticized President Bush, and I don't think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.

And you ask me about terror and Al Qaeda with that sort of dismissive thing? When all you have to do is read Richard Clarke's book to look at what we did in a comprehensive, systematic way to try to protect the country against terror.

And you've got that little smirk on your face and you think you're so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could.

The entire military was against sending Special Forces in to Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter. And no one thought we could do it otherwise, because we could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was president.

And so, I left office. And yet, I get asked about this all the time. They had three times as much time to deal with it, and nobody ever asks them about it. I think that's strange.

WALLACE: Can I ask you about the Clinton Global Initiative?

CLINTON: You can.

WALLACE: I always intended to, sir.

CLINTON: No, you intended, though, to move your bones by doing this first, which is perfectly fine. But I don't mind people asking me — I actually talked to the 9/11 Commission for four hours, Chris, and I told them the mistakes I thought I made. And I urged them to make those mistakes public, because I thought none of us had been perfect.

But instead of anybody talking about those things, I always get these clever little political yields (ph), where they ask me one-sided questions. And the other guys notice that. And it always comes from one source. And so ...

WALLACE: And ...

CLINTON: And so ...

WALLACE: I just want to ask you about the Clinton Global Initiative, but what's the source? I mean, you seem upset, and I ...

CLINTON: I am upset because ...

WALLACE: And all I can say is, I'm asking you this in good faith because it's on people's minds, sir. And I wasn't ...

CLINTON: Well, there's a reason it's on people's minds. That's the point I'm trying to make. There's a reason it's on people's minds: Because there's been a serious disinformation campaign to create that impression.

This country only has one person who's worked on this terror. From the terrorist incidents under Reagan to the terrorist incidents from 9/11, only one: Richard Clarke.

And all I can say to anybody is, you want to know what we did wrong or right, or anybody else did? Read his book.

The people on my political right who say I didn't do enough spent the whole time I was president saying, "Why is he so obsessed with bin Laden? That was "wag the dog" when he tried to kill him."

My Republican secretary of defense — and I think I'm the only president since World War II to have a secretary of defense of the opposite party — Richard Clarke and all the intelligence people said that I ordered a vigorous attempt to get bin Laden and came closer, apparently, than anybody has since.

WALLACE: All right.

CLINTON: And you guys try to create the opposite impression, when all you have to do is read Richard Clarke's findings and you know it's not true. It's just not true.

And all this business about Somalia — the same people who criticized me about Somalia were demanding I leave the next day. The same exact crowd.

WALLACE: One of the ...

CLINTON: And so, if you're going to do this, for God's sake, follow the same standards for everybody ...

WALLACE: I think we do, sir.

CLINTON: ... and be flat — and fair.

WALLACE: I think we do. ... One of the main parts of the Global Initiative this year is religion and reconciliation. President Bush says that the fight against Islamic extremism is the central conflict of this century. And his answer is promoting democracy and reform.

Do you think he has that right?

CLINTON: Sure. To advance — to advocate democracy and reform in the Muslim world? Absolutely.

I think the question is, what's the best way to do it? I think also the question is, how do you educate people about democracy?

Democracy is about way more than majority rule. Democracy is about minority rights, individual rights, restraints on power. And there's more than one way to advance democracy.

But do I think, on balance, that in the end, after several bouts with instability — look how long it took us to build a mature democracy. Do I think, on balance, it would be better if we had more freedom and democracy? Sure I do. And do I think specifically the president has a right to do it? Sure I do.

But I don't think that's all we can do in the Muslim world. I think they have to see us as trying to get a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. I think they have to see us as willing to talk to people who see the world differently than we do.

WALLACE: Last year at this conference, you got $2.5 billion in commitments, pledges. How'd you do this year?

CLINTON: Well, this year we had — we had $7.3 billion, as of this morning.

WALLACE: Excuse me?

CLINTON: $7.3 billion, as of this morning. But $3 billion of that is — now, this is over multi years. These are up to 10-year commitments.

But $3 billion of that came from Richard Branson's commitment to give all of his transportation profits for a decade to clean energy investments. But still, that's — the rest is over $4 billion.

And we will have another 100 commitments come in, maybe more, and we'll probably raise another, I would say, at least another billion dollars, probably, before it's over. We've got a lot of commitments still in process.

WALLACE: When you look at the $3 billion from Branson, plus the billions that Bill Gates is giving in his own program, and now Warren Buffet, what do you make of this new age of philanthropy?

CLINTON: I think that, for one thing, really rich people have always given money away. I mean, you know, they've endowed libraries and things like that.

The unique thing about this age is, first of all, you have a lot of people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who are interested in issues at home and around the world that grow out of the nature of the 21st century and its inequalities — the income inequalities, the health-care inequalities, the education inequalities.

And you get a guy like Gates, who built Microsoft, who actually believes that he can help overcome a lot of the health disparities in the world. And that's the first thing.

The second thing that ought to be credited is that there are a lot of people with average incomes who are joining them because of the Internet. Like in the tsunami, for example, we had $1.2 billion given by Americans; 30 percent of our households gave money, over half of them over the Internet.

And then the third thing is you've got all these — in poor countries, you've got all these nongovernmental groups that you can — that a guy like Gates can partner with, along with the governments.

So all these things together mean that people with real money want to give it away in ways that help people that before would've been seen only as the object of government grants or loans.

WALLACE: Let's talk some politics. In that same New Yorker article, you say that you are tired of Karl Rove's B.S., although I'm cleaning up what you said.

CLINTON: But I do like the — but I also say I'm not tired of Karl Rove. I don't blame Karl Rove. If you've got a deal that works, you just keep on doing it.

WALLACE: So what is the B.S.?

CLINTON: Well, every even-numbered year, right before an election, they come up with some security issue.

In 2002, our party supported them in undertaking weapons inspections in Iraq and was 100 percent for what happened in Afghanistan, and they didn't have any way to make us look like we didn't care about terror.

And so, they decided they would be for the homeland security bill that they had opposed. And they put a poison pill in it that we wouldn't pass, like taking the job rights away from 170,000 people, and then say that we were weak on terror if we weren't for it. They just ran that out.

This year, I think they wanted to make the questions of prisoner treatment and intercepted communications the same sort of issues, until John Warner and John McCain and Lindsey Graham got in there. And, as it turned out, there were some Republicans that believed in the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions and had some of their own ideas about how best to fight terror.

The Democrats — as long as the American people believe that we take this seriously and we have our own approaches — and we may have differences over Iraq — I think we'll do fine in this election.

But even if they agree with us about the Iraq war, we could be hurt by Karl Rove's new foray if we just don't make it clear that we, too, care about the security of the country. But we want to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations, which they haven't for four years. We want to intensify our efforts in Afghanistan against bin Laden. We want to make America more energy-independent.

And then they can all, if they differ on Iraq, they can say whatever they want on Iraq.

But Rove is good. And I honor him. I mean, I will say that. I've always been amused about how good he is, in a way.

But on the other hand, this is perfectly predictable: We're going to win a lot of seats if the American people aren't afraid. If they're afraid and we get divided again, then we may only win a few seats.

WALLACE: And the White House, the Republicans want to make the American people afraid?

CLINTON: Of course they do. Of course they do. They want us to be — they want another homeland security deal. And they want to make it about — not about Iraq but about some other security issue, where, if we disagree with them, we are, by definition, imperiling the security of the country.

And it's a big load of hooey. We've got nine Iraq war veterans running for the House seats. We've got President Reagan's secretary of the navy as the Democratic candidate for the Senate in Virginia. A three-star admiral, who was on my National Security Council staff, who also fought terror, by the way, is running for the seat of Kurt Weldon in Pennsylvania.

We've got a huge military presence here in this campaign. And we just can't let them have some rhetorical device that puts us in a box we don't belong in.

That's their job. Their job is to beat us. I like that about Rove. But our job is not to let them get away with it. And if they don't, then we'll do fine.

WALLACE: Mr. President, thank you for one of the more unusual interviews.

CLINTON: Thanks.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Now THIS is the reason Don Brash is unfit to be in Politics

Dear Aunty Helen said that Don was a cancerous and corrosive influence in NZ politics. I agree wholeheartedly, I don’t care who he has sex with outside his marriage, I think such politics are disgraceful – BUT IT IS what Don believes that should penalise him from the top job. He and his VERY white, privileged view of the world has given voice and respectability to garden variety bigotry and racism. Let’s put the ‘Maaaaari get too much’, the ‘Poor should be forced to adopt their children out to rich people’ the ‘scrap the dole and force everyone to wait outside the Post Office for work’ and of course his wanting us in Iraq – let’s put all that aside and just have a look at two of the things he has said over the weekend.

Brash on Maaaaaris
Maori are a diluted race who have intermarried until "few, if any" remain full-blooded, says National leader Don Brash. He says Maori are different from other indigenous people around the world and also labelled judges as "out of touch" with the rest of New Zealand over their left-wing views on the Treaty of Waitangi.
Brash's comments came in a week when Prime Minister Helen Clark labelled him "cancerous", partly over the race-relations debate he sparked in 2004 over his first Orewa address as party leader.
Brash was asked by the Herald on Sunday to comment on a speech by High Court judge David Baragwanath to the Law Commission last month which raised the possibility that Maori might need separate legal treatment and highlighted the lack of Maori in the legal profession.
Brash said the judge's approach put him "totally at odds with my view of the way New Zealand should proceed".
"He continues to talk as if the Maori remain a distinct indigenous people. There are clearly many NZers who do see themselves as distinctly and distinctively Maori - but it is also clear there are few, if any, fully Maori left here. There has been a lot of intermarriage and that has been welcome."
Brash said Baragwanath's speech would reinforce the opinion held of the judiciary. Asked if that meant they were out of touch, he said: "Yeah, that's probably fair comment."
Brash also said that nothing should be read into the few Maori at law school. "Non-Maori are under-represented in the All Blacks. It doesn't mean the Treaty failed."

Brash on ‘Muslim Terrorists’
A New Zealand Islamic leader says National Party leader Don Brash has upset many Muslims with a suggestion that some of their co-religionists he meets are "possibly" terrorists.
On TV One's Agenda programme, Dr Brash, asked if he intended to continue meeting representatives of the Exclusive Brethren, asked rhetorically if he was going to rule out meeting anybody.
"Look, we're talking about hate speech here," Dr Brash said. "Do I meet with Muslims? Yes. Are some of them terrorists? Possibly. I'm not going to stop myself meeting with any group who wants to talk with me as leader of the National Party."

Javed Khan, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, said it was quite possible that anyone Dr Brash met could be a terrorist.
"If you don't have any foundation for saying something, this is very much speculation on the part of Don Brash. He being the Leader of the Opposition, making this kind of comment is not very good. It doesn't help anybody.
"It's rather unfortunate. It's always somebody digging into the Muslims all the time.
"If it comes from a person who is the alternative Prime Minister of this country, it doesn't bode well for the good relationship between Muslims and others."

So according to Brash, because someone is a Muslim, they are possibly a terrorist and Maori aren’t an indigenous group, and as such have no claims as an indigenous group. God forbid this fucking moron ever runs this country.

That said, if Helen owes public money wrongly spent from the last election, she should pay it back – but let’s wait till the final report comes out.

I fucking told you so doesn’t seem enough

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.
Mahatma Gandhi

Remember when all those voices cried out and told America that invading Iraq would only create more terrorists? Remember how many right wing voices called us pinko muesli munching peace loving faggots and we had to invade Iraq because (choose your reason – Nukes, al-Qaeda contacts, WMDs). But remember how we on the left pointed out that was bullshit and the end result would be a terrorism birthing ground, that for every bomb America dropped, you would only create 50 more terrorists.

Yeah, well it looks like we were right (I wonder where are those right wing voices now? Probably being as quiet as possible lest someone also mentions global warming). I’m sick of hearing people go on and on about how Muslims are evil and we need to get rid of them bemoaning the fact that “Muslims just wanna hurt us and they are bad and we need to stand up to them". WHY DO YOU THINK THEY HATE US? Seeing as some of you refuse to accept historic injustices are the reasons why people do anything in the present (isn’t it interesting that only the people who benefited from historic injustices never want to go back, and always want to ‘look forwards’), let’s forget the crusades or the last 100 years of modern interference in the area, could it be Iraq that is fuelling this fury?

SDM asked a question recently on this site saying ‘Would they leave us alone if we left Palestine?” (apart from the fact that Israel should be leaving occupied land regardless), of course the justification for extremism would no longer have popular support in these regions if the injustice which has poisoned these minds were righted. On the question of whether Iraq has created more problems, this report says YES. This from the BBC

The New York Times newspaper has published what it says are the findings of a classified US intelligence paper on the effects of the Iraq war.

The document reportedly blames the three-year-old conflict for increasing the threat of terrorism and helping fuel Islamic radicalism worldwide.

The BBC's defence correspondent Rob Watson says this is not the first time the US intelligence community has said that the war in Iraq has made the problem of Islamist extremism worse.

Indeed it had warned that might happen even before the US-led invasion in 2003. But, our correspondent says, this latest finding, known as a National Intelligence Estimate, is the most comprehensive report yet, based on the considered analysis of all 16 of the US intelligence agencies.

PS - 6600 Iraqi dead in two months - take a bow - what an honourable little war we have here.

God Bless Amerika

American Space Power – be afraid, be very afraid

The Project for the New American Century was a think tank created in 1997 that puts out whitepapers produced by high ranking American Neo-cons outlining their pax Americana wet dream world dominance fantasies. Effectively the intellectual underpinnings of the group is this “We won the cold war, how are we going to continue military and economic dominance over the rest of the planet”.

The fundamental essence of PNAC's ideology can be found in a White Paper produced in September of 2000 entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." In it, PNAC outlines what is required of America to create the global empire they envision.
According to PNAC, America must:
* Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East;
* Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft,
submarine and surface fleet capabilities;
* Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;
* Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, up from the 3 percent currently spent.
* Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a strategic dominance of space;

Eerilly most of these things have come to pass (including the PNAC argument to invade Iraq using regime change as the pretense), but it is the final idea, to “Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a strategic dominance of space” which concerns me. Look at this story in the weekend Herald about what America is trying to do in space, and while reading that – remember who the powerful group pushing this idea is – the PNAC.

As China intends to put a man on the moon and build a space station by 2020, the Bush Administration, committed to pre-emptive war and military supremacy, is fired by a sense of urgency. Its desire to dominate space involves fantastic weaponry, major geopolitical stakes, and big bucks.

In 2002 the US withdrew from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), which banned space-based weapons. Next February the MDA is expected to ask Congress to fund satellite-based interceptors, able to launch offensive weapons from space, possibly by 2011-12.

"The Administration has said they want to build a layered system that can shoot down missiles of any range - short, medium, long, ICBMs - from land, sea, air and space," said Philip Coyle, the Pentagon's former chief of evaluation during the first Bush and the Clinton eras. "Currently there are no attack weapons - shooters if you will - in space. But if we're going to put that kind of capacity in space, the first way it will likely happen will be because of MDA."

Given that it costs US$22,000 ($33,200) to send a kilogram into space, this is an expensive undertaking. Analysts expect the MDA will ask Congress for US$45 million for interceptors. This is mere seed money, a fraction of the US$441.5 billion US defence budget.

The big question is if the MDA's request will trigger a public debate about weapons in space.

"The Bush Administration has received a free pass from Congress on missile defence since 9/11," said Wade Boese, research director with the Arms Control Association. "If they went to space I think that changes it. This is a line many in Congress and the American public are reluctant to cross."

Nonetheless, advocates dream of having futuristic space weapons straight out of Flash Gordon. In its Transformation Flight Plan of November 2003 - which reveals what sort of weapons might be deployed in the future - the Air Force introduced Rods From God, a hypersonic cruise vehicle that would fire uranium, titanium or tungsten cylinders at targets at 11,585km/h, a vision that defies physics.

Talking of lynch mobs - 100 Years ago

There is a lot of debate in the below blog I posted about some local residents who set upon three suspected teenagers by shooting at them, ramming them of the roads, and then rolling boulders upon the teenagers when they were cornered. I’m fascinated to see so many voices trying to justify this action, and then this story caught my eye from the ‘100 years ago’ section of the Herald – looks like some of our right wing friends haven’t evolved much in 100 years.

Awful racial massacre in America

Dreadful anti-negro riots took place in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday. The newspapers of that day announced that five woman had been assaulted by negroes.

This statement enraged the whites, and they turned out and collected in angry mobs in all parts of the city.

A horrible massacre then began. Every negro found in the streets was attacked with pistols, knives, sticks and stones.

The police were powerless to stop the disorder. The Mayor drove to stop the disorder. The Mayor drove about the city appealing to the people to desist, but was disregarded. The fire brigade was turned out, and water was poured by them upon the rioters, but this measure also had no effect on the people.

The tramcars were searched for negro passengers, and when found they were dragged out and killed or severely beaten.

It was no protection to a negro that he was escorting a negress.

Finally the militia were called out, and they managed to restore order in the city, but the emeute was continued in the suburbs. It is feared that 30 innocent negroes have been murdered.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lynch Mob rural justice

Disturbing news that local NZ residents took things into their own hands this week after Ngawi locals attacked three teenagers accused of stealing, the whole thing sounds a bit dueling banjos if you ask me.

A source, who declined to be named, told the Times-Age the car driven by the teenagers had been fired upon twice by a shotgun at a road block residents had created using a bulldozer and another vehicle.

Shotgun pellets struck the fleeing car in the boot and sparks erupted from a rear tyre, but the vehicle breached the blockade and carried on travelling.

Armed residents chased the teenagers in another vehicle, the source said, ramming the fleeing car and firing several more shots at it during a short-lived and violent pursuit.

"It's disturbing to think this was done, really shocking. They could have been killed. Especially when they were being rammed and shot at while both cars are bouncing along and moving at speed."

The trio allegedly abandoned the vehicle soon afterward and hid in scrub on a nearby hillside before police arrived.

Some of the residents climbed the hill above two of the teenagers and "rolled boulders down" and pelted them with rocks to force them out of hiding, the source said. One of the teenagers was struck by a boulder and injured, he said.