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Monday, April 30, 2007

Greatest TV review ever

This has to be the greatest TV review I've ever read - brilliant writing from Capital Times, thank you for watching.

Columns - Tube Talk
Dr Nicky Watson?

THE synopsis for Alt TV’s gobsmacking Let There Be Rock promised great things.

"Join the doctor of rock – Nicky Watson – for an exploration of postmodern existential rock. It’s not just a show, it’s a structured philosophical belief system."

Unless Nicky Watson’s breasts count as "a structured philosophical belief system", it was a bit of a mystery as to how they were going to deliver. But then, all was revealed. Not quite as revealed as the host’s lithe limbs, but revealed nonetheless.

The show opened with Nicky, resplendent in tiny shorts, a black tank top and black leather boots, awkwardly reclined. The red curtains behind her provided what little fabric there was on view.

It’s not like being able to see so much of her is objectionable, but she looked like an extra from a Whitesnake video. I guess when you have that much hair and that deep a tan you don’t need clothes.

Inspired by her state of undress, one of the curtains slipped seductively from its moorings.

Nicky explained the set was reminiscent of a boudoir to mark her completion of Henderson Polytechnic’s Love and Relationship Advice course.

"They gave me an honorary doctorate, so now I’m Dr Watson!"

I’m sure that’s what she said, but there’s no such institute as Henderson Polytechnic. Could it be possible that Nicky Watson was displaying a sense of humour?

Only 10 minutes into Let There Be Rock, I was beginning to question everything I thought I knew. Alas, the Alice in Chains videos were real.

"It’s the anniversary of their lead singer’s death in… I forget when. Anyway, I’m playing these in, um, what’s that word? I can’t remember. But, anyway, these are like, from the last show he played when he was alive before he died."

Watching this structured philosophical belief system in action is to know why there is still angst and uncertainty in the world.

As she struggled up into a sitting position, knees akimbo, Nicky invited the lovelorn to text in their problems.

The show’s title was becoming more meaningless by the second. Now upright, Nicky was finally able to read the autocue and introduce two tracks. Depressingly, they were by INXS.

By the time this first aural assault was over, Dr Watson had a Sherlock Holmes in the form of Grimace – and he did. "Grimace is the host of, um… what’s your show called?" Nicky asked.

"Pisstalk," muttered Grimace. He looked bored rigid, but cheered up immensely when he had to read Nicky her first text.

"Han Solo in Hamilton wants to know how to deal with his girlfriend when she finds out he only has one ball."

Nicky inhaled deeply, which must be pretty risky when you’re already so airheaded you’re in danger of levitating at any moment. "You don’t make love with your balls," she advised eventually, before throwing her goats up (the goat/devil symbol made with the fingers) in solidarity.

She throws up her goats a lot – so often, in fact, that Grimace started doing it behind her back.

Pete texted in to find out how he could get over his ex. "Oh my goodness," sighed Nicky, before launching into the most entertaining rant of the evening.

"You have to start living your life! You have to heal your soul, your heart and spirit and start loving yourself. There’s a book called The Power of Now – you can get it at Whitcoulls and PaperPlus [behind her, Grimace was literally agape]. Love changes, Pete."

Wow. I guess Nicky Watson has had to get over exes quite often.

We were back on safer ground with the next question on nipple-piercing.

"I actually got my nipple pierced on national TV," Nicky chirped, as though anyone needed reminding.

Warming to her subject, Nicky described the procedure and asked Grimace if perhaps she shouldn’t just show everyone what it looked like. Although looking slightly more animated, Grimace wisely chose to shrug.

Then it was time for Dr Watson to close the surgery. "I feel like I’ve spoken some truth and helped some people, so see you next week when we’ll be here to answer your questions... Oh no! I’m a liar! I won’t be here next week! I’ll be at the Playboy launch."

Grimace checked his watch. "Can’t you ask the Bunnies if they’ve got any problems?"

"Oh yeah, totally," agreed Nicky, looking relieved. I’m glad she felt relieved. I felt like I’d just had my world ripped apart.

Ban these stinking billboards

I’m all for banning these bloody billboards in Auckland – I am sick to death of having advertisers ram things into my eyeballs MY EYEBALLS ARE NOT FOR SALE! If I’m in public space, why should I have your advert for undies, or TV shows or whatever other garbage you want to force feed me thrust into my face? This is public space, why must I be bombarded with you messages to BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY (now) – I mean isn’t that type of consumption consumer culture actually part of the ‘bigger’ problems here folks? I say keep the billboards, but instead of dirty adverts wanting to rape my eyeballs, I say we should have art everywhere on these billboards, wouldn’t that make Auckland an amazing place then? Art on every billboard rather than tampax adverts or SUV swine mobile adverts or Ronald fucking mcdonald adverts – let’s make Auckland truly unique – oh and how would we pay for that? Well here’s where I’m happy to be flexible, perhaps part of the deal could be sponsorship, allow the business community to sponsor the billboards to make Auckland look more beautiful, instead of selling their bullshit products, they could sell their good will.

Fashion designer slams proposed billboard ban
The proposed ban on billboards in Auckland City is a farce, says fashion designer Denise L'Estrange-Corbet. She says she will not take down the one on the roof of her inner-city workroom. "When I bought my building it had a billboard which the city council gave permission for many years ago ... here's the registration plate ... No 479 and the rent from this contributes largely to the mortgage," the World label chief executive told commissioners hearing views on the draft billboards and signs bylaw. "Suddenly, I find a group of city councillors want to put an end to the CBD having billboards ... without any good reason and any plans to reimburse us for loss of revenue." Ms L'Estrange-Corbet said she could not find any benefits in banning billboards. "Billboards are informative and colourful and are part of every city in the world.

God, Maoris and smacking the devil out of your child

As the debate over the repeal of a legal loop hole that goes back to that quaint time in NZ history when women and children were the PROPERTY of men (dontcha love how men could rape wives before the law change in the 1970’s because it was ‘inconceivable’ that a man could rape his wife – because they were married and if the man wanted to fuck, then his bitch wife better do as he wants or she gets some biffo now don’t she – ahhh, NZ the enlightened) – sadly the rednecks aren’t gonna let their right to bash their kiddies go the way of other man rights, and the stage is set for a show down. Interesting to see what Tariana Turia had to say on Marae on Tvone over the weekend, that Christianity brought the concept of smacking for discipline to NZ and mixed with the ill effects of colonization has given Maori the worst child abuse statistics, a claim backed up historically by the first missionaries in NZ that Maori didn’t smack their kids, of course regardless of the truth, you can hear the red neck clamor on talkback stations all up and down the country now.

Colonisation, Christianity get blame for smacking
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the arrival of Christianity in New Zealand and colonisation introduced the concept of smacking children to Maori.
"Our people did not hit their tamariki. That only came about through colonisation and through Christianity actually," she said on Marae on Saturday. She said the strongest opponents to Sue Bradford's private member's bill - banning physical force being used against children as a punishment - was from Christians who wanted to reserve the right to "smack their children lovingly". "Well, I've never seen anybody give a child a loving smack."

Survey may force Maori Party shift on Bradford bill
The fate of Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill appears to rest with the Maori Party caucus which will discuss it tomorrow in the light of a poll showing overwhelming 80 per cent opposition to it by Maori. The party has backed the bill but the resounding Maori opposition may create pressure to back a proposal by National Party leader John Key to allow "minor and inconsequential" smacking. It is believed to have been a consistent topic of concern raised at the consultation hui the four Maori Party MPs have held up and down New Zealand during the three-week recess. If the Maori Party decides to back the Key amendment, it would have the numbers to pass. But Sue Bradford has said she would withdraw it in those circumstances. The bill, which returns to the House on Wednesday, outlaws the use of physical force against children for purposes of correction. It allows it to prevent a child from engaging in harmful, disruptive, illegal or offensive behaviour. Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia indicated at the weekend that the party would continue to support the bill, despite 80 per cent of Maori in the Marae Digipoll survey opposing it. But she could not be contacted last night to discuss the Key proposal.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Newspaper Brunch Club

Our show today with Wallace Chapman from Kiwi FM and Union Activist, Erin Polaczuk

Chase ends in fireball
Another chase where a NZer is killed being pursued by Police, Police assure us that they had stopped chasing the 21 year old seconds before he died on the same street they were chasing him on. Police are supposed to stand down if a chase endangers life, but we constantly have chases ending in death with the Police ending that chase moments before.

Truancy fines
Ministry is eyeing up fines for parents of truant students – does fining parents for Truancy work? Why aren’t the kids going to school, 1 in 3 students being bullied? And what about the story in the HOS regarding gay students getting bullied? How about making the school environment safer rather than fining parents?

Harry going to war
How bad is this idea of Harry going to war? Would anything inflame the situation more if he (god forbid) fell into enemy hands? Would England go to war proper if Royal Blood was spilled? But if he doesn’t go, why should his countrymen bleed for him?

Reasons for War queried
Former head of the CIA, George Tenet has published his book on the decision to go to war with Iraq and concludes that there was no real debate whatsoever as to how much of a threat Saddam actually posed. How will history judge America and the world, are there any supporters of the war left?

Howard goes nuclear
John Howard wants to lift all restrictions on uranium mining as a cure all for Global warming, will we go out of the global warming frypan into the nuclear fire? Anyone note how ironic it is for a politician who has spent most of his political life denying global warming even existed now wanting to save us all from it with nuclear energy?

Radio Awards – is radio dead?
Does it say something about the strength of an industry that the radio awards held last night don’t mention a word (other than a short piece in the SST)? Congrats to Marcus Lush – best Talkback host in the country, but is the commercial radio industry dying? Who is listening anymore, and is RNZ even included these days in these awards?

Email leak
After 3 years, still no one has been charged with the leaking of Don Brash’s emails, John Key denies that he knows the name of the leaker, and also denies that he will not name the person because they are a National Party and the leaking was an inside job – something Nicky Harger has always claimed – isn’t the question has the National Party leaned from what was revealed in the Hollow Men and the politics of expediency?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What does NZ and Iran have in common?

You have to hand it to Iran, in terms of restricting ones rights, there can’t be anything closer to personal infringement than telling people what they can and can’t wear, and currently the Iranian regime is doing just that by cracking down and arresting women for wearing clothes they decide are immodest. How inane, how stupid how very NZ, see as much as we may be appalled by Iran wanting to ban woman for wearing short sleeved shirts, we here in NZ also want to ban women wearing veils – in Iran it’s prison if you show too much skin, in NZ it’s jail for not showing enough. Of course NZ hasn’t gone as far as to ban veils yet, but when we compare ourselves to Iran, one can’t help shake off the feeling that once again, regardless of justification, be it for the modesty of God or for cultural assimilation – it seems to be men telling women what they can or can’t wear.

Time to get over ourselves.

Crackdown in Iran over dress codes
Thousands of Iranian women have been cautioned over their poor Islamic dress this week and several hundred arrested in the capital Tehran in the most fierce crackdown on what's known as "bad hijab" for more than a decade.
It is the talk of the town. The latest police crackdown on Islamic dress has angered many Iranians - male, female, young and old. But Iranian TV has reported that an opinion poll conducted in Tehran found 86% of people were in favour of the crackdown - a statistic that is surprising given the strength of feeling against this move. Police cars are stationed outside major shopping centres in Tehran. They are stopping pedestrians and even cars - warning female drivers not to show any hair - and impounding the vehicles and arresting the women if they argue back. Middle-aged women, foreign tourists and journalists have all been harassed, not just the young and fashionably dressed.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anti Sedition

From the brilliant Idiot Savant

Today, Justice Minister Mark Burton responded to the United Future - Green - Maori Party - ACT call for repeal of the sedition law by saying that it was a sign of widespread public support.

Let's not leave him in any doubt.

I've created a pledge on PledgeBank: "I will write to Justice Minister Mark Burton urging the repeal of New Zealand's sedition laws but only if 20 other New Zealanders will do the same." The more people who sign it and write letters, the better. While I've set a target of 20 people, this is because its achievable; people can continue to sign up until the deadline is reached in two weeks time.

The pledge (and explanatory note) is here:


I'd appreciate it if people linked to the pledge and encouraged their readers to sign up and participate.



The lies of the US military

So Pat Tillman, a former NFL player who signed up to go to war, leaving a massive NFL contract to fight for his country, didn’t actually get killed in the heroic way the military claimed, he was shot by his own soldiers in another ‘friendly fire’ cock up, and blonde teen Jessica Lynch didn’t fight till the end as the military had painted out, she cried and the Iraqi Drs told the Americans where she was and instead of simply picking her up, they made it a media event and stormed the empty hospital for full effect. But don’t take my lefty no good words as proof, here’s what Pat Tillman’s brother has to say on the issue..

“ "This freshly manufactured narrative was then distributed to the American public and we believe the strategy had the intended effect," he said.

"It shifted the focus from the grotesque torture at Abu Ghraib [jail] and a downward spiral of an illegal act of aggression to a great American who died a hero's death.

"We believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family but more importantly the American public."

The American military are a pack of fucking liars, and some peoples need to believe in them, and to lap up every word as gospel, sickens anyone with a thinking mind.

US army 'exploited Tillman death'
The brother of former American football star Pat Tillman, killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, has accused the US military of manipulating his death.
Kevin Tillman said that by claiming Cpl Tillman had died fighting the enemy in 2004, the army had tried to "hijack his virtue and his legacy". He was testifying to a congressional panel investigating if misinformation from the battlefield was deliberate. Jessica Lynch, an injured US soldier rescued in Iraq in 2003, also spoke. Questions have been raised over the details of her capture and subsequent rescue by US forces, with the US defence department accused of turning the episode into a public relations exercise. Pte Lynch told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that US officials' accounts of her fiercely fighting the enemy were not true and that most of her injuries were from a road accident. "The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes and they don't need to be told elaborate tales," she said.

'Hero's death'
Last month, a Pentagon watchdog confirmed that Cpl Tillman's family had not been told the truth about his death for more than a month, even though commanders knew soon after his death that he had probably been killed by fellow soldiers. The Pentagon's inspector general recommended action be taken against nine officers over the matter, but found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and no deliberate cover-up. In an emotional address to the panel, Kevin Tillman accused the military of exploiting his brother's death. He claimed a decision had been made to cover up the real cause of Cpl Tillman's death - the recklessness of some of his fellow soldiers - and portray it as a heroic event, at a time when US wars overseas were unpopular. "This freshly manufactured narrative was then distributed to the American public and we believe the strategy had the intended effect," he said. "It shifted the focus from the grotesque torture at Abu Ghraib [jail] and a downward spiral of an illegal act of aggression to a great American who died a hero's death. "We believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family but more importantly the American public." Crucial equipment belonging to his brother, such as his uniform, had been destroyed before a thorough investigation could be carried out, Mr Tillman added.

'Keeping silent'
Kevin Tillman was in a convoy behind his brother when the incident happened, but did not see it. A US army ranger who was with Pat Tillman when he died told the panel that he was ordered not to tell Kevin Tillman his brother was killed by friendly fire. Bryan O'Neal said he was given the order by the battalion commander, then-Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Bailey. "He basically just said: 'Do not let Kevin know, he's probably in a bad place knowing that his brother's dead.'" He added that it was made clear that he would "get in trouble" if he told. The US army is in the process of reviewing several hundred deaths of its soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The move follows complaints from families of those who died that they have not always been given accurate information. Cpl Tillman's death was highly publicised in the US because he had given up a multi-million dollar professional football contract with the Arizona Cardinals to fight for his country.

Iraqi Freedom-Democracy pending

Where my right wingers at baby? Where are the kiwibloggers at? Where is ZB and Radio Live with their claims that the war in Iraq were justified? Where are all those voices? I shout out now and again to them, asking how well Iraq is going, and you get sulky replies, they ignore the issues and they get angry, it’s almost as if they are all embarrassed by supporting something that has become the abortion all those who opposed it knew it would become. At some point my right friends, you have to swallow that bitter medicine that the whole idea was corrupt and your desire to go and shoot up other peoples countries is something you should restrict to the on-line gaming community okay.

So how is that Freedom Democracy going hu? Latest UN report out shows mass civilian deaths, 3000 mass arrests, 37 000 detainments, 200 academics killed since 2003, 54% of Iraqis live on less that a US dollar a day, and 69% unemployment – that’s on top of a lower electricity and water supply than Saddam was able to provide. Iraq, just as Vietnam did, has sucked any moral authority the West ever had, this horror is destroying our ability to do good on the planet, especially at a time when global co-operation IS needed to tackle the issues of Global Warming, extreme poverty, Malaria and AIDS.

UN criticises Iraq human rights
The UN has sharply criticised the Iraqi government's human rights record, in the two months since a security plan was launched in the capital, Baghdad.
The UN mission for Iraq said Iraqi authorities had failed to guarantee the basic rights of about 3,000 people they had detained in the operations. The report said four million Iraqis were at risk because of lack of food. A statement from the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki dismissed the report as lacking credibility. The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq report again called for access to Iraqi government files on civilian casualty figures. The Iraqi authorities disputed figures in the previous UN report. The UN said in January that 34,452 civilians were killed and more than 36,000 wounded in 2006. These figures were much higher than any issued by Iraqi government officials. The UN said those figures were provided by Iraqi government ministries.

Mass arrests
The UN report, which covers the period from the 1 January to 31 March 2007, said that some 3,000 thousand people have been arrested in security sweeps since the Baghdad security plan began in mid-February and it condemned Iraq for failing to guarantee due process rights to those taken in. It also criticised the court system in general saying that deliberations at some trials involving life imprisonment or the death penalty only lasted for minutes. Overall, more than 37,000 people are being held in Iraqi and American-run prisons, many of whom have not been charged or sent for trial. The report describes the situation in Iraq as a "rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis". It said daily living conditions were worsening despite billions of dollars earmarked for reconstruction efforts - an estimated 54% percent of Iraqis lived on less than a US dollar a day while the unemployment rate had risen to 60%.

Lest we forgot

ANZAC day seems to have taken some sort of nationalistic militaristic tone of late, in our desperate fumbling for a national identity we have all scrambled to celebrate our war dead. For me, Anzac day is a chance to remember all those wonderful amazing NZ lives that we feed to a human mincer in various locations around the planet, morally I think World War Two was the only justifiable war, the rest if not questionable, were down right unethical, the sheer slaughter we committed to in World War One can never be justified, to hear wide eyed children tell TV cameras at dawn services that the soldiers ‘died for our freedom’ seems to miss the point all together, we gather to promise our young people that we will never, ever again throw away their precious lives on wasteless wars the way we did so delightfully in our past – that as NZers we have grown up and will no longer feed the dogs of war with the lives of our brightest and youngest – and that when we do go to war it is ALWAYS for the right reasons that we lay our lives down, and never simply to please an overseas power.

You would think that the historical slaughter and butchery of our fellow countrymen, so much so that their bodies rise above us and blot out the sun, would be enough of a mental image to ward us against any type of celebration or cheap nationalism, sadly it seems we will ignore that image of a broken mountain of corpses, cheering our war dead as they coldly stare back at our stupidity, we seem to have leaned little in our desperate fumbling for a national identity.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

No one is to blame (again)

Right – so amazing NO ONE IS TO BLAME for an intellectually handicapped man getting the bash in the back of a prison van, un-fucking-believable. I love how these pricks always claim that ‘procedures were followed’ – really? If the conclusion to these ‘procedures’ is that a mentally handicapped prisoner gets the bash, then your fucking procedures are bullshit then aren’t they Mr Corrupt, racist and violent Corrections Department bossman. Here is the real poison though, INSTEAD OF BUYING PRISON VANS THAT SEPARATE PRISONERS SEPERATLY – which is what is needed, the corrupt, violent and racist Corrections Department wants to chain the prisoners in the vans - they want the full body restraints, the humiliating, soul destroying and animalistic full body restraints that only go towards creating the environment of dehumaisation that is the major problem of life behind bars, congrats Labour - you are actually going to make the process worse!

Guards cleared in inmate assault
Corrections and Chubb security personnel have been cleared of any wrongdoing over last week's assault on an inmate. The 34-year-old inmate was attacked last Thursday by four other prisoners while Chubb Security was ferrying 13 prisoners from Auckland's remand prison to the Waitakere District Court. The man and the four prisoners were being transported in the same compartment despite a request from the man to be segregated for his own protection. A report on the incident has been signed off by Corrections Minister Damien O'Connor. A spokesman for the minister says an investigation into the Auckland incident has found that proper procedure was followed. He says the inmate was segregated along with other segregated prisoners, and there was nothing unusual about the way he was being transported. The spokesman says the investigation has also found the assaulted inmate didn't suffer a broken jaw as reported. He says Minister O'Connor is now considering introducing waist restraints in prison vans.

Da Gangs are running scams, lets get Mr Blue to crack down!

Yawn, okay here we go, the media have been quiet on the ’Da Gangs’ for a while, so it’s time to go have a wee poke isn’t it. Here is the latest ‘crises’ – da gangs is running ‘window washing scams’ and in the words of one cop, that money goes back to the gangs, and South Auckland authorities want a crackdown on these ‘washer gangs’.

This whole thing is a fucking farce, the cops and ‘South Auckland authorities’ are painting this out as some type of grand plan for the gangs – let’s just break it down shall we…

Why would the gangs be running ‘washer gangs’? They make millions on P don’t they? Why would they work a whole day for only $100? Isn’t this just the cops having a go and the ‘South Auckland Authorities’ are shitty that these brown kids are making a cut at the Otara markets? And let’s just say that da gangs are working legitimate work and washing windows, are you really saying that you want to turn them away from legitimate work? Are you actually saying that you would prefer they were invisible and making P in the backyard? Isn’t this just racist bullshit dressed up as a ‘concern’ because society is terrified of young brown men? Hey let me make a deal with you cops and ‘South Auckland Authorities’, instead of demonizing young brown men anymore than you do already, how about you clamp down on the well heeled men in late model cars that pick up children for sex off the streets of South Auckland? Have you done anything about that? I asked that question of the Police during a Stake Out episode targeting men trying to pick up 13 year old prostitutes off South Auckland streets, (70% of whom are there because they are being sexually abused by someone at home, the Police answered that they pick up the girls and drop them off at home)….BUT 70% ARE BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED AT HOME I yelled, the cops shrugged. How about South Aucklands ‘authorities’ and the cops try arresting the men buying children for sex in South Auckland rather than da gangs who are running ‘washer gangs’.

Police crackdown on washer gangs
South Aucklanders are being warned about window washing gangs following reports of intimidation and vandalism. One of the youth gangs runs a slick operation at the popular Otara flea market. It seems shoppers going to the market are easy targets for the gangs who confront drivers as they enter or when they park. There have been reports of damage done to cars if people do not pay up. It is highly organised and one gang leader oversees the operation from a nearby fast food outlet, sharing out the money collected amongst his members. The youths say their past has left them with little choice. "Most of us have got a criminal record that stops us from getting a job so we are out doing window washing" said one. Police have launched a crackdown as they are concerned about the level of intimidation and where the money is ending up. They point out that the sums involved, up to $100 per washer per day, are being filtered back to the gangs for their own purposes. The Manukau City Council is about to launch an awareness campaign to urge motorists not to give the gang money. Locals have mixed feelings. Some think the youths should find more gainful employment but others support the gangs. "They are motivated and they are out there trying to make their own money" said one resident. South Auckland authorities remain determined to force the window cleaners and their unwanted business off the streets.


I’m not much of a pet person, don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate animals, I can enjoy the company of an animal as much as the next person, I just don’t have that weird emotional need wedded to an animal because those links can’t be forged with other human beings, you know the people I’m talking about, people who talk to their animal with the expectation that the animal will actually talk back to them….yeah, those people. In an alienated world where we are less and less connected, pets seem to fill that important void left behind that every human being needs, so I’m not anti pet, I just think some peoples connection to their pets are very needy, and gives an insight as to why the pet owner is a bit of a no mates, I draw the line on cosmetic surgery for an animal ANYONE DUMB ENOUGH too spend money on cosmetic surgery/feed prozac to/or put clothes on their pets lose their right to vote in elections as far as I’m concerned.

All that said, let’s look at the dog mauling in the weekend – now folks, can someone remind me, wasn’t micro chipping of dogs supposed to have stopped all future dog maulings? See how stupid that claim from the Government was, how can a micro chip stop an angry dog? Wasn’t the only reason the micro chipping of dogs even done was because the money for the equipment had already been purchased and this forced the hand of the Government to make it law? And as for dangerous breeds, let’s get rid of them, I don’t buy the ‘there aren’t any bad dogs, just bad dog owners’ bullshit, some breeds are OBVIOULSY much more aggressive, when the hell was the last time a Labrador mauled anyone to death?

So in conclusion, micro –chipping is bullshit, people are a bit odd and needy and clingy with pets and banning dangerous breeds is a must.

Relatives of dog victim don't want charges laid
The brother of a woman mauled to death by two dogs says he does not want the owner prosecuted - because he is the family's nephew. Police are considering charging the owner, known only as Spider, with manslaughter after his pitbull and staffordshire-cross killed Virginia Ohlson. But yesterday, the eldest of her 12 siblings, Tipene Ohlson, said the family had forgiven the dogs' owner."We don't hold it against him. Life goes on," Mr Ohlson said.
"I don't want to see him charged, because what can happen? You're just going to put more stress on him and his family. He's my nephew."

Enjoying that comfy lifestyle bro? You should, it comes off the back of much poorer people

As ethical people, I think we are still coming to terms with globalization. The latest research that shows huge supermarket chains are effectively subsidizing food for their first world clients while penalizing the poor in the third world who work to create that food should make all of us feel a little ill. I appreciate our right wing friends will attempt to explain that this is the ‘market’ at work and not to get any indigestion from this matter, but our right wing friends don’t tend to care about the negative effects of their ‘market’, so we can’t expect anything resembling sympathy from them, for the rest of us though, the realization is that the power is with us – if you don’t agree with what the supermarkets are doing, don’t shop at these dirty super markets, take your money else where (Trade Aid for example) or start lobbying the supermarkets. Of course some will say that is too passive and nothing wakes up a greedy supermarket like a petrol bomb.

Big chains 'causing Third World poverty'
LONDON - The low prices enjoyed by shoppers at British supermarkets are paid for by poor wages, job insecurity and a denial of basic human rights for workers in some of the world's poorest countries, a scathing report has concluded. It finds that the growing power of big supermarkets is the driving force behind a mode of doing business that is made possible by exploiting workers, particularly women, in developing countries. The report, produced by ActionAid, accuses the supermarkets, who take £7 ($18.85) out of every £10 spent on the high street, of using their vast market power to drive down prices at their overseas suppliers. The investigation found that supermarkets were paying wages of as little as 5p an hour in some Bangladeshi garment factories, while in India some workers processing cashew nuts were being paid just 30p a day. ActionAid urges the British Government to set up an independent regulator and calls on supermarkets to publicly acknowledge the damaging impacts of buying practices on workers and suppliers, and take steps to address them. It calls for "binding legislation" to help protect workers' rights as voluntary initiatives are not working. "Labour rights abuses in supermarket supply chains remain systematic, and in fact they are becoming more severe," the charity says. The report comes midway through the Competition Commission's probe into the £120 billion grocery sector. The watchdog wants to investigate the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers. It says it has "concerns" about how the supply chain works in the UK. ActionAid claims shopping could become a "tool for poverty reduction" if supermarkets treat their suppliers better so that more of the millions of pounds spent every day on grocery shopping flowed back to the workers producing what Britons buy. "This is how 'development' happens," it says. An investigation into how bananas are grown in Costa Rica found that workers' rights, pay and conditions have suffered from the intense price war that rages between UK grocers. Suppliers are forced to absorb the costs of the banana price battle because they need the business: supermarkets typically take between 70 per cent and 90 per cent of a banana supplier's stocks.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Israel doing what it does best, killing Palestinians (again)

I love the policy Israel has for anyone they suspect as a ‘terrorist’ (and seeing as that seems to be anyone not Jewish, it’s a pretty broad term), whenever a ‘terrorist’ fires a rocket at Israel for, oh I don’t know, try 4 decades of occupation, Israel responds with random group punishment and state sanctioned assassinations. Seeing as the reason the Palestinians are attacking Israel with these glorified sky rockets is because the Israelis are occupying their land, and have done so for 4 decades, one might venture that group punishment might not really solve the problem, but Israel has NEVER let reason get in the way of their eye for an eye Palestinian aid regime.

Israeli-Palestinian clashes flare
Six Palestinians have been killed in Israeli army raids in the West Bank and an air strike in the Gaza Strip, in the worst flare-up of violence in weeks.
Five of the dead were in Jenin in the West Bank, where gunfire was reported to be continuing into the night. Also late on Saturday, an Israeli missile struck a car in the Gaza Strip, killing a suspected militant. The strike came shortly after rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel, slightly injuring two people. Three Palestinian militants, two from al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and one from Islamic Jihad, were killed when Israeli undercover troops opened fire on their car in Jenin. A Palestinian policeman was also shot and killed by Israeli troops near Jenin, Palestinian witnesses said. The man, Mohammed Abed, was watching an Israeli arrest operation in the village of Kafr Dan from a roof when he was shot, Palestinian security forces said. The Israeli army said its soldiers had been under attack during the operation and had fired on a man armed with a rifle. Hours later, Israeli troops returned to the Jenin refugee camp, provoking a gun battle with local militants, Reuters news agency reported. Palestinian officials said a 17-year-old Palestinian girl had been shot dead by Israeli troops as she stood at a window in her house.

A very predictable Civil War in Somalia

A civil war in Somalia between the Islamic courts and US backed forces – I’m shocked. Let’s see, the Americans can’t tell the difference between ‘Islamo-fascists’ and people who hate the instability Americas last fuck around in their country produced who just happen to be Muslim, so the Americans back a bunch of corrupt warlords against the Islamic Courts, this galvanizes the nation to support the Islamic Courts, this ushers in a period of calm, during which the Americans are arming the Ethiopian army to the teeth, who then invade Somalia and return a splintered government while America launches air attacks on ‘terrorists’ who turn out to be a bunch of farmers. The whole mess results in the break down we are currently seeing, all because America seem to think they have some unalienable right to play God in other peoples countries.

Well done President Bush, another example of using ‘Yee ha’ as a foreign policy.

Scores killed in Somalia clashes
More than 60 people have been killed in a fourth day of heavy fighting between Ethiopian troops and Islamist militia in Somalia's capital of Mogadishu.
Doctors said they had been overrun with casualties and there were reports of bodies strewn across streets. More than 130 people were killed and 200 injured in the first three days of fighting, a local rights group said. Ethiopian forces have been in Mogadishu since December after helping Somalia's transitional government oust Islamists. The UN says more than 320,000 people have fled fighting in the capital since February.

The Sunday Newspaper Brunch Club

On the Sunday Newspaper Brunch Club today on Alt Tv, Sky Digital 65, 11am - Ben Thomas from the NBR and Bill Ralston, former TVNZ News President

News Story that caught my eye this week:
An Australian at my news table – what sin have I committed to have an Australian run TVNZ News? Tony Flannery comes from A Current Affair, who were last year involved in a sordid news story with Channel 7 over a faked noble savage story about a little boy being saved by white people from a bunch of fictional cannibals – I blogged on this and thank Christ, the brilliant Anthony Hubbard has picked the story up:

SST - 100% Pure Images, not so pure: if it says 100% pure, shouldn’t it be a pure image? Don’t we risk a Ribeana backlash?

Almost 100% Pure NZ images show New Zealand's not picture-perfect
Tourism New Zealand admits its latest images in its 100% Pure New Zealand campaign are not 100% pure New Zealand shots - they're digitally enhanced pictures of scenic Kiwi spots. Tourism NZ released its latest images for its 100% Pure New Zealand advertisement campaign on Friday, which they hope will accompany tourism stories about New Zealand and ultimately entice international tourists to this country. The two images, one of Mt Cook and another of Glenorchy, feature people enjoying the beautiful landscapes - "an experience that can happen any day in our country", said Tourism NZ spokeswoman Simone Flight in an email. She said the shots were digitally altered for technical reasons. "Technically, an image that has been shot at a wide angle may need to be altered and reformatted to fit all the features we want to show in the format it will appear.Richard Mitchell, of Otago University's business school, said if the photos were promoting 100% Pure NZ, the images should be 100% pure. He said that although It wasn't uncommon for images to be doctored in tourism advertising, and the changes were "at the lower end of the scale", the technique could be perceived as misleading.

HERALD ON SUNDAY - Rude Awakenings a $5 million flop? Come on – didn’t TVNZ kill this by putting it on a Friday night at 9.30pm? WHO THE HELL IS HOME ON A FRIDAY NIGHT?

Rude Awakenings a $5m ratings flop
A Television New Zealand charter-driven drama which cost the taxpayer more than $5 million to produce has ended with "disappointing" ratings. The final episode of TV One's Rude Awakenings, a satire set in Ponsonby, screened on Friday night. It had received a New Zealand On Air grant of $5,497,382 but rated poorly, compared with other programmes that aired in its 8.30pm timeslot. TVNZ sources said the viewing figures meant it was unlikely there would be a second series.

SST – Bashed prisoner ‘terrified of jail’ – intellectually impaired prisoner is bashed in prison van, this follows a teenager being murdered in a prison van – Corrections make a media fart noise that they are ‘looking into it’, but prison vans that are actually secure cost money – gentlemen, tell me – are we really going to spend money to make prisoners safe?

Bashed prisoner 'terrified of jail'
The prisoner bashed in the back of a prison van last week is intellectually impaired, faces numerous child sex charges, and is terrified of being in jail, his lawyer says. Kenneth Ford, 34, was beaten in a prolonged attack by four other prisoners sharing the same compartment in a van on the way from Mt Eden remand prison to the Waitakere District Court on Thursday.
He suffered a broken jaw, and police have launched an investigation. Ford's lawyer, John Cagney, said his client's mental impairment was the reason he was bashed. "The other prisoners asked him what he was in for, and he's so simple he told them. So those 'heroes' automatically gave him a beating." The Corrections Department confirmed the victim and all four of his assailants should have been segregated during their trip in the Chubb van.

Virginia Tech and making Cho a multi-media anti Christ – we need more guns to solve this?

US networks limit use of gunman video
WASHINGTON - US television networks limited broadcasts of a video manifesto by the Virginia Tech killer after heavy coverage drew criticism today from police and victims' families.

Final Word:
Congrats Ben Turnquist on TVNZ catching out Exclusive Brethren Grand Wizard, Tony McCorkell – (if you save his picture off the Heralds website, it comes up named ‘fat tony’)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Exclusive Brethren Sexual Molestation TVNZ Scoop

I’m always a wee bit suspicious of religious groups who want to sever any connections to the outside world and live by their own doctrine, and that’s why I never vote ACT, but allegations that an Exclusive Brethren Grand Wizard has been sexually molesting girls for 4 decades is deeply disturbing to those whose trust has been so horribly violated inside a system where total control could Pavlov-dog any victim, making life a living hell. I am hoping the shame that the Police force have been recently exposed to for a similar culture of power and secrets, will prompt them to give this case the important scrutiny it deserves rather than their old boys network nods-and-winks he says/she says bullshit.

Props have to be thrown up to TVNZ’s Ben Tornquist who crucified Exclusive Brethren troubleshooter, Tony ‘Mr Wolf’ McCorkell in an interview where McCorkell denies hearing anything about sexual molestation allegations on camera, and then says when he thinks the camera is off that he has just come from a meeting where the sexual molestation allegations have JUST BEEN DISCUSSED! McCorkell then – and this is the audacity kicker - claims that TVNZ has done a hatchet job on him! Could he be any more of an Australian leader of a weird religious cult trying to deny sexual molestation allegations? Congrats to TVNZ for catching the buggers and shame on your name TV3 for not picking up the story, Exclusive Brethren caught out lying about sexual molestation allegations – that’s not news worthy?

Brethren abuse claims investigated
In a ONE News interview on Thursday, the Exclusive Brethren officially denied any knowledge of the abuse claims. The church's Australia based spokesperson Tony McCorkell, who is currently in New Zealand, said he was "not aware" of the allegations. However, after McCorkell asked the cameras to stop rolling, he admitted he had just come from a meeting where the sexual abuse claims were discussed - and said "I haven't even formulated my opinion on it yet". On Friday, the Exclusive Brethren attempted to discredit the ONE News story. "I feel it's a trial by media. I think Mr Tornquist from ONE News has done a hatchet job on the Brethren. I'm disappointed. I'm very disappointed and would urge the members of the public not to react to this issue," says McCorkell. However, O'Fee is asking anyone with knowledge of abuse within the church to contact police "If they think or they have information about people that were abused, or if they were abused...this may go back 40 years ago, we would like to speak to those people and we would urge them to come forward and to bring their stories to us".

Please note: The funniest thing is that when you drag and pull Tony McCorkell's photo off the Herald's site, it comes up 'Fat Tony' - there are some very funny behind the scenes people at the Herald!

The creation of a media Anti-Christ

Cho Seung-Hui is becoming our new media anti-christ – we are bombarded by his image we are told repeatedly he was a cold loner, a killer, I’m waiting for the music video montage for FOX NEWS to play with Pearl Jam’s ‘Jeremy’ played in the background

"Jeremy – Fox News News Promo”

(opening shots of crying students)

At home
Drawing pictures
Of mountain tops
With him on top
Lemon yellow sun
Arms raised in a V
Dead lay in pools of maroon below
Daddy didn't give attention
To the fact that mommy didn't care
King Jeremy the wicked
Ruled his world
Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today

(cut to picture of Cho screaming into the camera with that picture of the hammer)

Clearly I remember
Pickin' on the boy
Seemed a harmless little fuck
But we unleashed a lion
Gnashed his teeth
And bit the recess lady's breast
How could I forget
He hit me with a surprise left
My jaw left hurting
Dropped wide open
Just like the day
Like the day I heard

(cut to Cho monologue about hating rich people)

Daddy didn't give affection
And the boy was something that mommy wouldn't wear
King Jeremy the wicked
Ruled his world
Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today
Try to forget this...
Try to erase this...
From the blackboard.

(last image fade to black students crying with American flag blowing in the background)

Yet as Iraq burns and only gets a mere mention in the US media now, the only thing they want to debate is ‘have we focused too much on Cho’ – and so pointless questions are now ‘debated’ over the bullshit role of the media, and the two most important questions don’t seem to be getting asked. Cho Seung-Hui was a damaged, bullied, alienated little boy in a culture he never connected with, he wasn’t some monster, that caricature destroys any chance of us learning from this – the two questions America need to ask are these…

1: How could someone with metal illness issues get a gun with no questions asked?

2: What role did the medication play in his sudden explosion? Reportedly he was put on medication for his depression, who was monitoring that? What kind of medication was he on, we know there has been a connection between some types of medication and suicide amongst teenagers, did this dangerous mix of alienation and bullying spill over with this medication?

By painting Cho out as a desperate loner nobody and multi-media news porn only reinforces this, all the while we are missing important questions that need answering.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Love thy neighbour (as long as the neighbour isn’t gay)

I like to pretend sometimes that we have moved on as a species, that we have enlightened ourselves and have left the chains of ignorance behind as we accept one another and move into the 21st Century – oh am I wrong. A new survey shows that almost quarter of NZers and Australians would not want a Gay neighbour! . John Mangan, professor of economics at the University of Queensland, is co-author of a paper interpreting statistics from the Human Beliefs and Values Survey, conducted in 24 Western countries between 1999 and 2002 and has found that 22.3% of NZers and 24.7% of Australians did not want a gay neighbour – the sheer size of that percentage is eye opening and is a massive reminder that although we like to think society has become more progressive, there is a solid, solid chunk of the population who are homophobic, what do these people think will happen if homosexuals move into the neighbourhood? Have these people not seen Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Once a group of homosexuals move in, they decorate and colour co-ordinate all the letter boxes and start driving up property valuations for everyone – who doesn’t want that? Is the fear that Gay orgies will break out left right and center or God forbid the precious children of straight families will somehow be ‘turned’ (because homosexuals get points for everyone they turn don’t you know), is it a deep seated anger that the street has to be shut down nightly for gay pride parades 6pm weekdays (9pm late show on Friday nights)?

That homophobia lurks in our society is no shock, but that the number is as high as it is – almost quarter of everyone, should raise eyebrows and make everyone think hard about how such prejudice can be broken down – maybe a queer pride parade is as important to the straight community as it is for the queer community in terms of breaking down fears.

Survey finds gay prejudice worldwide
A survey of 1202 New Zealanders has found 22.3 per cent would not like homosexuals as neighbours. And of 2048 Australians surveyed, 24.7 per cent said they didn't want gays living next door. John Mangan, professor of economics at the University of Queensland, is co-author of a paper interpreting statistics from the Human Beliefs and Values Survey, conducted in 24 Western countries between 1999 and 2002. He said the results showed anti-gay prejudice was by no means confined to Australia. "The conclusion is the most prevalent form of bigotry is homophobia. It's everybody except Scandinavians, so it's not a particularly Australian thing." The figure was exceeded by survey respondents in Austria (26.7 per cent), Greece (26.8), the Republic of Ireland (27.5) Italy (28.7) and Portugal (25.6). And Northern Ireland came out on top, with 36 per cent saying they did not want gay neighbours. The least prejudiced nationality in the survey was Sweden, where only 6 per cent said they would object.

National’s Otago MP Jacqui Dean is a joke

Jacqui Dean wants to ban party pills and immediately make gangs more powerful and criminalize a huge sub section of the community which is great news for our over streacthed prison suystem that her mate Simon Powers is always claiming is a plasma TV, BBQ dinner paradise for Crims (interestingly Big Si never seems to mention the outright corruption, racisim and violence of prisons).

Here is what Jacqui has to say on banning party pills….

"BZP is an entry level into all other drugs and a gateway to P and research shows it is a dangerous drug.”
Did Jacqui pull this ‘fact’ out of her arse? Party Pills are a gate way drug to P? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s one big fucking gateway, let’s see, from a $20 pack for three pills to $800 per gram, that’s not just a gateway, it is a German Autobahn of recreational drug abuse. I suppose Booze and ciggies are ‘resting stops’ for drug use are they? Not gateways, juts legal little recreation stops along the way towards drugs. Her ‘fact’ is bullshit and could be used more effectively to ban booze and ciggies than they can to ban party pills, next.

"We are conditioning our children to take pills to have a good time."
Hahahahaha, tell that to the makers of Ritalin and Prozac, neurotic white middle class families are the real pushers here if Jacqui is to wag her finger on the "We are conditioning our children to take pills to have a good time." high horse, but seeing as that could be a big chunk of her vote, better to have a go at teenagers instead.

"If people are really comfortable taking a pill and having a few drinks now, then having a smoke of P at a party may seem safe to them. Well, it isn't."
I’m sorry, what the fuck? If I’m comfy popping a pill, I’ll next be off for a burn on the pipe? Is Jacqui suggesting everyone who pops pills will want to automatically want to smoke methamphetamine? Does that include disprin? Has she even thought about what she is saying before she starts to open her mouth?

Now I don’t wanna shit on anyone, but Jacqui if you want to join the debate, do your homework girlfriend, God forbid this clown ever gets into office.

More moral hand wringing from the provinces
Party pill users face a new type of comedown after an MP launched a private member's bill yesterday to reclassify the active ingredient in the legal drug. Launching her Misuse of Drugs (Prohibition of BZP) Amendment Bill in Invercargill yesterday, National's Otago MP Jacqui Dean said she was gobsmacked by the level of concern in the provinces about party pills. "When I go to places like Wanganui, Gisborne or Napier the level of concern over the pills is everywhere. Originally I had thought it was just a South Island thing." Mrs Dean initially wanted restrictions on their sale, but now "I just want them banned".

No America, this is what mass murder looks like.

I don’t wish to sound harsh, but what America is feeling today over the loss of 32 of their kids is the way Baghdad feels every day of every week of every month of every year since Bush invaded Iraq. Somehow (perhaps it is because they are Muslim or brown) when they bleed it isn’t as devastating as it is when we bleed.

Virginia Tech will mourn and they will grieve and the will move on, however in Baghdad the pain continues day in and day out.

Iraqi PM condemns Baghdad attacks
There are fears that the death toll could rise further. Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki has condemned bombings in Baghdad that killed nearly 200 people - the worst day of violence since a US security operation began. Mr Maliki said those behind Wednesday's attacks were "soldiers of Satan". He also ordered the arrest of the army commander responsible for security in Sadriya district were some 140 people died in a car bombing in a food market.

Crazy idea on funding gambling addictions

Government is looking to see if they should give more money to gambling help support groups – hmmmmm, how about we don’t and instead of throwing money at the problem on questionable small scale programmes, we instead stamp down hard on pokie machines AND we reverse the new trend of these bullshit ‘charitable trusts’ to ‘donate’ their ill gotten gains to racing clubs – yes that’s right – crazy isn’t it – these trusts which are set up to give back to the Community (because gambling takes so much out of the poor communities), are now using a loophole to give the money to racing clubs, because it’s a sporting club. That money is supposed to offset the social damage gambling brings to communities, it isn’t supposed to be used TO SUPPORT THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY.

But instead of doing things that would actually help people with gambling addictions by severing the wide spread availability of them and making sure the money supposed to offset the damage gambling does to the community is spent appropriately, we just want to throw more of those precious tax dollars at the problem.

Great, a nation with a gambling problem harnessed by industry interests coupled with a Government who likes to gamble away our money, excellent outcome.

Govt decision near on extra money for problem gambling services
The Government is close to a decision on whether to boost funding for problem gambling services, despite some high-profile difficulties with organisations that treated only tiny numbers of people. The Ministry of Health wants more money to do the job for the next three years than it has had for the past three. Part of the reason is an expectation that the number of people being referred to treatment services is likely to increase as a result of ministry-funded projects. These include screening training projects and a marketing campaign.

Guns don’t Kill Americans: Americans kill Americans

Or in this case deeply damaged South Korean students, the madness that is the American love affair with handguns hasn’t even been questioned seriously in the American news commentary – the real will to stop selling handguns just doesn’t exist, no matter how many kids shot others and get guns from a system that just seems to literally hand them weapons like this. Virginia Tech has been criticised for being too liberal by banning handguns on campus, the solution being to let all the students have guns – if this is the serious conclusion Americans find themselves in, that they all have to carry semi-automatic handguns to feel safe, then as a nation America has failed itself.

And continues to fail itself.

Dirty Hastings (I can hear the deliverance banjos from here)

There’s something unsavory when you go South of the Bombay Hills, it’s that feeling that one is regressing somehow, that the people one walks amongst are, how does one put it – a little inbreed. Hastings is a great example, 30 children stood around cheering as two filthy cowardly bullies smacked around a smaller person – now we all understand bullies, they were the kids who were smacked as children by their angry smack loving parents, but the real indreeders here are the 30 kids who stood around watching and laughing – I’d love to shove a camera into the faces of the parents of the children who watched and laughed and filmed it and posted it on You Tube, I wanna ask those parents, ‘How do you feel? You’ve raised a shit, you’ve raised a kid who will laugh and watch the misfortune of another without doing anything – was it your shit parenting skills that helped raise these shit kids? Well, was it?” – I’m not sure how much the parents would understand, I tried using small words, I think I may have lost them at misfortune, anything over 3 syllables might be a struggle for someone from Hastings. Luckily the bullies and the 30 children laughing and cock head who filmed it aren’t very bright and all the footage was used against them as evidence. Hahaha.

Assault 'pre-planned for posting on YouTube'
Police say an assault on a teenage boy that was filmed and posted on YouTube was planned to give the perpetrators "street cred". They say the assault, which lasted about 10 minutes and was watched by up to 30 teens - some filming on cellphones - appeared to be a copycat of similar crimes overseas. Police were not aware of the March 30 Hastings assault until a tip-off about the YouTube video late last week. Two boys aged 14 and 16 have been charged with assault and are due to appear in the Hastings Youth Court tomorrow. Police are deciding what action to take against a third boy, aged 15, who allegedly filmed the victim being punched, kicked and humiliated, and then uploaded the footage on to the popular video website.

‘Stars’ support culture of smacking

Only in NZ could we get ‘stars’ to come out and support the culture of child beating and it be reported as some type of ‘good’ thing for public debate – this nation is in deep denial about the intense violence we met out to children, that to watch ‘stars’ come out to support the culture of child beating churns the stomach. The repeal of section 59 would allow the mother who beat her kid with a horse whip to have been prosecuted, and perhaps may have prevented the latest allegation where the mother has been charged with hog tying, punching and kicking her other son. Those are the people you are protecting with you ‘stars’. Nice to see all those pro-smackers have someone as morally corrupt as ‘Bishop’ Brian Tamaki on their side, says a lot doesn’t it, the same tired conservative voices that have always cried out against human rights. Great.

Stars coming out to fight smacking bill
As the smacking debate returns for another round of argument, the opposition to the bill is bringing out its stars to win over the public. Next month, Green MP Sue Bradford's controversial bill - aimed at eliminating the defence of reasonable force in relation to assaults on children - will once more be debated in Parliament. Yesterday lobby group New Zealand Family Values In Jeopardy announced plans for a mass rally on Parliament's lawn on May 2. Speakers include Destiny Church Bishop Brian Tamaki, with former All Black and church member Mark "Bull" Allen officiating.

3 months for two lives

There are few times that a sentence is handed down and I feel angry at it, but this has to be one of them. A dumb, dumb, dumb 16 year idiot kills two while speeding away from Police who were chasing him because he stole a Mercedes. The kid has been given 3 months, what angers me is that this 16 year old is a serious problem who is now being taken into a system where the very obvious counseling this kid needs will just not be available – my bet is that we will see him at 18 having done something even worse. The sentence is totally inappropriate for taking two lives, but more than that, the services that are supposed to be there to deal with kids like this are either too late or not adequate enough, if this kid has a string of offences already – where was CYFS? Longer sentences only work if the facilities people are being put in can rehabilitate them, if they can’t we risk only warping people even more from the experience of our corrupt prison culture. None of which can be any comfort to the families of the two people who died.

Crash survivor: toughen youth sentences
A crash survivor has called for an overhaul of the youth justice system after the youth who caused a smash which killed two people was sentenced to nine months' supervision. Karen McGregor-Dawson, 39, was left with a broken femur, collarbone and wrist after a 16-year-old youth fleeing police in a stolen Mercedes smashed head-on into her Toyota RAV as she drove along State Highway 1 in the Dome Valley, north of Auckland. Two passengers in the stolen car, a 34-year-old hitchhiker and a 17-year-old youth, were killed. A boy, 14, was seriously injured.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Do we want an Australian running our news?

TVNZ hires Australian to run news
Television New Zealand has appointed an Australian to head its struggling news division. Anthony Flannery, managing editor of the Nine Network's flagship programme A Current Affair, will start as head of news and current affairs at TVNZ next month. He replaces Bill Ralston, who resigned this year as TVNZ planned a restructuring which will see 59 jobs lost in the department.

Tell me it ain’t true – an Australian is running our news? What sin have I committed against my lord and saviour Jesus Christ for this hell to be wrested upon me? Why have you forsaken me Lord? Why?

For those of you not in the know, Australian News is like a cheap ratings-junkie prostitute with cheaper make-up, don’t believe me? Check out what Channel Nine’s A Current Affair got up to last year in it’s news war with 7…

Why 7 Ate 9 OR Wawa's TV Dinner
But first – TV presenter Naomi Robson is in hot water in Indonesia. She was arrested in the troubled province of West Papua after being caught with an illegal visa.
— A Current Affair, Channel 9, 14th September, 2006

The rumours are flying. Naomi Robson is reportedly in an Indonesian jail cell, or been deported or some other made up story. Tonight, the real story. Where she is. What she’s doing and the dirty tricks that put the safety of Naomi and four other Australians at risk.
— Today Tonight, Channel 7, 14th September, 2006

But how can you get the real story from Today Tonight or A Current Affair? Hello and welcome to Media Watch. I'm Monica Attard. It all began with this sensational and dubious tale on Nine's 60 Minutes.

The last of the cannibals.

Paul Raffaele: They eat everything except the teeth, the hair and the nails
It’s the adventure of a lifetime.

Paul Raffaele: I’m going to try and find the evidence that they actually do eat people.

Deep in the New Guinea jungle.
Look at that.
Discovering a fascinating lost tribe.
Ha ha.
Their very first contact with civilisation.

— 60 Minutes, Channel 9, 21st May, 2006

Read the transcript for the 60 Minutes story 'Last Cannibals'.

No. Their very first contact with Australia's tabloid television. Whether the Korowai are still cannibals is also in dispute. But 60 Minutes sent A Current Affair's Ben Fordham and freelance journalist and lost tribe enthusiast Paul Raffaele into deepest darkest West Papua for an old-fashioned, cannibal freak show. Along the way they found Wawa.

And then, for me, the most chilling moment of our journey. We find a little boy looking scared and confused. At six years of age, Wawa has been condemned to death. All because his mum and dad died suddenly.
— 60 Minutes, Channel 9, 21st May, 2006

According to 60 Minutes, Wawa is destined for a ritual killing - and eating - because the villagers believe he's an evil witch.

Ben Fordham: Wawa’s uncle has brought him here to this village to try to save him from the Kakua killers.

Paul Raffaele: Oh, they’ve got their eye on him and that kid anytime in the next uh, 10 years, he’s got to be really careful. Because they could get him, then they’d kill him, then they’d eat him.

— 60 Minutes, Channel 9, 21st May, 2006

But Fordham and Raffaele left poor Wawa to his fate.

And 60 Minutes showed Raffaele more concerned with preserving the local culture, than saving the little boy.

Paul Raffaele: Okay, we don't understand that they kill and eat each other but to them that's very important, at the very soul of their being. So my feeling, my desperate feeling, is just let them be as they are because, within 20 or 30 years, it'll be all over anyway.
— 60 Minutes, Channel 9, 21st May, 2006

Cold comfort for Wawa who is due for dinner in less than ten years. But Paul Raffaele was worried, and he set about trying to convince 60 Minutes that the boy had to be rescued. He wrote to 60 Minutes executive producer John Westacott urging him to send a crew back to get him out.

Dear John,
…I wonder if you’ve decided to do anything about WaWa.
best regards,

— Email from Paul Raffaele to John Westacott

We understand Mr Raffaele suggested an entire story scenario. Take Wawa to Jayapura. Set him up in school. Buy him clothes and then, take him to an ice cream parlour where Nine can film the sad little boy smiling at last. Nine and Ben Fordham would be heroes.
When Nine said no, Paul Raffaele went to their rivals - and Seven said yes.

In recent days the Nine Network has been putting up all sorts of reasons why they wouldn’t return and save him. Cultural differences one of them. They are all lies. (edit)
This is the email 60 Minutes executive producer John Westacott wrote to Paul Raffaele at 12:33pm on August the 7th 2006. “At the moment the simple story of a rescue of Wawa is a bit short of the huge production costs.” In other words it was too costly. The program with a budget in the many millions of dollars didn’t want to spend the money to save a child’s life.

— Today Tonight, Channel 7, 14th September, 2006

Nine certainly look heartless. But according to this email from 60 Minutes, money wasn't their only concern.

Hi Raff,
They've decided a 60 Minutes-led rescue of WaWa is too fraught with difficulties - mainly the ongoing responsibility of what happens to him after taking him away from his relatives and natural environment at such a young age.
Personally I think he's probably safe for the next few years til he gets to 14 or 15, then he's better able to decide himself if he wants to try to get out via Kornelius.
Cheers, Steve

— Email from Stephen Rice (producer of 60 Minutes) to Paul Raffaele

Rescuing Wawa would be a big commitment, but there was more at stake here than a little boy's life. It's been a bad year for Today Tonight's Naomi Robson.

She's endured negative profiles, claims that she consorted with unsavoury types, rumours of her make-up Winnebago at Beaconsfield, and lest we forget, that khaki shirt.

... Naomi Robson has become the centre of controversy ... after appearing just 24 hours after Steve Irwin's death outside Australia Zoo wearing an Irwin-style khaki outfit - complete with a live lizard on her shoulder. Robson has not been void of controversy throughout her career, not least with the release of two damaging blooper tapes … In one, she is caught swearing nine times in 15 seconds, calling the Today Tonight audience stupid and laughing at fat people.
— The Daily Telegraph, Robson's Irwin gaff, 6th September, 2006

So the prospect of "rescuing Naomi" - by sending her off on a mercy mission - must have been irresistible. Only it backfired.

Channel 7 crew told to leave Indonesia.
— ABC Online, Channel 7 crew told to leave Indonesia, 15th September, 2006

Saved from cannibals, eaten alive by Naomi
— The Daily Telegraph, Saved from cannibals, eaten alive by Naomi, 15th September, 2006

Poor Naomi. She just can't put a foot right. Seven knew who to blame.

Our crew flew into a set up. A dangerous, tense and extremely delicate situation. So who set us up and why?
— Today Tonight, Channel 7, 14th September, 2006

Read Peter Meakin's (director of news & public affairs at Channel 7) response to Media Watch's questions.

The Indonesian Embassy says the tip off about Naomi and crew entering Indonesia on tourist visas, didn't come directly from anyone at Nine. But we can understand why Seven is suspicious. They pointed the finger at Nine's Ben Fordham.

Fordham has spent the past two days spinning tall tales to anyone silly enough to listen to him. Fordham, who lives in Sydney, even made a special trip to Melbourne’s international airport at the weekend yelling out in a threatening manner to our team in the airport as they headed off to save Wawa that he knew where they were going and their flight details.
— Today Tonight, Channel 7, 14th September, 2006

Ben Fordham denies the shouting match ever happened. He says he went to Melbourne with his girlfriend and that they bumped into Naomi's crew at the airport.

Ben Fordham: Let’s not beat about the bush. I can tell you that newspaper journalists have informed me in the last hour that Channel 7 people have being saying that “off the record” it was me who tipped off Indonesian authorities.
That never happened and if you believe that, you believe in Alice In Wonderland. It just did not happen.

— A Current Affair, Channel 9, 14th September, 2006

Some of Seven's other claims against Fordham were even harder to believe.

Fordham didn’t stop there. He contacted our guide Kornelius – the same guide 60 Minutes used. Kornelius says Fordham offered him $100,000 not to save the boy…
— Today Tonight, Channel 7, 14th September, 2006

A $100,000 dollar bribe to an Indonesia guide? Well it's not the bribe we find incredible - it's the amount. And when we contacted Kornelius, he told us that Fordham didn't offer him any money at all.

No, he has not offered me money. He didn’t tell me to do anything. He just ask me, "Am I working with the other TV? When they will arrive?"
— Statement from Kornelius Kambaren to Media Watch

The next evening Today Tonight withdrew the claim. But they still say that Nine tried to stymie their rescue and convince Paul Raffaele to abandon Channel 7 and come and rescue Wawa with Nine.

…Ben said that from this meeting the decision was that if I agreed to this, then I should name my price - whatever I wanted.
— Today Tonight, Channel 7, 15th September, 2006

But what about poor Wawa? Peter Meakin says Seven will apply for proper visas to get back into West Papua and that Wawa remains now - as before - uppermost in Seven's thoughts.

The head of Seven's news and public affairs Peter Meakin said his crew had secured a team of locals to help Wa-Wa “or whatever his name is”.
— The Sydney Morning Herald, Watch out, Wa-Wa: the stations are hungry for a story, 15th September, 2006

Not everyone's happy about Seven attempting a rescue. ChildFund Australia has warned both networks against using Wawa in their ratings war.

We would advocate the use of specialist agencies in such a scenario, with extensive experience in child protection issues, and familiarity with the communities and cultural traditions within West Papua.
— ChildFund Australia, 15th September, 2006

Read ChildFund Australia's letter to Channel 9.

Using "specialist agencies" to rescue Wawa Well we doubt that Nine or Seven will be interested if there's no role for TV stars. Both networks have been shifting ground, as attention moved from Wawa, to their behaviour. On Sunday night, Nine's 60 Minutes re-ran their original story, with a new ending. But Wawa’s family and friends are determined to protect him. He’s been brought here to safety to this village a long way from the Kakua killers and our guide Kornelius has taken him under his wing.

Ben Fordham: How old do the villagers wait until they would kill this boy?

Kornelius Kambaren: It could be like starting from 15 years old 16 years old.

Ben Fordham: So at least he’s safe for now.

— 60 Minutes, Channel 9, 17th September, 2006

Well that's funny. Because back in May, 60 Minutes told us the Kakua killers could come and get Wawa at any time.

Paul Raffaele: Oh, they've got their eye on him and that kid, any time in the next 10 years, he's got to be really careful, because they could get him and then they will kill him and they'll eat him.

Ben Fordham: This is a pretty tough place. What are the chances that he'll survive?

Paul Raffaele: I would say pretty small.

— 60 Minutes, Channel 9, 21st May, 2006

But now 60 Minutes says they're doing Wawa a favour by leaving him where he is.

Ben Fordham: The villagers assured us this was the best place for him. That Wawa would never be able to cope if he was suddenly taken out of the stone age and dropped into the 21st century. When he’s a bit older he can decide for himself whether to leave his people.
— 60 Minutes, Channel 9, 17th September, 2006

Nine's decision to leave the boy with his family sounds responsible, but accoording to Paul Raffaele it was only last week that Nine begged him to bring the Wawa rescue to them.

...Channel 9 wants me to do a documentary on the Korowai, including the rescue of Wawa. [Ben] tells me the fear [is] that TT would report that 60 Minutes had left Wawa to his tragic fate, after using him, and that Naomi had gone in and rescued him. He says they know that would stain 60 Minutes’ reputation. He then says Hurley wants to meet me, and that I'm to, 'name your price.'
— Email from Paul Raffaele to Neil Mooney (Channel 7)

But Channel Nine's David Hurley and Ben Fordham say they never offered a rescue Wawa documentary. Which brings us back to our story.

The central character in this story is not Naomi Robson or television crews – it’s this little boy – Wawa.
— Today Tonight, Channel 7, 14th September, 2006

That's a lie. The central characters are Seven and Nine and the story is the length that they'll go to in their ratings war. Neither gives a hoot about Wawa.

ABC MediaWatch