- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

My wishes for 2008 (made on 28/12/2007) were wishes, mind you - I never considered some of them achievable, but to even move in the right direction would have been a wonderful start. Here's how it went:

1. Better editorial and information content from this country's mainstream and alternative media. That includes TVNZ's new news service, insider coverage of the general election campaign from bloggers, and other online media (including the re-launched Tumeke!).
- The coverage on this blog was up there with the best of them in my opinion. Every blog had their own strengths when it came to the election.

2. Refusal by Whakatohea to accept unilateral settlement terms of the Crown - triggering uncertainty about Iwi-Crown "Treaty" settlements past and present. Mallard sent in by Clark and Cullen as a head-kicker to resolve impasse, but back-fires massively. Mallard thought he had survived the year intact, but he will make at least one mighty gaff next year that will cost him and the government - if it's not this issue there will be plenty more of them.
- Whakatohea never got the opportunity, the kupapa compliant iwi were paid off hansomly by Labour in their ultimately successful bid to retain the two North Island Maori seats they held in 2005. I was wrong about Mallard - his "fight" with Tau Henare in Parliament's foyer in 2007 was not a Maharey type cry for help.

3. [1]Maori Party to win all Maori seats in general election and hold balance of power: [2]the price of support being a constitutional pathway to implement Treaty of Waitangi's Rangatiratanga (tribal autonomy) provisions and a retrospective guarantee of equal compensation for injustice - to be determined judicially. Made clear to the government that transition from the idea of the "Realm of New Zealand (Aotearoa)" to any idea of "Aotearoa (Republic of New Zealand)" must involve satisfactory resolution of Treaty issues on a national consensus basis.
- 1. Well they won an additional seat which was what I was expecting as the election got closer. I was at the back of the Auckland Town Hall at Labour's campaign opening - right at the back where the journalists and so on were - and I realised that next to me was Mahara Okeroa - MP for Te Tai Tonga and Minister of State. Way down the back. That said something. The Cabinet were all up on stage. I said I was from Tumeke! - he asked me what the word was on the street - and I said "good luck, you'll need it. Horomia and Fox will be close, but Mahuta will be hard to beat." - or words to that effect. And Okeroa was defeated by the Maori party in his seat, and both Mahuta and Horomia were returned.
2. The Maori Party got a constitutional group promised in their deal with National - so that's worked out even if the terms of reference have not been agreed yet, so all this stuff carries over for next year: 2009.

4. After much heated public debate the Auckland Commission recommends transit issues for the entire region be split between ARTA and a new commission specifically mandated to manage, build and operate an electric rapid rail system that will service 80% of the urban area's population (ie. within 1km of a station) after 50 years - to be funded jointly by the Crown out of the consolidated fund as a "national project", and by a levy via rates on every property within 1 km of a station. The new commission will have fast-track planning/consent authorities. Judith Tizard loses her seat to an independent and because of a reduced party vote for Labour also doesn't make it back in on the list.
- I had to bold that bit. Bingo! But it was then very capable and under-rated Nikki Kaye - a Nat - that took it from Tizard. Auckland Central has never gone National, but Nikki Kaye is a hard worker and a smart operator and she did it. From what I've seen she is good enough to hold on to it in what will be a massive battle next time round. As for the Auckland Commission, once they got their teeth into it it was obvious to all that they needed more time and further research and deliberation. I made my submission as did many others. They will release their report before April 2009.

5. At the last minute someone from Transpower realises that for the long-term benefit they can bury the Waikato-Otahuhu electricity line in a trench from Putaruru to Wiri via the edge of the Hunua ranges and across the Hauraki plains - and at the same time someone from Transit realises that for the long-term benefit they can build a motorway for the Auckland-Waikato-Tauranga traffic from Putaruru to Wiri via the edge of the Hunua ranges and across the Hauraki plains. Then these two people email each other and get it approved.
- Of course not. Fantasyland entirely. They have invested a fortune on the Cambridge-Auckland Motorway concept.

6. Carbon trading markets fail to become international because of many governments' rorting and general lack of transparency - new internationally recognised verification methods developed to avert crisis.
- Baby steps at a regional level even. Our own scheme was rushed through by Labour just before the election and Nactional are committed to unwinding it. So internationalisation is as theoretical and elusive as talking about a Higgs Bosun particle.

7. Police Act review by Parliament upsets police senior management by tightening quality control of applicants, making senior officials more accountable, limiting their use of weapons, declaring they have no exclusivity in many respects they are assumed to now, and beginning the mechanics of a formalised local accountability.
- Unfortunately - and with little surprise from me and no notice by anyone else - the Policing Act was passed into law according to the Police timetable. It has no local accountability whatsoever, it preserves all the most centralised aspects of the Police and formalises the Prime Minister's core role in connexion with appointing the Commissioners and deputy Commissioners. The Commissioner has no board to report to - they report to the Police Minister/PM - that is the lines of accountability and that - in a Western liberal democracy - is just ridiculous. But no-one except for me cares. Fuck you all!

8. On the world stage: If Kosovo declares independence the EU could recognise it while no-one else does and that could make Russia very angry - towards everyone, so I hope that doesn't happen.
- Wow, I got this one right, unfortunately. Kosovo did declare independence, the EU and much of the West recognised their independence and then Russia (in part because of this move I have argued) invaded Georgia.
The Beijing Olympics will be a gloriously fascist spectacle. The NZ-China Free Trade agreement will be in dead-lock because NZ will refuse Chinese demands to tie the FTA to a change in the NZ immigration policy that will let in many thousands of poor/uneducated Chinese citizens who would never normally qualify for residency.
- Well, No - the FTA, even with the fish-hooks - is seen as a great deal by both the main parties here. ANd yes the Olympics (esp. the opening ceremony) was bordering on fascisitic.
The US Presidential race is won by Barack Obama over Mitt Romney (but surely it's Hillary, right?) in a "watershed" election.
- A Mormon!? What was I thinking. It was McCain - but yes it was Obama and Hillary, so close and now the secretary of State under Obama. It felt like a sort of watershed when he won the election.
Iraq magically stabilises and all the foreign fighters (Americans, mercenaries, jihadists etc.) will all go home, smoke some ganja, chill out, and do all their attacks in the comments section of each others' blogs... like civilised people.
- Yeah, right. The US only just managed to renew it's expiring UN rights in Iraq by the skin of its teeth.

Not a bad score card considering. I'll have to compose another list. That's all I seem to be doing these days!

And on a blogging note I still have so very far to go...

New Year's Honours: a crony-lite farewell from Labour

This will be Labour's New Year's Honours list - I doubt the Nats had any time to get any of their own cronies a gong - that will be happening at the next Queen's birthday.

So, Margaret Wilson gets honoured - is she the Roger Douglas mirror on the left or what? - right down to the knighthood [equivalent?] on retirement! Phil Goff would have been on that same committee in 1990 most likely that gave Sir Roger his, and here he is giving his other mate from Auckland University an honour - only he's now the Premier of South Australia (Mike Rann), so it's under the guise of "Australia-New Zealand relations." It's all about cliques.

Dr Mark Prebble, Lower Hutt, for public services, lately as State Services Commissioner.
- He left early under somewhat of a cloud after he fumbled a few political line calls, but this is a bit of a silver-lining to that cloud. The Nats criticised him in Opposition, but I doubt they would or could have vetoed him, or anyone else on this list for that matter.

Steven Maharey, Palmerston North, for services as a member of Parliament.
- He exhibited Tourette's syndrome in Parliament one afternoon - the stress was too much - he then exited his ministerial portfolios to take up the Vice Chancellorship of his electorate's main institution. He looked like the natural successor to the PM up until that point.

Clement Rudolph Simich, Auckland, for services as a member of Parliament.
- And a good deputy Speaker and no-one seems to have a bad word to say about gentleman Clem.

Paul Desmond Swain, Upper Hutt, for services as a member of Parliament.
- And no one seems to have anything to say about Paul Swain.

The Rev Charles Tansey Waldegrave, Lower Hutt, for services to social policy.
- Why does that name ring a bell? My lefty radar says... OK:
co-leads the ‘New Zealand Poverty Measurement Project’ (NZPMP) which has provided the evidence base for considerable public policy debate and social and economic changes in New Zealand [...] addressing cultural, gender and socioeconomic contexts in therapy
A touchy-feely lefty as well. Why did Labour leave it this long!? (Was he a member of the Alliance or something?)

All right then, it's hardly the end of the world as far as politicisation goes. Jonathan Hunt at the top of the pou with an Order of NZ, or Muldoon and Palmer giving themselves knighthoods - that was far worse than this list.

The preferences between parties is not that pronounced except Labour very rarely honours anyone from business unless they contribute to Labour (eg. Owen Glenn) or have very high-profiles and/or come from a business dynasty. You can see the usual ranks as you descend the list:
The politicians,
the professors, esp. education, history and medical research,
High Court judges,
senior public servants,
Olympic medalists,
Police, (eventually fire, corrections and customs),
lesser academics,
non-medalist athletes,
industry professionals,
local government/community,
and finally all the people who aren't white.

...and then the Military have their own divisions of orders etc., all the way down to some ribbons for Navy stores accountants.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

360 dead Palestinians to 4 dead Israelis but it’s all the fault of Hamas?

The medias mouthing of Israeli justification over glorified skyrockets fired at Israel which have killed 4 Israeli’s to 360 dead Palestinians is so ridiculous you have to laugh. Remember 2 years ago when Israel launched it’s bullshit farce of a war against Lebanon? Remember how we had so many Israeli apologists on this site defending the action because 2 Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped, and yet once it was revealed that Israel had secretly been planning the attack for 6 months and were just looking for an excuse those apologists went very quiet didn’t they and I suspect that same level of quiet will quickly descend on this despicable massacre as Israel’s butchery becomes less and less defendable. The truly disgusting thing of course is that just as with the failed Lebanon war (which let’s not forget saw Israel dump tens of thousands of cluster bomblets over civilian areas which NZ had to help send bomb disposal units to help clear up – thank you Israel) the motives here are purely political as opposed to any ‘self-defense’ to a real threat. As Israel moves towards it’s next election the remaining Political leaders not currently embroiled in corruption charges have decided to launch a war to keep voters from asking the real questions and they have done it to pre-empt any change a new American Administration under Obama may force Israel to adopt rather than the blank cheque Bush gave them. To play a political poker match with the blood of 360 Palestinians is truly the actions of an ethically bankrupt regime.

To compare the fear of Israeli citizens in their leafy suburbs and air conditioned bunkers caused by home made skyrockets to the pain of Palestinians created by military hardware built in the USA dropped on the most densely populated region on Earth and then attempt to use the fear of one to justify the murder of the other really highlights how desperately international condemnation of Israel and America is needed. For a people who have felt the pain of group punishment to now hand it out with such a level of murder reminds us that violence merely breeds more violence, all Israel have done is create more radicals.

The pointlessness of this massacre and the exacerbating effect it will create, all to gerrymander the response of an incoming American administration demands nothing short of contempt as a response.

"all-out war"


The UN has protested to Israel “in the strongest possible terms” over collateral deaths and damage at two UN buildings, expressing deep concern about the safety of UN personnel and installations and requesting “specific and immediate undertakings regarding their security.”

Eight students aged 18 to 20 at an UNRWA training centre who were waiting for UN buses to take them home were killed and 19 injured on Saturday from the blast of a missile that targeted policemen standing near a government building. Also, the Gaza headquarters of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) was damaged today when the adjacent presidential guesthouse was hit, and seven vehicles were totally or partially destroyed.

“UN premises must be protected and inviolate,” UNSCO said in a statement. “The Government of Israel has all coordinates of UN premises in Gaza. These strikes occurred without prior warning. Military attacks in these circumstances, so close to UN premises as to recklessly endanger UN personnel and property, must not be repeated.”

The more independent people within the UN are direct:

UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories Richard Falk said the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza represent “severe and massive violations” of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions.

“Certainly the rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful,” he noted in a statement. “But that illegality does not give rise to any Israeli right, neither as the Occupying Power nor as a sovereign State, to violate international humanitarian law and commit war crimes or crimes against humanity in its response.”

General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto, in a statement issued last night, said that “the behaviour by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful State against a territory that [it] illegally occupies.”

He stated that “the time has come to take firm action if the UN does not want to be rightly accused of complicity by omission.”

NY Times: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak described the bombings as “an all-out war on Hamas and its kind.”


Shlomo Brom, a retired Israeli general and a military analyst at the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv, said the point of the conflict was for Israel to exact the best conditions it could in a future ceasefire with Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls Gaza after winning Palestinian elections three years ago.

"The military operation is changing the dynamic, making it clear to Hamas that it is going to pay a very high cost for violations of the ceasefire," Brom said. "I think Hamas deluded itself by thinking Israel is kind of paralysed because of its political system or the possible reaction of its population to some suffering."

For nearly six months until mid-December Israel and Hamas held a ceasefire in Gaza, although it broke down in the final weeks with violations on both sides. Now both Hamas and some Israeli leaders have said they are not willing to return to a ceasefire deal.

Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, told Fox News on Saturday when the bombing began: "For us to be asked to have a ceasefire with Hamas is like asking you [the US] to have a ceasefire with al-Qaida. It's something we cannot really accept."

Despite his words, the reality is that a new ceasefire agreement is probably the best Israel could hope to achieve. As Alex Fishman, a columnist in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, put it bluntly today: "The answer to the question of what we want is simple: To stop the fire. In order to stop the fire, we have to reach an arrangement, and in order to persuade Hamas to reach an arrangement, we are now breaking its bones – among other reasons, so that the price it demands will not be high," he wrote. "But we have not yet decided, amongst ourselves, what price we are willing to pay."

Yet there are others who raise broader questions about Israel's policy towards Gaza, particularly in the past three years since Hamas won the surprise electoral victory.

Yossi Alpher, a former senior official at Mossad and a military commentator, agreed that Israel was seeking a ceasefire on more acceptable terms. But he was critical of the tough economic blockade Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip in recent years, limiting imports to humanitarian supplies and preventing all exports, a policy that has all but wiped out private industry and brought Gaza's economy to collapse.

"The economic siege of Gaza has not produced any of the desired political results," he said. "It has not manipulated Palestinians into hating Hamas, but has probably been counter-productive. It is just useless collective punishment."

I saw PM wannabe, Livni, on Al Jazeera (of all places) last night defending the Gaza assault - not talking about security and safety from rockets but of "peace and quiet." She was the one making them out to be "glorified skyrockets" the way she was talking. As for her ridiculous agenda of "changing the equation" and altering "the facts on the ground" - it was nonsense. Her Orwellian bullshit about wanting peace as she has oversees the slaughter of hundreds is preposterous. Not only is overthrowing Hamas unachievable (I'm sure they bombed the prison with the intention that the fatah prisoners might escape), the proposition that the Israelis can maintain their blockade of Gaza under even stricter cease-fire terms makes a Hamas concession politically and popularly impossible.

So why is the government of Israel doing this?

Only by being in a constant state of conflict can the militants stay in power - this goes equally for both Hamas and the Israeli State. That's the way the game is set.

Israel demands everything on their own terms, while the US runs interference - roping in the other Arab states (dictatorships for the most part) to side with Israel. This encourages and enables Israel to attack wantonly and to break cease-fires in order to do so. Israel wants to determine which Palestinian government it deals with rather than accept the legitimate democratically elected Hamas one in Gaza. And no government in Gaza - of whatever party - would ever agree to subject themselves to more of the strangulation that Israel has enforced upon them already.

Chinese social stability

How are you going to keep them down on the farm - the saying goes - once they've seen the city lights? By having a strict residency permit system to control internal migration and a recession making those that did make the move unemployed, is the answer in China's case. They are containing expectations momentarily. Reuters reporting:

Officials estimate that more than 10 million migrant laborers have already returned to the countryside as thousands of companies have been dragged under by weak global demand for everything from clothes to cars.

The government, always concerned about social instability, is now on high alert, fearful of the consequences of a huge mass of jobless, disappointed, rootless young men.

Beijing has urged firms to avoid cutting jobs despite falling profits, and many bosses have obliged by retaining workers but giving them unpaid leave.

"Sales were really bad and the boss just kept giving us holidays. We had 15 days off last month," said Tan Jun, who also clambered off train K192 in Chengdu. "Next year I won't go back."
"Lots of factories have closed. Mine shut about three months ago. There was nothing to do, so I came home," said Wu Hao, 21, sporting a stylish striped sweater and a sleek metal suitcase.

These people, referred to as the "floating population" in China, have nowhere else to go but back home. Back home to what?

Unveiling its rural policy priorities for next year, the government said on Sunday that it will encourage unemployed people who return home to start their own businesses. Officials in Chongqing and Henan, two big sources of migrants, have already pledged to lend seed money.

The CPC have their hands full keeping a lid on aspirations and the demands from a nation of only-children. The party has moved fast enough in recent years to keep ahead of the trends and has managed demand for freedoms incrementally. Although regional administrations have been tainted with numerous instances of corruption the central government has been relatively clean and much of its popularity (I would guess) comes from that record. That may be tested if they side with a rotten local leader or against the people on a popular issue arising from increased competition for limited resources (welfare and works programmes, land reform etc.) But this has not occurred significantly on any nation scale - or if it has it has been successfully neutralised in the media.

And on their media: that "Blocked in China" logo you see on blogs has been untrue for some time now. We have noticed Chinese readers of this blog have been visiting shortly before the Olympics and continue to do so. It's the Chinese language websites they target.

The direction they are pointing is towards continued, slow and deliberate liberalisation - probably for their own survival rather than an ideological commitment to a Western-style democracy. The world looks to China for economic salvation, but the news of widespread factory closures is terribly discouraging.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I’m not racist but…..(daddy state compassion 101)

Taxi customers asking for white drivers, says Nat MP
Christchurch taxi companies are fielding calls from customers requesting white drivers, a National MP says.
Nicky Wagner says she has spoken to several taxi drivers and company owners since the brutal slaying of Afghan driver Abdulrahman Ikhtiari earlier this month. "Several said they had people call who only wanted white drivers," she said. "You can say it's a racist comment or say there's a perception by the public that ethnic drivers don't know the city as well so they end up driving longer to get to their destination."

Or you could go back to your first comment and decry it for the utter racism it actually is Nicky rather than try and justify that mindset as merely a perception? I’m not sure if the right response to the brutal slaying of a recent migrant taxi driver in Christchurch is to provide possible justifications as to why people dislike migrant taxi drivers.

Nearly 300 Palestinians murdered – what does it take before NZ speaks out?

Israel bombs university in Gaza
Israeli air force jets have bombed the Islamic University in the Gaza Strip, a significant cultural symbol for Hamas.
Warplanes also struck Hamas government offices as air raids aimed at forcing Palestinian militants to halt rocket fire into southern Israel continued. Palestinian medics say nearly 300 people have been killed in the air raids that began on Saturday.
Israel has threatened to launch a ground assault and is now calling up 6,500 army reservists.

Blowing up a University huh? That’s how you stop rocket attacks against illegal Israeli occupations on land that has been stolen in what is practically the planets largest open air prison currently suffering an economic strangulation because the occupied had the audacity to elect a party focused on resisting that occupation rather than be bribed by it? See I would’ve thought the way to stop occupied people from firing glorified skyrockets with the accuracy of a drunk cow would be by pulling out of the land Israel has stolen. Apparently not. The way to stop these glorified skyrockets from being fired by occupied people isn’t to give them their land back and address their righteous grievances, oh no apparently it’s bombing the most denesly populated region on earth and blowing up a University. During the farce of the Lebannon war we had many passionate debates on this site from people convinced Israel was right and were acting because two soldiers were kidnapped, of course when the truth emerged that Israel had secretly planned that invasion 6 months earlier and were simply looking for an excuse to launch, those same passionate defenders of Israel all quietly slipped away and stopped posting. Let’s see how long before they start going quiet on this issue as Israel’s rampage becomes more and more unjustifiable. The silence however in the mainstream media on this outrageous murder of nearly 300 Palestinians is disgusting and their mouthing of the ‘self defense’ mantra from Israel makes them party to a lie. For the record, let’s remind ourselves who is actually doing the majority of the dying and suffering before we start supporting Israel...

123 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,050 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000.

1,062 Israelis and at least 4,876 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000.

8,341 Israelis and 33,034 Palestinians have been injured since September 29, 2000.

Israel has been targeted by at least 65 UN resolutions and the Palestinians have been targeted by none.

1 Israeli is being held prisoner by Palestinians, while 10,756 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel.

0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 18,147 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967.

Israel currently has 223 Jewish-only settlements and ‘outposts’ built on confiscated Palestinian land. Palestinians do not have any settlements on Israeli land.

What does Israel have to do before our Government criticizes them?

Why is Israel bombing Gaza?

Why? The upcoming Israeli elections? Because they can?

One and a half days after Israel attacks Gaza killing hundreds and still no email news alerts from the NY Times and when it isn't being deliberately down-played the coverage on this from America is biased to the max:

Slate says Israel "strikes back" - against what? a few days of skyrockets which had killed no-one up to that point. Taking Israel's side explicitly is what they are doing, using Ehud Barak's quote as the headline:A pledge to stop smuggling weapons... while Israel has nuclear weapons that America encourages... while the US sends, lends and finances Israel with its top of the range military equipment. The hypocrisy of their media is on display everywhere.

Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper has less biased coverage than what is coming out of America. They report:

By the end of Monday, the third day of Operation Cast Lead, Israel will be close to exhausting its target bank for aerial bombing. At that point, it will have to either launch a ground operation or bring the campaign to a speedy conclusion. Thus far, however, Israel has been sending conflicting messages about where the operation is headed.

On the one hand, despite its stated goal of a limited operation ending in a new and improved cease-fire, Israel has so far not sent Washington its outline of an acceptable formulation and asked it to begin mustering the requisite international support. And since that process is likely to take several days, if the goal were to end the fighting quickly, Israel's diplomatic initiative should have been ready to go at the same time as its military initiative.

This is especially the case because, unlike in the Lebanon war, it does not have the excuse of having been caught by surprise.

On the other hand, the military mobilization so far is not nearly enough for a major ground operation - and even if the requisite several divisions were called up, they would need a few days of training before they were ready to enter Gaza.

At the moment, therefore, neither a full-scale invasion of Gaza nor a quick diplomatic solution seems in sight.

So why has the Israeli government done this? Why now?

The upcoming election may account for the timing - Barak and Livni know that in Israeli politics as in American politics as in all politics anywhere for that matter, War plays well to the electorate, it forces the opposition and the public into backing any attack against the enemy - regardless of how punitive, stupid or counter-productive - and rewards the leaders prepared to terrorise the other side. The Israelis are very quick to use terrorism - it is their preferred form of warfare. Only they use an organised and technologically superior American military machine to do the terrorism for them.

The continuing Palestinian persecution and subjugation and containment inside a besieged refugee ghetto is one thing - shooting Palestinian fish in an Israeli barrel, but as Olmert proved when he invaded Lebanon (on another similarly flimsy pretext) if it goes wrong and the opponent makes a credible defence (in Olmert's case it was Hezbollah, in this case Hamas) then it plays very poorly with the Israeli electorate. Olmert's haste and mishandling crucified (if I can use that term) his popularity. That is why the IDF targeted the rockets in Gaza. The fact that so few have been fired back in response would indicate that they were taken out (or that their were not that many). Given they are of little tactical value in a military sense a lot of the considerations in this attack are political. Israel wants "regime change" in Gaza as well as a firmer stranglehold over the ethnic enclave and they are prepared to terrorise and bomb the Gaza government - and the Gaza people - into oblivion to do it.

America just says try to avoid civilian casualties while you bomb and destroy the human and physical infrastructure of the democratically elected government of Palestine (in Gaza). But, don't let the odd dozen or so civillian casualties here and there stop you. Don't let that stop you. That was the American official message yesterday. Meh, just so many dead Arabs, what's another thousand or so?

America is in favour of it. In favour of terrorism and aggression. If 300 Jews got killed in 48 hours by Hamas we know how the US would have reacted. 300 rag-heads? Fuck'em. They don't exist. Those lives are about 100-1 less valuable than Jewish lives. That's if you believe the American media. Look at the NY Times website column [at right]. This is their sickening "News Analysis":
With Strikes, Israel Reminds Foes It Has Teeth
Israel’s military operation in Gaza aims to expunge the ghost of its flawed 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and re-establish Israeli deterrence.

Now the aggression is called "deterence" and Israel, according to the sub-editor's heading, has "foes". Well what about: "With Strikes, Islamists Remind Foes It Has Teeth" for the September 11 2001 attacks? No, because it's supportive isn't it. So the stories in the NY Times: First: it's a campaign against "Palestinian militants" - it's far wider than that. Second story Israel has teeth, third Obama and Middle East policy, and the last story: "Israeli Foreign Minister Says Hamas Is to Blame". So it's all those awful Gazan's fault and Israel is tops. That's the word from New York City.

Washington Post reporting:
The goal is to break Hamas's military capacity. "We will continue to attack as long as they fire," said a senior Israeli military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Israel's military, he said, intends to pressure Hamas to the point where the Islamist movement either "runs out of will or runs out of capability to launch more attacks."

Well what the fuck does that mean? Runs out of will to do what? Be the government? Like maybe they will all resign as a democratically elected government and let the corrupt collaborateur Fatah party take over the government - on behalf of and at the insistence of the Israelis!? That will never happen. "Capability to launch more attacks"? - a small rocket (range maximum of 40km) can be "smuggled" in and then stored and then used at any location, and can be manufactured in many locations. They can't do that.

They cannot achieve either of those stated military objectives by military action. It isn't possible. So then it's not true, or the Israelis are delusional. I would put money an a bit of both. It is a short-term political gimmick at the expense of hundreds of Palestinian lives. The way that thick Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, was going on yesterday he was saying the attack was to correct Hamas' behaviour. Like it was a lesson, not just revenge, or an ancient ethnic/religious antipathy played out under America's guidance, but an educational opportunity for the Arabs to learn about how the Jews play in the sandpit. And above all else for them to respect the Zionist Authority and swallow some more bitter containment medicine that Israel has cooked up and now wishes to force feed the unwilling, but shackled, victim.

NZ should have a naval vessel off the Gaza coast.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gaza burns and the American media is mute

It is now 12:38PM NZDT and Israel has been attacking Gaza since last night. A Wikipedia article already up. The aggression from Israel began at 9:30am UTC/GMT, so it has been well over half a day now. And in my inbox from the Washington Post and the NY Times - the biggest American newspapers that have sent me email alerts on obscure Americans dying, and results from Baseball matches and NY City council politics and everything you can imagine - have sent to me precisely nothing in regard to Israel's attack on Gaza. Nothing. When terrorists attacked Mumbai it was email alerts all over the place, but the terrorists - killing hundreds - are not muslims they are Jews so we have no coverage, no alerts. It's not newsworthy according to the Americans.It's not happening according to the Americans. They are disgusting, they are dishonest, they are in cahoots with the Zionists and it's so obvious.

The Israelis can only get away with it, or indeed initiate this attack in the first place, because America allows it. The US not only makes it a feasible proposition with their military hardware, but makes it politically/diplomatically sustainable for the Jewish State to wage a constant war of land-grabbing and internal destabilisation against the would-be Arab state with which they are supposedly trying to find a peace because the Americans have successfully manipulated or neutralised Israel's neighbours and the UN.

The US administration is strangled by the Jewish/Israeli lobby, but also complicit in protecting and abetting Israel is the American media - strangled by the same Jewish/Israeli lobby. Their silence provides every bit of evidence necessary to conclude that the American press is anti-Palestinian and pro-Zionist. Their silence is their shame.

It is difficult not to hate upon America and to curse them and wish them ill fortune when the inhumanity and destruction they cause is met with approval from their civil society.

Israel butchers 200 Palestinians in Gaza airstrikes

Massive Israeli air raids on Gaza
Israeli F-16 bombers have pounded key targets across the Gaza Strip, killing more than 200 people, local medics say.
Most of those killed were policemen in the Hamas militant movement, which controls Gaza, but women and children also died, the Gaza officials said. About 700 others were wounded, as missiles struck security compounds and militant bases, the officials added.

Ahh, the good old, ‘They are firing glorified sky rockets at illegal settlements which justifies our total over the top reaction from helicopter gunships” game, and doesn’t Israel play it well? Funny how America and Israel always howl about democracy yet when a party wins whom they don’t like it’s not democracy but a ‘terrorist’ organization. Perhaps Hamas wouldn’t have won so much support if Fatah hadn’t been so corrupt and the 4 decade long illegal occupation of Palestine hadn’t radicalized so many, but Hamas won the elections fair and square yet America and Israel are still trying to act like Hamas are not legitimate and justifies retaliation that has killed 200 in one of the worst attacks in decades.

Israeli politics are so defunct and embroiled in such deep corruption at present (perhaps when you perpetrate occupation you yourself start becoming corrupt?) and still trying to save face from the fiasco of their last war against Lebanon that they need a diversion and firing hell-fire missiles into one of the most densely populated places on earth for ‘self defense’ purposes will create that diversion.

With zero US leadership from the Bush Administration on reigning in Israel’s aggression and end the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, Israel has been allowed to exacerbate their own wound to the point where they can’t function beyond that of a shell shocked child in a refugee camp. Obama must go beyond the usual bullshit every President needs to mouth to keep the Zionist Lobby happy and force Israel to the peace table or no more US guns for them. The only reason Israel doesn’t seek peace is because America arms them with such an uneven amount of military force that they think they can keep running the occupied territories as the largest open aired prison on the planet. That mentality must be stopped and Israel must leave land they have stolen for occupation and only then can there be any real attempt at peace, it seems the Israeli’s are more concerned with enflaming the conflict beyond any possible Obama led change.

There is no military solution here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Harold Pinter dies

Harold has left us with his last, longest pause. His brilliant body of work pregnant with the awfulness of the human experience spoke volumes of the struggle beneath the veneer of society. His activism in his later life in righteous and total opposition to the Iraq war reminded us that art has a role as the conscience of a civilization. His passing is a loss to modern culture and his integrity will be an inspiration to everyone wanting to force society to reflect on it’s own bigotry.

Eartha Kitt dies

Eartha died, what a loss of such an incredible entertainer. Her music was feminist before the movement began, her allure and use of beauty as power forged an independent female voice that hadn’t been there before within popular music. She was a legend.

Monetary implosion: looking for the floor

Peak uncertainty. No positive information. Indeed, the only positive economic information is coming from the economists who predict it can't be negative forever. When will we receive the first positive information that will most likely form the floor to the economic spiral el muerté and thus will be the measure of how deep it goes? I haven't seen anything yet and am not expecting to soon (I have discounted the Alexopoulos-Cohen postulation concerning "uncertainty" key words in the press) - but even after we receive the first solid positive information the question becomes how long before we return to positive GDP growth and how long will it take to return to where we were at the peak (2007). That is another thing entirely.

On the NZ scene I note that the exchange rate situation is just coming off another scrape with the psychological barriers of 40c Euro, 54c US and 50¥. Our historic lows with these currencies is something beneath these mental barriers but the fact they have not fallen far beyond them supports their existence. There seems no reason to believe that the long term trends will not continue: for the Euro is to strengthen and the long term trend for the USD is to weaken (I believe it to be more vulnerable now than at any other time). The longer NZ bounces along at these rates the more it may seem that we have bottomed out as far as overseas confidence goes.

After the banking collapses and failures in larger countries our economic weakness is not nearly so bad compared with the rest of the world, and our low unemployment and trade deals would suggest a more robust economy than many of our peers - and even more resilient than our structural and massive balance of payments legacy would otherwise indicate.

Despite all the dramatic movements in monetary operation (not to mention monetary theory!) - including an historic 1.5% point cut in the RBNZ's main interest rate earlier in the month, NZ still has relatively high interest rates and that is most likely helping to keep it up our exchange rates.


China's low-key announcement it will move to make its Yuan a reserve and settlement currency must translate into some sort of currency movements. The Chinese will want to exit their $1 Trillion + US-denominated monopoly money on terms beneficial to it, which would mean they would have little to gain by decapitating the greenback by pulling out all their holdings. Like Australia (or was it Switzerland?) did with their gold reserves when they sold it down they may only announce that it has happened at the very end of the process. Then it will tank, and they won't particularly care. [* see below] By that stage the Yuan would have replaced most Asian transactions, the Euro the rest, leaving the US and Ecuador using Mickey Mouse greenbacks.

There has been much talk that the total figure of $750 billion (TARP package and other measures by the US government) comes out of thin air. I've heard people say they have no idea why it is that sum. I suspect that the figure is very close to the dollars in circulation outside of America. That's their confetti in circulation beyond their borders that they use to buy people off. What will happen when everyone stops using it? Bye, bye America.

NY Times today:

Chinese Savings Helped Inflate American Bubble
The Chinese have piled up so much excess savings that they lend money to the United States at low rates, underwriting American consumption.

This colossal credit cycle could not last forever, he said. But in a global economy, the transfer of Chinese money to America was a market phenomenon that would take years, even a decade, to work itself out. For now, he said, “we probably have little choice except to be patient.”

Today, the dependence of the United States on Chinese money looks less benign. And the economist who proposed the theory, Ben S. Bernanke, is dealing with the consequences, having been promoted to chairman of the Fed in 2006, as these cross-border money flows were reaching stratospheric levels.

In the past decade, China has invested upward of $1 trillion, mostly earnings from manufacturing exports, into American government bonds and government-backed mortgage debt. That has lowered interest rates and helped fuel a historic consumption binge and housing bubble in the United States.
The inaction was because of a range of factors, political and economic. By the yardsticks that appeared to matter most — prosperity and growth — the relationship between China and the United States also seemed to be paying off for both countries. Neither had a strong incentive to break an addiction: China to strong export growth and financial stability; the United States to cheap imports and low-cost foreign loans.

In Washington, China was treated as a threat by some people, but mostly because it lured away manufacturing jobs. Others argued that China’s heavy lending to this country was risky because Chinese leaders could decide to withdraw money at a moment’s notice, creating a panicky run on the dollar.
Mr. Greenspan and the Bush administration treated the record American trade deficit and heavy foreign borrowing as an abstract threat, not an urgent problem.
In the 19th century, the United States built its railroads with capital borrowed from the British.

In the past decade, China arguably enabled an American boom. Low-cost Chinese goods helped keep a lid on inflation, while the flood of Chinese investment helped the government finance mortgages and a public debt of close to $11 trillion.

But Americans did not use the lower-cost money afforded by Chinese investment to build a 21st-century equivalent of the railroads. Instead, the government engaged in a costly war in Iraq, and consumers used loose credit to buy sport utility vehicles and larger homes. Banks and investors, eagerly seeking higher interest rates in this easy-money environment, created risky new securities like collateralized debt obligations.
China tied itself even more tightly to the United States than did Japan. In 1995, it devalued its currency and set a firm exchange rate of roughly 8.3 to the dollar, a level that remained fixed for a decade.

During the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, China clung firmly to its currency policy, earning praise from the Clinton administration for helping check the spiral of devaluation sweeping Asia. Its low wages attracted hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment.

By the early part of this decade, the United States was importing huge amounts of Chinese-made goods — toys, shoes, flat-screen televisions and auto parts — while selling much less to China in return.

“For consumers, this was a net benefit because of the availability of cheaper goods,” said Laurence H. Meyer, a former Fed governor. “There’s no question that China put downward pressure on inflation rates.”

But in classical economics, that trade gap could not have persisted for long without bankrupting the American economy. Except that China recycled its trade profits right back into the United States.

It did so to protect its own interests. China kept its banks under tight state control and its currency on a short leash to ensure financial stability. It required companies and individuals to save in the state-run banking system most foreign currency — primarily dollars — that they earned from foreign trade and investment.

As foreign trade surged, this hoard of dollars became enormous. In 2000, the reserves were less than $200 billion; today they are about $2 trillion.

Chinese leaders chose to park the bulk of that in safe securities backed by the American government, including Treasury bonds and the debt of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which had implicit government backing.
By 2003, China’s trade surplus with the United States was ballooning, and lawmakers in Congress were restive. Senator Graham and Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, introduced a bill threatening to impose a 27 percent duty on Chinese goods.
At the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, a consensus was also emerging in late 2004: China should break its tight link to the dollar, which would make its exports more expensive. Yu Yongding, a leading economic adviser, pressed the case. The American trade and budget deficits were not sustainable, he warned. China was wrong to keep its currency artificially depressed and depend too much on selling cheap goods.

Proponents of revaluation in China argued that the country’s currency policies denied the fruits of prosperity to Chinese consumers. Beijing was investing their savings in low-yielding American government securities. And with a weak currency, they said, Chinese could not afford many imported goods.

The central bank’s English-speaking governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, was among those who favored a sizable revaluation.
in 2005, under heavy pressure from Congress and the White House, it moved cautiously. The renminbi was allowed to climb only 2 percent.
But Chinese save with the same zeal that, until recently, Americans spent. Shorn of the social safety net of the old Communist state, they squirrel away money to pay for hospital visits, housing or retirement. This accounts for the savings glut identified by Mr. Bernanke.
In Washington, some critics say too little was done. A former Treasury official, Timothy D. Adams, tried to get the I.M.F. to act as a watchdog for currency manipulation by China, which would have subjected Beijing to more global pressure.

Yet when Mr. Snow was succeeded as Treasury secretary by Henry M. Paulson Jr. in 2006, the I.M.F. was sidelined, according to several officials, and Mr. Paulson took command of China policy.

He was not shy about his credentials. As an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, Mr. Paulson made 70 trips to China. In his office hangs a watercolor depicting the hometown of Zhu Rongji, a forceful former prime minister.

“I pushed very hard on currency because I believed it was important for China to get to a market-determined currency,” Mr. Paulson said in an interview. But he conceded he did not get what he wanted.

In late 2006, Mr. Paulson invited Mr. Bernanke to accompany him to Beijing. Mr. Bernanke used the occasion to deliver a blunt speech to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in which he advised the Chinese to reorient their economy and revalue their currency.

At the last minute, however, Mr. Bernanke deleted a reference to the exchange rate being an “effective subsidy” for Chinese exports, out of fear that it could be used as a pretext for a trade lawsuit against China.

Unselfconscious arrogance? It's the Yanks who have been given an "effective subsidy" FFS. They have been given store credit - store credit to Uncle Sam from China Trading Co. The Chinese shopkeeper has been taking Uncle Sam's drunkenly scribbled IOU's along with the rest of the world and now they say the terms were manipulated? The hypocrisy. The market indeed - the US goes to war and invades countries just to manipulate markets and secure trade on their terms and they go off to lecture the Chinese - these people are un-fucking-believable. Imagine having to listen to that lecture. Their President is a baboon FFS, the last neo-con war-mongering crony they sent in to run the World Bank was as corrupt as all fuck and had to resign and their top financial officials deign to lecture the Chinese about how to successfully run an economy while they rack up deficits to pay for their imperialism. The Chinese will revalue at a time when it suits them, and perhaps even deliberately at a time to hurt the Americans.

Having allowed the renminbi to rise a little after 2005, the Chinese government is now under intense pressure domestically to reverse course and depreciate it. China’s fortunes remain tethered to those of the United States. And the reverse is equally true.
Treasury conducts nearly daily auctions of billions of dollars’ worth of government bonds.[...] For the past five years, China has been one of the most prolific bidders. It holds $652 billion in Treasury debt, up from $459 billion a year ago. Add in its Fannie Mae bonds and other holdings, and analysts figure China owns $1 of every $10 of America’s public debt.

The Treasury is conducting more auctions than ever to finance its $700 billion bailout of the banks. Still more will be needed to pay for the incoming Obama administration’s stimulus package. The United States, economists say, will depend on the Chinese to keep buying that debt, perpetuating the American habit.

* If the Chinese have used that debt (US IOUs) to float other securities, or re-packaged as junk bonds like Wall Street was doing so furiously these last few years - if they have (I don't know if it's possible, but why not?) then converted those funds into say Euros or other denominated securities (rather than re-investing in US denominated instruments) then they would really have the Americans by the balls. Not only would they have less incentive to care about US economic health, they may gain from hurting it - they could start buying real assets in the US rather than the federal government's junk bonds. Real estate, factories, infrastructure. Solid assets returning constant revenue. They will buy them for a song if they revalue their currency steeply. They will be the only ones in a position to buy right now and with a stronger, revalued Yuan they would have more spending power. Just like in NZ the US run the risk of being cleaned out. And then, after their investments are made when the currency is at its weakest, and they've bought everything they can, they could float.

The Chinese have the ability to do things in their own way, and haver done so without having really been retaliated against on the trade front. Investment (as in the US) can prove political and big deals can fall into "national/strategic/sensitive" and be vetoed, but what of goods and services - trade?

What we now risk is the re-imposition of punitive tariffs. It is the most logical thing in the world for Obama to say to America: the only way the taxpayer can get any money back from (insert failing American industry/sector here), eg. Detroit, is for the firms we are backing to compete successfully in the domestic market and the only way we can do that quickly and with any certainty is to make all the overseas products more expensive by putting on a tariff. There is a logic to it once the government gets involved particularly as nationalism always plays better when times are tough. Protectionism is just as much of an American classic as "the free market" ever was. The political temptation is to go there even if Bernanke's depression history tells him he cannot.

Friday, December 26, 2008

China moves on multiple fronts

Piracy - an excuse needed for China to demonstrate she can project her military force beyond her region. Now she is projecting her financial and monetary force over a nascent Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere Yuan zone.
Xinhua reporting:

BEIJING, Dec. 25 -- China's currency, Renminbi, is likely to join other international currencies to be used for forex reserves by other economies, according to Wu Xiaoling, former vice governor of the country's central bank and now the deputy head of the financial and economic committee under the top legislature.

Wu made the remarks in her article carried by the latest annual issue of the leading business magazine Caijing.

Wu wrote that China should make preparations in its economic structure and its financial regime for its currency to be internationalized.

Prior to making the Renminbi, also called yuan, a currency used for forex reserves by other economies, it may be allowed to be used for trade settlements between China and some other countries and regions, according to Wu.

In China's neighboring countries, there were calls for the yuan to be used to settle bilateral trade payments, she said. China has signed settlement agreements with eight neighboring countries, including Russia, Mongolia, Vietnam and Myanmar, assuming a voluntarily choice of settlement currency, she added.

Many were confident of the yuan and willing to settle trade payments in the Chinese currency, as it remained strong, Wu said.

"China should create conditions for the yuan to become an international settlement currency," she stressed.

It is necessary to expand and deepen the yuan-denominated financial markets and step up the process to realize the full convertibility of the currency and provide investment channels for yuan holders, according to Wu.

This will further dry up demand for US Dollars and then, once their mates are using their currency they will unfix themselves from the US Dollar completely. And it's bye, bye America.

Most of China's external trade is settled in U.S. dollar or the euro at present. But, the paper said, many analysts predicted the dollar might depreciate substantially in the coming years because of the ailing U.S. economy.

"The move will also increase the yuan's acceptance in Asia, which will help it become an international currency in the long run," Zhao told the paper.

The yuan's acceptance has been rising in recent years, thanks to the nation's economic prowess and its 1.9 trillion reserves of foreign exchange, according to the paper.

And a cyber war has broken out between China and Japan:

The site is still out of action this afternoon. China 1, Japan 0.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tubemeke Christmas Special

At this special time of the year friends drop in to share some laughs and some memories. In the form of a You Tube medly this is a tribute to lost art of the television variety "Christmas Special". Happy Christmas everybody.

Billy & Peter.

Frank & Dean.

Dean & Gene.

David with Duke, Billy & Willie.


Jose & Johnny




Bob with Lucy, Bing, Lee and the Duke.

Billy & Peter.



Sammy & Jerry.



L'Aqua marina.


Louis & Danny.




Frank and Bing.

Full playlist for the truly hard-core.

Peak Uncertainty Theory and the Alexopoulos-Cohen postulation

The abstract on Vox reads:
This column claims that uncertainty shocks affect on economic activity with remarkable swiftness, strength, and durability. Capturing expectations of average citizens in Main Street through the use of keywords in main newspapers, it indicates a modest decline of uncertainty since October 2008, suggesting that the worst may be behind us.

Yeah everything will be peachy because the sub-editors have grown tired of using the same terms over and over again. All this from checking 4 key words in some newspapers. Sounds dubious.

What we are talking about perhaps is peak uncertainty. The authors suggest this may have already happened. Are we at the middle of the recessionary tunnel when we can see the light of growth and improving conditions at the end, or is that at the extreme end of the tunnel and nowhere near the middle? Will we not know we are out of the tunnel until we are actually out of it? I think it was evident there was an economic plateau happening in 2007 and early 2008 with an expected unwinding occuring because of the unsustainability of the asset prices backing the credit market and the limits of lending capability. These were problems built on structural issues, so to suggest we have passed a peak at this point is brave. They say:

Our statistical results suggest that uncertainty shocks act on economic activity with remarkable swiftness (the shock has an almost immediate negative impact on growth and productivity), strength (they explain over 25% of the variance of output and productivity within two years), and durability (the effects linger for a number of quarters). Moreover, the current uncertainty shock - that effectively dates from the Bear Stearns bailout - is the largest of the twentieth century, greater even than that associated with the October 1929 stock market crash.

The correlation between the uncertainty articles per day and periods of contraction is interesting more than compelling:

the pattern displayed by our uncertainty index for the current crisis resembles more the sharp, short-lived ups and downs of the 1970s and early 2000s than it does the long drawn out rise and sluggish fall of the Depression years. This would seem to suggest that the current crisis, despite its gravity, does not mark the end of the world as we know it. Second, in keeping with the old adage that it is often darkest just before the dawn, the numbers in Table 1 indicate that the light of a new day may just be visible on the horizon. Our uncertainty index, in this case based on data from six major US newspapers, shows a sharp run-up in uncertainty through October 2008 and a modest decline since. Two months do not make a trend but the drop is definitely encouraging. Although the negative economic consequences of the severe shock are likely to dog the economy for some time, we would guess that the worst is, indeed, behind us. Or, to employ Bloom’s horror film metaphor, the credit crisis has us (with good reason) perched on the edge of our seats, white-knuckled and wide-eyed. But, it is well to remember that the heroine while a little worse for wear, usually lives to welcome the dawn of a new day.

I disagree. America is up shit creek. The adjustments they have to make will be painful. Their analysis borders on the delusional.

As for Peak Uncertainty Theory - it's getting to the point where the consensus is: we just don't know.

NZ Diplomat expelled

Govt not in hurry to replace expelled diplomat
Fiji's expulsion of New Zealand's acting high commissioner was a serious step and the Government is not going to rush into sending another representative, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said today.
The relationship between the two countries is in crisis after last night's expulsion of Caroline McDonald and the Government's immediate reaction, which was to order Fiji's acting high commissioner, Kama Tuiloma, to leave Wellington. They were both given a week to leave. "It's a very serious matter to throw out a high commissioner," Mr McCully said. "It's not something to be taken lightly. You don't just shake hands, say `that's tough and let's get on with things tomorrow'."

The Australian former Police Commissioner in Fiji has always said that he believes there is a ‘shadow’ behind Bainimarama helping fuel this coup, although many also point to him as being part of that shadow world blunting some of the good intentions he claims are the source for his views. Bainimarama is the perfect tool for such a coup, a former guardian of Fiji who wouldn’t support the last coup because he understood the economic implications of the first Fijian Coup, the ‘incorruptible’ Bainimarama now finds himself the patron of a coup, all the time threatening to snuggle up over aid to an ever expansive China who has been aggressively pursuing influence throughout Africa and now in the Pacific?

Palin interview of the year

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's okay to torture in America because America loves 24 - only on Fox News

Israel to attack democratically elected Hamas

Israeli leaders 'to topple Hamas'
The two leading candidates to become Israel's next prime minister have vowed if elected to topple the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas, in Gaza.
The threats by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Likud party leader Binyamin Netanyahu came after PM Ehud Olmert warned against making bold statements.

Don’t you love the jostling within Israeli politics to try and be the most aggressive candidate with all this bullsit talk about attacking a democratically elected party like Hamas, won’t Hamas gain MORE popular support if Israel attacks Hamas? Doesn’t this gibberish from these idiot candidates show how necessary it is for Obama to come in and smack Israel hard on the nose, no more weapons that allow Israel a despicable capability to bully those they occupy if this is how they intend to play. Watch how quickly Israel would change their tone if they were threatened with losing all their military toys.

Fried Pork

Rights group links Tasers to deaths
As police begin arming officers with Tasers, Amnesty International is questioning their safety in a report suggesting that their use is linked to nearly 350 deaths in the United States.
Members of the armed offenders squad in Auckland and Wellington have been issued with the weapon, with training for general duties officers beginning in February. Tasers are used in several countries, including some Australian states, Britain, Canada and France, as a less-dangerous alternative to guns. Police here decided to adopt them after a year-long trial and independent review. But Amnesty International is urging police to restrict the use of the 50,000-volt stun guns to life-threatening situations. Its report, entitled Less Than Lethal?, found that 334 people had died in the US after being stunned with the weapons between 2001 and August 2008. Medical examiners concluded the weapons caused or contributed to at least 50 of the deaths.

We know the cops misuse police dogs and pepper spray on people, why should they suddenly use tasers properly? A Taser CAN NOT be used by a cop to make you do something, they are only supposed to use them if you have a weapon and are advancing on the cop but from their initial report it seems a lot of cops just pull the Taser as soon as they show up somewhere which is contrary to their own guidelines. Seeing as the cops spied on the campaign against the Taser, they are well aware of the shortcomings of this ‘non lethal’ lethal weapon.

Monday, December 22, 2008

nz blogosphere rankings : November survey release

The November survey is now complete and has been released at Tumeke's nz blogosphere site. There are now 205 active blogs on the list.

General blogosphere activity in terms of postings and traffic increased through October and peaked at the election (8 November) and has declined markedly thereafter to levels the same or below what they were previously. After the victory of the right at the elections there has been an upsurge in far Left blogging and traffic to those blogs. With the Nactional victory has come some retirements from the blogosphere as they take up positions in the new government. The evidence for this is also reflected in data below.

TOP 100:


#12 (+4) New Zeal
#25 (+7) Barnsley Bill
#29 (+38) Workers Party
#30 (+13) Fundy post
#39 (+7) WebWeaver's World
#42 (+6) John Key
#57 (+14) MacDoctor
#62 (+17) Samuel Dennis
#70 (+14) Eye of the Fish
#72 (+20) Kiwi Polemicist
#87 (+13) Blair's Brain


#11 (-6) The Hive
#15 (-4) Roar Prawn
#35 (-8) Blogs | Act NZ
#36 (-10) Big News
#43 (-10) Dave Gee
#48 (-12) Mulholland Drive
#49 (-7) Stephen Franks
#53 (-8) Just Left
#56 (-18) Jafapete
#69 (-9) Political Animal
#79 (-15) Media Law Journal
#85 (-15) I See Red
#86 (-28) Stranded in Reality
#92 (-27) Cicero on Politics
#94 (-16) Muzzerino
#99 (-27) Grant Robertson

[POSTS] Average per week:

120 Whoar
90 No Minister
75 Inquiring Mind
70 Kiwiblog
50 Homepaddock
45 Whaleoil
40 Standard
35 Hive
30 Not PC
30 NRT
30 Frogblog
30 Policy Blog
30 Roar Prawn
30 Keeping Stock
25 Liberty Scott
20 Hand Mirror
20 Barnsley Bill
20 Anti-Dismal
20 Half Done
20 Aotearoa: Wider Perspective

[COMMENTS] Average highest post per week

650 Public Address
240 Kiwiblog
150 Frogblog
135 Standard
70 Hot Topic
60 TBR
50 Not PC
50 NZ Conservative
40 Poneke
35 Winston Peters
35 Eye of the Fish
30 Policy Blog
30 Dim Post
30 Hand Mirror
30 Samuel Dennis
25 No Minister
20 Workers Party
20 John Key
20 MandM
20 In a Strange Land
20 Jafa Pete
20 John Ansell


#37 (new) The Persuader : www.jackyan.com/blog
01/2006+ "Publisher, Lucire"
Jack Yan : Left - Alliance : NZ

#64 (new) Put 'em all on an island : www.uroskin.blogspot.com
08/2003+ "Connecting the electrodes of queer wisdom to the nipples of bigotry and ignorance"
Uroskin : Left - Green : Waiheke Island

#67 (new) NZBC : www.nzbc.net.nz
06/2005+ "To inform and entertain New Zealand with unique, quality programming"
Stephen Stratford : ? - ? : NZ
Rob O'Neill : ? - ? : NZ

#71 (new) John Ansell : www.johnansell.wordpress.com
09/2008+ "Life, loony vers, and everything"
John Ansell : Right - Act : NZ

#75 (new) The Evolving Newsroom : www.evolvingnewsroom.blogspot.com
12/2007+ "Newsrooms, journalists, audiences, stories, networks, communities"
Julie Starr : ? - ? : NZ

#78 (new) Socialist Aotearoa : www.socialistaotearoa.blogspot.com
04/2006+ "of workers, by workers, for workers"
Joseph : Left - Socialist : NZ

#82 (new) Bowalley Road : www.bowalleyroad.blogspot.com
11/2008+ "Ruminations of an old New Zealander"
Chris Trotter : Left - [UPDATE: Labour] : Auckland

And the 100 Word Blog just happens to be at #100 this survey.

The list was also created to serve as a passive directory service for the blogosphere "community" - and it is gratifying to learn that bloggers are finding content they enjoy through the list.

In the new year there will be another look at traffic with another downgrade of the Alexa estimations to further incentivise disclosure. The idea has had the desired effect over the last few months in prompting bloggers (whose Alexa estimation falls below their stat counter data) to disclose to me (editor (at) tumeke.org) or to make public (on their blog) their actual unique visitor numbers. This has helped to improve the accuracy of the nz blogosphere rankings; so to those bloggers - and there are now quite a few - thank you.