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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deep freeze

NY Times reporting the Obama administration is going to freeze federal salaries - the Washington Post is saying civilian salaries - for two years.

The unions will be enraged, the tea baggers have scored something of a victory for their version of fiscal rectitude (but will be far from placated) and the wide vista of a depression based on economic stagnation and deflation comes more fully into view. Obama is using the word sacrifice:

“The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice and that sacrifice must be shared by employees of the federal government,” Mr. Obama said at a White House news conference.

“I did not reach this decision easily,” he said. “This is not just a line item on a federal ledger. These are people’s lives.”

Are the big corporates who received the Treasury's bail-out money going to have a two year wage freeze for their executives?

He called federal workers “patriots who love their country” but added that “I’m asking civil servants to do what they’ve always done” and sacrifice for the good of the nation.

A two year freeze is a dramatic austerity measure, but it may not amount to much in the scheme of things (esp. with falling inflation expectations):

The pay freeze will save $2 billion in the current fiscal year that ends in September 2011, $28 billion over five years and more than $60 billion over 10 years, according to Jeffrey Zients, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget and the government’s chief performance officer. That represents just a tiny dent in a $1.3 trillion annual deficit but it offers a symbolic gesture toward public anger over unemployment, the anemic economic recovery and rising national debt.

Bomber's Blog - The War on News - TONIGHT 10.30pm Sky 89 & Freeview 21

The War on News 2010 – NZ News Satire on Stratos Sky 89 10.30pm Tuesday & simulcast on Freeview 21. Replayed on Triangle TV 9.45pm Wednesday and posted online at Scoop.co.nz as their Weekend Watch.

It’s just like 7 days on TV3 but with fewer dick jokes.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

National Party old boy vested interests trump Animal Welfare only to be overturned by the Jewish community.

MP Carter makes quick u-turn
A farming company part-owned by a Cabinet minister was able to give him a briefing about how the Government could protect its lucrative trade with Muslim countries by banning Jewish slaughtering.

The Minister for vast personal Wealth through Agriculture, David Carter, made a decision recently to outlaw the Jewish tradition of kosher chicken killing which sees the chickens throats slashed and left to drain. The new requirement would have meant the chicken was stunned first and then had its throat slashed to drain out the blood, but the Minister for vast personal wealth through Agriculture, David Carter made the decision, not on the welfare of the animal grounds, but because his private business operations might be damaged in the Muslim world because in NZ they have to have their animals stunned first before they slaughter them, a restriction not given to the Jewish kosher chicken killings.

The Jewish community researched Carter and noticed his business connections and exposed them this week just before legal action to allow kosher killings, why Carter couldn't have just cited the actual welfare of the chickens as the reason to ban kosher killings and not his private business dealings is eye rolling and justifies the u-turn.

If Muslims are forced to stun their animals before they kill them, why can't the same restrictions apply to the Jewish community? Why is the welfare of the animal suddenly meaningless and David Carter's private business dealings a factor in legislation?

Is it too much to ask the Minister for vast personal wealth through Agriculture to make decisions based on the actual welfare of animals rather than his sprawling agricultural empire?

Does the Sensible Sentencing Trust get funding from private prisons or not?

McVicar criticised over attack on police commissioner
Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove this morning condemned McVicar for what he said amounted to a ''crass and insensitive attack'' on Broad.

Cosgrove said McVicar's attack, which was over comments about rethinking who is sent to prison, were unbelievable given what police were going through following the tragedy at the Pike River coal mine.

McVicar yesterday said Broad should resign immediately over his comments to MPs at parliament on Wednesday. At a select committee hearing, Broad indicated police were trying to prevent crime rather than focus solely on prosecuting.

At the hearing, Broad said there was a growing number of people wondering if sending more people to prison was ''the correct way to go'' and that the ''traditional model of policing'' had ''delivered an absolute wave of criminals'' in to the justice system.

So our top cop questions our prison nation mentality as we throw more and more NZers into the private prison industry National and ACT have created and the Sensible Sentencing Lynch Mob leader demands the resignation of our top cop???

Does the Sensible Sentencing Trust take money from the private prison industry or not?

We know that The GEO Group who are pitching here in NZ are major finders of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington, D.C. think tank that lobbies for tough-on-crime legislation and free-market principles such as privatization. These think tanks whip up the public debate to scream pitch and the kneejerk politicians do the rest. In NZ, the Sensible Sentencing Trust refuses to disclose who funds them, GEO fund these groups overseas, do they do it here? Has the Sensible Sentencing Trust been funded by GEO to push for longer sentences because the only people who really benefit from the 3 strikes locked up forever raw meat law and order policy that was hypocritically rammed through by the Sensible Sentencing Trusts David Garrett is the private prisons about to pick up the contracts to our ever increasing incarceration rate.

The joke is that at the Select Committee Meeting on private prisons last year, the head of GEO told the country that private prisons would not be cheaper at all.

American company Wackenhut (whose subsidiary ran the Auckland Central Remand prison until 2000) was stripped of contracts to run prisons in Texas and Louisiana in 1999, after accusations it had mistreated prisoners and tried to maximise profits at the expense of drug rehabilitation, counselling and literacy programmes.

In Australia, where about 17 per cent of the prison population is held in private facilities, the Victorian Government took back public control of the Metro Women's Correctional Centre in 2000 after an inquiry found widespread drug use, deaths in custody, poor training and cover-ups. But most studies paint a more mixed picture of private prisons.

A 2001 report by the Bureau of Justice Assistance of the US National Council of Crime and Delinquency found that "there are no data to support the contention that privately operated facilities offer cost savings over publicly managed facilities". There was no evidence, it said, that services to prisons and conditions of imprisonment were "significantly improved in privately operated facilities".

Staffing in private prisons was 15 per cent lower than in public prisons, management information systems were less well organised and the number of major incidents higher. Private prisons also had a higher rate of assaults both on prisoners by other prisoners and prisoners against prison staff.

Is privatising jails really worth the risk?

The Sensible Sentencing Trust refuse to disclose who donates to them so we will never know if they are receiving funds from GEO, but shouldn't the mainstream media start to scrutinize who does actually fund the SST? How can McVicar get away with demanding the resignation of Howard Broad for merely questioning the prison nation McVicar's has helped construct via his hypercritical patsy David Garrett and yet no one scrutinize McVicar?

When will Don Brash claim Vikings settled NZ before Maori?

Brash attacks Maori - again
Former National leader Don Brash attacked Maori in a provocative speech to party faithful at Orewa last night - returning to the issues that propelled him to the leadership six years ago.

Titled Return to Orewa, Brash said Maori have no special rights and there was no grounds for a separate Maori political party.

He also attacked National's economic performance and criticised what he said was high spending, over-regulation and a refusal to back down on a number of Labour-led policies.

Political scientist Bryce Edwards said the speech was remarkable and an attack on Prime Minister John Key. It represented a split between the National moderates and radicals.

Yawn, Brash is giving Maori's the bash again and attacking John Key. I love watching rednecks turn on eachother. When will Don Brash just come out as some on the right have and claim that the Vikings actually settled NZ meaning Maori have no special customary rights whatsoever because the rabid right are mixing 'Global warming is a hoax' and 'Maaaaaaaaaaaori get too much' with a splash of 'the Celts settled NZ before Maori did'.

Right wing crazy Muriel Newman thinks Celts being here first is important enough to have it's own 'pre-Maori history' forum discussion board on her New Zealand Centre for Political Research site.

Hilariously the The 'Coastal Coalition' website is part of the NZCPR website.

Muriel also refers to Martin Doutre as an "expert" in pre-Maori history. Doutre is an "archeo-astronomer" who believes that Mt Wellington is a primitive observatory used by pre-Maori settlers. His website is here:.

Interestingly the commenters on the "pre-Maori history" forum thread are many of the same ones commenting on the Foreshore and Seabed thread on NZCPR's website.

ACT's 'global warming denial' added with Muriel's' Vikings settled NZ' nonsense adds up to Don Brash's 'Maaaaaaaaaaaaaori get too much'.

I love it when the right wing all sing in tune.

Bashing the dirty filthy bennies!

So it's all dem dirty filthy bennies fault and that is why we need to slash welfare (just like we need to expand despicable increases of state power because of da gangs, da gangs), yet those on welfare are usually there because they need have no other options in a 6.4% unemployment environment...

People not on the dole by choice - report
Many people are on the dole because of "horrible" incidents in their life and feel vulnerable when portrayed as lazy, a welfare report released today says.

Welfare Justice, established by Caritas, the Anglican Social Justice Commission and the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation of New Zealand in July, released its first report today.

Welfare Justice was established in July following the launch of the Government's Welfare Working Group as concern grew the latter would demonise beneficiaries.

Chairman Mike O'Brien said today's report aims at giving beneficiaries the opportunity to become part of the welfare reform debate.

It outlines the views and experiences of over 400 people who participated through written submission and public meetings.

"Many people who spoke or wrote to us were at pains to explain that they had not chosen to be supported by a social security benefit, but that this was a consequence of something horrible happening to their life," he said.

...I love how Paula Bennett is fresh from her free 6 week overseas trip to America re-educating herself on the joys of corporations taking over welfare in time to lecture dirty filthy bennies that they all have to go to work now.

There are 338 000 beneficiaries in NZ, 85,000 have severe mental or physical disabilities. 58,000 have been documented by medical professionals as sick, 112,000 are raising children alone, and 65,000 are actively looking for work. The ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang are using voodoo math to claim that if every beneficiary never got a job for the rest of their life (something which simply would NEVER happen) Welfare would end up costing us $50 billion. This spin lie is being used to justify slashing benefits for a crises they had no hand in causing.

America's dirty war secrets exposed by Wikileaks

All hail the mighty wikileaks holding the War Empire of America to account, what delightful dirty filthy little secrets are to be found today...

Reports from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah - urging the US to attack Iran and end its nuclear weapons programme.

Concerns for the security of Pakistani nuclear material that could be used to make an atomic weapon.

The widespread use of hacking by the Chinese government is also reported.

Iran attempting to adapt North Korean rockets for use as long-range missiles

Corruption within the Afghan government, with concerns heightened when a senior official was found to be carrying more than $50m in cash on a foreign trip

Bargaining to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison camp - including Slovenian diplomats being told to take in a freed prisoner if they wanted to secure a meeting with President Barack Obama

Germany being warned in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for US Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in an operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was abducted and held in Afghanistan

US officials being instructed to spy on the UN's leadership by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The very close relationship between Russian PM Vladimir Putin and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi

Alleged links between the Russian government and organised crime

Yemen's president talking to then US Mid-East commander General David Petraeus about attacks on Yemeni al-Qaeda bases and saying: "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours"

Criticism of UK politicians including Prime Minister David Cameron

Faltering US attempts to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon

...oh such fun we will have hearing all the dirty lies demolish the bullshit truths of America.

Can't wait to hear more.

Citizen A - ONLINE NOW!

THIS WEEK: Deputy Mayor of the Auckland Super City Penny Hulse and Blogger Tim Selwyn

Issue one: It's the economy stupid - Standard and Poors shock everyone by putting the NZ credit rating on negative watch - is it time to accept the double dip recession is coming?

Issue two: It's Bennie bash season, the ideologically stacked Welfare Razor gang have released their hard right economic policy as social policy wish list - sending solo mums, the mentally unwell, the crippled and the sick back to work in a high unemployment environment never sounded like so much fun

IIssue three tonight: Auckland Super City O-rama. Council Controlled Organisations pretend to care about democracy, The Aurora Hotel gets dumped faster than Paul Henry and Len Brown pushes to bypass opposition to building a private prison in Wiri? Why is Len channeling John banks?

Last word

Citizen A plays on screen 7pm Thursday on Triangle and 8pm Sunday Sky 89 & Freeview 21
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The speech I would have given for a new left wing party

Left's utopia must have room for aspiration
OPINION: Another Aotearoa Is Possible - that's the hopeful title of a conference getting under way in Mangere tomorrow morning.

This grand political hui - featuring some of New Zealand's leading leftists - was conceived with not one, but two agendas. Or, to employ the steely jargon of yesterday's revolutionaries: a Maximum Programme and a Minimum Programme.

For the Maximum Programme to prevail, radical Unite Union leader Matt McCarten had to attract 5 to 10 per cent support in last Saturday's Mana by-election. If he'd ended the evening with 1200 to 1500 votes, Te Wananga O Aotearoa's Mangere campus - the conference venue - would almost certainly have witnessed the birth of a "New Left Party".

Unfortunately for the conference organisers, Mr McCarten ended up attracting the support of just 3.6 per cent of Mana voters. This failure to surpass even the 5 per cent MMP threshold means that tomorrow's conference agenda will default to its Minimum Programme: "A day of dialogue with activists against injustice and inequality".

We live in extraordinary times. The current global economic crises is unlike anything since the 1929 stock market collapse which spawned the great depression. We face a crises 'of' capitalism as the unregulated neoliberal greed of corporations has been allowed to replace managed Keynesian economic theory. In the 1970's the real economy and the financial economy were evenly valued but 40 years of deregulation, low tax, free market dogma has seen the real economy valued annually at $8 trillion while the financial economy is valued at $330 trillion, that disconnect between reality and the inflated bubble world of finance has gone pop, we must reconsider the rules of the game because the unsustainable consumer culture of SUV's, plasma TVs and cosmetic surgery all on the credit card game is over.

The decade long credit splurge debt chasm was caused by suppressed wages due to neo-liberal policies in the 80s and 90s creating the illusion of wealth from over inflated house prices.

The stimulus to date has merely prevented an all out collapse and the current policy of slashing public spending is the exact last thing this Government should do because all that will achieve is hurt the poor, make economic recovery even slower and see unemployment rise.

Where do we raise the funds to continue funding those services? There are plenty of ideas, tax evasion controls, a Tobin Tax and a land value tax could all provide the money needed to continue funding public services.

Attempting to use deregulation, low tax, free market Milton Friedman dogma domestically to solve a global crises caused by the same deregulation, low tax, free market Milton Friedman dogma is about as counter productive as a Paul Henry Supporter Book Club.

NZers don't need to have a university qualification in economics to understand what is happening to them, they feel the reality every single week. After the gst tax rise, half say they are worse off now and that imbalance of inequality in society has only a negative impact which bears a terrible harvest in our communities.

We know from our last recession that the suicide rate tripled to the depressing world highs they are today, we know economic stress causes social stress and that the most vulnerable in society bear the brute violence of that damage.

I find it the most disgusting of ethical molestations that the weakest and most vulnerable in society are being asked to do with less because the global economy was crashed by the greedy and corrupt, yet that is exactly what the ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang are proposing with their despicable bennie bashing attack on the welfare state.

It's time to say enough.

There are 338 000 beneficiaries in NZ, 85,000 have severe mental or physical disabilities. 58,000 have been documented by medical professionals as sick, 112,000 are raising children alone, and 65,000 are actively looking for work. The ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang are using voodoo math to claim that if every beneficiary never got a job for the rest of their life (something which simply would NEVER happen) Welfare would end up costing us $50 billion. This spin lie is being used to justify
slashing benefits for a crises they had no hand in causing.

The aspiration for an equitable society sort by beneficiaries are the exact same aspirations as those hundreds of thousands who are on the minimum wage. The promise of democracy is that it allows each citizen to look into the face of their child and know their child will get a better deal than they personally have. That promise of democracy is still born under Paula Bennett, a political hypocrite who was happy to have state support when she was a struggling solo mother, but has pulled the ladder up behind her now that she is employed.

These concerns for an equitable society demand political expression. Why shouldn't beneficiaries and those on minimum wage have political expression in the rooms where the decisions that effect them most are decided? This economic crises is unique and the poor will not be represented when the elites decide what must be done and those parties who do lean left need to have a political partner at the table who forces them not to forget the concerns of an equitable society once they are elected.

The next election will be down to the wire as New Zealanders wake up to the privatization agenda National will propose and a Social Equity Party with the welfare of beneficiaries and those on Minimum wage foremost on their agenda would be better placed than at any other time in our political history to force real concessions from major political parties to ensure the concerns of those on the bottom are foremost in decision making.

A new party on the left with social equity at its philosophical heart focused on making sure any changes benefit those on the bottom most would need to tap into every beneficiary support group and every minimum wage organisation to push myopically for the party vote. There are 338 000 beneficiaries in NZ, there were 2 376 480 votes in the 2008 election, those beneficiaries represent 14% of that vote, a new Political Party needs only 5% to gain representation, add those on minimum wage and a clearly defined Party with the concerns of beneficiaries and those on minimum wage foremost at their political manifesto can pass the 5% threshold, it's as simple as that.

To those who would scoff at beneficiaries standing and making their voice heard due to apathy i say this - stand in a welfare line for hours on end to jump through endless hoops purposely imposed to stop any welfare money and tell me beneficiaries are apathetic.

Matt's courageous last minute charge at the windmills in Mana must not be held up as the bench mark to judge the appetite for those with the least having political representation. The anger at how those on the bottom are being asked to do with less while the Sam Morgans of NZ arrange their finances to minimize their tax obligations is ripe for expression from those who must bear the brunt of public service cut backs. Forcing solo mothers, the sick, the mentally unwell and disabled back to work in a 6.4% unemployment environment while those on the minimum wage are disempowered with every passing week should anger every NZer who has a passion for social justice.

If you're not angry, you haven't been paying attention.

It is time to turn that anger into political expression.

The Nation and q+a review

q+a - 320 490
The Nation - 261 930

The Nation
God knows what the bloody hell is happening on The Nation, it still wasn't on Sunday and their press people still don't inform bloggers what the line up is (unlike TVNZ who email me three times each week). Sort it out TV3.

It's all Pike River Mine tragedy. Peter Whittall is on trying to save his expansion of the mine for those billions in coal that are still down there, he's trying to avoid criticism that is welling up now about how that gas managed to build up to levels that killed so many.

He's nervous, he wants those billions while balancing the needs of those still grieving. John Armstrong sums it up in the herald yesterday...

The target Goff will have in his sights will be Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson and what she or her department knew or did not know about what was going on at Pike River Coal.

So far, Wilkinson has been kept very much in the background. It is Key's show. And understandably so, given the magnitude.

It will probably remain Key's show. What will worry him is that Wilkinson's hands-off, laissez-faire approach to regulation and monitoring might have left National badly exposed.

Little appears to have emerged in concrete form from a public consultation exercise begun under Labour to improve "hazard management" in the underground mining industry.

Instead, Wilkinson ruled out re-instituting "check inspectors" who would be elected by fellow workers to keep an eye on safety standards.

...she ruled out 'check inspectors'??? The clock is ticking on what impact that had on the tragedy.

Holmes is attempting to blame the mine explosion on environmentalists, is it just me or has Paul Holmes been channeling the spirit of Paul Henry of late?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Grey Lynn Festival

Last weekend was the Grey Lynn festival. Tens of thousands - as usual - were in attendance. The weather was a bit grey, but quite warm. It is about the first public event in the summer season in which the inner Auckland crowd meet up. It's a time to get away from the tawdry talk of politics...
...for about two seconds.

I noticed Jacinda stuck around, but Nikki wasn't pulling in the punters the way she was - and left before I had a chance to talk to her. The festival is in Grey Lynn Park - the heart of the Auckland Central electorate. This isn't natural National Party territory, but at least Nikki turned up this time. Despite the showing the electorate will be a tight race between these two as they battle over the Green voters who deserted Judith Tizard. They are the ones that decided who won in the end. The Green stall was very busy - as it always is.What can Jacinda do to lure them back to Labour (apart from NOT being Judith Tizard)? How can Nikki keep them voting blue when they would prefer Green? It will be one of the closer results I would think.

Bomber's Blog - The War on News - ONLINE NOW!

THE WAR ON NEWS: In this weeks political media crimes against reason kill zone

Mana by-election autopsy, why displaying all the confidence of a virgin bride on her wedding night doesn't inspire voters

Condoms okay ONLY IF you are a gay prostitute, Pope drags Church into the early 1900's.

Electoral financing reform, when Labour do it - it's the end of western civilization as we know it - when National do it - not a whisper

Plus this weeks wank-o-the-week, sex in the Super City,  media hell and the Barack Obama people’s hero of the week award

The War on News 2010 – NZ News Satire on Stratos Sky 89 10.30pm Tuesday & simulcast on Freeview 21. Replayed on Triangle TV 9.45pm Wednesday and posted online at Scoop.co.nz as their Weekend Watch.

It’s just like 7 days on TV3 but with fewer dick jokes.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

A Greymouth sorrow

The last seven days since the Pike River Mine explosion has been numbing. The sheer loss of life in one moment doesn't happen at work in NZ, the media saturated suddenness has been disorienting and the sorrow universal.

The grief stoically shouldered by Greymouth is humbling and coupled with the Christchurch quake makes the counting of blessings this Christmas feel earned.

The Police should be respected for their caution and the integrity in assessing the response. I don't doubt the genuineness of those who out of frustration volunteered to lead rescue attempts, but asking others to risk their lives, to actually order it yourself is a responsibility that demands a consideration of the highest confidences, thankfully our maturity prevented further tragedy.

How this happened must be fully and transparently investigated out of respect for those whanau who have had loved ones taken from them so painfully. The mines expansion plans must be scrutinized.

What a terribly sad loss.

Next climate warming report will be dramatically worse: UN

Next climate warming report will be dramatically worse: UN
UNITED NATIONS — United Nations leaders will demand "concrete results" from the looming Cancun climate summit as global warming is accelerating, a top UN organizer of the event said Monday.
Robert Orr, UN under secretary general for planning, said the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming will be much worse than the last one.

Representatives from 194 countries are to meet in the Mexican resort city of Cancun from November 29 to December 10 for a new attempt to strike a deal to curb greenhouse gases after 2012.

Orr told reporters that negotiators heading for the Cancun conference "need to remind themselves, the longer we delay, the more we will pay both in terms of lives and in terms of money."

He said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would make it clear to world leaders in Cancun "that we should not take any comfort in the climate deniers' siren call."

"The evidence shows us quite the opposite-- that we can't rest easy at all" as scientists agree that climate change "is happening in an accelerated way."

"As preparations are underway for the next IPCC report, just about everything that you will see in the next report will be more dramatic than the last report, because that is where all the data is pointing."

The fourth IPCC assessment released in 2007 said that global warming is "unequivocal" and mainly caused by human activity.
Its next report, involving contributions from thousands of scientists around the world, is due in 2014.

While some on the right wing continue to pretend that global warming is not happening, the reality is that it is and it is being caused by man made pollution, the science is as 'settled' as the science behind evolution is settled.

Climate deniers are the creationists at a conference on dinosaurs...

Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized
An influential 2006 congressional report that raised questions about the validity of global warming research was partly based on material copied from textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report, plagiarism experts say.
Review of the 91-page report by three experts contacted by USA TODAY found repeated instances of passages lifted word for word and what appear to be thinly disguised paraphrases.

The charges of plagiarism don't negate one of the basic premises of the report — that climate scientists used poor statistics in two widely noted papers.

But the allegations come as some in Congress call for more investigations of climate scientists like the one that produced the Wegman report.

"It kind of undermines the credibility of your work criticizing others' integrity when you don't conform to the basic rules of scholarship," Virginia Tech plagiarism expert Skip Garner says.

God Bless Wikileaks

WikiLeaks to drop another bombshell
WikiLeaks has revealed plans to publish a new tranche of secrets, this one seven times larger than last month's massive 400,000 military reports about the Iraq war.

The announcement comes days after Swedish authorities issued an arrest warrant for the organisation's editor, the Australian citizen Julian Assange, following a two month investigation into allegations of rape.

WikiLeaks announced on Twitter yesterday afternoon: ''Next release is 7x the size of the Iraq War Logs. Intense pressure over it for months.''

It has published two massive tranches of secret US military reports about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - 77,000 files on Afghanistan in July, and 400,000 files on Iraq last month. It has not discussed where the material came from. But US authorities have charged a soldier, intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, over the thefts.

Sweet baby Jesus ANOTHER Iraq war leak? This time running at two million eight hundred thousand documents??? WTF? Never before have people been able to view the true destruction of war unfiltered by corporate media/military/Government lies.

Thank God for Wikileaks and peoples hero Bradley Manning, that he downloaded military secrets while pretending to listen to Lady Ga Ga is surely one of the great moments of the 21st Century.

Bennie Bash Season is open!

Group proposes radical welfare reform
Strict time limits on benefits, work-for-the-dole and forcing solo mothers to work based on the age of their oldest child are among a raft of radical suggestions for reforming the welfare system.

Each month in the small windowless creche under the Beehive where the children of National and ACT play, the kids get to bash a pinata in the shape of a beneficiary with little 'Paula batons' so they can scoop all the creamy welfare out of their bennie brains. The hatred the Right wing have for those on welfare is the sort of hatred Israeli settlers have for Palestinian pan flute peace festivals.

Bashing the dirty filthy bennie is a cultural tradition in NZ, it's up there with rugby, alcohol and domestic violence as one of our nations most treasured paua shell encrusted hobbies. The redneck talkback reactionary knee jerks over solo mothers would suggest that solo mothers are some sort of carcinogenic societal tumour that can only be dealt effectively with by napalm.

The hilarity is that the ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang are using voodoo math to justify sending solo mothers, the sick, the crippled and the mentally unwell back to work. The ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang says welfare will cost $50 billion, how did they get to that number? They claimed that if every single person currently on welfare remained on welfare for the rest of their life (ie NONE OF THEM ever got a job) THEN and only THEN would it cost us $50 Billion.

So let's remind ourselves who was on this ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang?

As the ever brilliant Gordon Campbell points out, Peter Saunders, the former Director at the Centre for Independent Studies think tank in Sydney has been appointed as one of the experts the working group on welfare reform can call upon...

Saunders, if I can put this succinctly, is a nut job. He writes fiction as well as right wing opinion pieces for the press in Australia and Britain, even though it can be hard to tell the difference. Lets start with the opinion columns. In 1994, in his review of Charles Murray’s notorious book The Bell Curve on the alleged links between race and intelligence, Saunders concluded that social class, not race, was the real determinant of IQ

..so he claims poor people are just born dumb and blames social welfare for allowing more dumb/poor people to breed and in his downtime he writes hardcore Islamophobic fiction.

Oh he's a gem isn't he?

But it get's worse. Gordon also points out that National have also appointed members to this board who simply don't have any objectivity...

The welfare review panel, as has been widely noted, also includes Catherine Isaac (Judd) the former Act Party president. What also seems extraordinary is that some members of the working group – eg Adrian Roberts and Enid Ratahi Pryor – are also current contractors with Social Welfare. As such, they are involved in business relationships with the same state welfare system whose rules they are being asked to evaluate, with a view to change. How can they help to devise solutions to welfare dependency without being seen to be generating more business for their own enterprises? Answer: they can’t.

...so people with a vested interest in the privatization of welfare are the ones who will be advising the Government about the privatization of welfare, researched and supported by a Welfare hating, Islmaphobic fiction writer.

How will beneficiaries feel knowing Peter is making decisions on their future when he believes poor people are actually more stupid than rich people?

Other than Islamaphobic fiction writers who connect intelligence to wealth and advocate corporations run social welfare, who else is on this Welfare razor gang?

Surprise, surprise - the former president of ACT, Catherine Isaac. A day after the Welfare Working Group first met on April 30th, Roger Kerr, the Executive Director of the Business Roundtable published an opinion piece in the Dominion Post claiming unemployment is a political choice, as in the poor choose to be poor.

Roger rages against the welfare machine by claiming if only we dumped the minimum youth wage and weaken unions, then employers like him would hire and Ayn Rand would come back from the grave with Adam Smith and they will lay the foundations of a pure free market city state with a weirdly overt militaristic Police force.

The kicker is, Rodger Kerr is married to Catherine Isaac, he’s writing hard right send-the-kids-down-the-mine-to-work-social-policy the day after his wife’s first meeting for the Welfare Working Group.


I could have saved us the million dollars spent on this ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang to give National the scare mongering bennie bash crap they wanted to hear...

Bludgers will be rorting the system
Bludgers will be causing cancer
Bludgers may be attracting aliens
Bludgers will be using your taxpayer dollars to buy booze and drugs as they rob you while you are out of your house while you are working hard to pay your mortgage and pay your bills and look after your kids and all these bludgers will want to do is piss on your mothers grave.


Etc etc etc, we have every button pushing welfare stereotype exploited mercilessly to make us angry enough to justify whatever draconian solution these corporate vultures vomit up.

One question though about forcing solo mothers, the crippled, the mentally unwell and the sick back to work - where are the jobs going to be in a 6.4% unemployment rate with the global economic crises proving to be as dangerous as the 1929 crash...

Credit rating threat 'more of a warning' - English
The downgrade of New Zealand's outlook from stable to negative reflected increasing concerns internationally about external debt rather than a worsening situation here, Finance Minister Bill English says.

...oh, so there won't be any jobs. I'm not sure implementing neoliberal low tax, deregulation free market dogma domestically will solve a global economic crises caused by neoliberal low tax, deregulation free market dogma.

The weakest and most vulnerable in society are being asked to do with less by an ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang using voodoo math to justify sending solo mothers, the ill and the crippled back to work because of a global economic crises caused by greedy corporates who treated Wall St like a casino?

If you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

90 day right to sack powers rammed through Parliament

Unions vow to fight 90-day work law
Unions are vowing to continue the fight against an employment law change passed by Parliament last night. The 90-day trial period for new employees has been extended to all businesses.

This hard right economic policy as social policy attack on workers rights has been rammed through Parliament against the wishes of the Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson. This counter productive attack on workers rights was spawned by that Political hypocrisy - ACT, so let's not pretend this is moderate economic policy.

Women are more at risk under these powers and the Department of Labour itself contradicted the Government's claim that the 90 day right to sack would create jobs and help workers at the margins...

Report on 90-day trials at odds with Govt line
Two of the main benefits hailed by the Government for the 90-day trial for newly hired workers - creating jobs and helping workers at the margins - have been challenged in the same report that has been cited as evidence that the scheme should be extended.

...I like this bit the most...

the Department of Labour report released last week said there was no evidence a probationary period did this."The ability to use trial periods appeared to have encouraged 40 per cent of employers who had hired someone to do so, however without any counterfactual evidence it cannot be stated categorically that trial periods had created extra job opportunities," the report said.

Giving the boss the right to sack will kill off anyone leaving their job for a new job because in an unemployment environment as hostile as the current one and with such an uncertain global economic outlook, no one is going to risk what they currently have for a position they may get fired from for no reason whatsoever. Rat bosses will abuse the vulnerability caused by high unemployment and this right to sack can easily cross the floor and dance with it’s ugly cousin, exploitation.

That the trial was able to sack one in 5 NZers and the number of new workers is 400 000 per year, then this scheme will actually sack 80 000 NZers per year.

This declaration of war on the workers by National is aimed at raising funds from the Auckland Business Mafia who bankrolled the last election and want to see some right wing flag waving and nothing boosts the war chest through anonymous donations into the Waitamata Trust than some old fashioned class war union bashing.

If you are not angry, you are not paying attention.

The Herald and their 'free speech' crocodile tears for their corporate masters

Editorial: Public loses in disgraceful spending law
Three years after the outcry at financial restrictions on independent electoral advertising, the Labour Party has got its way. National has folded on an issue it fought from Opposition, agreeing to restrictions that differ only by degree with the spending limits legislated by the Labour Government.

When Labour attempted to limit the ability of the rich to simply buy elections in NZ, the NZ Herald went as spastic as Whale oil on a meth bender. They would printed a list of every MP who had voted to limit the rich from buying the election claiming they were protecting 'free speech'.

Bullshit, the NZ Herald were doing their song and dance routine over the rights of 'paid speech' not free speech. Any limit on being able to advertise in the election hits the NZ Herald's bottom line, their profit margin. What the NZ Heralds campaign is all about is the right to advertise during an election so that he with the most cash wins.

The NZ Herald is arguing for plutocracy , not democracy and free speech isn't the same as paid speech. We should be thankful as a society that there are limits built into the election so that the rich can't buy the election and we should demand MORE restrictions to make the anonymous laundering of donations impossible.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Citizen A - 7pm tonight

Citizen A - 7pm tonight Triangle TV, replayed 8pm Sunday Sky 89 & Freeview 21

Tune in to join Bomber and his revolving panel of bloggers and Auckland opinion shapers as they offer an up-to-date half hour review of the political media issues of the current week from a very Auckland perspective.

THIS WEEK: Tim Selwyn and Deputy Mayor of Auckland SuperCity Penny Hulse join the panel to discuss...

Issue one: It's the economy stupid - Standard and Poors shock everyone by putting the NZ credit rating on negative watch - is it time to accept the double dip recession is coming?

Issue two: It's Bennie bash season, the ideologically stacked Welfare Razor gang have released their hard right economic policy as social policy wish list - sending solo mums, the mentally unwell, the crippled and the sick back to work in a high unemployment environment never sounded like so much fun

Issue three tonight: Auckland Super City O-rama. Council Controlled Organisations pretend to care about democracy, The Aurora Hotel gets dumped faster than Paul Henry and Len Brown pushes to bypass opposition to building a private prison in Wiri? Why is Len channeling John banks?

Join Citizen A Facebook group

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

*With prejudice*

The games have already begun with the foreshore and seabed repeal law.Submissions are being heard by the Maori Affairs select committee, which is why Tau Henare is in charge. Oh, help us. The government - and I suppose the Maori Party too - will want this to go through ASAP, but they can't get it through before Christmas and so it will become law after the committee reports in the new year. They are moving fast - submission deadline was Friday and already they are sitting.

The problem with this legislation - as with the original Act - is that the confiscation is already taking place via parallel legislation. Another set of aquaculture "reforms" are being put through - all with extreme prejudice as to Maori interests - so as to circumvent Iwi rights and to create and entrench private property rights for non-Maori. The deal whereby Maori are guaranteed 20% of allocated space effectively means that up to 80% is being confiscated for those commercial interests that have no rights to it. It's called privatisation - and it can only happen through the Crown and the government is bending over backwards to hock it off.

If we take a look at the legislative history of these bills we see the pattern clearly:The FSA confiscation was passed by the NZ parliament on 18 November 2004, the latest round of bills also coincide with the FSA repeal. But it is not going to mean very much if all the areas have been privatised out of Maori title beforehand and rights granted by the Crown to others that the Crown will honour ahead of any Maori claims. It is completely prejudicial and makes something of a mokery of what the FSA repeal should be aiming to achieve.

Welfare Razor gang leaked report - the night of the long knives comes to those on welfare

The ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang who are using voodoo math to force solo mothers, the sick, the crippled and the mentally unwell back to work in a high unemployment environment are having their report leaked and it looks like National are targeting the weakest members of society first...

Dear People,

I have had confirmation from the Benefit Rights manager at the People's Resource Centre in Wellington, that Work and Income are embarking on a programme of extermination of Invalids Benefits.

They are apparently starting with the "softer"targets, beneficiaries certified for alleged psychosomatic conditions such as backaches, depression, ME (a specific target, apparently - they don't like us), drug and alcohol dependencies, probably Fibromyalgia, and certainly any anxiety conditions.

It is those having their first two year reassessment who are bearing the brunt of this approach.

In addition, PHOs are being told by two MSD staff (Dr David Bratt is one) that GPs are doing their patients no favours by writing them off as permanently unable to work, and that being sent into part time work or course equivalent, is the best therapy for these patients.

Dr Bratt, of course, is one of many GPs who firmly believes that ME is a typical psychosomatic hysteria condition (which of course is why so many women have it...) and he fails to grasp the concept of a physical cause or genetic susceptibility leading to ME.

PRC in Wellington are acting in medical reviews for beneficiaries from all over the country. W & I have increased the frequency of their medical reviews from every six weeks to once a fortnight, to deal with the workload. The success rate of reviews is running at about 50%. Those who fail are dropped to the Sickness benefit with a significant reduction in income.

Long term IB recipients have not been addressed yet, but our time is coming. Even life long permanent IB grant will not be protection, as W & I will no doubt follow the ACC model and place a priority on getting the oldest cases off the books.

Our local support group members still on Sickness Benefit have been telephoned out of the blue by W & I staff and told "So, it's about time you went back to work then!" They are given two weeks to get a new medical certificate stating how many hours of part time work they can manage per week. Not many GPs can resist the PHO management demands to require at least 10 hours per week. This is for patients whose ME is under poor control, and whose long term health can be irrevocably harmed by such fascistic tactics.

I believe this is the greatest threat to the physical and mental wellbeing of ME patients ever perpetrated in this country, and needs to be urgently looked into. This process is not even permitted under current legislation, which so far only applies to those on Sickness Benefit. The IB attack was supposed to happen next year.

...the use of Medical professionals with a vested interest at denying people with any help for conditions they don't see as important is interesting. National tried to use controversial social theories to justify denying rape victims counselling from ACC which were based on research from professor Felicity Goodyear-Smith, a woman married to the son of Centrepoint community leader and convicted paedophile Bert Potter. Her work has been described as a rapists charter and an apologist position that denies any real harm from sexual abuse

Rounding up the depressed first and those too mentally unwell to defend themselves, you've got to give it to National - they are all class.

I love how the weakest of the poor are being asked to do with less because of a global economic crises caused by greedy American corporates.

If you are not angry, you haven't been paying attention.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Armistice - what armistice?

And what has triggered this off? North Korea not been in the news for more than 48 hours? Getting in some artillery practice... against civilians. Is it because he's so lonely?China's official response has been somewhat muted and reluctant to blame anyone, anyone North Korean especially:

BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said China has noticed reports about the allegedly exchange of fire between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Tuesday, urging related sides to do things conducive to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.

"We have noticed related reports and are concerned about the issue. The real situation needs to be confirmed," said spokesman Hong Lei at a regular briefing.

"We hope related parties to do things conductive to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula," Hong Lei said.

One ROK soldier was killed and 13 others were injured when the DPRK fired Tuesday scores of artillery onto a ROK island and also into waters off the west coast of the Korean peninsula near a tense maritime border, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

Reportedly fired at 2:34 p.m. local time, some shells landed on ROK's Yeonpyeong Island and local residents are currently moving to shelters.

ROK fired back in response, and the military is now put on a heightened alert, officials said. It also deployed fighter jets to the west sea, according to Seoul's Yonhap News Agency.

The Japanese have responded by calling it a crisis:

Later in the day, the Japanese government set up an information coordination office in the crisis management center at the prime minister's office, Japanese government officials said

The report mentions the cause/provocation:

The North's firing comes as the South Korean forces conducted a routine drill in waters near the island, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

How "routine" was this drill? If it was even just a few metres (on the sea) across what the North deems to be their version of the Northern Limit Line then it's all on.

The line was unilaterally set by the U.S.-led United Nations military forces on August 30, 1953 after the United Nations Command and North Korea failed to reach an agreement. It is not officially recognized by North Korea. In particular, it is not included into the Armistice Agreement of 1953 between the two states.
They need very little provocation to cause an outrage - the submarine attack a few months back was just another reminder of how hostile the regime is to the South. After almost 60 years it seems the friction is as hot as ever - and now the North can threaten them with nukes it is unlikely they will find reasons to dial it back. It all comes down to how measured the South's response is - so as to not cause another round of retaliation from the North.

Electoral financing reform, when Labour do it, it's the end of western civilization as we know it. When National do it, not a whisper

Government backtracks on electoral finance law
Political parties have finally reached a consensus on electoral finance laws with both sides compromising on public disclosure of donations and spending caps on lobby groups.

The electoral finance act was held up when Labour attempted to stop the rich from simply buying elections as the worst assault on democracy ever attempted in NZ. It was up there with water saving showerheads, power saving lightbulbs and the repeal of section 59 as proof that the politically correct stormtroopers of the dykeocracy were kicking in the front door to molest our pets.

So National have just passed electoral finance reform but I can't see well heeled angry white people on the streets? Hell the Herald ran campaign after campaign after campaign against the MP's who voted to stop the rich from buying our elections, yet now National pass it and not a whisper.

Labour set the limit for third parties at $120 000, National have set it at $300 000 - who coulda thunk that such opposition when Labour attempted to reign in the rich would dissipate so quickly now the lovely smile and wave John Key passes it.

Perhaps along with water saving showerheads, power saving lightbulbs and the repeal of section 59, the electoral finance act was simply a massive beat up by the right wing to kick Helen Clark out of power.

Nice to see the reactionary right are as intellectually shallow as they've always been.

The barest slither of Super City democracy

City's boards willing to be more open
The unelected boards of businessmen running most Super City services are coming round to the idea of opening their meetings to public scrutiny.

The Orwellian named Council Controlled Organisations that control 75% of Aucklands assets and which were stacked with corporate interests by Rodney Hide without any of the consultation he promised have decided this week that they will listen to Len Brown and allow their meetings to be open to the public.

Hallalulya brothers and sisters, it's the fucking dawning of the age of aquarious, it's almost as if the Greek God of Democracy has opened the Auckland Super City up to scrutiny from the people who pay it.

I think it's a load of bullshit.

Forcing these buggers to be open to the Public is the least they can do, the CCO's have been stacked with corporate interests who will make the majority of their decisions in secret and when we have such viscous proponents of privatization of many of Aucklands services, the CCO's must be far more open than simply allowing members of the public to wander in to poorly advertised meetings they hold. The CCO's need to be reappointed with many more interests being represented and force all CCO's to publish any of the policy decisions on line to allow the public to scrutinize their decisions over our assets.

Auckland city is OUR city, it's not Rodney Hides city and it sure as hell isn't a city owned by corporations. Yet.

Killing cyclists becomes competitive sport in NZ

Did I miss the press release announcing that the killing of cyclists had become a competitive sport in NZ? The hatred some drivers seem to have towards people in bike lanes is more akin to that of an Israeli settler at a Palestinian peace protest.

Getting the lamb to lie down with the lion is easier to achieve than making motorists in NZ drive with anything short of homicidal intent towards cyclists. This refusal to give one inch of space is great if you are fighting Darth Vader and the death star, but comes across as murderous when set in a domestic road safety environment.

NZ Drivers share like penniless meth addicts after a bender, brothers and sisters, I say it's time to rebalance the odds and allow cyclists to carry semi-automatic machine guns, then let's see who comes off second best from road rage because as dangerous as riding a bike is in NZ, it's still more reliable than catching our cattle truck public transport system.

Pike River Mine won't be solved within a Keither Sutherland hyper reality TV drama time frame

Hmmm, the public seem shocked that a real world crises isn't solved within a Keither Sutherland hyper reality TV drama kind of way

The-Bloke-down-pub brigade seem to think that rescuers at the Pike Mine should have just popped on a couple of Bio-Hav suits and scooted down for a rescue which is an understandable frustration when the mine owner is blaming robots who need fresh air to work in for delays.

Sadly real life crises don't move with the speed of narrative squeezed between adverts and the real world pain can't be eased by speeding up an unsafe rescue. The Police should be applauded for their caution and the integrity of their role in assessing the appropriate response.

Respects to the West Coast community, it has been a bloody hard year for the mainland.

Bomber's Blog - The War on News - TONIGHT 10.30pm Sky 89 & Freeview 21

The War on News 2010 – NZ News Satire on Stratos Sky 89 10.30pm Tuesday & simulcast on Freeview 21. Replayed on Triangle TV 9.45pm Wednesday and posted online at Scoop.co.nz as their Weekend Watch.

It’s just like 7 days on TV3 but with fewer dick jokes.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Pike River disaster

Light a candle for the trapped Pike River miners? That's what the facebook page asked. I ticked 'maybe'.

Lighting candles might cause an explosion - is an appropriate way to hold a vigil for trapped miners really the use of a dangerous instrument in these circumstances?

Seems a bit early to be reaching for the matches. Maybe we should be tying yellow ribbons or other non-incindiary activities. Flames are a bit too emblematic of the explosion.

As for their fate, I'm not a miner and would never like to be, but the lack of any communication is a bad sign. Any collapse that can take out what I imagine is a series of intercoms/phones does not bode well.

Mana and what it means for Labour in the 2011 election

Labour puts on brave face over National gain
Labour's leadership was yesterday putting on a brave face over the party's sharply reduced majority in the weekend's Mana byelection which sees Kris Faafoi enter Parliament as its newest MP. Mr Faafoi, a former television reporter who was leader Phil Goff's press secretary until he was selected to run in Mana, won with a majority of 1080 votes against National list MP Hekia Parata.

Oh God Faafoi was an awful candidate wasn't he? On paper he was solid. A political broadcaster who was born in the area sounds like gold, but his campaigning was appalling! He got beaten up in the TV interview, embarrassed himself with his super infant memory crap and then made that simpering explanation to explain his below par performance in the media as "it's easier to ask the questions than answer them".

Mate, maybe you shouldn't be the one attempting to answer them then.

Oh and that jaw droppingly racist 'dumb ass coconuts' comment. Ugh. Bang-head-on-wall-now moment

The lesson here is that most of those stumbles were seized upon by the blogs which drove much of the media glare, Political Party's will have to have a gaggle of on-line activists during the election next year to answer this stuff as soon as it happens.

Mana was about the candidate AND it suggested the Governments tightly balanced plateau of the economy still allows for the vacant politics of aspiration to appeal. This latter point is not good for a Labour Party needing to sell the downturn to next years electorate as to why the country needs to throw out a one term Government.

Luckily for Labour, they do. This economic crises is unlike anything the modern world has seen since the 1929 Depression. Best case scenario is an impoverished decade of pain and high unemployment, the worst case scenario is a Depression that makes the last Depression look like a small case of the blues after reading the final Harry Potter book.

If the economy turns, aspiration politics, no matter the strength of the candidate, ends up sounding as hollow and vacant as it really is.

The counter argument to Nationals public service slashing privatization agenda starts here...

Social problems linked to wealth gap: study
The greater the gap between rich and poor, the more likely people will grow up a drug user, a criminal, less educated, obese, pregnant while a teenager, even less trusting of others.

That is the main thesis of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, by British researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, which tracks income inequality against social indicators including health, education and crime.

The topic was the subject of a Victoria University-run forum on inequality last week, which invited academics and Treasury analysts to see whether Professor Wilkinson's ideas resonated with New Zealand data.

...and builds here...

Most people unhappy with new taxes: poll
More people are unhappy with tax changes than are pleased, a poll shows. On October 1, the Government increased GST from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent, increased benefits and reduced personal income tax rates. A nationwide HorizonPoll survey of 1558 people between November 16 and 19 found 8.2 per cent felt better off because of the changes, 53.5 per cent thought they were worse off while 35.6 per cent felt their situation was unchanged.

The decade long credit splurge debt chasm was caused by suppressed wages due to neo-liberal policies in the 80s and 90s creating the illusion of wealth from over inflated house prices.

The stimulus to date has merely prevented an all out collapse and the current policy of slashing public spending is the exact last thing this Government should do because all that will achieve is hurt the poor, make economic recovery even slower and see unemployment rise.

Where do we raise the funds to continue funding those services? There are plenty of ideas, tax evasion controls, a Tobin Tax and a land value tax could all provide the tax needed to continue funding public services.

Attempting to use deregulation, low tax, free market Milton Friedman dogma domestically to solve a global crises caused by the same deregulation, low tax, free market Milton Friedman dogma is about as counter productive as a Paul Henry Supporter Book Club.

Using this crises to justify privatizing public services is purely political, and Labour needs to harness the anger of those being asked to do with less because of corporate greed in a much better way than they did in Mana if they want to win 2011.

Turning a blind eye after taking eye, lip, nose and half of face for an eye

Soldiers receive suspended sentence for Gaza abuse
An Israeli court-martial handed down suspended jail sentences on Sunday to two soldiers who forced a Palestinian boy to search for suspected booby-traps on their behalf during the Gaza Strip war, Army Radio said. The ruling meant that the troops, who were last month found guilty of reckless endangerment and conduct unbecoming, would go free but be subject to a minimum 3-month stint in the military stockade should they commit another crime.

Nice to see Israel are as lenient with their soldiers as the American army is. The invasion in Gaza and use of white phosperus in urban areas is a war crime that Israel has managed to avoid and while America continue to prop Israel up with billions in military aid (the majority of which has to be spent on the American military industry so is effectively obscene corporate welfare), Israel will never negotiate for peace because they have the military might to keep Gaza and the West Bank as the largest open aired prison on the planet.

Using a child to search for booby-traps is just another day on the job for the IDF and in the meantime Palestinians are waiting at the peace table as Israel formalize their cultural genocide of settlement encroachment...

No talks unless 'complete halt' to building - Abbas
The Palestinian Authority will not return to peace talks with Israel unless there is a freeze on settlement building that includes East Jerusalem, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.

...while Netanyahu keeps trying to build attempts at invading Iran...

Military threat needed to stop Iran - Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Vice President Joe Biden only a credible military threat can deter Iran from building a nuclear weapon, Israeli political sources said. In comments signalling growing Israeli impatience with diplomacy, the sources said Netanyahu, beginning a five-day US visit, argued that economic sanctions have failed to persuade Iran to stop its nuclear programme.

Why this Government has decided to reward Israel by allowing them an embassy here begs the question what would Israel need to do to for us to kick them out?

condoms ok if you are a gay prostitute with AIDS - Pope drags church into the early 1900s

Pope: condoms can be justified in some cases
Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that condoms can be justified for male prostitutes seeking to stop the spread of HIV, a stunning comment for a church criticized for its opposition to condoms and for a pontiff who has blamed them for making the AIDS crisis worse.

Condoms are ok IF you are a gay prostitute with AIDS, that position drags the Church out of the medieval age to somewhere in the early 1900s. Sure they are still a full century behind the rest of the civilized world and are headed by a former member of the Hitler Youth, but condoms are ok for gay prostitutes with AIDS is about as modern as the Catholic Church gets.

I can't wait for more announcements from this modernized Pope:

Abortion is legal only if the woman was a virgin before hand and the rapist was Anglican

Women can lead a service ONLY if all men have been wiped out by an alpha virus and THEN only if the Woman does the entire service in latin

Homosexuals will be welcomed into the church when the church is on fire

All great leaps forward from that funny bloke in a dress.

Government mislead Public over lower drink driving levels

Watchdog says stats misleading
"New evidence" released by the Government last week in a bid to justify its refusal to lower drink-drive alcohol limits has been tagged as misleading by an alcohol watchdog.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce released the statistics last week - which claimed that 72 per cent of alcohol-related deaths on the roads were caused by drivers who were either blind-drunk or repeat offenders. The release was seized on by some media outlets and labelled "new evidence" that backed the Government stance.

But further analysis of the Minister's numbers reveals the sort of statistics the Ministry of Transport has used to back its earlier recommendation for a reduction in the limit - 61.4 per cent of deaths in drink-drive crashes last year were caused by first-time offenders.

That compares to 63.6 per cent the previous year and 54.3 per cent over the years 2005 to 2007. It debunks the theory that repeat offenders are the main problem on the roads.

Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams said the presentation of the Minister's figures was "misleading" and suited the Government's view.

This is just becoming a joke now, the reason the Government are making the bullshit claim that they need 'more research' and are backing that claim with spin lies from stats is because the Government are terrified by the political correctness bogeyman they spent so much time in opposition feeding in the minds of their voting block.

Right now their older male electorate can drink 7 drinks and drive legally drunk, to then tell them that John Key has changed that to just 2 drinks will start a scream of 'NANNY STATE - NANNY STATE - NANNY STATE - NANNY STATE - NANNY STATE blah blah blah.

National CAN NOT have their political correctness bogeyman awoken in the minds of their scarlet necked voters and so they won't effect any change in social policy because of it. Sure it means more dead NZers but better more graves than the nanny state political correctness monster rears its pig ignorant head in the minds of people who vote blue.

I love how NZers went into a frenzy over water saving showerheads and power saving lightbulbs because it was the political correctness shock troops from the dykeocracy kicking down their front doors but seem more than happy to allow people to legally drive drunk.

National care more about booze industry profits than society as a whole, it's as simple as that.