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Open mike 28/08/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 28th, 2012 - 93 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

93 comments on “Open mike 28/08/2012”

  1. Jenny 1

    Leftists around the world have been attacking the Arab spring and the overthrow of bloodthirsty dictators by the Arab peoples of the Middle East.

    To justify their support for butchers and torturers they have engaged in personal attacks slander and character assassination. But their main line of attack is to try and characterise the people’s revolts in the Middle East, as a “US and Western backed invasion”.

    It is well documented that during the cold war the US on a number of occasions on three continents supplied forces they supported, with the the ‘Stinger’ the highly effective shoulder launched anti-aircraft weapon. Ronald Reagan for instance supplied them to anti-communist Unita rebels in Angola.

    However, the first and best documented occasion was the war in Afghanistan.

    From Wikipedia:

    According to Crile, who includes information from Alexander Prokhanov, the Stinger was a “turning point”.[6] Milt Bearden saw it as a “force multiplier” and morale booster.[6] Charlie Wilson, the congressman behind US Operation Cyclone, described the first StingerMi-24 shootdowns in 1986 as one of the three crucial moments of his experience in the war, saying “we never really won a set piece battle before September 26, and then we never lost one afterwards”.[13][14] He was given the first spent Stinger tube as a gift and kept it on his office wall.

    Faster than any military jet with a speed of mach 5, heat seeking stinger missiles that zero in on jet and helicopter exhausts would clear the skies of Syria.

    The battlefield leveling effect of the stinger was the main reason for the investment in expensive counter measures like the stealth fighters and bombers.

    To back their claims that the US is behind the rebels, supporters of the Bashar Assad regime claim against all evidence, that the US through Turkey has also supplied the Free Syrian Army with stingers.

    http://www.scoopit.co.nz/story.php?title=syrian-opposition-gets-first-stingers

    If the above report carried by Scoop.co.nz wasn’t a lie, Then – As in the war against the Soviets in Aghanistan Western supplied ‘Stingers’ would be a game changer, allowing the rebels to shoot down jets and helicopters turning the tide of the war.

    It is only the regime’s air superiority that has kept their forces in the field allowing them to massacre at will even in the liberated areas.

    Quite possibly, just knowing that these very effective shoulder fired anti- aircraft weapons were in the hands of the rebels could ground the Syrian regime’s airforce.

    With the removal of air superiority the war would be over and the suffering of the Syrian people would be alleviated.

    Unfortunately this story carried on a major left website was a complete fabrication.

    Not a single Stinger has been delivered to the rebels leaving the civilian population vulnerable to merciless bombardment from the air and the rebels powerless to defend them.

    • muzza 1.1

      “civilian population vulnerable to merciless bombardment from the air and the rebels powerless to defend them”

      If only you understood how damaging your well intentioned, yet badly directed energy is for those you purport to be “defending”!

    • Rosie 1.2

      Hi Jenny,

      Hey, I’ve got to say your comments often leave me feeling baffled and I usually don’t respond. However your sense of outrage on Open Mike on Saturday regarding Anders Breivik being deemed not psychologically unwell was quite upsetting as you automatically assumed that monsters like him must be mentally unwell, therefore demonising all people who are suffering from mental illness. I don’t know if you read my responses. I hope you did because its important you learn about the reality of mental illness (in a clinical and social sense) Vs violent criminal activity.

      Now you are saying that lefties ‘have been attacking the Arab Spring and the overthrow of dictators………’ Are you familiar with the Occupy movement? The Arab Spring was the entire inspriration for the movement. It was the courage of the Arab people to stand up to dictators that encouraged people in NY and later all around the world to stand up against our western capitalist system, albeit different from systems in the East but damaging non the less. As the movement progressed the people of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt stood with the Occupy movement and gave talks about reclaiming democracy. There was a strong sense of solidarity between the Arab community and the entire Occupy Movement.
      Thats just one example but even so, how can you say Leftists would attack freedom form oppression when thats an aim that is close to many lefties hearts?

      • Jackal 1.2.1

        +1 You’ll note that Jenny won’t be able to supply any references to back up her grossly incorrect generalizations regarding leftists attacking the Arab spring. She/he is also likely wrong about the Syrian rebels having ground to air missiles.

        • grumpy 1.2.1.1

          Correct on both points.

        • McFlock 1.2.1.2

          Actually, from recollection of my uni foreign policy papers, the issue with the stingers was that it was a tacit admission of direct and strong US support against the soviets (stingers at the time being state of the art restricted weapons), a decision that went to Reagan. The stinger decision was basically a statement of “our wallet vs yours”.

        • Jenny 1.2.1.3

          …..You’ll note that Jenny won’t be able to supply any references to back up her grossly incorrect generalizations regarding leftists attacking the Arab spring. She/he is also likely wrong about the Syrian rebels having ground to air missiles.

          Jackal

          According to a Reuters report carried by Stuff.co.nz, the helicopter was brought down after hovering above the city for over an hour.

          “It was flying over the eastern part of the city and firing all morning,” an activist calling himself Abu Bakr told Reuters from near where the helicopter came down in the suburb of Qaboun. “The rebels had been trying to hit for about an hour,” he said. “Finally they did.”……

          Although rebel commanders have asked foreign allies for anti-aircraft missiles, Western nations are unwilling to supply such weapons for fear of them falling into hostile hands. There was no indication fighters in Damascus had used any missiles.

          Reuters

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/7559188/Syrian-helicopter-shot-down-in-Damascus

          Helicopters being relatively slow moving and flying at low altitudes are vulnerable to sustained small arms fire, and can be brought down if a bullet strikes a vulnerable spot.

          Which is probably what happened here.

          • Jackal 1.2.1.3.1

            There has been more than just one helicopter shot down Jenny, and multiple reports of the Syrian rebels having surface to air missiles. As far as I can tell, there’s no reason for them to lie about such a thing?

            • mike e 1.2.1.3.1.1

              According to news reports sryrian rebels have adapted a long range artillary gun into an anti aircraft gun.

            • Jenny 1.2.1.3.1.2

              There has been more than just one helicopter shot down Jenny, and multiple reports of the Syrian rebels having surface to air missiles.

              Jackal

              I call you on this bullshit, Jackal. How about some evidence? Do you have any, or do you just make this stuff up out of spite.

      • Jenny 1.2.2

        Are you familiar with the Occupy movement? The Arab Spring was the entire inspriration for the movement. It was the courage of the Arab people to stand up to dictators that encouraged people in NY and later all around the world to stand up against our western capitalist system, albeit different from systems in the East but damaging non the less. As the movement progressed the people of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt stood with the Occupy movement…..

        Rosie

        Hi Rosie, I notice that you didn’t include Syria in your list of countries involved in the Arab Spring. Would you like to explain why?

        • Rosie 1.2.2.1

          Lordy Jenny, this is really getting out of hand.

          You ask why Syria wasn’t included in my list of countries involved in the Arab spring.

          Ok. I was talking about the Occupy movement and their solidarity with the Arab communitites inside America and in the middle east. I wasn’t talking about Syria as such. I was going by memory of the talks I listened to, live online and I remember speakers respresenting Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. My memory is going back to September, October 2011. Given that the civil uprising in Syria gained steam around mid March 2011 it is quite possible that there were Syrian people represented at the Occupy camp and actions. Amazingly, I can’t remember every detail from that time. I wasn’t watching the livestream 24 – 7 either. I was trying to illustrate to you that the Left is about freedom from oppression, using the Occupy movement as one recent example of left solidarity with the Arab spring. And I certianly don’t want a fight with you.

          However you are welcome to trawl through archive footage here if you want to find out if Occupy stood alongside Syria.

          http://occupywallst.org/

          • weka 1.2.2.1.1

            “Lordy Jenny, this is really getting out of hand.”

            You can say that again.

          • Jenny 1.2.2.1.2

            Hi Rosie, I think we may be talking at cross purposes here.

            I see that you agree that the occupy movement is modeled on the Arab Spring. Which is the case.

            From this I take it that you agree that the Arab spring was one of the greatest popular democratic social movements in history.

            But do you agree that the Syrian people’s initially peaceful protests were an extension of the Arab Spring?

            Do you know that the protesters initial demands were for democratic reforms not for the overthrow of the regime?

            Do you agree that Bashar Assad cognisant at what had happened to the dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya decided very early on to try and drown this movement in blood?

            Do you agree that to defend themselves against mass detention and torture and mass murder that the Syrian people had no choice but to rise up and attempt to overthrow the dictator?

            Rosie, imagine if you can, that instead of just arresting and fining the Occupy protesters, the New Zealand government had ordered the police and the army to shoot them down. Detaining and torturing and murdering the families of soldiers and police who refused to carry out these orders and instead deserted.

            Who would you support? The protesters and the deserters or the government?

            When people are being killed there is no middle ground.

    • vto 1.3

      Bit difficult to understand exactly what you are saying through your discussion of stingers. Are you saying that the US is right to interfere in all of those middle east countries? That the US invasions and incursions are justified? That the British, Italian and Frenh invasions are justified?

      That the US is justified in killing more people every year than any other nation, but that others are bloodthirsty?

      • Jenny 1.3.1

        Bit difficult to understand exactly what you are saying through your discussion of stingers.

        vto

        Hi vto. What I am saying is that Western leftists who support Bashar Assad are not above lying to back up their treacherous depiction of the people’s revolt in Syria as a Western/US backed “invasion”.

    • grumpy 1.4

      The success of the rebels in Syria would only begin a new round of “suffering” for the Syrian people.

      • Jenny 1.4.1

        “Which side are you on?
        Which side are you on?
        One’s right and one’s wrong
        Which side are you on?

        Blogger dies calling for world wide protests against the regime

        Blogger Rami al-Saidr pays the ultimate price for Freedom

        http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/bloggers-lament-the-ultimate-sacrifice-for-freedom/

        Rami al-Said was reporting from the Syrian city of Homs – which as most of us know by now – is being pounded to rubble by a mad dictator’s army. Rami al-Said refused to leave, and instead chose to report on the genocide that was taking place.

        One of Rami al-Said’s last posts on his Facebook page stated,

        ”Baba Amro [a suburb of Homs] is being wiped out now, complete genocide, I don’t want you to tell us our hearts are with you because I know that, I want projects everywhere inside and outside I want everyone to go out in front of the embassies in al…l countries everywhere because we are soon to be nothing, there will be no more Baba Amr – I expect this is a final letter to you and we will not forgive you.”

        • Jenny 1.4.1.1

          Civilian correspondents with no diplomatic immunity, armed with nothing more than cameras are bravely trying to document what is happening in Syria.

          While the UN observers with State of the art body armour and diplomatic status, with access to the authorities and entitled to carry arms for personal protection, ans presumably, with far more freedom of movement than any civilian correspondent, have left Syria. Leaving the regime to it’s own devices.

          So much for Western support for the rebels.

          Immediately after the UN and our New Zealand troops departure, the regime began staging a nazi style pogrom in Damascus. Conducting house to house raids, dragging men and boys out of their homes and executing them in the street.

          http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-army-batters-parts-damascus-40-killed-115056556.html

          In tactics reminiscent of the Nazi assault on the Warsaw ghetto, columns of soldiers hiding behind tanks entered Damascus suburbs raiding houses and summarily executing those they capture.

          If the the UN observers had remained they could demand the right to investigate this war crime, instead, they have high tailed it.

          Unconfirmed reports claim a prominent Syrian journalist Mohamad Saeed al Odeh who had expressed sympathy for the anti-Assad revolt has been executed in the round up.

          Journalists are a particular threat to the regime because they expose the false narrative that the revolt is Western and/or Al Qaida plot.

          A Reuters report directly links the latest attacks to the exit of the UN observer mission.

          The army has this week used tanks and helicopter gunships in an offensive around Damascus that coincided with the departure of U.N. military observers….

          Activists in the southwestern Damascus suburb of Mouadamiya said Assad’s forces had killed 86 people there since Monday, half of them by execution. It was not possible to verify that report….

          ….One of the dead was named as Mohammad Saeed al Odeh, a journalist employed at a state-run newspaper who was sympathetic to the anti-Assad revolt. Activists said he had been executed in Nahr Eisha….

          While the UN observers and our troops, have scuttled off…..

          Civilian correspondents with no diplomatic immunity, armed with nothing more than cameras, have remained, to bravely document what is happening in Syria.

          Before they left the United Nations had estimated that;

          …more than 18,000 people have been killed in what has become a civil war after the state’s violent response to peaceful street protests triggered an armed rebellion in the pivotal Arab country.

          If apologists for the Assad regime like Colonial Viper had their way this latest massacre would be carried out right across Syria and not just the small area that Assad controls at present.

          • Jenny 1.4.1.1.1

            From a country listed as the most dangerous place on earth for reporters, with more than 13 reporters killed by the regime.

            More reports from indominatable Kiwi reporter Anita McNaught risking her life inside Syria.

            http://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/aleppo-rebels-retreat-from-the-bigger-bombs-dropped-by-jets/

            Well away from the extra judicial killings and torture and mass murder and detention that characterise this regime, Assad apologist Colonial Viper attacks McNaught.

            In making excuses for torturers and mass murder Colonial Viper, goes to great lengths to discredit Anita McNaught’s reporting of events. Trying to throw mud on her reputation, Colonial Viper ganging up with another Assad apologist Bad 12 suggests that McNaught could have remotely set off a bomb to make it appear that she was in danger.

            bad12…
            7 August 2012 at 1:14 am

            the fact tho that the propagandarists can arrange a huge explosion as the punctuation to McNaughts emotive bullshit, shows they do have some organizational ability,

            Since when is such emotive bullshit Journalism???…

            Reply

            Jenny…
            7 August 2012 at 1:46 am

            I might remind you bad, that, that was a real tank shell that landed near McNaught.

            If you think something like that can be scripted, then you are deeply into the conspiracy theory alternate nut-job universe.

            Reply

            Colonial Viper…
            7 August 2012 at 1:52 am

            place a shell 200m away and when you need it, set it off with a small charge.

            Indulging in character assassination, Colonial Viper also suggests that McNaught has surrendered her journalistic integrity to her employers.

            http://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/al-jazeera-speaks-to-captured-secret-police-in-northern-syria/

            Jenny1.3.1
            6 August 2012 at 10:42 pm

            Kiwi reporter Anita McNaught interview of captured Syrian Secret Police officers responsible for the shooting of unarmed protesters and responsible for over a hundred ‘disappeared’ civilian detainees.

            Reply

            Colonial Viper1.3.1.1
            6 August 2012 at 11:22 pm

            Frak off Jenny. You’re a pro-war activist.

            Reply

            Jenny1.3.1.1.1
            7 August 2012 at 1:29 am

            And you are a supporter of mass murder and torturer, terribly offended that those long victimised by your hero are hitting back.

            Reply

            Colonial Viper1.3.2
            6 August 2012 at 11:26 pm

            Al Jazeera is owned and funded by Qatari royalty. Who happen to be major American allies in the region, as well as hosting a major US military base on their soil.

            Reply

            Jenny1.3.2.1
            6 August 2012 at 11:45 pm

            CV, does your smear that Al Jazeera is bought and sold, also apply to Anita McNaught?

            Reply

            Colonial Viper1.3.2.1.1
            6 August 2012 at 11:47 pm

            is she being paid by them?

            Who do you believe the people of Syria as interviewed by Anita McNaught or the dictator of Syria and his Western apologists like Colonial Viper?

            Who do you believe an aggressive foul mouthed anonymous nobody with no experience of Syria or the Middle East, or Anita McNaught risking her life to uncover the truth?

  2. Carol 3

    Today the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group (EAG) report will be released, apparently. In anticipation of this Tim Watkin and Bomber have posts on the poverty issue:

    http://www.tumeke.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/the-death-of-nz-egalitarianism.html

    Figures released on Thursday show 21% of children now living in poverty, median household incomes fell 3% while the richest amongst us had their salaries soar leading us to having the highest levels of inequality on record.

    How much did the wealthy gain? The average increase in 2011 for executives was $28, 311. That pay rise is more than a minimum wage worker earns in a year, and it get’s better for CEO’s. In 2011 our richest bosses earned on average 22.5 times more than the workers working for them.

    Borrowed tax cuts for the wealthy, forcing beneficiaries back to work when there are no jobs, higher unemployment, weaker unions, cut backs to public services and higher GST all have social consequences and we are now seeing the terrible harvest from those social consequences.

    This indicates the scale of the problem and the raft of changes that need to be made to provide any significant improvement for NZ’s children.

    Watkin offers some possible actions that he guesses might be in the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group report.

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/solutions-to-child-poverty-easy-as-123#comments

    First, the group will call for a Warrant of Fitness for landlords.

    Second, it’ll call for meals to be provided more widely in schools.
    …Third, the EAG is expected to call for some form of long-term and universal state assistance for kids – maybe a Universal Child Benefit, or some money every week for every child born. Until 1991 we had such a thing – a Family Benefit. That went in the Bolger/Richardson years.

    I think the first (rental property WOFs) would be hardest to implement. But this and the other two would go some way to alleviating the immediate dire situation. The UCB would have the longest, most far reaching impact, followed by the meals at school.

    But, until the vast levels of inequality are reduced,Watkin’s steps will just be a life raft, not a sustainable destination.

  3. just saying 4

    http://bat-bean-beam.blogspot.co.nz/

    Maybe not for everyone at a political blog, a book review from Giovani Tiso:

    David Peace, James Kelman, Kerstin Hensel, Pat Barker, Maurice Gee: these are the authors in Dougal’s meticulous catalogue, whose works allow him to explore what Raymond Williams has called the ‘working class fiction of fully developed class relations’; the challenges of representing the neoliberal city; the new guise of the realist historical novel; and finally what realism in the age of globalisation might mean and look like. The picture that emerges throughout these close readings is by necessity not one of a hegemonic genre, as realism was when the bourgeoisie went through its revolutionary phase, or by fiat under Stalinism; but rather of an ‘embattled, residual-emergent, ‘minor’ oppositional form.’ A realism that lurks through the fissures and cracks of late capitalism and yet is capable of producing useful, working models for thought and political action…

    Hell, I’m a bit of a Pat Barker and a Maurice Gee groupie. Will definitely read the book when it reaches the library!

    .

  4. weka 5

    Is anyone else having trouble getting TS to load? Could be my crappy broadband but I’m not having trouble with other websites.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      I’ve had spotty problems, often in the evenings, for the last week or so.

    • lprent 5.2

      It is back on cloudflare (now that the moving is finished). Seems to be alternating between loading from sydney and from somewhere near wichita kansas.

      But I’m not getting any particular* problems on any of my linux systems using Chrome and firefox, on my ipad using chrome and safari, on my laptop reluctantly booted into vista using IE8, safari, firefox and chrome, and sneaking a peek on Lyn’s mac laptop for safari.

      Try clearing the cache (fastest way for any page is to hold the Shift key down while pressing Refresh http://lifehacker.com/5574852/shift%252Brefresh-is-like-the-restart-button-for-web-sites) first because you may have some of the junk CSS/javascript cached from when the site was having problems.

      * The one intermittent problem I am getting has been with the page loading “stopping” before displaying the Comments/Opinions/Online sidebar on the odd occasion. So the page is present except for the sidebar, but the page displays as if it is still loading. On chrome it shows on the bottom left that ones of the ad servers isn’t responding. I’m going to reorder the loading so that our site content comes first or set the ad code so it is async..

      • felix 5.2.1

        “Seems to be alternating between loading from sydney and from somewhere near wichita kansas. “

        Does that make you the Wichita lineman? :D

      • Lanthanide 5.2.2

        Have you tried sternly telling the server that it’s not in Kansas anymore?

        • lprent 5.2.2.1

          Yes. It’s reply was that the cloud IS Oz and that tracking it was tantamount to trying to kill it with collapsing it into Kansas when it could have been on bondi beach (ie Schroedinger’s cat).

      • weka 5.2.3

        Thanks Lynn. I’ve switched from Firefox to Safari and that seems better.

        I have had other slow loading webpages today, although there does seem to be something particular about TS.

        • weka 5.2.3.1

          hmm, for some reason my posts are going into moderation.

          Anyway, just found out that command +shift +R in Safari doesn’t refresh, but on TS it opens a slide up window with a very nice text only version of the post for that page (no comments or headers or sidebars) and the option to increase/decrease text size, or email or print the post. Cool.

          • weka 5.2.3.1.1

            That appears to be specific to WordPress (so far, doesn’t work on blogger, or general websites)

  5. Rosie 6

    It’s great that Richard Long has buggered off from the Opinion peice in the Dominion Post for the time being. Deborah Russell, in his place, has written another interesting peice. This time regarding abortion law in NZ:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/7557998/Abortion-a-womans-moral-choice-not-a-crime

    • weka 6.1

      I’m glad to see Deborah writing in the DomPost too. However this made me cringe:
       

      Bizarrely, we have decided that if a person needs to get a moral signoff for a decision, then the people who are capable of giving it are medical doctors.


      That might have been appropriate in the 1970s when doctors were often the most highly educated people in a community. But our levels of education have increased dramatically, and more people have the training to think through difficult decisions for themselves, and to help other people make decisions.
       

      Not sure what she means by educated there, but the implication is that you need some kind of academic education to be able to think and make moral decisions. Which is a ridiculous notion.

      • Bored 6.1.1

        Nice summary Weka, education and wisdom are disparate bedfellows.

      • vto 6.1.2

        You’re right Weka that intelligence and brains are two different things. They overlap a great deal of course but so often they get confused. Methinks the confusion arises more often with those with intelligence as they find their logic and thinking processes so convincing to themselves, and they are clearly more intelligent than others, that they must be right. They cannot understand how someone with less intelligence could have a different and possibly superior conclusion.

        Those with mere brains often do themselves the opposite injustice whereby they will think through something and then doubt their conclusion due to their acknowledged lack of intelligence, and then fail to follow through with their concluded necessary action. A real shame.

        On the other hand however, academic training of certain types without doubt assists in evaluating situations and providing ways in which to think through things and come up with answers. There is definitely a pratice of evaluation and consideration that imo assists with decisions.

  6. yeshe 7

    Taxpayer funded (!), this is potentially the most dangerous thing Key could change in NZ …. and the Monsantos of the world will be covered under the secrets of TPP .. BEWARE please, this has the worst possible consequences for us all … GMO agricultural conference upcoming …

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10829898

    Why hold it at all unless you were intent upon changing GMO status in this protected little land ?? And I bet in conjunction with it, they choose to release the secret study on what it supposedly costs NZ not to be growing GMO crops …

    Guvmint by Crosby Textor …. oh dear, oh dear. What is become of us ?

    • tc 7.1

      Yes be very afraid of what Monsanto etc are up to here, they’ve got form already in the US.

      Shows how Shonkey etc don’t give a F about anything other than their own bank accounts, to spanner our argriculture by allowing the likes of Monsanto to GM the industry and not allow us to have that ‘clean green’ point of difference with some genetic diversity, which the world would pay for, shows just how hollow that ‘Brighter future’ slogan was.

    • prism 7.2

      yeshe 7 and Rosie 8
      More on government action that affects our precious and highly celebrated (by government particularly) food production capacity and earnings. I have been looking into Federated Farmers recently and one of their reports in the arable section which brings up a biosecurity risk. It says that the government has lowered standards for importing grains which the Fed Farmers would have vetoed if they had been given a look-in. There are certain weeds that must be kept out because of other more scrupulous countries firm decision to exclude them.

      Every day our products feed 6 million dairy cows and 30 million sheep. Currently, a Southland farmer holds the world record for wheat production and we also have the highest maize yields in the world.
      One of arable farmers’ key concerns is biosecurity. The fact we are able to be world leaders in seed multiplication is mainly due to our weed, pest and disease free status. It is of paramount importance we maintain a biosecurity system that ensures harmful pests and diseases are kept out of New Zealand.
      A biosecurity breach of significant magnitude in the arable industry would seriously impede our ability to remain a productive part of the New Zealand economy. Market access could be lost if just one significant weed is found in our seed exports. The recent change to the Importation of Grains/Seeds for Consumption, Feed or Processing Import Health Standard,allowing a tolerance level for contaminant grains/seeds of up to 0.1 percent in weight is something we did not support and do not want repeated.

      We have been overtaken by a jelly like consistency that plays with possibilities of damage on an acceptable risk basis. Our standard of living is being gambled with by these money-mercenary creeps. http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/n3228.html

      • Rosie 7.2.1

        Prism. yes, its curious that we’ve been lowering our biosecurity standards in a time of increasing threat from evolving organisms and globe trotting organisms. The PSA virus in kiwifruit was one example.
        Will there come a time again when a farmer drives his/her tractor up the steps of parliament – but this time in protest against being exposed to biosecurity risks?

        • prism 7.2.1.1

          Rosie
          Oh yes. Shane Ardern, what a funny guy. We will have to have a serious clean out of smug dickheads and ideologues before we get anything eminently appropriate.

  7. Rosie 8

    That IS freaking frightening yeshe. Gone are the days of the vision of the 2020 organic nation. There was a movement back in the 90’s that correctly predicted world food shortages being upon us soon and the idea was not only for NZ to be completely self sufficient in food production for local consumption but to be a world class exporter of organically produced food, to countries eagar for clean GE free food. Perfect idea for an island nation like ours.
    But like other great visions it died when it was trampled over by the influence of Agri business. Our path could have been so different. GE isn’t about feeding the poor, its about lining the pockets of multi nationals.

    • Bored 8.1

      Rosie, frightening as it sounds it fits in as a central concepts of industrial agriculture, based upon petro chem energy and fertilisers, massive mechanisation, huge economies of scale…ownership of entire supply chains etc. The environment, in particular the ecosystemic biology comes a distant second to corporate dollars. Our nice cosy picture of the farmer on his plot is a distant memory.

      • Rosie 8.1.1

        Yes, sad but true Bored. Just the last two decades in NZ we have seen quite alarming increases in industrial dairying, (within the agri business sector) and the resulting harmful consequences for our environment, mainly our waterways. We have a population of 6 million dairy cows now and Fonterror want to more than triple that amount over the next few years. I don’t know how our islands, and our environment can sustain that level of mono culture. Once again, only one example of industrial farming. Cropping is another issue……

        There has been a great public response in reclaiming ownership of food production in the form of community gardens, local produce markets, fair trading and if you have flash cash, artisan farmers markets. But these actions are a drop in the ocean compared to the actions of Fonterror, dow, monsanto and all their cronies. Our rights to life’s essentials bought and sold.

      • prism 8.1.2

        For anyone keen to know more about GMOs and nz biosecurity approach here is a FAQ link which might offer something new. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/node/1479/related_faqs?page=2&expand=3396

        And I was looking for the date when new tolerances for imported grain came in and it appears to be sometime in October 2011, reported in Fed Farmers periodical 1 November 2011 as being recent. It appears that it is hard to obtain historical information on this biosecurity government website which just updates the information as it changes. I didn;t see a notice about the change and details and reasons. Though they may have been there. This Federated Farmers comment shows the difficulties we are having in running the country’s agricultural policy with out-of-control policies and change agents, private or government- appointed bureaucrats.

        The recent change to the Importation of Grains/Seeds for Consumption, Feed or Processing Import Health Standard,allowing a tolerance level for contaminant grains/seeds of up to 0.1 percent in weightis something we did not support and do not want repeated.

  8. Bored 9

    Rosie above reading the Dom commented upon a better commentary than is provided by Richard Long…thank bejasus is all I can say.

    For my sins I read the Listener last night (I used to subscribe but fired them when they became the voice of neo liberalism, courtesy of their owners, promoting lots of middle class angst stories to guide us all to the Right). Two stories stood out:

    First the loathsome Pagani lady had a column in which (reading between the lines) she justified the Shearer position on welfare by stating the Left were not hard enough on those on welfare, and that it came with a “responsibility”. All I could hear (between the lines) was “kill the poor if it gets me middle class votes”..

    Josie then went on to take a swipe at greater luminaries than her (Tariq Ali, Naomi Wolf etc) for their support of the Assange position (read to me like “he’s a rapist until proven otherwise, and the Empire is so benign he is not at risk”)…then a further swipe at the good folks of Whanganui for their opposition to the presence of the Beast…her argument on justice was very sound BUT she certainly did not connect with the local fears.

    I was left with no illusions of the position of Labour under the influence of these neo lib apologists.

    Then further reading…has Guyon Espiner had a Damascene moment? He interviewed Das, a Sydney based economist on the end of “growth”….appeared he was listening but was probably dumbstruck in the manner of a rabbit in the headlights…recommended reading for the benighted denizens of middle NZ, seismic shock material for the uninitiated. Let the middle classes worry, more angst.

    • Rosie 9.1

      Bored. You said it. Middle class angst sums up the Listener these days. I have read it occasionally over the last couple of years, just to give it a go and I often find myself having a “Are you serious?” moment.

      Interesting what you say about the Pagani column. (and others) Just confirms it doesn’t it, as if we needed convincing that Labours stance is in the middle. It’s funny because Republican Presidential hopeful, Mittens Romney has this slogan “Romney – for a better middle class”. So now our once working persons party and architects of our welfare system really is no different to the American nutty right wing Republican party?

      *Mittens: John Stewarts’ nick name for Mitt Romney. I like it.

      • Bored 9.1.1

        Yes Rosie, Labour a la Pagani / Shearer is very middle class…if you flick through NZ House and Garden this month (another middle class keeping up with the Jones mag) you will find lovely pictures of David Shearer at home, very bourgeois in Point Chev.

        The only upside is that he does not reside in a multi million dollar Parnell security complex with electric gates.

        I suspect the article was very carefully placed by Labour (Pagani?)for maximum middle class impact, got to win the centre you know, and the lovely brown faces in Otara don’t read this mag……

        • North 9.1.1.1

          ‘Cos to spend $8.95 to buy and read that wannabee mag’ means that at least three of their kids are sent from the table tonight. “No dinner for yous guys sorry, unless you share with your brothers.”

          “Don’t cry now……..being ‘aspirational’ will pay off in the end. And Mr Key/Shearer is coming to school tomorrow. Isn’t that exciting ?”

          Then Key/Shearer (politicians) use those same kids for bastard photo ops. Key more relentlessly than any of them.

          MSM wanks and I puke.

          How far away is uprising ?

      • prism 9.1.2

        Rosie
        Re the Listener. Is it surprising that Joanne Black their previous Features Editor with her own page on middle class angst, has gone to work for Bill English.

        • Rosie 9.1.2.1

          Joanne Black did my head in. She is on another planet. Planet Thordon I think.. No wonder she has gone to work for Bill English.. Lol.

  9. prism 10

    There was a report on 9tonoon this morning about the Correspondence School’s woes with their new computer. It started to be worked on in 2009. This year the students have not been receiving their work, or the wrong work. It is not compatible with the old system and there is a lack of confidence that all the records have been transferred correctly. The children and their supervisors have waited for ten weeks for their initial work, so will have to try and make up that time if they are to succeed. The teachers have had to source from somewhere some material to keep them going. This is a great way to bring up our achievement standards in education.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon – Audio will go up soon.
    09:20 Computer botch up at the Correspondence School
    A computer botch up at the country’s biggest school – the Correspondence School – has seen its 24,000 students unable to receive school work for up to 10 weeks.

    And this reliance on technology, the promise of it to be so quick, so reliable, so all-embracing.
    So costly and bloody when it doesn’t work or does but intermittently and partially. We have poured money into computer systems in NZ. Remember the grand and expensive police INCIS, which fell over in the end because more and more requirements had been added onto the original specification.

    We have the poorest people in the most difficult circumstances being dumped on by Housing NZ. Unable to get help direct face to face at some designated spot, but having to have a phone and pay more than a bus fare to keep it in credit and so have access. The service they get may be slow, or vague, and the credit can run out before they have got a reliable response. The trend is to faceless inhuman government. I don’t like it. Kafkaesque.

    And the bad news about Australia’s treatment of us over there. An in depth piece talking to supporters and charity workers there, residents, and a NZ living there who is trying to fight this discrimination against us. Introduced in 2001.
    Sunday, 26 August 2012: NZers in Oz – the trouble with jumping the ditch
    Listen to this programme Insight for 26 August 2012 – New Zealanders in Australia
    duration: 27′54″ Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight

    The flow of New Zealanders moving to Australia is showing no sign of slowing down, with latest figures revealing a record equalling 54 thousand left in the last year.
    But some New Zealanders claim they are being discriminated against as the list of federal and state payments they are excluded from grows.
    Some would now like a visa introduced so that those planning to live in Australia understand the support on offer isn’t the same as that available at home.

    • mike e 10.1

      Scottish education system better than Tory goves mess.
      Scotland is keeping education out of the free market aproach.
      with very good results .Guardian!
      Hik town pariahna.Take note!

    • lprent 10.2

      The usual problem is with people wanting to write bespoke systems from the ground up whilst letting feature creep into the system before the version 1.0 framework is running.

      I’m of the general opinion that these days that for any net based system you just get an off the shelf-system (preferably open-source) written in a widespread language like php, python, or even ruby and put that in immediately.

      Adapt the organisation to it and after that then look at smaller bespoke modules written by different organisations, contractors or even your staff for parts of the system that actually need adaptation.

      If you can’t do that, then just use what someone else is doing. In this case grab the system that works used by a local university as it already exists.

      Most of the problem with software and organisations is the common delusion that what they are doing is unique and requires special software. Virtually all of the time that is incorrect when you are looking at sourcing the software from anywhere in the world. Even where there isn’t something that is unique in the business process, it is usually such a small part of the system that they’d be better off putting in an off-the-shelf and getting the ‘unique’ bit written and integrated as a data source/sink. The past masters of this approach are banks who typically have amazing kludges of software accumulated over generations and whose only compatibility appears that they share a monitor.

      But you can just about guarantee that they got sucked into having someone to write them a integrated system from ground up or had lots and lots of those “special” requirements that corporate bespoke provider coders like so much (it is like having your own bank when you get to maintain “special” code).

      As a programmer, the process tends to be repetitive, as boring as hell and is why I try not to work for companies focused internally. I have been export focused since 1995 and I really don’t bother keeping track of local coding any more.

      • prism 10.2.1

        lprent
        That’s interesting. There seems to be a lot of money available that isn’t spent wisely on tech.
        And people who don’t know what they want, what they are getting, and whether the software firm has done its job. One job I heard of had a specific request for something that the software firm didn’t put in. The managers at each end should have been spanked but probably got a wage rise.

        When you’re a cleaner and you don’t empty out someone’s paper bin you get spoken to. But expensive confusing systems designers and users can get away with their faults. Cleaning bins is something simple and obvious that anybody can understand. And the blame lies here?

        • tc 10.2.1.1

          Insys….who got sacked from within NZ police over that ?
          KR has spent 4 years integrating 2 very expensive off the shelf products and still not live.
          Ah the consultants spell you are feeling very very satisfied, just sign off this bill, everything will be all right, we have the connections, the kids, the schtick and mates in all the right places.

          • prism 10.2.1.1.1

            tc 10 2 1 1 On Incis –
            Here’s interesting stuff about one of the police guys from wikipedia.
            Barry Matthews (born 1946)…. He has a Masters Degree in Business Administration, Law Professional examinations, a Bachelor of Laws Degree and a Diploma of Criminology.[1]
            Matthews was in the New Zealand Police from 1965 to 1999. He was District Commander, Auckland Services District from 1992 to 1993, then Assistant Commissioner Planning and Finance, Police National Headquarters from 1993 to 1995.[1] In 1995 he became the Deputy Commissioner of Police. He was the project manager of the INCIS computer system when it was abandoned in 1999.[2] Four years later he left to take up appointment as Commissioner of the Western Australia Police.[1]
            Department of Corrections

            Matthews replaced Mark G. Byers as chief executive of the New Zealand Department of Corrections in February 2005. He served in the role until December 2010 when he resigned and was replaced by Ray Smith.
            On his resignation, he listed the installation of cell phone blocking technology at prisons throughout the country as one of his three greatest achievements as head of the Department. The system was budgeted to cost $6 million and another $200,000 a year to maintain. But in the two years it has been operating, repairs and upgrades have blown the budget to nearly $11 million. An investigation by the Dominion Post newspaper found it will cost another $2 million just “to fully jam Rimutaka”

            So a pretty comfortable fast moving life from one well paid job to another. And technology has used up a lot of our country’s capital for a non-cost benefit finish. And it’s not his fault he is Midas’ poor brother who turns everything to dross.

            More detailed information on the problems, the tech methods and Te Money in this link.
            http://www.adventurer.org.nz/?page=writing/mis/1999-06-01_Incis.html

            Two other people who were involved – Police Commissioner Peter Doone and IT manager Jeffrey Soar. Police Commissioner took a sideways promotion and worked within Helen Clark’s Prime Minister;s Department if my memory serves me.

            • bad12 10.2.1.1.1.1

              For a really good view of how to install a computer system that’s only going to cost X you will only have to wait a while until the new Inland Revenue one gets going,

              X is bound to blow out big time to XXX, should be a jolly little laugh to watch,(something to take our minds of child poverty reports)…

  10. prism 11

    I remember there was a book written about early days in Labour in NZ called I think
    ‘Keep left – no right turn’. If anyone knows of this, even the right title or author, it would be a help. It was written by someone well known in NZ.

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      Could be “No Left Turn” by Chris Trotter?

      Nicky Hager reviews it here:

      http://www.nickyhager.info/no-left-turn-by-chris-trotter/

      • prism 11.1.1

        Thanks PB
        I thought this one was written in the 1950-70s and is possibly out of print. But it’s just a nagging memory which I can’t pin down. Will read Chris Trotter though and another on I must is Tony Simpson’s The Sugarbag Years.

        • Bored 11.1.1.1

          Its quite rare to get literature among’st our recent crop of “creative writing course grads” that reflects our social and political history. I have read Trotter and Simpsons nonfiction tomes, but to make a personal impact I reckon fiction like Maurice Gees Plumb trilogy is far more powerful. As is Lee’s autobiographicals (Children of the Poor, Simple on a Soap Box), or Mulgans portrayal of depression NZ in Man Alone. Makes it more visceral. Only Duff has got that raw in recent years.

          I often wonder how many of our recent politicians ever read these works?

          • Rosie 11.1.1.1.1

            Remember, when asked about his reading material during the 08 campaign John key said (with that goofy grin that was wider than it is now days) “Aw, I don’t know. I just read the odd John Grisham (sp?) at Christmas time”………..Not a reader then………..he probably doesn’t get much further than reading menu’s.

            One book he should read is “The Night Book” by Charlotte Grimshaw. The joke is on him! Well, he’s not the main character but he is central to the story, as is his house in Parnell, his lifestyle and the characters (both real and imagined) and fundraisers behind the 08 campaign. It is a fiction book and Grimshaw has simply given the political characters in the story fictional names but its clear who they are. It ‘s not written as a comment on the political situation in NZ at that time, it is a story about the main character. Non the less, Grimshaws observations of Key and the National party machine are spot on. Quite funny too.

            • prism 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Rosie 11 1 1 1 1
              and Bored
              Did you read the trilogy of John Mortimer on the political progress of a working class boy to conservative wheeler and dealer, Leslie Titmuss? Paradise Postponed, etc.

          • fnjckg 11.1.1.1.2

            “Plumb” is a great novel (imo)

    • Herodotus 11.2

      For a days read there is “The Denial of Democracy” by Robin Gwynn
      Love to see this updated to cover the last 12 years. As the decline appears to have quickened.

      • prism 11.2.1

        Herodotus
        I hadn’t heard of The Denial of Democracy 1998. Not available on Trademe and hasn’t been for some time. google advises about his Massey lecture – A valedictory lecture by a departing history professor, by Robin Gwynn. Christchurch City Libraries list the book as being at Store2. As it’s some years old now that might be what other libraries call the Stack.

        He stood in 2010 local elections for Napier. They had 6 Councillors at Large of which he nearly was elected, also a number of wards. See http://www.elections2010.co.nz/2010/candidates/robin-gwynn Sounds like a man with integrity.

  11. National’s economic mismanagement and favoring of the rich has seen some terrible social consequences: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/shocking-unemployment-figures-revealed.html

  12. I thought the David Cuncliffe interview on Sunday’s Nation was excellent and indicated a move towards Scandinavian Social Democracy. for the Labour Party. This should be compulsory viewing for all the political Left

  13. just saying 14

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/opinion/steve-braunias/7543036/The-Secret-Diary-of-David-Shearer

    The secret diary of David Shearer – for the real story of the roof painting beneficiary and a good laugh!

    A teaser:

    …I’d waited till it was dark, went to his house, crept up the ladder, tipped him out of his wheelchair, and gave him the bash. By the time I finished with him he was lying in a bloody, coughing heap, legless.

    But there he was today, sitting in his wheelchair, painting his roof as though he didn’t have a care in the world.

    The neighbour came out to the letterbox.

    “Would you look at that,” he said, and spat at the ground.

    I said, “I still don’t know how he manages to get up the ladder in his wheelchair.”

    He said, “No, not him. Him.” He pointed at a man walking along the street.

    I said, “Is he a sickness beneficiary, too?” He said, “Probably. The point is that he’s a Maori youth. What are you going to do about it?”

  14. Draco T Bastard 15

    Finnsih Lessons

    On the same European tour that saw her impressed by the Finnish education system, Diane Ravitch went to an international education conference in Germany.

    She wrote that researchers from Europe, Asia and Latin America were alarmed by the education “reform” movement in the US, and were “fearful that the same trends — the same overemphasis of standardized testing, the same push for privatization and markets, and the same pressure to lower standards for entry into teaching — might come to their own countries”.

    Is this sounding familiar?

    This government is doing it all wrong.

  15. Draco T Bastard 16

    What Greece’s motorways mean for NZ

    While National MPs and business lobby groups may ardently believe that a few higher standard highways are worth $12 billion (75% of the spending on new infrastructure over the next decade), the international evidence from transport planning suggests that new motorways are the least effective way (PDF) to achieve the critical aim of moving more people and freight at lower cost. There are steeply diminishing returns from duplicating or replacing an existing link in a road network.

    But when has NACT ever considered facts when considering policy that they want to put in place?

  16. North 17

    In parliament today:

    Metiria Turei asks Key what money he will make available for kids in poverty.

    Key answers telling her it’s a “dopey idea” to pay money to children not in poverty. (??????)

    Give that answer to a bunch of hard-out Ngapuhi ladies of my acquaintance up here in the North.

    Just try it punk. Check out what you’d get.

    It wouldn’t be “Usain”. It’d be “Ooooh…….pain.” They’d smack you in your punk mouth.

    Suck it up New Zealand.

    Key doesn’t give a fuck !

  17. captain hook 18

    the complete book on keys modus operandi is contained in a nifty thesis set out by Anne Wilson Shaeff in ” When Society Becomes An Addict”, where all the tricks used to isolate and trash people are exposed.
    q.e.d.

  18. North 19

    I’m just watching The Walrus Everyman Sainsbury joshing with Mr Once Again In Cabinet Heatley about healthy houses.

    For Christ’s Sake ! What have we come to ?

    Now Walrus is saying “sorry gotta go, run out of time blah blah blah”.

    And him and Heatley and the well remunerated lady guest (not Rebstock Thank Christ) are all chortling on about Heatley having the Prime Minister’s ear.

    What’s the PM doing with the other ear ?

    Getting the feed from Wall Street/City of London I guess.

  19. Logie97 20

    Seems the SST has now infiltrated TVNZ and is influencing the editorial slant of the news .

    Wendy advised us tonight “…we have exclusive footage of Dixon’s last moments alive in his prison cell.” I suppose TVNZ, at least, gave us warning of what was to follow so we could switch channels.

    Welcome to Redneck NZ folks – the closest thing to those halcyon days of watching public humiliation and executions.

    (oh and why would you ask McVicar’s views on the marriage equality bill?

    • millsy 20.1

      I take it that he opposes?

      (The re-criminalization of homosexuality is a goal of the SST)

  20. millsy 21

    I now have in possesion of a list of hospital closures over the past 25 years, broken down by the period that each major party was in power.

    It will be published on ‘The Standard’ shortly.

    We shall then see the effect of tax cuts on public services.

  21. Israel court rules that Rachel Corrie was accidentally killed by Israeli Army bulldozer.
    Apparently it was her fault for being in a terrorist zone. Perhaps she should have been at home cooking some “damn eggs woman”.

    • prism 22.1

      William Joyce 22
      I didn’t realise that Rachel Corrie was wearing a high visibility red jacket very obvious in daylight. And she had been standing away from the bulldozer’s path so her presence was visible to the driver and she had a loudspeaker, which presumably was operating properly. I understand that the bulldozer paused when she was in front, but the driver was under orders no doubt, and moved forward and ran her over.

      I think Israel lost its soul some time ago after getting to its land, after its trauma, its terrible distress. The military have taken over since and those who want a real democracy are small voices, but the large voice large voice is in the fertile religious fundamentalist group whose cause I think aligns with those of the military. Poor Israel, never free, never honestly willing to negotiate a peace with their neighbours, in a prison of their own making.

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