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Open mike 31/07/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 31st, 2012 - 85 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…

85 comments on “Open mike 31/07/2012”

  1. Press Release – Hakanoa

    They say children are a blessing, but it’s fair to say no parent sets out wanting a ginger child. So ginger beer maker Hakanoa has given those parents unfortunate enough to be cursed with ginger children the opportunity to swap them for something …Hakanoa gives parents the chance to swap their ginger children for ginger beer.

    Disgraceful, disgusting, hard to think what more can be said about how inappropriate this is.

  2. Socialist Paddy 2

    A chilling comumn by the Guardian’s George Monbiot on Neo liberalism.  In a particularly memorial passage he says:

    Two questions arise. The first is familiar: why has the public response to this assault on public life and public welfare been so muted? Where are the massive and sustained protests we might have expected? But the other is just as puzzling: where is the economic elite?
     
    Surely the corporate class and the super-rich – the only people the government will listen to – can see that these policies are destroying the markets on which their wealth relies? Surely they can see that this scorched-earth capitalism is failing even on its own terms?
     
    To understand this conundrum we should first understand that what is presented as an economic programme is in fact a political programme. It is the implementation of a doctrine: a doctrine called neoliberalism. Like all such creeds, it exists in its pure form only in the heavens; when brought down to earth it turns into something different.
     
    Neoliberals claim that we are best served by maximising market freedom and minimising the role of the state. The free market, left to its own devices, will deliver efficiency, choice and prosperity. The role of government should be confined to defence, protecting property, preventing monopolies and removing barriers to business. All other tasks would be better discharged by private enterprise. The quest for year zero market purity was dangerous enough in theory: distorted by the grubby realities of life on earth it is devastating to the welfare of both people and planet. 

    • Bored 2.1

      Paddy, good questions from Monbiot, so some commentary on points and further questions…

      Surely the corporate class and the super-rich can see that these policies are destroying the markets on which their wealth relies?

      Good question, but might we equally check the historic record and ask why the Caucescus were oblivious to their doom, why the Soviet Union hierachy did nothing to avert the fall of their system, why the Germans supported the Nazis to the last?

      Neoliberals claim that we are best served by maximising market freedom and minimising the role of the state

      At the opposite end of the scale communists expect that we will be best served by absolute control of markets and the dominance of the state…that has proven not to work either. Might we not question the absolutism of isms?Is it not true that no one position holds the monopoly on the truth?

      The quest for year zero market purity…

      Do not all the great materialist political / economic theories move toward a year zero nirvana, such as the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, the “1000 Year Reich”, the “Festival of the Supreme Being”?

      Is what we are talking about not the use of absolutist theories to justify personal gain of power, position, privilege?

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        The elite (say any household earning over $200K pa in NZ) are well insulated from the rough and tumble that neoliberal political economics is causing. Their social circles, where they shop, where they live, their sources of information, all put big distances between them and the life of drudgery and constant economic stress experienced by the commoners.

        Many of the elite will be genuinely surprised when the ungrateful wretches turn up on their door steps with torches and pitchforks.

        • KJT 2.1.1.1

          I wouldn’t say those over 200k. Up to 350k covers a lot of people who have earned their pay, including surgeons, SME owners, entrepreneurs, engineers and others with exceptional skills.

          Note that the ones who have genuinely worked their way up are not usually the ones who advocate low taxes, for themselves, and low wages for others.

          It is not that their pay is too high. Rather too many are paid too little.

          Rentiers, Bankers, speculators and overpaid state welfare bludgers (http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2011/03/kia-ora-yeah-we-should-be-doing.html) have claimed too much of the results of our efforts. .

          • Bored 2.1.1.1.1

            Going back to Monbiots question of why the super rich appear to be destroying the fabric that creates their wealth I think their high income levels have little to do with the behavior. Maybe it demonstrates a failure of imagination..a failure by the masses to imagine a different system and force a change… a failure of the elites to imagine that their privileges are becoming a liability.

            Other expressions for lack of imagination might be lack of self awareness, lack of balance, lack of restraint. The elites are very good at externalizing their societal costs (welfare resulting from their greed becomes “bludging”). The masses are poor at externalizing their woes as being the result of the elites avarice (so they read mags on the rich and famous as a wya of being “them”)..

            Either way all parties suffer if they refuse to see the cliff approaching at full speed and keep their foot on the accelerator.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.2

            Yes understand what you are getting at, and I won’t hold an attitude against a skilled value adding worker like a surgeon or a software engineer who earns a good pay packet.

            Nevertheless my point is less about a high level of financial security, and more about how that provides a kind of socio-economic insulation which can then slow or distort a person’s understanding of how the temperature is changing in other less well off parts of the community.

    • Carol 2.2

      Thanks, SP, for the link.

      And this (that comes directly after your above quote):

      As Colin Crouch shows in The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism, the state and the market are not, as neoliberals insist, in perpetual conflict. Instead they have united around the demands of giant corporations.

      Another excellent article from Monbiot.

    • KJT 2.3

      It is, in fact, a religion, with all the counterfactual bullshit and cunning self interest from those at the top apparent in religious organisations.

    • Funny thing here…

      National is planning to buy up large tracts of land in Christchurch to facilitate the re-build of the CBD. Billions will be spent through acquisition of public land. The State will co-ordinbate the re-build.

      The free market wouldn’t have a hope in carrying out this gargantuan enterprise. Like fleas on a massive State Beast, they can only come along for the ride, and do their little bit.

      Hopefully, though, the “free market” can construct buildings that won’t collapse in the next earthquake…

  3. Carol 3

    Following the GFC, austerity programmes, increasing inequalities, siphoning off of wealth by the elite, some people in the US are living in tents and some in London, just meters from the Olympic Stadium, are living in sheds with beds.

    While it’s not such an extreme housing and living crisis here in NZ, the process seems to be similar. The juxtaposition of a fancy stadium alongside a major, and neglected housing crisis, reminds me of Nero Fiddling Gerry sipping Champagne in Christchurch last night.

    London’s East End is experiencing squalor last seen in Dickensian London, while there seems to be an (unstated?) policy of social cleansing – hoping the poor will leave the city to the wealthy – shades of New Orleans, and, unfortunately maybe also Christchurch..

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-25/east-end-has-thousands-in-illegal-squalor-near-olympics.html

    Armed with a thermal map produced by a flyover in March, Lyons is searching for unlawful “sheds with beds,” as the borough council calls them. There are as many as 10,000 outbuildings where people may live illegally in the 14-square- mile East End district, she says. Raids have found as many as four people sleeping in a single backyard shed and sharing a filthy shower and toilet that aren’t always properly connected to the sewage system.
    [...]
    Britain is more polarized over inequality in housing wealth than at any time during the mortgage financing era, which began in the Victorian period of the 19th century, according to Danny Dorling, a University of Sheffield professor. He published a report on housing inequality for Shelter in 2004 and says the rise in top prices since means that disparity has widened.

    • Bored 3.1

      Carol, a comment…Following the GFC…do you not think that the whole antisocial housing and economic position belongs to a recent era (post Crash event) or to a much longer term condition?

      I yesterday contended that rental housing markets would always tend toward extreme bad housing and disadvantageously high rents if left to the market only, that public housing was required to force the market toward fair rents and high standards. In Britain public housing may have been deliberately left to run down by successive neo lib regimes (Labour and Tory). We appear to have gone the same way.

      On the up side I have watched the Wellington Coucil do complete refurbs on their Newtown and Central Park blocks……

      • Carol 3.1.1

        Carol, a comment…Following the GFC…do you not think that the whole antisocial housing and economic position belongs to a recent era (post Crash event) or to a much longer term condition?

        The latter, bored. When I lived in London in the 1980s and 90s, I went in houses/flats that were pretty dire, including some on council estates in the East End. And, of course, soon after Thatcher gained power the numbers of people living on the streets noticeably increased.

        But I think the dire housing situation has intensified since the GFC.

        And this article I have been reading – a transcript of an interview with an author and illustrator for a book, outlines how, in the US, it goes back to the dislocation of Native Americans, using the example of Pine Ridge.

        http://truth-out.org/news/item/10494-journalist-chris-hedges-on-capitalisms-sacrifice-zones-communities-destroyed-for-profit

        There are forgotten corners of this country where Americans are trapped in endless cycles of poverty, powerlessness, and despair as a direct result of capitalistic greed. Journalist Chris Hedges calls these places "sacrifice zones," and joins Bill this week on Moyers & Company to explore how areas like Camden, New Jersey; Immokalee, Florida; and parts of West Virginia suffer while the corporations that plundered them thrive.

        These are areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit. We're talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed," Hedges tells Bill.

        [...]
        Chris Hedges: Well, Pine Ridge is where it began, Western exploitation. And it was the railroad companies that did it. They wanted the land, they took the land, the government gave them the land. It either gave it to them or sold it to them very cheaply. They slaughtered the buffalo herds, they broke these people. Forcing a people that had not been part of a wage economy to become part of a wage economy, upending the traditional values.
        [...]
        Bill Moyers: Fit this all together for me. What does the suffering of the Native American on the Pine Ridge Reservation have to do with the unemployed coal miner in West Virginia have to do with the inner-city African American in Camden have to do with the single man working for minimum wage or less in Immokalee, Florida? What ties that all together?

        Chris Hedges: Greed. It's greed over human life.

        • Bored 3.1.1.1

          I can remember a pair of old crones who literally had a monopoly on run down flats around Christchurch in the 70s, neither of whom ever did a thing to even maintain the already disgraceful state of their rental properties. They just sat and got fatter bank accounts. As bad as anything in London, just in a slightly better climate.

          I also remember train rides into Waterloo East in the early 70s wondering how people lived in those houses you looked down on from the viaducts, scummy squalid places. Last time I took the same ride nothing had changed.

        • Olwyn 3.1.1.2

          “London’s East End is experiencing squalor last seen in Dickensian London, while there seems to be an (unstated?) policy of social cleansing – hoping the poor will leave the city to the wealthy…” While we do not seem to have reached the dire extremes of London, the hope here, at least in some quarters, appears to be that the poor will leave the whole bloody country to the wealthy. Australia has already absorbed a large percentage of our population, who have found it impossible to gain a foothold here.

          Let’s face it. When you don’t need the masses for manufacturing any more, what are they needed for? A percentage of them for low paid service jobs, and beyond that, to put pressure on wages and the putative worth of property. How to fight back is the problem, when the lower levels of haves express their fear becoming have-nots by despising them, and our politicians seem to have been seduced into maintaining the status quo, however bad it gets for the people at the bottom of the heap. People found the will to stand up to slavery in the nineteenth century, and somehow or other we need to find a similar will.

          • lostinsuburbia 3.1.1.2.1

            They also house a lot of illegal immigrants – handy to run your service industry on below legal wages with staff that can’t complain.

            I’ve worked on enforcement actions against illegal development in East London – while the problem gets worse and worse its been a long term problem. A lot of the development has been there many years, but landlords just stuff more people into overcrowded houses – plus put up dodgy outbuildings and sheds to fit a few more people.

            The subdvision controls are a lot more lax in the UK, you could go to the Land Registry and get new titles issued without proving legal subdivision (whereas here you have to get sign off from your local Council first). This lead to a lot of illegal subdivision and mortage fraud (I saw countless cases of houses being split into leasehold titles for illegal flats or back sheds cut off as new sections).

            The lower end of the housing market has similar problems in terms of overcrowding and people living in poor conditions, but its hidden more by the lower density of our development and the fact that is often shut away in poorer areas of our cities.

          • the pink postman 3.1.1.2.2

            In my childhood we lived in SE London slum owned by the then Duke of Westminster .Rent 2%6 a week if not paid you were throw out in the street.
            Yet the majority voted for the bloody Tories every time. The working people here do the same.Last election Solo mums and unemployed saying “Key”s the Man”

        • millsy 3.1.1.3

          I dread the day when Baroness Margaret Hilda Thatcher dies because every newspaper and dignitary (inc. those who should know better) will go on and on and on about how bloody wonderful she was, and that Britain was better off because of her.

      • bad12 3.1.2

        Helen Clark possibly deserves the ‘ups’ for the current ‘do up’ of the Wellington City Council flats, if my memory serves me right, there was a deal struck with a previous Council by the Clark Government giving the Council X amount of cash for refurbishment if they agreed to not sell or change to market rents for X amount of years…

      • millsy 3.1.3

        I belive that the governments shrinking of the state housing will result on a similar outcome here.

    • gareth 3.2

      I tend to think the large influx of eastern Europeans has exasperated things in London, Coupled with the fact that many work in the grey economy for very little pay (It wasn’t uncommon to find poles earning as little as 20 quid a day as laborers) as such they are forced to live in squalid cramped conditions. It seemed at the time that there was very little appetite for addressing this as middle classed people loved their extremely hard working cheap cleaner or cut price builder meaning politicians were loath to address it.
      It also put downward pressure on the wages as their were plenty of people suddenly available who were prepared to work for next to nothing.

      A tories wet dream I suppose ….

      • grumpy 3.2.1

        My son lives down by Woolwich, truely an eye opener.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.2

        A tories wet dream I suppose ….

        Wage deflation leads to living standard deflation and working poverty, and also lowers business costs driving increased corporate profits and dividends to shareholders.

        See how it works?

  4. urban rascal 4

    Woke to the Disturbing news of Tony Blair’s return to the debate in the UK. Obviously war crimes aren’t enough to keep Blair off the masthead 10 years on.

    http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=692:the-return-of-the-king-tony-blair-and-the-magically-disappearing-blood&catid=25:alerts-2012&Itemid=69

  5. Pete 5

    Is it perhaps a little too easy to start a business in New Zealand?

    The European Union became concerned enough that last year it struck New Zealand from its so-called “white list” of countries that require only minimal customer due diligence for transactions involving financial and credit institutions. Concerned that New Zealand could be prone to money laundering and terrorist financing, the EU reaffirmed this year that New Zealand wouldn’t be on the list, which includes Australia, Canada and the U.S.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10823341

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      We did the neo-liberal thing and dumped regulations and now we’re beginning to find out what that actually means. Corruption abounds in a society once mostly free of it and, due to the lack of regulation and oversight, we can’t actually find it.

  6. Jackal 6

    Bob Jones – Asshole of the Week

    The Treaty of Waitangi talks about rights that are not lessened through the passage of time… It talks about sharing New Zealand so that all Kiwis can reap the rewards of living in this great country…

    • fender 6.1

      Good on ya Jackal.

      This gold plated asshole should stick to sitting in the audience at another corrupt boxing bout. Jones is an irrelevant voice with his racist rants and should not be given space in the Herald or anywhere else. One can only assume he has some kind of Gina Rinehart hold over this news outlet.

    • Bored 6.2

      Article 2 of the Treaty states “Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession;

      To me that means Maori unless they have gifted, sold or otherwise agreed with the Crown have full and exclusive possession of the river….as a proponent of “property” rights which bit of it does Bob Jones fail to understand? Or does he think Maori property rights are second class and invalid?

    • mike e 6.3

      No wonder his daughter ended up in the sex industry.

      • Bored 6.3.1

        Tell me more, sounds like some salacious gossip, could be fun.

      • Colonial Viper 6.3.2

        Sadly, lots of women do, who can’t make ends meet, or can’t access the financial resources needed to take different options.

        • QoT 6.3.2.1

          And stunningly, some sex workers choose sex work willingly because it suits them and they enjoy it!

          • Colonial Viper 6.3.2.1.1

            Given that her family is worth many millions of dollars, that is also a possibility.

          • felix 6.3.2.1.2

            And either way it’s not really something to slag someone off for just because their Dad’s a bit of a dick.

    • millsy 6.4

      Interesting how the right wingers seem to support the undisturbed right of New Zealanders to enjoy our natural resources, ie rivers, beaches, lakes etc…

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    The prime minister is literally an ass. http://bit.ly/PfHUkC

    • fender 7.1

      ..”the law is an ass”

      ..”but I’m comfortable with what he’s done”

      Fits in well with Frankly Speaking: Identifying a hypocrite

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Ah, so John Key admits that he’s comfortable with fraud (signing a document without reading it), lying (just how many convenient memory leaks did Banks have) and apparent bribery (saying that help will be available if a donation is forthcoming). We know he’s comfortable with this as he hasn’t fired Banks.

      • Vicky32 7.2.1

        Ah, so John Key admits that he’s comfortable with fraud (signing a document without reading it),

        I heard Trevor Mallard ping him well, on 1 News tonight! :D

        • Morrissey 7.2.1.1

          John Key admits that he’s comfortable with fraud (signing a document without reading it)

          Remember the way the corporate media went after Helen Clark in the absurd “Paintergate” furore? Which is more serious—Clark carelessly scribbling her signature on a piece of paper at a charity event or Key signing his name to indicate he has read documents that in fact he has not read?

          • Carol 7.2.1.1.1

            In the House this week, Banks used the eg of Clark and the signed painting as something far worse than anything he’d done:

            http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/5/e/4/50HansQ_20120731_00000007-7-Schools-Charter-Progress.htm

            Hon Trevor Mallard: Will the curriculum in charter schools include a unit on ethics; if so, will it make it clear that it is unethical to lie to the media and, through them, to the people of New Zealand?

            Hon JOHN BANKS: It could include a provision for the teaching of ethics, and the charter school kids might be taught that one should not sign a painting if one did not paint it, because that is forgery—that is forgery.

            PS: what if a celebrity signs a painting of themselves that they didn’t actually paint?

  8. Johnm 8

    Privatization: The Big Joke That Isn’t Funny
    by Paul Buchheit

    The privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That’s more than a joke, it’s an insult, it’s a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.

    Various studies have identified the ‘benefits’ of privatization as profitability and productivity, efficiency, wider share ownership and good investment returns. These are business benefits. More balanced studies consider the effects on average people, who have paid into a long-established societal support system for their schools and emergency services, water and transportation systems, and eventually health care and retirement benefits. These studies have concluded that:

    “Public good” and “profit motive” don’t mix. It’s a cruel joke to put them together, except in the distorted world of people who view the needs of society as products to be bought and sold.

    Link:http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/30-2

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Good link. I think this sums it up:

      As summarized by the UN’s International Policy Centre, “Privatisation has failed on several counts…the focus of investors on cost recovery has not promoted social objectives, such as reducing poverty and promoting equity.”

      The League of Women Voters takes the position that “Privatization is not appropriate when the provision of services by the government is necessary to preserve the common good, to protect national or local security or to meet the needs of the most vulnerable members of society.”

      “Public good” and “profit motive” don’t mix. It’s a cruel joke to put them together, except in the distorted world of people who view the needs of society as products to be bought and sold.

      And we’ve seen that in NZ. The failure of the privatised telecommunications to get us the services that we need while pulling billions out in profit is proof that privatisation fails the community.

      • framu 8.2.1

        also from the same article (but down in the comments)
        ———————
        As a resident of North Fulton County, I can tell you of a few things that allowed Sandy Springs take this path. At the time of incorporation is was pretty much build up, all infrastructure was already in place, they haven’t had to build any thoroughfares or other capital intensive public works. The tax base was already there, lots of businesses and many very well of neighborhoods, and very few poor ones (but even these look rather fancy if you compare them to some places in South Atlanta).
        ——————
        I lived in Sandy Springs for 5 years. I agree with gandalfhah. Also, they haven’t done a very good job of keeping up the infrastrucutre…try getting from Johnson Ferry Road to Perimeter Mall at 5 pm.
        ——————-
        Whilst outsourcing is a good idea for some things a government does, I’m not convinced that every city can and ought to engage in such widespread outsourcing. As others have noted, the city started out with good infrastructure already – and more importantly, I don’t think we should find it surprising that a rich suburb, which thus has better access to tax revenues, and less costs associated with poorer residents, is in rude financial health.
        ———————
        How about interview some residents that can attest to the level of service now provided by these companies. There is a flip side to every coin and I think you should show that in your article.
        ——————-
        so maybe not the randian nirvana your trying to sell it as

        (whats with the cloud pop up – its really annoying when your trying to edit something)

        • McFlock 8.2.1.1

          not to mention the wonders on can do in an extremely affluent town, compared with the rest of the country. I.e. the citizens can afford to pick up where the city falls short.

      • mike e 8.2.2

        It looks like the destiny church head quarters

  9. David Clark has come up with a cost for increasing the minimum wage – $427m.

    It’s not clear if that is just estimated wage increase costs or if it includes normal wage overheads. It’s also not clear if it includes wages currently at or greater than $15 that would be pushed up.

    What seems to be clear is Clark’s lack of understanding of business fundamentals. It also seems clear he’s out of touch with Dunedin business group leaders.

    He dismissed the arguments put forward by Mr Scandrett and Mr Christie, saying BusinessNZ was running the “same line” throughout New Zealand.

    Clark seems to be treating them like opposing politicians rather than groups in his electorate he should be working alongside.

    http://yourdunedin.org/2012/07/31/david-clark-versus-employers/

  10. Carol 10

    Touche, Trev……. supplementary to Banks about Charter Schools curriculum, reading – will it include something teaching children to read documents before signing them,…etc, etc…. and another supplementary about forgetting donations.

    • gobsmacked 10.1

      Banks coped with it easily enough. As soon as the question was tabled this morning, it was obvious what the follow-ups would be about. Labour in the House never seem to ask themselves the basic question: “Can you see it coming?”. In this case, anyone could, even Banks.

      They had an hour of free targets to play with, and they only really hit Pita Sharples, which is like candy from a baby.

      • Carol 10.1.1

        Well, I didn’t see it coming, was expecting a serious question, and laughed at the question that came. At one stage Banks looked a little miffed and emotional, but then he recovered and retaliated.

        Yes, Pita looked pitiful.

        • gobsmacked 10.1.1.1

          No offence, but it was Banks’ first day back since he got off, and the media were only asking him about one thing, and it wasn’t charter schools. So an experienced MP would have known exactly what to expect in a supplementary question from Trevor Mallard, regardless of the primary pretext.

          Here’s another predictable one, from today …

          David Shearer: “Is his conclusion from the police report that where they said they did not have enough evidence to prosecute, that is the same as complying with the law?”

          Rt Hon JOHN KEY: “Well, if there was a case to be answered, a prosecution would be taken. I know the Labour Party members would know about that, because they face lots of potential prosecutions.”

          (italics added)

          The follow-up? It’s been a recent post on the Standard, so it’s not hard … compare and contrast, the case of Bradley Ambrose. Key said – in Parliament – that Ambrose was guilty.

          “In the light of that answer, does he stand by his statement in this House … (etc)”

          How could the leader of the Opposition not be prepared for that? A goldfish memory? He lost his bit of paper? Nobody in his office saw it coming?

          Not good enough.

          • gobsmacked 10.1.1.1.1

            Correction to my previous comment:

            Key said of Ambrose “At the end of the day, his actions have been deemed unlawful.”, but I can’t find a record of him saying it in Parliament.

            That doesn’t change the essential point – Key found Ambrose guilty, and Banks not guilty. And since it took me a few minutes on dial-up to find the quote, it beggars belief that Shearer’s staff couldn’t.

  11. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_careerists_20120723

    The Careerists
    Posted on Jul 23, 2012

    By Chris Hedges

    The greatest crimes of human history are made possible by the most colorless human beings. They are the careerists. The bureaucrats. The cynics. They do the little chores that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death a reality. They collect and read the personal data gathered on tens of millions of us by the security and surveillance state. They keep the accounts of ExxonMobil, BP and Goldman Sachs. They build or pilot aerial drones. They work in corporate advertising and public relations. They issue the forms. They process the papers. They deny food stamps to some and unemployment benefits or medical coverage to others. They enforce the laws and the regulations. And they do not ask questions.

    Good. Evil. These words do not mean anything to them. They are beyond morality. They are there to make corporate systems function. If insurance companies abandon tens of millions of sick to suffer and die, so be it. If banks and sheriff departments toss families out of their homes, so be it. If financial firms rob citizens of their savings, so be it. If the government shuts down schools and libraries, so be it. If the military murders children in Pakistan or Afghanistan, so be it. If commodity speculators drive up the cost of rice and corn and wheat so that they are unaffordable for hundreds of millions of poor across the planet, so be it. If Congress and the courts strip citizens of basic civil liberties, so be it. If the fossil fuel industry turns the earth into a broiler of greenhouse gases that doom us, so be it. They serve the system. The god of profit and exploitation. The most dangerous force in the industrialized world does not come from those who wield radical creeds, whether Islamic radicalism or Christian fundamentalism, but from legions of faceless bureaucrats who claw their way up layered corporate and governmental machines. They serve any system that meets their pathetic quota of needs.

    These systems managers believe nothing. They have no loyalty. They are rootless. They do not think beyond their tiny, insignificant roles. They are blind and deaf. They are, at least regarding the great ideas and patterns of human civilization and history, utterly illiterate. And we churn them out of universities. Lawyers. Technocrats. Business majors. Financial managers. IT specialists. Consultants. Petroleum engineers. “Positive psychologists.” Communications majors. Cadets. Sales representatives. Computer programmers. Men and women who know no history, know no ideas. They live and think in an intellectual vacuum, a world of stultifying minutia. They are T.S. Eliot’s “the hollow men,” “the stuffed men.” “Shape without form, shade without colour,” the poet wrote. “Paralysed force, gesture without motion.”

    It was the careerists who made possible the genocides, from the extermination of Native Americans to the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians to the Nazi Holocaust to Stalin’s liquidations. They were the ones who kept the trains running. They filled out the forms and presided over the property confiscations. They rationed the food while children starved. They manufactured the guns. They ran the prisons. They enforced travel bans, confiscated passports, seized bank accounts and carried out segregation. They enforced the law. They did their jobs.

    Political and military careerists, backed by war profiteers, have led us into useless wars, including World War I, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. And millions followed them. Duty. Honor. Country. Carnivals of death. They sacrifice us all. In the futile battles of Verdun and the Somme in World War I, 1.8 million on both sides were killed, wounded or never found. In July of 1917 British Field Marshal Douglas Haig, despite the seas of dead, doomed even more in the mud of Passchendaele. By November, when it was clear his promised breakthrough at Passchendaele had failed, he jettisoned the initial goal—as we did in Iraq when it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and in Afghanistan when al-Qaida left the country—and opted for a simple war of attrition. Haig “won” if more Germans than allied troops died. Death as score card. Passchendaele took 600,000 more lives on both sides of the line before it ended. It is not a new story. Generals are almost always buffoons. Soldiers followed John the Blind, who had lost his eyesight a decade earlier, to resounding defeat at the Battle of Crécy in 1337 during the Hundred Years War. We discover that leaders are mediocrities only when it is too late.

    David Lloyd George, who was the British prime minister during the Passchendaele campaign, wrote in his memoirs: “[Before the battle of Passchendaele] the Tanks Corps Staff prepared maps to show how a bombardment which obliterated the drainage would inevitably lead to a series of pools, and they located the exact spots where the waters would gather. The only reply was a peremptory order that they were to ‘Send no more of these ridiculous maps.’ Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.”

    Here you have the explanation of why our ruling elites do nothing about climate change, refuse to respond rationally to economic meltdown and are incapable of coping with the collapse of globalization and empire. These are circumstances that interfere with the very viability and sustainability of the system. And bureaucrats know only how to serve the system. They know only the managerial skills they ingested at West Point or Harvard Business School. They cannot think on their own. They cannot challenge assumptions or structures. They cannot intellectually or emotionally recognize that the system might implode. And so they do what Napoleon warned was the worst mistake a general could make—paint an imaginary picture of a situation and accept it as real. But we blithely ignore reality along with them. The mania for a happy ending blinds us. We do not want to believe what we see. It is too depressing. So we all retreat into collective self-delusion.

    In Claude Lanzmann’s monumental documentary film “Shoah,” on the Holocaust, he interviews Filip Müller, a Czech Jew who survived the liquidations in Auschwitz as a member of the “special detail.” Müller relates this story:

    “One day in 1943 when I was already in Crematorium 5, a train from Bialystok arrived. A prisoner on the ‘special detail’ saw a woman in the ‘undressing room’ who was the wife of a friend of his. He came right out and told her: ‘You are going to be exterminated. In three hours you’ll be ashes.’ The woman believed him because she knew him. She ran all over and warned to the other women. ‘We’re going to be killed. We’re going to be gassed.’ Mothers carrying their children on their shoulders didn’t want to hear that. They decided the woman was crazy. They chased her away. So she went to the men. To no avail. Not that they didn’t believe her. They’d heard rumors in the Bialystok ghetto, or in Grodno, and elsewhere. But who wanted to hear that? When she saw that no one would listen, she scratched her whole face. Out of despair. In shock. And she started to scream.”

    Blaise Pascal wrote in “Pensées,” “We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us from seeing it.”

    Hannah Arendt, in writing “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” noted that Adolf Eichmann was primarily motivated by “an extraordinary diligence in looking out for his personal advancement.” He joined the Nazi Party because it was a good career move. “The trouble with Eichmann,” she wrote, “was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal.”

    “The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else,” Arendt wrote. “No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.”

    Gitta Sereny makes the same point in her book “Into That Darkness,” about Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka. The assignment to the SS was a promotion for the Austrian policeman. Stangl was not a sadist. He was soft-spoken and polite. He loved his wife and children very much. Unlike most Nazi camp officers, he did not take Jewish women as concubines. He was efficient and highly organized. He took pride in having received an official commendation as the “best camp commander in Poland.” Prisoners were simply objects. Goods. “That was my profession,” he said. “I enjoyed it. It fulfilled me. And yes, I was ambitious about that, I won’t deny it.” When Sereny asked Stangl how as a father he could kill children, he answered that he “rarely saw them as individuals. It was always a huge mass. … [T]hey were naked, packed together, running, being driven with whips. …” He later told Sereny that when he read about lemmings it reminded him of Treblinka.

    Christopher Browning’s collection of essays, “The Path to Genocide,” notes that it was the “moderate,” “normal” bureaucrats, not the zealots, who made the Holocaust possible. Germaine Tillion pointed out “the tragic easiness [during the Holocaust] with which ‘decent’ people could become the most callous executioners without seeming to notice what was happening to them.” The Russian novelist Vasily Grossman in his book “Forever Flowing” observed that “the new state did not require holy apostles, fanatic, inspired builders, faithful, devout disciples. The new state did not even require servants—just clerks.”

    “The most nauseating type of S.S. were to me personally the cynics who no longer genuinely believed in their cause, but went on collecting blood guilt for its own sake,” wrote Dr. Ella Lingens-Reiner in “Prisoners of Fear,” her searing memoir of Auschwitz. “Those cynics were not always brutal to the prisoners, their behavior changed with their mood. They took nothing seriously—neither themselves nor their cause, neither us nor our situation. One of the worst among them was Dr. Mengele, the Camp Doctor I have mentioned before. When a batch of newly arrived Jews was being classified into those fit for work and those fit for death, he would whistle a melody and rhythmically jerk his thumb over his right or his left shoulder—which meant ‘gas’ or ‘work.’ He thought conditions in the camp rotten, and even did a few things to improve them, but at the same time he committed murder callously, without any qualms.”

    These armies of bureaucrats serve a corporate system that will quite literally kill us. They are as cold and disconnected as Mengele. They carry out minute tasks. They are docile. Compliant. They obey. They find their self-worth in the prestige and power of the corporation, in the status of their positions and in their career promotions. They assure themselves of their own goodness through their private acts as husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. They sit on school boards. They go to Rotary. They attend church. It is moral schizophrenia. They erect walls to create an isolated consciousness. They make the lethal goals of ExxonMobil or Goldman Sachs or Raytheon or insurance companies possible. They destroy the ecosystem, the economy and the body politic and turn workingmen and -women into impoverished serfs. They feel nothing. Metaphysical naiveté always ends in murder. It fragments the world. Little acts of kindness and charity mask the monstrous evil they abet. And the system rolls forward. The polar ice caps melt. The droughts rage over cropland. The drones deliver death from the sky. The state moves inexorably forward to place us in chains. The sick die. The poor starve. The prisons fill. And the careerist, plodding forward, does his or her job.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      You really don’t need to copy/paste the entire article.

      Hey, LPrent, maybe a 500 word limit enforced server side?

    • McFlock 12.2

      On the flipside, you have career administrators who enable doctors, teachers and fire fighters to work more effectively. 
               
      Not all bureaucracy is bad. It’s the politicians and politically-appointed managers who direct whether a bureaucracy is good, bad or indifferent.

      • Morrissey 12.2.1

        Not all bureaucracy is bad.

        Hedges did not make that claim. Once again, you haven’t read something thoroughly.

    • marty mars 12.3

      maybe i just don’t get it. It seems to me that blaming careerists is similar to blaming the elite.

    • Colonial Viper 12.4

      If define a “careerist” as someone who operates in a role or organisation with the sole aim of furthering or buttressing their position and influence in that organisation, then yeah its a bad thing.

      If you define it as someone who is dedicated to their profession and organisation, gathering new experience and expertise over the years and striving to improve how they add value daily, then its a good thing.

  12. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10823341

    Has this had anything to do with Adam Feeley’s resignation?

    How come on Mr Feeley’s watch, Don Brash and John Banks were never charged for signing Huljich Kiwisaver Scheme registered prospectuses dated 22 August 2008 and 18 September 2009 which contained untrue statements?

    The ‘old boy’ network protecting DODGY John Banks?

    That’s how I for one ‘perceive’ it.

    [John Banks is the Leader of the NZ ACT Party and MP for Epsom, upon whose pivotal vote the Mixed Ownership Model Bill (which allows 'partial privatisation' of essential electricity assets) was passed 61 - 60. ]

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’
    Attendee: 2010 Transparency International Anti-Corruption Conference

    http://www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

  13. jellytussle 14

    Couldn’t help but chuckle at news thump today……I can see Bennett getting ideas from this!

    http://newsthump.com/2012/07/27/majority-of-paralympians-fit-enough-to-work-insists-iain-duncan-smith/

    • marty mars 14.1

      LOL – that was very good.

      I can imagine bennett saying all of that – “Enough is enough is enough is enough” indeed.

    • Vicky32 14.2

      Couldn’t help but chuckle at news thump today……I can see Bennett getting ideas from this!

      Goodness, I am dense! It took me about 5 minutes to realise – whew, it’s satire, though knowing him…

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    New Zealand has an opportunity to make a major contribution to the strengthening of international law and institutional capacity through its upcoming two-year tenure on the United Nations Security Council, Green Party spokesperson on global affairs, Dr Kennedy Graham said...
    Greens | 16-10
  • MPI still dragging the chain over causes of food bug
    The Ministry of Primary Industries’ release of Environmental Science and Research’s initial reports regarding the sources of a nasty stomach bug will be little comfort to the 127 people affected by it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “This...
    Labour | 16-10
  • Treasury officials should try working without food
    The Green Party is challenging Treasury officials to work for a week without eating properly, in light of their advice to Government that a food in schools programme is not needed."Treasury's advice was that providing food for children in schools...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Councils need to better protect our drinking water
    Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing several variations to its regional land and water plan that will allow for increased nutrient and other pollution from irrigation and intensive agriculture on the Canterbury Plains. Commissioners are hearing submissions on Variation 1 to...
    Greens | 15-10
  • National needs to commit to making NZ workers safe
    The National Government must do more to help make New Zealand workplaces a safer place to work in, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Data released by Statistics New Zealand today showed that workers in the fishing and...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Key commits to deployment before consultation or analysis
    John Key’s offer to consult Opposition parties on whether to deploy New Zealand forces against ISIS looks increasingly like a PR exercise only, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson, Phil Goff. “The presence of New Zealand’s Chief of Defence Force at a...
    Labour | 15-10
  • National must end ideological opposition to raising income
    If John Key is serious about tackling child poverty he must approach it with an open mind, and overcome his ideological block to raising incomes as a solution, the Green Party said today.Papers released to Radio New Zealand today show...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Pentagon links climate change and terrorism
    Yesterday the Pentagon launched a plan to deal with a threat that “poses immediate risks to national security”; one that “will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the nation”. It wasn’t referring to Ebola or ISIS. It was...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Four Nominees for Labour’s Leadership
    As at 5pm today four valid nominations had been received for the position of Labour Leader, as follows: Andrew Little(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway) Nanaia Mahuta(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio) David Parker(nominated by Damien O’Connor...
    Labour | 14-10
  • Green Party calls for consultation over terrorism law changes
    The Green Party has today written to the Prime Minister asking him to engage in wider consultation prior to changing any laws as a result of the recently announced terrorism law reviews, said the Green Party today. In a letter...
    Greens | 14-10
  • MPI must name product and supermarket chain
    The Ministry of Primary Industries must name the product responsible for severe gastroenteritis affecting people around the country, and the supermarket chain distributing it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The Ministry seems to be more concerned about protecting...
    Labour | 13-10
  • John Key dishonest about reasons for wanting to change terrorism law
    John Key is misleading the public to push through terrorism law changes under urgency, the Green Party said today. On Sunday, John Key stated that it is not illegal for someone to fight overseas for a terrorist group, such as...
    Greens | 12-10
  • Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought
    The Prime Minister needs to be up front about exactly what changes he is planning to make to the Employment Relations  Amendment Bill, Labour's spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.Interviewed on Q&A yesterday John Key said he did not...
    Labour | 12-10
  • Rapists, not Tinder, the threat to women
    Blame for rape and sexual assault should only ever be laid at the door of the perpetrator, not dating services or the actions of women themselves, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “Tinder is not the problem and women...
    Labour | 09-10
  • Safer Journeys For People Who Cycle
    You have a rare opportunity to tell the people who are making the decisions on cycling how to make it better. The Cycling Safety Panel is seeking feedback on their draft recommendations for improving the safety of cycling in New...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Subsidising more pollution will undermine water clean-up plan at Te Waihora...
    In 2010, NIWA found Canterbury’s Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere had the worst nutrient status of 140 lakes around New Zealand that it measured. In 2011, the National Government committed to spending $15 million across the country through the Fresh Start for...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Adding value not herbicides
    The HT swedes, and other brassicas, might seem like a good idea to farmers struggling against weeds but like the GE road, is this the path we want our agriculture to be treading? The Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston...
    Greens | 07-10
  • ‘Blame the Planner’ bizarre approach to child poverty
    The National Government is stooping to a bizarre new low in blaming "planning processes" for poverty and inequality, after spending six years doing nothing about either the housing market or child poverty, the Green Party said today. Finance Minister Bill...
    Greens | 07-10
  • Media Advisory
    MANA Leader, Hone Harawira will not be available to speak with media today regarding his release “Recount Just One Step To restoring Credibility”. He is however available for media comment tomorrow, Tuesday the 8th of October, all media arrangements are...
    Mana | 07-10
  • RECOUNT JUST ONE STEP TO RESTORING CREDIBILITY
    “I have applied for a judicial recount of the votes in the Tai Tokerau election because it is one step in trying to restore credibility to the electoral process in the north, and, I suspect, in all other Maori electorates...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA SEEKS TAI TOKERAU RECOUNT
    The MANA Movement is supporting Leader Hone Harawira’s application for a judicial re-count in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate for the 2014 general election. President Lisa McNab says there are a number of serious issues of concern regarding the ability...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA to fight mass privatisation of state housing
    Announcements over the past 12 hours from the Minister responsible for Housing New Zealand, Bill English, and Minister for Social Housing, Paula Bennett, make clear the government’s intention for the mass privatisation of state housing. This comes during the middle...
    Mana | 07-10
  • Journalists have right to protect sources
    Legal authorities must respect the right of journalist Nicky Hager to protect the source of his material for his Dirty Politics book under Section 68 of the Evidence Act, Acting Labour Leader David Parker says. “It is crucial in an...
    Labour | 06-10
  • It shouldn’t take the Army to house the homeless
    National’s move to speed up its state house sell-off shows it is bankrupt of new ideas, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National has been in office for six years, yet the housing crisis has got worse every month and...
    Labour | 06-10
  • Government must lift social housing supply, not shuffle the deck chairs
    National's decision to shift the state provision of housing to third parties is a smokescreen for the Government decreasing the provision of affordable housing, the Green Party said today."What National should be doing is increasing the supply of both social...
    Greens | 06-10
  • Election 2014 – the final count
    While we have to wait for the final booth level counts we can now see how well we did in the specials and look at electorate level data. First off special votes (and disallowed/recounted votes etc). There was a change...
    Greens | 06-10
  • We need more houses, not Ministers
    The Government’s decision to have three housing Ministers will create a dog’s breakfast of the portfolio and doesn’t bode well for fixing the country’s housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New Zealanders need more houses, not more Ministers....
    Labour | 05-10
  • MANA’S CHALLENGE TO THE 51st PARLIAMENT
    Ten years ago I led 50,000 Maori on the historic FORESHORE AND SEABED MARCH from Te Rerenga Wairua to the very steps of this parliament, in a march against the greatest land grab in the history of this country –...
    Mana | 03-10
  • Is this really necessary?
    No one denies chief executives should be well paid for their skills and experience, but it is the efforts of all employees which contribute to company profits, Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker says. “Salaries paid to chief executives come at...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Lyttelton Port workers also deserve pay rises
    Hard slog by Lyttelton Port workers contributed to strong financial growth for the company and they deserve to be rewarded for their work as much as its chief executive, says Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker. “Lyttelton Port chief executive Peter...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Māori Party must seek guarantees on Māori seats
    Labour is calling on the Māori Party to ensure protection of the Māori seats is part of its coalition deal with National which is being considering this weekend, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “For the third consecutive term,...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Donaghys job losses another blow to Dunedin
    The loss of 30 jobs from Donaghys rope and twine factory is yet another blow to the people and economy of Dunedin, says Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran. “Donaghys was founded in 1876; the company has survived two world...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Dairy price fall shows urgent need to diversify
    The overnight drop in milk prices shows New Zealand’s overreliance on the dairy industry puts our economy in a vulnerable position, says Acting Labour Leader David Parker. “Dairy prices fell 7.3 per cent overnight and have almost halved since February....
    Labour | 02-10
  • Tasks aplenty for new Health Minister
    One of the first jobs for the new Minister of Health must be to provide an honest and transparent report into surgery waiting times and exactly how many Kiwis are not having their health needs met, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette...
    Labour | 02-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Where. Is. Jason. Ede?
    Where. Is. Jason. Ede?...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Labour’s Din of Inequity
    Watching Labour’s leadership candidates on Q+A on Sunday, I noticed the ongoing use of terms like “opportunity” and “aspiration”, and “party of the workers”. What do these mean? We glean much from Labour, and from the media about Labour, but not...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • “Blue-Greenwash” fails the test when it comes to endangered dolphins
    National’s pre-election promises saw some wins for the environment – perhaps as the party sought to appease its “Blue-Green” voters and broaden its popular appeal. Some of the ecological gains were a long time in the making, overdue even– such...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Reasons not to be cheerful, Part #272b
    Why don’t you get back into bed? The next few years — the rest of this century — are not going to be pretty. There is an obvious disconnect between any remaining political ambition to fix climate change and the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • OIA protocols and official advice ignored to hide Child Poverty
    It might not seem so now, but child poverty was a major election issue. What a pity we did not have the full debate. In that debate it would have been very helpful to have seen the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 20-10
  • Previewing the 4 candidates for Leader of the Labour Party
    The extraordinary outbursts by Shearer last week highlights just how toxic that Caucus is. Shearer was on every major media platform as the ABC attack dog tearing into Cunliffe in the hope of diminishing Cunliffe’s support of Little by tearing...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – the sudden explosion of ‘left’ blogs
    Time to Teach or more people will suffer from P.A.I.D. Political And Intellectual Dysmorphia.I was on the Twitter and a guy followed me so of course I did the polite thing and followed him back. He wrote a blog so...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Ego vs Eco
    Ego vs Eco...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • We can’t let the Roastbuster case slip away
    Those of us (like me) left with hope that the police would aggressively follow through on the large amount of evidence on offer to them (let’s not forget they forgot they even had some at one point) in the Roastbusters...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Food, shelter and medicine instead of bombs and bullets
    The on-going conflict across the Middle East – due in large part to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq – has created another humanitarian crisis of biblical proportion. The essentials of life are desperately needed in Iraq and Syria...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • The politics of electorate accommodations
    National’s electorate accommodations with ACT and United Future were a big factor in it winning re-election. Interestingly, there is another electorate accommodation scenario whereby the centre-left could have come out on top, even with the same distribution of party votes....
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November
    On 8 November 2014, thousands of Kiwis will take part in the International Day of Action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The rally cry for us is TPPA – Corporate Trap, Kiwis Fight Back. Why should you join...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG – Patrick O’Dea: no new coal mines
    Green Party and Mana Party policy is “NO NEW COAL MINES!” Auckland Coal Action is trying to put this policy into action on the ground. ACA after a hard fought two year campaign waged alongside local residents and Iwi, in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Comparing Police action – Hager raid vs Roast Buster case
    This satire had the NZ Police contact TDB and threaten us with 6months in prison for using their logo.   The plight of Nicky Hager and the draconian Police actions against him has generated over  $53 000 in donations so...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Malala Yousafzai, White Saviour Complexes and Local Resistance
    Last week, Malala Yousafzai was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since her exposure to the worldwide spotlight, her spirit, wisdom and strength have touched the hearts of people everywhere. However, there have been cynics who have argued that...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Jason Ede is back – but no media can interview him?
    Well, well, well. Jason Ede, the main figure connected to John Key’s office and the Dirty Politics black ops is back with a company with deep ties to the National Party. One thing you can say about the right –...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Leadership Transitions In Other Parties: A ...
    As cannot have escaped anyone’s attention by now, the country is presently in the grips of an election and campaign that will help determine the fate of the nation for years to come. It’s gripping stuff – with clear divides...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • SkyCity worker says she faces losing her house
    SkyCity worker Carolyn Alpine told the company annual shareholder’s meeting today that she faced the prospect of losing her house because the company had cut her shifts from two a week to one without consultation. The solo mother, has worked...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • Greg O’Connor’s latest push to arm cops & 5 reasons not to
    I was wondering at what point within a 3rd term of National that Police Cheerleader Greg O’Connor would start trying to demand cops be armed. O’Connor must have thought to himself, ‘if bloody Key can get us and the GCSB vast new...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • You can’t have crisis without ISIS
    So the new scary bogeyman ISIS might have chemical weapons that the US secretly found in Iraq, but America didn’t want to expose this find because the WMDs were actually built and made by the US and Europe, the two powers...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • NZ WINS UN SPIN THE BOTTLE! Privately sucking up to America for a decade me...
    Oh, we are loved! Little old NZ, the 53rd state of America after Israel and Australia, gets to sit at the adults table for the special dinner party that is the UN Security Council. How delightful, a decade of privately...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • MEDIA BLOG – Myles Thomas – A World Without Advertising
    Non-commercial broadcasting and media. It’s a solution for all manner of problems ailing our tender nation… voter engagement, unaccountable governance, apathy, stupefaction, public education, science in schools, arts appreciation, cultural cringe… But no-one could’ve guessed that non-commercial media might solve...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October
    March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • Whack a mole as US govt foreign policy
    Whack-A-Mole was a popular arcade game from my youth.  It consisted of a waist high cabinet with holes in the top. Plastic moles seemingly randomly pop out of these holes. The purpose of the game was to hit as many...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • In Paean of Debt
    This week is ‘Money Week’. It’s an opportunity to promote to the middle classes, and anyone else who will listen, the virtues of wise ‘investment’. The aims are to promote the mystical (and indeed mythical) virtues of saving for the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • The last 48 hours – Poverty denial, war denial and unapologetic abuse of ...
    The bewildering speed of events that simply end in Key shrugging and proclaiming he doesn’t really give a shit is coming think and fast as the Government suddenly appreciate the full spectrum dominance they now enjoy. Here is Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Mana 2.0 Rebooted
    Internationally the news is that Evo Morales of Bolivia won big with Left Wing policies But what are the chances that the Left will make a resurgence in this country? As the internecine struggles between the Left and the Right...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Blomfield IPCA letter – Has Dirty Politics leaked into the NZ Police ...
    It’s difficult to know what to make of the IPCA letter to Matthew Blomfield over Slater’s continued insistence that the hard drive taken from Matthew wasn’t stolen.  Slater has selectively cherry picked the Police referring back to his claim that Blomfeild perjured...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • ​Media release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union – Auckland move for K...
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland. “The purpose of the Zero Harm team is to drive KiwiRail’s performance in health and safety.  Rail is a...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Amnesty International – Friend request from an IS militant
    There’s always that one person, that one Facebook friend, usually a musician or event promoter, who, when you so foolishly accept their friend request, will completely inundate your news feed with copious event invitations and promotions. The person who, despite...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • NZ should follow the UK and recognize the Palestinian state
    Over the past two weeks, the United Kingdom and Sweden have made headlines through their decisions to recognize the state of Palestine. They are hardly the first nations to do so. Indeed, 134 countries have, in various ways, given formal...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Discordant Chimes of Freedom: Why Labour has yet to be forgiven.
    WHY DOES THE ELECTORATE routinely punish Labour and the Greens for their alleged “political correctness” but not National? It just doesn’t seem fair. Consider, for example, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 – the so-called “anti-smacking legislation” –...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Hosking or Henry – Which right wing crypto fascist clown do you want to w...
    So Mediaworks are finally going to make some actual money from their eye watering contract with Paul Henry by launching a new multi-platform Breakfast show over TV, Radio and internet. This is great news for Campbell Live who have dodged...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Families need more money to reduce child poverty
    Prime Minister John Key is mistaken to rule out extending the In Work Tax Credit to all poor children (The Nation 11th Oct) and Child Poverty Action Group challenges government advisors to come up with a more cost effective way...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Don’t shit on my dream
    Once were dreamers. A large man, walks down the road and, even from 200 yards there’s light showing between his big arms and bigger body. It’s as if he’s put tennis balls under his arms. Two parking wardens walk out...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Labour and ‘special interests’
    The media narrative of Labour is that it is unpopular because it’s controlled by ‘special interests’. This ‘special interests’ garbage is code for gays, Maoris, wimin and unionists. We should show that argument the contempt it deserves. The next Labour...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Ru...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Tahi) . National’s housing development project: ‘Gateway’ to confusion . Perhaps nothing better illustrates National’s lack of a coherent housing programme than the ‘circus’ that is...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Here’s what WINZ are patronisingly saying to people on welfare when they ...
    Yesterday, a case manager from WINZ called to tell me that I needed to “imagine what I would do if I did not have welfare”. I replied “Well, I guess if I couldn’t live at home, I would be homeless.”...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • David Shearer’s ‘no feminist chicks’ mentality highlights all that is...
    Mr Nasty pays a visit Shearer’s extraordinary outburst last night on NZs favourite redneck TV, The Paul Henry Show, is a reminder of all that is wrong within the Labour Caucus right now… He said the current calls for a female or...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0
    Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – A Tale Of Two Cities
    Sunday was surreal. I went for a drive and ended up in a different country. It wasn’t intentional but those days of too many literally intertextual references seldom are. There is no doubt that the Sunday drive this week had...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Key raises terror threat level to justify war in Iraq and now the SIS need ...
    Have we learned nothing from rushing into war? It’s embarrassing Key has raised our terror threat from ‘very low’ to ‘low’ so he can justify military action in Iraq. Watching him pimp for an American war is as sick as...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Socialism? in France; Austerity in Europe
    On Sunday I stumbled upon this recent New York Times column The Fall of France by Paul Krugman. Then I caught BBC’s Newsnight interview with France’s ‘Socialist’ Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Krugman notes that the Socialists came to power on an anti-austerity mandate, but completely squandered their opportunity...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • So Snowden and Greenwald were right – again – NZ Embassies spying for A...
    Well, well, well. What do we have here… NZ embassies involved in covert intelligence work for US – reportsNew Zealand’s embassies have been involved in covert intelligence gathering work on behalf of the United States, a fresh batch of classified...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Why David Parker *isn’t* a credible choic...
    The one electoral contest this year that a Labour leader is sure to win heated up over the weekend with the late entry of Finance Spokesman (and interim caretaker leader) David Parker into Labour’s leadership race. I’d blogged late last...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • DIA undercover investigation leads to jailing
    An undercover Internal Affairs investigation has led to a Hastings man being jailed for three and half years....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of Balibo Five
    Media Information: Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of journalist Gary Cunningham and the Balibo Five...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Australia and NZ actions on press freedoms alarming
    Global support for investigative journalism in Australia and New Zealand is a welcome response to law changes and a police raid, says the Pacific Freedom Forum...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call for release of French journalists in West Papua
    West Papua Action Auckland, the EPMU Print and Media Council and the NZ Media Freedom Network call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to speak out in support of the two French TV journalists whose trial has just begun in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Court of Appeal: Dotcom v 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
    A The appeal is dismissed. B The 20 August 2014 order of the High Court dealing with confidentiality and the 29 August 2014 order of this Court dealing with confidentiality are set aside. C The confidentiality orders set out in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Glassons Blasted For Glamourising Animal Cruelty
    Clothing brand Glassons have found themselves embroiled in another controversy after launching a new advert featuring a girl riding a bull. Animal advocacy organisation SAFE have asked them to remove the ad immediately as it glamourises animal cruelty....
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet
    Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group applauds the tough line taken by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Border Staff at Auckland Airport. In deporting the couple found trying to smuggle bee products...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Responds to Joyce on Corporate Welfare
    Responding to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce’s defence of corporate welfare , Jim Rose, the author of Monopoly Money , a Taxpayers Union report on corporate welfare since 2008, says:...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech from the Throne brings welcome focus on children
    Today’s speech from the Throne confirms the Government’s focus on children, youth and their families in the areas of health, education, youth employment, poverty alleviation and Whānau Ora; now the challenge is to ensure every child in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • John’s Job Fairs no fix for unemployment and poverty
    “John Key has clearly been looking to the US for his latest bright idea on dealing with employment issues,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Sue Bradford. “Job fairs where the desperately unemployed queue in their corporate best to compete...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech From the Throne Foreshadows More Corporate Welfare
    Responding to the Governor General’s Speech from the Throne, which outlined that the Government’s intentions for the next Parliamentary term would include further Business Growth Agenda initiatives, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Green MP to speak at panel on Rainbow Mental Health
    Hamilton, New Zealand: Recently re-elected Green Party MP Jan Logie will be a guest speaker at a panel on the mental health of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trangender, Takataapui and Intersex people taking place on November 1st as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Evidence Supports GE Moratorium
    Federated Farmers spokesman Graham Smith's call for a 'rethink' on release of GeneticallyEngineered organisms is misguided, and instead it is time for a formal moratorium on GMOs in the environment.(1)...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Chatham Rise mining could have impact on whales and dolphins
    Wellington, 21 October 2014--Mining phosphate on the Chatham Rise, off the east coast of New Zealand’s south island, could potentially have many impacts on marine mammals like whales and dolphins, the Environmental Protection Agency was told today....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Council endorses Nanaia Mahuta as the next Labour leader
    Te Kaunihera Māori, the Māori Council of the New Zealand Labour Party, have passed a resolution to endorse the Hon Nanaia Mahuta as the next leader of the Labour Party...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Kaumatua to organise petition to end Maori seats
    Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin has announced that he will be organising a nationwide petition to seek support from Maori voters to end the Maori seats. “These seats are patronising”, he says. “They imply we need a special status, and that...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Announcing a New Voice for The Left
    Josh Forman is pleased to announce the creation of a new force on the Left of politics in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Public services held back by poor workplace culture
    A new report by Victoria University’s Centre for Labour, Employment and Work shows that public servants are working significant unpaid overtime to ensure the public services New Zealanders value are able to continue....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Andrew Little’s probability of being the next leader of the Labour Party has reached 70% and Jacinda Ardern is favourite to become his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Prison Drug Treatment Unit marks a milestone
    Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) celebrated the completion of its 50th six month Drug and Alcohol Programme today, with the graduation of a further twelve offenders....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Security Council seat a chance for NZ to empower women
    The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand (UN Women NCANZ) welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use its position to proactively promote effective implementation of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Waipareira and ACC sign Partnership
    Waipareira and The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Whanau Centre, Henderson – marking a special day for the West Auckland Urban Maori organisation....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Humanitarian aid desperately needed in Iraq and Syria
    Global Peace and Justice Auckland is calling on the government to provide humanitarian funding for non-aligned NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the Middle East rather than give any support whatever for the US-led military campaign in the area....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Court Judicial Decision: Dotcom v The USA: 17 October 2014
    The United States of America is seeking the extradition of Messrs Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and Van Der Kolk. The matter has been before the Courts on numerous occasions, and no further recitation of the facts is needed....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Marshall Island poet speaks at UN climate summit
    “The fossil fuel industry is the biggest threat to our very existence as Pacific Islanders. We stand to lose our homes, our communities and our culture. But we are fighting back. This coming Friday thirty Pacific Climate Warriors, joined by...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Many tourist car accidents preventable
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    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • RainbowYOUTH: 25 Years, 25 More
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    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Outdated Oath shows need for Kiwi Head of State
    MPs are sworn in today and New Zealand Republic has written to MPs asking them to talk about why 121 New Zealanders elected by the people of New Zealand and standing in the New Zealand Parliament swear allegiance to another...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Council shouldn’t revenue grab from windfall valuations
    Auckland Council should state clearly they will not try and capture revenue as a result of the latest valuations and needs reminding that the City’s skyrocketing property values doesn’t change the level or cost of Council’s services, says...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • EPMU endorses Andrew Little for Labour leadership
    The National Executive of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union unanimously endorsed Andrew Little for the role of Labour leader, at a meeting held yesterday. “I have been speaking to our workplace delegates at forums across the country over...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • World Food Day promotes Agroecology not GE technology
    The UN has stated that agroecology is a major solution to feeding the world and caring for the earth....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Labour Names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Contenders for Labour leadership debate for first time
    The contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party debated for the first time on TV One’s Q+A programme today....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • UN Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme
    New Zealand's United Nations Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully
    Murray McCully says New Zealanders can expect a 5-10 year engagement against Islamic State if we join military action in Iraq and the government will take that “very carefully into account”...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Julia Gillard
    Julia Gillard says there is “sufficient evidence” to fight Islamic State and does not think it will increase the risk of a domestic attack...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • NZ businesses to make child abuse a priority conversation
    Many leading New Zealand businesses have partnered with national child advocacy organisation Child Matters to participate in the fourth annual ‘Buddy Day’ - New Zealand’s only child abuse prevention awareness day....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Tribunal decision significant for SMEs
    The Human Rights Review Tribunal decided this week in favour of an employee’s right not to work on Saturdays for religious reasons. The decision may still be appealed but the Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, Robert Kee,...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    This weekend on The Nation… New Zealand has been elected to the United Nations Security Council, but what happens next? Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully from New York about our goals for reform, what America wants from us...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • 1000+ supported by Te Arawa Whanau Ora
    Over 1000 individual whānau members are leading happier, healthier, more successful lives as a result of eight passionate and committed Māori organisations working at the coalface to help whānau find success....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Nomination for Board Members Now Open
    CRF’s objective is to create opportunities for people from refugee backgrounds to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to every area of New Zealand society. It is an organisation that undertakes advocacy work using the strengths-based approach,...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Anglican Family Care Otago staff to take industrial action
    Social workers, family workers and support staff working for Anglican Family Care in Dunedin and South Otago will take industrial action after their employer refused a pay increase that would keep up with the rising cost of living....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Use UN Security Council role to overcome inaction and injust
    Amnesty International welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the UN Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use the role to ensure the body lives up to its role of safeguarding global peace and security....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Grisham’s ‘child porn’ comments ignorant
    World-renowned author John Grisham has come under fire by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation, for comments it says trivialises the global child sex abuse trade....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Latest leak of TPPA intellectual property text confirms risk
    On the eve of the latest (non)round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yet another version of the intellectual property has found its way to Wikileaks ....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • New Zealand awarded UN Security Council seat
    International aid agency Oxfam New Zealand welcomes New Zealand’s election to the United Nations Security Council, saying it gives an extraordinary opportunity to make a lasting contribution to international peace and security and improve the lives...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • 40 more jobs lost to cheap imports
    40 more jobs lost to cheap imports Another New Zealand manufacturer is closing its doors, giving the lie to the idea that we have a “rock star” economy or any strategy for jobs growth. Wellpack is a paper bag manufacturer...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs
    Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs 29 roles are to be cut at the Christchurch manufacturing facility of Tasman Insulation, the company which manufacturers the iconic Pink Batts brand of products. The company is proposing to consolidate its...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
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