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Open mike 01/01/2010 to 05/01/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:01 am, January 1st, 2010 - 105 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

mike

Topics of interest, announcements, general discussion. The usual rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Happy New Year!

105 comments on “Open mike 01/01/2010 to 05/01/2010”

  1. ianmac fom Abu Dhabi 1

    Does this make me the first to welcome a new year? Greetings to all anyway.

  2. Jenny 2

    Happy new year to you ianmac. How are things in Abu Dhabi?

    Do the people there, believe that global warming is the threat we have all been told?

  3. Ministry of Justice 3

    I can’t think of anything good that came out of Helen Clark’s government.

    I’m genuinely curious to know what lefties think Helen Clark did to deserve her ONZ honour.

    Just a list of bullet points of her top achievements will suffice.

    Happy new year!

    • Zorr 3.1

      Here are a few that I like:

      – minimum wage raised to $12
      – 4 weeks holiday
      – Cullen Fund
      – Working for Families
      – Kiwisaver

      I am sure people can add in a lot more

      • logie97 3.1.1

        Consistent independent foreign policy that kept us out of Iraq (other than UN sanctioned presence). That’s not bad for starters.

      • Pascal's bookie 3.1.2

        Civl unions and the legal recognition of de-facto relationships.
        Stayed out of the ‘Coalition of the willing’
        Resisted the calls for tax cuts that were based purely on the existence of temporary surpluses. had those calls been heeded the economy wouldn’t have weathered the current storms half as well.

        Edit: logie: snap

        • Quoth the Raven 3.1.2.1

          Civil unions were a cop out from the decidedly socially conservative Labour party – they were too afraid to go for gay marriage. The ideal though should be to get the state out of the marriage business altogether. An argument for replacing marriage with civil unions is worthy though.
          But what about the cynical lack of marriage or even civil unions for multiples? What about gay adoption? Abortion on demand?
          Labour achieved very little in nine years on social issues. Prostitution legalisation was one of the only major gains from the otherwise deeply conservative Labour party. Look at what happened to BZP and NOS thanks to Labour’s partner Anderton.
          What about the erosion of our civil liberites and Labour’s sickening law and order auction?
          I can’t look back nine whole years of Labour and say that there was much positive progress.

          • Pascal's bookie 3.1.2.1.1

            I agree with all of that. But I don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. Progress is progress q, it is not an end state but a journey etc.

            These might sound to you like apologies for failure, or prettified conservatism or what have you, but to me it’s about the best one can expect barring revolution. Leaders must lead, but they only do so effectively when they go at a pace the people are willing to follow at. That makes progress more durable.

            • Quoth the Raven 3.1.2.1.1.1

              I want progress not revolution, but I just don’t see it from Labour. It’s just absurd to say that that’s the best we can expect.
              On many issues Labour actually took us backwards – drug prohibition, law and order, civil liberties, immigration.
              I’m ashamed to have ever voted for Labour.

              • Ministry of Justice

                What do you consider were the backward steps WRT law and order, civil liberties and immigration?

              • Quoth the Raven

                Ministry of Justice – Labour increased prison sentences, toughened up bail laws and parole. They for me were steps backwards. Here is some stuff on immigration at NRT Immigration Act Review index On civil liberties there’s such like the anti-terrorism laws, draconian laws against boy racers various new police powers, etc.
                Any increase in state power is a step backwards in my eyes.

              • prism

                I have had a comment on our previous Prime Minister stalled waiting for moderation since 11 am. I wonder why?
                This was it –
                Helen Clark was good but should not be canonised and criticism of her performance is as relevant as for other politicians. Don’t be paranoid, the Nats nicknamed her Helengrad which was unfair and unreasonable but leader worship should not get in the way of reasonable analysis.

                Why should the above trigger moderation – are there some terrible key words?

                [lprent: I’ve been offline for a few days. Not sure – I’ve have a look at it. ]

              • QoT

                @prism: I imagine the issue was “Helengr@d” and the number of people who use it un-ironically.

          • Ministry of Justice 3.1.2.1.2

            Thanks all for answering my question – I consider all of those achievements bad.

            It’s a shame I can’t start discussions here – there’s lots I’d like to discuss one topic at a time.

            I guess I’ll have to watch and wait for the topics that interest me to be brought up by someone else.

            • felix 3.1.2.1.2.1

              Or you could start a blog.

              I’d visit to read about your ideas for a lower minimum wage, militarily subservient, less tolerant NZ with no money in the bank.

              Sounds awesome.

              • Ministry of Justice

                Felix –
                I am starting my own blog (almost ready to kick off) but if I posted there I wouldn’t get your insights.

              • felix

                That’s nice dear. A few more days of non-committal vague posturing and veiled insults and I’m sure you’ll have drummed up enough interest for the big launch. Yawn.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2.1.2.2

              Yep, thought so, somebody who believes that the poor majority should be thankful for being ripped off by the rich and powerful and do as they’re told.

            • Armchair Critic 3.1.2.1.2.3

              It’s the Open Mike section, I gather you can say pretty much whatever you want (subject to the whims of the moderators), so go wild.
              Care to explain why you think all of the achievements listed to be bad?
              I’m pretty happy with all of items listed as positives, even though most of them don’t affect me directly. And I acknowledge QtR’s points that Labour (a) did some bad stuff and (b) could have gone further – I look forward to them going further at their next opportunity.
              I would add
              Interest free student loans
              Increased RUCs
              Legalised prostitution
              Cheaper doctor’s visits, and
              a lot of the updated Local Government Act and Building Act were a step forward, too.
              Meanwhile National have us in reverse with the clutch up, accelerator pushed hard down and someone with no vision holding the steering wheel. I can’t wait for the election next year.

              • Ministry of Justice

                I prefer to discuss topics one at a time for clarity. Oh well… lets see what happens.

                Why I consider the achievements to be bad…

                Minimum wage – Government interference in contracts.
                4 weeks holiday – Government interference in contracts.
                Working for Families – Generosity with other people’s money.
                Kiwisaver – Not the Governments business.
                Cullen Fund – Not the Governments business.
                Civil unions – Not the Governments business (i.e. giving moral sanctions). I could support QTR’s idea “to get the state out of the marriage business”.
                Defacto relationships – Government interference in contracts.
                Prostitution legalisation – Decriminalisation of prostitution is not bad in itself but it is bad while there are anti-discrimination laws. It amounts to a government moral sanction.
                Interest free student loans – Generosity with other people’s money.
                Cheaper doctors visits – Generosity with other people’s money and Government interference in contracts.

              • Armchair Critic

                Minimum wage – there is always a minimum wage. Without legislation it just defaults to zero. There’s a word for minimum wage = zero, slavery, and there are reasons why it is illegal.
                4 weeks holiday – Well it’s government interference whether it is three weeks or four. Got anything to argue about three weeks versus four?
                Working for Families Generosity with other people’s money. More like returning money to people that paid tax. Y’know, like Ragnar Danneskjold did with Hank Reardon, just before he told us how bad Robin Hood was. I expect you will find that most people who receive WFF are net taxpayers, and those that aren’t have creative accountants.
                Kiwisaver and Cullen Fund Not the Governments business. Much better to be left to one of those wonderful private investment funds, eh?
                Civil unions and Defacto relationships I could support QTR’s suggestion about keeping the government out of the marriage business too, but let’s not equivocate. Before the legislation came in the government interfered more than it does under the current legislation. Is your argument that because the government didn’t go all the way, the steps they took was worse than doing nothing? I disagree.
                Prostitution legalisation It amounts to a government moral sanction. Whereas previously the government made a moral judgement that it was wrong to offer to have sex for money. Now it has stopped enforcing that judgement. What is wrong with that?
                Interest free student loans Generosity with other people’s money. It’s peanuts compared to the subsidy paid in terms of the course fees. Would you prefer a society where, to obtain a tertiary education, one had to pay the full cost? Why stop there, though, why don’t you object to children earning their primary and secondary education by paying for it themselves? It is just another type of intergenerational equity transfer.
                Cheaper doctors visits Universal and affordable healthcare is one of the bases of a civilised society. I don’t give a shit that you think it is interfering in contracts and generosity with other people’s money – it is better than the alternative.

                BTW I am not affected directly by any of these things, I’m not on the minimum wage, being self employed I take as much or as little leave as I want, I don’t benefit from WFF (I haven’t even checked my eligibilty), I don’t use the Cullen Fund or Kiwisaver, I’m not in a civil union or defacto relationship, I don’t know any prostitutes or anyone who acknowledges having used a prostitute, I don’t have a student loan (because I paid mine back years ago, before they were interest free) and I don’t benefit from the changes around healthcare.

                Best of luck with your blog. Be sure to post a link.

              • Zorr

                Thanks for that response for me Armchair.

                The thing that is so striking is the belief that the government has no place interfering with agreements between individuals which would lead me to believe we are dealing with a “free marketeer” here. Would have thought they would have learnt their lesson after the failure of their goals in the past few years? Or was that all brought about because there was too much government interference in Wall Sts profiteering? 😛

              • Quoth the Raven

                Minimum wage there is always a minimum wage. Without legislation it just defaults to zero. There’s a word for minimum wage = zero, slavery, and there are reasons why it is illegal.

                There are no minimum wage laws in countires like Sweden and Denmark. The UK didn’t have any minimum wage laws until 1999 and I don’t think they had slavery then. I just do not think there is actually a strong argument either way on the minimum wage that is for the negative economic consequences (inflation, unemployment, etc) or the positive effects of it. A greater influence on wages comes from a lack of unionisation and unemplyment reducing workers bargaining power. It’s interesting to look back at some of the writings of socialists and communists in the US opposed to the introduction of minimum wage laws. Their thinking was that employers would stick to the floor with wages – and that may well be the case.
                My personal opinion is that it should in time be removed, but we need reforms to free the market first. Here is a different view: On crutches and crowbars: toward a labor radical case against the minimum wage

                Zorr – Maybe you should look into the role of central bank policies and fractional reserve banking in creating credit driven bubbles before jumping on the anti-free market bandwagon.

              • Armchair Critic

                Cheers QTR, I always enjoy reading your perspective even though I don’t always agree with it. This time I reckon a minimum wage is necessary, though if an effective non-legislative mechanism is used that’s fine by me. Happy New Year.

  4. Jenny 4

    Self admitted Frankenstein’s monster honoured under Nats

    For services to lock-outs

    Arise, Arise, sir monster

    Like Dr Frankenstein’s monster which was assembled from various body parts, Infratil founder Lloyd Morrison says he is made up of various parts: part, Right wing capitalist, part socialist, and with an egalitarian heart.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/3199920/Infratil-founder-believes-in-giving-to-community

    Like the fabled monster which also had a soft heart but which struggled with its other components, Morrison was obviously out of control when he locked out the low paid bus-workers in an unprovoked rampage last year.

    Still no matter, he gives to charity.

    (well at least enough to buy a new years honour)

    • cranking 4.1

      What a hateful little troll you are.

      • Zorr 4.1.1

        Troll isn’t the word I would use.

        tbh there are a lot of dubious people being given the ONZ this year and a lot of them are Business Roundtablers… funny that

        • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1

          Yeah, it’s funny how Key’s ‘war on P’ seems to mean that dealers of other drugs get battle honours.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    “…tbh there are a lot of dubious people being given the ONZ this year and a lot of them are Business Roundtablers funny that…”

    As Idiot/Savant points out “ACT – they demanded a position on the Honours and Appointments Committee as part of their Confidence and Supply Agreement…” So it’s pretty clear ACT is ensuring those that bankroll get to be called ‘sir” (but not by me).

    ACT – the party of, and for, corrupt crooks.

  6. Pascal's bookie 7

    A brace of linkies from Eric Martin at Obsidian Wings:

    Please to be ignoring the neocon tubthumping re: Iran and the current situation there. As he says, sepak softly and don’t buy anyone a stick. Active foreign support for revolutionaries when the regime’s propaganda is about painting the revolutionaries as foreign puppets; trends toward fail.

    If we define winning in Afghanistan as having a govt seen as legitimate by her people, and that doesn’t co operate with AQ, then that government might not be the sort of thing we like. The chances of getting a govt we like however are near to nil, so if that is the goal we shouldn’t be there in any case.

  7. Quoth the Raven 8

    That sick tyrant Obama is gutting American’s civil liberites. This time by gutting due process protection.

    American civil liberties were gutted last week, and the media failed to take note of it.

    The development? If the president or one of his subordinates declares someone to be an “enemy combatant’ (the 21st century version of “enemy of the state’) he is denied any protection of the law. So any trouble-maker (which means anyone) can be whisked away, incarcerated, tortured, “disappeared,’ you name it.

    • gitmo 8.1

      A colleague in the US sent me through the news on this when I was moaning about a petty issue we have back here in NZ – I still find it hard to believe that the US would openly continue down this path…. very depressing.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        Why?
        The capitalists tried for a fascist coup in the US back in the 1930s. It failed but that doesn’t mean that they stopped trying.

  8. The Chairman 9

    Earlier this week the Fire Service said more than 25 percent of all fire calls in the past financial year were false alarms and cost taxpayers up to $25 million.

    The Auckland Firefighters Union told NewstalkZB the figures released by the Fire Service were paving the way to reduce the response to central city buildings with fire protection systems.

    President Jeff McCulloch said the only additional cost for attending a fire was the diesel used by the fire trucks.

    He said fire fighters were being paid regardless of what they were doing.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3201200/Firefighters-union-hits-back

  9. The Chairman 10

    More than 20,000 Contact Energy customers in North Canterbury will face price rises next month.

    The company said it was passing on costs it had incurred from MainPower, along with higher internal costs associated with operating and building power stations.

    Christchurch-based energy analyst John Noble said Contact should have absorbed the increase from MainPower, given Contact’s profit last year.

    Raising prices because of internal cost increases was “rubbish” and made a mockery of Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee’s plan to get power companies to reduce prices.

    Contact made an operating profit of $445.3 million last financial year and is forecasting a profit of $485m this year.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/3201447/Contact-price-rise-in-North-Canterbury

  10. Rodel 11

    From .” Ministry of Justice” the first 3 words sum it up and there’s no need to read any further. …” I can’t think….” – Just another right wing dullard.

    Quoth the Raven similar… ” I can’t see…”, ” I can’t look back…” ” I just don’t see..”

    Why would you want to read any further anyway?

    • Quoth the Raven 11.1

      Rodel – Speaking of dullards why don’t you expand on your argument a little more because I just can’t see your point. Or how about this why don’t you actually respond to Ministry of Justice or respond to my points. Or you can just continue to leave snarky substanceless comments on other’s style of prose.

  11. ianmac from Athens 12

    Jenny, Thanks for your regards but here (now in Athens) I have met no-one who speaks conversational English. If I ask anyone for help they always kindly give it and in English but i have not heard anyone, and there are hoards of tourists, discussing anything in English. I must accept that here at least English speaking is very unimportant. Actually global warming might be of interest as the mid winter here so far has been daily 18-20 degrees C so you can’t argue with the weather but the climate might be a different story. Cheers.

  12. randal 13

    well nobody here speaks conversational english either.
    its all gimme gimme gimme and much obliged.

  13. Ministry of Justice 14

    Armchair Critic –
    Minimum wage…
    There’s a word for minimum wage = zero, slavery, and there are reasons why it is illegal.

    When I was at the Fair Trade shop they had a “help wanted” sign up so I asked if the wages were fair, the lady told me that there was no pay. I laughed and told that didn’t sound very fair and she told me that only the boss gets paid.

    So I say that not only is a zero wage legal it’s even compatible with “Fair Trade”.

    • QoT 14.1

      Because there’s no objective difference between “volunteering one’s free time to a cause one finds worthy” and “being forced to take work at zero or near-zero remuneration in the hopes of future income because there is no protection for workers and the “free market” doesn’t give a hoot if you starve to death”.

    • Armchair Critic 14.2

      I’ll keep in mind that you don’t know the difference between being a volunteer and being a slave when I reed this blog of yours.
      I get that you don’t think there should be a minimum wage. The original point was that Labour under Clark raised the minimum wage and tis was one of the good achievements of the Clark governments. Do you just think this was not a good achievement because you believe the “minimum wage = bad” mantra, or have you thought about it further? Got any arguments that show that the actual increases the minimum wage caused more harm than good?

      • Herodotus 14.2.1

        There is nothing within Labour (Or any others) that quantifies the value of a livable wage (H1 would not answer this when I posed it to her) then how min wage, soc welfare benefits and other assistance eg WFF dove tails into this base level. I have had this idea that a livable wage is higher than what any envisage. How can we have the likes of Kiwsaver when I believe many are excluded from this indirectly as they cannot afford to contribute, yet they are contributing to subsidise the cost of running this as any tax payer does. Lab should IMO have made Kiwisaver compo with a min fixed $ value being contributed by the govt (Read tax payer) to all tax payers (Beneficiaries pay tax as I believe).
        Perhaps a large number receiving WFF are well above this livable wage and we are paying welfare to those that do not require assistance.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1

          There is nothing within Labour (Or any others) that quantifies the value of a livable wage…

          This is something that’s been bugging me for the last couple of years. What is the minimum cost of living? And, yes, I believe it’s far higher than what many, especially those in government and business, are willing to admit.

          WfF is an admission, of sorts, that wages aren’t high enough to cover living.

          • Herodotus 14.2.1.1.1

            I think you would get no one disagreeing with you on that. Yet there are a few points, what is a livable wage, can NZ “afford” this. And how can we progress to a stage whereby those on min wage can more than just survive, and when I use min wage I refer to the tax, WFF,etc allow the individual/family to approach this livable wage level. Until there is some effort into calc this wage and “we” accept that this is calc is appropiate otherwise we are just shooting in the dark with no real target we are attempting to achieve.

            • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1.1.1

              NZ, on it’s own productivity, can afford to have everyone in a style of living that most people don’t get ATM.

              And how can we progress to a stage whereby those on min wage can more than just survive,

              That’s the million $$$ question – quite literally. Obviously, it’s not by continuing with the way we have been over the last 3 decades.

          • prism 14.2.1.1.2

            WFF is I believe an acknowledgment that the simple tax system of set percentages for all on PAYE and with GST has unfair consequences on people with extra costs and responsibilities that society needs to be concerned with ie parents, carers etc.
            So the people who most need a tax system that recognises their importance as parents and the costs involved, receive some of their tax back – then having the odium thrown at them that they are receiving handouts. They shouldn’t be charged so much in the first place – the amount of tax charged is a large cause of financial difficulty for families.

      • Ministry of Justice 14.2.2

        I simply think it is wrong for the Government to interfere in contracts.
        What’s worse is in this case they caused changes to existing contracts.

        • Pascal's bookie 14.2.2.1

          “I simply think it is wrong for the Government to interfere in contracts.”

          No offense intended, but when I see simple and pure principles like this put forward, where they so plainly contradict how liberal western democratic governments have acted, I’m always left in a bit of a bind.

          I want to assume that there are some obvious qualifications to the asserted principle that are being left unsaid. What those qualifications are, is precisely where the real debate is hiding.

          There are many such broad principles one can put forward, that most people agree with up to a point. Where that point is the debate, so an absolute stating of the generally held principle doesn’t tell me where about your ‘point’ is . So I’m left in the position of not really knowing what your position is. Which considering that you clearly disagree with me, leaves me unable to respond.

          The most obvious unstated qualification to the above principle:

          “I simply think it is wrong for the Government to interfere in contracts.”

          is one that would prohibit contract killings and assaults, slavery, child prostitution etc. (But how much would you put in to the etc?)

          So assuming your principle means something like:

          I simply think it is wrong for the Government to interfere in contracts between consenting adults, where such a contract wouldn’t breach whatever basic human rights legislation the nation has in place.

          Assuming this allows a government to counter Murder Inc type activities, it still leaves an enormous amount of things that are currently proscribed, for long established reasons, fair game.

          What, other than labour laws, does your principle condemn? Anti-cartel and anti-monopoly laws? Legislative consumer guarantees? Securities legislation (insider trading etc)? The Companies Act? Environmental laws? Town planning? Public Works? OSH?

          What are the qualifications, if any, to your principle here?

          • Ministry of Justice 14.2.2.1.1

            Armchair critic asked if I had any “arguments that show that the actual increases [to] the minimum wage caused more harm than good” to which I responded “I simply think it is wrong for the Government to interfere in contracts”.

            Let me clarify… if it is unjust for the Government to interfere in contracts then it is unjust irrespective of the consequences (i.e. even if it causes more good than harm).

            If you think there are exceptions to the principle as applied to the minimum wage situation then you should say what they are.

            Consider the following statements…

            1. Legislation that prevents people from being employed at a low wage is a good thing.
            2. Legislation that prevents people from being employed to perform sex acts is a good thing.

            Either both statements are true, or both are false, or there is some principled difference between “being employed to perform sex acts” and “being employed at a low wage”.

            If you agree with 1 and disagree with 2 can you identify why?

            • Pascal's bookie 14.2.2.1.1.1

              I think that principles should promote good over harm. If there are applications of a general principle that would cause more harm than good, I think we should make an exception to it.

              As you seem to be saying that you do not hold any exceptions to your principle, can I take it that you think Murder Inc is ok, and that monopolies and cartels should be allowed, and that all those other things I listed in my second to last para should also be done away with?

              All of these things are breaches of your principle. That’s fine, but it is an incredibly fringe position.

            • Armchair Critic 14.2.2.1.1.2

              “If you agree with 1 and disagree with 2 can you identify why?”
              Because 2. relates to the nature of the task undertaken, whereas 1. relates to payment for the task undertaken, i.e. they are fundamentally different issues and relate to different principles.

        • Armchair Critic 14.2.2.2

          “I simply think it is wrong for the Government to interfere in contracts”
          As a general principle, yes.
          In the instance of a minimum wage, and in the absence of an effective non-legislative mechanism, I think the government is obliged to act. Because, in general, people who accept offers of minimum wage jobs are under a sort of economic duress, in that they have no other practical alternative than to accept the offer. Unless, of course, you believe that going/staying on the benefit is a practical alternative. But based on your previous comments, I expect you believe that going on the benefit couldn’t be a practical alternative.
          Setting a minimum wage is one way of obviating the economic duress, to some extent. Raising the minimum wage reduces the degree of economic duress.
          For the record – I know it doesn’t meet the legal definition of economic duress.

  14. Contrarian 15

    Do you have a gas driven dildo in that chair ?

  15. jcuknz 16

    There are fools on both sides of the ‘class war’ …. the unions and workers endlessly demanding more money for less endeavour and the employers trying to get more work for less money. The intelligent person on both sides, and there are a few around, knows that both sides must be happy for the joint enterprise to be successful in the long term. So they talk to each other and reach a mutually satisfactory compromise..

    • Bill 16.1

      But it’s not a ‘joint exercise’ is it jcuknz? It’s a relationship predicated on exploitation. A joint exercise would entail an end to the vertical divisions of labour wouldn’t it? Do you think there are any bosses intelligent enough to use their position of power to similtaneously empower the workers beneath them and delegitimise their own position in order that ‘joint exercises’ can be brought about smoothly and without friction?

      • Bill 16.1.1

        Still in moderation?

        [Be patient with us Bill – there’s no one much about at the moment. I’m in transit myself… — r0b]

  16. quenchino 17

    The end of privacy

    New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone’s online life.

    The measures are the largest expansion of police and SIS surveillance capabilities for decades, and mean that all mobile calls and texts, email, internet surfing and online shopping, chatting and social networking can be monitored anywhere in New Zealand.

    In preparation, technicians have been installing specialist spying devices and software inside all telephone exchanges, internet companies and even fibre-optic data networks between cities and towns, providing police and spy agencies with the capability to monitor almost all communications.

    Looks like the debate has been lost and the authoritarians won.

  17. Pascal's bookie 18

    heh

    johnny Banks now in third place in polling for Supercitymayor

    (Granny’s spin amusing)

  18. Bill 19

    It seems that in spite of ‘everything’ inspirational people persist.

    “…Hedy Epstein, the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, who initiated a hunger strike in Cairo for the opening of the borders of Gaza to the outside world.”

  19. prism 20

    What a wonderful story about Hedy Epstein.

    The expensive fireworks set off merely to register a change of date and year should be saved to honour such great acts of kindness and humanity. That she is a holocaust survivor and 85 and really little at 4’10” makes her a towering beacon of hope to a disillusioned world. And maybe she will bring much needed relief to the ghetto of the Palestinians.

  20. prism 21

    Very sad about new security surveillance having so few checks and balances. When it comes to the USA the National Party seem to fall down like a stack of cards. All our politicians have the English disease, the common language that is jokingly supposed to divide us, but we understand threats in it very well.

  21. Im afraid a mininum wage is a must until a better way is found to stop employer exploitation of workers . What is badly needed is a control on the higher wage bracket.. Some of the wages /packages and bonus’ paid to some of these high profilers are insulting to the average working person.. Its the wealth gap that is the top priority not this stupid obsession on the wage difference between and and Australia/ .

  22. “Ministry of Justice

    Minimum wage Government interference in contracts.

    Prostitution legalisation Decriminalisation of prostitution is not bad in itself but it is bad while there are anti-discrimination laws. It amounts to a government moral sanction”

    Can you see the massive contradiction between these points? Are you really concerned with such principals, or are they just just convenient liberal-ish arguments you use to justify your pre-existing baseless prejudice to avoid confronting that such prejudice has no place in law?

  23. Bill 24

    Oh dear.

    “Britain and the US are to jointly fund a counter-terrorism unit in Yemen, it has been revealed.

    Downing Street said Gordon Brown and President Barack Obama agreed the move as part of the response to the failed Detroit airliner plot.”

    Oops!.

    We are the Awaleq
    Born of bitterness
    We are the nails that go into the rock
    We are the sparks of hell
    He who defies us will be burned

    And if that’s not enough…throw in Somalis aiding any fight … “Yemen has said it will not tolerate foreign fighters on its soil, following a pledge by Somalia’s al-Shabab group that it would send fighters to help an al-Qaeda affiliate in the country.”

    and then oh, what the hell, lets throw a curve ball at Iran….and whatd’youknow?

    BOOM!

    antispam – assured

  24. jcuknz 25

    I am sure that Bush lead the American people the wrong way after 9/11 and although appeasement did nothing for the world in 1938 there must be something intelligent people can do to rein in America’s foolishness. All power to Hedy Epstein, not that I think it will do any good for the Palestinian problem … might is wrong. Which way do we take the Yemen statement? Which foreign soldiers are bad and who are good? Somali or Anglo/American?

  25. Excuse me if I sound depressed and don’t wish everybody a happy new year at the beginning of the last year of the decennial from hell. I sound depressed because I am.

    When the story of the underpants hijacker began to emerge I predicted X-ray scanning machines ate every airport within three months. It turned out that most countries western countries decided to install them within three days of the failed attempt to blow up an airplane over Detroit.

    Now only that, Mr. “Change” Obama immediately swore to find the people who helped a disturbed Nigerian son of a rich banker to smuggle a lump of explosives hidden under his genitals onto a plane.

    It turns out that we were wrong about Osama bin Laden and that the real spiritual leader from the 9/11 hijackers down to the sorry young man from Nigeria was someone who goes by the name of Anwar al Awlaki and surprise surprise lives in Yemen. Well we know what happened with Afghanistan when we, apparently mistaken, thought that a Saudi hiding in a cave over there was the spiritual leader of the 911 hijackers.

    Anybody else out there saying, “Oh puleese, enough with the scaremongering and propaganda already.”

    It turns out you see that while the MSM has already spoon fed us the story of the crazed religious nut who wanted to be pure and in order to do so tried to blow up a plane that some of the people who were on the plane have conflicting and disturbing accounts of what really transpired on the flight and once again we should have an open and independent investigation into what happened instead of once again using it to invade another oil rich, strategic important country but it is my humble opinion that this will not happen and that the sheeple will allow themselves to be let to slaughter by the worlds elites.

    The UK and US embassies have been closed already. Will John Key follow his masters as he did when they walked out of Ahmadinajad’s speech at the UN?

    If the news that our cyber boys are now allowed more and more snooping into our privacy sneaked into law is anything to go by I don’t hold much hope.

    I’m sure New Zealanders will get X-rayed soon at our airports.

    Anti spam: DISAPPEAR. Who knows, that might be next.

    May the force be with everyone who tries to fight for freedom and justice in the years to come.

    • gitmo 26.1

      You had me at … ‘X-ray scanning machines ate every airport within three months.”

      magnificent satire

      • Bill 26.1.1

        Airport Scanners

        Problem.

        Tests by scientists in the team at Qinetiq (….), showed the millimetre-wave scanners picked up shrapnel and heavy wax and metal, but plastic, chemicals and liquids were missed.

        Solution.

        “…We must now start to ask if national security demands the use of profiling.”

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/are-planned-airport-scanners-just-a-scam-1856175.html

        Meanwhile.

        I’d have thought the obvious solution to all this fear of aeroplanes being blown up is to simply ground the whole damned lot of them.

        Permanently.

        Peak oil…CO2 emissions… the parlous financial state of a number of airlines. Add the fact that jobs are needed (unless we advocate a jobless ‘recovery’) and all that public transport infrastructure that will be required to replace air transport…

        But that’s not all!

        Consider the benefits of a slower paced life….no flying up and down the country to meetings and conferences of questionable worth…have a three day paid work/life balance travel holiday instead!

        But wait. There’s more!

        Never again will you need fear the underpants of the gentleman next to you.

        And all for one lump sum of meaningful stimulus package!

      • travellerev 26.1.2

        LOL. My defence is that I usually check when I post it and this time it got placed in purgatory. But it is funny.

  26. help, purgatory

    [lprent: I have released you from the wee vase, and you can now proceed down the nine circles. (just been reading Dantes insane vision again). ]

  27. BLiP 28

    Looks like US homeland security are really on to something this time.

  28. jcuknz 29

    BLiP …. the link doesn’t work for me but rather than grounding the planes a simpler solution, or at least an alternative, is for every passenger to strip. I remember when the restrictions/ inspections first started one woman vowed she would be happy to if it meant a safe flight.

    • Pascal's bookie 29.1

      This re run of a Kung fu monkey post from some years back pretty much sums it up for me.

      Read the whole thing, but here’s the gist

      I am just not going to wet my pants every time some guys get arrested in a terror plot. I will do my best to stay informed. I will support the necessary law enforcement agencies. I will take whatever reasonable precautions seem, um, reasonable. But I will not be terrorized. I assume that the terror-ists would like me to be terror-ized, as that is what is says on their nametag, rather than, say, wanting me to surrender to ennui or negative body image, and they’re just coming the long way around.

      Osama Bin Laden got everything on his Christmas list after 9/11 — US out of Saudi Arabia; the greatest military in the world over-extended, pinned down and distracted; the greatest proponent of democracy suddenly alienated from its allies; a US culture verily eager to destroy freedoms that little scumfuck could never even dream to touch himself — I would like to deny him the last little check on the clipboard, i.e. constant terror. I panic, they win. To coin a phrase, Osama Bin Laden can suck my insouciance.

      If fourth gen warriors can get us to implement millions of dollars of costs and cause millions of hours of delays and have every traveler reminded of their cause every time someone goes to an airport; that’s a pretty fckn good return from having one recruit captured.

    • BLiP 29.2

      Ooops – not sure what happened there. This link might be better.

  29. Bill 30

    There is a strangely panicky wee piece in The Independent about a proposal to ‘parade along the high street (Wootton Bassett in England ) with empty coffins symbolising the ( Afghanistan) conflict’s Muslim victims.’

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/political-leaders-condemn-islamic-protest-march-1857088.html

    Wootton Basett it seems is the town where the coffins of dead soldiers are driven in hearses through streets lined with onlookers. (An RAF base is nearby)

    As expected the Press Association piece slams the organisers of the proposed parade branding them as Muslim extremists (they may be). Brown and Cameron condemn the idea. Civic leaders oppose the idea, and so on.

    Anyway. To get the other side of the story I googled the organisers and…. surprise, surprise error 403 on every page directly related to them.

    Assuming this is not a coincidence ( I don’t understand the reasons behind error messages.)

    Of course, the msm will be reporting on this block…this denial of freedom of expression and democracy as they do when it is initiated by China or Iran. Right?

    • gitmo 30.1

      “As expected the Press Association piece slams the organisers of the proposed parade branding them as Muslim extremists (they may be).”

      They most definitely are extremists.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/6931212/What-is-Islam4UK.html

      • lprent 30.1.1

        So what?

        The day the government starts trying to separate peaceful protests as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorists’ by distinguishing on their backgrounds and motivations is the day I take up arms.

        With historical perspective, the ‘extremists’ are frequently where everyone else is in 100 years. Think of such things as woman being able to vote.

        • gitmo 30.1.1.1

          Umm are you a complete numpty – comparing this jerks behaviour with giving women the vote is laughable especially as he’d likely seek to remove that right from them.

          Have a look at the tosspots Wiki profile he is clearly a complete cunt.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anjem_Choudary

          • Bill 30.1.1.1.1

            A complete cunt you say?

            You mean that as a negative connotation don’t you?

            This mean you as sexist as you are racist?

            Just digging, just ’cause you’re walking right on in and asking for it…don’t bother responding. Just reflect and remember Hone and his motherfucker comment and your condemnation….or, oops!…did you miss the sexism and focus on the non-existent racism? You go figure you.

            Meanwhile, I notice you offer no response to my comment below. Suprised? No I’m not.

            • gitmo 30.1.1.1.1.1

              Um what … are you drunk, illiterate or just retarded ?

              Feel free to continue to side step the reality that this cunt (slang = a contemptible person) is a cunt (slang = a contemptible person) and is undoubtedly a sexist and racist to boot…. and I can’t be fucked responding to you bullshit below.

              And calling my comment racist and sexist ……. perhaps a frontal lobotomy might improve your comprehension.

              • Bill

                Cunts, numpties, retards, illiterates, drunks, racists and misogynists all within the space of three comments?

                That’s class debate that is.

                The biscuit’s all yours son.

                edit Almost missed the wanker slight…go, gitmo!

              • lprent

                And I’d strongly prefer it if both of you tone it down.

          • lprent 30.1.1.1.2

            In my opinion, you’d have probably said exactly the same thing in the late 19th about the suffragettes. Or unions. Or CO’s. Or anyone else who had an opinion you objected to.

            However that isn’t the point. Democracies run by having open public dissent. Trying to suppress it just leads to having nasty internal conflicts. If they step over the legitimate legal line which is assaults or property damage, then society acts appropriately. However in this case that seems unlikely – it isn’t exactly a covert action. The counter-protests are where you’re most likely to see the violence and property damage coming from.

            Or are you trying to say that these people you’re disparaging for exercising their peaceful rights (and taking a reasonable amount of risk to do so) should instead go and make bombs to kill UK civilians because you’d be less offended (and it would probably fit your prejudices better)? It must be hard being such a sensitive soul about a symbolic protest…

            Incidentally, have you figured out what they’re protesting about yet? It sounds like a valid point to me bearing in mind that the UK has troops in Iraq and Afghanistan – who are inevitably killing the civilian bystanders as well as their targets. Civil insurrections are an armies worst duty.

            • gitmo 30.1.1.1.2.1

              Are you completely fucked in the head Lynn – I am not saying these turds don’t have a right to protest……. I was pointing out in response to Bill (aka Jerkwad cockhole) that the protesters were indeed extremists, which then had the two of you rushing in to defend those same extremists and portraying them as upstanding citizens.

              I think these pieces of smega in the UK have as much right to protest as that bottom belch Minto and his friends in Auckland – as long as they don’t disturb the peace or break the law let them do what they want.

              Fuck with friends like you two the vast bulk of muslims in the UK don’t need enemies……. or perhaps you agree with Anjem that the British soldiers are murderers, rapists and baby killers and that sharia law should be installed in the UK, the pope should be killed, that the terrorist attacks in the USA and UK are OK etc etc…yep I sure that’s just the message that the vast rump of british muslims want out there and associated with their religion.

              • Bill

                Oh dear. When I said ‘take the biscuit’, I wasn’t expecting you to take the whole sugar coated packet!

                I was also unaware of your apparent diabetes.

                I guess the invective comes on down in line with the sugar levels?

                Anyway. Extremism and upstanding citizenry really are quite subjective labels and are entirely beside the point in this instance.

                The message is a valid one. The messenger is irrelevant. But in an attempt to invalidate the message, AP maligned the messenger. The message gets affected by this. The subtext becomes something along the lines of ‘ If you think this thought, or propagate this thought, you are really no better than Islam 4UK ( ‘official’ designation) scum. And that is what any utterance of such thoughts will be associated with in the ( manipulated) public mind and also who any person, who utters such opinions, will be associated with in the (manipulated) public mind.’

                The thought then becomes ‘inexpressible’ and a very pernicious form of censorship moves on to quash the next valid expression that governments or others would rather did not gain currency.

              • lprent

                gitmo: Your orginonal comment gave me the distinct impression that you thought they shouldn’t be able to protest because it was offensive. In much the same way that I found DPF and CJS’s disgusting billboards in 2007 extremely offensive over the EFA.

                I’m not a ‘friend’ of any extremist from any angle, religious, political, ecological etc. I am also not a friend of anyone who does more than protest about peaceful protests. My comment was something like that removing the ability to protest in a democratic society was when I’d start looking for arms – it means that full blown repression of all groups isn’t too far behind.

      • Bill 30.1.2

        Linking to the telegraph as a definitive source for anything is a tad suspect. But anyway. So they hold what appear to us as extreme religious views. So what? So does the pope.

        The question surely ought to be whether the proposed parade is expressing a legitimate concern. I’d have thought that bringing the public’s attention to the numbers of civilian deaths in Afghanistan was legitimate.

        I’d also have thought it a sad day when a legitimate message is so easily and casually killed off by the self same media who should be reporting that very message themselves.

        Anyway.

        His open letter as printed in the telegraph is linked below. When the religious clap trap is put aside, the political argument and analysis that is left is more coherent than the official version of the why’s and wherefore’s of Afghanistan. So, can we call the official version extreme, insofar as it appears so removed from any intelligent interpretation of reality, or is that label reserved for official enemies only.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/onthefrontline/6930015/Anjem-Choudary-an-open-letter-to-families-of-British-soldiers-in-Afghanistan.html

  30. Bored 31

    Hope everybody is enjoying the NZ summer that here in Wellington has decided to arrive in full force, ableit belatedly. Splendid.

    I stopped to read a few blogs, the one that really hit home was Trotters latest in Bowalley. Regardless of how you rate Trotter his contextual powers of observation are worth taking note of.

    The premise of the latest is that the same bludgers who created the mess we are currently in last year were bailed out by us, the public…and now we are expected to not only pay for their mess but to allow them to carry on blithely repeating the same nonsense at our expense.

    Methinks he is onto it, welcome to a new year and the same old story.

  31. Pascal's bookie 32

    The legal brains trust in the US that did this:

    In 1962, as part of the Model Penal Code, the institute created the modern framework for the death penalty, one the Supreme Court largely adopted when it reinstituted capital punishment in Gregg v. Georgia in 1976. Several justices cited the standards the institute had developed as a model to be emulated by the states.

    has given up:

    Instead, the institute voted in October to disavow the structure it had created “in light of the current intractable institutional and structural obstacles to ensuring a minimally adequate system for administering capital punishment.

    Legal prof points out that:

    “The death penalty was an abstract issue of little interest to me or my fellow students,’ Professor Gross said. But he remembered being impressed by the institute’s work, saying, “I thought in passing that smarter people than I had done a sensible job of figuring out this tricky problem.’

    Things will look different come September, Professor Gross said.

    “Law students who take first-year criminal law from 2010 on,’ he said, “will learn that this same group of smart lawyers and judges — the ones whose work they read every day — has said that the death penalty in the United States is a moral and practical failure.’

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/us/05bar.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    • jcuknz 32.1

      If people cannot change their minds in light of fresh evidence then it is a sad state of affairs and shows a serious lack of intelligence to criticise them for doing so.

      The earth ‘was’ flat, the sun went around the earth ……….

      • Pascal's bookie 32.1.1

        I wasn’t actually criticisng them per se jc. It’s a major and welcome sea change, one that’s well overdue. The evidence has been there for a while. Any criticism implied was about that delay. Perhaps the US might start moving to a legal framework more in line with the liberal western values they claim to represent on the world stage.

        To not criticise the US on it’s failings in these areas is to not stick up for those values. That’s ok if you don’t hold them I suppose.

  32. jcuknz 33

    NYT today “Two Indian tribes successfully argued that a wind-power project would impede their ritual greeting of the sunrise” What I tried to say is a spam word on this siteso wwhat can I say to express my disgust and amazement?

  33. jcuknz 34

    Again NYT “Yemeni officials said two militants were killed in a firefight as France, Germany and Japan joined the U.S. and Britain in closing their embassies. ” I’m reminded of a song from my WWII childhood ” Run Rabbit Run, Run Run RUN”

    Then it continued ‘get the Hun on the run’ today AQ seem to be rather effective …. sadly.

  34. Ministry of Justice 35

    This is a difficult blog to read –
    With 100+ comments I have to skim read the whole thread to find the few new posts since I last read it.

    Other blog software allows me to subscribe to a thread (and receive new comments by email) or have new posts highlighted. Is there some way of achieving that functionality here?

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