Open mike 01/08/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 1st, 2011 - 84 comments
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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…

84 comments on “Open mike 01/08/2011”

  1. Would Winston Peters do better keeping out of the media spotlight? He sounds confused, and his policies are a mix of unlimited fund vote attraction and contradictions.

    Pressed about other new policies to be considered at the conference, he says: “I haven’t got them all in front of me … I need to go and get the darned book. Did you get my press statement. I listed them all on the press statement?”

    Later he says: “It will be an election-defining series of issues. If I say now I’m bound to put it in the speech.”

    The darned book seems to be a problem.

    He’s proposing to halve student debt as young vote bait. “We expect them to come in their droves.”

    His worst proposal is:

    “cutting the benefits of family members who withhold information on child abuse.”

    “I want to know – not just [from] the nearest person to that child but the whole family and the wider family related to that child – I want to know that we have got admission and ownership and not silence. “

    Who will decide how many benefits to cut? On what basis? And how will cutting all the benefits of all the wider family affect all the children?

    It sounds like Sippenhaft.

    Who would want to try a coalition with Winston Peters and confusion?

  2. Winston is hinting that he will stand in Te Atatu.  The seat should, barring something extraordinary, be Phil Twyford’s but Peters could cause problems.  Local support for Tau Henare is brittle and if there is a run of support then Peters could have a chance.
     
    I wonder if there is an element of utu involved in trying to show up former NZFirster Henare.
     
    If it occurs it also suggests that NZ First will want to cannibalise Labour’s vote, just as they did in 1995.  That year Peters campaigned through the country sounding like Labour lite and all but promising coalition with Labour after the election.
     
    Then over a few bottles of whisky with Bolger he sold out and went with the tories.
     
    I prefer that Labour now takes Peters head on.  It is unlikely that NZ First will make it.  And policy formation with an ex torie leading a bunch of immigrant hating climate change deniers is problematic to say the least.

    • I prefer that Labour now takes Peters head on.

      I think they should. Peters and NZF look more unreliable than ever.

      It’s not just that he seems older and more cantankerous. He doesn’t appear to be anywhere near as sharp as he used to be. It almost seems he could be a few marbles short of a Colosseum.

  3. tc 3

    Peters, banks, brash, Douglas show the sad sad state of politics in this country where troughing has beens could have a say in the direction of NZ when they should all be directing golf carts around retirement homes.

  4. Three banking guys run this country for their international masters. John Key as the prime minister, Don Brash as the evil in the background linked to the new American Century Neocon boys and Michael Moore as the US ambassador and linked to the Bilderberg group and the trilateral commission. Everything else is just puppets playing political theatre in their usual venal and narrow minded way.

    Here is a presentation by Edward G. Griffin on the origins of the privately owned Federal Reserve of New York.

    I had the honour of meeting him in March 2008 and asked him what he thought of John Key and his history on Wall street and what it would mean if he was elected as NZ prime minister. He answered: “He will sell your country to the highest bidder and throw in his mother with the deal.”

    When I asked him if he thought it was possible he had been groomed for the job of PM he said: “It has happened before.”

  5. MrSmith 5

    Things appear to be falling apart in Rusty Shackleford’s new Somalia. 
     
    Of-course he will blame the weather, not the fact there is no functioning Government. 
     
    “The current government has no control over a number of areas in the country. Even the capital of Mogadishu is partially controlled by militia groups, making it almost impossible to deliver relief supplies.”
     
    link

    • joe90 5.1

      What Do Wealthy Arabs Really Care About?.

      It is a stain on the forehead of all Arabs and Muslims that Americans and Europeans have moved faster to provide urgent aid to the famine-stricken population in Somalia, one of the 22 members of the Arab League. Saudi Arabia has pledged $60 million, but it remains to be seen if it will fulfill its promise. The promise is considered a drop in the sea compared with what Western countries have pledged to save the lives of the Somalis.

      • Morrissey 5.1.1

        The promise is considered a drop in the sea compared with what Western countries have pledged to save the lives of the Somalis.

        Have you got any figures to show how much the “Western countries” have contributed to Somali famine relief compared to the daily amount they spend on bombing Libya?

        • The Voice of Reason 5.1.1.1

          Completely unrelated matters, Mozza. The fact is that the UN is co-ordinating the relief effort in Somalia in horrendously difficult circumstances and if it wasn’t for that humanitariam effort thousands would be dying.
           
          The Libyan situation can be resolved instantly if Gaddafi accepts any of the repeated offers to generously fund his retirement in or out of the country. The West’s contribution there is also fantastic, really. A combination of aid, logistical support and remarkably accurate bombing of Gaddafi’s forces mean the Libyan people have a real chance of a democratic future. Maybe this coming holiday season will herald the Ramadan Revolution? I certainly hope so.

          • Morrissey 5.1.1.1.1

            Completely unrelated matters, Mozza.
            Actually, these matters are closely connected. The quote put up by Joe90 is a naked attempt to embarrass “all Arabs and Muslims”, and show that “the West” is morally superior. In fact, “the West” is waging war on three countries at the moment, and spending enormous amounts on it.

            The fact is that the UN is co-ordinating the relief effort in Somalia in horrendously difficult circumstances and if it wasn’t for that humanitariam effort thousands would be dying.

            True. That’s the UN. That’s not “the West”.

            The Libyan situation can be resolved instantly if Gaddafi accepts any of the repeated offers to generously fund his retirement in or out of the country.
            On what basis do you make that claim?

            The West’s contribution there is also fantastic, really. A combination of aid, logistical support and remarkably accurate bombing of Gaddafi’s forces mean the Libyan people have a real chance of a democratic future.

            For the sake of argument, I’ll leave aside for now your claims that “the West” has been “fantastic” and that its bombs are “remarkably accurate”. What’s really interesting is that you seem to believe that “the West” is interested in promoting a “democratic future” in Libya—or anywhere, for that matter. What has “the West” done in the middle east or South America or Southeast Asia to promote a “democratic future”?

            Maybe this coming holiday season will herald the Ramadan Revolution? I certainly hope so.
            Well then, if by a “Ramadan Revolution”, it’s a democratic revolution you want, you’re not in the same camp as “the West”. Have you any familiarity of “the West’s” history of promoting democracy in Egypt, Palestine, Iran and Saudi Arabia?

            • The Voice of Reason 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry, but I remained convinced that they are completely unrelated matters. You say they are closely connected, but give no evidence. And you agree that the Somalian aid effort is run by the UN, not ‘the west’, which further strengthens my point that they are unrelated.
               
              Gaddafi has been given many offers to step down over the last few months. It’s been in the all the news reports, so I’m surprised you aren’t aware of it. The sticking point has been whether he is allowed to stay in Libya. He wants to, the opposition will only accept exile.
               
              I haven’t got the time to answer your question on what the west has done to promote democracy in the middle East in any detail, but I would suggest that writing democratic constitutions and then holding elections in both Afghanastan and Iraq suggests that the west has a commitment to democratising at least those countries. If you need a broader history lesson, I suspect you may be able to google some resources that will help you there.
               
               
               

              • Morrissey

                And you agree that the Somalian aid effort is run by the UN, not ‘the west’, which further strengthens my point that they are unrelated.

                The extract quoted by joe90 said that “Americans and Europeans have moved faster” to provide aid to Somalia. This implies that the U.S. and its obedient vassal continent are somehow superior to the Arab League countries. The fact is, of course, that the U.S. and Europe are spending a fortune on the bombing of Libya, and the arming of Israel with attack helicopters, (illegal) white phosphorus and (illegal) cluster munitions, all of which are used on civilian populations. The money contributed for famine relief by the U.S. and Europe is a derisory sum.

                Gaddafi has been given many offers to step down over the last few months.

                I’d like the dishonest, foolish and intellectually idle New Zealand prime minister to step down. I’d like the corrupt British prime minister to resign immediately. I think the Canadian prime minister is an embarrassment and should be removed forthwith. Why should Gaddafi have to “step down” before those three scoundrels do?

                I haven’t got the time to answer your question on what the west has done to promote democracy in the middle East in any detail

                Give me one example, please. Just one. I’ll help you avoid a few pitfalls, however: don’t mention the killing of democratic government in Iran, or the military and diplomatic support for Saddam Hussein, or the support of Egyptian dictatorships since the 1970s, or the contemptuous treatment of Palestinians after the free and fair elections of 2006.

                Okay, now tell us how “the West” has SUPPORTED democracy in the middle east.

                I would suggest that writing democratic constitutions and then holding elections in both Afghanastan and Iraq suggests that the west has a commitment to democratising at least those countries.

                Nobody would deny the U.S. has a rhetorical commitment to democracy. Perhaps you need to listen to what Afghanis think about the American and European “commitment to democratising” their country….

                • The Voice of Reason

                  So no answers to my original point then? Which was that the attempt to get rid of the Libyan dictator and the aid effort in Somalia are unrelated.
                   
                  Btw, you do know that they had actual elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, don’t you? And in Palestine, for that matter. If they weren’t perfect it’s hardly surprising, but it’s an improvement on the previous arrangement. And democratic elections are the major difference between the PM’s of NZ, Canada and England, who, to the best of my knowledge, have never used tanks against their own civilian population, nor organised the bombing of civilian airliners.

                  • Bill

                    Minor point VoR, but there is no PM of England.

                    Andthe British government certainly did deploy tanks on the streets of Glasgow following Bloody Friday in 1919

                    Government concerns about industrial militancy and revolutionary political activity in Glasgow reached new heights after the events of 31 January 1919. Fears within government of a workers’ revolution in Glasgow led to the deployment of troops and tanks in the city.

                    An estimated 10000 English troops in total were sent to Glasgow in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of George Square. This was in spite of a full battalion of Scottish soldiers being stationed at Maryhill barracks in Glasgow at the time. No Scottish troops were deployed, with the government fearing that fellow Scots, soldiers or otherwise, would go over to the workers side if a revolutionary situation developed in Glasgow.

                    http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/redclyde/redclyeve14.htm

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      Fair enough, Bill. It’s worth noting that Muldoon had the army on standby near Bastion Point during the last days of the (re)occupation too. And I imagine the ’51 blue had the troops itching to pull the trigger on their 303’s.
                       
                      But Morrissey it was who referred to the 3 current PM’s, not me,  and I replied to that comment in kind. Quite why I referred to Cameron as the “English’ PM, I don’t know. Perhaps something to do with the lack of Tory MP’s in Scotland and Wales?

                    • Bill

                      Okay. Whatever. But while I’m railing against your naivity, what about Iran Air Flight 655 (IR655)?

                      Sure, it wasn’t an act of Canada or NZ or the UK. T’was the US. But a valid example to signpost in light of your comment methinks

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      Sorry, didn’t realise you were railing against my naivety. I’ll take notes from here on in. Can’t wait for the exam!
                       
                      As for IR655, what has the mistaken shooting down of that plane 20 years ago got to do with Somalia, Libya or anything current? Er, nothing?
                       

                    • Bill

                      You said that ‘the good guys’ haven’t deliberately targeted civilian airliners.

                      Unlike Libya (presumably). As though Libyan involvement in ‘the Lockerbie bombing’ is a given, which it isn’t.

                      The fact that the US claims that the shooting down of flight IR665 was ‘a mistake’ is very much contested.

                  • Morrissey

                    So no answers to my original point then? Which was that the attempt to get rid of the Libyan dictator and the aid effort in Somalia are unrelated.

                    It was actually joe90 who posted the original absurd attempt to show that the U.S. and its obedient servants in Europe were morally superior to the Arab League states. I pointed out that that is a ridiculous position to hold when the U.S. and Europe are presently prosecuting THREE wars of choice, one of them without even the slightest moral or military justification.

                    Btw, you do know that they had actual elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, don’t you?

                    They had actual elections in occupied Vietnam in the 1960s too. And you do know that the United States supported the anti-democracy forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan throughout the 1980s?

                    And in Palestine, for that matter.

                    The U.S. and its vassal states have done nothing except express anger and contempt at the Palestinians for voting the wrong way in 2006. They even bank-rolled and armed a bloody Fatah coup attempt in 2007. The U.S. and Europe do not want democracy in Palestine, any more than they wanted it in Iran in 1954, in Egypt in the 1970s, in Algeria or in Iraq in the early 1990s.

                    …the PM’s of NZ, Canada and England, who, to the best of my knowledge, have never used tanks against their own civilian population, nor organised the bombing of civilian airliners.

                    All three of these mediocrities and yes-men continue to express support for the “mission” in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Key’s moronic “that’s why we’re in Afghanistan” comment after the Norwegian killings being perhaps the most craven. During and after Israel’s murderous 22-day rampage in Gaza in 2008-9, all three of them voiced “solidarity” and “support”—for the Israelis.

                    How are these three superior to any other national leader, either morally or intellectually?

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      So, still no answer to my original point, Morrissey? The relationship or otherwise between Somalia and Libya?

                  • Vicky32

                    Btw, you do know that they had actual elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, don’t you?

                    Hilarious! I am reminded of the 1960s joke that “they’re holding a general election in Greece – they’re going to elect another general. Anyone but you, finds it just a tad suspicious that the ‘elections’ in Afghanistan and Iraq chose rulers pre-approved by the filth, er Americans…

                     
                    . And democratic elections are the major difference between the PM’s of NZ, Canada and England, who, to the best of my knowledge, have never used tanks against their own civilian population, nor organised the bombing of civilian airliners.

                    Not yet, anyway. But you think they haven’t done any other damage? Ah, yes, Randbot aren’t you…

              • Vicky32

                Gaddafi has been given many offers to step down over the last few months. It’s been in the all the news reports, so I’m surprised you aren’t aware of it. The sticking point has been whether he is allowed to stay in Libya. He wants to, the opposition will only accept exile.

                I haven’t got the time to answer your question on what the west has done to promote democracy in the middle East in any detail, but I would suggest that writing democratic constitutions and then holding elections in both Afghanastan and Iraq suggests that the west has a commitment to democratising at least those countries. If you need a broader history lesson, I suspect you may be able to google some resources that will help you there.

                Oh unbelievable! Either you’re incredibly stupidly naive, or you’re a crazy Neocon! The actions of the ‘West’ (the USA) in Libya, stink on ice, and there are so many questions even my right-wing(ish) son is suspicious. You are an American, or you just have a general hate-on against Muslims, and here was I thinking it was only Christians you loathed! Oh, I have just remembered, you’re just a Rand-bot, hey?

          • mikesh 5.1.1.1.2

            Unlike the western supported thugs who are rebelling, Gadaffi doesn’t want to sell his country down the river.

            • prism 5.1.1.1.2.1

              @mikesh – No why should he. Gadaffi has been on top for over 30 years in an oil rich country. No, no we won’t go is an understandable chant. The idea that only one person can be found to run a country, or that man’s son, or his daughter indicates that there is a ruling elite sticking to their comforts and power.

              Interesting in South Australia they are just trying to get rid of Premier Mike Rann who has been in for 9 years in a uranium mining state. He had been in the SA House of Assembly since 1985 and been South Australian Labor parliamentary leader since 1994. Same thing – he doesn’t want to go. Even in a democracy it is hard to get the incumbent to move on but the longer they stay the more difficult to get them out and the right person in.

              • mikesh

                [@mikesh – No why should he. Gadaffi has been on top for over 30 years in an oil rich country. No, no we won’t go is an understandable chant. The idea that only one person can be found to run a country, or that man’s son, or his daughter indicates that there is a ruling elite sticking to their comforts and power.]

                Quite so. And the rebels would like to replace him as the “ruling elite”, and of course they’re prepared to turn the country to over to foreign capital in return for western support for the purpose of gaining power.

          • Bill 5.1.1.1.3

            VoR.

            When you made that comment at 10:56, were you able to maintain a straight face as you typed?

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.3.1

              I think this gives pause for thought – the western powers using “Economic Hit Men”

              • Bill

                Hit man schmit man. Jackal schmackal.

                All he’s describing is the bog standard mechanisms of SAPs and the bog standard means of escalation/ follow up.

                And then inserting a fiction of shadowy anti-hero hit men and jackals.

                Which in some ways is okay, ’cause he’s essentially outlining a truth. And maybe he reckoned if ‘the story’ was ‘sexed up’ then Mr and Mrs Middle America would be hooked in as readers. Not to mention he stood to make a fair bit of money if his book sold.

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      Low taxes and the lack of government red tape rewards entrepreneurial effort. It will surely bring a Somalian economic boom any time now, MrSmith.

  6. Morrissey 6

    Lord Winston’s prejudiced and ignorant comments
    Sunday morning National Radio, Sunday 31 July 2011
    Chris Laidlaw’s guest: ROBERT WINSTON

    As long as Lord Winston speaks about genetic science and television presenting, he is plausible. Unfortunately, as anyone who has ever heard RICHARD DAWKINS blither ignorantly about the middle east, or listened to the New Zealand government’s science advisor PETER GLUCKMAN [1] will know, the seriousness and scientific approach of these people is often not carried into their politics.

    As an example, witness Lord Winston’s incredibly naive and ignorant statements about Israel in the following talk….

    LAIDLAW: Hrrrrumph. How important is your Jewish heritage?

    LORD WINSTON: The Jewish tradition means that science and evidence are very important in forming an ethical standpoint.

    LAIDLAW: Did your family have much consciousness about Israel?

    WINSTON: No, not much at all. We never gave it a thought. My feelings on Israel came from when Israel was besieged on all sides.

    LAIDLAW: Hrrrrumph.

    WINSTON: The problem is that there is a deeply ingrained set of people who will not accept the fact that Israel exists at all. It’s an AGONIZING problem for Jews.

    LAIDLAW: Hmmmmm?

    WINSTON: In the House of Lords over the last year, theere have been ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY questions on Israel and TWO on Kashmir. [2] That gives you an idea of the focus. Israel has a lot to be proud of. Its development of high-tech industries is amazing! It’s got a lot to show New Zealand in that area of development!

    LAIDLAW: Hrrrumph! We don’t have quite the same force of necessity do we! Hrrrumph!

    WINSTON: Well, no, I suppose you’re right!

    LAIDLAW: What do you have to say about homeopathic medicine?

    WINSTON: Well, my wife uses homeopathic medicine and I tease her about it, but she persists! We need to expect the same standards of proof that we expect with conventional medicine.

    LAIDLAW: Spoken like a scientist! Which we should have expected! Hrrumph!

    WINSTON: [modestly] We-e-e-e-ll…

    LAIDLAW: Television is an amazing medium, and you’ve used it SHAMELESSLY for good causes. Is there any evidence it’s had an effect on education?

    WINSTON: That’s a very good question. We haven’t done the metrics on this….

    LAIDLAW: Finally, Lord Winston, what would you like to be remembered for?

    WINSTON: Oh Chris! Any personal achievement is trivial. My three children are the best thing I’ve done. For anyone, if you can produce children who contribute to society….

    —————————————————————————————

    Dismayed at Laidlaw’s failure to challenge anything this practised liar said, I sent off the following email…

    FROM: Morrissey Breen
    TO: sundays@radionz.co.nz
    TOPIC: Lord Winston’s prejudiced and ignorant comments

    Dear Chris,

    You let Lord Winston get away with saying, with sinister smoothness, that Israel was “besieged” by all the countries around it, and that it is threatened by “ingrained” prejudice by people who “won’t even accept its right to exist”. Both statements are nonsense, and nothing more than hardline Israeli state propaganda.

    His casting of an aggressor state as a victim is a perfect inversion of the truth: Israel is “surrounded and besieged” in the same way Germany was “besieged” by its neighbours in the 1930s.

    His claim that Israel’s “right to exist” needs to be acknowledged is nonsense: Gandhi never accepted the “right to exist” of Pakistan, and human rights advocates all over the world never accepted the “right to exist” of the Soviet Union or of apartheid South Africa.

    Yours sincerely,

    Morrissey Breen
    Northcote Point

    [1] /open-mike-27032011/#comment-313255
    [2] This is the sort of British parliamentary speech that angers worshippers of the Israeli state like Robert Winston….

    • prism 6.1

      Robert Lord Winston is whipped cream, smooth, rich, satisfying. He is deprecating about all his wonderful achievements. And he likes to be eased comfortably nto his set speech giving his experiences. And everyone loves him, which is just as well as the man is ubiquitious.

      I won’t forget hearing Kim Hill interview him, after the facts as usual, with queries that should have been simple for him to answer, though perhaps tedious as he has advanced so far in so many fields that explaining to a new audience about past history must be boring. But it’s the price of good book sales and large TV audiences. She didn’t put on her velvet gloves and stroke his ego, but treated him as the man of science he claims he is. He didn’t like it and told her so.

      • Morrissey 6.1.1

        She didn’t put on her velvet gloves and stroke his ego, but treated him as the man of science he claims he is. He didn’t like it and told her so.

        David Suzuki reacted angrily to Kim Hill a few months back. I thought he was over-sensitive, as Kim’s questions hadn’t been disrespectful, or even especially provocative. I would have thought Suzuki was smarter than to allow himself to lose his temper so completely.

        Two less than savoury interviewees who Kim has reduced to spluttering anger are Jeffrey Archer and William Shawcross. Archer screamed at her in 1993, snarling: “I was WARNED about you!” Shawcross was embarrassed and angry at being reminded of his past support for Saddam Hussein. I thought Shawcross was going to burst a blood vessel, he was so incensed.

        Last year she keelhauled another dyed-in-the-wool liar, John Howard. While Howard licked his wounds in private, and decided to make no public statements about the humiliation, dear old witless Karl DuFresne decided to make a stand on behalf of the great statesman, and wrote a confused and woolly-minded attack on Hill in the Australian Spectator.

        • prism 6.1.1.1

          Thanks for that Morrissey. Good old Karl – he’ll never run out of work when he supports people of John Howard’s ilk.

        • MrSmith 6.1.1.2

          And did you see Kim Hill interveiw Brash on TV, this was after some chauvinistic comments he had made in the media, she destroyed him and by half time I was almost feeling sorry for him, almost, she could have let him off the hook, but to her credit continued to show him for what the sexist, shallow, old man he is.

    • D-D-D-Damn! 6.2

      Listened to precisely the same Laidlaw interview of Winston on Sunday morning and (much to the surprise of family members) let out one or two loud expletives.

      Still, not at all surprising. I think I read about Winston’s lazy second-hand, Zionist-cliche-ridden views on Israel at least 5 or 6 years ago. It may have been in some sort of open letter to The Guardian. I seem to remember that both he and Melvyn Bragg were expressing some particularly ignorant Israeli apologetics in the British media either at the time of Israel’s murderous assault on the West Bank in 2002 (the so-called “Operation Defensive Shield” – Jesus, now there’s Orwellian absurdity for you !), or during the ultimately unsuccessful British attempt to boycott Israeli Universities in about 2005/2006. Or possibly on both occassions.

      You’ve gotta love Laidlaw’s “Hrrrrumphs”. I think it’s his substitute for incisive/critical comment.

      • Morrissey 6.2.1

        You’ve gotta love Laidlaw’s “Hrrrrumphs”. I think it’s his substitute for incisive/critical comment.

        Actually, I think Chris Laidlaw is a well informed and deeply concerned interviewer. As well as all the Hrrrrumphing, he regularly voices a skeptical “Hmmmmm?” to show he is disturbed by what his guest is saying. On this occasion, he kept the interjections to the occasional neutral-sounding “Hrrrrumph”, and suppressed the disquiet I’m sure he felt.

        Laidlaw believes in giving his guests a long rope. Often, as Lord Winston did on Sunday, the guest will hang himself by airing intolerant and ignorant views. It’s up to the rest of us to repeat and highlight this.

  7. tc 7

    Laidlaw is such a lightweight and just provides a soapbox. I listened to it thinking how he’d go up against Mary Ryan. Another isreali apologist.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Mary Ryan is another shit overbearing interviewer, one who is far more pleased at the sound of her own voice than…well, anyone elses.

      • Morrissey 7.1.1

        Mary Ryan is another shit overbearing interviewer, one who is far more pleased at the sound of her own voice than…well, anyone elses.

        Mary Ryan? Or Mary Wilson?

  8. prism 8

    I am rereading Douglas Adams four book trilogy about an alternate future for the planet.
    He refers to The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which recommends a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and says that the effect of drinking one is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. (It has comprehensive coverage of this, the recipe, the price, ‘and what voluntary organisations exist to help you rehabilitate afterwards’.)

    Well after listening to the never-ending-stoooooory of the USA great talkfest and stand-off over their economy which lies pathetically at their feet, along with any integrity and democratic standards that country ever had, I get a similar feeling. I think we need to resort to the odd evening off from trying to keep the whole thing on the rails, if we ever can find them. This Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster sounds like an experience that would take one’s full attention away from other considerations.

    Try it when the RWC comes to our shores – a similar saga. Perhaps we could invent a colourful cocktail that echoes NZs spirits and charm. Something green but not with creme de menthe. Please could bloggers keep posting with news of interest to them while the ruggers on.. I anyway, am likely to miss many important events while trying to get shot of the rugby for a while.

  9. prism 9

    USA citizens have found it easy to criticise other countries and not be objective about their own. I’m just looking at a book on Trade me, Russia – Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams. The blurb says ‘Probing beneath the usual surface observations, stereotypes, and official government rhetoric, the former Moscow bureau chief of The New York Times carefully analyzes the loss of faith and the bankrupt ideology that afflict the Soviet system and society today.’

    Now that Communism is not so dominating, perhaps the USA can look at itself to see if the same applies to them.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      The debt limit increase they voted on today basically allows the US Govt to add another US$7000 of debt on to each man woman and child in the country.

      EVERYONE (except the banks and the wealthy) are unhappy with this.

  10. jackal 11

    Police to Investigate John Key

    Recently I wrote about National being in breach of privacy laws and abusing Parliamentary Services concerning them attaining the address details of pensioners, and targeting that group with electioneering material.

    • The Voice of Reason 11.1

      There’s a question mark missing from your headline, jackal. It should read ‘Police to investigate Key?’ if it’s just speculative, not a fact.
       
      The article itself is excellent and you’ve done some great investigative work there. If  Key does end up getting his collar felt by PC Plod because of your efforts, I’ll be the first to shout you a whiskey!

      • jackal 11.1.1

        You’re right of course VOR. However under the Electoral Act the Electoral Commission is obliged to present the facts of the matter to the Police who are in turn obliged to investigate. Unless either of those bodies are going to disregard the law (a very small possibility), I think the headline is correct.

    • Lanthanide 11.2

      Excellent work.

    • Well now your talking! I was visiting my in laws and I found a letter from “John Key” to them and I thought it was beyond the pale for a party to use these addresses from obviously a state data bank to target people like that. 
      Well done and the second shout is for me if you get them to investigate!

      • travellerev 11.3.1

        What’s more, my in-laws are both in their 80s, did not vote for John Key and had no idea how the National party had gotten hold of their addresses but are both to intimidated by “authorities” to make a stink so thanks on their behalf too (I sent them the link cause my father-in-law is very internet savy and will enjoy reading about it.

        • jackal 11.3.1.1

          Cheers travellerev. It’s the Pensioners private details thing that I dislike the most. I’m not convinced that the information was gained in the way John Key’s Communications Manager has stated. I’m hoping any investigation will look into that discrepancy as well.

          • travellerev 11.3.1.1.1

            I’m glad you also posted the letter integrally as my parents in law were aghast at the idea that their name would start to float around the internet (They are up and running with my political activities and it petrifies them even though they agree that 911 could not have possibly been done as the OCT states) if they gave me the letter (as if I would ever do that to them but I respected their need for privacy and now I can read it better and read the stuff you wrote about it).

  11. vto 12

    Unexpected Eartyquake Observation #491.3;

    Lying in bed in the middle dark of night and feeling your entire city grind from one set of longitude and latitude to another set over a long period of minutes with virtually no shaking. Gives you a sense of scale and tinyness. And spookiness.

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      For some reason the 3.6M at 3:30 this morning had me out of bed and half way to the door within a second. When I actually woke up and realised what I was doing, the shaking had already stopped. So I got back into bed.

      Seemed much sharper than usual. It was quite a bit closer to my house than most.

      • vto 12.1.1

        Yes I see it was close to central. But I swear that I could for some long time afterwards feel the great giant slabs of deep earth moving slowly past each other, for quite a while after the shake had stopped. I felt this near continuously after the Feb quake but have not felt it for some time. Need to be in a sensitive spot (which our hosue seems to be) and very quiet and still. Quite an astounding sensation. And the anecdote seems to be borne out by the colossal number of aftershocks which indicate constant movement with various bits catching occasionally.

        • MrSmith 12.1.1.1

          On my way to Shakyvile tomorrow and with the run of luck I’m having at the moment>>>////<<< anything could happen.

  12. Treetop 13

    More on this to follow. Just heard on newstalk zb that when Key was on the David Letterman show (think it was last year) it was not by invitation it was by request with a price tag of $10,000. Key’s position is that it is gold for NZ to get exposure.

    • Lanthanide 13.1

      That would explain the incredibly lame appearance, then.

      Doesn’t bode well for his image of just wanting photo ops, though.

    • felix 13.2

      ZB story: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/newsdetail1.asp?storyID=201589

      As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough already. Sheesh.

      • Tiger Mountain 13.2.1

        What a try hard, devious bastard. Letterman might well have been thinking who is this shithead? And Shonkey said in parliament that beneficiaries need to budget better.

      • Treetop 13.2.2

        “As if it wasn’t embrassing enough already. Sheesh.”

        Letterman even recieved footage of Key.
        Key was on Letterman for 4 minutes.
        A PR company was contacted because after 6 months of trying to get on Letterman this was unsuccessful.

    • jackal 13.3

      Key was just on Prime News First refuting that a payment had been made to Letterman. It appears that the Prime Minster can’t even lie properly.

      • McFlock 13.3.1

        Not lie – deflect. “We paid $10k to stroke your ego?!” “Well eckshooly, that is not at ah we never paid Letterman to appear on his ah show and really, well, I wouldn’t be that comfortable with that at all, it wouldn’t be a good look, in that circumstance I’d probably pay for an ego stroke myself”.
          
        We paid other people to get Key on Letterman.
         

    • MrSmith 13.4

      People will be surprised by this I suppose, but most people don’t think and live like them, you have to understand this is just another marketing campaign; it started the day they took office, I wish people would wake up to this and no amount of praying or we will do it the old fashion way will have any impact, Wake the fuck up, you are being sold every waking hour.
       
      Thats why I don’t have a TV or get the paper , or listen to commercial radio or watch movies , I get my news when I want it where I want it, sure I still get some marketing but I understand these people and have friends still in the industry , you have know idea how these people operate, they are not evil they are just doing there job, the job being to sell you something you don’t need.
       

      • Draco T Bastard 13.4.1

        And that job is to support an evil system – capitalism.

        • MrSmith 13.4.1.1

          Well in a way, but I’m sure they don’t think of it like that, it’s a job/career and people compete, so want to win.
           
          Calling Capitalism evil is easy, but for me the saying from Forest Gump “Stupid is as stupid does” says it all; we need education, education, education for the people. The right are not that smart and making money is easy, especially when you don’t have any compassion, and compassion comes from education for me.

  13. Ianupnorth 14

    Job creation – after spending 45 minutes waiting to speak to someone (anyone!!!) at Kiwibank I think there is scope for more jobs in their call centre – better than building a cycle track IMHO.

    • Vicky32 14.1

      Job creation – after spending 45 minutes waiting to speak to someone (anyone!!!) at Kiwibank I think there is scope for more jobs in their call centre – better than building a cycle track IMHO.

      I have often wished that the person I was talking to had half a brain * – which would be more than they are displaying at the time! I’ve applied for call centre jobs (amongst others) for 2 1/2 years, and been refused for 2 1/2 years – I have no idea why! Interview # 140 today. “Uts a metter of futt” is what I am usually told (and I hear them thinking, what one woman actually said last week) “the boys don’t want to feel they’ve got their mother sitting there judging them”. I suppose the girls feel the same way! F*** capitalism. 
      *Studylink seem to be the only ones who have sufficient staff, with sufficient brain power, sadly

      • mehere 14.1.1

        It’s more than likely your condescending attitude that’s putting them off hiring you. Call centre workers need to be able to communicate with people from all walks of life and intellects. Work on improving your attitude and you might do better. Good luck!

        • Vicky32 14.1.1.1

          It’s more than likely your condescending attitude that’s putting them off hiring you. Call centre workers need to be able to communicate with people from all walks of life and intellects. Work on improving your attitude and you might do better. Good luck!

          Wooh, arrogant much? I am an ESOL teacher and a basic requirement of being one, is “communicating  with people from all walks of life and intellects”… I do that better than most, especially the smug  South African woman at the City Council who tried to tell me that it was my responsibility to try to talk the Housing NZ maintenance chief into fixing the permanent puddle in our street. Turned out that she was so good at listening, that she hadn’t grasped that the puddle is on the pavement and not on my front lawn! But let me guess, she’s nicely middle class and you’d hire her, despite her superior attitude. Maybe I should have put on an American accent, or claimed to be a real estate agent trying to sell houses in the street?
          I can be as ‘condescending’ as I like here, especially to 30-something men who think they know where every unemployed person is going wrong.. but that doesn’t mean I’d be that way to people making inquiries!

  14. Ianupnorth 15

    Anyone here on the news today that ACT are not standing anyone in New Plymouth to give National a better chance at winning that seat – more fiddling the electorates to gain seat – maybe National threatened a ‘if you want Banks to be unopposed….)

  15. Ianupnorth 16

    Also heard on the radio today, with the change to the driving age federated farmers et. al. are not happy because rural parents will have the expense of driving their kids to sport (and here was me thinking that farmers just used the business Holden and claimed the expense as a legitimate drive to RD1).
    The funniest bit though was when they gave the stats – the evidence suggests the change in driving age may save up to FIVE lives.
    So how come, when it comes down to things like children starving, national Standards, etc. the evidence is suddenly unimportant?
    (NB as a rural parent I am pissed off too, as my son cannot do his test till January next year, despite having had this booked for over a month)

  16. Morrissey 17

    William Shawcross explodes in a rage at Kim Hill
    National Radio, Saturday 1 May 2004, from 8:30 a.m.

    Transcribed by MORRISSEY BREEN, Daisycutter Sports Inc.

    The first half of the interview ambles along smoothly enough—but then the haughty Shawcross delivers a torrent of wandery, pompous cant about bin Laden’s “holy war”…

    SHAWCROSS: In his assault on the US, bin Laden had this famous phrase, which was a sort of TAUNTING phrase: “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse they naturally gravitate towards the strong horse”, and I think, understandably enough, and none of these issues are easy, none of them are trivial, they are all very hard I COMPLETELY agree with you and understandably enough … And after 9/11 there was a feeling in Washington that it was possible to portray America as a weak horse and after 9/11 George Bush decided that could no longer be the case.

    HILL: [laughing, incredulous] But you can’t, you can’t surely justify bombing a country like Iraq, at the cost of many, many civilian lives, as a kind of PR exercise to convince the world that the United States is not a “weak horse”.

    SHAWCROSS: [icy] No I didn’t say that. You are twisting, very cleverly, my words.

    HILL: Well, the reason—no no no no no, the reason I make that point is that, according to Bob Woodward’s latest book, Bush was secretly planning to go after not bin Laden, the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks, but Saddam Hussein!

    SHAWCROSS: Well, I don’t think THAT’s true. I think that he was planning to go after BOTH. And I think, as I said to you, that the threat that Clinton saw in Saddam Hussein was deemed to be tolerable in the nineties – I think that’s a pity for Iraq and for the rest of the world that Saddam was not dealt with more firmly in the nineties. This was a man who had form, this was a man who’d not only murdered three hundred thousand or more of his own people, he was the man who killed more Muslims than any other leader in the world today, both in Iran in his war with Iran, in Kurdistan, and in Iraq itself. This was not a man who was a threat to Christians, he was a threat to Muslims and a threat to the entire region—

    HILL: Of course.

    SHAWCROSS: —and most of the countries in the region wanted to get rid of him and it’s a great PITY he wasn’t got rid of before.

    HILL: And as you eloquently say in your book, a lot of Saddam Hussein’s atrocities were committed with the sanction of the United States.

    SHAWCROSS: [exploding with rage] I did NOT say that! Come on, you’re absolutely— this is an ABSURD interview if you want to say that!—I did NOT say that! I did NOT say that! I said that in the 1980s, the greatest threat was seen to be the Ayatollah Khomeini and his version of fundamentalist Islam and it WAS a threat! The Ayatollah was murdering all Iranians who were in opposition to him he could get his hands on inside and outside the country, he wanted to DESTROY the western world, and it was a serious threat. His agents blew up three hundred marines in Lebanon in 1983, you could SEE why he was a threat, and on the rather sad principle but old principle that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, we decided that the greater threat of the two from Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Khomeini was not Saddam Hussein at that time.

    HILL: So you’re not talking about Saddam Hussein when you say in the book: “but of course one has to take into account the fact that Western governments have for decades supported middle east regimes that may brutalise and impoverish the mass of the people—”

    SHAWCROSS: Yes.

    HILL: “—-but nonetheless provide stable oil supplies.”

    SHAWCROSS: Yes, it’s one of the paradoxes and the dilemmas of our time.

    HILL: Well I’m SORRY, but that was merely the point I was making, I don’t think it was an “absurd” point.

    SHAWCROSS: [icy] Well don’t get ANGRY! Don’t get angry with me, it’s FOOLISH of you. You’re supposed to be a very highly professional interviewer.

    HILL: I’m sorry, I thought you were taking offence. I’m merely trying to explain to you by looking at your book—

    SHAWCROSS: I think some of the things you said WERE rather offensive—

    HILL: Which things were offensive to you?

    SHAWCROSS: —and incorrect. I didn’t say— [laughing] I don’t want to go back over it now…

    HILL: Feel free!

    SHAWCROSS: [momentarily disoriented] … but you maintained… No. Will you requote your question to me? The one that I, um, took offence to.

    HILL: I think the one that you took offence to was the one where I suggested that Saddam Hussein had committed his worst atrocities while he was sanctioned by the United States and other western governments.

    SHAWCROSS: Oh yeah that’s right. Well, I don’t think that he was SANCTIONED by the United States. I think that, as I said to you, often you have to deal in areas of darker shades of gray and at that time in the 1980s the Ayatollah Khomeini was seen as a very great threat to the world. Let me read something he wrote in 1984… [Shawcross reads piece of mad Khomeini rhetoric about need to wage war against “infidels”.] Now THAT was the inspiration for the Ayatollah Khomeini back in the 1980s and it’s the inspiration for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda now. And what I think we do not fully understand is that this is a very serious war. Some people call it the third “ism”. We’ve got rid of nazism and Communism….

    HILL: [reminds Shawcross of his former trenchant opposition to the Vietnam calamity, and his formerly excoriating writings about Dean Rusk’s absurd Domino Theory] Does that mean you are recanting from that view?

    SHAWCROSS: [huffing impatiently] No, I don’t think I said that. [waffles on for several minutes, reproaching all who opposed the Vietnam invasion, and completely recanting his views, even quoting Lee Kuan Yew (“authoritarian, but in many ways very successful”) who, like the new-model Shawcross, enthusiastically endorses the US’s rape of Vietnam as somehow validating the Domino Theory.] All I’m saying is that we have to, errrrr, learn from history and—who was it?—John Maynard Keynes, who said that when the facts change it’s quite a good thing to change your opinion.

    HILL: Does it ever occur to you that the impact of Sideshow may have helped create the cynicism with regard to U.S. foreign policy that you are arguing AGAINST in your latest book?

    SHAWCROSS: Well that’s a very provocative and clever question. Yes, you may well be right and if so I’m sorry because I didn’t MEAN it to provoke cynicism. I think I said at the end of Sideshow, that Kissinger and Nixon had not governed in my view honestly enough, but America was the most vital democracy in the whole world, and I believed it then and I believe it even more so now. [PAUSE] You seem surprised by that…

    HILL: It does seem that the United States is roundly loathed…

    SHAWCROSS: [steaming with indignation] Why don’t you GO to Iraq then? That is certainly not the case….

    HILL: [archly] I was going to say “in the middle east.”

    Touche! Even this smooth dissembler is momentarily non-plussed. Shawcross utters some mealy-mouthed words about Israel. He knows Israel’s war of terror against the people of Palestine is indefensible, but on the other hand, he’s an apologist for the neoconservatives now, so he can’t mouth anything stronger than a contemptible bit of handwringing…

    SHAWCROSS: Obviously the heart-breaking impasse between the Israelis and the Palestinians is an APPALLING sore. But Israel needs to defend itself. There are vicious and rotten governments—Libya, Egypt, Syria—all around it. To quote President George W. Bush: We have to encourage democracies and free the people of the region from their despotic torpor.

    HILL: Do you think Henry Kissinger should be tried as a war criminal?

    SHAWCROSS: [with extreme gravitas] I think he committed a lot of mistakes, but he is not a war criminal.

    HILL: The trajectory of your views is compared to that of Christopher Hitchens…

    SHAWCROSS: [laughs] Well Christopher is ADORABLE….

    …………………………………………….
    This weasel was here to flog a weaselish book supporting the rape of Iraq, viz., William Shawcross, Allies: The U.S. and the world in the aftermath of the Iraq War (Appallin’ and Unctuous, 2004)

  17. So the deal is done and “Surprise! Surprise”! (as Gomer Pyle used to say) – there’s a thoroughgoing ‘cave in’ to the right. So much for Mr ‘I’m putting my presidency on the line over this’ Obama.

    I’m rapidly tending to the view that this was no ‘cave in’ but a carefully “orchestrated litany of lies”. What a joke. And I see the ‘Super Congress’ of 12 good men and true will now be in session. 

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      The entire last month has been a Congressional show of Kabuki Theatre. What a farce.

      None of this is going to change the big dip coming up.

  18. Draco T Bastard 19

    Anarchists should be reported, advises Westminster anti-terror police

    What should you do if you discover an anarchist living next door? Dust off your old Sex Pistols albums and hang out a black and red flag to make them feel at home? Invite them round to debate the merits of Peter Kropotkin’s anarchist communism versus the individualist anarchism of Emile Armand? No – the answer, according to an official counter-terrorism notice circulated in London last week, is that you must report them to police immediately.

    Why should these peaceful people be reported to police you ask?

    the City of Westminster police’s “counter terrorist focus desk” called for anti-anarchist whistleblowers stating: “Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy.”

    Because they’re anti-state.

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