Open mike 05/03/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 5th, 2012 - 47 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…

47 comments on “Open mike 05/03/2012”

  1. Kotahi Tane Huna 1

    New Zealand citizens kidnapped and held at gunpoint.

    The Pry Mincer’s office has issued a short statement.

    “This is why we need fewer embassy staff. So that people can be fully responsible for the choices they make.”

    • rosy 1.1

      yeah, who needs ’em… and the embassy staff that are kept will be really good at marketing – because that’s what NZ citizens need – trade! money!… I think I’ve paraphrased McCully correctly.

    • prism 1.2

      It is not unknown for men of the Muslim faith to want to revert to their own country’s and religion’s laws and rights different from those enjoyed by his wife if a western woman. This type of cross-cultural and religious marriage is different from others we have known such as when marrying a Catholic with the demand that any children be brought up as Catholics.

      This is marrying into a society where men have great power over women who are not regarded with respect in the ideas that back male Muslim attitudes. Some men may move away from this, but a western woman would never know if he might choose to revert to the dominance model, especially if he returned to a Muslim country.

      There are many books written about women’s experiences with Muslim husbands – one is told in Not Without My Daughter in this link
      In August of 1984, Michigan housewife Betty Mahmoody went to Iran with her husband and four-year-old daughter Mahtob, on a two-week trip to visit his family in Teheran. However, once the two weeks were over, he refused to allow them to leave.

      I wanted to know more about this Algerian man Mr Azzaoui so looked at the link on Kotahi Tane Huna above and this is some basic info. Very sad.

      Mr Azzaoui, 36, won the gold medal in the heavyweight boxing division at the 1999 All-Africa Games and represented Algeria at the 2000 Olympics.
      He first met Ms Puriri in Australia, he told The Northern Advocate in 2006. “I met her in Melbourne after the Olympics … and that’s how I met my wife, she was watching the boxing in the crowd. I liked her straight away and she could speak French and Japanese, which was good for me because my English wasn’t very good.”
      The couple moved to Northland and Mr Azzaoui continued boxing while working in a timber mill and later running a cleaning franchise. He became a New Zealand citizen in 2005.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.2.1

        I support the rights of my Muslim brothers and sisters to live in the ways that they choose, but that does not give them the right to transgress against human rights, nor is this kidnapping and illegal detention justified by the Koran.

        The Algerian government has responded to the ‘Arab Spring’ by lifting martial law. I hope that is an indication that this situation may be resolved.

        But make no mistake – if New Zealand citizens and diplomats are placed at risk, one of the response options involves the SAS. Discuss 🙁

        • Morrissey

          …one of the response options involves the SAS.

          Troops from the SAS were bullied and browbeaten by their U.S. “allies” into handing over captives to possible torture and even murder. This was in clear violation of international law, but our brave boys did as they were told.

          The Algerian military would no doubt be shaking in their boots at the prospect of such heroes being set on them.

          • Kotahi Tane Huna

            Um, yeah, and we also have reports from within that our troops are as concerned as we are about the profligacy and incompetence of US tactics.

            But it’s a good question: can our special forces provide protection in extremis to our citizens abroad? Is that a legitimate role for them?

            I rate their competence somewhat higher than you, but in any case they would be my last port of call.

            • McFlock

              But if we deployed our frigate to the Med to support the operation it could destabilise the entire region!
              To be less sarcastic, I’m not sure a NZ Entebbe is quite within our capabilities.

              • Colonial Viper

                To be less sarcastic, I’m not sure a NZ Entebbe is quite within our capabilities.

                It would be but our special forces are only as good as the logistics, intelligence and support we can provide. Basically we would be reliant on the Australians and the Americans to get our troops into theatre (or embarrasingly, civilian airlines). Nothing worse than having one of your very few operational Orions break down on the tarmac for half a day while you are trying to get somewhere in a hurry.

                • McFlock

                  That’s what I was referring to. SAS are damned good, our global reach isn’t.

                  • Morrissey

                    SAS are damned good…

                    Are they? On what basis do you make that judgement?

                    • McFlock

                      Their training, pedigree, international reputation, and combat history. And the above for the NZ armed forces from which they come.
                      But feel free to walk up to one and call him a pussy, anyway. Not from behind a computer – that would spoil all the fun. 

                    • Morrissey

                      Their training, pedigree, international reputation,

                      In case you have not noticed, their “international reputation” is in tatters, due to their being bullied into handing over captives to probable torture and even summary execution. Needless to say, that constitutes a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions.

                      … and combat history.

                      In Vietnam? What glorious acts of heroism did they carry out there?

                      In Afghanistan? We’re all painfully aware of, and embarrassed about, what they did there. Or more precisely, what they failed to do there.

                      And the above for the NZ armed forces from which they come.

                      And what have NZ armed forces done, exactly?

                      But feel free to walk up to one and call him a pussy, anyway. Not from behind a computer – that would spoil all the fun.

                      The SAS are more than aware of the stain on their reputation that has resulted from their timidity in the face of browbeating by their “allies”. They would no doubt agree with my assessment.

            • Morrissey

              I rate their competence somewhat higher than you,

              Why? What has impressed you about their courage in the face of American bullying?

              … but in any case they would be my last port of call.

              I think you’ve been watching a bit too many videos of The A Team.

  2. Dan 2

    I have a question. I recently attended a speech by John Key at a secondary school. At the end of the speech he asked for questions.
    ” Just ask me anything!” Therein lies the problem. It was never a case of “anything”. All questions had to be submitted to the PM’s department before the visit. There was nothing spontaneous about the questions at all. Effectively his responses were well rehearsed. The patsy questions had little to do with subjects of importance to young people such as student loans or possible asset sales. Why the PM cannot respond off the cuff to questions is beyond me.

    My question: did Helen Clark expect questions to be checked before they were asked at public engagements?

    • tc 2.1

      He can’t respond because he hasn’t rehearsed all the CT spin lines, which is really lazy.

      he’s totally clueless as to what’s actually going on like a lot of CEOs out ahead of an entity that’s been taken over by another business, just front up and smile and wave that’s what your job is Johnny boy leave all this difficult slash and sell off to us we’re experts at it.

      Listening to Nick smith speak in circles and slogans about sustainability is a good example, they don’t give a shit about it but he’s got the spin down pat unlike Sideshow….looky kiddies I can do balloon animals, watch me whip up a brownlee…..aww da funny PM.

    • did Helen Clark expect questions to be checked before they were asked at public engagements?
      Nope and she insisted that at the end of public meetings there would be a period of half an hour during which she could go around the room and talk to people.  I helped organise two public meetings where the requirement was the same.
      I also saw her in party meetings correct Labour Ministers who did not answer a question completely correctly.  I also saw her answer random questions many times precisely and accurately.
      How times have changed …

      • mac1 2.2.1

        Yep, Dan, I saw Helen Clark at my secondary school answer questions for a long time, with no vetting, from the year 13 students. She just sat down amongst the lads and talked with them. They were highly impressed, especially with the breadth and depth of her knowledge.

        Probably why Key needs to know in advance and be prepped.

        • dan1

          Whoops! Further investigation reveals the vetting of questions was school based, and not with the PM’s office. Apologies all around.

  3. Uturn 3

    I recently read a comment here about unemployment benefits, which in the spirit of reclaiming the language, I’ll now call social security. I thought it pretty much summed up the problem with politics in NZ. The comment said that it wasn’t fair that someone worked a shit job to pay for the benefit of someone who did not work.

    People like me know that social security, or the various ways of living our lives, have nothing to do with fairness. Fairness is a completely subjective term, usually a word that sums up a philosophy the speaker hasn’t articulated because they assume it is clear to the audience they’re addressing, or they haven’t examined their ideas to form a philosophy or they may not even be aware of their ability to do so. But to condemn what might seem to be intellectual limitations would miss the point. In the same way that people like me know it is not about fair and in the same way that I can never be convinced that another person is worthless unless they are making me or someone else rich, or making me happy in some way, those that believe it is about “fairness” will never be convinced otherwise.

    Both people like me and people of the point of view I describe have no business in the future of politics. We will continually be at war, fighting against each other’s lifetimes of environmental and personality differences, life experiences and sudden changes in mood. One term we will have a less authoritarian government the next term we will have more. It’s pointless.

    What form of government could have no need to use fairness or sociological concepts as a guiding concept, yet still arrive at something closer to a social “truth”. For example, humanity knows for sure that once cities or towns or even social groupings get past a certain size, they start to decay – crime and relationships take a nose dive. We still let them reach that terminal point, but we know the point exists. How would a government attend to infrastructure and social needs without crossing lines that force the people into opposition and civil conflict? How close could we get to the organisational absolute without appearing to be like the political version of a youngster skateboarding down a too steep hill, getting the speed wobbles and crashing? Is it impossible?

    Leaving aside realistic viability for a moment, what would that style of government be called? Does it exist somewhere in part already? Would it be Libertarianism, Kommmunism (word misspelled to save the moderators s some work) traditional old style American Republicanism? When it comes to personal opinions, in theory we know that any of these things might fit the bill if we grin and bear it, but in a NZ present day reality, they have little hope of catching on if presented in their historical form. Do we need a modern day constitution or Declaration of Independence – or were these things haphazard chance events, completed in the moment and now just hyped-up to the point of legend? Were the men and women of old as god-like as we choose to believe or were they actually just as clueless, corrupt and a scared as modern man – rolling the dice and hoping that avarice didn’t win? If they could see and know what we know now, be shown their actions in the light of our modern understanding and see what they have become, would they be ashamed or be happy to do it all again?

    The political solutions we know of all look backwards and were developed for a specific time, place, culture and people. Where would we find people in NZ capable of creating a change that can reconcile the human urge to take, produce, control and consume anything it wants, with a simultaneous and equal urge to preserve and nurture what it already has and turn them both into something new that is widely acceptable? Can we choose to begin a new era now or must we ride out this old war until the ends history says is inevitable?

    What do you think?

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Can we choose to begin a new era now or must we ride out this old war until the ends history says is inevitable?

      If there is one thing our current set of political and corporate leaders seem to be good at, its “extend and pretend”.

    • Bored 3.2

      Uturn, your point about reclaiming language is incredibly important. The neo-lib revolution introduced a language that defined itself (as have all major changes). The public service delivers now to clients, not to citizens. Its subtle but it is very important.

      A few years back I found serendipitously a book about a man who fought a large multinational corporation who wished to mine on Skye. He made a point of not engaging in the terms and language of the status quo, it resonated with the power structure of the opponent. To engage in that tongue would be to lose. Ergo to counter attack today we need to adopt “our” language.

      Have a wee Google around Alistair McIntosh (try this ), he is a little religious but the principles he uses are highly effective.

      • Uturn 3.2.1

        Bored, have located his homepage. Will give it a going-over this evening.

      • seeker 3.2.2

        On a similar theme Keith Rankin writes in today’s Herald saying that to find solutions we need to use the right words

        While here Chris Hipkins talks about the difference between outcome and outputs and National have their cutting process in the public sector back to front

        I too think it is vitally important we reclaim our language from the neo liberal spin cynically used to justify amoral thinking and action.

      • Vicky32 3.2.3

        The public service delivers now to clients, not to citizens. Its subtle but it is very important.

        Oh yes! It made me ropable to be called a ‘client’!
        (As an aside, it makes me sad that being ‘a bit religious’ is something that people feel has to be apologised for.)

        • KJT

          It shows they have not really grown up!
          Still need a parental figure to avoid responsibility for them selves.

        • Herodotus

          Vickey client has become so accepted as a recipient of a social service agency that it is now accepted as one definition world wide

          1350–1400; Middle English < Latin client-, stem of cliēns person seeking the protection or influence of someone powerful; perhaps akin to clīnāre to bend ( see incline) .
          The definition above could give some the impression of the "client" being subserviant, Not a good look i.e powerful and the oppressed 😉
          And we worry about the class warfare between middle and blue collar (haves and havenots) most middle class do not realise that they are also part of the have nots, and are only a redundancy notice away.
          And bored the only thing that should be exported from Skye is Talisker 😉

  4. mikesh 4

    I would say that the men of old, whilst not god-like, were not “clueless, corrupt and scared”, but were rational beings, just like us (if we choose to be).


    ed:..this is part of a stable of characters we are building to use as a vehicle for political commentary…


  6. Bill 6

    .Has the commentator by the name of Wayne been banned? If so, why? And why have all of his comments been expunged from ‘the standard’?

    [lprent: He picked up a permanent ban for this.

    Despite his evident capabilities, he’d had several warnings but was steadily getting worse as a commentator – not better. And as an ex-territorial I have a particular dislike of the type of idiot who sits drooling over weapons and imagining who’d they’d shoot. My view is that people who hold such views are Darwin award fodder and should be terminated from any discussion without warning to emphasize why it is a bad idea.

    His comments to that point are still on the site. ]

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Last comment of his I read was something to do with having beneficiaries’ money paid directly to power companies and landlords.

      He got banned by RL IIRC…but that was days ago…a decade in internet time.

    • Bill 6.2

      Thankyou. I’d been aware of a link to a childish pro-war vid and a comment in the context of global warming where he said that if all Americans died it would be a blessing. And I was aware that those comments upset people and appeared to shade some people’s take on subsequent comments he made.

      The main reason I asked was because there were some comments from him on the ‘Nat revolt over Crafar farm Sales’ thread that were, to all intent and purposes, reasonable but that appeared to have stirred up animosity by referring back to his (again, reasonable) arguments on a previous thread on Crafar where he contended that there was an element of racism feeding into opposition to the Chinese bid.

      On that previous thread he had been threatened with a ban for apparently peddling racism. I had read through his comments there and could only conclude that the threat was based on a gross misunderstanding or interpretation of his argument. (Others were making the same or similar arguments)

      Since his ban seemed to have come in to effect yesterday (and his comments disappeared), I assumed his ban was a follow up to the previous threat made in relation to his comments on the Crafar deal. I’m glad to learn that isn’t the case.

      • lprent 6.2.1

        …I assumed his ban was a follow up to the previous threat.

        I’d been noticing him for a while outside of the Crafar arguments. I’d been moderating the Crafar discussions with a lot of hands off because while they tended to get somewhat heated, they also remained remarkably civil bearing in mind the strength of peoples opinions.

        It is more that I agree with r0b’s statements from a few months ago about posturing violence and having a low tolerance towards people doing it.

    • Morrissey 6.3

      Good riddance to the chump.

      Here’s footage of Lin kicking him off the premises with the chump resplendent in his battle fatigues…

  7. Ianupnorth 7

    Key’s Brighter Future

    New Zealand recorded its biggest loss of migrants in a 12-month period since August 2001, as kiwis continued to jump the ditch seeking a better standard of life and higher-paying jobs in Australia.

    Wasn’t it the Tories who were going to flee the country if Labour got in?

    • tc 7.1

      It’s as much the trend folk are seeing, stick around and get shafted by the NACT wrecking crew so leave while you can before your power/water goes through the roof and there’s SFA public transport against peak oil, reduced services etc etc.

      That’s before we look at the employment/income side of the equation and that tax switch.

      • KJT 7.1.1

        LOLO. Most of the people I see leaving are NACT voters.
        Lefties, having a community spirit,  are still here trying to fix things.

        • tc

          Not the under 30’s dude, they’re leaving in droves and most I speak to don’t have any concept of left/right just that it’s better in Oz.

          • KJT

            The under 30’s that I know who are leaving voted NACT. Because “Key is such a nice man”.

            They are too young to have seen the connection between right wing policies and economic failure.
            It is cynical old buggers like me who can see the con man underneath.

  8. McFlock 8

      The suicide-state theory assumes a single homogenous ruling body. That isn’t Iran.

    It’s the will of the Mullahs that matters – The actual government has surprisingly little power, as the reformist President Mohammad Khātamī found out.

    Yes, the civil branch will always lose a pissing match against the ruling council – but it’s not like the ruling council consists only of cosmic warriors in the fashion of AQ. The internal politics of Iran, what little I’ve read, make my head hurt. They have their share of delusional nutbars, like any totalitarian regime, but there’d be very few apocalyptics on the ruling council. 

    And then there’s the Dome of the Rock also against the Israel option.

    A nuclear strike in Tel Aviv isn’t going to harm the Dome of the Rock.

    True – but multiple strikes against Tel Aviv, Dimona, and so on would be wasted without targetting Jerusalem. That was the lynchpin in 1948, and it will be come WW3. 

    And then there’s the sheer logistics of arranging enough ICBMs capable of hitting continental US before they decide to get pre-emptive.
    Supposedly it would be really difficult for a group of terrorists to hijack passenger jets and use them on US targets… Oh wait. Anyway, all it would require is some bloody-minded fanatics to smuggle them into the US. Suicide bombers are just as effective as cruise missiles. It might be a bit 24 but not impossible.

    Oh please – the PFLP were hijacking multiple airliners in the 60s. It was simply a game-changer to use the planes as weapons, rather than simply take hostages (although had been attempted in I believe 1974 and in the 1990s). As soon as the passengers found out the change in script, they foiled the plan.

    Or there could just be a major regional power going nuclear to get ahead of the game as an oil producer in a peak oil world, with the option of dirty bomb materials if they really are that nuts. Which I don’t think they are.

    That doesn’t sound all that nuts, and frankly religious extremists like Iran’s mullahs are not exactly known for calm rationality.

    Actually, they are. And a connection with a dirty bomb would have equivalent repercussions to if they really did use nukes.

    • KJT 8.1

      And what do you think is more likely to make the nutters prevail. War, or leaving Iran alone to sort themselves out?
      I suspect, the last thing they want is a US invasion.
      The last US intervention in Iran went so well?? sarc.

  9. Jackal 9

    National has no mandate

    If there was a general election today, National would not be the government…

  10. Kotahi Tane Huna 10

    The teapot has come home to roost. Now the honeymoon is over, the beatings can start.

    • marsman 10.1

      Does that mean John Key will have to reveal his sources when he quotes an email from one of his chums to back up another of his lies? Guess not, their rules never apply to themselves.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 10.1.1

        This is actually a direct assault on the fourth estate. Oh, except the fourth estate have already muzzled, blinded and deafened themselves, so perhaps they deserve no sympathy whatsoever.

        Still, if the genuine fourth estate were still around I guess this would be a bit of an outrage.

        Ho hum, all rise for the flag salute.

  11. Jackal 11

    Central government vs Local body government

    There is no doubt that National is eroding its core support, and political betrayal is seldom forgiven…

  12. Morrissey 12

    Open Letter to Radio New Zealand National “Nights” host Bryan Crump
    Monday March 5, 2012

    This evening I had the misfortune of hearing the increasingly bewildered Bryan Crump conduct a particularly crass and ignorant interview with the German-domiciled sports correspondent Matt Zuvela. As if to showcase his lack of knowledge, Crump asked him if the “Bayern” in Bayern Munich was a sponsor’s name. Matt Zuvela stifled a derisive laugh and explained patiently that it simply meant “Bavaria.”

    “Ohhhhh”, said Crump. “I never knew that! And what about Borussia Dortmund?…”

    To compound the ignorance, Crump vainly tried to force a little bit of linguistic hegemony on his guest, by continually referring to the game of soccer as “football”. I suspect he was simply (stupidly) following a management directive.

    I just had to send him the following e-mail…

    Dear Bryan,

    Re: Your rude behavior toward Matt Zuvela

    It was fascinating, in a grim way, to hear you trying to force your American-born sports correspondent Matt Zuvela into calling soccer “football”.

    Every time you called it “football”, Matt responded by calling it “soccer.” But you kept on doggedly calling it “football”, in utter disregard of what he was saying. I stopped counting after you’d unsuccessfully tried it ten times.

    At one point you tried a different tack, saying “football, or soccer as it’s called in the United States”. You could have and should have said “soccer as it’s called in the United States and in Australia and New Zealand.”

    I note that many of your RNZ National colleagues have, like other sports commentators, reverted to using the common and popular term “soccer” instead of the ambiguous “football”, which for most of your listeners means Rugby football.

    Why are you still trying to “educate” your listeners, Bryan? Is it a management directive you are obeying?

    Yours in amused wonderment,

    Morrissey Breen
    Northcote Point

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