Open mike 08/04/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 8th, 2012 - 79 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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

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

Step right up to the mike…

79 comments on “Open mike 08/04/2012”

  1. muzza 1

    “Asked which ministers he admires, he nominates without hesitation John Key, whom he calls “a complete article”

    “When you think about him as politician and his both intellect and EQ [emotional intelligence], he is a complete package so it is hard to go past him in terms of his style and the way he does things.”

    “He is not an academic but he is intellectual,” says Bridges”

    “He also makes special mention of Attorney-General Chris Finlayson, Trade Minister Tim Groser, and former Justice Minister Simon Power”

    Oh dear!

    • happynz 1.1

      I read that. What a case study in puff pieces that article is.

      • muzza 1.1.1

        Yes the public has just been groomed, the same way that Bridges has been by the Tory Masters UK.

        The names he has given as “special mention” only serve to illustrate his grooming!

        There is nothing West Auckland about this boy!

      • ianmac 1.1.2

        Maybe happy but I read a certain skepticism between Audrey’s lines. A sort of pride going before a fall for Bridges?

    • M 1.2

      ‘…whom he calls “a complete article”

      More like a shitty article.

      ‘“He is not an academic but he is intellectual,” says Bridges’

      Sense of humour I see.

      • seeker 1.2.1

        Glad this was picked up by Muzza- my heart sank too. Poor Simon Bridges, to consider Key to be the “complete article” one has to wonder at the merit and mental and moral fibre of this new minister. Hard to respect a person who speaks so adoringly (and blindly) about Key.

      • Reagan Cline 1.2.2

        Describing someone as a “complete article” dehumanises them and allows you to interact with them in ways that a description such as “a person with a consistent, coherent point of view” does not allow.
        “intellectual” is also pretty loaded, in the NZ context – inviting just the reponse you give.
        I reckon it’s all a put down.
        Bridges comes across as an attention seeking young man without strong views on how to achieve social justice.

  2. New Zealand has a terrible culture of violence that ruins many lives – and kills some.

    A Sunday Star Times report on The secret story of violence in schools is very disturbing.

    Robin Duff said, in the PPTA News, the teachers’ union could not continue to be “complicit in this conspiracy of silence” that concealed the level of violence within schools.

    The culture of violence in schools is another part of a widespread problem embedded in our society. Schools, like families and other groups in society need to confront this, not keep it secret.

    Pat Walsh, Secondary Principals’ Association President, said “he had not seen any evidence of a conspiracy of silence, nor was he aware of principals banning teachers from reporting assaults to police.”

    We should at least find out, serious claims have been made.

    • I think the Standard should have a rule against linkwhoring.  If you linkwhore three days in a row the key gets thrown away and your laptop gets crushed.

      [ The policy allows it within certain parameters: ” You can link to your own site provided it isn’t excessive, explains why you think it should be read (so people can decide not to go there without clicking into it), is short, and you either do it in OpenMike or within the context of the post or surrounding comments.”…RL]

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        Do you not think that suppressing stories of violence in schools is important?

        Ah, you’re trying to divert from it here. Are you trying to continue the conspiracy of silence on violence? I guess trying to score a political hit beats violence.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          PG – conspiracy theorist lol

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.2

          Peter are you wearing a tin foil hat right now?

          • Pete George 2.1.1.2.1

            savagemicky, if you actually read what’s there rather than resorting to repeat pitifil pinpricking you would see that it was Robin Duff who said the teachers’ union could not continue to be “complicit in this conspiracy of silence”. He used a cliche to try and raise attention, but isn’t what he says a concern?

            You seem to be more intent on attacking people than discussing issues that are raised.

      • just saying 2.1.2

        your laptop gets crushed… 😀 More than fair.

        It would be good if posters were to indicate any links in their post that lead to their own blog rather than to material directly related to the subject at hand. T’would be easy to do.
        You’d think some of the worst offenders actually want unwitting readers to be tricked into going where they don’t want to go….

      • KJT 2.1.3

        Well. It does save typing out again, when you have already addressed that issue on your own blog.

        I do not like those who put a placeholder instead of the entire link. I get really pissed off when I am unknowingly directed to Kiwibog, or PG, for example. I can only take so much bullshit at a time.

        • just saying 2.1.3.1

          It’s easy enough to say something like “I’ve explained this in more detail at my own blog *link* etc.

          It’s probably a good idea to be clear about what all links are linking to. I prefer not to unwittingly end-up at KB or WO. It’s not difficult.

          • KJT 2.1.3.1.1

            Thats why I prefer full links.

            For example with mine. Blogspot.kjt sort of gives away where it is going.

            Then it is up to the reader to decide.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Robin Duff said, in the PPTA News, the teachers’ union could not continue to be “complicit in this conspiracy of silence” that concealed the level of violence within schools.

      Sure, because it is in teachers’ interests to keep quiet when it is they who often become the victims of violence against themselves or their property.

    • deuto 2.3

      Warning – second link is to PG’s own site.

      • Jackal 2.3.1

        Dear Pete George, your website is garish… particularly the multicoloured Your NZ logo. Could you possibly redesign the logo or not link to it on Saturday or Sunday, when people are likely recovering from a late night and technicolour of any kind is not welcome?

        BTW You swap from accusing Eddie of making unsubstantiated claims to accusing the reader in your Wilted with wolf wail wantonness post… whatever that means? This is a sure way of turning people off reading your blog, presuming anybody gets past the graphic issues that is.

        There should be a minimum design standard which your blogsite is obviously not attaining PG.

    • Tony P 2.4

      This and the article on truancy further on in the SST are just more evidence of the medias push to portray the negative stories about education in NZ, especially at a time when performance pay, suppossed poor teaching and charter schools are being so prominently pushed by certain factions. Implicit in these articles are the thinly veiled attacks on teachers and how the onus is entirely on them to solve the problems. Witness the students in the truancy article talking about turning up to school stoned and saying school was boring or Parata saying teachers had to provide engaging programmes. Where’s the talk about what students and their families should be bringing to to the table. Education is a partnership but unfortunately at the moment media and political comment sees it as a one way street with the everything stacked against teachers.

      • Pete George 2.4.1

        Robin Duff raised this when writing in the PPTA News. SST simply picked up on it and highlighted it.

        And the point Duff made is schools may be trying to hide negative stories. That’s a serious complaint from within the school system.

        • Colonial Viper 2.4.1.1

          And the point Duff made is schools may be trying to hide negative stories. That’s a serious complaint from within the school system.

          Which means you must think that parents are complicit too. And Boards of Trustees. And principles. And general staff.

          A real conspiracy theory you got going there.

          I do notice however that you primarily blame the “teachers union” though. How do you think they manage to keep all these other parties quiet? Probably intimidation tactics right? After all, unions always use intimidation tactics right?

          Anyways I’m done feeding the trolls for today.

        • Tony P 2.4.1.2

          While not entirely disagreeing with you on this when did you last read something positive about education in NZ. Both SST articles focussed on the negative. As a teacher it seems to me that there is a concerted effort by some to portray education in a negative light as much as possible so as to influence public perception and thus making it easier for this government to make the changes they want in education.

          • Pete George 2.4.1.2.1

            This is a common problem – doing things right is just expected, it’s not newsworthy.

            The media is naturally attracted to negatives, mistakes, scandals, problems and complaints. That’s why you won’t see balancing articles like “most teachers helped most students achieve well”.

          • Descendant Of Smith 2.4.1.2.2

            As someone who went to NPBHS in the 70’s it seems to be that bullying has significantly decreased in schools.

            What was acceptable then would in no way be condoned now.

            Let me list the ways that I and others were bullied at school:

            1. Being physically beaten up before breakfast by the fullback of the first fifteen many mornings before breakfast
            2. Hauled out of bed and made to have cold showers in the middle of the night
            3. Having to wash the rugby gear, by hand, of the boarders in the first XV – we got good at using toothpaste on the white stripes
            4. Being made to stand in the middle of the field and used as tackle bags
            5. Being made to fight other students for the pleasure of the prefects
            6. Being caned by the prefects
            7. Being made to smoke by the prefects ( I never did hence incurring more beatings)
            8. Being made to run errands for the prefects such as constantly going to the dairy down the hill to buy one cents worth of jelly beans – if you were not quick enough you got a clout
            9. Being sent to the teacher at prep time to be caned for no reason – and the teachers indulging and complicit in this
            10. Being made to write such engaging essays as the sex life of a ping -pong ball
            11. Having to site in a seated position without a chair and an upright compass (mathematical with a point) below you backside – trust me landing on this hurts
            12. Being beaten up again for no reason
            13. Having to hold hand upright with fingers and thumb touching while a ruler edge was forcibly applied to your fingertips
            14. Being “dubbin”ed and “nugget”ed and deep heated on your private parts
            15. Being hung from a tree and spray painted orange
            16. Having eyebrows shaved off
            17. Having to float on the swimming pool so you could be dive bombed by the prefects
            18. Dorm raids in the middle of the night which were just another excuse to beat up on the weakest
            19. Having to learn the names of the first XV, the All Blacks and the Taranaki rugby team – in that order – and again being hit if you got it wrong.

            These are the ones that immediately spring to mind.

            It’s not character building and in my experience it’s often those that were bullied who have problems later in life – particularly with violence. The bullies seem to be able to move on much more easily.

            One woman I know has two sons in jail for murder who went to another boarding school. It’s only now in prison they talk about what happened to them when they were there. They went from being two quiet lovely kids at 13 to having significant issues in life when they were older.

            There were some good aspects to going to NPBHS (and some very good teachers, history and biology in particular, but the bullying and the violence that I and others experienced will forever tarnish our view of that school.

            The thing I notice in this country is that people are quick to jump on the band wagon when it’s Maori school involved but there seems to be much more of a cover up when the school is supposed to have a “reputation”.

            • RedLogix 2.4.1.2.2.1

              Geeze… all that on a ‘good day’!

              I copped it mainly at primary school; fortunately by the time I was at secondary school I had grown tall enough not to be an obvious target anymore. But it left it’s mark alright. Not something often talked about because of the stigma and shame attached to it.

              These days I tend to over-react if I feel someone is putting one over on me. It only happens briefly and occasionally, but I’ve learned that if you don’t look like a soft target they’ll move onto someone else. But it’s not a comfortable place to be.

              And looking at that list…. shit it’s way worse that anything I encountered. I get the impression it was worse in the provinces than at the big city schools, althought that’s just a guess.

              • KJT

                It is definitely a lot less tolerated in public schools than it was 40 years ago.

                When I found that the way to avoid being bullied, my parents shifted around a lot for work reasons, was to pick a fight with the biggest and toughest looking boy in the new school. Didn’t matter if you won or lost, no-one else would take you on after that.

                I get a distinct impression that, in many private schools, and some schools that claim to be “traditional” boys schools, bullying is, still, often tacitly encouraged as a means of ensuring conformity and discipline.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Surely PG is old enough to remember that environment and to give him a sense of perspective on today. Nah, hopeless optimism that.

                  • My memories of school are very narrow, one small rural school and one hear at a larger city school, and I was lucky to not experience a bullying environment. And my kids have all left school so I’m not in touch with how it is at the moment – I’m sure it varies a lot.

                    But I take notice if Robin Duff says there’s a problem.He should know something about it.

              • M

                ‘… but I’ve learned that if you don’t look like a soft target they’ll move onto someone else. But it’s not a comfortable place to be.’

                Totally get lack of comfort thing RL – same thing goes on in the work place and quite often the bully is showing a bit of front which if you rebuff with something like “that’s a nasty/racist/… thing to do/ say” they are often totally embarrased. Recently heard about a bloke at my work who in the past cracked a joke whilst someone was having a seizure about it being a shame he didn’t have his laundry with him – this while being within earshot of the person having the seizure and no one took him to task – unfuckingbelieveable – sometimes people have to speak out about injustice and get uncomfortable.

              • Vicky32

                I copped it mainly at primary school; fortunately by the time I was at secondary school I had grown tall enough not to be an obvious target anymore.

                In my case, it was primary and Intermediate, and verbal not physical and I don’t want to go into much detail (I did once, and QoT has never forgiven me for telling the truth.)
                We (my sisters and I) committed 3 crimes – we were English in Rotorua in the 60s, we were working class and in the higher streams (well, I was in the higher streams) and we were brighter than the bullies. I used ‘big words’.
                When at high school, an older girl made me the butt of her jokes, and called me “ostentatiously puerile” I was made up – her insults were clever, and in one or two instances merited. Because I responded in kind, we became friends.

            • M 2.4.1.2.2.2

              Shit DOS, props to you for surviving – it sounds worse than some of the stuff I’ve read about English public schools.

              I went to a private girls’ school and got bullied because I wanted to do my work, was tall, very slender and couldn’t be arsed teasing and tormenting other people. Since having kids, one with ADHD who gets bullied I’m a complete wolverine and the school dreads an email or phone call from me but I will not let my kid be teased unmercifully and don’t give a rat’s arse if the faculty don’t like it. Thankfully this year there are two wonderful women in the maths area who have brought the tormentors to task with some really interesting detentions – I’m sure it helps that one is HOD and married to a man with Asperger’s and the 2IC who has a finely honed sense of justice.

              Once read:

              The mill of God grinds slow but grinds exceeding small.

              Maybe some of your former tormentors have been through the mill.

              • Descendant Of Smith

                “Maybe some of your former tormentors have been through the mill.”

                Not likely.

                As I said my observation is that the bullies move on – the bullied are the ones who I have found have a problem later.

                Most of the boarders at that time came from quite well off families.

                There were not too many of us there on some sort of scholarship.

            • Southern Limits 2.4.1.2.2.3

              I was at NPBHS during the early 2000s and can say without a doubt things are much different now. I was never a border but the odd case where younger students were beaten were normally dealt with by expulsion. There is a concerted effort now to stamp out bullying. Of course it still occurs but it is rarely tolerated.

              • Morrissey

                I was never a border [sic!]

                Maybe some extra study at night with the boarders might have taught you how to spell.

                There is a concerted effort now to stamp out bullying. [sic!]

                Stamping out bullying is like screwing for virginity. (I know, I know, but it’s still a good one…)

            • Warren 2.4.1.2.2.4

              Yes I went to a very white “school of reputation” in the early 80’s as a boarder and was bullied mercilessly there. Though it was mostly verbal rather than physical abuse I think this is what actually causes the most harm. A broken bone can heal in a bit of time, but a broken spirit? It completely fucked up my life, making me depressed (undiagnosed and untreated for much of that time) from the age of 14 to the age of 42 and with severe anxiety issues that still continue.

              The bullying was an accepted by teachers and pupils as part of the culture of the school. They probably did view it as character building. And perhaps it could have been, had it been evenly and fairly shared around, but it wasn’t. That’s not how bullying works. The most vulnerable people are identified and 95% of the bullying is directed at that 2% of the children. Look at our shameful youth suicide rate and I am sure you will find most of them are that unfortunate 2%.

              The irony is that my parents scrimped and saved to send me there because it was supposedly a “good school”!

      • seeker 2.4.2

        +1+1Tony P,

        “Education is a partnership but unfortunately at the moment media and political comment sees it as a one way street with the everything stacked against teachers.”

        Education is a partnership where everyone should be working to support our children – not trying to knock spots of each other (the adults that is.)

        • seeker 2.4.2.1

          Have just seen Descendant of Smith’s ghastly story have never heard the like . I taught in some tough schools in England through the seventies and eighties and I have never encountered such a litany of horror. My colleagues and I were always on the lookout for any bullying behaviour and took grounds duty very, very seriously and there were quite a few of us in large schoools so students always had back up and support. I haven’t seen as much support in New Zealand, especially in primary schools and some intermediate schools appear to be a bit tough on the children. I put it down to the “laid back Kiwi attitude”, but I must say I felt a bit sorry for the children having little adult supervision in large grounds. However I realise I have only seen and experienced some schools, both as a teacher and a parent.

          I sent my brother “Boy” the Christmas before last ( he went to quite a tough British school ) and he said how sad and angry it had made him. Descendant of Smith’s story has made me feel very very sad and sickened too. Children should never have to go through this. Thank God you came out the other side DOS, I am so sorry this happened to you in what was meant to be a safe and becoming place.

  3. Salsy 3

    Q and A on now, RussNorm and Crafar discussion – could be interesting..

    • muzza 3.1

      Not served well for was is meant to pass as “serious tv” are we!

      What about the CNN/WAR/Israeli/Romney shill spewing the CNN lines. ” I don’t think people shouild underestimate Romney”!

      “In short, the rise of China”

      The nodding moron hosting – What a joke!

      • muzza 3.1.1

        “NZ should be a haven, of capital and people, and be more business friendly”

        TVNZ having this blatant shill for globalism and neo-liberal clap trap is a disgrace!

        The nodding moron, just keeps nodding along!

  4. Morrissey 4

    http://www.medialens.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=671:bombing-osirak-burying-un-resolution-487-an-exchange-with-the-bbcs-jonathan-marcus&catid=25:alerts-2012&Itemid=69

    March 06, 2012
    Bombing Osirak, Burying UN Resolution 487 – An Exchange With The BBC’s Jonathan Marcus

    On June 7, 1981, eight Israeli aircraft bombed the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor ten miles southeast of Baghdad. Ten Iraqis and one French civilian were killed. In his book State of Denial, journalist Bob Woodward argued that the raid intensified Iraq’s nuclear programme:

    ‘Israeli intelligence were convinced that their strike… had ended Saddam’s program. Instead [it prompted] covert funding for a nuclear program code-named “PC3” involving 5,000 people testing and building ingredients for a nuclear bomb…’ (Woodward, State of Denial, Simon & Schuster, 2006, p.215)

    In response to the attack, UN Security Council Resolution 487 was passed 15-0, on June 19, 1981, with no-one opposing and no-one abstaining – not even the United States. It is worth quoting the Resolution at some length:

    ‘Fully aware of the fact that Iraq has been a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since it came into force in 1970, that in accordance with that Treaty Iraq has accepted IAEA safeguards on all its nuclear activities, and that the Agency has testified that these safeguards have been satisfactorily applied to date,

    ‘Noting furthermore that Israel has not adhered to the non-proliferation Treaty…

    ‘Considering that, under the terms of Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the United Nations: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations”,

    ‘1. Strongly condemns the military attack by Israel in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct;

    ‘2. Calls upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts or threats thereof;

    ‘3. Further considers that the said attack constitutes a serious threat to the entire IAEA safeguards regime which is the foundation of the non-proliferation Treaty;

    ‘4. Fully recognizes the inalienable sovereign right of Iraq, and all other States, especially the developing countries, to establish programmes of technological and nuclear development to develop their economy and industry for peaceful purposes in accordance with their present and future needs and consistent with the internationally accepted objectives of preventing nuclear-weapons proliferation;

    ‘5. Calls upon Israel urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards;

    ‘6. Considers that Iraq is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered, responsibility for which has been acknowledged by Israel…’

    Readers may be wondering why they have not seen or heard more about Resolution 487 during a period of intense speculation that Israel might launch a similar attack, involving the same violation of international law, on Iran. We can all, of course, remember the endless political and media references to UN Resolutions 1441 and 687, said to be relevant to the US-UK attack on Iraq in March 2003. The likes of Tony Blair and Jack Straw never stopped reminding the public of their crucial significance. We will return to media coverage of Osirak and Resolution 487 below.

    ‘Getting There’ – An Exchange With Jonathan Marcus

    Last week, the BBC published an article by Defence Correspondent Jonathan Marcus under the title, ‘How Israel might strike at Iran’ (Subsequently altered to, ‘How Iran might respond to Israeli attack’).

    Like a tourist guide, the piece listed Israeli aircraft under the banner ‘Getting There – Aircraft, Details, Task’ and identified ‘Potential targets’, including Iranian nuclear energy facilities (as discussed in our previous alert, there is currently no evidence that Iran is even planning to attempt to build a nuclear weapon).

    The nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz is a clear target. Marcus commented: ‘The facility is underground, making bunker-busting munitions essential.’

    The military site at Parchin was also mentioned:

    ‘IAEA inspectors were prevented from visiting the site in February 2012 as they sought to clarify the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear programme.’

    In an article also published last week titled, ‘How the media got the Parchin story wrong,’ investigative journalist Gareth Porter wrote that ‘explicit statements on the issue by the Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA and the language of the new IAEA report indicate that Iran did not reject an IAEA visit to the base per se but was only refusing access as long as no agreement had been reached with the IAEA governing the modalities of cooperation’.

    Porter added:

    ‘But not a single major news media report has reported the significant difference between initial media coverage on the Parchin access issue and the information now available from the initial IAEA report and Soltanieh [Iranian Permanent Representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh].’

    Returning to the BBC analysis, the ‘Task’ for each Israeli weapon system was described. However, when it came to Iranian defences, instead of ‘Task’, Marcus used the word ‘Threat’, thus presenting the imagined conflict from an Israeli perspective. Of course the Iranians might well perceive Israeli ‘Tasks’ as ‘Threats’. The media monitoring website News Unspun noted the biased language, complaints followed, and the BBC changed ‘Threat’ to ‘Efficacy’.

    On February 27, we wrote to Jonathan Marcus about his article:

    Hi Jonathan

    Regarding this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17115643

    Presumably the legal issues surrounding an Israeli attack, and the possibility of major civilian casualties, don’t merit a mention. Amazing to see such a close copy of the ‘toys for boys’ journalism that preceded the war on Iraq, which claimed 100,000s, perhaps a million, human lives. That ought to be sobering.

    Best wishes

    David Edwards

    Marcus responded the same day:

    Well that I suppose sounds an incisive point but when I am asked by my editors to write a military assessment of Israel’s capacities to carry out such a mission, I speak to the air power experts and write the piece.

    There are indeed many other aspects to this story and I am sure they are being coveted and will be covered extensively over the coming weeks and months.

    This is not “toys for boys”- go to a wargaming exhibition if you want that – this is a military analysis – nothing more, nothing less.

    JM

    Further exchanges took place on the same day:

    Thanks Jonathan. You wrote:

    ‘Only a few days ago, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of staff, Gen Martin Dempsey, said that an Israeli attack would not be prudent. Such a strike, he said, “would be destabilising and would not achieve their long-term objectives”.’

    What’s the difference between citing a US general on the imprudent nature of a strike and citing an expert on international law on the illegal nature of a strike? Dempsey was talking about political consequences – it ‘would be destabilising’ – which could also justify mention of possible civilian casualties, which would certainly be destabilising.

    As an independent journalist, you could include this material, or suggest it to your editors for inclusion, or protest if they took it out.

    Best

    David

    Marcus replied:

    The piece dealt with the subject that was requested, which is why the General was quoted. Indeed there would have been a prominent USAF general (retd) cited in the piece but he was not able to respond in time, though that probably wouldn’t have made you any happier.

    The other issues you mention, not least the legality of such a strike, were not the issue here. I daresay that I will probably be asked to do something on that subject in due course.

    While discussing military matters the piece did not give any sense that this would be an easy nor an un-problematic undertaking. Indeed one of the people interviewed gave a pretty blunt view of the desirability of such an attack.

    Your glib toys for boys reference annoyed me since I think it rather betrays your own prejudices. The freedoms you and I enjoy – me to broadcast what I believe is a fair assessment – and you to write in and criticise it – were maintained by “boys with toys” as you call them.

    Your implication is that the piece is in some sense “war-mongering” which I entirely disagree with – for all I know you may be a battle-scarred recipient of the VC – but I have in the past seen some fighting reasonably close-up. It is not pleasant. But I know what wars are about and – if I may speak personally for a moment – have no enthusiasm for them.

    That’s it – you’ve had my two responses (on my day off as well – there’s public service). You should be glorying in the fact that we have a BBC and especially the World Service – celebrating its 80th birthday this year), rather than always carping and complaining. But you are of course entitled to your opinion, as I am to provide my informed assessment.
    Regards
    JM

    We responded:

    Thanks Jonathan. Sorry if you were annoyed by the ‘toys for boys’ comment. I meant to suggest that it is wrong and dangerous to discuss military possibilities as a kind of technical issue distinct from political and humanitarian concerns. As I mentioned, you did refer to political issues, but you haven’t explained why these were included when the related issues of legality and possible civilian casualties were not.

    In his analysis of obedience in modern society, the psychologist Stanley Milgram remarked on the growing ‘tendency of the individual to become so absorbed in the narrow technical aspects of the task that he loses sight of its broader consequences,’ such that he ‘entrusts the broader tasks of setting goals and assessing morality to the… authority he is serving’. (Milgram, Obedience to Authority, Pinter & Martin, 1974, p.25)

    It seems to me that your piece was an example of what Milgram was warning against. He pointed out that, finally – regardless of what is ‘requested’ of us – we are all morally responsible for our own actions. If BBC editors ask for a purely technical analysis of a possible future conflict, they should be resisted.

    Best wishes

    David

    Marcus replied:

    There will be a follow up piece later this week looking at at least of the issues you raise. this one happily was the most looked at page today so there is clearly interest.

    I am not going to get into the sociology of the media – It gives me indigestion.
    JM’

    We answered:

    That’s good to hear, thanks.

    Best

    David

    We didn’t mean we were glad to hear that ‘sociology’ gives Marcus indigestion. We were grateful for his lengthy, if somewhat gruff, responses. He deserves credit for responding at all (so many BBC journalists do not). We look forward to his article ‘looking at at least [some?] of the issues’ we raised. If he mentions Osirak, and especially Resolution 487, he will have reinvented himself as a media outlier.

    So how extraordinary would a Marcus mention of these issues be? Recall that June 7, 2011 marked the 30th anniversary of Israel’s historic raid on Osirak – the world’s first attack on a nuclear facility. And yet the LexisNexis media search engine records just eight mentions of Osirak in all UK national newspapers in the last 12 months. On the day of the anniversary itself, the attack was mentioned in single-sentence, ‘On this day in history’ comments in the free London newspaper Metro and in the Paisley Daily Express. The words ‘Osirak’ and ‘Resolution 487’ produced zero results for all available dates in all print media.

    SUGGESTED ACTION
    The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. If you do write to journalists, we strongly urge you to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.

    Please write to:

    Jonathan Marcus, BBC Defence Correspondent

    Email: jonathan.marcus@bbc.co.uk

    Please copy us in on any exchanges, or forward them to us later at:

    editor@medialens.org

    [Normally we’d prefer a shorter explanation and a link over an excessively long cut and paste like this. Try not to make a habit of it…RL]

  5. Jackal 5

    Rena disaster not studied

    Unlike the the Gulf of Mexico, New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty hasn’t had any comprehensive study into the environmental effects from the Rena disaster.

    This is outrageous considering the Rena was also carrying large amounts of dangerous chemicals, with the cumulative toxic effects likely to cause damage to the environment for many years to come…

    • muzza 5.1

      NZ, perceived least corrupt country!

      Just don’t investigate, cos then it never happened eh!

      • mike e 5.1.1

        muzza our public service is rated as the least corrupt by international ratings agencies !
        But our business sector is rated as one of the most corrupt by international agencies!

        • alwyn 5.1.1.1

          Do you have a link for this claim?
          I find the claim about New Zealand businesses impossible to believe.
          Which International agencies and when did they say it?

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            I find the claim about New Zealand businesses impossible to believe.

            I don’t – NZ managers tend to be some of the most incompetent in the world after all.

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Especially since many of our best and brightest have frakked off too countries which will value their labour and innovation.

            • alwyn 5.1.1.1.1.2

              His claim wasn’t about the competence or otherwise on NZ Managers.
              He claimed that New Zealand businesses were CORRUPT.
              That is the thing I find very hard to believe.

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.1.2

            The problem that I’ve seen over and again is that we consistently promote the wrong people into management. The same mistakes get made over and over:

            1. We confuse extrovert behavior and having a loud mouth, the ability to verbally bully or push people about… with leadership.

            2. At the same time we promote -yes-men who we know won’t rock the boat or threaten the people at the top.

            3. We confuse ‘management’ with ‘leadership’. We don’t train or mentor people properly in the skills needed to be a good leader.

            4. Too often we fail to realise that the people at the top set the moral and behavioural standards and for this reason we promote people who fall short in this respect.

            5. And far too often we DON”T promote the right people because they are too skilled and valuable doing what they are at present.

            Only about 1/3 of all the many, many ‘managers’ I’ve met in my life really should have been in the job. The rest were either well-meaning amateurs at best, ditherers and road-blockers… or psychopathic arseholes whose sole purpose in life was to exploit their organisational power to torment their victims.

  6. It may be tempting but a sale to China will not be in our best interests long term.
    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/crafar-farm-sale-threatens-sovereignty.html

  7. Pete George you have placed this comment on another blog

    When the Chinese have taken over our economy and land, Muslims have taken over our law, and Australians have taken over our workforce, the Indians have taken over our service industry, the Pacific Islanders have taken over our rugby, and then US has taken over the rest of the world, what then?

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/04/general_debate_8_april_2012.html#comment-953319

    What do you mean here Pete George? How does this fit in with your antiviolence line when the comment you have put up seems to incite difference and fear, all of which can lead to violence against ‘others’ in extreme cases. Haven’t you just contributed to a “culture of violence”.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      That guy really is delusional. Especially this bit:

      and then US has taken over the rest of the world, what then?

      The US is an empire on the defensive and in decline. The BRICS nations will hold the balance of power within the next 10 years.

      • Tigger 7.1.1

        Pete you left off us gays. We’re after your marriages of course. We’ll also take your cake decorating.

        • Pete George 7.1.1.1

          I didn’t want to stir them up too much there.

          Have you seen that Whale has been posting a lot abou equal marriage rights?

        • KJT 7.1.1.2

          You can have your own marriage, as far as I am concerned. Leave mine alone. :-).

          You can have the cake decorating too.

    • Descendant Of Smith 7.2

      It the bankers and neo-libs taking over our laws. Can’t see any of the regressive laws being enacted as having any Islamic influence what-so-ever.

      How the fuck you extrapolate that to Muslims is beyond me.

      You might also like to consider the Islamic notion of not charging interest on loans.

      Islam allows only one kind of loan and that is qard-el-hassan (literally good loan) whereby the lender does not charge any interest or additional amount over the money lent.

      What’s apparent the more you open your mouth (albeit via your keyboard) the more you come across as a right wing bigoted conservative.

  8. martin 8

    @Descendant of Smith. That is horrific, and I hope that kids these days are more likely to tell their parents or teachers, who would hopefully believe them and take action against the bullies (not the victims as still happens). It is important to speak up as others being bullied then feel they are not alone. Boys high decile schools are particularly prone to endemic bullying. Also hope you got some counselling, as bullying is similar to other PTSDs in its long term affects on the victims.

    • Descendant Of Smith 8.1

      I don’t mind speaking out about it and it helps others when I have.

      In the end I was pretty resilient and have had no long term effects apart from further developing an already held social conscience and a dislike for bullying, the abuse of power and hypocrisy.

      Some of the other kids suffered, including running away.

      I remember somewhat coming across a man in his 70’s who still got unspeakably angry when he thought of what had happened to him at the same school many years earlier.

      That’s why Pete and others of his ilk are wrong when they talk about how great it was in the old days and that this generation is more violent.

      Like to ability to rape your spouse this sort of behaviour was condoned and accepted, as was the abuse of those with intellectual and psychiatric problems in institutions.

      Anyone who has worked with many of the people who were previously institutionalised – including within orphanages – knows the damage that some of these people had done to them.

      The right wing notion is that everyone can be resilient and pull themselves up by their bootstraps is so abhorrent – many can – many cannot.

      I’ve been making this observation for years and have had many arguments over this with those from earlier generations who seem to have very rose tinted glassless.

      It was interesting to have this view re-inforced recently when coming across this book:

      The question that should always be asked is in who’s interest is it to have both a fearful population and to convey that it’s your fault if you can’t get your shit together?

      • Pete George 8.1.1

        That’s why Pete and others of his ilk are wrong when they talk about how great it was in the old days and that this generation is more violent.

        Not my ilk, I often argue against those who say things like we should go back to how things were in the 50s. Redbaiter used to say we should go back to education as it was in about 1905.

        I doubt a general population anywhere at any time in history has had things as good as we do right now. Plenty of room for improvement yet but actual wellbeing and opportunity-wise even the bottom 10% are better off then the bottom 90% a hundred years ago. Better than everyone healthwise and for life expectancy.

        • Reagan Cline 8.1.1.1

          I would be surprised if health stats and cause of death stats for NZ 100 years ago are as reliable as todays – so not as easy as you make it look to make comparisons.
          What is certain though is that some diseases, particularly the non-infectious diseases, are on the rise in NZ. Obesity, diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, bowel cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, lymphoma and others.
          There is evidence from population studies that the western diet and lifestyle are responsible in some way (the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor focuses on genetic predispositions – but diet and lifestyle are crucial – and more amenable to goverbmnet action – asssuming we have finally discarded the eugenics based options).

  9. deuto 9

    Yet another example of feeding at the trough – http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6709307/MPs-question-top-heavy-pay-scale-at-TVNZ

    I was very impressed this week by the performance and straight to the point style of Green’s Julie Anne Genter taking on Brownlee of transport issues. This style is also evident in her comments quoted in this article , eg
    “The numbers show the the top people are paid 50 times more than those staffing security or doing the cleaning,” Genter said. “It’s an example of what is happening in New Zealand. People who are earning the most are earning so much more than others. Are they really worth it? And is it economically and socially sustainable?”

    It is also interesting to note that in the article she is quoted before Claire Curran …..

    But I divert from the subject matter of the article itself.

  10. Seen this folks?

    More progress on the ‘draft ACTION PLAN against ‘white collar’ crime, corruption and ‘corporate welfare’!

    WHERE’S THE ‘REGISTER OF INTERESTS’ FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES AND STAFF (INCLUDING CONSULTANTS) RESPONSIBLE FOR PROCUREMENT AND PROPERTY?

    How can the public be confident that there are no untoward ‘conflicts of interest’ between those responsible for giving and those who receive private sector contracts for ‘goods, services and people’ at local government level?

    How come, in New Zealand, ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’ there isn’t already this framework for genuine ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’ local government?

    Why should citizens and ratepayers pay rates – when the ‘books’ aren’t open – we don’t know exactly where our money is going, and we don’t know if it’s going to private sector consultants/contractors who may be mates / family or associates of local government elected representatives or employees responsible for procurement and property?

    How can ‘conflicts of interest’ be avoided/ minimised – if interests aren’t DECLARED, and ‘Registers of Interest’ made publicly available?

    Good enough for central government elected representatives – why not local government elected representatives?

    Next step – ‘Registers of Interest’ for ALL those responsible for awarding contracts and responsible for procurement and property……

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/latest-edition/6707897/Call-for-end-to-council-secrecy

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’
    waterpressure@gmail.com

    • deuto 10.1

      Go, Penny – well done! IMO if people want to run for and get elected to local councils, then they must be prepared to have their interests out in the open. Ditto, high level council staff.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Not worth having your entire personal financials exposed to public scrutiny for a measley $40K-$50K pa for a 3 year term. Which is the ball park that a lot of these councillor positions pay.

        In other words, this proposal is a good way to put people off from bothering to stand for local government.

        Now if there was a direct conflict of interest around a matter which was being considered – yes in that case it makes sense to require the publishing of relevant financial holdings, for someone else to independently vet the decision making process, or to allow the councillor to recuse themselves from the discussion.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1

          In other words, this proposal is a good way to put people off from bothering to stand for local government.

          That’s ok, we probably don’t want those people in government anyway.

    • Penny

      I agree.  Will advocate to my fellow elected representatives and will see where we go to. 

  11. M 11

    ‘Notorious hacktivist group Anonymous has taken down the UK Home Office website. The group took responsibility for the attack, saying in their tweet it was launched for ‘draconian surveillance proposals.’

    ‘British security agencies are pushing for a law which would allow police to monitor text messages, phone calls and emails of their citizens, as well as websites visited, Facebook and Twitter exchanges, and even online game chats. More than $3 billion over the first decade alone is the extraordinary sum the British taxpayer may have to pay to be legally spied upon should the bill be passed.’

    http://rt.com/news/anonymous-cyber-attack-uk-521/

    • marsman 11.1

      The USA Senate is trying to sneak in a similar bill re the internet.

    • fender 11.2

      Cant be too long until it will include in-home surveillance and then monitoring of all thoughts.

  12. joe90 12

    I wonder how long Paul Douglas will remain a Republican.

    the http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-douglas/republican-climate-change_b_1374900.html

  13. If our power companies become privatised, how can the government make sustainable energy a national priority without impinging on private interests? http://bit.ly/HrO6oS

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      They can’t but you’ll find that’s true of damn near everything – banking especially. Leaving it to private profiteers will always shaft the community.

      • And to me that’s more reason than any to keep power companies in public ownership so we can hopefully get some real leadership on energy policy.

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