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Open mike 15/11/09

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 15th, 2009 - 33 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:


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

Over to you…

33 comments on “Open mike 15/11/09 ”

  1. Tigger 1

    So which NACT MPs do you think will be trying to convince the leader that they ‘need’ to go to the soccer World Cup…?

  2. Noko 2

    Since this post brought it up – cannabis legalisation in New Zealand. Yay or nay?

    Personally, I’m positive is cannabis was fully legalised, it would remove a swathe of our population from prison, free the police force from the monetary and manpower costs of enforcement and lead to a decrease in the cannabis users rate (as has been shown in the the Netherlands and Portugal). I’m aware that no party wants to touch it, and even the Greens step away from it since Tancoz left (though I read a nice piece by Turei recently on her stance on decriminalisation). The fact is, it’s unconscionable that we lock people up for consuming a drug that’s known to be non-toxic, not physically addictive, an anti-carcinogen and an effective medicine for a huge range of different health ailments. The fact that my taxes pay for this makes me very uncomfortable indeed. Legalising cannabis would also remove funding for many gang activities. When Chris Fowlie from the Cannabis Culture magazine actually travelled to New Zealand, himself and the rest of the NORML people he was with were actually threatened by gang members. One of them actually said [paraphrased] “originally I was in support of legalising cannabis, but then I realised it would cut into our profits”.

    • gitmo 2.1

      So how many people are in jail solely on a charge of use/possession of cannabis – I’m guessing not very many at all.

      • Noko 2.1.1

        Just because someone isn’t in prison, it doesn’t mean a miscarriage of justice wasn’t carried out, gitmo. I can’t find data on imprisonment rate however

        In 2005, there were a total of 16,364 recorded drug-related offences. The vast
        majority of these (90 percent) were cannabis offences.

        Link – StatsNZ

        Given that, a fair few people were sentenced to community service, and/or fined.

        However, gitmo, is there any justifiable reason cannabis should be illegal?

        • gitmo

          Yes probably for the same reasons that tobacco and alcohol are illegal for those under a certain age.

          As always what needs to be balanced is the harm vs good of making something illegal/legal.

          • Noko

            Gitmo, what harm comes from cannabis?

            If so, do you believe it warrants being illegal, when you have the knowledge that so many reputable scientists believe is it less harmful than alcohol, that anyone that possesses a tinnie should be allowed to sent to prison for upto six months?

            • gitmo

              Carcinogen if smoked, impairment of decision making, psychiatric disorders in some etc etc etc.

              Make no mistake it is a drug of abuse and is as capable as any drug of abuse of causing harm…….that needs to be balanced vs its therapeutic effects in glaucome and certain patients or whom it is very effective pain relief medication.

              Honestly the best reason not to legalise it is probably the stoner tourism it would attract.

            • Noko

              Studies have shown cannabis to have anti-cancer properties, with one experiment showing a 50% decrease in the size of a breast tumor. THC is a trigger for some psychiatric disorders, not a cause. There has never been a causal relationship proven between cannabis and psychiatric disorders. Also, CBDs which are found in cannabis in lower rates than THC are anti-psychotics. Impairment of decision making? Considering many politicians have said they’ve smoked cannabis, that’s probably true.:twisted:

              How does cannabis cause harm, gitmo? Give me examples instead of allusions. Cannabis is an effective analgesic, anti-emetic, anti-spasmodic, anti-psychotic (remember CBDs), and muscle relaxant. You know how many different medical conditions this can help treat? Way too many to list here, gitmo. You are an in compassionate ass hole if you can’t knowledge this fact.

              If you believe something should be banned because it promotes tourism, you’re probably off your rocker. I understand that it does in Amsterdamn, but that’s in the middle of Europe. All you have to do if you live in Germany or France is a quick trip over the border. The 2200km to New Zealand just from Australia changes things a bit for us.

            • Quoth the Raven

              Cannabis can cause harm to the user. However it’s harm you’re causing to yourself and it’s less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. It’s not the state’s place to stop individuals doing what they wish with their own bodies and in the case of recreational drugs their own minds. Legalise it!

            • Noko

              Quoth the Raven, you say cannabis causes harm. Could you please justify that statement? I’m not trying to be bigoted towards anti-cannabis opinions, I want to know what harm people really believe cannabis causes.

            • Armchair Critic

              First – I think cannabis should be decriminalised immediately, as a first step toward legalising it in the future.
              Second – QTR says it can cause harm, which is a little different to saying it causes harm. I agree with QTR, I’m sure it can cause harm. Other perfectly innocuous things like coffee, chocolate and water can also cause harm. More often than not they don’t, but they can. Similar with alcohol and tobacco, except the likelihood of harm occurring and the degree of harm are much greater.

            • Noko

              Ah, right, my misunderstanding. Thanks for clearing it up, AC.

    • prism 2.2

      The idea of putting restrictions and controls on most drugs, except the worst, and removing their illegality presently resulting in severe criminal penalties has a practical, pragmatic, thoughtful and intelligent approach with societal advantages and state cost savings.
      The amount of time and money spent by the police in marijuana control could go somewhere else. There would be controls and standards imposed, perhaps marijuana would be treated more like party pills. The taxation on marijuana sales would result in more revenue, and criminality would then involve unpaid taxes. The government could promote different, less potent, strains of marijuana and there would be legalised outlets such as for alcohol. (There would also be controls on hours of sale made mandatory for the country). The growers could lease or buy their own land and grow and market the stuff. They could also be encouraged to go into hemp growing, another industry that would be beneficial to our economy.

      Changes like this would have to be fought all the way through the politics and brouhaha of people who aren’t inclined to analyse and make changes to improve bad outcomes. Much easier to continue braying about others’ badness, being authoritarian, bemoaning the costs, etc. Many feel secure and superior in having continuing patterns of behaviour to criticise. Such people quote the anecdote and received wisdom and resist improvement of the situation. Drugs cannot be effectively abolished – prohibition in the USA just gave a boost to the criminal Mafia, and in NZ the gangs, otherwise low income powerless people, are drawn to the drug scene to improve their finances also.

      • gitmo 2.2.1

        Good idea perhaps we could let Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco give us some advice ….. I mean no harm could possibly come from freeing up access to marijuana

        • prism

          Harm reduction, making a choice for a better outcome in a dodgy situation. Do nothing often seems the best option. Why can’t trial policies be introduced for hard to deal with situations, to be monitored and assessed against reasonable goals of improvement?

        • Noko

          The difference is that cannabis has medicinial qualities that are well observed and proved. Even the Ministry of Health has approved Savitex made from cannabis extract for medical use.

          That cannabis smoke doesn’t even effect the airways in the same way as tobacco shows how ignorant you are (perhaps purposely) being of the matter.

      • prism 2.2.2

        Interesting bit of news. This is what happens when you try to use your intelligence and make some improvement in embedded policy. Google – The British Home Secretary sacked his drug advisor David Nutt on 30/10/09 for criticising the government’s drug policy.

  3. Winston Smith 3

    Another trougher outed:

    An anti-smoking group has lost its taxpayer funding after audits revealed its director took a string of international jaunts.

    Audits of Te Reo Marama found that international travel counted for a large chunk of the organisation’s spending, and led to the Ministry of Health pulling $200,000 a year funding.

    Te Reo Marama director Shane Kawenata Bradbrook said he was surprised at the ministry’s decision – and that ministry cash was rarely used to pay for flights.

    The Wellington-based group, which aims to help Maori stop smoking, is an independent organisation that receives funding from several sources, including the World Health Organisation.

    On its website, it states: “Maori have a tradition of resistance within Aotearoa-New Zealand… Resisting the industry that profits from Maori illness and premature death continues that tradition of resistance.”

    Public health group manager Warren Lindberg said the contract was terminated after “considerable concerns about its reporting and other management and governance issues”.

    “The Ministry of Health did not expect to be funding international travel,” Lindberg said.

  4. prism 4

    Interesting guy this morning Dmitry Orlov on Chris Laidlaw National Radio. Talking about the transition of big states USSR to capitalism type state and how they coped and how the USA will cope when they have to transition. Talked about how oil will soon be as expensive to find, reach, draw off and supply as can be paid by consumers, hence not profitable any more. Then… It’s a curse ‘May you live in interesting times’.

    • NickS 4.1

      Heh, for one who claims to be “superior” it’s surprising that you haven’t even tried looking at the empirical veracity of Peak Oil, i.e. it’s not going to be an issue till the end of this century (see October 09 issue of Scientific American, “Squeezing More Oil from the Ground” pp36) though this may not be the best thing in getting us weaned off oil and over to low/neutral carbon energy sources.

      Also, the USSR’s transtition to capitalism has worked oh so well, that’s if you’re one of the rich, for otherwise Russia has developing world levels for some of the key socio-economic indicators. Or course, this only matters darling if you’re one of teh poor, or those silly upper class fools who care about them…

      • BLiP 4.1.1

        Like the argument above in relation to drugs, it would seem the argument in relation to “peak oil” has become one of politics rather than the data.

      • prism 4.1.2

        Interesting that feedbacks was the spam word. The way you think NickS all I would need to say is that one word and you could make a strong argument against it, having a quick sneer and projecting all your pathetic prejudices on to my possible, imagined meaning.

  5. Zorr 5

    An article in the Times of London from a few days ago brought to my attention by the wonderful Jerry Coyne – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/biology_evolution/article6905259.ece

    Why are we still having these arguments?

    • NickS 5.1

      Short answer: Because some people are morons

      Long answer: People look for reasons for why horrible things happen, reasons which fit in with the cultural matrix/fabric they’re part of, and when your culture doesn’t really understand why some people break and go postal, you end up looking for “rational” alternative explanations. And given then that in the West, particularly the USA, there exists a proportion of the population who think evolution is teh evils, it’s not particularly surprising to see evilution blamed for these tragedies. Instead of say, said person having been put into a situation that is not productive to considering others as human, or just having mental disorders which predispose them to violence under the right environment…

      Same thinking goes for why people reject evolution in the first place, though you can also look at the role culture plays in making individuals accept someone as an “expert” or particular claims as “true”, regardless of the empirical evidence to the contrary…

      Which partly helps explain why Wishart somehow manages to get no1 for the piece of sh*t that is Air Con

  6. NickS 6

    Oh joy, once more science ignorance strikes;

    And double plus irony for “Poison Free NZ”, mostly due to philosophical fun and dose-dependency of lethal effects when it comes to classifying the boundaries of the term “poison”.

    Protip; water is toxic as well in sufficient quantities, aka water intoxication…

    • Noko 6.1

      Kind of a misrepresentation there, NickS. According to Wikipedia’s article

      Fluoroacetate is highly toxic to mammals and insects.[2] The oral dose of fluoroacetate sufficient to be lethal in humans is 210 mg/kg.[9]

      That’s 1 gram to kill a 100kg person.
      The thing about 1080 isn’t that it kills (well it is, when you’re talking about the deaths of 7 Keas, however) but the mechanism of killing. It interrupts the citric acid cycle, which is what our cells derive their energy from. It’s a particularly horrible way to die, for any creature.

      Now if we were talking about it sticking around in the ecosystem…

      • NickS 6.1.1

        Except of course 1080 doesn’t stick round in the environment, since organic molecules, other than aromatic hydrocarbon rings, tend to have rather short half-life’s out in nature when they have fluorine functional groups, as they tend to make the carbon they’re attached to highly electro-positive and prone to attack…

        Or at least that’s what 2 years of organic chemistry and 3 years of biochemistry point to. Without digging through my notes/textbooks for reactivity data for F-fg’s…

        Organic chemistry is fun.

        And potential sources for info, since I have all the motivation of a corpse at present for deep researching;

        Oh yeah, page 27 onwards of this pdf might be useful;

        Also, being killed by a stoat isn’t exactly a fun way to go, nor is starvation due to possums stripping your food source, nor gin-traps for possums, and/or shooting. The tendency to talk about poisons being “cruel” oft goes with a tendency to romanticise the cruelty of nature and ignore the use of rather nasty poisons in nature as defense, and the ecological impacts of introduced mammals, even at low levels, on NZ’s environment and native animals. Which all evolved in splendid isolation from mammalian herbivores and predators, and thus, are mostly highly vulnerable to becoming food…

        And humane measures aren’t exactly an option when dealing with rough NZ back country and a lack of conservation funding, not to mention actual effectiveness.

  7. illuminatedtiger 7

    Looks like our smug media slut of a PM got to meet Obama again.

    • BLiP 7.1

      Heh! Remember the last time he got to meet Obama? There he was at the UN surrounded by the leaders of the world discussing hugely critical matters pertaining to the future of the planet – asked what his impressions were, the Goober said:

      h-yuck, h-yuck, h-yuck – Michull Bama’z roily, roily tull – she mid Bronagh luk lyke a Hobbit

  8. it certainly looks as if the Maori Party is tearing its-self apart .
    Sadly a great opportunity for Maori ,the Labour Party and the whole of the political Left has been lost. As soon as Maori Party was formed the Labour Party should has agreed to give up the electoral seats in exchange for the party vote . It would have kept us in government for years. Instead we drove them into the arms of the Nats.However having said that I realise that Turia and Sharples lean to the Right and cannot be trusted ,dispite the majority of Maori favouring a relationship with labour.
    If as I believe will happen, the Maori Party splits then we Labour members must do our utmost to enable Maori to return to Labour.
    Its going go happen so ,let be prepaired to welcome the Maori people with open arms/

    • The Voice of Reason 8.1

      A couple of misconceptions there, Postie. The Maori party was formed in opposition to the Labour party and was conservative in nature right from the start. It hasn’t moved right, it is right. Secondly, Labour don’t need to do a deal to pick up the party vote; they get it anyway.

      Those points aside, you are dead right that Labour needs to be prepared to get those electorate seats back. Formulating policy that appeals to Maori would be a start. Perhaps they should begin by asking Maori what they want?

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Why is Marijuana Illegal?

    Many people assume that marijuana was made illegal through some kind of process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings; that it was to protect the citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug.

    The actual story shows a much different picture. Those who voted on the legal fate of this plant never had the facts, but were dependent on information supplied by those who had a specific agenda to deceive lawmakers. You’ll see below that the very first federal vote to prohibit marijuana was based entirely on a documented lie on the floor of the Senate.

    You’ll also see that the history of marijuana’s criminalization is filled with:

    * Racism
    * Fear
    * Protection of Corporate Profits
    * Yellow Journalism
    * Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
    * Personal Career Advancement and Greed

    These are the actual reasons marijuana is illegal.

  10. You are quite correct voice. Not only is Turia on the Right but she is driven by a hatred of Helen Clark.
    However I still believe we should have made an effort before the eelction to have some accomodation.
    We also missed the chance with the Greens in 1990.We should have stood down from the Coromandel in favour of the Green candidate in exchange for party vote ,Im a life member of the

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