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Open mike 01/07/2013

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 1st, 2013 - 165 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…

165 comments on “Open mike 01/07/2013 ”

  1. Morrissey 1

    Humbug Corner


    “They’re my brothers and to see one of them goes [sic]—it’s tough.”
    —Whenua Patuwai, re last week’s voting out of Tom Batchelor, The X-Factor, TV3, Sunday 30 June 2013

    Humbug Corner is dedicated to gathering, and highlighting, the most striking examples of faux solicitude, insincere apologies, and particularly stupid recycling of official canards. It is produced by the Insincerity Project®, a division of Daisycutter Sports Inc.

    Whenua’s basically a nice guy. But THESE humbugs are just nasty….
    No. 10 “Sir” Owen Glenn: “I do care that every person, especially children, have [sic] the right to feel safe.”
No. 9 “Sir” Owen Glenn: His abuse inquiry is floundering after revelations he was accused of physically abusing a young woman in 2002.
No. 8 Barack Obama: “…people standing up for what’s right…yearning for justice and dignity…”

No. 7 Barack Obama: “Nelson Mandela is my personal hero…”
No. 6 John Key: “Yeah well the Greens’ answer to everything is rail, isn’t it.”
No.5 Dr. Rodney Syme: “If you want good, open, honest practice, you have to make it transparent.”

    Open mike 09/06/2013

No. 4 Mike Bush: “Bruce Hutton’s… integrity beyond reproach…such great character…”

No. 3 Dean Lonergan: “Y’ know what? The only people who will mock them are people who are dwarfists.”

    No. 2 Peter Dunne: “What a load of drivel and sanctimonious humbug…”


    No.1 Dominic Bowden: “It’s okay to be speechless.”


  2. Morrissey 2

    “A criminally irresponsible and cynical policy”
    How Thatcher gave Pol Pot a Hand

    by JOHN PILGER, New Statesman, 17 April 2000

    Almost two million Cambodians died as a result of Year Zero. John Pilger argues that, without the complicity of the US and Britain, it may never have happened.

    [….] Until 1989, the British role in Cambodia remained secret. The first reports appeared in the Sunday Telegraph, written by Simon O’Dwyer-Russell, a diplomatic and defence correspondent with close professional and family contacts with the SAS. He revealed that the SAS was training the Pol Pot-led force. Soon afterwards, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that the British training for the “non-communist” members of the “coalition” had been going on “at secret bases in Thailand for more than four years”. The instructors were from the SAS, “all serving military personnel, all veterans of the Falklands conflict, led by a captain”.

    The Cambodian training became an exclusively British operation after the “Irangate” arms-for-hostages scandal broke in Washington in 1986. “If Congress had found out that Americans were mixed up in clandestine training in Indo-China, let alone with Pol Pot,” a Ministry of Defence source told O’Dwyer-Russell, “the balloon would have gone right up. It was one of those classic Thatcher-Reagan arrangements.” Moreover, Margaret Thatcher had let slip, to the consternation of the Foreign Office, that “the more reasonable ones in the Khmer Rouge will have to play some part in a future government”. In 1991, I interviewed a member of “R” (reserve) Squadron of the SAS, who had served on the border. “We trained the KR in a lot of technical stuff – a lot about mines,” he said. “We used mines that came originally from Royal Ordnance in Britain, which we got by way of Egypt with marking changed . . . We even gave them psychological training. At first, they wanted to go into the villages and just chop people up. We told them how to go easy . . .”

    The Foreign Office response was to lie. “Britain does not give military aid in any form to the Cambodian factions,” stated a parliamentary reply. The then prime minister, Thatcher, wrote to Neil Kinnock: “I confirm that there is no British government involvement of any kind in training, equipping or co-operating with Khmer Rouge forces or those allied to them.” On 25 June 1991, after two years of denials, the government finally admitted that the SAS had been secretly training the “resistance” since 1983. A report by Asia Watch filled in the detail: the SAS had taught “the use of improvised explosive devices, booby traps and the manufacture and use of time-delay devices”. The author of the report, Rae McGrath (who shared a joint Nobel Peace Prize for the international campaign on landmines), wrote in the Guardian that “the SAS training was a criminally irresponsible and cynical policy”.

    When a UN “peacekeeping force” finally arrived in Cambodia in 1992, the Faustian pact was never clearer. Declared merely a “warring faction”, the Khmer Rouge was welcomed back to Phnom Penh by UN officials, if not the people. The western politician who claimed credit for the “peace process”, Gareth Evans (then Australia’s foreign minister), set the tone by calling for an “even-handed” approach to the Khmer Rouge and questioning whether calling it genocidal was “a specific stumbling block”. [….]

    Read the whole article here….

  3. Populuxe1 3

    No one has anything to be particularly proud of as regards Cambodia, but while the British SAS might have trained the non-Communist members of the Khmer Rouge, eminent leftists were in complete denial about what the Khmer Rouge were actually up to. Case in point your buddy Noam Chomsky:

    And many others on the left

    And even our own Keith Locke was relatively relaxed until the dreadful silence of Phnom Penh could no longer be ignored
    Though hardly surprising given his support for the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1980 – but of course that was a while ago and like most of the left his views have matured somewhat. Hindsight is always 20/20.

    In fact, I would go so far as to call a moratorium on finger pointing and calling the Pol Pot black for this very reason – it’s just another version of Argumentum ad Hitlerium.

    • Morrissey 3.1

      Your distortions and lies about Chomsky are a reflection on your moral character, or more precisely, your utter lack of character.

      And even our own Keith Locke was relatively relaxed…

      No he wasn’t. He had no idea what the Khmer Rouge was going to do. Your attempt to smear him is as disgusting and as laughable as your attempt to smear Chomsky. I note your complete lack of censure for the U.S. government, which supported the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and after—long after the horror of its genocide had been revealed. As did the U.K. (your democratic champion Thatcher again), Australia and New Zealand.

      Hindsight is always 20/20.

      No doubt you will quote that saw some time in the future when the mainstream press is praising Snowden and Assange in the same way they now praise Mandela.

      In fact, I would go so far as to call a moratorium on finger pointing and calling the Pol Pot black

      What? You are STILL supporting Pol Pot? It’s not 1979 any more, Winston.

      for this very reason – it’s just another version of Argumentum ad Hitlerium.

      That’s not even slightly amusing, sorry.

    • Pete 3.2

      And wasn’t it a wonderful thing that the Communist government came to power in Vietnam and subsequently invaded and overthrew the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

      • Populuxe1 3.2.1

        Well someone had to – it wasn’t going to be Chomsky

        • Professor Longhair

          Something called “Populuxe1” attempts, unwisely, to be clever….

          “Well someone had to – it wasn’t going to be Chomsky”

          Damn fool has no knowledge of Chomsky. Therefore not clever, just stupid.

          • Populuxe1

            On the contrary – I have quite a detailed knowledge of the mendacious old fart. He has never encountered a genocidal revolutionary army or terrorist organisation he was not content to give a slap on the wrist with a moist bus ticket and describe as ‘not as bad as imperialist America’. He flatly refuses to take on board new information if it contradicts his pet speculations – something particularly noticeable in his linguistic theories, his politics, and in his arrogant dismissal of much poststructural theory . He describes university education as psychological indoctrination for wage slavery and yet is quite content to continue supporting it as long as he recieves his hefty salary from MIT as he has for the last fifty years or so.

            While he has made some valid an important contributions is some areas, these are tarnished by the many other frauds and hypocrisies that follow the old fart around, and you sound much like him – what with you being a fraud, a hypocrite, and a fart. But what is worse is you are also gullible because you put the old bugger on a pedestal and can’t read him critically or with any objectivity. Meanwhile Saint Chomsky trundles on, defending the indefensible, laughing all the way to the next worthless prize giving or celebrity public presentation, all flaws forgiven, feted by saps like you.

            • Tim

              “On the contrary – I have quite a detailed knowledge of the mendacious old fart. He has never encountered a genocidal revolutionary army or terrorist organisation he was not content to give a slap on the wrist with a moist bus ticket and describe as ‘not as bad as imperialist America’.”
              Which, OF COURSE, you do.
              (Maaaaaate !!!!) – you could single-handedly explain the reason for likes of a Waitakere man are as bigoted as they are.

              A holier-than-thou – I paid-me dues – politically correct ‘minority’ – intelligent (to the extent that an above average knowledge and intellect is a dangerous thing) – self-serving, soon to become – bitter old queen.

              Anyway, I vowed I wasn’t going to engage with the likes of yee in outlets such as these – I hope we never meet.

              • Populuxe1

                On behalf of everyone who fought for the 1986 homosexual law reform act, go fuck yourself with a chainsaw you tragic little throwback to the neanderthals.

                • Tim

                  If that’s directed at me Populuxicle, I think I probably did as much as anybody re the 1986 law reform – even engaging with that ghastly FW woman – the one not above using her feigned left-wing principle as a means of self-promotion (delving into slush funds et al),
                  and unlike you,
                  I’ve not made assumptions as to anyone’s sexuality, their attitudes towards race or anything else – on the basis of their expressing an opinion on some X-Factor judge/contestant,
                  and nor have I attempted to divert, introduce completely irrelevant material, or any other manipulative “bitchy little technique” (as you did above) into an argument.

                  I acknowledge however that you almost single-handedly brought about the 1986 law reform, and that you’re intellect, lack of bias despite whatevers predisposition you have, your fight for truth, justice and the American way just leave us ALL in awe.

                  • Populuxe1

                    By all means continue to sound like a dick – I don’t have the time or energy to assist you any further in this endeavour.

                    • Tim

                      ” don’t have the time or energy to assist you any further in this endeavour.”

                      I’m quite sure you don’t. But rest assured that future posts will be those that are talking ABOUT you rather than AT you.

                      All such posts are good though yes?

                      Besides which Glastonbury is a damn sight more entertaining than internet dialogue with the male entering a mid-life crisis desperately trying to stake his claim.

                      Btw Pops – I recommend Palmolive ‘Charmis’.
                      It not only has Vitamins a and c, but E as well.

                      Maybe I been here before.

            • Morrissey

              On the contrary – I have quite a detailed knowledge…

              No you don’t. Every word you utter serves to underline your ignorance and malice.

              • Populuxe1

                You almost sound like Chomsky. You have the same habit of dismissing any contrary data as unimportant otherwise of course you would have considered it. You also have the same condescending tone and the tendency to respond to everything with “America is worse” down pat – the master would be proud.

                • Morrissey

                  You almost sound like Chomsky.

                  Thank you, my friend. That’s very generous of you.

                  You have the same habit of dismissing any cont—

                  Arrrrrggghhhh! Forgot you have no idea.

                  You flattered to deceive.

                  Sucker that I am, I fell for it. For one and a half sentences.

  4. Morrissey 4

    Germans compare U.S. snooping to Stasi

  5. One Anonymous Knucklehead 5

    Here we go. Looks like the National Party’s clients aren’t satisfied with public-funded private schools.

    Ms Parata had already asked the Ministry of Education for a report on how New Zealand schools should be funded across the sector.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Experts had found that four consecutive years of quality teaching eliminated any trace of socio-economic disadvantage.

      And I’m pretty sure that research has proved the exact opposite. No amount of teaching can overcome the inherent disadvantages associated with poverty.

      This seems to be one of John Key’s can find someone else to to say the opposite of what the research shows that we saw on the HardTalk interview.

  6. Boadicea 6

    David Shearer appeared on a special edition of TV3’s The Nation and said: “I’ve asked my colleagues and they haven’t heard anything about it [leadership challenge]”.

    “I can’t comment any further when I don’t know who this person is.”

    Shearer should ask Beltway Grant again. The ABC’c are now turning on Shearer.

    Time for the Natz to have a “Popcorn and Coke” moment.

    Time for Labour people to get ready for an early General Election.

    • Jimmie 6.1

      Asked his colleagues?

      Was that his colleague he sees in the mirror?

      That is an odd word to use ‘colleague’ in that context.

      To me it implies someone who is somewhat distant from the people he is referring to – his caucus.

      Surely if everything was tickity boo he would have said I have spoken to all my caucus members and none of them know anything about a challenge.

      It kind of feels like Shearer is feeling isolated within his party – must be like Chinese water torture.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.1.1

        I sense your concern. It’s so sincere.

      • David H 6.1.2

        And if Shonky calls an early election prepare for the landslide of the century. Labour will still be infighting on election night.

    • QED 6.2

      Australian Labor primary vote highest in 6 months, Abbott fades in Newspoll



    • weka 6.3

      “The ABC’c are now turning on Shearer.”

      [citation needed]

      So far we have Gower and Hooton making the claim (and they both have their own agendas that don’t serve the left), and some internet speculation. Anything else?

      • quartz 6.3.1

        Someone has been leaking Labour’s internal polling to the gallery for about a month now.

      • David H 6.3.2

        Well Gower has to find something juicy to report/make up.

        • Mary

          Gower’s not making it up. He’s protecting his source. Close your eyes and imagine Shearer in a leaders debate then decide whether he’s making it up or not.

      • Tom 6.3.3

        It is a narrative which suits their cause.

        I believe that the National party is increasingly in election mode, suggesting that it may call a snap election – blindsiding the NZLP and (perhaps mercifully) ending Shearers incumbency.

        Key and Smith in recent public appearances have been demonising Greens as ‘radical’ (substituting greens for reds under the bed). This momentum only makes sense if soon exploited in a snap poll.

        I have just received a questionnaire in my letter box from my local National Party candidate enquiring about

        1. “.. issues that are most important to you”,
        2. “What is the most important issue to you ?” and
        3. “Please tick one of the following options”

        “I ALWAYS support the following political party [blah, blah, blah]
        OR I USUALLY support the following political party [ditto]
        OR I don’t support any political party in particular”

        .. which suggests that they are profiling the electorate or electorates in order to effectively target election campaigning and resources when it is called.

        In an age of instant communication, mobile smartphones, text, and internet execution is connected, dynamic, agile, and responsive.

        Goff and Shearer belong to an older generation of politicos. Key belongs to a younger tech-savvy generation, with socially autistic and libertarian leanings.

        The Australian economy has been recently described as a “property credit bubble depending on the Chinese economy which itself depends on a credit bubble” suggesting that a hard landing may be ahead .. been across the Tasman recently ?

        Good luck.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Parliamentary crest onnit by any chance? Not sure it should have with those questions on it.

          • Jilly Bee

            We got one from Paula Bennett – pretty sure it had the logo/crest attached. It got dispatched immediately to the recycling bin – I didn’t need the NActs to have any information from this household, the questions were totally intrusive.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            What does the crest look like? Is it “NZ” encircled by a band with “house of representatives” and the crown on top? If so, yes, it has the crest on it.

            • Pascal's bookie

              That’s the one.

              these Qs look dodgy to me :

              “I ALWAYS support the following political party [blah, blah, blah]
              OR I USUALLY support the following political party [ditto]
              OR I don’t support any political party in particular”

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                It’s a push poll, so it won’t provide them with any useful information. If its intention is to reassure the morons who vote for them that they’re being listened to I suppose that might work.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  It’s to get emails and more importantlty addresses to match up agin the electoral toll. Put dots on maps, turn out the vote.

                  • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                    Hey, that’s an idea. Perhaps I’ll fill it in after all, see if I can get myself recruited 😈

          • weka

            If it’s got the parlimentary crest on it, does that mean the information they gather belongs to the country not NACT?

            • Pascal's bookie

              Nope, just means we paid for it. Parliamentary services, so not OIAable AFAIK

          • Tom

            “House of Representatives” encircled around large font “NZ” with diagram of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth dominating the border at the top.


        • Draco T Bastard

          I believe that the National party is increasingly in election mode,

          Yes, but that doesn’t really mean anything – electioneering starts quite awhile before the election. It’s why Labour changed the electioneering period from 6 weeks to January 1st of election year. At the time National had just proved that electioneering starts months before hand. It’s also why National changed it back – they’d have to account for the spend if they hadn’t.

        • tc

          Yes and the issues listed that you had to rank read like the slogans you will hear in the campaign.

    • felix 6.4

      Shearer: “I can’t comment any further when I don’t know who this person is.”

      Eh? How does that work? He can’t comment on the allegation that someone in his caucus said it?

      Whatever. He can’t comment because he’s not allowed to.

      • McFlock 6.4.1

        Funnily enough, a number of suspects have been in the same spotlight (being asked to answer to allegations of unknown origin). Regardless of their guilt or innocence, their best option is to say “no comment”. Why? Because without knowing the source and exactly what was alleged, one can’t distinguish between the actual allegation and hopeful fishing by the interviewer.

      • Mary 6.4.2

        Or “Gower won’t tell me who it is so he must be making it up.” Watertight logic, Shearer-style.

        • McFlock

          So every rumour gower has repeated using unnamed MPs as a source has been correct? I’m thinking about something around conference-time last year…

          • Mary

            Sure, but this time Shearer’s performance must make the odds pretty high. If the TAB were running a book I’d put my house on it being true.

            • McFlock

              I believe you might be able to place bets on iPredict…

              • Mary

                What are the odds? 100 to 1 that Gower made it up, and money back if he didn’t?

                • McFlock

                  no idea. They run it like a sharemarkety thing I think.

                  I don’t recommend betting your house, though.

                  • felix

                    No I wouldn’t bet the house, but then no-one’s likely to ask me to.

                    Unfortunately for Shearer, he doesn’t seem to want to “bet the house” either.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, he wants at least 61 seats for him and his friends, so of course he’d need a house to put them in.

                    • Mary

                      I would. Isn’t it bleedin’ obvious Shearer’s the problem? Money for jam.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    I can understand why we are such a close intelligence partner of the USA. Revelations that the US has attacked EU diplomatic missions in DC and in New York, in direct contravention of the Vienna Convention, are leading papers all through Europe. French, Italian and Greek diplomatic cables were also targetted. Germany the largest target. European officials are calling for abandonment of upcoming trade talks with the US.

    The news is nowhere to be seen on the NZ Herald online front page. Something about Kiwisaver help for buying homes leads. This must be why we are “trusted”.

    • Populuxe1 7.1

      But it’s ok when Wikileaks releases US diplomatic comuniques apparently – well that’s fair and balanced then /sarc

      • vto 7.1.1

        If they have nothing to hide they should have nothing to fear

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.2

        Irrelevant, but thanks.

        • Populuxe1

          Entirely relevant actually. The thing about secretly acquired information is that it is secret. It is not being broadcast to all and sundry by amateurs. And while I don’t approve of spying on one’s own citizens, foreign intelligence is a very different matter.

          • Colonial Viper

            Note how the “foreigners” e.g. the Germans, Italian and the French, think that excuse is a crock.

            Further, the US system doesn’t just spy on the activities of those foreign governments, it spies on the activities of ordinary citizens within those countries as well, which is quite a different matter from states spying on states.

            The thing about secretly acquired information is that it is secret.

            Well that’s been proven wrong. Haven’t you noticed.

            • Populuxe1

              That would be the French who sent their special forces to blow up the Rainbow Warrior in one of our ports. I’m sure they’re not beyond a bit of spying.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            Rubbish Pops. Spying is an act of war. Hence “The Art of War” devoting an entire chapter to it.

            • Populuxe1

              And everybody does it. Hence the specs for the footprint of Australia’s JMA weather satellite expands further in our direction than Canberra would prefer to be widely known, China and Russia are hacking everyone in sight, and New Zealand civilians who are likely to be going anywhere commercially interesting usually get a briefing by NZSIS to keep their eyes open. In that kind of environment you would be insane NOT to be spying.

              • Colonial Viper

                P1: sucker. They have all your passwords and all your logins. Enjoy.

                • Populuxe1

                  Probably – but then I’m highly unlikely to be of much interest because I’m not a sad, ageing Che Guevara wannabe like you – but if they have all my passwords and logins, they almost certainly have all yours too. C’est la vie – my generation is pretty much used to the idea that access to the web runs both ways.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Cheese eating surrender monkey.

                    • Populuxe1


                    • Colonial Viper

                      A tad more seriously Pop1, the constant and endemic surveillance of citizens in the Eastern Bloc was one reason that innovation and creativity wilted there. Trust quickly disappears, and taking a risk disappears too – especially when you realise that risk could come back and haunt you forever, with data in whoever’s hands.

                      A panoptical surveillance state undermines the fundamental, essential basis for modern western civilisation.

                  • karol

                    access to the web runs both ways

                    eh? So am I the only one who doesn’t have access to everyone else’s passwords and login?

                    Missing a logical step somewhere.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Ask a hacker to get them for you, in anycase it’s a cultural thing. Using a service like Google or Facebook, for example, is a tacit agreement to have your data monitored for patterns. Common knowledge for many years now. Why wouldn’t governments be doing it on a larger scale.

                  • karol

                    So, Pop, is “your” generation the same as that of Bradley Manning (born 1987) and/or Edward Snowden (born 1983)?

                    • Populuxe1

                      And no – the decade before, without the overweening sense of entitlement, and clear memories of the tale end of the Cold War.

                    • Morrissey

                      And no – the decade before, without the overweening sense of entitlement, and clear memories of the tale end of the Cold War.

                      So now Manning and Snowden have an “overweening sense of entitlement” to add to their list of grievous human rights abuses, which include “a narcissistic personality disorder and fantasies of being James Bond”, seeking “international media martyrdom”, and fleeing to Hong Kong. Not to mention the crime of being “a computer geek playing secret agent man from the safety of Chinese territory.”

                      (Top class analysis courtesy of Populuxe1.)

                    • Tim

                      So Populuxicle’s sense of entitlement came a little later.
                      It must have come with his deep and meaningful understanding of EVERYTHING, as well as the answer to life and the universe.

                      Besides – he’s considerably RICHER than you.

          • Morrissey

            And while I don’t approve of spying on one’s own citizens,

            Now that is a major backflip! Just yesterday this bloke was trying to tell us that these crimes were all legal crimes. (No, I am not making that up; check out his stellar oeuvre for yourself if you have time to kill.)

            I think it was about the time he was citing the moronic Australian Aborigine-baiter Keith Windschuttle as an authority in his comical bid to blacken the reputation of Noam Chomsky.

            What’s that you’re saying Ms. Moroney? “Maybe it’s the fluoride in the water down that way”? Well, THAT makes as much sense as anything this bloke wrote yesterday. Hmmmmm, have you ever considered a position in academe, Ms. Moroney? Canterbury is hiring people of your calibre….

    • vto 7.2

      It would seem to be exactly why we are “trusted”. Because we are a bunch of dumb sheep.

      Dumber than sheep in fact, as sheep are anything but dumb.

    • karol 7.3

      It also struck me that it was a bit low down on Al Jazeera’s news agenda.

  8. logie97 8

    New Zealand’s ratings in the Education world.

    Every few months we will read/hear reports of international ratings agencies placing our education on a scale, and we don’t do too badly. But what does it all mean?

    Is the child of 2013 receiving any better education than that of 1990, 1980, 1970, 1960, 1950 …?
    There have been tomes written by experts on how to deliver number, writing and reading.
    But has it made any difference? (I have heard it said that Maths has been dumbed down over the decades.)

    We certainly don’t see any increase in the graduates of our schooling lining up at the university doors to become brain surgeons.

    The question to ask therefore, given all of these changes that have swept through/and over schools, (and those of 40 years in the profession who are nearing the end of their careers have sure seen copious and many) – have they made a slight bit of difference? Yeah … naahh!

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.1

      Many of the changes have been suggested and implemented by educators. The national curriculum, for example.

      Check the literacy rate in 1850 if you think there’s been no improvement.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Better than 1850 no doubt. How about better than 1960?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          How about it? Would you like me to Google it for you?

          • logie97

            Look forward to the links. (I suppose literacy in IT might be one improvement – but how much of that can be put down to schooling?)

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. If you have links that show no improvement in literacy (or numeracy for that matter), since 1960, bring them.

              Does it count as an improvement that students don’t get punished for using te reo in class?

              • weka

                And yet te reo is still in decline. Why is that?

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Good question. I suspect the answer has more to do with privilege than pedagogy.

                  • weka

                    Which could be said of literacy in general too.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Well, the privileged will always enjoy innate advantages, but if literacy rates have improved among the less fortunate, that would be a result of pedagogy, no? If so, and the same pedagogical tools are used to teach te reo, then it cannot be the cause of the decline.

                    • weka

                      By pedagogy do you mean how things are taught? Literacy may have improved or declined because of that, or because of other factors, or both. Not really sure where you are going with this.

                      Improvements in general literacy due to changes in teaching are unlikely to improve te reo (it needs its own way of being taught).

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      True insofar as it goes, but my point is that teaching methods have (probably) improved; that will affect the teaching of te reo Māori as much as English, so if te reo has declined (link?) it is unlikely to be teaching methods that are the problem.

              • Colonial Viper

                Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. If you have links that show no improvement in literacy (or numeracy for that matter), since 1960, bring them.

                Review a few kids CVs and job application letters for starters. Then ask them to do some mental arithmetic (that’s the kind without a calculator).

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  What? Anecdotes? It’s sad to see a left winger using right wing “logic”.

                  PS: I expect people are less proficient with the chalk-board and abacus too.

                  • weka

                    Do you think that people being able to do maths with a calculator but not in their head or on paper is a loss of skill or not?

                    btw, I did google, because I was curious, but couldn’t find anything useful. Perhaps you might have more luck (don’t need facetious comparisons with the 1800s though, thanks).

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Yeah I’m still trying to find the right search terms too 🙂

                      I think the ability to do sums in ones head is valuable, I also know so many younger people who can. Most of them work in retail. Anecdotes are not data, naturally, but neither are they suggestive of a decline.

                      This is interesting:

                      The computer has become a key literacy and numeracy tool. Broadly, work computer use or non-use can be seen as dividing jobs into those requiring and those not requiring higher literacy and numeracy. Home computer use was associated with greater involvement in personal literacy activities.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Home computer use was associated with greater involvement in personal literacy activities.

                      Until just a few years ago, home computer use was associated with a household with enough money to buy a $1500 home computer.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Well, most of the low income people on my radar get a second hand one for $150-$200 from a local computer guy.

                      PS: this has been going on for more than “a few years”.

                    • Murray Olsen

                      “Do you think that people being able to do maths with a calculator but not in their head or on paper is a loss of skill or not?”

                      Yes, I do. Even the ability to do a rough estimate in their head is useful – it prevents pushing the wrong button on a calculator and not noticing that the answer is ridiculous.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Then ask them to do some mental arithmetic (that’s the kind without a calculator).

                  And the chances are that they’ll be able to do it faster than you.

          • vto

            What use eduactional advancement if there is no manwomankind advancement?

            What was the rate of human advancement in 1850?
            What is the rate of human advancement in 2013?

            Mesuspects the rate is slower today than our superiors in 1850….

            • weka

              can’t keep advancing forever, sometimes it’s ok to stop and enjoy where we are 🙂

              • vto

                Couldn’t agree more. Such a sentiment seems to be a minority view today….. gotta keep up the ponzi scheme “growth” payments don’t we …..

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  “Growth” (I assume you mean economic growth) is not the only opportunity for advancement.

                  • vto

                    Yes of course – was mixing up advancement in the countless other ways we have achieved, with today’s apparently sole manner of advancement, economic. We are certainly stuck in a time warp as a society today where everything is measured in economic terms (epitomised by our currnet government and Prime Minister). One day I am sure we humans will wake up once again.

                    Personally I am looking forward to my roses advancement this coming spring as the recent frigid and wintry conditions have coincided nicely with the shortest daze to create the perfect winter rose storm and subsequent budding and flowering in coming months ……..

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Nothing wrong with advancing your ability to grow roses 🙂

                    • weka

                      Unless it’s at the expense of something else (not talking about vto here). eg creating the perfect x rose, if it means using lots of toxic chemicals, is not a useful advancement IMO. The idea that advancement is inherently good has gotten us into a lot of trouble.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You guys are questioning our current civilisation’s civil religion and orthodoxy of perpetual and infinite progress (oft disguised as “growth”). Please stop it. The middle classes will get unsettled with this kind of radical extremist talk.

                    • weka

                      ‘cept the parts of the middle class that agree ;-p

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Weka, that seems like sophistry to me. “Advancement” for example, in fuel economy, or battery technology, is exactly what we need. “Advancement” such as neo-liberal economic theory, not so much, in fact any sane observer would regard it as a backward step.

                    • weka

                      You familiar with the Jeavons paradox? Advancement in fuel efficiency is only useful if it leads to less use of finite resources or makes transport more affordable without negative environmental consequences. But it often doesn’t. Hence my point – advancement isn’t inherently Good. Its goodness is context specific. Some advancement is downright bad.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Then it doesn’t qualify as advancement, but I guess that’s sophistry too.

                    • weka

                      Lol, no, I think what you are doing is sophistry.

                      You’re the one that made the generalisation about fuel efficiency (ie fuel efficiency Is Good. I just pointed out that it depends on context, hence my point: advancement isn’t always Good.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Jevons Paradox applies to claims that fuel efficiency is “good”.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      We’re at cross purposes: I meant my response was sophistry.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The idea that advancement is inherently good has gotten us into a lot of trouble.

                      That’s not what got us into trouble. What got us into trouble was believing anything new was an advancement.

                      Fuel efficiency is good but the economic paradigm that we run our society under sees more use of fuel as good. It’s the economic paradigm that is the problem as it forces us to use more and more of the scarce resources that we’re supposed to be managing efficiently.

                    • weka

                      Do you think the Jevons paradox is only at play because of certain kinds of economies? I would think it’s embedded in human nature. Or even nature itself. It’s not like humans naturally conserve resources unless they have to.

                      The problem here is that the embedded energy in fossil fuels has given us a huge boost far too quickly, so the natural limits haven’t had time to kick in. Probably not long now though.

                      “That’s not what got us into trouble. What got us into trouble was believing anything new was an advancement.”

                      That implies something can only be seen to be an advancement in hindsight. Probably true some of the time, but not all of the time.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I would think it’s embedded in human nature.

                      Intelligence and education can overcome that.

                      It’s not like humans naturally conserve resources unless they have to.

                      Actually, they do if they’re not living in capitalistic societies. IMO, overuse of resources is a learned behaviour.

                      That implies something can only be seen to be an advancement in hindsight.

                      Not really, it means something can only be seen as an advancement with proper research. We’ve been jumping on the new and not doing the research until after it’s been in use and then finding out that it wasn’t an advance.

                    • weka

                      “It’s not like humans naturally conserve resources unless they have to.”

                      “Actually, they do if they’re not living in capitalistic societies”

                      [citation needed] And several examples I think, from different kinds of cultures.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      There are several societies that lived within the limits of their resources – Eskimos, Native North Americans, societies throughout Africa. What you see in history is that the civilisations that developed agriculture also developed capitalist systems of ownership and ever greater use, eventually leading to overuse, of resources. Jared Diamonds* Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed lists some of them and details some of the mistakes. What comes through is the overuse of resources as a main driver of the collapse of those societies.

                      This dichotomy would tend to indicate that it’s not human nature that causes over use but the socio-economic system that the society uses. Ones that have a hierarchical structure with private ownership have inevitably collapsed from over use of resources.

                      * Yes, I’m aware of the disagreements and even agree with some of them.

                    • weka

                      Hunter gatherer cultures do seem to manage much better than agricultural ones in terms of learning to live within their means. But IMO they do so because of the limits they strike, not because of some inherent ability to not exhaust their resource base. We are adapted to increase population, and we will until we cannot. I agree that human intelligence and learning can and does overcome this, but I don’t think we have something inbuilt (I could be wrong).

                      Tim Flannery is a good one to read on this. The Future Eaters focussed on Australasia, but he’s also written about North America, where native peoples greatly modified the natural landscape. I’m not sure whether they didn’t do markedly more damage because they learnt not to, or whether because their systems were more sustainable but not completely, and the timescales where very long so what they were doing was going to take a long time to become apparent (compared to say using up most of the easily accessibly fossil fuels within a few hundred years).

      • logie97 8.1.2

        The National Curriculum – do you mean the latest document that took a good few years to create and begin to implement before it was largely circumvented by the introduction of National Standards? The document that the proposed Charter Schools will be able to ignore?

    • logie97 8.2

      Enjoying the thread but I do not think the improvements (if any) have justified the constant upheaval caused by the directions and meddling of the ministers from above.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    massive protests in Egypt today.


    Lots of photos similar to this one : http://t.co/pTU3deO170

    Brotherhood hq reportedly attacked and burning; reports of Shura members fleeing the country

  10. johnm 10

    Have read a very good expose of “the free market”

    ““Free Market” can’t exist in reality.

    If anyone promotes the “free” market, they’re actually promoting a system where the powerful can steal wealth and power from the rest of us.

    If some players have significantly more power than other players, then the market can be successfully manipulated and is no longer free. If there ever is a point at which all players have about the same power/significance/influence, then the players will inevitably work to accumulate power/significance/influence. Ie. the “free” market is, at best, an initial condition, after which it works to descend into a few power centers which battle for control over the powerless.

    Maybe “free” market should be replaced by “fair” market. Ie. the market actively monitored and managed to cull power accumulation. But that requires political power that’s more significant than the power of the ones that need to be culled. I guess beheadings are in order to things into a manageable initial condition.” Or a government that does not subscribe to the free market.

    • muzza 10.1

      Indeed, it can’t, and has never existed.

      The *human condition*, will not allow for it!

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      Ie. the “free” market is, at best, an initial condition,

      And it can’t be that as some people started with more wealth and power to begin with.

  11. Pascal's bookie 11

    Interesting stuff here on the legal aspects of the US surveillance program:


  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    And there we have it:
    City’s shares eyed for rail
    National are planning to bankrupt this country and turn all of us into serfs.

    • BLiP 12.1

      “But as we come up to the point where we’re looking at the business case, which is about how it’s funded and all the other aspects of it, he’ll have to have some answers”.

      ^^^^Gerry Brown

      Fuck off fatso. When it comes to the money, you won’t even be around, so how Auckland chooses to do it and with whom is none of your business. Also, Auckland is not a company, its a community. Selling essential infrastructure assets and casino sharemarket IPOs to raise money is a silly idea. Other options are to borrow the funds from KiwiSaver necessary to create Auckland’s train links ourselves. Employ Aucklanders to build Auckland and then capture the created assets. Might as well take back the buses as well while we’re at it. This is about Aucklanders, not just John Key’s bankster mates.

      • muzza 12.1.1

        Agree 100% with that, BLiP.

        Unfortunately, Auckland has already been captured, that’s what the supercity was about, IMO.

        • Draco T Bastard

          That was exactly what the SuperCity was about – giving Auckland’s wealth to the rich.

      • Rosetinted 12.1.2

        I’ll see your Auckland cards, and raise you with Christchurch planning ones. What is all this hoopla about the nz international planning standards agency refusing to recognise Christchurch’s planning procedures. Who gives this agency the right to make such pronouncements? If it takes time to plan and make safe and good decisions so be it.

        Considering this hurry-up brings anxiety. This after a previous functionary in Christchurc h decided that he would follow the approved deficient approach to not enforce controls and inspections but accept assurances from self-interested companies. With disastrous results.

        Now RWNJ NACTs encourage more of the same. In an area where there has been a ground-breaking disaster! They want to hurriedly decide on what to do next. Plans drawn up in a month. Buildings coming down, buildings shooting up. Statues no doubt to Brownlee and Key and inscribed building stones with their names on them.

        This in a country that has not recovered from the leaky homes disgrace. When there were well-paid functionaries who should have been on top of the problem and warning NZs of the dangers. No, we had things pushed through with no oversight, no interest in facts from overseas as to the results of the bad practices we were adopting. All the time we hear about what they are doing overseas. We seem to not do anything in NZ unless they have done it first overseas. At least we could take note of what has resulted overseas! No!! Charge ahead, no worries- this our catchcry.

        “Forward, the Light Brigade!”
        Was there a man dismay’d?
        Not tho’ the soldier knew
        Someone had blunder’d:
        Theirs not to make reply,
        Theirs not to reason why,
        Theirs but to do and die:
        Into the valley of Death
        Rode the six hundred.
        blah blah – there is nothing grand and noble about being stupid arses.

        So more indecent haste. Christchurch castigated, personal attention from Key and Brownlee to run the Christchurch Council plus the Environment Council (into the ground)
        on top of their responsibilities to the nation. Which they are not fulfilling in anything like a satisfactory way.

        • Draco T Bastard

          When there were well-paid functionaries who should have been on top of the problem and warning NZs of the dangers.

          Some of those well paid functionaries are most likely to be part of the problem. Some will be trying to warn us but they’re being drowned out by the others with the self-interest.

          We seem to not do anything in NZ unless they have done it first overseas.

          That attitude is relatively new. We used to believe that we could do anything and now all we have is a bunch of politicians saying that all we can do is bloody farming despite the fact that farming takes up less than 10% of the workforce.

  13. Tim 15

    WE and “the Big Con” – second attempt:

    …. not that this is about to become some sort of campaign – rather yet another example of the bullshit artists trying it on.

    Open mike 30/06/2013

    In tonight’s 5.30 Sky News ‘bulletin’, that $5m turns out to be $3m.

    They’re going to approach the Commerce Commission apparently and are still deciding whether the costs of storm damage can be ‘absorbed’

    What that tells me is that if they can’t (be absorbed), then Wellington Electricity must be in pretty bad shape!.

    As I pointed out – in the link – or at least tried to get across – is that $3m in the overall scheme of things is Sweet Fcuk All, and if that amount can’t be absorbed without an increase in power charges, then it says more about management than it does the actual state of their ‘network.

    They try it on at EVERY opportunity!
    If they can’t absorb such a cost, then maybe a return to a Municipal Electricity Department – with a Webb Street Depot that contained all the spare parts necessary, and a crew that could respond in a damn sight less time that has occurred to correct faults (one that had an actual concern for “consumers”; didn’t have to rely on bullshit artsists rehearsed in call centre spin; and all the rest of it; with Heads of Departments/CEO’s that were paid adequately – rather than excessively; who didn’t try to shunt their costs of doing “biznuss” onto the self-employed, paid-by-incident, ready/needing-to scam contractor) would be a better alternative.

    The privatisation of natural monopolies?? More Fektiv in Fishint in Cow-nable?
    I think not.

  14. gobsmacked 16

    There’s a theme developing that Shearer’s “two months’ notice” is just Gower being Gower. Not true:


    Two MPs are cited, similar language used. Clearly somebody was blabbing to the journos.

    Sure, Gower is a slimeball who thinks politics is all about him. That doesn’t somehow make Shearer’s MPs a disciplined team. They aren’t.

    • hush minx 16.1

      It appears there’s definitely some undermining afoot-just spotted this comment over on kiwi blog: RF says ‘Just had a phone call from a usually reliable source within Labours ranks. Recent Internal polling has put them in the high 20s and this is causing problems for Shearer who is in denial. In spite of him claiming that his caucus is happy with him. Bull shit.’ Wonder if the source is the same as the journos? I read somewhere else (?) about internal polling being leaked. Seems pretty nasty on the inside… Why would I want to view for any of them again?

  15. JK 17

    Takeover NZ . This was the title of a book written by the late Dr Bill Sutch decades ago.
    and its what this National Govt is trying to do with local govt. It tried with SuperCity Auckland
    and didn’t quite succeed because Len Brown and his progressive mates got in the way.
    It did it with ECAN, and right now – according to TV3 news tonight – and Campbell Live – this govt is trying it again with Christchurch City. They gave Chch City the targets for getting building consents processed, they gave them a deadline. Chch City met those targets and that deadline, but now the accreditation agency says that’s not enough. They’ll call in private experts if the City can’t meet the new requirements next week. Privatisation of local govt – that’s what’s on the cards right now …..privatisation of all the infrastructure that big business has wanted to get its hands on, and the profits it generates, for years. And this govt is trying to hand it to big bus on a plate. I hope like heck that Ch’ch continues to meet the shifting targets and slippery deadlines as it battles not only to re-build its city, but also the govt takeover. Good luck to Ch’ch. Dont let the bastards take over.

    • vto 17.1

      This government’s approach to Christchurch City Council and the issue of consents is the most abhorrent lying fucking stinking bullshit yet by this government, and that is really saying something. Fuck Key and Brownlee and their cheap-arse mule they ride in on. I hope they fall into it and eat shit for the rest of their days.

      It is a fucking quiet revolution we are being subjected to.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      And I hope that they publish all the shifting targets and other corruption that this government is participating in.

  16. karol 18

    Kim Dotcom to tell the PM what’s wrong with his GCSB Bill on Wednesday.

    Dotcom today issued a challenge to the Prime Minister through Twitter, saying he would tell the Government why the GCSB legislation would not work.

    “If you want to witness John Key and the #GCSB getting exposed join me in Parliament this Wednesday. It’s a public hearing,” Dotcom said on the social media site.

    Mr Key today confirmed he would chair the committee. Act Party leader John Banks will also be in attendance.

    I guess this little tete a tete won’t be televised?

    • karol 18.1

      PS: This was my line and shouldn’t be part of the above quote:

      I guess this little tete a tete won’t be televised?

  17. marty mars:

    Thanks for the advice, going be very careful and try when im good and

  18. r0b 20

    Update: Native Affairs has unconfirmed reports that Sharples has stood down as leader of the Maori Party. Now it’s on The Herald. Too little too late.

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