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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam is dead

After a farce trial, Saddam Hussein, a violent gangster bully who was pulled frightened from a hole has been hanged. Few will mourn his passing, however this is hardly justice, the countries who backed and supported this nut case should be exposed and prosecuted for aiding a war criminal.

Saddam Hussein executed in Iraq
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging at an unspecified location in Baghdad, for crimes against humanity.
Iraqi TV said the execution took place just before 0600 local time (0300GMT).

The news was confirmed to the BBC by the Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister, Labeed Abawi.

Two co-defendants, Saddam Hussein's half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former Iraqi chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar, were also executed.

All three were sentenced to death by an Iraqi court on 5 November after a year-long trial over the 1982 killings of 148 Shias in the town of Dujail.

"Criminal Saddam was hanged to death," state-run Iraqiya television announced, as patriotic music and images of national monuments were broadcast.

A scrolling headline read: "Saddam's execution marks the end of a dark period of Iraq's history."


Electoral Learnings of America for make benefit Glorious Nation of New Zealand PART TWO

NZ has a paper voting system (with scannable barcodes from memory) that work very well. Most of us cannot understand the American fascination for machines and gadgets – that don’t work. We cannot understand how a nation so fixated with systematism, with grids, with Roman-like administrative order can have every country pretty much determining its own forms, procedures and machines – for a national election. Then again Pakeha have no real history of independent local government (Provinces were abolished in 1876) as exists in the USA, so when presented with a map of the US and there’s paper, punch-card and optical scan systems in Idaho, lever voting (?) in New York and mixes of electronic around the country the reaction is: how on Earth does that work? Well *coughs* Florida 2000* it doesn’t work, does it.

Mr. Bradbury has given extensive investigation to the Diebold/ES&S etc. issue so I cant add anything except to say it is only one small part of a bigger problem. Take the hopeful note in the Miami Herald the day before the election by the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections; it begins: ”Voting is a privilege that the Miami-Dade Elections Dept. wants…” And in the state of Florida it is a privilege, not a right as such. In our Westminster-style system citizens are not deprived of their right to vote unless under a sentence of imprisonment expiring after the term of the next parliament – which seems fair enough to me (or perhaps for me). In the UK (Bobby Sands) and Fiji (George Speight) prisoners have even been elected to parliament – a far cry from Florida and some other US states who have stripped this fundamental right from a group that has a proven proclivity to make the mistake of voting Democrat. How a person is supposed to be rehabilitated as a useful member of society through a spiteful, political, permanent diminution of their citizenship status is a wanton handicap that I cannot fathom as anything but evil. So the elections supervisor must assure those privileged voters that it wont be fucked up like last time – something NZ has not experienced (yes – there was a problem with the STV votes counted by a NZ Post subsidiary last time but that was a time issue that effected only anxious candidates and not an accuracy and legitimacy issue that effected the Leader of the Free World™). As the news editor of Craccum back in 1997 I criticised the Auckland University students’ association’s anti-constitutional use of telephone voting in an election-something the NZ Herald editorialized upon as a great leap forward (ignoring the illegibility that was unfortunately upheld by the High Court). My stance is unchanged, as the evidence is unchanged : whether its Miami-Dade’s iVotronic machines, Diebold’s AccuVote, whatever it is they use in India, or Auckland University’s telephone exam information systems adapted for voting purposes, the fact remains the most credible, transparent, simple, proven, verifiable method of recording a voter’s intention is a paper ballot. If you want someone to win an election with more than 100% of the vote, go ahead, have internet voting – I dare you. Administratively of course the legions of civic-minded retirees that staff polling centres are relieved of the lengthy process of actually physically counting and tabulating the vote – that is one of the few advantages of an electronic system. As far as a speedy result goes I don’t rate a saving of a few hours to spare the agony of candidates as having any weight.

DON’T FORGET Tim’s Book and magazine collection for the Prison Library, please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 7
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!)
PRN 60477981
Hawkes Bay Prison
Currently appealing sedition conviction


Electoral Learnings of America for make benefit Glorious Nation of New Zealand PART ONE

A friend of mine has recently returned from a holiday in the USA and the Caribbean and was good enough to send me a few copies of the Miami Herald and USA Today newspapers. Several interesting quirks of American life present themselves upon perusal – the foremost is their electoral system (as they were early November issues) and it is this that I’ll focus on. But I must mention the Native American casino Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that uses what appears to be a faux Maori tattoo-type design in their ad) and the fairly cheap prices for consumer goods (although it may be plus tax), like the new cars for SFA: 2006 Dodge Caravan US$11,688 and ugly pig-nose Ram series of angry/inadequate male status symbols starting at US $15,888, whilst over at the Ford dealership off I-95 are several hundred gigantic new “Supercabs” and :Supercrews” for under $20K and a lease on 2007 Rager Supercabs ute for US $159 per month – which if my maths is right is fuck all. As for the good folks at PotamKin on the Palmento Expressway they’re thrashing Chevy (“An American Revolution”), Chrysler Jeep (“Buy American” + flag) and Mitsubishi (“25 years in America”) – all with 0% financing, which I think is very Islamic of them, and once again every car seems very large. They start at big and go up to super-massive - there just aren’t any small cars on sale! The smallest I can find is a 2007 Chevy Areo (US $9,448) – a four door. Nice to see the Impala badge still there along with the wonderfully all-American Chevy Malibu – could it sound more Yank than that? Well the Jeeps actually do = “Liberty Sport”, “Grand Cherokee Laredo” and the Chrysler “Pacifica” comes close. Like NZ there are a lot of pharmacutecal ads (though not as much for pshychotic disorders as the US) but there are an abundance of health insurance ads. And going by surnames alone, Miami consists of three equal amounts of Whites, Jews and Hispanics. Anyway…

The Elections

USA Today’s October 24 issue contains two full page ads that give some insight into the forces at work on the constituency. The first is from the Alliance for Energy & Economic Growth which tells us that the “jobs not done” with Congress passing the Energy Policy Act. Under the title “Energy Security” they tell us “Congress needs to finish the job by passing vital legislation to increase domestic supplies of energy and expand access to oil and natural gas resources onshore and in the Outer Continental Shelf.” So its not so much about “security” of supply at all, but about more drilling and mining. The ad doesn’t say for whom to vote – just a big ad in a national paper telling voters and candidates they should support “increasing access to domestic oil and natural gas resources, and supporting advanced coal and nuclear energy technologies”.

Another player with deep pockets is a chap called James Robinson and his book “We Have a Choice” subtitled “Humility or Humiliation”. Unfortunately he’s a hard-core Christian (fundy?). Key words from his extensive excerpts : Spirit, Mercy, Lord, Sacrifice, Enemies, Evil, Brokenness, Agony. The anti-decadence, anti-“indulgent and perverse lifestyles” tone is very Islamic; the apocalyptic prophesies of his “many times in prayer” however is totally Christian. He leaves 9/11 till the fifth paragraph and abortion to the eight and envokes “voters and legislators” only at the end – so it’s a well-padded sermon. But I can’t imagine the Destiny Bishop, Tamaki, forgoing a luxury cruise or a new wardrobe to put a full page ad in the national press: that’s commitment.

So on ad spend religion and Big Oil are up there. Nothing Brethren-like I can make out. Indeed the Florida Republican ????????? candidates ad even has a list of those who endorse him (include. Various state professionals associates and newspapers) – unheard of in NZ. What might we have thought had National told us their list? Their real list? In this respect the American system is much more open than our own, more open at least – not necessarily without corruption: over the past year [the FBI had] 600 agents who worked on 2,200 public corruption cases, resulting in 650 arrests, 1,000 indictments and 800 convictions - Miami-Herald The funniest/dodgiest case was “Operation Tennessee Waltz”: Some Tennessee legislators were moving so quickly that ‘we were actually having to discuss how we were going to show it down’ so that bills aiding the [FBI’s] phoney firm didn’t become law.”
Taito Phillip Field needn’t feel alone: the Feds have searched Alaska State Senator Ben Stevens office in an oil industry bribery scandal. Talk about embarrassing your parents – his Dad is a Republican US Senator.
And speaking of federal legislators we see another marked difference to NZ – the complete absence of youth from senior congressional posts. In our parliament most WIPs are fairly young, with the elderly defined as anyone over 65 and accorded in the public mind a (quite unfair) assumption they are inadequate to lead – Brash was dogged by this taint from the outset. In the US it’s an old man’s game however – check out the list of likely Senate/House Chairman (from Nov. 10 USA Today):
Appropriations: Sen. Byrd, 88 / Rep.Obey, 68
Armed Service: Sen. Levin, 72 / Rep. Skelton, 74
Environment/Resources: Sen. Boxer, 65 / Rep. Lantes, 78
Health/Education: Sen. Leachy, 66 / Rep. Congress, 77

They might as well move the whole show to a condo complex in Fort Lauderdale and be done with it. I take it from the geriatric composition of the Dem’s front row that they have the seniority rule and the Republicans do not? I mean what party would put the Thurmondesque Robert Byrd, with his Don Knotts warbling, finger wagging-punctuated tirades and ethereal lapses mid-speech of staring silently into the far distance that seem to last for hours like he is waiting for his mind to be beamed back down from the sponsorship – what rule could justify – putting a man like that in control of the allocation of the most massive sums of money that human civilization has ever known? The answer, I’m afraid, is the Democratic Party and, surely, it’s seniority rule. The junior Senator for the great State of New York will have to bide her time in forced difference I suppose.

DON’T FORGET Tim’s Book and magazine collection for the Prison Library, please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 7
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!)
PRN 60477981
Hawkes Bay Prison
Currently appealing sedition conviction

Friday, December 29, 2006

Tumeke Awards 2006

Tumeke Awards 2006
What a year ladies and gentlemen, the media suddenly woke up to Climate Change and everyone became an environmentalist the second it was pointed out to them that they might become poorer, TVNZ became an example of how to lose viewers while mytube showed how a generation with the attention span of a 30second commercial will digest fast food media in the future. McDonalds sang about personal responsibility while brainwashing your children behind your backs, smear tactic personal politics reached new lows while the ‘liberal’ media went to asleep, taking their stories ideas from Ian Wishart. Iraq became the abortion we always knew it was and Bush continued to prove the damage that drinking during pregnancy can cause, while Israel took their special brand of homicidal self defense and exported it to Lebanon, killing any pretense of good will Israel ever created in the world while destabilizing the entire region. The media were assassinated in Russia’s new gangster Democracy while the UN stood by as a cuckolded sissy husband as the planet’s corporate harlots fucked over weaker nations around the world. At home electioneering spending technicalities were sold as corruption when proof of actual corruption was written off as a conspiracy by Nicky Hager and attacking the Government’s decision to steal land from Maori suddenly became Sedition. It was the year of the blog, Ahmadinejad started one, and this humble blog became the subject of Parliamentary questions when National Party Sensible Sentencing Thug, Simon Powers, tried to shut this site down.

2006 became the year of fear and ignorance.

The Homicidal Self Defense Award
The Lebanon war was a bullshit farce. Israel had gotten the green light from America months before to use any provocation by Hizbollah as an excuse to invade Southern Lebanon and settle some old scores. America green lighted it because in some Neo-con wet dream, the plan to bomb Iran still lies smoldering, and for that to be successful, Hizbollah (the arm of retribution that would be most used as a response to a sudden bombing of Iran) had to be broken. Of course Israel didn’t beat Hizbollah and only ended up making it more popular on top of destroying and killing many civilians. What was more horrifying than watching such a disproportionate massacre was listening to so many Israeli apologists attempting to defend all this death for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers (forgetting the 9000 Palestinian and Lebanese men arrested, many for nothing more than being Muslim). Special mention has to be given to Mike McRoberts who did an amazing job of reporting the Lebanon war (was the TVNZ reporter just reading IDF press releases?).

The Gift that just keeps on giving
Special mention to the cluster bombs the Israeli’s dropped all over civilian areas hours before they knew they were pulling out anyway. A million bomblets litter Southern Lebanon now and NZ troops are there having to wipe up after Israel. Thank Israel, thank you so much for putting our troops in risk to clean up your illegal targeting if civilian areas.

’It had NOTHING to do with THAT book’ Award
Don Brash, hard right politician who had all his dirty Machiavellian plans revealed in Nicky Hager’s book left politics NOT because of that book, oh no not at all. It had nothing to do with the lies he used, it had nothing to do with knowing that when they did their ‘Maaaaaaaaasaaaaaaaari get too much’ bullshit (a line many of our right wing bloggers still get stiff over) they knew they had no actual examples to use of ‘Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaari getting too much’ – oh no it had nothing to do with the book Don. Incidentally, Nicky’s book wins the most ‘I haven’t read the book but’ awards I’ve ever heard in my life. Even bloggers here are willing to give us their opinion on how wrong Nicky Hager is when they haven’t even read the book, amazing people – to have an opinion on something before they had even read it. Amazing.


Fucking incredible even.

Are we winning yet?
The White House showed us how far removed they were from reality this year with continued claims of Iraq ready to become a Freedom Democracy (Trademark pending). 655 000 Iraqis are dead (we aren’t too sure how many have actually died, we don’t bother counting the people we kill), torture is worse now than under Saddam, security is worse than when it was under Saddam, even electricity generation and water supply are worse now than under Saddam. The amazing thing is that as the entire thing collapses into sectarian blood letting (just like we predicted it would), America is trying to say it is all the responsibility of the Iraqi’s – um who invaded who? And even after a bipartisan report suggested pulling out, Bush is keener than ever to send more American troops into fight.

‘It’s a democracy when I say it is punk’ Award
Anyone else spot the irony with America fighting for ‘Freedom Democracy’ (trademark pending) in Iraq yet scolds the Palestinian people for electing Hamas. Isn’t it interesting that it’s only a ‘Democracy’ when America says it’s a ‘Democracy’ – forget who the people elected, they don’t know what’s best for them, so America will punish you for your choice. What is it that an Israeli official said after Hamas was elected, “We will put the Palestinian people on a diet”, yes well seeing as large numbers of children in Palestine are already malnourished that won’t help now will it? Much of the stirring between Hamas and Fatah has been fuelled by the powers who most benefit from internal civil strife, divide and conquer seems to be becoming the method of choice for Occupiers the planet over this year

The ‘Boycott Beijing Olympics’ Award
When you are an up and coming superpower trying to attain the respect and influence you have always dreamed of by using totalitarian brutality, you tend to want to paint a very different story to the world. China wants to use the Beijing Olympics the very same way Hitler used the Berlin Olympics, for propaganda purposes, in an attempt to gloss over the Human rights abuses that occur daily in China. So if you want China to change, boycott the thing they want most – global audience ratings, and there were so many good reasons to boycott the Beijing Olympics this year, it’s really hard to pick one. Watching Chinese troops in cold blood shoot dead Tibetan’s in a mountain pass was a great contender. Harvesting the body organs from executed prisoners, all of whom ‘confessed’ under torture to their crimes with no appeal process at all was perhaps the most ghoulish example of China’s lax attitude towards the concept of the individual but it would have to be it’s relationship with Sudan that must take the Award. As Sudan’s largest economic partner, China is the only country who can put pressure on the Government to halt its genocidal cleansing of Darfur. Last year my prediction was that China would expand deep into Africa for resource deals with any regime no matter their human rights record, and that China would expand into the Pacific as well (I’m still interested to see if China has had any influence in the Fiji coup). My prediction for China this year is that they will suffer some horrific environmental collapse that will effectively act like an economic stroke, blunting any subtlety in their diplomacy and replace it with a desperation for resources.

’It isn’t easy being Green’ Award
Every political party in the country suddenly decided that they were environmentalists after the staggering weight of evidence finally shut climate deniers out in the cold with only holocaust deniers and flat earthers to hang with. Even Peter Dunne was having a go at radical ideas, at a time when even National admit that there might be a problem (never mind of course that it was National that led the anti-Fart tax by whipping up ‘Political Correctness gone mad’ bullshit). One would imagine that the Greens would be riding high on such public displays of Green-ness, but right when the Greens were trying to look Diet Lime to attract Remuera Soccer Mums by electing that other guy over Nandor as Co-leader, an ‘inconvenient truth’ informed public are now demanding a more radical answer. If the ageing leadership of the Greens continue to miss-read the public, the Greens could be pole axed by another parties much more dramatic policy shift. The reality is that the environment will only get worse much more rapidly now, and that the evidence for radical change will consistently be bombarding a public who will start realizing things are deeply broken within the environment. With realization of how bad things are, there will be a deep anger, the time for a militant tone against those who are to blame is now.

’Wanker of the Year’ Award
There was one man this year who made jaws drop by his sheer hostility. A man who should be asking for forgiveness on behalf of the environtal damage his agricultural industry has caused to this country was instead delivering blistering attacks on the environmental movement, regardless of what the scientific evidence suggests. Wanker of the Year must go to Federated Farmers' President Charlie Pedersen, here are some of his quotes…

Environmentalism threatens to be the new century’s politics of envy – the politics that seek to reduce the brightest and hardest working, the committed, to the level of the ordinary, the uninspired. I say shame on the people who elevate environmentalism to a religious status, shame on you for your arrogance, shame on all of us for allowing the environmentalists’ war against the human race to begin, and take hold.

…hmmm, yes Charlie, a ‘war against the human race’, yes….have you been hearing voices again Charlie? Of course Charlie said that before the Stern report which in fact went against everything Charlie had to say, and pointed out that the problem is as bad as the environmentalists have suggested. Don’t you love how Charlie ignores the damage that has been caused to the environment by his precious framing industry? Don’t you love how Charlie wouldn’t dare say anything like this now? Don’t you love how these words of his will be used against him every time he tries to counter any political move to force Farmers to pay for their pollution?

‘War Criminal of the year Award’
It was a tough field this year, and only two contenders really stand head and shoulders above the rest of the planets brutal rulers, it was of course Tony Blair and of course George W Bush. How can we count the ways? Reports showing Blair knew evidence used to go to war were wrong, reports showing Bush doesn’t really know where he is most of the time, reports showing that Iraq is lost yet Tony and George seem to think they are winning, – the list goes on and on and on and on and on to the point where we simply don’t listen to them anymore. What a bizarre situation, we all can see their foreign policy has failed and is in fact causing them to be targeted, (the reason America was attacked in the first place on 9/11), yet the Emperors refuse to accept what we all see.

Back in the USSR award
Just as the West was getting used to a broke and desperate Russia, Putin goes and reminds us how the brutality of the USSR never seemed to have left us. With Iraq giving America no room to finger point, Russia was able to commit more atrocities quietly in Chechnya, but it was other symptoms of Russian totalitarianism that gripped the world. Two dead journalists, Anna Politkovskaya shot dead outside her Moscow apartment and Alexander Litvinenko who was poisoned with radiation. Both journalists were critics of Russia and both had questioned the role Government special forces in bombing apartments in Moscow that swung public support to invading Chechnya in the late 90s (wow, just like 9/11). Add to this the manner in which Russia dealt with fellow countries who didn’t pay new prices for its gas by cutting off supply, and everyone was left wondering if Russia was going backwards. With a radiation trail that could be traced all the way to the Kremlin, the flexing of Russian muscle may have inadvertently started the bases of a new freeze between Russia and the West, reliance on Russian energy for Europe won’t make many Europeans feel warm next winter.

The Exclusive Brethren Cult Test Award
For the National Party, the Exclusive Brethren became that prostitute you see on a regular bases, but don’t ever want to meet in public. For a religious group who don’t vote and reject technology, they certainly see no problem trying to convince you of who to vote for and secretly fund such messages through anonymous pamphlets. It had us asking at Tumeke if we needed a special test to keep cult groups out of politics.
Are you a cultist? (in a NZ context)
You wear a religious garment on more than one occasion per week. (If you wear a small item of religious jewellery more than once a week you could still be an atheist/agnostic.)
You attend or participate in a religious ritual more than once a week.
You deny your children any opportunity or possibility of opting out of the cult.
You will not marry someone other than a cult member.
You accept that your cult beliefs are exclusively correct and/or are timelessly correct.
You accept the instructions of cult leaders.
Tahi "yes" - you're a bit religious.
Rua "yes" - you're a bit of a fundy.
Toru "yes" - you are a fundy.
Wha "yes" - you're a cultist.
Rima "yes" - you're a fundy cultist.
Ono "yes" - you're a nut-bar fundy cultist.

Our immigration should keep out anyone with two or more "yes" answers. The chances of anyone answering four "yes" and integrating adequately into NZ society is almost zero if there are any language barriers. At five "yes" CYFS should be checking on the kids.

Big Brother Award
The expansion of even more personal information that is required from us to keep us ‘safe’ from terrorisim by our Governments was a theme repeated globally this year and public space was made a lot more public, in London a person will pass 300 CCTV units every day. In such a spirit of spy on your neighbour, we even had someone from the American Army pay our site a visit this year…
OrgName: Headquarters, USAAISC
City: Ft Huachuca
StateProv: AZ
PostalCode: 85613
Country: US
NetRange: -
NameServer: NS03.ARMY.MIL

Hot 2006
• Blogs were hot in 2006. Ahmedinijad started one, Barbara Streisand has one (she makes Che Guevara look like an ACT party supporter)- and Tim Selwyn went to prison and wrote a prison blog, and Simon Power tried to shut it down (cockhead). On the serious side, Cyber repression reared its ugly head, Amnesty International were forced to launch a campaign aimed at bloggers imprisoned because of what they had to say on-line, China having 50 bloggers in prison, and of course we can’t forget the US secret service who detained a 14 year old American girl at school for questioning because she wrote that she wanted to kill George Bush on her MySpace page.
• Veils were hot in 2006, who would have imagined Christendom would fall over because of a tiny piece of cloth. Muslim women were told what they should and shouldn’t wear while maintaining that you can do what you like in a Democracy (except wear a veil). My hat goes off to the Muslim woman who won the 200 meters at the Asian games wearing a veil.
• Nicky Hager – the man finally got a begrudging respect from mainstream journalists, but I heard so many “I didn’t read the book but”, comments from punters it was infuriating. Nicky just couldn’t win with some people though, first he was a conspiracy theorist, then it was what he had was taken out of context, and now the latest story is that the emails are stolen – ANYTHING other than look at what is being said in the emails.
• Dei Henwood on C4 – the funniest person ever - ‘Insert video here’ makes watching C4 worthwhile.
• B&B on Maori TV (doing more for race relations than anything else in 2006)
• Anzac Day on Maori TV – Judy & Wena were amazing, finally a National day worth remembering.
• How tough the South Island was, when Auckland didn’t have power for half a day in June, and the South Island was chin deep in snow
• Harmeet Sooden and Olaf Wiig returning home was hot.
• Finlay McDonalds column in the Sunday Star Times – continually the best columnist in the country.
• Harvy Birdman, Attorney at law – it only took C4 12 months to get it.
• Brooke Fraiser, for her new album Albertine, for her being on the cover of the latest copy of the very gay express magazine apologizing for homophobic Christians, she reminded us how wonderful Christians can actually be.

Not 2006
• Whoever is programming TVNZ - a documentary isn’t a Freek of the week
• Politics – started when Judith called Benson Pope a pervert followed by claims of corruption, what a dirty, dirty place the right wing dragged politics into this year.
• You shouldn’t judge a man by the colour of his neck, but have our radio talkback hosts necks gotten redder this year? Is it just me, is it too much ultraviolet rays, too much uncooked red meat?
• The Pacific – Solomons, Tonga, Fiji – the untold West Papu and Aceh, East Timor – and increasingly bad news regarding AIDs in the Pacific, it’s nice to see we are helping our Pacific friends do so well.
• Cartoons – whether it was C4 playing Virgin Mary cartoons, or Muhammad cartoons – we don’t have a sense of humour when it comes to religion any more, which is sad, because if anything needs more laughing at it, then its religion.
• Scientific Whaling – yeah right
• Rayad Mohammed Addullah Ali – renditioned out of the country on a guilt through association connection with one of the Sept 11 hijackers. Rayad Mohammed Addullah Ali is still being held in a Saudi Arabian prison somewhere, the Saudi Arabians have a long track record of torture.
• Tame Iti’s flag on trade me. Sure that could sell it for $700 million, but they are still double standard garden variety bigots. Tame Iti wasn’t allowed to sell his gun shot splattered flag on-line because it offended Trade Me, but Ross Meurant, the dirty filthy pig who beat NZ citizens protesting against racism, was allowed to sell his pig baton on line. Gun shot flag that was used to protest the past crimes of a racist crown NOT allowed to be sold on-line, Police baton used by a right pig of a man used to beat people protesting against apartheid – no problems at all.
• Tasers – even after being told that it couldn’t ever hurt anyone, Police admit they were actually told that it could hurt 1 in 800, this follows the Police covering up mishaps by the Police in using Tasers in trial period as well. And the cops wonder why we don’t trust them and they are having recruitment problems.
• Philp Fields – the idea that a NZ politician could use his position of influence for personal gain is the most repugnant idea to a NZer, Philip will be paying a hefty price in the community for this well after he is finally kicked out of Parliament.
• NZ Idol – YAWN (PS Tony Holden – I was right!)
• Climate Change deniers
• Corporate adverts – McDonalds and Telecom. Was it just me or were corporate adverts worse this year? Has it not occurred to McDonalds that if you are being forced to run adverts on TV telling us all how you’re not the liars you’ve been painted out to be, then you’ve actually lost the battle. And the Telecom adverts only proved how much NZ hates Telecom, they were forced to film the raw emotion of a PI family surprise reunion for the first time in 10 years, (to the expensive backing track of a Beatles song), while sneaking in the Telecom logo quickly and quietly at the end in the hope that the happiness afterglow of a family reunion would wash over and remain with us as we saw Telecom’s logo. I’m afraid that it does not, die Telecom, die an awful painful death.

The best thing and worst thing to come out of 2006
Best – An inconvenient truth - Global warming is finally mainstream, no one can pretend now that they weren’t told.
Worst – Human Rights, from the 655 000 dead in Iraq, to the thousands of prisoners executed each year in China who have their organs removed and sold on the black market, from the thousand killed in Lebanon and those who continue to die from cluster bombs to journalists who are killed trying to expose the truth, be they in Putins KGB gangster Russia, or in Somalia from CIA backed anti Islamic war lords. From the genocidal butchery in Darfur to the continued brutal occupation in Palestine, from repressive laws curtailing civil liberties and increasing Police Powers to the thousands being secretly tortured and to all the conflicts of the world who weren’t important enough to make the headlines, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Aceh, West Papua, Congo, India, Horn of Africa, Mexico – the list just go on and on, 2006 has been a very bad year for Human Rights

My Prediction for 2007
In 2007, America and Israel may bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. The most numbing bit of Seymour Hersh’s article on the pre-planning of the War in Lebanon was that America green lighted it only because it kept the possibility of a strike against Iran on the table. Add to that Bush’s desire to increase the overall size of the military AND increase the number of troops in Iraq by anywhere from 30 000- 50 000 AND America now has two aircraft carrier battle fleets off the coast of Iran (the second one was sent last week). Bush is building up troop numbers in the region, and where ever Bush builds up troop numbers, he uses them.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bludgers get more! (start bludger bashing here)

You can see why Labour released this little gem in the holidays, talkback political correctness blow hards must be near hysterical with news that the Government intends to lower fines for poor people. The reality is that if you are poor, getting a fine has no effect, you can’t pay it and simply add it to the long list of other things you can’t pay for. This mentality of course erodes any respect for the system, the real challenge is to find the compassion within ‘middle class’ folk to allow Governments to expand the franchise of democracy to those on the bottom who don’t follow the rules because they have nothing to loose. Expanding that franchise could be through 40year low interest mortgages for beneficiaries to buy their own state home, once you have assets, you tend to respect property – you make people value the system once they have a stake in it.

Government's plan slashes fines for people who can't pay
Criminal offenders on low incomes face punishments other than fines as the Government responds to public anger at the number of fines never paid.

Alternatives such as warnings as well as lower fines and enforcement penalties are being considered for young and poorer offenders.

But the 35 per cent of fine defaulters who can afford to pay and don't are facing tough action.

They may be threatened with driving licence suspension and credit agency blacklisting.

Another proposal floated in a review of fine infringements is to increase the use of demerit points for traffic offences.

The Government is concerned that attempts to enforce payment are targeted at those who cannot afford to pay, and does little to encourage those who can.

Israel steals yet more land

What is it about white people and Israeli’s that seem to think it is okay to steal other peoples land. The problem of Palestine and Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is the cause celeb issue that creates most other tension within the Muslim world towards the West. If Israel wants peace, they have to stop stealing other peoples land, it really is as simple as that, and yet here is another news story showing Israel stealing MORE land. Israel doesn’t want peace, they want to ethnically cleanse Palestine of all Palestinians, keeping them in a mass check pointed prison complex called Gaza and the West Bank, terrorizing the people of Palestine so that they radicalize so much so that they vote in Hamas as a response to the oppression.

And for those who support Israel and who would howl about self defense against Palestinian glorified sky rockets I have this to say – the oppressor defines the nature of the struggle.

US raps West Bank settlement plan
The United States has criticised Israel's decision to approve the construction of a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
In a rare rebuke of its close ally, the State Department said such a construction would violate the peace plan known as the roadmap. Israel said 30 houses for former Gaza Strip settlers will be built in the Jordan Valley. The 2003 roadmap calls for a complete halt to all settlement activity. It marks the first time since 1992 that Israel has approved a new settlement, rather than expanding existing ones, Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said. Settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law, although Israel rejects this.

Global Warming happening yet?

Our business friendly mates on the right don’t like Global warming. They would hate to admit that what those tree huggers have been pointing out for years is actually true and that the capitalist consumer culture they love so much might in fact be killing off the planet. Indeed I’ve even had right wing bloggers here on this site claim environmental concerns aren’t just the preserve of the left, and that they care as well. Neato. The fact still remains that our right wing friends and the systems they have created to benefit themselves have a lot to answer for the current environmental problems we face, should they have a role in the changes or should they simply have the changes forced upon them? As the environmental consequences of rampant capitalist consumerisim become more and more apparent, these are questions that Australia is being forced to ask itself now.

Australia ponders climate future
Parts of Australia are in the grip of the worst drought in memory.
Rainfall in many eastern and southern regions has been at near record lows. On top of that, the weather has been exceptionally warm. The parched conditions have sparked an emotional debate about global warming. Conservationists insist the "big dry" is almost certainly the result of climate change and warn that Australia is on the brink of environmental disaster.
Other experts believe such hysteria is wildly misplaced and that the country shouldn't panic.

'A war-like scenario'
The drought in Australia has lasted for more than five years. The worry for some is that this could be the start of a protracted period of low rainfall that could go on for decades. "The really scary thing is last time we had a drought of this intensity that lasted about five years - it lasted for about 50 years," cautioned Professor Andy Pitman from Macquarie University in Sydney. "The politicians truly believe this is a five-year or six-year drought that will break sometime in 2007 or 2008. But it might not break until 2050 and we aren't thinking in those terms at this stage," Professor Pitman told the BBC. Global warming, the drought and the future of dwindling water supplies will undoubtedly dominate talk at barbeques and dinner parties this festive season in Australia. "We're in a state of emergency," said Cate Faehrmann from the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales. "We need to treat this as a war-like scenario. The people are really worried that we are going to run out of water." She added: "I can imagine Australia being a desert in a few decades' time in some of these agricultural areas. The soil is blowing away, the rivers are drying up. "I think there will be plots of land abandoned and perhaps whole agricultural practices abandoned."


Boycott Israel NOW

The day the Attorney-General, Dr. Cullen (not a lawyer), stops the arrest warrant for an Israeli war crimes suspect we have the Prime Minister claiming that the Fiji Prime Minister cannot just stop a prosecution [for sedition] because it would be unconstitutional! Oh please. Of all days she wants to tut-tut errant Pacific banana republics it has to be the day her government just stops a prosecution for a man of a terrorist state accused of murdering scores of civilians. It makes me angry. It makes me angry that the pair of Israeli spies who illegally got themselves a NZ passport for the usual purposes of espionage, kidnapping and assassination (i.e. terrorism) were not prosecuted for anything else (because the govt. didn’t want to) and got only six months in prison. I illegally get myself a NZ passport for the usual purposes of drinking, debauchery and treating the Crown with the contempt it continuously proves it deserves and I get 15 months! Did I mention that makes me angry?

Will we see Nazi war criminals being freed in NZ? Rwandan war criminals? Bosnian war criminals? Rainbow Warrior saboteurs? Or do only US allies get a free pass? The UK arrested Pinochet for heaven’s sake - on a Spanishish warrant - but our govt. lets an Israeli go!? That makes us as bad as bloody Israel. That makes me angry because I don’t want to live in fucking Israel. NZ’s land confiscation policy is similar enough without also establishing a war criminal safe zone.

Usually I would now turn up my RATM CD – but Green Day and Pennywise on The Rock are doing the trick. Did I indicate my anger?

What’s the penalty for assisting a war crimes suspect escape prosecution? Is there a penalty for an administrative conspiracy to defeat the course of justice? Is that a crime? And they send out former Governer-General(who couldn’t even be arsed reading the petitions begging her not to assent to a law critisised by the UN and acknowledged by the Attorney-General no less as bring racist confiscation) to sit on the bench of war crimes tribunal in Cambodia. What a fucking load of shit. Have I previously intimated my heightened level of displeasure?

Boycott Israel now. If it says “Made in Israel” perhaps it should be immediately “inspected” by stomping on it to ensure it doesn’t contain traces of massacred Palestinians or Israeli war criminals. Stomp it real hard. See how far you can kick it across the supermarket.

DON’T FORGET Tim’s Book and magazine collection for the Prison Library, please send your books and magazines to:
Tim Selwyn
Librarian/Unit 7
Hawkes Bay Prison
Private Bag 1600
Napier, NZ

Tim Selwyn (Editor of Tumeke!)
PRN 60477981
Hawkes Bay Prison
Currently appealing sedition conviction

Every Maggot has its day

Apart from the fact Exxon Mobil fund over 100 climate denier front organizations that ‘sound’ community based to hide Exxon’s financial involvement, Exxon also has a long legal history of attempting to get out of paying for any of the environmental damage they committed when their drunk and incompetent oil tanker captain ran aground off the coast of Alaskan coast. Exxon haven’t paid a cent in damages for one of the worst oil spill in Alaskan history, instead they could have put the money aside and ran their legal team off the interest, which is what has happened. Exxon argue that they have paid for the clean up and should only pay $25 million in damages, but Mr Exxon, you miss the point of damages like this – IT IS TO PUNISH YOU! The case is a reminder to us all that oil companies make rules and can pay for rules that benefit them, the only thing that moves an oil man is an Ak-47.

Court halves Exxon spill damages
A US court has almost halved the damages oil giant Exxon Mobil must pay for a 1989 oil spill off Alaska.
The San Francisco Federal appeals court reduced the payment from $4.5bn (£2.3bn) to $2.5bn (£1.3bn), saying the previous decision had been excessive. It is the third time damages in the case have been reduced. The case - started in 1994 by more than 32,000 fishermen, native Alaskans and property owners - is one of the longest non-criminal ones in US history. In the original court ruling, Exxon was ordered to pay out $5bn. Later decisions ordered the lower Alaskan court to set a lower limit for the penalty, but refused to say how much the penalty should be cut by. However, in the latest 2-1 judgement, Chief Judge Mary Schroeder and Judge Andrew Kleinfeld declared it was "time for this protracted litigation to end."

Exxon was not immediately available for comment. However, the firm has previously argued that it should have to pay no more than $25m in punitive damages in the case as it has spent $3.5bn on cleaning up the affected area and compensating victims of the spill. David Oesting, the lawyer leading the effort against Exxon Mobil for the Alaskans affected by the spill, said he was considering whether to ask for the case to be reheard by 15 judges or whether to take it to the Supreme Court. The Exxon Valdez supertanker spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, polluting around 2,000km of coastline. Its captain, Joseph Hazelwood, admitted drinking vodka before boarding the vessel, but was acquitted of operating a ship while intoxicated. The disaster is estimated to have killed 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbour seals, 250 bald eagles, up to 22 killer whales, and an unknown number of salmon and herring.

Activists attacked

When someone is pointing out how corrupt you are, best thing to do is counter that with accusations of your own that suggest corruption. One of the things that really fucks me off about Tim going down for Sedition was that the cops trawled through Tim’s past and brought up corruption charges on things he had done 10 years ago, the wider issue of protesting against the Government’s racist seabed and foreshore legislation gets lost.

Congo activists fined for forgery
Two leading anti-corruption campaigners in Congo-Brazzaville have been found guilty of forgery and breach of trust.
Both say the trial is an attempt to intimidate them. Christian Mounzéo and Brice Mackosso were given two month suspended prison sentences and fines of $600 each by the court in the second city, Pointe-Noire. The few hundred people packed into the small courtroom to hear the short judgment being read out expressed shock and surprise at the verdict. Friends said they were astonished the men could have been found guilty of breach of trust and forgery when the international organisations who had given the money in question had vouched in court for the men's innocence. Christian Mounzéo said afterwards the verdict had been expected. "We know that the government has used justice as an instrument to prosecute human rights defenders so we are not surprised about this judgement," he told the BBC.

Verdict criticised
The public prosecutor had earlier asked the judge not to send the men to jail because he said the arrests had already damaged Congo's reputation. Both men have always denied the charges which relate to a donation of around $4,000 and a computer. Their arrest in April was condemned by human rights groups and the World Bank. The men say they will appeal this morning's decision, which they say is designed to stop them acting as independent experts on two new anti-corruption committees.
Congo is sub-Saharan Africa's sixth largest oil producer but has been told by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund that it must be more open about its use of oil revenues if it wants to qualify for debt relief.

Another example of American Empire fuck up

Funnily enough people only ever seem to remember the consequence as opposed to the responsibility of who created the consequence. Take the Killing Fields, we all remember crazy evil old Pol Pot, but seem to forget the only reason he came to power was after the American’s secretly (not to mention illegally) bombed Cambodia flat because Vietcong forces were crossing the border. Likewise, not many people connect the horror mass starvation in Somalia to ANOTHER failed American foreign adventure, backing a dictator and spending scarce resources on a civil war that could help guard against natural disasters.

Well perhaps before we allow the Americans to fuck it all up again with its current tacit support of Ethiopia and Somalian Warlords just because America can’t tell the difference between an Islamic nationalist resistance and so called ‘Islamo-fascism’ – (the only good Commie Muslim Vietcong liberal is a dead Commie Muslim Vietcong/liberal)….

Ethiopia urged to leave Somalia
The African Union has called on Ethiopia to withdraw thousands of troops from Somalia immediately.
The call, supported by the Arab League and the east African grouping IGAD, comes after Ethiopia intervened to support Somalia's interim government. In recent days, Ethiopian and Somali government forces have captured ground previously held by Islamic militias.

....Let's take a quick history lesson about American interference in Somalia...

The Long and Hidden History of the U.S in Somalia
As one of the most homogeneous countries in Africa, many would have not predicted the chronic instability and violent divisions which have gripped Somalia in recent years. During the early 1970s, Somalia was a client of the Soviet Union, even allowing the Soviets to establish a naval base at Berbera on the strategic north coast near the entrance to the Red Sea. Somali dictator Siad Barre established this relationship in response to the large-scale American military support of Somalia's historic rival Ethiopia, then under the rule of the feudal emperor Haile Selassie. When a military coup by leftist Ethiopian officers toppled the monarchy in 1974 and declared the country a Marxist-Leninist state the following year, the superpowers switched their allegiances, with the Soviet Union backing the Ethiopia Dirgue and the United States siding with the Barre regime in Somalia.

In 1977, Somalia attacked the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia in an effort to incorporate the area's ethnic Somali population. The Ethiopians were eventually able to repel the attack with large-scale Soviet military support and 20,000 Cuban troops. Zbigniew Brzezinski, then-National Security Advisor under President Jimmy Carter, has since claimed that this conflict sparked the end of détente with the Soviet Union and the renewal of the Cold War.

From the late 1970s until just before Siad Barre's overthrow in early 1991, the U.S. sent hundreds of millions of dollars of arms to Somalia in return for the use of military facilities which had been originally constructed for the Soviets. These bases were to be used to support American military intervention in the Middle East. The consequences of U.S. military support for the Barre regime on the Somali people was deemed of little importance by American policymakers. The U.S. government ignored warnings throughout the 1980s by Africa specialists, human rights groups and humanitarian organizations that continued American aid to the dictatorial government of Siad Barre would eventually plunge Somalia into chaos.

These predictions proved tragically accurate. During the nearly fifteen years of support by the United States and Italy, thousands of civilians were massacred at the hands of Barre's increasingly authoritarian regime. Full-scale civil war erupted in 1988 and the repression increased still further, with clan leaders in the northern third of the country declaring independence to escape government persecution. In greatly centralizing his government's control, Barre severely weakened traditional structures in Somali society which had kept civil order for many years. To help maintain his grip on power, Barre played different Somali clans against each other, sowing the seeds of the fratricidal chaos to come, which in turn would contribute to mass starvation and spur the ill-fated humanitarian intervention by the United States in 1992.

Meanwhile, by eliminating all potential rivals with a national following, a power vacuum was created by Barre that could not be filled when the U.S.-backed regime was finally overthrown in January 1991, an event barely noticed outside the country as world attention was focused on the start of the Gulf War. With the end of the Cold War and the United States now granted bases in the Persian Gulf itself, Somalia fell briefly off the radar screen of U.S. foreign policy.

There is widespread agreement among those familiar with Somalia that had the U.S. government not supported the Barre regime with large amounts of military aid, he would have been forced to step down long before his misrule splintered the country. Prior to the dictator's downfall, former U.S. Representative Howard Wolpe, then-chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa, called on the State Department to encourage Barre to step down. His pleas were rejected. "What you are seeing," observed the Congressman and former professor of African Politics, "is a general indifference to a disaster that we played a role in creating."

A U.S. diplomat who had been stationed in the Somali capital of Mogadishu acknowledged, "It's easy to blame us for all this." But, he argued, "This is a sovereign country we're taking about. They have chosen to spend [U.S. military aid] that way, to hurt people and destroy their own economy."

As the United States poured in more than $50 million of arms annually to prop up the Barre regime, there was virtually no assistance offered that would have helped build a selfsustaining economy which could feed Somalia's people. In addition, the United States pushed a structural adjustment program through the International Monetary Fund which severely weakened the local agricultural economy. Combined with the breakdown of the central government, drought conditions and rival militias disrupting food supplies, there was famine on a massive scale, resulting in the deaths of more than 300,000 Somalis, mostly children.

In November 1992, the outgoing Bush administration sent 30,000 U.S. troops, primarily Marines and Army Rangers, to Somalia in what was described as a humanitarian mission to assist in the distribution of relief supplies which were being intercepted by armed militias without reaching the civilian population in need. The United Nations Security Council endorsed the initiative the following month. Many Somalis and some relief organizations were grateful for the American role. Many others expressed skepticism, noting that the famine had actually peaked that summer and the security situation was also improving gradually. At this point, the chaos limiting food shipments was limited to a small area; most areas functioned as relatively peaceful fiefdoms. Most food was getting through and the loss from theft was only slightly higher than elsewhere in Africa. In some cases, U.S. forces essentially dumped food on local markets, hurting indigenous farmers and creating greater food shortages over the longer term. In any case, few Somalis were involved in the decisions during this crucial period.

Most importantly for the United States, large numbers of Somalis saw the American forces as representatives of the government which served as the major Western supporter of the hated former dictatorship. Such an overbearing foreign military presence in a country which had been free from colonial rule for only a little more than three decades led to growing resentment, particularly since these elite combat forces were not trained for such humanitarian missions. (Author and journalist David Halberstam quotes the U.S. Secretary of Defense telling an associate, "We're sending the Rangers to Somalia. We are not going to be able to control them. They are like overtrained pit bulls. No one controls them.") Shootings at U.S. military roadblocks became increasingly commonplace and Somalis witnessed scenes of mostly white American forces harassing and shooting their black countrymen.

In addition, the U.S. role escalated to include attempts at disarming some of the war lords, resulting in armed engagements, often in crowded urban neighborhoods. This "mission creep" resulted in American casualties, creating growing dissent at home in what had originally been a widely-supported foreign policy initiative. The thousands of M16 rifles sent, courtesy of the American taxpayer, to Barre's armed forces were now in the hands of rival militiamen who had not only used them to kill their fellow countrymen and to disrupt the distribution of relief supplies, but were now using them against American troops It wasn't long before the slogan of American forces was "The only good Somali is a dead Somali." It had become apparent that the U.S. had badly underestimated the resistance.

The United States passed the mission on to the United Nations in May the following year, marking the first time the world body had combined peacekeeping, peace enforcement and humanitarian assistance. It was also the first time the UN has intervened without a formal invitation by a host government (because there wasn't any.) But Somalis had little trust of the United Nations, either, particularly since the UN Secretary General at that time was Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a major supporter of Barre when he led Egypt's foreign ministry. U.S. forces, now leading the UN mission, went on increasingly aggressive forays, including a major battle in Mogadishu which resulted in the deaths of 18 Marines and hundreds of Somali civilians, dramatized in the highly-fictionalized thriller Black Hawk Down. The U.S.-led UN forces had become yet another faction in the multi-sided conflict. Largely retreating to a fixed position, the primary American objective soon became protecting its own forces. With mounting criticism on Capitol Hill from both the left and the right, President Bill Clinton withdrew American troops in March 1994. The United Nations pulled its last peacekeeping forces out one year later.

The U.S. intervention in Somalia is now widely considered to have been a fiasco. It is largely responsible for the subsequent U.S. hesitation about so-called humanitarian intervention outside of high-altitude bombing. It was the major factor in the tragic U.S. refusal to intervene either unilaterally or through the United Nations to prevent the genocide in Rwanda during the spring of 1994. The Somalia intervention was most likely an ill-advised assertion of well-meaning liberal internationalism, though there may have been other factors prompting the American decision to intervene as well: perhaps as a rationalization for increased military spending despite the end of the Cold War; an effort to mollify the Islamic world for American overkill in the war against Iraq and the inaction against the massacres of Muslims in Bosnia; and possibly as a preemptive operation against possible Islamic extremists rising out of the chaos. If the latter was the goal, it may have backfired. Islamic radicals were able to find some willing recruits among the Somalis, already upset by the U.S. support for Barre, now additionally angry at the destruction wrought by direct U.S. military intervention in their country.

American denial thawing

Isn’t it great to see those who have denied for such a long time have to swallow down the dead rats of their own design?

US accepts threat to polar bears
The US has proposed listing polar bears as a threatened species because of declining Arctic ice levels.
It is the first time the US has made a direct link between global warming and the threat to a species. President George W Bush has steadfastly refused to back mandatory controls of emissions of carbon dioxide - believed the main gas behind global warming. There are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears across the globe, about 4,700 of them in the US state of Alaska.

Kangaroo Court will hang Skippy

No shock that a Court appointed by an occupying force who invaded illegally has found Saddam guilty and will hang him. It’s not that Saddam is innocent, he is a despicable monster who made many innocent human beings suffer, but he was a despicable monster who made innocent human beings suffer that America supported and backed throughout most of the 1980s - those who allowed this monster to kill should also be on trial.

As for the punishment itself, hanging Saddam will make him a martyr in a culture defined by a landscape of martyrs.

Saddam sees death as 'sacrifice'
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has said he is ready to die as a "sacrifice" for Iraq, urging his countrymen to unite against enemies. In a letter written from his prison cell, Saddam Hussein said his death would make him a "true martyr". The former leader could be hanged on any day over the next four weeks, after an appeal against his execution failed. The sentence is for killings in the town of Dujail in the 1980s. A trial for a second case continues. "I sacrifice myself. If God wills it, he will place me among the true men and martyrs," the former leader wrote in the letter.

Apologist Dies

Yes Gerald Ford did some amazing stuff once he was out of office, and perhaps one day in the far distant future those good deeds can be appreciated, but just like Tony Blair, Gerald Ford was tested at one crucial time and was found lacking, his decision to pardon Satan’s representative on Earth, Richard Nixon is akin to Blair’s decision to back Bush and go to war with Iraq. Ford argued that prosecuting Nixon wouldn’t heal America, how wrong he was – there are times when people need to know, in detail, how monstrously unethical their leaders are, because it is only with that level of transparency that things can really heal and change. By sweeping Nixon under the carpet, Ford denied that healing and the lesson never learned.

Bush pays tribute to Gerald Ford
US President George W Bush has paid tribute to former President Gerald Ford, who has died at the age of 93.
Speaking from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Mr Bush remembered President Ford as a "gentleman who reflected the best in America's character". Mr Ford was never elected president but took office after Richard Nixon quit over the Watergate scandal in 1974. He served for two years but lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976, a year after the US accepted defeat in the Vietnam War.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas everyone

Seasons Greetings to you and yours, at this time of good will and peace to all man in a violent, angry world we are reminded how far we have yet to come. May you all be safe this holiday.

Friday, December 22, 2006

CIA blowback comes full circle

I have followed the Somalia implosion since the middle of this year. The CIA backed warlords against the Islamic courts and once that support was made public, the Islamic courts won mass public support and the warlords were pushed aside. Critics have pointed out that the Islamic courts are a response to the instability created by the Warlords and that they are a stabilizing force, but the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim, according to American foreign policy and the CIS started backing Ethiopia, gearing them up for a conflict, and now they have their Christmas wish, a war in the Horn of Africa, Merry Christmas.

Somali Islamists say at war against Ethiopia
MOGADISHU - Ethiopian-backed Somali government troops and rival Islamists shelled each other with heavy artillery for a third day on Thursday, as the religious movement said it was now at war with Addis Ababa.

Persistent rocket, mortar and machinegun battles since Tuesday local time have boosted fears that a devastating Horn of Africa war, sucking in regional players and spawning suicide bombings across east Africa, may have arrived.

It is the most sustained combat so far between the rival Somali factions, struggling for control of a nation in anarchy since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, after two months of increasingly violent skirmishes.

Both sides claimed to have killed hundreds, but there was no immediate confirmation of casualties.

"We are at war with Ethiopia, but not with the (Somali) government," hardline Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys told Reuters by telephone.

Tis the season

Hahahahahahahaha, remember this week when innocent state housing tenants got letters threatening to throw them out if they missed their rent over Christmas, hahahahahahaha, and remember how most of you didn’t even care about that and just put the boot in because I mentioned the word Tenant, hahahahahahahaha, yeah well those poor folk who need food this week got the same bum rush from another social agency right up until the media started asking questions. Good to see the spirit of the season is so dead and empty.

Come back next week for food, hungry families told
Families who have run out of food for Christmas have been told to come back next week by Work and Income staff in south and west Auckland.
Auckland City Mission and the Salvation Army's Henderson team said people were being told to "come back in a week" to get either special needs grants or letters confirming their needs so they could get food parcels.
City Mission crisis team leader Irene Rama said Work and Income policy was that people needing special needs grants did not need appointments and should go into their local office to be seen. But one woman spent two days at the Manukau office last week and could not get to see anyone.
Mrs Rama rang the Mangere and Otahuhu offices for the woman, but neither office could promise that they could see her "because they are so busy".
Emergency appointments are not available until January at Otahuhu, she said.
However, she said the situation changed yesterday after the Herald began making inquiries.
"We are now getting appointments for everyone we ask for. I think you ringing them has gone from office to office and we are getting appointments straight away," she said.

He ain’t heavy, he’s a cop

Another case of Police giving people the bash, and seeing as two cops (the one using a dog as a weapon and the one shooting randomly at fellow cops) both walked free (cops walking free from charges – how very usual), I doubt these cops will get convicted. You have to beat a woman on video and then try and destroy the evidence before you’ll get a suspended sentence I guess, although you have to say, 4 cops beating on one person is almost Australian.

Officers in court over attack claim
Four police officers have been charged over the alleged bashing of a man in police cells at Whakatane.

Police said yesterday the male officers had appeared in court and faced a range of charges, including assault with a weapon.

"There are multiple charges on some officers which arise out of the same incident," said Bay of Plenty district commander Superintendent Gary Smith.

He would not go into detail about the nature and number of charges each officer faced.

The four were granted interim name suppression at the appearance in Whakatane District Court late on Wednesday.

When good people are asked to do bad things (2)

People don’t kill Marines, Marines kill people. Not really the Freedom and Democracy any of us were expecting in the contemporary sense of the words.

US Marine faces Haditha murder charges
WASHINGTON - A US Marine sergeant has been charged with 13 counts of murder in the killings of unarmed civilians in Haditha, Iraq, one of his defence lawyers said on Thursday.

Mark Zaid, an attorney for accused ringleader Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, said the military charges served against his client do not allege premeditated murder and carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

"The death penalty is not on the table," Zaid said.

Other Marines investigated in the case had yet to receive word on any possible charges, Zaid said.

Wuterich was at the center of a US military investigation into what Iraqi witnesses have described as a massacre of 24 unarmed civilians on November 19, 2005.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Police turning a blind eye?

There I was congratulating the Police for catching 500 firearms when I hear news that Gun researcher Philip Alpers (the same guy a Police Officer recently tried to discredit) has claimed that it is the Police’s fault that these guns have slipped in to the country, (very convenient that the Police tried to discredit him the week before this story came out). Alpers claims that it is the laxness of the Police in checking collectors and gun owners which has led NZ to have the second highest rate of firearms per capita in the world.

Police accused of turning blind eye
In the wake of a massive bust of illegal weapons, police are being accused of turning a blind eye to firearms owners.

Six people were arrested and more than 500 guns seized following raids on properties from Northland to Christchurch.

Police searched 55 properties to uncover the illegal weapons, some of which were allegedly imported and then sold for thousands of dollars on the black market.

It follows a four-month investigation into the illegal sale of firearms.

It is a problem police admit they never knew was so big and experts say they have barely scratched the surface.

Gun policy researcher Philip Alpers says police have been cosying up to apparently legitimate gun dealers and collectors for too long. He is not surprised by the seizure, just surprised it has taken this long.

"Up to now the police regarded these people to be so trustworthy that they could ring them up a week in advance and say 'hey I'd like to come over and have a look at your gun safe' - but that didn't catch many people who were doing something wrong," says Alpers.

New Zealand has the second highest rate of firearms per capita in the world.

Firearms laws were tightened after the Aramoana massacre that saw David Gray armed with more sophisticated weapons than the police.

But Alpers says our laws are still out of date.

"Almost every industrialised nation both licences its gun owners and registers every gun. Now New Zealand stands almost alone with the United States in not doing that," he says.

All military style semi-automatic weapons require a specific licence. But for anything less powerful it is the owner who is licensed, allowing them to keep as many guns as they like.

Some of the addresses raided on Wednesday had several hundred firearms.

Police are now investigating how firearms are being smuggled in.

"It's very, very unusual that these guns are smuggled in the country... virtually every gun found in crime came from a legal gun owner or a dealer," says Alpers

With firearms selling for up to 10 times their value on the black market, police say more arrests are likely.

Police now have to work through the evidence they have gathered and check all the firearms against police and importation records, which means weeks if not months of work.

Says it all really

When good people are asked to do evil things, the effects start to become obvious.

US troops' suicide rate in Iraq doubles
WASHINGTON - Suicides among US soldiers in Iraq doubled last year over the previous year to return to a level seen in 2003, US Army medical experts have said.

Twenty-two US soldiers in Iraq took their own lives in 2005, a rate of 19.9 per 100,000 soldiers. In 2004, the rate was 10.5 per 100,000 and in 2003, the year of the US-led invasion of Iraq, the figure was 18.8 per 100,000.

The figures cover US Army soldiers only. They do not include members of other US military services in Iraq such as the Marine Corps.

01.20.09 – a day of global peace and love!

This is hilarious, imagine being so hated that people were counting down to the day that you are going to leave.

Doomsday countdown for Bush
KANSAS CITY - Some of the T-shirts bear only the date: 01.20.09. The others spell it out: Bush's Last Day.

But both, along with "Bush's Last Day" caps, mugs, bumper stickers, buttons and other collectibles are selling well this Christmas.

One of the most popular items is a clock that counts down the minutes - and yes, seconds - left in President George W. Bush's final term in office.

"We're close to selling a million pieces of assorted stuff," said Elliott Nachwalter, 56, of Arlington, Vermont, who started the business 18 months ago from the back of his fishing store.

Nachwalter's venture has grown from an online-only operation to distribution through more than 300 shops. Business has picked up substantially since the mid-term elections.

No place for guns

I have nothing but praise for the Police cracking down on illegal guns coming into this country. There are few times I’m genuinely surprised by crime stories, but the news that up to 500 illegal guns have surfaced in NZ has to have a zero tolerance policy. Guns like these have only one role - kill people, quickly, we don’t need or want that ability in this country.

Policeman 'shocked' at gun haul
Police have seized hundreds of military-style firearms in raids on gun dealers and collectors.

They believe the powerful automatic and semi-automatic weapons were destined for gangs and other criminals.

Fifty-five gun dealers and collectors were raided in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch.

More than 500 weapons were confiscated.

Six people have been arrested on firearms charges and more arrests are expected. Charges relating to drugs have also been laid.

Some of the firearms were believed to have been imported illegally. Many appeared to have arrived after gun legislation was toughened in 1993.

Prohibition doesn’t work!

Oh no, someone is wanting to do good by prohibiting something. Party Pills are a cheap high that when compared to the negative wider societal impact of booze and ciggies don’t even scrape into the ‘dangerous’ column. Personally I steer clear of them, they make you feel like you have two hangovers the next day, but I don’t support prohibition of Party Pills for the same reasons I don’t support prohibition of tobacco. All this move will do is push everything underground, it’s something else the gangs will sell, this move will help them pay for their next pimp mobile and their kids education. Put restrictions on Party Pills and enforce the restrictions – prohibition doesn’t work!

Committee calls for ban on 'party pills'
The Government has been advised to outlaw the sale of "party pills" by an expert committee which has been studying their dangers.

The pills can be legally purchased by those over 18, but critics say their main active ingredient benzylpiperazine (BZP) is dangerous and pill doses are often far higher than recommended, leading to significant potential harm.

A Cabinet committee is looking at whether BZP and related substances commonly found in party pills should be banned or further restricted.

There is a God!

Thank God Mark Sainsbury will be fronting Close Up and not the crazily right wing Paul Henry, the good lord only knows what Paul would have done in the position, reports on how global warming is a myth, that white men with more than 5 cars should get tax cuts or some interview with the American Ambassador where Paul apologises for all the NZ riff raff attacking President Bush. Not that I watch Close UP of course, it’s an appalling program, but I can sleep a little easier knowing the masses aren’t wallowing around in right wing rhetoric.

Sainsbury to head Close Up
Mark Sainsbury has been named the new host for current affairs programme Close-Up, beating out Television New Zealand (TVNZ) colleague Paul Henry for the role. The position was made vacant after host Susan Wood unexpectedly resigned on December 4 following a cancer scare. Sainsbury had been support host, alongside Wood. TVNZ Head of News and Current Affairs Bill Ralston said he was delighted to have a journalist of Sainsbury's ability and experience at the helm of Close Up.

Don’t be so bitter please Green Party

United Future has shown some real initiative by looking at the problems of global warming and thinking outside the square with their suggestion to increase mortgages by $5000 to pay for proper insulation and thus reduce energy needs. The Greens shat on the idea with Jeanette effectively rolling her eyes, that was a dumb move. I interviewed Peter Dunn a couple of months ago, and he was honest enough to admit that he had only opened his mind to the wider issues of Global Warming recently and would start work on policy. These solutions he has suggested are radical but they address the problem with real ideas, the reason that Jeanette reacted so bitterly is because United Future has come out more radical than the Greens, who since not electing Nandor as co-leader have attempted to paint themselves off as diet green to win over soccer mums. Peter gets that the problem is huge and that as we see more and more climate change, the public will demand real radical action from politicians, the Greens need to stop being bashful about being green, the other parties dropped all pretences the second they realised there are now real concerns within the community about global climate change..

United Future unveils climate change policy
Householders would be encouraged to take out bank loans to insulate their homes under United Future policy to address climate change.

It also wants consumers to buy newer, more fuel-efficient cars and wants to limit the number of older imports coming into the country.

Its policy on climate change released today focuses on what individuals can do.

This includes encouraging home owners to borrow around $5000 from banks to insulate their homes, money United Future says will be recouped in savings on consumers' energy bills.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said there would be costs on individuals as a result of climate change but "we are at a point in the life of our planet where significant change needs to be made if we are to survive".

That change could not be made cheaply or easily, he said.

United Future MP Gordon Copeland said there were around one million homes in New Zealand that were poorly insulated.

Another climate denier bites the dust

Ever since Augie decided to pimp for an Exxon-mobile associated group of ‘scientists against climate warming’, the writing was on the wall for his credibility. How cold does that shoulder feel Augie?

MetService keen to leave Augie out in the warm
MetService has distanced itself from former chief meteorologist Augie Auer over his stance on global warming. Dr Auer is one of several high-profile figures involved in the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition - a group that challenges what it maintains are unfounded claims about global warming. MetService chief executive John Lumsden said the latest World Meteorological Organisation report confirmed the global warming trend. "We are certain of this observation and would like to point out that the views recently made public by Augie Auer in relation to climate change are his own, and in no way do they reflect those of MetService."

User pays free education

In a report this week it shows 1 out of 4 kids from poor families are ‘incapable’ of learning – which makes early intervention and increased funding necessary, so how does it help that Government penny pinching is forcing schools to fund themselves, what if you live in a poor area, are those schools going to be able to achieve when we know how much more difficult poverty effects the final equation?

Parents have to pay a third of school funding
Schools are dependent on parents and the community for a third of their funding, a new report says.

The Ministry of Education Review of Schools' Operational Funding and the Education Review Office's report into School's Use of Operational Funding, both released today, show difficulties schools have in making ends meet.

The ministry report was commissioned by the Government a year ago after concerns about how much funding schools were getting.

Whitey wins again

Needing to avoid getting painted out as a PC pack of greenies, Spanky Benson Pope has shown the Pink Carter the door by giving the Boaties their marina over and above the concerns of the local surfing community. The dredging will effect the surf break and destroy one of NZs best surf spots, but like I was telling my surfer protesters, boats cost more than surf boards, and those with the cash make the rules.

Whangamata marina gets go ahead – finally
Environment Minister David Benson-Pope has given the Whangamata Marina Society the go ahead to construct and operate a marina at Whangamata.

In light of the further information provided by the Environment Court to the Minister, Mr Benson-Pope decided that he was able to grant the consents subject to stringent conditions.

But iwi oppose the marina because of fears that traditional food-gathering areas will be lost.

Environmentalists were upset that the marina could help destroy a saltmarsh, and some surfers think the popular Whangamata bar will be affected.

Last thing we need

At a time when we need more people to take public transport, Auckland is looking at increasing public transport prices. So apart from the fact that cattle trains to abattoirs are more comfortable than public transport in Auckland, it will also be more expensive. Great, just what we needed to help Aucklanders get out of their cars. Brilliant move!

The secret's out - bus and train fares will rise
Auckland train and bus fares will rise next month, hitting thousands of commuters as they return to work from their holidays. The Auckland Regional Transport Authority had hoped to avoid publicity about the rises, posting details on an obscure page on the Auckland Maxx public transport website.

Many adults ‘incapable’ of learning

I don’t think we have a youth problem in this country, I think we have an adult problem. New research suggests that some kids (especially from poor families) are ‘incapable’ of learning. The need for an alternative education fall back for kids like this and the recognition of poverty as a real barrier to a better life are lessons that some adults who feel the need to hold onto stereotypes of race as the focus of their blame seem incapable of learning.

10% of children 'incapable' of learning at school
One in 10 children is incapable of learning at school, two education researchers have found. And in poorer schools, that figure can rise to one in four.
But the researchers have a possible solution to the problem - restarting the brain so children regain the learning instinct. Dr John Kirkland and Dr David Bimler, of Massey University's College of Education, say the secret to reducing classroom failure may not be the traditional push for the "three Rs" but rather triggering instincts such as exploration and curiosity. Dr Kirkland said a difficult home life could stifle development, leaving children in a "cognitive cul-de-sac" - unable to take the initiative, afraid to ask questions and unable to process information in the usual way.

Mr man has to pay!

No more buts Mr Man, you pay more now!

Minimum wage to rise to $11.24
The minimum wage is set to rise by $1 an hour from April. The increase will take the minimum hourly rate for those over 18 to $11.24. The minimum youth rate for those aged 16 and 17 will rise from $8.20 an hour to $9. About 110,000 adult workers should benefit.

Drunk Driving reporting

I’m always interested in the way drink driving stories are reported. Here’s an example…

Waikato police net 74 in drink-drive blitz
Waikato police stopped and breathtested 4113 drivers at the weekend and netted 74 people over the legal drink-drive limit. More than 30 specialist staff were involved in the compulsory stops, which were run in response to growing concern about the problem in and around Hamilton. Operation commander Senior Sergeant Bruce Lyon said of most concern was the attitude of a high number of young offenders. Many had no regard for the welfare of other road users or bystanders, he said.

…now my maths is a little rusty, but out of the total number of people tested, less than 2% were drunk. Well, help me out here, but 2% of tested drivers being pissed is something to celebrate, the message IS getting through, but I suppose with all the money spent on advertising and all the police powers wrapped up in being able to stop you and test you, you need to constantly paint out any drink driving as two steps short of complete civilization collapse rather than congratulating drivers for sobering up.