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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pot, Kettle, Black, Winston

Peters castigates anti brigade
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has lashed out at what he describes as an irrational sport in New Zealand involving scoring cheap points by bashing America and Australia. "…there seems to be an irrational and growing sense of sport among some quarters in New Zealand where it is considered a perverse badge of honour to take cheap shots at the Australians and Americans."

Ummmm, to be criticized by Winston ‘racebaiting’ Peters (who has used xenophobic feelings towards Asians to build his political party) for attacking Australia and America (he forgot to mention England) is a joke for two reasons.

1: There are legitimate reasons to be uber critical of America and Australia, let’s see both refuse to admit Global Warming was happening even though both countries contribute massively to pollution levels, they are both responsible for the deaths of 655 000 people in Iraq, an illegal war started on false pretences and both countries have a despicable track record towards their indigenous peoples. The question shouldn’t be that Australia and America get criticized, the question should be why aren’t you criticizing them Winston?

2: To be told off by a Politician for legitimately criticizing America and Australia when Winston has made his political life racebaiting xenophobic feelings towards Asians simply isn’t credible.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Global Warming Evidence

The 1PCC is a very conservative body, and their new report on the latest evidence on Global Warming makes it very clear that it is happening now. The excuses, the denial, the shame that people have backed the wrong ideas for decades and now don’t want the responsibility to change all has to be dumped and left at the door for those still resisting the science on this issue. The problem for most is having to admit all those smelly pinko tree huggers were right all along, that is something our less informed citizens will have to get over on their own time, the debate is moving on.

Melting of glaciers 'speeds up'
Mountain glaciers are shrinking three times faster than they were in the 1980s, scientists have announced.
The World Glacier Monitoring Service, which continuously studies a sample of 30 glaciers around the world, says the acceleration is down to climate change. Its announcement came as climate scientists convened in Paris to decide the final wording of a major report. There is reported to be some disagreement over what forecasts they will make for sea level rise. But whatever form of words they agree on, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will declare that human-induced climate change is happening and needs to be tackled. "[The report] embodies substantial new research, it addresses gaps that existed in our knowledge earlier, it has reduced existing uncertainties," IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri told reporters at a news briefing in Paris.

We will enter conditions which we have not seen in the past 10,000 years, and perhaps conditions which mankind has never experienced
Wilfried Haeberli, World Glacier Monitoring Service

Cluster Love

Thank you Israel for dropping cluster bombs all over civilian areas of Lebanon which NZ soldiers are now having to risk their lives every day to find and detonate. Oh and thank you for doing it illegally now as well. I wonder where all those voices who acted as apologists of this war for Israel have all quietly disappeared to?

Israel 'broke US arms deal terms'
Israel probably violated the terms of its arms deals with Washington by using US-made cluster bombs in Lebanon last year, a US government report says.
The state department looked into Israel's use of cluster bombs in civilian areas of southern Lebanon during its conflict with Hezbollah. US-made weapons are sold to the Israeli military with restriction on their use. Cluster bombs can scatter hundreds of small bomblets over a wide area, and their use has been widely criticised. The International Committee of the Red Cross called for a ban on the use of cluster bombs in populated areas, because of the indiscriminate civilian deaths they caused. Amnesty International has criticised Israel for its use of cluster bombs in the final days of the conflict.

Will drinking shit make Global Warming real?

Denial that Global Warming is happening now might start changing as people realize they may be forced to start drinking treated sewage as water continues to dry up. Personally watching climate denier John Howard having to drink shit pleases me deeply.

Recycled water
New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma has denied suggestions residents will be forced to drink recycled water after the March state election. The commitment follows Queensland Premier Peter Beattie's announcement that his state will be drinking recycled water by the end of next year. Prime Minister John Howard has backed the plan, saying other states should be prepared to follow suit. But Mr Iemma says the New South Wales government has more water reserves than Queensland and the strategy isn't needed. He also denied the Labor government will reverse its decision after the election.

Does this Parachute work?

Word that there was going to be a protest at the Christian music event, Parachute, over Nesian Mystik performing because only half the band are committed Christians is a good thing. Christianity needs to review it’s own mental health as a religion just as much as Islam needs to. Extremist Christians need to be challenged within Christianity as it attempts to balance the literal and metaphorical definitions of the Bible, and to see such extreme views being challenged by the organizers of Parachute is a positive thing.

Complaints over mainstream artist at Christian festival
Complaints have been made that a mainstream hiphop band is one of the headline acts at a Christian music festival.
The three-day Parachute event began at the Mystery Creek Event Centre on Friday night, but some people are upset that Nesian Mystik has been asked to perform. Parachute Music chief executive Mark de Jong says they have received some complaints from people threatening to boycott the event, because only half of the group are committed Christians. One man says he will picket outside the gate.


The greatest band in the entire Universe, Rage Against The Machine, are reuniting for Coachella 2007, final proof that there is indeed a God!

It’s my prison and I’ll beat when I want to, beat when I want to, beat when I want to - you would beat too if it happened to you!

Mulrunji Doomadgee swore at a white cop. Less than an hour later, he was dead in a Palm Island police cell, his ribs were smashed in and his spleen was ripped in half. Officially the Police say Mulrunji ‘fell over’ in the Police cell. The New South Wales chief justice, Sir Laurence has r3ecommended the Police Officer who was in the room when Mulrunji ‘fell over’ be prosecuted for Mulrunji’s death. Amazingly this decision has sparked outrage from Australian cops in the kind of way Apartheid South African Police would respond to international human rights criticisms.

If the KKK hood fits…

Palm Island probe
Anger is continuing to grow within the Queensland police force over the decision to charge a senior officer over an aboriginal death in custody. Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley is expected to be charged later this week, with the manslaughter of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island in 2004. The decision follows recommendations by former New South Wales chief justice Sir Laurence Street. Sir Laurence was appointed to review the case after the Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions, Leanne Clare, decided not to press charges in late 2006. Queensland Police Union Vice President Denis Fitzpatrick says he will discuss possible industrial action with police officers during a state-wide tour starting today.


With the latest war rallies aimed at Congress to stop Bush (seeing as Bush has simply slipped into a medicated world far removed from reality), attention has turned to those in power to come up with ways to simply end this war no matter what, and as ‘The Decider’ still isn’t listening, the issue of impeachment must be considered again. What has always amazed me is that Clinton could get impeached for lying about a blowjob, but Bush can lie about weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, connections with 9/11 and invade Iraq without any problem at all.

Lying about a Blowjob when Clinton was president – Impeach!
Lying to invade a country and kill 655 000 people when Bush is president– Toothless non binding slaps on the wrist, while allowing torture and detention in secret CIA prisons.

And you wonder why I laugh so hard when Kiwiblog whines on and on about the ‘liberal media’.

Mass US protest against Iraq war
Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated in Washington to demand the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
The rally comes days before Congress is to discuss President George W Bush's new strategy for Iraq - including the despatch of 21,500 additional troops. The protesters, chanting "Bring the troops home", were joined by Vietnam War-era protester, actress Jane Fonda. Violence continued in Iraq on Saturday, with at least 15 killed in a suicide bomb attack in a Baghdad market. The BBC's James Coomarasamy in Washington says this anti-war rally at the foot of the US Capitol was a marked shift away from the White House and on to Congress. The protesters want Congress, now run by the Democrats, to block funding for the president's new strategy, our correspondent says.

$15 000 Birthday parties for 5 year olds

Ummmmmmmm, brothers and sisters, is it weird that in NZ 5 year olds are getting $15 000 birthday parties? Isn’t there something a little obscene about that? As we examine our consumer culture and realize our consumption isn’t sustainable and is having a suicidal effect on our planets environment while also negatively impacting our mental health with Affluenza, does it strike anyone that acceptance of $15 000 parties for 5 year olds might be part of the problem?

Birthday guests are pint-sized but the bill's not
Children's birthday parties used to be low-key events - a game of pass the parcel, then cake, jelly and balloons. But today's generation of parents is spending up to $15,000 on lavish parties for their youngsters' birthdays to meet ever-growing expectations. With catering, costumed staff and performers, the events have all the trappings of lavish corporate parties. Only the guests are pint-sized, and it's mum and dad picking up the bill. Fifth birthday celebrations are particularly opulent, with the occasion seen as a coming-of-age. Auckland-based Kids Party Company owner Stu Robertson says birthday celebrations are increasingly big-budget affairs.

The Problem for John Key

Helen Clark always said that NZ is conservative with a little c, I think we are also racist with a little r. The garden variety bigotry that we saw explode with Don Brash’s ‘Maaaaaaari get too much’ shows up the mainstream misperceptions many white folk seem to have in this country, and it is those misperceptions fuelled by red neck talkback rhetoric that may be the biggest hurdle for John Key to have to clear.

Currently, the Conservative leader in Britain, David Cameron, is trying to broaden his party’s appeal beyond the RW and S class (Rich White and Selfish), because trying to run a Government with such narrow support is only possible in Florida. Cameron is running into trouble though because many of the ‘hip’ candidates he is trying to run in an attempt to shake the perception that the Conservatives are just rich white tax cutters who want to reintroduce poor houses and chimney sweeps, are being solidly turned down by party rank and file who seem to be horrified that ‘the help’ might actually be allowed at the decision making table beyond simply serving the earl grey at 5pm. This may well be the problem that John Key now encounters in NZ, without broader electoral appeal, National will never win an election. As MMP starts to mature in NZ, we move further away from the Personality Cult parties (Dunne, Peters, Anderton) and move closer to the cultural tribal groupings that occur throughout the country (Maori Party, Greens). In such a future, National are never going to get over 50% of the vote, a realization that Key must now be now aware of. How does Key convince angry white National Party voters to move beyond their misperceptions and broaden support? Trying to educate the opposition on why you are right and they are wrong is one thing, but pointing out to your own electorate that they have been narrow minded is a cross only Jesus could carry, and even accepting the State House mythology at face value, John Key doesn’t strike me as the self crucifying type.

John Key makes his state of the nation speech today.

The Russian Bear: No fags or fucking liberals

The Russian Bear is starting to look like a violent Mafia capitalist oligarchic pimp who uses its oil and gas the way a crack dealer does, crossed with a homophobic fascist. Not exactly the vodka drunk funny dancing bear we had hoped it had become.

Moscow bans 'satanic' gay parade
Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has said he will never allow a gay rights parade in the Russian capital.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Luzhkov described such events as "satanic". Moscow banned a gay march in 2006, citing the threat of violence. People who ignored the ban were beaten up by counter-demonstrators and arrested. Gay activists say the ban breaches their fundamental human rights. They say they intend to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. "Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the gay parade, which cannot be called anything other than satanic," Mr Luzhkov said.

Russia's party barred from polls
One of Russia's leading liberal political parties, Yabloko, has been banned from local elections in the second biggest city, St Petersburg.
The city's electoral commission said too many signatures supporting the party's candidates had been invalid. Yabloko said the commission's decision was an attempt to muzzle the voice of the opposition to the pro-Kremlin municipal council. It said it would appeal. The elections are due to be held on 11 March.

Spanish women get a break

Every day women wake up to a billion dollar advertising campaign aimed at convincing them that they are ugly and can’t conform to an anorexic body shape. The way marketing reflects neurosis and sells that neurosis to meet the human need of feeling connected in an alienated consumer culture has always been a bone of contention and now the Spanish Government are leading the way in challenging those marketed preconceptions of body image.

Spain resizes clothes for women
Spain is to standardise its clothing sizes for women as part of a government drive to ease pressure on young girls over their body size.
Clothes currently on sale in Spain often vary in size from shop to shop, despite carrying the same size label. Some fear the labels are confusing shoppers and that efforts to conform could be leading to eating disorders. The move follows Spain's ban of ultra-thin models on the catwalk during Madrid fashion week last September. Spanish women often head into changing rooms with an armful of different sizes never knowing which one will fit this time or whether any will fit at all. But by 2008 those days could be over. Spain's biggest fashion retailers have bowed to government pressure to standardise their sizes and reflect the real size of Spain's growing population. Under new regulations, a size 40 garment in one store will need to be at least roughly comparable to a size 40 in another shop.

"I am da decider"

“I’m the decision maker” isn’t what you want to hear from a person you stopped believing 6 years ago. The bizarre defense that Bush is using at the moment is that “You don’t have a better plan so we will send more American Troops into the grinder”, um, Mr Bush, that bi-partisan group you had to set up because the Iraq situation was collapsing who gave you all those solutions (including dialogue with countries you seem to be lining up for another invasion) gave you a whole bunch of solutions, perhaps the name of this group confused you, ‘The Iraq Study Group’. You have been given solution Mr Bush, you just don’t want to listen to those solutions and have chosen to send more of your countrymen to their death all for the sake of your ego.

This from the Washington Post
Bush Defies Lawmakers To Solve Iraq
Declaring "I'm the decision maker," President Bush yesterday challenged congressional efforts to formally condemn his Iraq plan, while Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned that a proposed Senate resolution criticizing the deployment of additional troops would embolden the enemy.

"Any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks," Gates told reporters at the Pentagon. "I'm sure that that's not the intent behind the resolutions, but I think it may be the effect."

Don’t you love how disagreeing with this war is now helping the enemy?

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Prison Industrial Complex

I think there is something terribly wrong with our prison system and the public perception of it. There were a flurry of stories in the weekend papers about a Corrections Department in free fall. The near collapse system is groaning with over crowding and under funding and is producing prisoners who on release are committing worse crimes.

The natural fear and anger that comes from being the victim of crime has warped into something that ends up supporting a system that only exacerbates the culture of violence inside prisons. The problem with having an intense culture of fear and violence in prison, is that it makes any chance of rehabilitation that much more difficult. The environment of the actual prisons needs to be changed and we need to start seeking better solutions than jail, and the jails we do have should be built with rehabilitation foremost in it’s design (needless to say the function of keeping prisoners in jails would also be high on the agenda).

Corrections chaos sparks Nats outrage
Allegations of prisoners receiving drugs and cash in court and probation bungling over killer Graeme Burton points to widespread incompetence in the justice system. Nicola Boyes reports.
The Opposition is demanding a sweeping and independent inquiry into the Department of Corrections as fresh evidence of corruption and incompetence is revealed. The Corrections Minister wants an immediate report into allegations of corruption at Rotorua District Court after a Sunday Star-Times investigation found Corrections officers are allowing inmates' families and friends in the court's back door, bringing in food, drugs, money and other contraband. This comes on top of yesterday's revelations by the Dominion Post that police had begged the probation service - run by Corrections - to recall Graeme Burton to jail five weeks before he allegedly went on a shooting rampage.

Simmering below these headlines has been a stream of serious allegations including:
Claims by a Dutch couple recruited to work at Rimutaka Prison that officers were being bribed by gangs and prisoners had unlimited access to drugs.

Claims that a smorgasbord of drugs is available to Mt Eden prison inmates, sold under guards' noses.

Reform programmes being run in the prisons leading to higher rates of recidivism.

A Star-Times inquiry showing a Rotorua police jailer has been charged with supplying methamphetamine to inmates.

Claims from the Prison Officers Association that prison managers turn a blind eye to violent assaults in prisons in order to claim bonuses.

This month's release of a convicted rapist, who raped a tourist in an Auckland backpacker hostel, into an Auckland boarding house.
Similar concerns about the need for an independent anti-corruption taskforce have been aired about the British Prison Service. The BBC yesterday reported that guards accepted that drugs were necessary in the prison environment to encourage discipline. Violence in New Zealand's prisons is being blamed for the defection of large numbers of prison guards recruited from Holland and the UK. The department held two overseas campaigns - one in Samoa in 2004 which cost $124,837, and one in Britain and the Netherlands in 2005, which cost $291,516 (including two weeks' accommodation on arrival in New Zealand).
Of those offered jobs, 43% of Dutch nationals, 41% of British and 14% of Samoans turned them down. Of those who came to New Zealand, 24% of Dutch prison officers and 13.5% of British officers have left.
Corrections Association boss Beven Hanlon says the Dutch recruits "really struggled" with the cultural differences. "They are used to a very open, very safe prison system there, which is largely non-violent. Our prisons are very violent places and that has been a big culture shock for them."

The saddest thing about the entire Graeme Burton fiasco is that the whole thing seems to have been so predictable. How on Earth could someone with a violent background be released straight from segregation inside to the freedom in the outside world with no adjustment period? Am I surprised that Graeme exploded into violent rage at everyone and everything after being released minus any adjustment programme in what seems to be a parole decision made not based on public safety, but on overcrowding grounds.

Am I surprised that after a slow news day when all the media suddenly carried ‘Public Enemy Number One’ news broadcasts of Burton (for what at the time was only a breach of parole), that an ill-adjusted Burton freaked out and went on the rampage? Not that any of this is in any way a defense for Burton’s horrific actions, but there are reasons why these things happen, and if we don’t try to understand the reasons, we are not going to be able to change the paradigm of this debate.

Take Bailey Junior Kurariki – his case touched the same raw nerve that Don Brash’s ‘Maaaari get too much’ did on talkback radio land, there was this warped perception that trying to defend their actions as those of stupid, stupid children seemed to many the worst extremes of political correctness gone mad and there was a national outcry to punish this little punk. I remember arguing at the time that this all felt far too knee jerk and that sending a 12 year old into our under resourced youth prison system for 7 years had more chances of creating a monster than a reformed citizen, and here we are now fretting that his release date is around the corner, knowing full well that his experiences inside during such an important personality growth stage will hardly lean him towards a bright future. Wouldn’t we all feel safer if we knew Prisoners would get the chance to rehabilitate inside so that on their full sentence release we could trust the system rather than the continuation of the current retribution culture that doesn’t work.


Human, all too human

The police say the constables who arrested an armed criminal are “heroes” – their actions are “heroic”. Don’t you just love the police? What other organization, what other people, so regularly describe themselves as heroes? A squad of heavily-armed and body-armoured police shoot someone and they are “heroes”? Then again what other organization so regularly insists on its own perfection regardless of the facts? The same organization that is given to claiming it has captured offenders who have in fact been, chased, tackled and detained entirely by civilians. The same organization that warns people not to protect themselves and prosecute even the most obvious case of necessary self-defense never fails… to astound us with the depth of their arrogance. Oh yes, you defend yourself, you are a menace, a terrible example and a criminal – they rampage in total overkill and they are heroes.

They are, of course we must never forget, the best, most honest, uncorrupt, model police force in the entire world… even after the Steven Wallace execution, the Gisbourne drug squad probe, the Arthur Allen Thomas fit-up, the Whangarei beatings, the Steven Wallace execution, the rapes (individual and group), the everyday casual perjury committed by officers, the Christchurch guy who had to call 111 to stop the police beating his girlfriend because she made the error of not being white, the routine “disappearance” of drug exhibits, the disappearance of evidence against police (like the officer who grabbed an incriminating cassette out of the security VCR and screwed up the tape right in front of witnesses) etc. etc. etc… and the are, of course, one and all heroes.

For so long the public have loved the Police, like a brother – a big brother. And the price of his sense of security was total trust. This was a trust borne however of a blind eye to the means by which his love was imposed. In the authoritarian regimes of New Zealand past, which were accepted uncritically by the population, the uniformed army was automatically respected and it’s fist secretly admired. In the atrophy of intergenerational sado-masochism worship, the general increase in crime from a less ordered society and the inability of a heavily centralized directed institution (that is still in essence an army of bullet-headed thugs directed by semi-educated time-servers), it was inevitable the gap between public perception and the reality of their shortcomings would be eventually plugged by media by media scrutiny. But it’s always amusing in this day and age to find police having to spin things because no one else will.

Thank heavens he had the guts to stop that guy going 11kmph over the limit, how bravely she hid behind the door of her police car while Constable Keith Abbot emptied the clip into the kid with a golf club, including one in the back, how ethical to only beat them when they aren’t: handcuffed… heroes one and all, every last one of them.

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



Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad

The hype! The hype! Conrad’s Edwardian seaman’s tale, based on his own expedition up the Belgian-ruled Congo, is eventually strangled in its own dense pretentiousness as the narrator finally meets Mr. Kurtz in what is probably literature’s biggest anti-climax. The occasional flashes of sarcastic humour and the gritty portrait of sordid white colonial excess and its moral condemnation wilt under a typically thick prose, thick with a repetitious thickness, and a style prone to some irksome habits; such as every minute expression routinely being ascribed no less than four simultaneous elements. The meandering pace, the annoying lack of any actual detail about Kurtz, the pointlessly digressive – usually nautical – observations, the cursory treatment of the real action and the repetitive thickness of the thick repetition render this famed novella wholly underwhelming:

The dusk was repeating them in a persistent whisper all around us, in a whisper that seemed to swell menacingly like the first whisper of a rising wind. “The horror! The horror!”

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


As the soullessness of consumerism culture meets with the environmental realities of unsustainable consumption, the social values of unbridled capitalism seem less and less attractive. It seems the 2% Plutocracy that own over 50% of the worlds wealth is a status quo we can no longer afford.

Affluenza afflicting western countries
LONDON - Beware the Affluenza Virus. An epidemic of mindless consumerism is sweeping the world with the compulsive pursuit of money and possessions making people richer but sadder. That is the stark warning issued by best-selling British psychologist Oliver James after a "mind tour" of seven countries chronicling how depression envelopes the affluent. "We have become addicted to having rather than being and confusing our needs with our wants," he told Reuters in an interview to mark publication on Thursday of "Affluenza".

Globe-trotting from New York to Sydney, Singapore and Shanghai via Copenhagen, Moscow and Auckland, he concluded after interviewing 240 people that "selfish capitalism" has run riot. Bigger houses, more cars, larger televisions, younger faces -- these goals are frenetically pursued by middle-class workaholics afflicted by "Affluenza". "Studies in lots of different nations show that if you place high value on those things, you are more likely to suffer depression, anxiety, addictions and personality disorders," he said. James concluded "People in English-speaking nations are twice as likely to be mentally ill as people living in mainland western European nations." Always wanting bigger and better is an emotional cul de sac, argues the 53-year-old psychologist, broadcaster and author. What makes "Affluenza" so readable and differentiates his eloquent polemic from the legion of self-help books that offer trite short-cuts to happiness are the potted biographies of the subjects he interviews.

Take New York.
Compare and contrast Sam, the miserable millionaire and sex-addicted atheist who treats women as commodities for fleeting satisfaction, with Chet the Nigerian taxi driver who is contented, optimistic, sexually faithful and religious. James freely admits that interviewing the affluent in Sydney was a depressing job, calling it "the Dolly Parton of cities in Australia, the most vacuous". Singapore, where he found shopping to be the national obsession, suffered from "sad, unplayful deadness." Denmark was commendable, worthy but not exactly "a barrel of laughs." But not all was doom and gloom for the peripatetic psychologist.

He admired the Chinese for their "best is good enough" stoicism and said "I most liked the Muscovites as they still have an interest in the life of the mind." James the optimistic believes the backlash has begun. "We are at a turning point. My argument dovetails with the ecological argument -- we cannot carry on consuming in this manner and feel confident our great grandchildren have any future. This inevitably leads us to question consumerism. "People are sick to the back teeth of this stuff. They don't want any more selfish capitalism."


America’s Redemption?

People mistakenly think I’m ‘anti-American’ (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean), that I hate America and that is why I am constantly criticizing American Foreign policy. What people miss is that I have a deep admiration for the Declaration of Independence and if America won’t keep to International agreements, then we can’t get China, or Russia, or any other human rights abuser to keep to their international obligations.

America needs to regain the good will of the Planet and there are two possibilities for American redemption – the first is the possibility of Hillary Clinton running for President with Sen. Barack Obama running as her Vice President with Al Gore getting the Environment portfolio. Such a momentous leadership change would convince the rest of the planet that the American people have rejected this madness Bush has created.

The other possible redemption of America may come in the form of new plans America has of building a giant mirror that could float in space between the Earth and the Sun to reflect heat and help slow the effects of global warming. Such an endeavor on behalf of the planet would restore trust in America again.

US answer to global warming: smoke and giant space mirrors
The US government wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming, the Guardian has learned. It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be "important insurance" against rising emissions, and has lobbied for such a strategy to be recommended by a major UN report on climate change, the first part of which will be published on Friday.

Heroin Irony

The Irony of course about the opium trade in Afghanistan is that the US used heroin production in Afghanistan to pay for their war against the soviets, using the Pakistani ISI as middle men.

Soviet Afghanistan
It was alleged by the Soviets on multiple occasions that American CIA agents were helping smuggle opium out of Afghanistan, either into the West, in order to raise money for the Afghan resistance or into the Soviet Union in order to weaken it through drug addiction. Nothing beyond Soviet and Afghan accusations has emerged out of several media and UN investigations into these proported actions.

Afghanistan Won't Spray Poppy Plants
KABUL, Afghanistan | Rebuffing months of U.S. pressure, Afghan President Hamid Karzai decided against a Colombia-style program to spray this country's heroin-producing poppies after the Cabinet worried herbicide would hurt legitimate crops, animals and humans, officials said Thursday. The decision, reportedly made Sunday, dashes U.S. hopes for mounting a campaign using ground sprayers to poison poppy plants to help combat Afghanistan's opium trade after a record crop in 2006. Fueled by the Taliban, a powerful drug mafia and poor farmers' need for a profitable crop that can overcome drought, opium production from poppies in Afghanistan last year rose 49 percent to 6,700 tons - enough to make about 670 tons of heroin. That is more than 90 percent of the world's supply and more than the world's addicts consume in a year.

Afghanistan to fall this Spring?

To my amazement, fighting was so fierce between the Taliban and British Forces that at one point last year, the British HQ was almost over run. In the wake of recent military action against Taliban slipping across the Pakistan border, there is a real fear that the Taliban Spring offensive could be the end of another Afghanistan misadventure. Wasn’t Alexander the Great the only person who got close to conquering Afghanistan? Are we really putting George W Bush on strategic par with Alexander the Great?

The latest panic scramble to get more NATO troops into Afghanistan to withstand the Spring offensive doesn’t look likely to hold off what seems to be the inevitable conclusion that we will be forced out of Afghanistan as well.

Nato 'to step up Afghan support'
Nato foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have agreed to step up their military and economic assistance to Afghanistan, officials have said.
The decision came as the US pledged an extra $10.6bn (£5.4bn) to bolster its Afghan effort and retain troops there. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Nato "must take a hard look" at what more it can do for Afghanistan. Nato's top commander meanwhile has said his forces will mount a spring offensive against the Taleban. Officials from the alliance have warned they expect Taleban fighters in Afghanistan to intensify attacks when the weather begins to warm up. Separately, Nato said it may have killed a "senior Taleban leader and his deputies" in southern Helmand province.

The Insurgency is getting bolder and smarter

News of the real details from last weeks attack that killed 5 US Soldiers show that the Insurgency has evolved into a much deadlier and better trained force. Sending 22 000+ troops into what Republican Chuck Hagel called ‘the grinder’ when the insurgency is displaying tactics like these is another example of how this war is over, there is no military solution to this.

US army describes Iraq abductions
The US military in Iraq has given new details of an attack last week in which five US soldiers were killed.
Four of them were abducted by militants posing as an American security team. They travelled in the kind of vehicles often used for US government convoys, Wore US-style uniforms and carried US-style weapons. Initially the military said all five soldiers were killed repelling an attack on an Iraqi government compound in the Shia holy city of Karbala. According to the new account, US military officers were attending a meeting in the compound when the convoy of at least five sport utility vehicles impersonating Americans entered and killed one US soldier. There was a series of explosions and in the melee, the attackers then set off again with four captured US soldiers.

'Brazen attack'
They drove into a neighbouring province and then abandoned the SUVs. Iraqi police, by now in pursuit, found the vehicles. Two US soldiers were found handcuffed together in one of the SUVs, shot dead. A third American soldier lay dead on the ground. The fourth was still alive despite a gunshot wound to the head but died shortly afterwards. Such a brazen attack is believed to be unprecedented, and the US military say the militants bypassed Iraqi police to reach their goal.

The China Syndrome

The most selfish people I’ve ever met were all only children, and because of their one baby policy, China is going to become a nation of single children. China, with their insatiable resource hunger, simply can’t sustain ever increasing growth rates, currently at 10.7% - capitalism has some rules that have to be followed and with such rapid uncontrollable expansion, economies run the risk of crashing.

I think 3 things will make this economic crash all the more destructive,

1: The horrific environmental damage in China will lead to a sudden environmental collapse.
Every year, it is estimated that around 400,000 people in China die prematurely from pollution-related illnesses.
2: Chinese Capitalism is crony capitalism and has a lot of Communist Party official corruption.
3: The militant history of the peasants, as the crash hits, the rural areas will get hit worst and an angry desperate, mainly male, peasant class with such historical militancy could cause immense damage to an already crippled Communist Party.

Add to this turbulent mix is a new middle class demanding Western living standards and China faces the real possibility of collapsing from it’s own size.

China admits to climate failings
China is failing to make progress on improving and protecting the environment, according to a new Chinese government report.
The research ranks China among the world's worst nations - a position unchanged since 2004. After the US, China produces the most greenhouse gases in the world. The Chinese report, prepared by academics and government experts, ranked the country 100th out of 118 countries surveyed. Some 30 indicators were used to measure the level of "ecological modernisation" including carbon dioxide emissions, sewage disposal rates and the safety of drinking water.

Global accord
"Compared with social and economic modernisation, China's ecological modernisation lags far behind," said the research group's director, He Chuanqi. Yet, with a fifth of the world's population, China consumes only 4% of the world's daily oil output, importing about three million barrels a day. But its unrelenting economic growth will continue to fuel a voracious appetite for energy. Current plans call for the opening of a new power station every week, most of them coal-fired. The World Bank estimates that China will grow at 6% per year over the next 15 years, twice the rate expected for the world economy as a whole.

Grumblings from the East

News that British agents are close to fingering ex-KGB officer Andrei Lugovoi for the radioactive poisoning murder of Alexander Litvinenko is setting the stage for a major diplomatic incident if Lugovoi can be traced to the Kremlin. The seriousness of the issue is being masked by the media’s focus on events in Iraq, but it could be a make or break issue this year for an inexperienced new Prime Minister Gorden Brown. With Russia’s centralization of the energy industry as a weapon for Putin’s foreign policy, Europe is once again looking nervously at Russian Bear, drunk on it’s own growing mafia opulence.

Ex-spy dismisses Litvinenko probe
Andrei Lugovoi, the focus of the UK probe into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, has laughed off reports London may soon seek his extradition.
He told the BBC he had not read the Guardian report saying Scotland Yard had allegedly collected enough evidence for him to stand trial in the UK. The former KGB officer has persistently denied any involvement in the murder. Mr Litvinenko died on 23 November in London after taking a fatal dose of the radioactive isotope polonium-210.

London meeting
The latest allegations to emerge from London have prompted Mr Lugovoi to speak once again to the media after weeks of silence. But he had little to say, refusing to comment on the possibility of being extradited to Britain or that he could be swapped with the London-based Russian exile Boris Berezovsky, a leading opponent of President Vladimir Putin.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Resistance to Telecom is futile

I love it when the Telecom Borg scores an own goal, and their PR nightmare with Jenny Gibbs is hilarious. Sadly rich white woman wins again, but for a second the Borg looked stupid.

Telecom finally organises broadband for multimillionaire
Telecom's rivals flocked to the smart frontdoor of multimillionaire Jenny Gibbs yesterday to offer her broadband, only to be pipped at the post by the giant telco. The firm moved swiftly to get its service to the unhappy arts patron on the same day she went public about waiting two years to get broadband in her Paritai Drive home. Mrs Gibbs had been told that the exchange in her area had no extra capacity. But soon after yesterday's Herald article appeared, Telecom connected Mrs Gibbs as its rivals rushed to her dress-circle street in Orakei to show off their alternatives. Phone and internet companies Vodafone and Woosh parked outside her house, testing equipment to see if she could get their wireless broadband services, and offered their own broadband options.

Sikh and ye shall find

One of the less savory aspects about September 11th paranoia is that religious groups who have nothing whatsoever to do with Islam got abused. Trying to explain to our more red necked friends that the Sikh religion is not even connected to Islam and is therefore innocent of any claims of ‘Muslim Terrorist’ is an uphill battle.

Airplane row is racism says knife Sikh
A Sikh priest asked to hand over his religious dagger by a pilot after he boarded a plane from Auckland to Napier said the issue only served to highlight the racism his community faced in the post-September 11 world. Jarnail Singh and a group of Sikh priests visiting from India got through security wearing their kirpans under their shirts at Auckland's domestic terminal without any problems and boarded their flight to Napier on Sunday afternoon. Mr Singh said a woman sitting behind him spotted his kirpan sticking out and began shaking. "She said I had a knife and got panicked," Mr Singh said. "I asked her 'please calm down, we are not what you think'." The woman's husband notified cabin crew and the pilot asked the men to hand over their kirpans until they landed in Napier. They were given them back once all other passengers had got off the plane in Napier. "Air New Zealand was very fair. It's just disappointing when one lady reacts like that and makes an issue out of it," Mr Singh said. "If we are travelling international we put them in luggage but we have never had a problem before." Mr Singh said he was often taunted by people calling him Bin Laden because of his long beard which under Sikh tradition he is not permitted to cut. "I think people are still paranoid after 9/11 but I'm not even Muslim," he said. "I have a turban, see, so that's how you can tell." Mr Singh has been living in New Zealand for 19 years and working for five years as the vineyard manager at Park Estate Winery.

It is only Democracy when America says it is

For a country trying to bring ‘FreedomDemocracy (trademark pending)’ at the barral of an M-16 to the Middle East, you would think that America might actually want to respect democracy, but as we have seen countless times though out the 20th Century, it is only a democracy when the party America likes wins. If the people express their view in a way America doesn’t like, it isn’t a democracy.

Beyond the bullshit of ‘Hamas won’t recognize us so we have to bomb them’ lies the fact that because America and Israel dragged their feet with Fatah and left the Palestinian people to rot, they elected Hamas – instead of dealing with that and de-radicalize the Palestinian people through better living conditions, Israel and America have sort to punish the Palestinian people for their democratic decision and ferment a war between Hamas and Fatah.

There is a simple solution to all of this – ISRAEL HAS TO GET OUT OF THE WEST BANK! Real simple.

Life under Hamas a rough ride
A year ago, on a freezing, foggy night in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, party officials in the Palestinian election centre could not believe what they were hearing.
Hamas was on top. It was hard to tell who was more amazed - Hamas, or Fatah, the other big Palestinian faction. Hamas people had expected to do well. But their plan was to be the opposition, troublesome as well as loyal. They had not expected to win parliamentary elections to control the Palestinian Authority (PA). Fatah had not expected to lose. It took both of them months to recover from their January surprise. Hamas had not won an election to form a government, as the Palestinians do not have a state. The territory that they hope to make into one is under varying degrees of Israeli military occupation. A legacy of the now defunct peace process of the 1990s is that Israel allows Palestinians to administer some aspects of their lives, like the education system, hospitals and basic policing. Within the limitations of what was possible, Palestinians voted for Hamas because they were sick of years of corruption and mismanagement by Fatah, and because they believed Fatah's approach to Israel was not working.

Democracy = Murder?

The dumb, frightened soldiers – many of whom only signed up for the military because of education scholarships – aren’t the only ones who should be put on trial for the murder of Iraqi’s, the men who put them there should also be prosecuted. I’m halfway through reading Bob Woodward’s ‘State of Denial’ - I had always assumed that there must be some type of wider conspiracy behind Iraq (and I’m not convinced yet that there isn’t some dark forces in Cheney’s office) – but it never occurred to me that Bush and his team of American’s are actually incredibly stupid and have blindly stomped all over the Middle East in an ignorance that borders on criminal negligence. I’ll write more after I’ve finished the book, but my God it is an amazing insight into the preparations for the invasion of Iraq.

US soldier jailed for Iraq deaths
A US soldier has been jailed for 18 years for his part in the murder of three Iraqi detainees in May of 2006.
Pfc Corey Clagett, 22, who is the third soldier to plead guilty in connection with the case, made the plea in a deal with military prosecutors. The soldiers originally claimed they had killed three men trying to escape. A fourth soldier from the 101st Airborne Division, squad leader Staff Sgt Raymond Girouard, is due to face court-martial in the coming months. Under the deal, Clagett admitted charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He admitted to killing one of the victims and participating in the murder of the other two. Earlier this month another member of the group, Spc William Hunsaker, was jailed for 18 years after pleading guilty to murder. Another soldier has admitted aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon and was jailed for nine months.

A real Australian

You should have seen John Howard’s face go white right after the man he had just named ‘Australian of the year’ launched into an attack on John Howard – it was hilarious!

Flannery's criticism
The new Australian of the Year has used his first day in the role to argue the Howard Government has been 'dragging the chain' on climate change. Professor Tim Flannery says in the past Australia has been 'the worst of the worst' on the issue. He says by not signing the Kyoto protocol, the Government has held back the rest of the world. The Prime Minister says he's not embarrassed by the criticism and remains un-convinced about the need to sign onto current international agreements. Despite the criticism, Professor Flannery has given Mr Howard's $10 billion plan to protect Australia's water supply the thumbs up. But he says it's only a small part of dealing with the environment. The Australian of the Year has urged caution on greater agricultural development in the north.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Give War A Chance!

All Bush had with his State of the Union address was, 'Please give War a chance' - that was the best he could come up with? "I have a dream, please give war a chance". The man seems trapped by his Iraq decision and he can't back down, his plea to just give this surge a chance seems to be further proof that Bush really just doesn't get it yet does he?

US Senate panel rejects Iraq plan
A US Senate committee has rejected President Bush's plan to send extra troops to Iraq, passing the measure to the full Senate for a vote next week. The Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee dismissed Mr Bush's policy as "not in the national interest" in a 12-9 vote. It comes a day after the president gave his State of the Union address asking Congress to give it "a chance to work". The vote is non-binding, but supporters hope it may lead Mr Bush to reconsider. The resolution opposes Mr Bush's plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq, the majority of them to violence-hit Baghdad, in an effort to improve security and end sectarian clashes. An advance guard of 3,200 troops arrived in Baghdad on Sunday.

'The grinder'
The resolution was proposed earlier this month by three leading senators who said the plan was not in US interests, urging an early transfer of security to Iraqi leaders.The three senators were Democrats Joseph Biden and Carl Levin, and Republican Chuck Hagel, a long-standing critic of the war. "We better be damn sure we know what we're doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder," said Senator Hagel, the only Republican to support the resolution.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The ends justify the mean

The problem when you adopt ends justify the means politics is that at some point you get found out. The lesson to learn from the recent examination of dirty British tactics used to fight counter insurgency programs against the IRA reminds us that there are no winners when conflict becomes the norm and becoming involved in such violence will always compromise your moral authority. Dialogue, not military action is still the best way to work through issues, something President Bush refuses to acknowledge.

Northern Irish police colluded with killers - report
BELFAST - Top officers in Northern Ireland's police force allowed Protestant paramilitary informers to carry out murders for more than a decade, a report by the British-ruled province's police ombudsman said today. The report comes as nationalist party Sinn Fein prepares for a Jan. 28 conference to decide whether to back a reformed policing and justice system -- a key condition for restoration of a Protestant-Catholic power-sharing assembly. The three-year inquiry found that Special Branch officers turned a blind eye to the criminal activities of a unit of the outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in order to protect "agents" within its ranks. Between 1991 and 2003 members of the Belfast-based UVF gang killed 10 people, including a Presbyterian minister and a Roman Catholic taxi driver, and were linked to a catalogue of other crimes including shootings, drug dealing and extortion. At the same time police officers paid retainers to those suspected of the crimes, "babysat" them in interviews to ensure they did not incriminate themselves and destroyed evidence. "It would be easy to blame the junior officers' conduct," Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan said in a statement. "However, they could not have operated as they did without the knowledge and support at the highest levels of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)."

The PSNI replaced the RUC in 2001 as part of policing reforms under a 1998 peace deal to end 30 years of bloodshed between majority Protestants who want to retain links with Britain and a Catholic minority in favour of a united Ireland. The Protestant-dominated force was dogged by allegations of collusion with paramilitaries throughout the conflict, accusations that have been highlighted in several previous reports and that extended to the British security service, MI5. O'Loan has sent a file to PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde naming senior Special Branch officers and their UVF informers but prosecutors have indicated charges will not be brought. Missing documents had prevented officers being held to account, according to the report which began as an inquiry into the 1997 murder of 22-year-old Protestant Raymond McCord. PSNI chief Orde, who took up his post in mid-2002, said the report made "shocking, disturbing and uncomfortable reading" and apologised to the families of those affected. Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said the findings were of "the utmost gravity" and that he would be discussing them further with British counterpart Tony Blair. A spokesman for Blair said the events were a matter for profound regret "and the prime minister shares that regret".

Parole board still has questions to answer

How was Burton released from segregation straight out into the public? How can a man who has been deep within prison culture really succeed on the outside? Why wasn’t there a process to de-institutionalize this guy? Are we really surprised that this tragedy occurred? The Parole board still has some answers to give the public, especially those victimised by Burton.

Burton 'not stable' before parole
A former worker at Rimutaka Prison has revealed Burton was regarded as unstable and potentially violent a month before he was granted parole. Andy Coward, who has a PhD in cognitive psychology, was working in the segregation unit at Rimutaka Prison when Burton was transferred there about May last year. The parole board decided to release Burton in March pending a psychological assessment. He was granted parole in June and released on July 10. Dr Coward has worked in prison systems for 20 years across four continents and dealt with Burton for a fortnight. "If he [Burton] was suitable for parole, surely he would have been in a lower risk unit. You don't put him in a high security unit if he's going to be released. That doesn't make any sense whatsoever," Dr Coward said. "I couldn't believe they let him out. He clearly wasn't stable." Dr Coward said he had no issues with Burton and "consequently never saw the worst of him". "I never saw him strike anyone, but I saw him lose his temper a few times. He certainly had a potential for violence."

The Corrections Department would not comment on why Burton was transferred nor whether he remained there until his release. The department has generally refused to comment on Burton until its internal review of the case is completed. President of the Howard League for Penal Reform Peter Williams, QC, questioned whether an inmate in the segregation unit would be ready for release. "I would have thought he'd go through a period of lessened security in prison and that would continue - though it's not always practical - outside the prison so the adjustment to society is not abrupt, but gradual," Mr Williams said. "If a person is regarded as being so difficult that he needs to be segregated in prison, one would think it would be unlikely that he would immediately adjust."

Of course Burton’s offending will force focus on another little treasure, Bailey Junior Kurariki. I remember arguing at the time of his conviction that he should never have been put inside a prison and that he was guilty of a trial by media. 12 year olds shouldn’t be put in prison, he will become a little monster from his experiences inside and all those who cried for his incarceration will immediately jump on his next crime with as much passion, refusing to see how putting him inside in the first place will connect with his offending behaviour now. I bet most people aren’t even aware that Kurariki never even hit Michael Choy.

Child killer's parole hearing not going ahead today
The parole hearing for New Zealand's youngest killer is not going ahead today. Bailey Junior Kurariki, who was 12 when he and five other young people killed south Auckland pizza delivery man Michael Choy in September 2001, was expected to come before the parole board today. But parole board spokeswoman Sonja de Friez said the board would not be hearing Kurariki's application for release just yet.

Who is behind Fiji Coup

The Australian former Police Commissioner in Fiji has always said that he believes there is a power behind Bainimarama helping fuel this coup. Bainimarama is the perfect tool for such a coup, a former guardian of Fiji who wouldn’t support the last coup because he understood the economic implications of the first Fijian Coup, the ‘incorruptible’ Bainimarama now finds himself the patron of a coup, all the time threatening to snuggle up over aid to an ever expansive China who has been aggressively pursuing influence throughout Africa and now in the Pacific. Reflecting on China’s past human rights history it is not difficult to see China supporting a coup to challenge NZ and Australia’s own influence in the Pacific, it is a fascinating issue.

Clark stance over Fiji troops 'weak'
The Government is refusing to criticise a United Nations decision to enlist more Fijian soldiers in Iraq, despite having urged it to stop using them following the coup. The stance of both has annoyed National foreign affairs spokesman Murray McCully, who describes the UN decision as "unacceptable and unprincipled" and Helen Clark's as a "substantial backdown". He said Helen Clark, who defended the UN by saying it was struggling to recruit peacekeepers, had made a weak response.

Hardly a vote of confidence – New US General refuses to promise success

Could Lt. Gen. David Petraeus sound any more upbeat? The 21 000 troops can’t do what the ‘surge’ hopes to do and Bush’s claim of 20 000 + troops may start climbing. Right wing think tankers want 50 000 troops. This from ABC News

New U.S. Commander in Iraq Refuses to Promise Success
President Bush's pick as the new top commander on the ground in Iraq today offered a dour assessment of the war, calling the situation dire and making no promises of success. Lt. Gen. David Petraeus told senators in his first appearance in a Capitol Hill hearing since being nominated as the four-star commander in Iraq that factional violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq has increased significantly since the bombing this past February of the Al-Askari mosque in Samarra, the third-holiest Shiite shrine. "The escalation of violence in 2006 undermined the coalition strategy and raised the prospect of a failed Iraqi state, an outcome that would be in no group's interest, save that of certain extremist organizations and perhaps states in the region that wish Iraq and the [United] States ill," Petraeus told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "In truth, no one can predict the impact of a failed Iraq on regional stability, the international economy, the global war on terror, America's standing in the world and the lives of the Iraqi people," he said. "The situation in Iraq is dire. The stakes are high. There are no easy choices. The way ahead will be very hard."

Nevertheless, he added "hard is not hopeless."

Army Chief of Staff Defends General Who Called for More Troops Before War
ABC's Dean Norland reports: In the House Armed Services Committee hearing this morning, Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker said that history has demonstrated that then-Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki was correct when in February 2003, he suggested several hundred thousand troops would be needed to invade Iraq. When Shinseki called for several hundred thousand more troops, before the 2003 invasion, during testimony before the Congress, he was criticized by then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Former deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz at the time called Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark."

Social Welfare Blog justified

I think Social Welfare workers do a bloody hard job looking after the broken children our society seems to produce in such numbers. But with any department that has as much power as CYFs does, there has to be some type of system set up to appeal decisions and ultimately have complaints heard in front of an independent board, the fact that CYFs doesn’t even have such mechanisms in place explains the fury and anger some helplessly feel in the face of a such a bureaucratic monolith to set up their own name and shame blogsite. Indeed the attitude of the Gordon McFadyen goes some way to explain the lax attitude many accuse the department of having when he says, his office did not have the resources to investigate every complaint and exercised "discretion" about which ones to look into. "We tend to make a decision to look into matters where we have some common themes coming through - systemic things, rather than individual complaints," he said.

Social workers bid to close name-and-shame blogsite
The site, which gives the email address of another social worker and describes the personal appearance of several others in derogatory terms, has attracted a storm of protest from the Social Workers' Association, the Social Workers Registration Board and the Public Service Association. Ministry of Social Development chief executive Peter Hughes has instructed lawyers to "do whatever is necessary to get rid of this website".

Everybody needs good neighbours

Feel the love, Palestinians harassed by Jewish settler in Hebron cage

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours,
Just a friendly wave each morning, helps to make a better day.
Neighbours, need to get to know each other, next day is only a footstep away.

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours,
With a little understanding, you can find a perfect plan.
Neighbours, should be there for one another.
That's when good neighbours become good friends.

Neighbours, need to get to know each other, next door is only a foot step away.
Neighbours, every body needs good neighbours,
With a little understanding, you can find the perfect plan.
Neighbours, should be there for one another,

That's when good neighbours become good friends.
That's when good neighbours become good friends.

The Abu- Aisha family in Hebron has been suffering at the hands of their neighbors from the nearby Jewish settler community of Tel-Rumeda for a along time now. A video filmed by 16-year-old Raja Abu Aisha and obtained by B’Tselem depicts a confrontation with a woman resident of the “Ramat Yishai” neighborhood in Tel-Rumeda. Members of the Abu Aisha family claimed that the quarrel was just one example of the suffering they endure on a daily basis.
Taiseer Abu- Aisha, 43, told Ynet that he had filed between 200 and 300 complaints in recent years, but police did nothing to stop the harassing. Abu-Aisha and his extended family live in a two-storey house. “The cage you see in the video is where we live. Not once do we open the door and not hear curse words or get stones and eggs thrown at us,” he said. “The latest fashion during this cold winter - the settlers spray us with cold water using a big fire hose located near the house.” Abu- Aisha said “hell” is not a strong enough word to describe what his family is going through. “To prevent confrontations with the settlers - we coordinate the time we leave the cage we live in with the settlers’ schedule,” he said. “We leave for work and school only after they do - and this results in tardiness.” According to Abu Aisha, during the Eid al-Adha holiday a week ago he was forced to obtain special permits for his family to visit his home. “My wife’s family has not visited us for the past five years because there are no permits and for fear of settler harassments,” he said. Every once in a while, like today, Civil Administration officials visit the Abu Aisha house to make certain that no strangers reside there with the family members. Recently they have been required to obtain permits to bring their sheep into the property. “The charity organizations wanted to give my father three sheep so he may raise them and earn a living, and we the Red Cross to coordinate their entrance (to the property),” he said. “This is how life is in hell.”


Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Is this for real? No one can speak out against the glorious leader, even on a T-shirt in Australia? I mean apart from anything else, saying George W Bush is the world's number one terrorist is a true statement isn't it?

Banning the flag (even if it has been hijacked as a symbol for racist thugs who last year at the Big Day Out saw gangs roaming the crowd making people pledge loyalty to the flag or they got bashed) - NEVER!
Banning T-shirt that suggests George W Bush is the number one terrorist - ALWAYS

Well I'm glad we were able to sort out what is to be censored and what can't be censored in Australia.

Flight ban for anti-Bush T-shirt
A passenger barred from a Qantas airlines flight for wearing a T-shirt depicting US President George Bush as a terrorist has threatened legal action.
Allen Jasson said he was sticking up for the principle of free speech by challenging the decision by the Australian flag carrier. Mr Jasson was stopped as he was about to board the flight from Melbourne to London last Friday. Qantas said the T-shirt had potential to offend other passengers. The T-shift features an image of President George W Bush, along with the slogan "World's Number One Terrorist".

The 55-year-old computer specialist, who lives in London, had encountered difficulties with the same T-shirt on an earlier Qantas flight in December. After clearing the international security checks at Melbourne Airport, he reportedly approached the gate manager to congratulate him on the company's new-found open-mindedness. At that point, Mr Jasson was ordered to remove the T-shirt after being told it was a security threat and an item which might cause offence to other passengers. He was offered the chance to board the flight wearing different clothing, but refused. "I am not prepared to go without the t-shirt. I might forfeit the fare, but I have made up my mind that I would rather stand up for the principle of free speech," he told Australian media. A Qantas spokesman defended the airline's decision, saying: "Whether made verbally or on a T-shirt, comments with the potential to offend other customers or threaten the security of a Qantas group aircraft will not be tolerated".

Oi, Iran - leave your blogs alone

There are many things that are screwed up about Iran’s human rights, but at a time when the internet could start educating an on-line generation and allow THEM to define who they are as Muslims in the 21st Century, Iran goes and demands all blogs become registered with a new law. If it’s good enough for the President to have a blog, it’s good enough for the people to have a blog. Forcing your citizens to register their blogs is the sort of trick America would do, you don’t want people to think your country is like America now do you Iran?

Iranian bloggers on web restrictions
Iranian bloggers have reacted with anger and scorn to a new law requiring them to register their websites and blogsites with the authorities. It is being seen as the latest attempt by the Iranian government to control the media.

Um, about the whole surge plan thing

25 US soldiers went home in body bags yesterday, and today sees 100 Iraqi’s dead as more car bombs light up Baghdad, I don’t wish to rain on My President Bush’s parade, but every day that goes by sees you lose a little bit more of Iraq – Mr Bush this isn’t working and putting 20 000+ troops into harms way isn’t going to make things any better.

Scores die in Iraq bomb attacks
At least 100 people have been killed in two separate attacks on busy street markets in Baghdad and Baquba.
Eighty-eight people died and 160 were injured in a double car bombing at a second-hand clothes market in Baghdad, the worst such attack this year. A further 12 died in a bomb and mortar attack in the nearby city of Baquba. The attacks came as the first of over 21,000 extra US troops ordered by US President George W Bush arrived in Baghdad on a mission to boost security. The 3,200 troops sent to Baghdad are the advance guard of a 21,500-strong deployment ordered by the president this month.

Oh and just to make matters worse, it doesn’t look like the people of Iraq believe in your brand of Freedom Democracy (trademark pending) either Mr Bush.

Warnings of Iraq refugee crisis
Aid workers have warned of a growing crisis for refugees who have fled Iraq.
A humanitarian spokesman told the BBC that neighbouring countries where most Iraqis have fled to are closing their doors "one by one" to Iraqis. About 2m Iraqis live in increasingly difficult conditions in countries like Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. The rest of the world has almost completely ignored the problem and the crisis is coming to a head, spokesman Kasaram Mufarah said. "Most of the borders of the neighbouring countries of Iraq are very difficult to pass," Mr Kasaram, who co-ordinates the work of aid agencies in Iraq, said. "And the western countries are becoming more and more difficult, so it seems that the doors are closing one by one around the world on the face of Iraqis."

In Syria: <1,000,000
In Jordan: <700,000
In Egypt: 20,000-80,000 (estimate)
In Lebanon: <40,000
Internally displaced: 1,700,000
Source: UNHCR

Oh – and don’t you love the American’s have only taken in 400 Iraqi refugees. Isn’t that funny, bomb a country, start off a sectarian war and then not take in the refugees.

The home of the brave, land of the free.

China must be pressured on Darfur now

Seeing as the only major power to trade with Sudan is China, pressure must be put on China to force Sudan to stop its genocidal behaviour in Darfur, and the only way to threaten a super power wannabe wanting global recognition above all else, is boycott the Olympics. The latest news that UN staff are being attacked in Darfur only makes the issue more serious. It must also be pointed out that the UNs outright denial over sexual abuse claims from some of their own staff only gives Sudan excuses to keep the UN out, the UN has to prosecute those claims to the fullness of the law so that they are not open to those claims by the Sudanese and the real issue at hand, the dreadful treatment of those in Darfur.

Darfur police 'assault UN staff'
The United Nations says five of its staff have been assaulted by police in Sudan's Darfur region.
The UN workers were among 20 aid workers and African Union peacekeepers arrested by Sudanese authorities after a raid on a party at the weekend. A statement from the UN said that some of their staff had suffered serious injuries and that it would protest officially to the Khartoum government. UN workers are providing vital aid in the conflict-hit region.

'Deeply concerned'
The Sudanese government has not intervened to protect Darfur's battered population from the brutal Janjaweed militia. But when aid workers, African Union peacekeepers and UN staff held a Friday night party in Nyala - Darfur's biggest town - it felt it had to step in. Sudanese police and security officers stormed the aid compound where the event was being held. According to the UN, the 20 arrested people were physically and verbally assaulted with some seriously injured and needing medical treatment. A report on Sudan's state-owned television said the UN and African Union workers had been detained for misconduct, comparing it to allegations of sexual abuse which face peacekeepers in southern Sudan.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Big Day Out bans Australian Flag?

You know things can’t be well in your society when your national flag becomes a rallying call for bigots, but then again this is Australia….

Big Day Out says it hasn't banned Australian flag
SYDNEY - The organisers of the Big Day Out rock festival say they have not banned the Australian flag at Sydney, but they do want concert-goers to leave it at home this Thursday.
News Ltd today reported that organisers of the Big Day Out at Homebush said they would confiscate any flag or bandanna featuring the national symbol at the gates. Event organiser Ken West was quoted as saying fans' behaviour last year in the wake of the Cronulla riots and the recent ethnic violence at the Australian Open tennis tournament had forced his hand.

"The Australian flag was being used as gang colours. It was racism disguised as patriotism and I'm not going to tolerate it," Mr West said.

Parolees less likely to commit offences?

No one wants to see violent people let back into society who will further harm others – but in our sensible sentencing clamor to throw out parole we should see what the other side of the story is first.

Parolees less likely to reoffend, says report
Offenders released on parole are less likely to reoffend and end up back in prison than those who are released without conditions, figures show, despite recent criticism of parole.
Concern about the parole system erupted after a spate of crimes allegedly committed by parolees this year, including the fatal shooting of Wainuiomata man Karl Kuchenbecker after Graeme Burton allegedly breached parole in December. The overall reimprisonment rate a year after release is 27.7 per cent of all inmates and the reconviction rate is 41.1 per cent, says the report. Of those released on parole, 22.6 per cent are reimprisoned within a year and 30.4 per cent are reconvicted. The recidivism rate two years after release from prison increased in both categories, but again those on parole were less likely to reoffend. Two years after release 39.2 per cent of all inmates were reimprisoned and 56.4 per cent reconvicted. Of those released on parole two years on, 32.3 per cent were reimprisoned and 43.8 per cent were reconvicted. Other trends reveal that reconviction rates decrease significantly as offenders age and that those convicted of dishonesty offences have the highest reconviction rates and sex offenders the lowest. Males are more likely to be reconvicted, Pacific people are less likely to reoffend and Maori more likely, the report says.

Truth never dies

Thanks to whoever posted this story of another innocent person killed protesting the injustice of Palestine, it is a story that truly grieves me and it comes on the heels of another brave journalist killed in Turkey, shot for speaking the truth. What is it with killing those who speak the truth, are those who lie so frightened?

Troops kill peace activist’s daughter
Israeli troops confronting protesters killed the 10-year old daughter of a Palestinian peace activist. Abir Aramin had joined a protest Tuesday against Israel’s security barrier in the West Bank town of Anata. She was hit in the head by a stun grenade used by troops trying to end the protest, and died Friday. Police are investigating the incident. Her father, Bassam Aramin, is a co-founder of Combatants for Peace, a group of Israelis and Palestinians who had confronted each other in the past but are now dedicated to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Turkish-Armenian writer shot dead
A prominent Turkish-Armenian editor, convicted in 2005 of insulting Turkish identity, has been shot dead outside his newspaper's office in Istanbul.
Crowds of Hrant Dink's colleagues and supporters gathered at the scene, chanting their outrage at his murder. Dink was given a six-month suspended sentence in October 2005 after writing about the Armenian "genocide" of 1915. The US, EU and Armenia have condemned his murder and Turkey's leaders vowed to bring those responsible to justice. "A bullet has been fired at democracy and freedom of expression," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a hastily convened news conference.

Climate Change IS HERE

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is a very conservative bunch of cats, they don’t like to spook the horses when it comes to climate change, but there is a sudden change. The data coming in is showing that global warming is happening much faster than the computer predictions ever though possible is forcing the IPCC to release a report next month (Feb 3) that will clearly state that things are going to get real bad, real soon. Here’s the rub though – this report is still being considered as incredibly conservative, it doesn’t seem to take into account extra emissions from places like Siberia and they have a very optimistic view point on the Ocean Conveyer currents.

The really worrying thing is that the oceans are heating up 3km under the surface, if the billions of tones of methane frozen on the ocean floor start to thaw and bubble up, that will be one of the last tipping points that will collapse the global climate.

Radical action is needed now.

Climate change: it's coming our way ...
Global warming will have a far more destructive and earlier impact than previously estimated.
A draft of the most authoritative report yet produced on climate change, the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, shows the frequency of devastating storms will increase dramatically. Sea levels will rise over the century by about half a metre; snow will disappear from all but the highest mountains; deserts will spread; oceans will become acidic, leading to the destruction of coral reefs and atolls; and deadly heatwaves will become more prevalent. The impact will be catastrophic, forcing hundreds of millions to flee their homelands, particularly in tropical, low-lying areas, while creating waves of immigrants whose movements will strain the economies of even the most affluent countries. The really chilling thing about the report is that it is the work of several thousand climate experts with widely differing views on how greenhouse gases will have their effect. Some think they will have a major impact, others a lesser. Each paragraph was therefore argued over and scrutinised intensely. Only points that were considered indisputable survived.

"This is a very conservative document. That's what makes it so scary," said one senior British climate expert.

The report will be released on February 2 in a set of global news conferences, but although the final wording is still being worked on, the draft indicates that scientists now have their clearest idea so far about future climate changes. It points out that:

* Twelve of the past 13 years were the warmest since records began.

* Ocean temperatures have risen at least 3km under the surface.

* Glaciers, snow cover and permafrost have decreased in both hemispheres.

* Sea levels are rising at the rate of almost 2mm a year.

* Cold days, nights and frost have become rarer while hot days, hot nights and heatwaves have become more frequent.

And the cause is clear, say the authors: "It is very likely that [man-made] greenhouse gas increases caused most of the average temperature increases since the mid-20th century." To date, these changes have caused global temperatures to rise by 0.6C. The most likely outcome of continuing rises in greenhouses gases will be to make the planet a further 3C hotter by 2100, although the report acknowledges that rises of 4.5C to 5C are possible. Melting icecaps, rising sea levels, floods, cyclones and storms will be an inevitable consequence. Past assessments by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change have suggested such scenarios are "likely" to occur this century. Its latest report, based on sophisticated computer models and more detailed observations of snow cover loss, sea level rises and the spread of deserts, is far more confident. Now the panel calls changes "extremely likely" and "almost certain". And in a specific rebuff to sceptics who still argue natural variation in the sun's output is the real cause of climate change, the panel says mankind's industrial emissions have had five times more effect on the climate than any fluctuations in solar radiation. We are the masters of our own destruction, in short. There is some comfort, however. The panel believes the Gulf Stream will go on bathing Britain with its warm waters for the next 100 years. Some researchers have said it could be disrupted by cold waters pouring off Greenland's melting ice sheets, plunging western Europe into a mini Ice Age. The report reflects scientists' growing fears that earth is nearing the stage when carbon dioxide rises will bring irreversible change.

"We are seeing vast sections of Antarctic ice disappearing at an alarming rate," said climate expert Chris Rapley from the Antarctic Peninsula last week. "That means we can expect to see sea levels rise at about a metre a century from now on, and that will have devastating consequences."

However, Peter Cox of Exeter University says there is still hope. "We are like alcoholics who have got as far as admitting there is a problem. It is a start. Now we have got to start drying out, which means reducing our carbon output."