Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another Stolen Generation or just plain common sense?

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10448242&pnum=0

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21977190-601,00.html and assorted links from this page.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/welfare-crusade-seen-as-a-land-grab/2007/06/26/1182623909300.html and other links.

This has been quite an interesting story, the first major intervention by the Australian government since the Stolen Generation days ended in 1969. (And let's not get too hung up on THAT example - we're talking about 10% of Aboriginal offspring according to some estimates (admittedly the lowest ones), all of them mixed-race rather than purely Aboriginal; but that is another debate for another time.)

Let's look at why this is all happening. Recently, a Federal government inquiry issued the Little Children are Sacred report. This was an analysis which compiled years of reports documenting sexual abuse and violence suffered by Aboriginal children throughout the Northern Territory into an account which all but forced Australian Prime Minister John Howard to announce last week that he would wrest control of remote communities from the Territory Government. (Remember that NT is NOT a state of Australia, but merely a territory; this gives the Federal government much more power to intervene than it would have in one of the six states.) Howard banned the sale of alcohol and pornography from within the affected area last week, and has now despatched members of the Australian Federal Police, supported by elements of the Australian Army, to remote parts of the Northern Territory to assess the extent of child sexual abuse and to restore law and order.

Some indigenous families, however, are reported to be fleeing their homes and taking refuge in the bush because of fears their children could be removed. According to Howard, “The whole object of the exercise is to help people, to protect people, to secure people, to reassure people ... It's got nothing to do with the election, it's got nothing to do with politics, it's got everything to do with caring for indigenous children and I don't really care what other people say about our motives, our motives are correct”. Various white professional-class liberals who should know better have been generating all kinds of scaremongering accusations, abetting the conspiracy theories of a small number of Aboriginals who believe that the Australian government want to steal their children and their desert. 90 welfare and indigenous organisations released a statement attacking the Howard Government's plan as a smokescreen to hide a land grab. Pat Turner, a former head of the now-defunct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, warned that "We believe that this Government is using child sexual abuse as the Trojan horse to resume total control of our lands."

However, the Australian Health Minister, Tony Abbott, has assured Aboriginal parents in NT that children will neither be forcibly removed nor subjected to medical testing without their permission. "The health checks for children are just part of helping make these communities safe and to have better lives in a civil society," he told The Australian. The penalty for non-involvement would be similar to refusal to participate in child immunisation - a modest reduction of welfare payments.
One of the settlements being targetted is that of Mutitjulu, near Ayers Rock / Uluru. Community leader Bob Randall said the townspeople would welcome anybody who will make things better, seemingly concurring with the comments of Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough, who defended the government's drastic action by telling the Ten Network: "Tonight, tomorrow night, and the next night, kids could look forward to more hell. Well now we hope we can break that cycle ... Yes we know this is far reaching and interventionist -- but nothing else has worked till now."

On the other side of the rabbit-proof fence, Harry Wilson, a local resident, proclaims that this is another Tampa-like electioneering stunt, saying that this was "black children overboard … this Government is using these kids to win the election". His words echoed a joke drily recounted earlier to the Herald by one local official that the Prime Minister, John Howard, the magician politician, has pulled a rabbit out of his hat. "Only it is a black rabbit." Some locals question how much this action is to do with alleged abuses and problems - some of which they recognise, though they say they are now in the past - and how much relates to their proximity to the huge rock representing some of the richest tourist geology on the planet. "That bloody rock," observes one old woman, is the problem. Every day, to enter or leave their community, the people of Mutitjulu pass the parading silhouettes of the minga - literally ants but colloquially tourists - filing up and down Uluru. Pointing towards Uluru, Wilson asks: "As one of the poorest people living in one of the richest places in Australia - why is this community relying on government handouts?"

Meanwhile, at Cape York Institute's Strong Foundations conference, visiting academics and local figures have also been throwing their two cents worth into the mix. Leading US civil rights campaginer, Michael Myers of the NY Civil Rights Commission, has advised Aborigines to abandon their land and assimilate into the mainstream to escape their impoverished conditions. He said that indigenous cultures were an antiquated concept and Aborigines needed to move away from the land if they were to improve their lives. "People have to move out of their ghettoised attitudes, get away from the idea that people belong in certain lands." Mr Meyers said white Australians were threatening towards Aborigines and race relations were at least half a century behind the US. "It's like Australia is in the 50s compared to America," he said. "I've noticed that there is reticence and fear on the part of indigenous people in how they interact with white Australians. There is also an arrogance and intimidation on the part of white Australians towards indigenous people. There is very little opportunity for genuine interaction… I find it profoundly disturbing that we are still living in a world that we still think of people as indigenous."

Ken Henry, Secretary of the Treasury, blames decades of misguided government welfare schemes for consigning many Australians, especially Aborigines, “to a life of economic and social exclusion.” He said that the welfare system had discouraged recipients from seeking work that could lift them out of poverty. He suggested the creation of a system that encouraged people to leave home to find work if there were no opportunities in their community. Dr Henry said a couple with three young children could access about $36,500 a year in income support payments and family tax benefit without working. "The level of income support can discourage people from entering the workforce. The higher the base income support payment, the less likely it is that a person will enter or re-enter work after they become unemployed." He added that passive welfare had done little to encourage people, particularly young people, to embrace education. Achieving better results, he said, meant ensuring Australia had a welfare system that rewarded work and study above a life of "passivity and dependence".

Australia's opposition leader Mr Kevin Rudd said an important part of Labor’s Pearson reform plan for welfare was ensuring indigenous children attended school. This involved establishing a Family Responsibilities Commission, whose membership included local community elders and had the power to warn parents who were not sending their children to school. If that warning was ignored, it could "redirect" welfare payments to the person who was actually caring for the children.

Much of this seems to have been inspired by the comments of US poverty expert Lawrence Mead, head of politics at New York University, who told the conference yesterday that the welfare policies of the 1960s and 70s in the US had led to an increase in crime, a breakdown of families and made sections of society dependent on the dole. A reversal of these policies in the 1990s, the enforcement of existing laws and the restoration of the family had been the best way to tackle long-term poverty, he said.

Mr Mead said that "You need explicit policies to enforce work and restore the family. Dependency happens when parents do two things - first, have children outside of marriage, and second, when the men decline to support the family by working regularly. In America, research has shown it was not lack of jobs or childcare that kept people out of the workforce, but that welfare itself discouraged people from working. That's one reason why welfare and other societal problems such as crime all got much worse in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the 1980s, law enforcement has improved, and we've seen a recovery of order in American cities."

Professor Mead also said the best way to end welfare dependence was to let poor people know they were required to work. He claimed that the main reason long-term unemployment fell in the US was because people were told it was no longer acceptable to live on welfare. Mead's comments were echoed by the Young Australian of the Year, Tania Major, who said passive welfare, violence and government inaction had so ravaged indigenous communities on Cape York they were on the verge of collapse. Ms Major said sexual abuse, violence and alcoholism was now endemic on Cape York, and many communities would not recover unless they restored respect for their elders and improved educational opportunities. "We need positive social norms, which do not tolerate excessive drinking, which assume school attendance is compulsory, which condemn sexual and any other form of abuse," she said. Young people on the Cape grew up without educational or employment opportunities, were reliant on welfare and lived in communities that gave little hope. "The idea that Aboriginal people will die prematurely from diabetes and other preventable diseases, the idea that suicide is just a part of everyday living, the idea that excessive drinking is normal and necessary to prove one's blackness - these are the ideas that now underpin the identity of too many young indigenous people," Ms Major said.

Personally, my views are simple. The less government intervention in people's lives, the better. BUT if those people are dependent upon the government, and accepting welfare payments which are earned by the sweat on the brow of the honest hard working average citizens, then there should be some requirement that they do something for it. Nothing comes for free. If you take money from the government, then that same government is perfectly within its rights to investigate how it is being used. Remember, this thing isn't JUST about health checks on children. The Federal Government has put a six month ban on alcohol and pornography in place in the affected areas as well. And just as well. If these people have enough money to spend on grog and porn then they are obviously being 'paid' too much by the state.

Oh, and don't throw this whole 'cultural practice' thing at me. Cannibalism used to be a cultural practice just about everywhere in the world, but now its a crime and you can't do it. Full stop. I'm sure in some cultures, and not just in the Appalachians, it was once a cultural norm to ensure that your daughter or sister didn't go to her wedding bed without being 'broken in', but we're past that now too. It was once 'cultural' to hang or burn people that believed something a little different from you, or happened to be pretty hand with herbal remedies. Cultures are only alive if they move on and stay in touch with modern changes - otherwise they are dead, and therefore worthless.

I'll be watching developments with some interest.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

16 years old: can't choose food, can choose government

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10447064

With apologies to the late Johnny Cash (RIP), but no apologies to Ms Bradford - why does God only take the good ones?

A Karl Goddard original, "Sue"

She's got a mental age of somewhere round three
And she seems to have fallen out of her tree
'Cause she crazier than anyone I ever knew.
Now, I don't blame her 'cause she's raving mad
I just wish she got the help that she could have had
Before the Greens went and hand picked dear old "Sue."

Well, she must of thought it was quite a joke
As she got the doobie and took-another toke,
That she could be in Parliament before the year was through.
And October came, and we went out to vote
And I don't recall, but I didn't note
That anyone even voted for the MP named "Sue."

Well, it was Helengrad in mid-July
And we couldn't hit our kids and make them cry,
Because of Bradford's law that was still new.
And I guess she missed, seeing her name
On the front pages, so she had to claim
That yet another bill was being drafted by "Sue."

She thought to herself "When I was 16,
Back before I even heard of the Greens,
Back in the days when Social Credit was new,
And I was out of piss, and I was out of weed
And I couldn't smoke but I sure could breed
Well, voting would have been real cool to do.

"So if 16 year olds had an education,
Then surely they could run this nation
And couldn't do much worse than those who do."
But that was then, and this is now,
And 16 year olds can't even choose their chow
But she'll get them the vote, sure as her name's "Sue".

And I wish that I lived in Wellington
And had me a real nice shiny gun,
So I could practice 'til I always hit bulls-eye.
And I'd wait outside with some aggression,
Until she left a Parli-ment'ry session
And I'd say: "Your name is 'Sue!' How do you do! Now you're gonna die!!"

Cause I'm getting sick of all Parliament's shit
With un-elected MPs running it
And trying to tell the rest of us just what to do.
And I can tell you, if she were to die,
I'd laugh so much I'd start to cry
And thank the Lord that He saved us all from "Sue.'"

But don't despair, ladies and gents,
For this country of ours ain't quite yet spent,
There's an election next year, in case you never knew.
And if we're really smart, and we're really wise
And we just vote for all the right wing guys
Then the Greens will be out and we won't have to worry 'bout "Sue".

And she can crawl back into the hole she came from, too.



Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Sue Bradford? To reiterate - I'm in a locked room, with a revolver, six bullets, Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Fidel Castro, and Sue Bradford; who do I shoot? That's right. Sue Bradford, six times. Then I'll probably club her head in just to make sure.

Seriously though, as much as I hate democracy, I've got to admit that Sue Bradford, just by being in Parliament, helps my cause more every day than a highly trained force of 500 paramiltaries could ever hope to help by staging a coup and inviting me to be the 'interim' leader. The more she opens her mouth, the more our people will realise that NZ democracy is not only a crock, it's also anti-democratic. Any system of government which has people within it who have not been directly elected by the people is, by its very nature, not a democracy. If we are going to harp on about the 'virtues' of democracy, maybe we should actually have one first? Otherwise, lets all just install me as the head of a totalitarian state and I can tell you what to do, instead of us letting Sue do it all the time. At the risk of sounding big headed, I could hardly do any worse!

16 years old! From my recollection of being a 16 year old, I can tell you who I'd have voted for. Katherine Rich, every time. Not because she's in National. No. Because that fox is a real honey-pot!

Case closed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bush is best in Albania

Don't you love Albania?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/11/world/europe/11prexy.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

George Bush certainly does. This may be the only country in the world where George 'Dubya' Bush’s popularity is higher than Bill Clinton was at college. They have a 21 gun salute for him, crowds gather dressed in big tall Uncle Sam hats, and waving American flags, chanting “BOOSH-Y! BOOSH-Y!”, and turning the presidential visit into “a virtual mosh pit” according to the New York Times. Hands grabbing for him, women kissing him, men trying to kiss him - Bush is a rock star! Did I mention that this country has a Muslim majority?

Why is he so popular here?

Mainly, Bush wants what Albania wants - an independent Kosovo. The Russians and Serbs et al oppose this, but the UN is considering an independence plan and Bush thinks it is a good idea (and so do I, by the way). Oh yeah, that reminds me:

Several days ago - Bush: “At some point in time, sooner rather than later, you’ve got to say, ‘Enough is enough — Kosovo is independent,’ ”

Saturday, Bush: “In terms of a deadline, there needs to be one. It needs to happen.”

Sunday, Bush: “First of all, I don’t think I called for a deadline,”

The press remind him of what he said the previous day.

Bush: “I did? What exactly did I say? I said deadline? O.K., yes, then I meant what I said.”

The reporters laugh.


Here’s another reason, according to the NYTimes - “This largely Muslim country, population 3.6 million, is just the kind of nation Mr. Bush likes best: a nascent democracy whose history includes a dramatic break with totalitarian rule.”


Albania has THREE postage stamps featuring Bush (more than the USA, I believe), and the street in front of Parliament has been named after him.

Oh, and here’s why Bush REALLY loves Albania:

“U.S.A. have the right and responsibility for all the world to protect the freedom,” said Ilir Lam├že, 37, a financial analyst who was among those waiting for Mr. Bush, using English to express the views of many. “This is the right war.”

Sami Berisha, who drove seven hours from Kosovo to see Mr. Bush, said he could not understand anyone who would take part in a protest against the president. “I think these are crazy people,” said Mr. Berisha… “because democracy begins in America.”

Sadly, there are no direct flights between Auckland and Tirana - so I guess I won’t be going to God’s Other Country just yet …

Should suicide be encouraged in prisons?

"Let mass murderer take his life: euthanasia advocate"
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10444869
(NZH Monday June 11)

Martin Bryant is in the news again; this is the guy who supposedly killed 35 people in Port Arthur, Tasmania, back in 1995 - although check out this theory by that fantastic conspiracy magazine Nexus, which I regularly read and occasionally adhere to:

http://www.nexusmagazine.com/articles/MartinBryant1.html.

Apparently he’s attempted suicide five times since he’s been imprisoned - fair enough, he’s never going to get out of prison so what does he have to live for?

Leading euthanasia spokesperson Dr Philip Nitschke reckons Bryant should just be allowed to go for it and top himself - and I agree with the guy.

Actually, I think anyone weak, selfish or stupid enough to kill themselves should be allowed to do it. What says ‘Loser’ any worse than failing after an overdose, or not quite hanging yourself correctly? Its not like there’s a shortage of people on the planet.

In fact, I’d go a step further than this. Repeat offenders in prison for serious crimes (murder, aggravated assault, rape etc) should be ENCOURAGED to top themselves - think of how much money the state would save in prison accommodation, not to mention further trials etc when they eventually get out and then break the law again. I mean, rehabilitation doesn’t seem to work for most of our inmates - because they have it so much easier on the inside, so of course they can’t wait to get back in! All you need is for someone to go into their cell and say “look, mate, there’s no Sky TV anymore, no internet, you have to pay to use the gym or get a degree by correspondence, you’ll be eating porridge for the next five years and big Bubba over here will be sharing your cell. On the other hand, here’s a nice shiny pill which will get you out of it all. By the way, your wife has found out about your pen-pal “girlfriend” and they’re both pretty pissed off.” Easy peasy lemon squeezy. (Ah, remember the old days when you could say ‘Japanesey’ and it wasn’t racist?)

I wish I was Minister of Prisons …

Monday, June 11, 2007

Anderton no closer to retirement ...

"Anderton in no hurry to join exodus" (NZH)

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10444779
(New Zealand Herald, Monday June 11)

Jim “I’m so cool I had a party named after me” Anderton, who turns 70 in six months time, seems likely to stay in Parliament for at least another term yet. The former Labour Party President, who entered Parliament as a Labour MP in 1984 for Sydenham and has retained the now renamed seat of Wigram since then, is a dead cert for another term if he chooses to run again. This man is a legend. Okay, he’s awfully left wing but that doesn’t mean you can’t like the bloke. He has more class than a secondary school. So far he has belonged to five political parties - Labour, New Labour, the Alliance, Jim Anderton’s Progressive Coalition, and now the Progressive Party. What other NZ politician can you name who has had a political party named after himself? Even Winston Peters has to make do with the NZ First Party, as the Winston First Party was not well received.

I have a great affinity for Jim. Again, leave aside the whole left wing thing and hear me out. He’s a qualified teacher, like I am. He’s a Catholic, as I am. (Well, I’m more of a Unitarian Universalist these days but I’m banking on the baptism and First Communion to get me through if I’m wrong about other things.) He was born in Auckland, just like me. He loves cricket, ditto, and Canterbury, ditto. Plus we both know my father - Dad ran for Parliament in 1990 on the New Labour ticket and Jim and his wife Carole came over to our place in Rotorua for dinner one night several weeks before the election.

I have one question for Jim Anderton.

Why not just accept the fact that you are part of the Labour Party again and get rid of this one-man party you have?

Of course, you get a tonne more money for being a party leader in Parliament than for just being a party member, but Jim has never been about the money.

Let’s face it, Labour has re-branded itself back to somewhere near the left-centre position it used to hold, and Jim has never been that far left of centre himself, apart from on monetarist policy. There is not a lot of difference between the two parties, and Jim seems pretty comfortable in Cabinet - he was even Deputy Prime Minister for a while there, and currently holds a number of portfolios.

So, come on Jim - by all means, stay in Parliament another few terms (although, are there ANY other MPs in today’s Parliament who were born BEFORE WWII broke out?). But do the voters and taxpayers a favour by calling it a day on the minor party (which has never polled above 2% and only ever gets any support when Jim puts his name in front of it) and going back to your spiritual home - even if it is the dwelling place of the devil.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Greens: "Cut power prices to aid poor" - Yeah Right!

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10443640

I don't know why I continue to be surprised by what the Green Party says. They have moved so far away from their traditional roots that they might as well change their name - although no one will vote for the 'Lazy Bums on Welfare' Party.
Cheap power means more power will be used - this will mean that more power needs to be generated - which means the Huntly coal station will be needed - which will pump more CO2 into the air - which is bad. So we give the poor cheap power, or else the Greens will complain; then the Greens complain about the pollution caused by this.
I'm unclear as to whether The Green Party knows what it wants.

The article starts by suggesting "an electricity pricing scheme... so families on tight budgets can afford basic power needs."

Three paragraphs later, it describes "a progressive pricing scheme would give every household a basic block of power units at a low cost each month.
Progressively higher prices could be charged for subsequent blocks of units".

I'm all for the second idea - for ALL households. As a middle class NZer I am extremely sick and exceedingly tired of being expected to pay more and more so that others can become more and more dependent. Why SHOULD I have to pay for someone else's power? So they can play PS3 all day while I'm working? How pathetic.

According to Jeanette 'I've been cooped up in an office with Sue Bradford for so long that I've forgotten what I really stand for' Fitzsimons, "This is a way of making sure households can afford the energy they need to cover their basic needs, but pay more for luxuries or wastage. So if you're using electricity to heat spa pools or have an enormous house with every room heated, or leave lights on all night, then you pay a higher price for that power." That makes sense. Perfect sense. She goes on to explain that "progressive pricing would help people on budgets, such as pensioners, because they could better manage their power use, reducing it when nearing the limit. She said the main cost increase for a large household was in water heating, which could be mitigated by measures such as having children share bath water." Okay, getting close to unhealthy touching issues in later life here but we can ignore that.

The problem I foresee is this - we have a lot of 'poor' families at the school at which I work. I can tell that this is the case because of the number of kids that can't afford to pay their school donation (but it isn't compulsary so it doesn't matter), or to buy a uniform (but we have a 'special fund' to pay for those kids), or to buy school shoes (but we have free shoes for those who can't afford them) or stationary (but we have free stationary for them as well). Many, not all, but many of these kids CAN afford to buy lunch every other day (when I was a kid we bought lunch once a year - on our birthday - and boy did it suck if your birthday was on a weekend!), and wear designer clothing (in violation of the uniform code, for not wearing the uniform they could not afford), and have flash cell phones and MP3 players which shouldn't be at school anyway. Many, not all, but many talk about watching things on Sky, which I can't afford, and playing games on PS3, which I can't afford. Many, not all, but many need to be reminded to turn lights and other appliances off when they leave the classroom. You see Jeanette, this progressive pricing scheme would be great for me, because I try to conserve power. A lot of these families use a hell of a lot more power than you think they do - so this is actually counter productive.

It's okay, go and sit in the nice green room and listen to the tui birdsong you have on CD until you are calm. Just try not to think about how much power the CD player may be using.

Let's face it, the Green MPs need to leave their comfy Beehive chairs, look out over their six-figure salaries and realise that middle NZ is not as rich as they are.
Here's a new idea - why doesn't the Green Party pay for the power bills of the poor. It can come out of their membership dues.

That way, we'll either get rid of the problem of power bills for the poor - or we'll get rid of the Green Party.

Talk about win-win.

Definitely not "Black" power

The sad Muliaga saga goes from bad to worse.

If you've just crawled out from under a rock and missed it, in May (2007) Mercury Energy sent a contractor to cut the power at the Auckland home of Folole Muliaga, a mother of four, after her family fell $168.40 behind in its bill payments. Without power, an electric pump supplying Muliaga's oxygen stopped; she died shortly afterwards.

Now the family spokesperson, Brenden 'oh why was I cursed with a white skin?' Sheehan is accusing the police of racism because they had the nerve to interview the family in English!

What????

How long have these people been in NZ?

As far as I'm aware, the only foreigners allowed in NZ without passing an English test are those with more than five million dollars to invest in the country - and if the Muliaga's were in this category, I REALLY hope their investment advisor has found another calling.

According to the article (http://www.infonews.co.nz/news.cfm?l=3&t=0&id=2313) the family have been here six years. Well, I think about it like this - in NZ, you can start learning a language in Year 9, and sit Level 3 NCEA in that language in Year 13, by which time you are proficient in that language - after speaking it one hour a day, often less than five days a week, for five years of between 35-40 weeks each.

So the Muliaga family is either a) academically challenged, or b) lazy. If I went to live in France, I'd learn to speak French. If I moved to Germany, I'd learn German. Samoa, I'd learn to speak Samoan. And I'd hope that after two years of speaking French, or German, or Samoan non stop, that I'd be pretty fluent. My sister spent a year in Italy on an AFS exchange, and came back pretty fluent in Italian despite having known almost nothing before she went.

So Brenden, whose fault is it that they are not able to speak English? Probably the white middle class's fault - everything else seems to be. Maybe we need to make it compulsary for all the palagis to learn Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Tuvualuan - oh, not to mention Maori, of course.

Isn't this guy a union organiser or something? Seems to me that he knows an awful lot about stirring the pot anyway. Here's a great quote that sums it all up for us: "These people are victims. What hope has any brown person got if they are a suspect in a case in this country?" Notice the word 'brown'. HE is making this a racial issue. No one else is. Funny how the first person to use the race card is usually complaining about something.

Oh yeah, whatever happened to 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do?' If women from NZ go to Iran, they put on a head scarf - because that's what you do over there. They don't go to a Christian mass - because if you do that in Iran, you can be executed. So we respect other people's cultures in other people's countries. In Samoa, we'd respect Samoan tradition.

I just looked on a map. Yes, just as I thought. Samoa is NOT New Zealand. The Muliaga's were happy enough to move here for the better lifestyle opportunities and the higher pay. They have to accept some kind of trade off. Imagine the chef in some high priced restaurant who is told to make an omelette, but doesn't want to break any eggs to make it. How long will that chef keep his job?

Oh, and what was this about demanding that the police stop investigating the whole incident? There is DEFINITELY something else going on here.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Gunshop worker walks free - finally!!

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10444165

Our justice system makes no sense.

A guy walks into a gun shop brandishing a machete, and the guy behind the counter goes to court because he doesn’t let him steal the guns.

That’s what it comes down to.

Personally, I think ALL gun shop workers should be armed. They need an armed guard in a bullet proof booth at the front of the shop, who can pop out of the booth if and when bad guys come to rob the place.

Also, anyone who tries to rob a gun shop with a knife must have serious mental problems. It’s like turning up at a fencing tournament with a potato peeler.

The law needs to make it clear that if you choose to break the law, you are no longer covered by it. Ricky Beckham broke the law by choosing to attempt to rob the store. Greg Carvell did not break the law by taking reasonable precautions to protect the community.

This is not some dairy operator with a shotgun under the counter, pulling the weapon out and blasting the homies who are shoplifting his coke cans. Coke cans don’t kill people (unless thrown at extreme velocity or from an overbridge), so usually the theft of coke cans is not an endangerment to the community.

This is a gun store. They sell guns. And while we all know that guns don’t kill people (people with guns kill people, people without guns kill people, so no people = no people getting killed! It’s like the saying - aborted foetuses don’t kill people; Unaborted foetuses kill people!), guns in the wrong hands certainly lead to an increase in community endangerment. Here‘s a fantastic quote from the man himself about why he should be armed: "It can be a dangerous place, a gun shop. There are a lot of desirable things for undesirable people."

Give Greg Carvell a bravery medal for having the guts to shoot a criminal before he can kill his co-worker, not to mention he himself.

And give the cops the address of the nearest Black Power house and let them do something useful with their time rather than trying to prosecute good honest citizens.

Climate change, man-made or not - we still need to take action, and fast!!!

http://environment.independent.co.uk/climate_change/article2617440.ece

Apparently scientists are concerned that 300 glaciers in Antarctica have begun to move more quickly into the ocean. They believe that the accelerated movement of glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula (up 12% on previous years) reveals that rising temperatures are causing glaciers as far apart as Alaska, Greenland and now Antarctica to break up and slip into the ocean at a faster rate than expected. Sea levels are now predicted to rise between 20 and 43 cm over the rest of the century.

I'm not one to point the finger at key allies and the defenders of Western Civilisation, but US manufacturers really need to come to the party on this. However, there are some basic things that we can all do to promote climate change action.

Number one, get out of your cars and use public transport! Imagine it - a 50c per litre tax for personal and business use of motor vehicles, and a 50c per litre subsidy for buses. More buses, more often, more networked to the train ... um ... network.

Number two, boycott anything made in the USA and China.

Not that I have anything against the Americans or the Chinese people per se. Obviously their government is a heartless, godless, communist/capitalist hybrid and secretly I wish I were in charge. (Not to mention China! Just kidding Georgie - you know I'm your biggest fan.) The US is constantly attacked for its environmental record - and Bush is actually trying to do something (although it is nowhere near good enough yet). But according to their recent climate change plan, China's "first and overriding priority" is economic development.

Think about it. According to Greenpeace (which usually tends to inflate figures as a general rule but these happen to be the only figures available from non government sources) China is the world's biggest driver of rainforest destruction, by a long shot. China has the world's largest timber trade, but they are not encouraging sustainable logging - I have no problem with logging as long as you plant 6 trees for every five you cut down. But China's economic development seems to be sucking in more and more of the earth's natural resources, at a time when we are becoming more and more aware of their scarcity. Apparently (according to the International Tropical Timber Organisation) almost five out of every 10 tropical hardwood logs shipped from the world's threatened rainforests are now heading for China. China, heavily dependent upon coal generated power, is about to overtake the USA as the world's leading greenhouse gas emitter - es, and thus become the biggest contributors to global warming and the destabilisation of the climate. If they remain uncontrolled, the growth of China's carbon dioxide emissions over the next 20 years will dwarf any cuts in CO2 that the rest of the world can make.

Second, China already has 1.3 billion people, and an economic growth rate of 8% pa. If current increases continue, by 2031 China's population is likely to be 1.45 billion and the average income will be equivalent to that of the US today. China's grain consumption will be two-thirds of the current grain consumption for the entire world. By 2031, the Chinese will be consuming 99 million barrels a day - and the whole world is currently producing 84 million barrels a day. Twice as much paper as is being produced in the entire world today will be consumed by this future society, if current rates continue. If only every 2nd person has a car (and it is more likely to be closer to three out of every four), the Chinese will have a fleet of 800 million cars - this is how many there are currently in the entire world. To drive them all, they will need more roads - about the same area of land as they currently have planted with rice.

Already, five of the 10 most polluted cities worldwide are in China; acid rain is falling on one-third of the country; half of the water in its seven largest rivers is unusable for any purpose; a quarter of China's citizens lack access to clean drinking water; and one-third of the urban population is breathing polluted air. This will magnify exponentially in the next 25 years.

Now think about this - by 2031 China will have the world's second largest population. India will be larger - and we need to think about boycotting its industry as well, for similar reasons.

Quite frankly, the current Western industrialised model just will not work if the entire world does it - it is not sustainable now, and it only involves less than 1 billion people.

I'm not saying we should all run to the hills, abandon the cities and become peasant farmers (aka the Khmer Rouge model of sustainability). I have faith that our scientists and engineers will come up with something, provided that the reactionary busy bodies let them be.

It is obvious, though, that we need to move away entirely from the fossil-fuel, throw-away consumer economy based on personal automobiles, and towards a more sustainable 'renewable, reuse and recycle' economy based on a diversified public transport system. If we do not, we will be dead. And I'm not talking about next century or even the next generation. I'm talking about us. Right here, right now.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Putin says new arms race is on

Maybe I should post links for these stories ...

http://www.sptimes.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=21832

Apparently Vlad 'The Impaler' Putin has got his knickers in a twist about the US plan to deploy missiles in Poland and stations for the new missile defence system in the Czech Republic - both former Iron Curtain countries and one time Soviet satellite states. So he's threatening to point missiles at European cities in retaliation.

If I were the US, I wouldn't care - Europe spoke volumes about how much it dislikes the US global stance when it refused to get involved in Iraq.

Anyway, after almost two decades it'd be nice to have an enemy we can actually find ...

Greens 'sitting on fence' ... Newsflash!

Yes, my favourite party of all time (right up there with the Screaming Meemies) has had a conference over Queen's Birthday weekend (how typical - no long weekend for you plonkers, off to the party conference!) and decided to sit on the fence.

I wonder if any one has told them that the only thing you ever get from sitting on the fence is splinters up the jacksie?

Closer examination reveals that they will work with the party most in sync with their views on the environment and the poor - which counts National out because they actually want to make some poor people work for a living, God forbid! (And since when were 'the poor' environmentally friendly any way?)

Does anyone else miss FPP? It wasn't perfect but at least the Greens wouldn't be in Parliament ... neither would Winston 'Hmm, polls are low, where's some immigrants to slag off?' Peters - sounds like a win-win.

Of course we'd still have Jim 'What party am I in this time?' Anderton, Peter 'Which party have I merged with this time?' Dunne and Rodney 'Bulldog' Hide (not to mention Hone 'I can't be racist, I'm Maori' Tarawira, Tariana 'I'll say holocaust when I want, thank you very much' Turia, Pita 'if I spell it with an i and an a it looks more Maori' Sharples et al) but at least they all got in legitimately.

MMP? More Morons in Parliament.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

"G-8 protests turn violent" - surprise!

Trying to find a link to this article ... I can't find the USA Today article but here is a reprint of it :

http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/45514/protests-for-g8-summit-turned-out-to-violence.html

This headline from USA Today - "G-8 protests turn violent" - really made me laugh.

It's like some fat guy sitting at McDonalds, eating his third Big Mac, turning to his buddy and saying 'This stuff is fattening?'

Here's another way of putting this - imagine the headline "People breathe". No shit.

I'm waiting for a non-violent G8 protest.

I feel kind of sorry for the long haired hippy peaceniks who organise these things. They think people can just come along and responsibly exercise their democratic right to express their opinion in a peaceful march. All power to them.

Of course that lasts all of 60 seconds before the neo-socialists, crypto-communists, anti-capitalists, anti-globalists, sleeper-agent terrorists (aka "asylum seekers"), anarchists and the lunatic fringe of the Wild Greens take over, and start throwing cobblestones.

Have they ever stopped to think that if they DIDN'T protest, maybe the G8 summits would achieve more? And maybe the millions of dollars spent in security and repairing property damage could be better spent on helping Africa sort itself out.

According to USAToday:

"It was an unruly start to what is expected to be a week of rallies against the three-day G-8 summit beginning Wednesday in the fenced-off coastal resort of Heiligendamm, 14 miles from Rostock.

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host the leaders of Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Russia, Canada and the U.S. for discussions on global warming, aid to Africa and the global economy. The summit, like past ones, is attracting protesters opposed to capitalism, globalization, the war in Iraq and the G-8 itself...
The protest was organized by several dozen groups under the motto "another world is possible.

" 'The world shaped by the dominance of the G-8 is a world of war, hunger, social divisions, environmental destruction and barriers against migrants and refugees'," organizers said in leaflets handed out on the streets...

"Police put the size of the demonstration at 25,000, while organizers said it was 80,000...

Some 146 police were hurt, 25 of them seriously. Police said they made 17 arrests."


Here's my two cents to sense - what's WRONG with globalisation? Almost all the problems in this world stem from the fact that we're all so different. It strikes me as ridiculous that the same people who bleat and whinge and moan about how we're supposedly all equal then turn around and say globalisation is evil - if we can create one world, with one economy, and freedom and justice for all, then where is the problem?

The problem with globalisation is that, instead of levelling the playing field like it was supposed to, it has lowered it. Who would have thought that the Third World governments would opt to keep their low rates of pay and standards of living in order to lure Western companies to relocate in favour of wages at a fraction of what they pay here, corrupt safety inspectors, and lax or non-existent regulations governing the factory floor? You can't blame the companies or their boards of directors - they are in it to make money for their share holders and investors. How about the UN get off its butt and do something constructive - an international, global minimum wage, and an international commission to ensure health and safety regulations are observed in all countries. Of course it won't, because we all know the UN is run by the hand-picked appointees of the corrupt Third World governments.

Wouldn't it be nice if we actually WERE all equal?

Mind you, if we were all equal then I'd be just as likely to win the next Olympic gold in the 100m sprints as Asafa Powell of Jamaica (the current world record holder - 9.77 seconds). See you at the finish line.

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