Sunday, January 17, 2016

ZenTiger Lying a form of free speech

When a society does not value truth, it follows that immorality becomes the norm, and the values that holds society together - trust, honesty, respect and integrity disappear. There are many stories reflecting my concern. Recently, the complete misreporting of Susan Devoy's comments about Christmas was compounded by the media who, on the same pages as they corrected the mis-reporting, were still posting opinion pieces of outrage from their own reporters, pretending the truth didn't matter.  Why waste a story, even if built on lies?

This post I came across, where the US Federal Court maintains wearing war medals never earned, expressly worn to misrepresent a persons history, is just another form of free speech. Essentially, they maintain intent to deliberately lie or commit fraud is free speech.

These judges have forgotten that free speech only exists in a society that values truth, because free speech should be a counter to poisonous ideas, lies and the misuse of power. Now, it seems, free speech is just another vehicle for mocking truth.
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court on Monday tossed out a veteran's conviction for wearing military medals he didn't earn, saying it was a form of free speech protected by the Constitution.

US Court Says wearing unearned medals is free speech


Monday, January 4, 2016

Fletch Australian-Made Production on Pre-Maori NZ Peoples

A very good Australian-produced hour-long feature about the pre-Maori peoples who populated New Zealand which queries why there seems to be a rewriting of our history and sweeping of all this into the memory hole.



More info HERE.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fletch Star Wars: The Force Awakens - My Spoiler-Filled Review

BE WARNED. THIS REVIEW HAS MAJOR SPOILERS AFTER THE FOLD. SO DO NOT CLICK IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lucia Russia Lies - Boris Schumatsky

Peasant kissing a soldier of the "Army of Liberation" on a Soviet propaganda poster issued after the joint Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland.

A while back I tweeted the link below as a means to have a way of storing and sharing important pieces of information. After tweeting for a while, I've found that Twitter is not a good way of accessing stored information, that the blog does this far better.

So here is Russia is a Lie, by Boris Schumatsky. It's important to keep what you read in mind whenever Russia says anything. So many people whom I thought would have known better have been taken in by Putin because they trust what they are reading.

The greatest difficulty in dealing with Russia is this: Russia lies. This blanket assertion sounds like a slogan from the Cold War, and yet it's the only one that does justice to reality. ... Today not only do I write that the country of my birth has become an empire of lies, but that Russia itself is a lie.

...only one thing matters: who is strong enough to impose his truth on his opponent. Putin actually has nothing against NATO, he had initially wanted to join it himself. Now he only claims the right to do the same as all big players of geopolitics in his opinion do, the right to betray and murder. Vladimir Putin and his followers didn't encounter these rules by reading philosophical texts. They learned them on the streets.

... The Putinist only believes in one thing: lying as a way of life. Whoever grew up, like Vladimir Putin or I, in a large Soviet city learned this already at primary school. You get surrounded by a group of bullies. One of them says: "you ratted me out to the teacher", although it's the first time you see him. If you say "that's not true" you get beaten up immediately. If you apologise you will first be mocked. And then beaten.

Cries of victimhood coupled with a clenched fist is not an unknown gesture. Putin's Russia, which jumps into the ring like a world power, complains about Western intrigues. The Kremlin is well aware of the weaknesses of the Russian state, its economy and its military. But in a street-fight one hides one's weaknesses. Your opponent should think you are strong. Your opponent should piss his pants. He should believe that if he doubts your lie you'll punch his teeth out. He can de-escalate, as politicians the world over have been trying with Putin. He can call out: 'Peace!' - with the effect that you will also shout 'Peace!' - and then strike.

If the victim doesn't defend himself against the lies he also won't defend himself against the violence. He will be beaten up, and the attacker has already won from the moment that his victim didn't call him a liar.

Needless to say Russia isn't a nation of thugs who ruthlessly shoot down passenger planes. Needless to say there is another Russia - more than one in fact. But the diversity of Russia has been banished into internal and external exile. As long as the illusion holds, the millions of potato farmers, mathematics teachers, bank cashiers or publishing editors can achieve just as little politically as those who, like me, have left Russia. Only one voice is now heard in Russia. It is the voice of the collective Putin which leaves you speechless.

...The postmodern concept of plurality of truth is being riddled with bullets in Ukraine. Putin is imposing a return to reality. Realpolitik is being displaced by the real, by the old-fashioned adventure of naming things. The luxury of relative truths and devalued values is gone. In Russia the lies have triumphed once again, and once again only simple, black-and-white language does justice to this drama. Solzhenitsyn wrote it thus: "Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence".

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lucia Airport Donetsk


I've just watched Airport Donetsk, the short documentary film above. It's basically interviews with Russian separatists (Russian military) and with surviving Ukrainian armed forces who battled each other at the airport, with the Russians ultimately winning.

There are some gruesome scenes of injured and/or dead bodies, and one particularly awful scene of Russian soldiers forcing captured Ukrainian soldiers to eat their Ukrainian flags cut off their uniforms. One can only imagine what happened next to those soldiers.

I'm left feeling quite numb after watching it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lucia MH-17 Report and attempts to cover up the cause of the crash



It's finally out, the Dutch investigation into the MH-17 passenger plane crash in Ukraine last year, the crash that many believe was a deliberate targeting of the flight by pro-Russian rebels.  Not that they believed they were aiming for a plane full of civilians when they fired, but that they thought the plane was a Ukrainian military plane of the type they had shot down before.  It was only when the debris came to earth that they realised their terrible error.

Anyway, the Dutch report does not conclusively say who and why, but only what, in that it was a Russian-made surface to air missile, a BUK, that took down the plane and killed everyone on board, fired from rebel controlled territory in Ukraine.

What's even more interesting is how persons unknown made efforts to cover up causes of disaster:

The report by the Dutch safety board said that more than 120 objects, “mostly metal fragments”, were found in the body of the first officer, who had sustained “multiple fractures”. When Dutch experts identified the captain’s body they found it had already “undergone an external and internal examination to remove foreign objects”.

Despite apparent attempts to remove shrapnel, “hundreds of metal objects were found”, the report said, as well as bone fractures and other injuries.

Among the fragments of missile shrapnel examined, two were in the shape of a bow tie, which the Dutch board found to be characteristic of a particular type of Buk missile warhead. However, the Russian manufacturer had earlier denied that any such fragments were found, and insisted an older Buk model was used, one that was no longer in service in the Russian armed forces.

However (from Dutch Report: MH17 Downed By Buk Surface-To-Air Missile):

Nick de Larrinaga, Europe Editor for IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, noted that Russia has put forth differing claims, including а Russian Defense Ministry claim that Ukrainian Su-25 jet shot down the plane.

He also dismissed Russian assertions about the 9M38 or 9M38M1 missiles, saying evidence showed both were in service and in Russian military stockpiles as of July 2014.

In other words, the both new and older type of BUK was still in service as of July 2014, when MH-17 was shot down.

When it comes down to it, with all the various theories and denials put forth by Russia, we should take the following into account:

"It is worth remembering that Russia has a long history of disinformation over its involvement in Ukraine, initially the country denied its troops had invaded Crimea -- something Russia now acknowledges was the case," Larrinaga said.​

Indeed. See also, How Dutch Investigators Rebuffed Russia’s Alternative MH17 Theories

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fletch The New Zealand Flag, Choice, and the Illusion of Free Will

The four flag choices.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that we here in New Zealand are having a referendum early next year on whether to change our national flag - that is, of course, after a separate referendum to decide on what the design of the new flag should actually be.  In other words, it's being done backwards, as though the decision for change had already been made. And I think that was the intent. Otherwise, why not ask first if people want a change, before wasting time and effort asking for design submissions and whittling them down to a final four? Perhaps they know damn well that when people are asked straight up, as they have been in the past, they don't want a new flag.

If it must be done in this order, why not just have the one referendum (saving time and expense), and include the current flag as the fifth option? Will they, at some stage, perhaps decide not to have the second referendum regarding the choice between the new and current flags? I wouldn't be surprised.

My feeling is that this is a savvy marketing campaign to change the flag. By having people actively engaged in the process of making a selection, they are planting the seed of the idea in our brains that a new flag is needed. By having the option of the four new flags to choose from in the referendum but not the current one, they are offering the illusion of choice. People are happy if they believe that have control over their own actions and can exercise free will, but is having to choose between four options you don't want any choice at all? It's a Morton's Fork choice (eg, between a rock and a hard place, or between two things, neither of which you really want).

As I said, by doing it this way - back-to-front - it gives the illusion that the people are being consulted and involved in the decision, but it's really only in certain decisions.

Why do I have the feeling that, ultimately, we don't have any choice in the matter at all?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lucia Let the boys park their cars on school grounds!


I am amazed at how many people voted against letting the pupils from Christ's College park their cars in an empty lot that is adjacent to the college and is college owned. What is wrong with people?? At the time of my voting, a massive 72% of those who voted did not think that the boys should be able to park on a piece of empty ground next the college. It's empty, what is the harm? Seriously, if it were a group of teachers that needed the car parking, I bet there would be no problem.

The school headmaster and those 72% should read the late Celia Laslie's book: He'll Be Ok: Growing Gorgeous Boys Into Good Men for help. By the time boys are year 13, they need to be treated more like adults than children - something schools have a lot of trouble with. Of course, I don't know if the boys campaigning are year 13, but even if they are not, the opposition to allowing the boys to park on empty school grounds seems petty and vindictive and unreasonable.

Related link: Christ's College students to 'face repercussions' over car park campaign

Friday, August 7, 2015

Lucia Daily Vertical - Putin's Propaganda Fail


Brian Whitmore talks about the recent international Pew Research that shows that despite spending half a billion dollars on getting their message out to the world, Russia and Putin are considered far less favourably in most countries that were surveyed.

This just goes to show that no matter what countries or people say, their actions speak louder than their words. Colin Craig should take note.

Related links: The Daily Vertical: Russia's Propaganda Fail Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
Russia, Putin Held in Low Regard around the World ~ Pew Research Centre

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lucia Colin Craig threatens to sue for defamation

Oh dear. As my oldest son said, doesn't he realize this will just keep all that stuff alive that he'd rather people forget???

In the interests of keeping myself out of Craig's cross-hairs (he's suing Cameron Slater and John Stringer for more than Jordan Williams, because the first two are BLOGGERS!) - all I'll say here is that all of this will (is backfiring) backfire on Craig.

Any respect from this side of the political divide that might have been given him because of what he was trying to do with the Conservative Party is now totally gone.

Related link: Hilarious booklet on the allegations of defamation

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lucia Anne Applebaum on the British Election

From the Washington Post: The End of Britain As We Know It

This election will be remembered as the one that rescued the career of David Cameron, the British prime minister, who was publicly contemplating his own exit from politics only two months ago. It will also be remembered as the election that abruptly ended the career of the Labor Party leader, Ed Miliband, who had confidently carved his electoral promises onto a large piece of limestone only last week. Above all, it will be remembered as the election that every single major pollster got wrong...

Certainly it could literally mark the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom, that union of four nations — Welsh, English, Northern Irish and Scottish — whose stability hasn’t seriously been challenged for quite some time...

...Suddenly, a vision of a different future has opened up, especially for a certain kind of English Tory: Without dour, difficult, left-wing Scotland, maybe they could rule the rest of what used to be Great Britain, indefinitely. For U.S. readers who find the significance of this hard to understand: Imagine that a Texan secessionist party had, after years of campaigning, just taken every Texan seat in Congress. And now imagine that quite a few people in the rest of the country — perhaps in the Democratic Party — had, after years of arguing back, finally begun to think that Texan secession really might not be so bad and were beginning to calculate the electoral advantages accordingly.

I suppose a similar thing for New Zealand would be the South Islanders getting so sick of being part of New Zealand that over the years there would have been a growing movement for separation which everyone in the North gradually accepts as not such a bad outcome.

This election may also be the beginning of the end of Great-Britain-as-we-know-it in another sense, too. In 2013, Cameron promised that he would, if reelected, hold a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union. He also promised, somewhat more vaguely, that he would first “renegotiate” that membership. Even today nobody knows what that means, for Cameron has never explained it. Nor has he ever sought European allies or partners to help him in that process, and this isn’t the best moment to begin. The rest of Europe’s leaders are involved in a complex financial negotiation with Greece, are forging a strategy toward Russia, are facing an enormous illegal migration crisis on its southern coasts — and aren’t collectively enthusiastic about launching into a long, painful negotiation with Britain.

Bloody typical really, but not so surprising. Britain was one of the great maritime empires, and that wasn't too long ago for them. Being outside of the main destruction of Europe during WWII, they don't have as strong a desire to work with Europeans for mutual benefit, as to Britain, this mutual benefit is not so obvious.

But whatever the rest of Europe wants, this issue is now of necessity at the center of Britain’s foreign policy. In practice, that means British diplomats aren’t going to have time to worry about Russia or Libya in the next few years, because they’ll be focused on E.U. treaties. At E.U. summits, the British will want to talk about Britain’s role in Europe, not Europe’s role in the world, or Europe’s crises on its southern and eastern borders. The outward-looking, fully engaged Britain that “punched above its weight” has already faded away, and not everybody in London is very sorry about this turn of events either. Cameron has been less interested in foreign policy than any British prime minister in recent memory, his party has just run the most insular election campaign that anybody can recall and he has just been rewarded with a resounding victory for doing so.

Interesting times.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Lucia Putin co-opting conservatism and religious messianism gather world-wide support and sympathy

A new Forbes article (Un)Holy Alliance: Vladimir Putin, The Russian Orthodox Church And Russian Exceptionalism makes shocking reading.

[...W]hile much attention has been paid to the growing authoritarianism of the Kremlin and on the support for Putin’s regime on the part of the Russian oligarchs whom Putin has enriched through his crony capitalism, little has been paid to the equally critical role of the Russian Orthodox Church in helping to shape Russia’s current system, and in supporting Putin’s regime and publicly conflating the mission of the Russian state under Vladimir Putin’s leadership with the mission of the Church. Putin’s move in close coordination with the Russian Orthodox Church to sacralize the Russian national identity has been a key factor shaping the increasingly authoritarian bent of the Russian government under Putin, and strengthening his public support, and must be understood in order to understand Russia’s international behavior.

The close relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Russian state based upon a shared, theologically-informed vision of Russian exceptionalism is not a new phenomenon. During the days of the Czar, the Russian ruler was seen as God’s chosen ruler of a Russian nation tasked with representing a unique set of value embodied by Russian Orthodoxy, and was revered as “the Holy Orthodox Czar”. Today, a not dissimilar vision of Russian exceptionalism is once again shared by the ROC and the Kremlin, and many Russians are beginning to see Vladimir Putin in a similar vein – a perception encouraged both by Putin and by the Church, each of which sees the other as a valuable political ally and sees their respective missions as being interrelated.

John Schindler wrote something similar at the end of 2014: Putin’s Orthodox Jihad, while as Brian Whitmore (of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty from) wrote Vladimir Putin, Conservative Icon a few months earlier. I strongly recommend interested readers go through both of these articles as well, for much of what these authors talk about are patterns that I myself have noticed.

As many readers of this blog know, one of my co-bloggers has very strong Russian Orthodox beliefs and has exhibited on numerous occasions a type of Putin hero worship. Therefore, he and I existing on the same blog after Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year has created a rift between us, so to speak.

Fulton Sheen, many years ago predicted that in the future there would be a co-opting of Christianity to political aims. It seems to be a very constant temptation. The Russian Orthodox Church and Putin are doing this very thing. Rather than the ROC being a balancing religious voice in Russia acting as a moral brake on the excessive authoritarian tendencies of the Kremlin, it instead acts as an enforcer of the politics.

Putin has also tried to make himself look like a conservative, moral and religious man; but it's as if he is playing a part rather than living these aims. The conservatism, morality and religious sentiment is very shallow. All of it was pretty much obvious to me prior to the Ukraine invasion, but I ignored it. I thought the man is trying, I'll let him be and not criticise. After all you have to give people a chance, despite how something looks.

No more chances now, though. With everything that has happened, Putin is looking more and more like another anti-Christ than a reincarnation of St Paul, as is believed by some in Russia.

Lucia The Daily Vertical: Foreign Agents Against Torture


Today's video is about Europeans, participating in a conference against torture, deported from Russia.

Related link: The Daily Vertical: Foreign Agents Against Torture

Also available is an hour long podcast on States Within A State:
Two republics in the Russian Federation. Both predominantly Muslim. Both seeking to secure maximum autonomy from Moscow. Each using dramatically different tactics.

...On the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we discuss Grozny's and Kazan's approaches, Moscow's respective reaction to them, and what this tells us about Russia today.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lucia Alarm on the border in Poland

From Deutsche Welle: Alarm on the border in Poland

Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, citizen defense and paramilitary groups in Poland have seen their numbers swell. The government in Warsaw has officially included these troops in its plans for national defense.


An article in more depth on Poland and it's fears and preparation for war with Russia, from Poland Prepares for Russian Invasion by John Schindler of The XX Committee:

... Poland is the real issue when it comes to defending NATO’s exposed Eastern frontier from Russian aggression. Only Poland, which occupies the Alliance’s central front, has the military power to seriously blunt any Russian moves westward. As in 1920, when the Red Army failed to push past Warsaw, Poland is the wall that will defend Central Europe from any westward movement by Moscow’s military. To their credit, and thanks to a long history of understanding the Russian mentality better than most NATO and EU members, Warsaw last fall, when the violent theft of Crimea was still just a Kremlin dream, announced a revised national security strategy emphasizing territorial defense. Eschewing American-led overseas expeditions like those to Iraq and Afghanistan that occupied Poland’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) during the post-9/11 era, this new doctrine makes defending Poland from Eastern aggression the main job of its military. Presciently, then-Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, contradicting optimistic European and NATO presumptions of our era that conventional war in Europe was unthinkable, stated in May 2013, “I’m afraid conflict in Europe is imaginable.”

Particularly in light of the fact that both NATO and the Obama administration rejected my advice to seriously bolster Alliance defenses in the East with four heavy brigades, including the two brigades that Warsaw explicitly asked NATO — meaning, in practice, the United States — for after this year’s Russo-Ukrainian War began in earnest, the issue of Poland’s military readiness is of considerable importance to countries far beyond Poland. Instead of creating a militarily viable NATO tripwire that would deter Russian aggression, the Alliance, and Washington, DC, have opted for symbolic gestures — speeches, military visits, small exercises — that impress the Western media but not the Russians.

Then there is this article from the Guardian Poland’s warning to Europe: Russia’s aggression in Ukraine changes everything:

Russia’s aggression against neighbouring Ukraine has changed almost everything. Poland is deeply concerned about its national security and about the degree of solidarity its western allies are able – and willing – to demonstrate. This anxiety is not limited to the ruling class, or politicians. It is deeply felt by the population.

... Poland got one thing right: it never believed in “the end of history”, Francis Fukuyama’s 1989 formula proclaiming the inevitable triumph of liberal democracy over ideology. This scepticism led Poland to push extremely hard for admittance to Nato and the EU, both seen as virtual life insurance policies for the nation.

...Poland would much prefer to have two US brigades under Nato command stationed on its territory. This was opposed by Germany on the grounds that it would violate the Nato-Russia agreement of 1997. Polish officials have a point when they say privately that the German position is questionable, because the agreement explicitly rested on the notion that strategic circumstances would remain unchanged in Europe, which is no longer the case. A Polish diplomat put it to me this way: “In 2014, with the Russian annexation of Crimea and the Russian assault in the Donbass, the unthinkable became reality.”

Just in case anyone tries to paint all this as "American propaganda", as my co-blogger Andrei accused me of yesterday on this post, notice my sources here. They are German, British, Polish (in that these stories are about Poland) and yes, American.

Lucia Daily Vertical - Novorossia: A Short-Lived Mirage


Novorossia died a quiet death this week.

When separatist leader Oleg Tsarev announced the end of the scheme to unite the Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine into a single pro-Moscow separatist entity on May 20, it was the latest in a series of signs that the yearlong conflict in the Donbas is lumbering toward some kind of endgame.

In remarks reported by Gazeta.ru, Tsarev, the chairman of the self-styled parliament of Novorossia, said the project was being suspended because it "doesn't fit into" the cease-fire agreement signed in Minsk in February.

In reality, Novorossia was stillborn from the get-go. Unlike in Donetsk and Luhansk, where pro-Moscow separatism took hold, Russian-speakers in Odesa, Mariupol, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv, and elsewhere remained loyal to Kyiv.

...

Russia had once hoped to partition Ukraine by seizing so-called Novorossia, which stretches from Kharkiv in the northeast to Odesa in the south, which would have given it a land bridge to annexed Crimea.

But having failed at this, Moscow is now seeking to keep the separatist-held enclaves in Donetsk and Luhansk inside Ukraine in order to use them as a fifth column to paralyze Kyiv and keep the country from integrating with the West.

If and how these territories are reintegrated into Ukraine will be the main battleground in the coming phase of the conflict.

Read the rest at After Novorossia on Radio Free Europe.

As an aside, it's good to see the daily video integrated into the daily post - the link up is important for those that prefer not to listen and just want to read or vice-versa. Makes it easier for me linking to both also as it's one less link to refer to.