Saturday, January 31, 2009
One of the bits of advice was to lower the top tax rates down to 30%. Damn good idea. That must have been the one that Phil Goff liked?
With the economy in recession (or is it depression?) there is opportunity for National to push all sorts of reforms through. There may be a bit of horse trading required though. I'd be happy to see taxes leveled to 30% (ideally less) in exchange for a capital gains tax on property sales (where the property is not the main family residence) and a crack down on mis-using trusts and charity status to avoid tax. Actually, a flatter tax system kills many of the reasons to manipulate overly complex tax laws anyway.
I see that Obama was furious that millions of dollars of bonuses were handed out last year to fat cat traders even as the US Government underwrites their losses. And so he should be. As President, does he just stamp his foot or turn into a communist? This is perhaps his first interesting challenge, in that what he may or may not do is unclear.
I personally do not think the Government should be underwriting Wall Street until we break this "greed is good" mentality. It needs some kind of "market forces adjustment" before the more rabid anti-capitalist socialists call the shots.
Then we will see why envy is also as bad as greed.
Related Link: Phil Goff Treasures Treasury report, but has selective amnesia on Labour's history of ignoring treasury advice as well as ignoring other bits of treasury advice in same report
Related Link: Obama furious about fat cats milking the system. Furious. May repeat this with whilst shaking fist, if required.
Friday, January 30, 2009
My week has certainly been, errr, interesting and it's no surprise I've never watched a whole episode of Shortland street. I don't need to, I've got real life.
I'm not sure what the next plot twist is, but no doubt it's on its way. Drama, comedy or action/adventure? Don't ask me, I'm not the director.
How about you folk? Your agent getting you good parts? Here's a tip - careful you don't get typecast, unless it's as the hero or heroine.
Well, here comes act 46, scene 251.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Obama Disappointed Cabinet Failed To Understand His Reference To 'Savage Sword Of Conan' #24
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama expressed frustration Wednesday after members of his cabinet failed to recognize his allusion to the 24th issue of the comic series Savage Sword Of Conan during their first major meeting together.
Obama, whose upcoming challenges include organizing a massive effort to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, was reportedly unprepared for the confused silence he received upon suggesting that his cabinet "team up with Taurus of Nemedia" to secure the necessary funding from Congress.
"If my inner circle of advisers can't even communicate about the most basic issues, how are we going to tackle the massive problems our nation faces?" Obama said during a press conference. "When I tell my cabinet that getting bipartisan support is exactly like the time Conan got Taurus to help him steal Yara's jewel, they need to understand what I mean."
After receiving no reaction from the assembled reporters, Obama added, "Because a giant spider is protecting this chamber full of precious jewels, just like Congress is protecting its…. God, how are you people not seeing this?"
Full article here - Robert E Howard said it best
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Please do no use this post as a way of re-arguing the same points made in the comments of the previous post.
I put up the statement by the head of the schismatic society to show that the controversial opinions of one man do not represent the society in general, and that would be very much worth taking notice of.
The words in red are comments by Fr. Z.
Statement of His Excellency Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius XRelated Link: Statement by SSPX Superior about Bp. Williamson’s opinions on Jews in WWII ~ WDTPRS, Fr Z
We have become aware of an interview released by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Fraternity of St. Pius X, to Swedish television. In this interview, he expressed himself on historical questions, [not doctrinal] and in particular on the question of the genocide against the Jews carried out by the Nazis.
It’s clear that a Catholic bishop cannot speak with ecclesiastical authority except on questions that regard faith and morals. [even one who is in good standing can’t…] Our Fraternity does not claim any authority on other matters. [The Fraternity doesn’t have any authority apart from Rome.] Its mission is the propagation and restoration of authentic Catholic doctrine, expressed in the dogmas of the faith. It’s for this reason that we are known, accepted [well…] and respected in the entire world.
It’s with great sadness that we recognize the extent to which the violation of this mandate has done damage to our mission. [Fair enough. And the phrase "great sadness" is welcome.] The affirmations of Bishop Williamson do not reflect in any sense the position of our Fraternity. For this reason I have prohibited him, pending any new orders, from taking any public positions on political or historical questions. [Finally.]
We ask the forgiveness of the Supreme Pontiff, and of all people of good will, [a phrase I have been using constantly these last days…] for the dramatic consequences of this act. Because we recognize how ill-advised these declarations were, we can only look with sadness at the way in which they have directly struck our Fraternity, discrediting its mission.
This is something we cannot accept, and we declare that we will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to administer the sacraments [without permission of the Holy See] of grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Menzingen, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
[...] informed sources said the U.S. last week intercepted an Iranian-owned vessel found to be carrying weapons, including rockets, mortar and artillery shells. It is suspected the ship was attempting to reach the Egyptian Sinai area. If successful, the delivery would have represented a major escalation by providing Hamas with artillery, something the terrorist organization is not thought to possess.Related Link: U.S. Navy intercepts Iranian arms vessel ~ WND
The ship is now docked at an Egyptian port on the Red Sea after being escorted by the U.S. Navy out of the Suez Canal, which leads to the Mediterranean, the defense officials said. Due to complicated maritime laws, the U.S. and Egypt may let the ship sail to the Mediterranean, where either Israeli or Egyptian naval units would need to decide whether to entirely halt the vessel.
According to the sources, aside from patrolling the seas, the U.S. has also sent the Army's Corps of Engineers to the Egyptian Sinai desert, bringing with them advanced machinery to help Egyptian troops locate weapons smuggling tunnels that snake along the Egypt-Gaza border.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
And did they catch any of these people?
Here were the top five nominees and the votes they got -
* Helen Clark - 3163 votes
* Willie Apiata - 2645 votes
* Sir Murray Halberg - 1467 votes
* Peter Jackson - 1340 votes
* Peter Snell - 1041 votes
I don't know how the voting was done or whatever, but this is just ridiculous. The woman has been part of so many dodgy scandals, coverups, and lies it just doesn't make sense. How quickly we forget, I guess. Stalin has just been named one of the greatest Russians ever, so I suppose it's no surprise that Clark can have a similar popularity.
People can be such idiots...
Friday, January 23, 2009
But, seeing as there's no FNFFA, yours truly is making a brief appearance to start one up.
Come and say hello to me, ok?
UPDATE: Missed out the word holiday.
Somehow, the Labour Government managed to "reinsert the clauses in a last minute action, making New Zealand a guinea pig for experimental cyberlaw." An experimental law that could shut down blogs on the basis of guilty until proven innocent. Fantastic. NZ Labour, the gift that keeps on giving.
Says ISPANZ (who are not librarians):
"On the one hand we're being asked to enable an economy through global networking and ICT efficiency, and on the other hand we're being asked to stop that connectivity by accusation alone, in order to try to solve another industry’s problem with how they make money off their Copyright franchises.”
Scoop Article: NZ Cyber Laws generate page 404 errors for innocent users
The full force of LIANZA (the aforementioned secret cabal) weighs in: Government should be fined 10 cents a day until Common Sense is returned
LIANZA, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, representing 460 public, educational, commercial, industrial, legal and government libraries in New Zealand, has joined the widespread protest against the implementation of new section 92A of the Copyright Act, which comes into force on 28 February 2009.
LIANZA has three major concerns about this section. The first concern relates to the extremely wide definition of internet service provider. As written, every person or organisation that has a website is an ISP, as is every library, school, educational institution, association, government department, company, business and office that provides Internet access to its users or to its staff.
The second concern is the implication that a library or other organisation’s Internet connection may be terminated if an accusation is made that copyright is being repeatedly breached on a library or company-owned computer. LIANZA is concerned that this is a reversal of a key principle of New Zealand law; that a person (or organisation) is deemed innocent until proved guilty.
LIANZA’s third concern is the requirement of section 92A, that an internet service provider must terminate the account of a repeat infringer. This draconian provision would seem to mean that, if a user is found on more than one occasion to have illegally accessed or downloaded copyright materials, or otherwise breached copyright in a work, the ISP must terminate the Internet access not of the individual accused of breaching copyright, but of the account holder – that is, of the entire library.
Don't make these guys angry. Fix the legislation National.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
First, it was a press release from the leader of the opposition (has anyone told him he's not the PM?) saying how good Obama's speech was.
The second story was a press release from the NZ Labour Party gushing over Obama. Tthe chicken just keeps on running even when the head has been lopped off.
The third story was a Greens press release. Obama must have mentioned that America was going to ban light bulbs because the story was "Obama's Green Leadership better than National" or some such winge.
Obama's inaugural speech was inspiring though. And who better than John Stewart from the Daily Show to pick it apart? Have a look at this:
Changefest 09 - Obama's Inaugural Speech
And Scrubone takes a more serious look at how much the boat will rock: The same old change
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
An assassination would be the worst possible thing to happen, not only from Obama's point of view, but for the cause of equality.
He would be made a martyr and America would feel obliged to elect a black women as President to compensate. Perhaps the first lady would step in, or perhaps Hillary Clinton with a tan, I don't know.
Even if some fundamentalist Muslim organisation, such as the New York Times, took the credit for the "Dallas 2009" event, it would still inspire too many counter-conspiracy theories. Besides, the New York Times doesn't make news, just misreports it.
For some, Obama's reign of evil has commenced. It started in Wellington - the last bastion of democracy was the first to fall. The reign of darkness commenced this morning just after dawn (when the sun comes up) with a city-wide power failure.
People trapped in lifts, lights out, toasters failing to burn bread and yet cold cereal was strangely unaffected. Eerily, McDonald's still had power. I saw people walking out with hash browns and Egg McMuffins. American corporate hegemony exempt even from the requirements of local electricity.
Some may disagree that Wellington represents the last bastion of democracy, and perhaps Obama's reign of terror has merely commenced in time zone order. It's a viable theory, but obviously some evil is at play. First our Prime Minister breaks his arm, then the lights go out. Don't let in any immigrants from Haiti.
Speaking of immigrants, this could have been triggered by New Zealand's own landmark attempt at undoing the equal rights movement. First one Turkish cafe throws out an Israeli and her sister somewhere in the Gaza strip of Invercargill, and then another cafe further north (the Antarctica I think) shows solidarity and puts up a "No Jews and Dogs Served Here" sign.
Perhaps this is just misplaced bigotry, rather than pure bigotry, although I think it just reveals a degree of stupidity that give Turkish cafe owners a bad name. I don't blame Invercargill. After all, the world's fastest Native American came from there.
Anyway, why bother throwing Jews out and risk having blood mixed with red paint smeared on your "Welcome, Open For Business" sign?
Instead, just display a sign saying "We support Palestine", or better yet, "$2 of every sale goes to fund Hamas". Not only an egalitarian way of putting off those almost directly responsible (the sister) for shelling the Gaza strip, but you also get to fund major earth works and tunnels; the mark of a great humanitarian.
Remember though that Hamas has killed nearly as many Palestinians as Israel has managed. And remember the billions of dollars of aid poured into Palestine? Arafat died a billionaire. See the connection? If you are a lefty, bet you never saw that coming. I know - even after this was pointed out, donations went up.
Now that Arafat is dead, many people are getting "next of kin" letters to distribute these frozen funds. Just send them your bank details and get a refund. A friend of a friend said Phil Goff is trying it - it's part of his 100 day plan to prove Labour could recover from the world wide recession and the self-inflicted damage over the last 9 years. That man has potential - long may he remain opposition leader.
Still, after all this fuss about cafe owners banning Jews, you have to admit it worked. A day later, and Israel has called a ceasefire. Don't underestimate the political pulling power of people denied coffee.
Sitting here in Wellington with the lights out and the electric kettle cold, I think I can pinpoint exactly where civilisation begins and ends. The humble coffee machine.
Although, with power recently restored, it looks like the reign of darkness could be postponed until night time. A much more sensible time to start a reign of darkness, if you ask me.
The lights went out on Obama's inauguration. It may just be a coincidence. Time will tell. Until then, congratulations America for your first black President outside of a TV series. Life can imitate art. Modern art.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Whilst NRT see this as proof of how evil America is (I'll explain later), the fact that the incident was investigated and then the officer arrested makes NRT's own tendency to come in with guns blazing somewhat ironic.
I'd heap even more abuse on NRT for this, if it weren't for the fact that I'm often guilty of the same crime (although my motives are always purer and my analysis always more accurate and rational, of course). For example, I'm not even going to check for his apology post and just assume he remains seriously deranged. An oversight on my part, to be sure.
In the interests of criminal safety though, I shall put myself in the shoes of a "person of interest" and make the following recommendations:
1. NEVER resist arrest.
2. NEVER antagonize a policeman when in the process of being arrested.
3. DON'T BREAK THE LAW.
Now, point three is situational. You may at some time be arrested and not actually breaking the law you are being arrested for. But resisting arrest is breaking the law, so refer point 1.
In the event this all goes pear shaped, and you are killed or beaten anyway, your loved ones might at least get some financial compensation if you live in America, so cheer up.
The only people that do better used to be suicide bombers. Saddam used to pay out bonuses of US$30K to the families of suicide bombers. Unfortunately, W. put a stop to all that. Those damn
Related Link: Srubone and the art of a one line fisk - Two sides to every story
Hm, so the guy who shot a criminal at point blank range was arrested after an initial investigation was made? How shocking. [But the supporting commentary also worth a read.
When NRT goes on about the police shooting, he manages to throw in a jibe about how some American soldiers tortured prisoners in Abu Ghraib, the prison where Saddam and rulers before him tortured prisoners. Ironically, those soldiers were caught and put on trial too. What a system, eh?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
History, by looking at the key facts rather than being distracted by the loud ambient noise of the 24-hour news cycle, will probably hand down a far more positive judgment on Mr Bush's presidency than the immediate, knee-jerk loathing of the American and European elites.
The whole article is worth reading, but some things that stood out to me about Iraq;
The next factor that will be seen in its proper historical context in years to come will be the true reasons for invading Afghanistan in October 2001 and Iraq in April 2003. The conspiracy theories believed by many (generally, but not always) stupid people – that it was "all about oil", or the securing of contracts for the US-based Halliburton corporation, etc – will slip into the obscurity from which they should never have emerged had it not been for comedian-filmmakers such as Michael Moore.
Instead, the obvious fact that there was a good case for invading Iraq based on 14 spurned UN resolutions, massive human rights abuses and unfinished business following the interrupted invasion of 1991 will be recalled.
Similarly, the cold light of history will absolve Bush of the worst conspiracy-theory accusation: that he knew there were no WMDs in Iraq. History will show that, in common with the rest of his administration, the British Government, Saddam's own generals, the French, Chinese, Israeli and Russian intelligence agencies, and of course SIS and the CIA, everyone assumed that a murderous dictator does not voluntarily destroy the WMD arsenal he has used against his own people. And if he does, he does not then expel the UN weapons inspectorate looking for proof of it, as he did in 1998 and again in 2001.
Mr Bush assumed that the Coalition forces would find mass graves, torture chambers, evidence for the gross abuse of the UN's food-for-oil programme, but also WMDs. He was right about each but the last, and history will place him in the mainstream of Western, Eastern and Arab thinking on the matter.
Now, regarding Hurricane Katrina - one of the people in the comments to the link I gave above has posted a useful link to Popular Mechanics magazine, who spent "more than four months interviewing officials, scientists, first responders and victims." They debunk a lot of the myths surround Katrina, such as the slow response by the Govt.
Mistakes are made in every war, but when virtually the entire military, diplomatic and political establishment in the West opposed it, Bush insisted on the surge in Iraq that has been seen to have brought the war around, and set Iraq on the right path. Today its GDP is 30 per cent higher than under Saddam, and it is free of a brutal dictator and his rapist sons.
The number of American troops killed during the eight years of the War against Terror has been fewer than those slain capturing two islands in the Second World War, and in Britain we have lost fewer soldiers than on a normal weekend on the Western Front. As for civilians, there have been fewer Iraqis killed since the invasion than in 20 conflicts since the Second World War.
Iraq has been a victory for the US-led coalition, a fact that the Bush-haters will have to deal with when perspective finally – perhaps years from now – lends objectivity to this fine man's record.
GOVERNMENT RESPONDED RAPIDLYMYTH: "The aftermath of Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history."--Aaron Broussard, president, Jefferson Parish, La., Meet the Press, NBC, Sept. 4, 2005
REALITY: Bumbling by top disaster-management officials fueled a perception of general inaction, one that was compounded by impassioned news anchors. In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.
Dozens of National Guard and Coast Guard helicopters flew rescue operations that first day--some just 2 hours after Katrina hit the coast. Hoistless Army helicopters improvised rescues, carefully hovering on rooftops to pick up survivors. On the ground, "guardsmen had to chop their way through, moving trees and recreating roadways," says Jack Harrison of the National Guard. By the end of the week, 50,000 National Guard troops in the Gulf Coast region had saved 17,000 people; 4000 Coast Guard personnel saved more than 33,000.
These units had help from local, state and national responders, including five helicopters from the Navy ship Bataan and choppers from the Air Force and police. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries dispatched 250 agents in boats. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state police and sheriffs' departments launched rescue flotillas. By Wednesday morning, volunteers and national teams joined the effort, including eight units from California's Swift Water Rescue. By Sept. 8, the waterborne operation had rescued 20,000.
While the press focused on FEMA's shortcomings, this broad array of local, state and national responders pulled off an extraordinary success--especially given the huge area devastated by the storm. Computer simulations of a Katrina-strength hurricane had estimated a worst-case-scenario death toll of more than 60,000 people in Louisiana. The actual number was 1077 in that state.
Friday, January 16, 2009
For example, you can't even buy a cup of coffee without taking some political test. It makes perfect sense to me that Invercargill would be the locale for making a stand on [the Gaza incursion] (insert phrase of preference to suit your view).
And whilst we think about defining this conflict, consider how we manage to redefine all sorts of other issues.
Maybe I should declare myself a libertarian and announce also that, as a libertarian, I do not believe for one moment in property rights. State Control is the way for Libertarians to go, and we Libertarians need to get with the times and adapt.
Now a few Libertarians (but not all) will say I'm talking rubbish, just as Fr Kennedy is when he says he's Catholic.
Whilst he appears to be a great humanitarian (and it is easy to be both Catholic and a great humanitarian), we have a problem if he radically redefines Catholicism to suit his personal definition, for numerous reasons.
No doubt, Richard Dawkins can also declare himself a Catholic and hold that atheism is a central Catholic doctrine and must be incorporated into the latest papal encyclicals. I'm not sure the Pope is going to go for that one.
Well, must dash for the train. Will log in later and be appalled at how much damage writing without thinking can achieve...I'll come back later after having a few drinks and fix this up...hang-on, there may be a flaw in that plan too..
UPDATE: And speaking of how much redefining goes on, here's a fascinating look at how a picture says a thousand words, and zooming out says another thousand, and changing the angle says another thousand. Media Manipulation, chapter by chapter [Hat tip: Redbaiter]
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
"The rest of the world is aware there's an economic crisis on, they are aware there's a huge international crisis in Gaza, and the New Zealand government is on holiday," she said.
Whilst it is obvious to Labour voters that Helen Clark would have solved both of these issues by now, what isn't obvious is that Helen Clark obviously thinks that John Key is the entire government of New Zealand.
That may have been the case under Helen Clark, but we have moved away from a dictatorship, and last I looked the size of the bureaucracy rivals a decent sized refugee camp.
Although, with the announcement that the Cullen Fund has lost 25% of its value, maybe John Key will cancel his holiday and rush home to attend to a crisis he can actually do something about.
At that point, Clark would have to take time off from her holiday to urge John not to be so bloody anal that he has to rush home and create lots of media attention by attending to the financial mess with Cullen's name all over it. "No John, just have that holiday with your family. You deserve it."
Actually, it turned out to be a good move naming it the Cullen fund. Now we know who to blame. It's like writing your name on the wall, in your own blood, at the crime scene. How stupid is that?
Maybe the Cullen Fund has been losing in money because it invested in Hamas? The Greens call this "ethical investing". The Greens have strange ideas like this all the time.
What idiot would invest in Hamas? Surely, any fool could see that home made rockets is such a boutique market, there's no real profit. The returns policy alone is a killer. Ship out one rocket, get 10 back. All of them bigger. Wow. Let's do it again.
Although, I see big benefits for NZ taking in 10,000 Palestinian refugees.
I'm thinking tunnels. If we renamed the North Shore "New Egypt" we could clear up Auckland traffic with 3 new tunnels in six months, given the famed Palestinian ability to construct tunnels with only a shovel and UNRWA funding.
That would only get them warmed up. How about one under the Cook Strait? We could call it the Gaza Memorial Highway. I'm assuming Gaza will also be six feet under by the middle of next week, so it kind of works.
Solutions everywhere. Maybe Helen Clark was right! Maybe John Key can save the world?
But as far as New Zealand goes, can he fix the mess Clark created in the first place?
Are you on holiday Helen, or is this a self imposed exile?
Links throughout to old posts, Crusader Rabbit, KiwiBlog and one extra here:
No Minister: Hogwash, Poppycock and Twaddle
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Just as a little counter to all those anti-Israel protests you hear about - there was a HUGE Pro-Israel march in New York City on the 6th of January; so big that they were turning people away. Did you hear about it in the Main Stream Media? No, of course not.
The last minute, thrown together pro-Israel rally in NYC today was so packed, so overwhelming, they were turning Jews away. You could not get to the rally. The support parade was across from the Israel consulate between 42nd and 43rd. The police could not contain the throngs of happy, peaceful supporters and forced folks off 2nd Avenue. It was unbelievable.
I have been to all those Jew hating rallies, and they take over whole swaths of New York (this past weekend, for example) - they are given huge amounts of space, but the cops would not let us into the barricades. The Israel supporters were pouring into the streets. The young and the old - what a stark contrast from the haters' demonstrations. Dark vs. light.
Also, a poster on David Farrar's kiwiblog, 'medusa', points out that there was a big rally of the same kind in London yesterday that didn't get reported much -
Pro-Israeli demos staged.
Two pro-Israel demonstrations in the UK have passed off peacefully after violence marred a protest yesterday against military action in Gaza.
Speakers at both rallies defended Israel’s right to protect itself, to the approval of thousands of people.
Organisers of an event in London’s Trafalgar Square said there were 15,000 people, while 2,000 supporters attended an event outside Manchester Town Hall.
'medusa' rang Newtalk ZB to find out why this wasn't being reported -
I called newstalkzb and asked them the same question [WHERE is there any mention of this in our MSM?], was told “its so yesterdays news” and then hung up on
I've long ago given up on our media reporting being unbiased.
Monday, January 12, 2009
As the world decries Israel's attempt to defend itself from the rocket attacks coming from Gaza, consider this: When Hamas routed Fatah in Gaza in 2007, it cost nearly 350 lives and 1,000 wounded. Fatah's surrender brought only a temporary stop to the type of violence and bloodshed that are commonly seen in lands where at least 30% of the male population is in the 15-to-29 age bracket.Further on, it raises the issue of how welfare dependency creates more problems than it solves:
The reason for Gaza's endless youth bulge is that a large majority of its population does not have to provide for its offspring. Most babies are fed, clothed, vaccinated and educated by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Unlike the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, which deals with the rest of the world's refugees and aims to settle them in their respective host countries, UNRWA perpetuates the Palestinian problem by classifying as refugees not only those who originally fled their homes, but all of their descendents as well.
UNRWA is benevolently funded by the U.S. (31%) and the European Union (nearly 50%) -- only 7% of the funds come from Muslim sources. Thanks to the West's largesse, nearly the entire population of Gaza lives in a kind of lowly but regularly paid dependence. One result of this unlimited welfare is an endless population boom. Between 1950 and 2008, Gaza's population has grown from 240,000 to 1.5 million. The West basically created a new Near Eastern people in Gaza that at current trends will reach three million in 2040. Within that period, Gazans may alter the justifications and directions of their aggression but are unlikely to stop the aggression itself.
Read the whole article for a slightly different perspective.
Related Link: Welfare Dependency - Now we can blame socialism for the Palestinian / Israeli conflict
More on the United Nations Rabid Welfare Activities over at Crusader Rabbit
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Said Helen Clark: "This talk of war is counter-productive. I personally think a single state solution is what is required to resolve this. Simple amalgamation into one body would remove all issues about self-determination and who gets what. My job will be to make sure fighting is reduced, casualties are reduced, and once the smoke has cleared, rather than discussing our differences, we will see if we can simply create a single unified body under one local government"
OK, this post is obviously satirical - Helen Clark did not say those things. At least, I think she didn't. Or maybe I saw her name at the bottom of a letter to the editor?
Anyway, I doubt the United Nations could resolve this conflict, even with Clark at the helm. Until they can sort out the Congo or Darfur, they will not have the skills to navigate a potential Lower Hutt / Wellington City Council war. Besides, they've already allocated their budget for the year.
This post follows up from my first post - Robbing from the hoods, and discusses the looming war between Wellington City Council and the surrounding councils of Kapiti, Porirua, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Manawatu and two Wairarapa Councils.
Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast has asked the regional councils to cough up several million dollars towards funding Wellington attractions. It hasn't dawned on her that they in turn could ask for several million dollars plus 10 cents towards funding regional attractions. Hah! Take that Wellington. I'll trade you your $1 million dollar Te Papa museum for a $600,000 wine trail in Martinborough and $400,000.10 for a Kapiti Island wildlife sanctuary. Keep the change.
Perhaps the other point to make is that if the regional councils are required to contribute funds, do they get some say over how the funds are spent?
I'll pay for the zoo food, if you give me 50 staff from Te Papa. That still leaves you with close to 500 staff to run Te Papa, and the carnivores eat well.
I believe this is how they funded the games in the Colosseum back in Roman Times. Hopefully, we are now civilised enough that we don't need to throw in Christians. Persecuting Curators sounds fairly similar to the untrained ear, and may satisfy the upsurge in paganism.
Anyway, I digress. I actually have a new point to make. A pre-emptive strike as it were. On one hand, this is currently a discussion about Wellington Council receiving regional funding. On the other, it could be the beginnings of a political play to bring to the agenda the amalgamation of the local councils into one single super council. Ogden threatens cutting off the water supply, Kerry counters with an incursion into the Petone strip, and suddenly the borders change. Maybe we do need the U.N.?
Let me therefore end with a quote from Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive Charles Finny:
"We think that having nine councils for a population of 450,000 people is absurd. If an amalgamation happened, funding problems would "just go away".An interesting idea, and worth a debate. However, funding problems would not "just go away". Unless the super council felt it could raise rates arbitrarily, and with even more disdain for its rate payers, and their ability to weather increases well above the CPI.
If we rate payers are required to amalgamate, it would be a good opportunity to extract some concessions on spending caps and the funding of "non-core activities." I'd also be interested to see how regional representation could be maintained whilst gaining administrative efficiencies.
There is currently a Royal Commission looking into the present system of 7 local government authorities and a regional council in Auckland, with findings due to be presented 31 March 2009. Their conclusions may have far reaching impact on all New Zealand regions. Will we see peace and prosperity in our time?
Related Link: Razor Plan includes shaving regional councils
Previous Post: Robbing From The Hoods
Related Link: Royal Commission on Auckland Governance
Some-one has written the letter in his name. This is either an act of stupidity (it was fairly obvious the lie would be found out) or a deliberately diabolical act to generate more media attention.
Probably the former, and right about now whoever did it needs to reflect on the dangers of sin, even when supposedly for a greater good.
Unfortunately, Bishop Dunn did not take the opportunity to confirm the sentiment of the letter, and has naively said that he would not comment on issues in another diocese. I say unfortunately, because this issue is not restricted to the Wellington diocese.
The bishops of New Zealand must now get together and make a broader statement on this issue, rather than leaving it as a matter for the diocese.
It appears that if they don't, some-one will for them.
Related Link: Church Probes Hoax Letter
*Update 6:32PM - corrected Bishop Dunn's title. The dangers of brain dump and run.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
10 January 2008
Kiwi Friends of Israel
Blog media releaseGroup concerned by Auckland protestA recently formed pro-Israel advocacy group, Kiwi Friends of Israel, says an Auckland protest against the situation in Gaza was hijacked by extremists.
The protest's leaders led chants of "Support the Intifada!" and "Allahu Akhbar!", as well as some protesters brandishing signs with the Star of David alongside a Nazi Swastika. One protestor was also seen wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "9/11 was an inside job". Another sign described the biblical claim that Jews were the "chosen people" as "bullshit"
"This sort of hate speech does nothing to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It's the sort of extremism that undermines rational debate," says Kiwi Friends of Israel.
The word intifada means rebellion or uprising in English, and refers to the Second or al-Aqsa Intifada, referring to the wave of Palestinian terrorism since 2000.
Allahu Akhbar is an Arabic phrase meaning "God is Great" and has commonly been associated with Islamic extremism and terror. It features on the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran and was chanted during the execution of American citizens Nick Berg and Daniel Perle.
"The organisers of the protest should front up and say whether or not they support this behaviour, and if they don't they should apologise and condemn it," says the group.
What an idiot (the man in the photograph). The linking of the Holocaust to the war going on right now between Israel and Hamas has absolutely nothing to do with mass extermination and Nazi ideology.
I blame the education system.
Well, no, it's more than just lack of education. It's a twisting of reality that makes people think that it is acceptable to link Nazism and Israel together.
There's more than just the physical battle at work here - this attack is spiritual, and most people are completely unaware and vulnerable.
UPDATE: It's very easy for anti-Israeli sentiments to escalate into violence against Jewish people. In Europe, there have already been a number of incidents. Let's hope and pray that anything like what is occurring overseas does not happen here.
Related link: Jews in Europe targeted as anger grows ~ MSNBC
In recent years there has arisen a new atheism that represents a direct attack on Western Christianity. Books such as Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great, and Sam Harris' The End of Faith, all contend that Western society would be better off if we could eradicate from it the last vestiges of Christianity. But Christianity is largely responsible for many of the principles and institutions that even secular people cherish -- chief among them equality and liberty.Read the rest of the article at: Created Equal: How Christianity Shaped The West ~ Catholic Education Resource Center
When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal," he called the proposition "self-evident." But he did not mean that it is immediately evident. It requires a certain kind of learning. And indeed most cultures throughout history, and even today, reject the proposition. At first glance, there is admittedly something absurd about the claim of human equality, when all around us we see dramatic evidence of inequality. People are unequal in height, in weight, in strength, in stamina, in intelligence, in perseverance, in truthfulness, and in about every other quality. But of course Jefferson knew this. He was asserting human equality of a special kind. Human beings, he was saying, are moral equals, each of whom possesses certain equal rights. They differ in many respects, but each of their lives has a moral worth no greater and no less than that of any other. According to this doctrine, the rights of a Philadelphia street sweeper are the same as those of Jefferson himself.
This idea of the preciousness and equal worth of every human being is largely rooted in Christianity. Christians believe that God places infinite value on every human life. Christian salvation does not attach itself to a person's family or tribe or city. It is an individual matter. And not only are Christians judged at the end of their lives as individuals, but throughout their lives they relate to God on that basis. This aspect of Christianity had momentous consequences.
Though the American founders were inspired by the examples of Greece and Rome, they also saw limitations in those examples. Alexander Hamilton wrote that it would be "as ridiculous to seek for [political] models in the simple ages of Greece and Rome as it would be to go in quest of them among the Hottentots and Laplanders." In The Federalist Papers, we read at one point that the classical idea of liberty decreed "to the same citizens the hemlock on one day and statues on the next ... ." And elsewhere: "Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob." While the ancients had direct democracy that was susceptible to the unjust passions of the mob and supported by large-scale slavery, we today have representative democracy, with full citizenship and the franchise extended in principle to all. Let us try to understand how this great change came about.
Friday, January 9, 2009
And also in the following letter to the Herald by Bishop Dunn -
The Archbishop of Wellington has apologised for the actions of a clergyman who attacked a memorial to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin.
In a statement released yesterday, Archbishop John Dew moved to distance the church from Father Gerard Burns' actions during a Gaza conflict protest in the capital on Tuesday.
"Father Burns was acting on his own initiative, and did not carry out his protest as a representative of the Catholic Church in New Zealand," Archbishop Dew said.
"I offer an apology for Father Burns' actions and make this apology to all those who were offended at the desecration of the Rabin monument."
Auckland's Catholic Bishop Patrick Dunn has also joined calls for Father Burns to apologise for desecrating the memorial to Mr Rabin.
Speaking as a long time advocate for Interfaith dialogue and co-operation, I believe Father Gerard Burns' actions are irresponsible and have potentially done great damage. I believe he owes an apology to the New Zealand public, the Jewish Community and to his colleagues in the Catholic clergy.
I keep forgetting it's Friday, so almost didn't do this post.
It is Friday, isn't it?
I just feel like a new creation today. Everything is new. It's Day One, and I'm beginning again. For the Catholics out there, I've just been to Confession last night, and received the Lord this morning. I'll stuff it up soon enough, but for now I'm enjoying where I am.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I thought we recently had an elections in this country?
Whenever an opposition back-bencher makes a comment, are the headlines always going to lead with "New Zealand responds..."?
Perhaps this is just to help Ms Clark's resume look more current?
Related Link: Scoop escalates New Zealand response
"Wellington has a long tradition of including surrounding neighbourhoods as a source for tax revenue. With the Council's recent declaration that councils as far away as Manawatu and Carterton should be funding Te Papa and the Wellington Zoo, the theatre company obviously saw some metaphorical parallel with the current production and my life experience, although I can't think what that might be".
Originally, the play was to be seen as a drama, but as the script evolved, it is now rightly seen as a dark comedy. This was achieved by also casting Kerry in the role of Robin Hood.
"I'm prepared to rob from the poor to make them rich. This, I think adds an interesting twist to the old socialist tale. Whereas Robin Hood and his Merry Men were into wealth distribution along lines of total income, I'm all about wealth distribution along geographical fault lines, and the fault ends in Wellington.
There is also the intangible benefits to Wellington's mana, and by extension, the mana in Manawatu of having a Te Papa Castle serve as a beacon of knowledge and hope in these troubling times. We simply think intangible benefits can be translated as tangible rates of taxation."
Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy was enthusiastic about the production:
"There are some fantastic jokes in the play, and Kerry delivers them in such a deadpan way, it's totally brilliant. For example, our current funding contribution towards the Wellington Arts Scene is $5,000. Kerry turns up asking for this to be increased to $1.5 million dollars. That's hilarious, and I'll be explaining the jokes to my ratepayers as soon as we understand the punchline."
Lower Hutt Mayor David Odgen is more cautious in his praise for the Nottingham Sherrif:
"I've actually got an important part in this play, so I don't want to give away too much. However, when Kerry (posing as Robin Hood) turns up near the Melling Overbridge asking for nearly double our current $2.6 million payoff, I (as Little John) take to her with a stick, and after a fierce battle knock her into the Hutt River.
This water fight becomes symbolic of the water supply the Hutt Valley costs and sells to the people of Wellington. To put it in an international context, think of water as gas, Wellington as Poland and the Ukraine, the Hutt Valley as Russia and the approaching recession as the coming winter. The play Kerry is acting in is definitely to be seen as a tale in parts, and ACT II will be very interesting."
Kerry Prendergasts final comment was simply:
"Some people can't see Sherwood forest for the trees."
From the DomPost today:
The proposal to get the Greater Wellington City Councils to contribute [millions of dollars] to the running costs of facilities such as Te Papa, Wellington Zoo and the Carter Observatory has been labelled "silly" and "shortsighted".Technically, the expenditure on the Museums and Zoo doesn't go down, they just transfer the costs of running it to other Councils.
It would see all ratepayers in Porirua, Kapiti Coast and Hutt Valley - as well as southern Wairarapapa, Carterton and Manawatu - contribute toward Wellington City Council's aim to cut between 3 per cent and 5 per cent a year from its operating expenditure. --DomPost A2
As the recession hits, we need to have a close look at how government organisations behave. They have the power to simply raise taxes to match whatever they want to spend. If that comes at a time when job security is low, unemployment high and money hard to find, I suggest the wisest council for the council would be to resist raising taxes and think again.
Indeed, the right wing mantra of "taxation is theft" may find some resonance when local government behaves in this manner and Ms Prendergast may find work at Downstage - as the Sherrif of Nottingham in a Wellington reenactment of Robbing from the Hoods a defining moment in her career.
I noticed a letter to the editor the other day wondering what the 527 staff of Te Papa did to keep the museum running. He noted that in the company he worked for, it took 300 or so employees to run 12 branches across New Zealand, 3 of them 24/7. It made for an interesting question.
The times ahead call for kiwi ingenuity, pragmatic decisions and some thinking outside of the civic square. Raising regional taxes is lazy, immoral and unjustifiable in the present circumstances.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Monkey has an interesting survey in his sidebar. I'll repeat the question here, and would be interested in any comments rational folk care to make:
Which is most likely to reduce crime?
- harsher sentences
- freely available contraception
- freely available abortion
- a stable marriage
National have been off running, rushing and pushing legislation through with ill-considered haste. I couldn't be bothered keeping up. If only they removed bad legislation as quickly.
The world-wide financial crisis continued to dominate, with a 40 billion dollar pyramid scheme coming to light. Just the kind of thing that gives capitalism a bad name. To many, capitalism is just another word for greed. That applies as much to the financial institutions and top level management as it does their traditional enemies - the communists, anarchists and too frequently, even the socialist. Until we resolve the issue of greed, capitalism (to mis-use the term) will over-promise and under-deliver. The danger is that the pendulum swings too far the other way of course, which is why you will see from me as much defense as criticism, depending upon the context.
Finally, we ended the year with Israel cracking under the pressure of daily rocket fire. Amazingly, they've managed to take out some of the bad guys! Not surprisingly, they have also managed to kill many innocent people. We (democratic countries and the western world) really need to get to grips with some better counter-terrorism strategies. Shock, awe and mass destruction doesn't work when the combatants hide amongst the children. It creates more enemies and martyrs than it destroys.
Although that point might be moot given that Israel is targeted for destruction irrespective of what they do. Solution? Don't look at me. I have no idea. I support their right to self defence. I am distressed so many innocents are being killed. Rock and hard place.
The United Nations is predictably useless, as usual. As George Orwell so rightly pointed out, we can often reverse the name of the government (or quasi-government) organisation to arrive at the truth of the matter. Thus, the dis-united Nations provides some inkling as to why it is governed in treacle and acts in marshmallow. Time for some serious reform. How about trimming some of the membership this year? Let's start with Zimbabwe. Why should they have a vote and a voice until they can perform to a standard, as low as that would have to be for the UN to continue to exist?
But I digress. This post is about the blog stats, to save Tim of Tumeke some time. so let's lay it out and get on with 2009. This could be a pretty tough year, yet at this stage I feel optimistic. What's that saying? "Confidence is something you feel just before you actually understand the situation." Sounds about right. Nevertheless, I wish all our readers a Happy and Prosperous 2009.
Stats for December 2008:
A. Visitors: 4,211 (down from 6,323)
B. Pageloads: 6,619 (10,856)
C. Average Daily Unique Visits: 136 (210)
D. Alexa World Ranking: 354,985 (last month approx 350,000)
E. Alexa NZ Ranking: 743 (last month approx 650)
F. Technorati Authority: 51 (55)
G. Technorati Ranking: 109,939 (109,900)
H. Number of Posts: 35 (62)
I. Average Weekly Posts: 8 (14)
J. Average of Highest Weekly Comments: 33 (45)
TUMEKE SCORE (C)136 + (F)51 + (I)8 + (J)33 = 228 (324)
Ranking previous months: [XX,24,23,15,22,21,19,18,16,22]
Scores Previous Months: [324,301,330,367,280,327,329,343,362,263]
Note: Sometimes the scores Tumeke record are a few points out from my recordings, as Tumeke may check Technorati and Alexa ratings several days after EOM, and they tend to fluctuate to some degree.
“I think in 20 years’ time we will look back at this whole climate change debate and ask ourselves how on earth were we ever conned into spending the billions of pounds which are going into this without any kind of rigorous examination of the background, the science, the implications of it all. Because there is now a degree of hysteria about it, fairly unformed hysteria I’ve got to say as well.I can't wait until NZ politicians start dumping the climate change religion that we've taken on in recent years.
Related Link: Environment minister Sammy Wilson: I still think man-made climate change is a con ~ Belfast Telegraph
Friday, January 2, 2009
A spokesperson from the Corrections Department explains:
"We release the prisoner into a room with a cute cat, a puppy or a hamster. Over the next few days we monitor him closely. If he beats the small animal to death or tortures it we note that on his evaluation form, and try an animal with bigger eyes or a twitchier nose and whiskers. We leave flavorful morsels for him to feed the critter with, thus establishing an inseparable bond based on trust and love.
Following this, we place additional equipment in the room: a catnip toy; piece of cheese, a small chewy ball perhaps and an axe or hammer.
Another prisoner is subsequently placed in the same environment and begins to make unusual facial expressions at the animal. He may suggest unlikely sexual connections between the subject and the animal, especially if the subject is a rapist. He may wave his arms in a threatening manner in the general direction of the cuddly pet.
At this point the prisoner due for parole will either engage in a productive dialog demonstrating conflict resolution skills and finding a mutually satisfactory solution to ensuring the ongoing welfare of his adopted animal, or he will fly into an uncontrollable rage and stab the prisoner repeatedly unless otherwise prevented.
Accordingly, we send a third prisoner in the room with the objective of preserving the victims life. We have practiced this manoeuvre repeatedly and are pleased to say the third prisoner often enters the room within 5 minutes of the initiation of the attack. I believe the threat of a taser blast helps in this regard.
Results have been excellent. On our first trial we uncovered a homicidal maniac we were about to release back into the community. Although he had assured us he was fully reformed, we now suspect he may have fibbed. He is being held back and this will obviously have some impact on his parole eligibility, although what impact, is too early to say at this time."
Related Link: Prisoners stabs cellmate over scared cat
Update: The actual case that sparked this post may not be an issue of parole, but simply a long term prisoner finally reaching the end of their sentence. But what a great idea, eh? (And now he has more than likely stuffed up his chances. You think that is stupid?)
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Quality of Life
Last night, my wife and I were sitting in the living room watching a program about palliative care and I said to her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."
She got up, unplugged the TV and then threw out my beer.
A fire fighter is working on the engine outside the station when he notices a little girl next door in a little red wagon with little ladders hung off the sides and a garden hose tightly coiled in the middle.
The girl is wearing a fire fighter's helmet. The wagon is being pulled by her dog and her cat. The fire fighter walked over to take a closer look.
"That sure is a nice fire truck," the fire fighter says with admiration.
"Thanks" the girl says.
The firefighter looks a little closer and notices the girl has tied the wagon to her dog's collar and to the cat's testicles.
"Little Partner", the fire fighter says, "I don't want to tell you how to run your rig, but if you were to tie that rope around the cat's collar too, I think you could go faster"
The little girl replies thoughtfully, "You're probably right, but then I wouldn't have a siren."
Mary Clancy goes up to Father O'Grady's after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears.
He says, "So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?"
She says, "Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My husband passed away last night."
The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me, did he have any last requests?"
She says, "That he did, Father..."
The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary?"
She says, "He said, 'Please Mary, put down that gun!'
A man walked into a Chicago bank and handed a teller a note that read "Be Quick Be Quit (quiet). Give your cash or I'll shoot."
He got about $400 from the teller but mistakenly left half of his note, written on his October payslip, behind.
Investigators found the other half outside the bank's front doors, complete with his name and address.
You think that's stupid?
Well, Che Guevara wrote copious notes on just how brutal he was, and signed his name to it.
You think that's stupid?
The left wing intelligensia (such as it is) and gay groups around the world are intent on idolizing him anyway.
You think that's stupid?
Well, let's wait and see what happens with Steven Soderbergh's latest Che film, which as far as I can tell may be a rehash of previous movies he did on Che stitched into one big one [any-one know].
Soderbergh fuels the inevitable debate:
Che's "dream of a classless society, a society that isn't built on the profit motive, is still relevant. The arguments still going on are about his methodology."
Yes indeed. Arguments abound on the internet on Che, the nice guy marxist revolutionary versus Che the terrorist committed to starting world war III. We are tempted to forget that "methodology" is simply another word for murder.
Soderbergh has a fairly good reputation for movie making, and has apparently portrayed Che realistically along the lines of ruthless rather than idealistic.
This movie may well fire the ongoing debate on those that criticise the western way of life to the point that all other alternatives are excusable because "the west" made them that way, and those that see the dangers in glorifying Che because the revolutionary idea of being anti-establishment offer a better way of life once the blood is mopped from the floors.
It doesn't help that blood gets spilled no matter what we do. Whilst we get our heads around the latest events in the Gaza, perhaps we could at least agree that Che Guevara represents a "disproportionate response" to whatever the problem is.
You think that's stupid?
Checkout the Che Guevara merchandise at The Che Store. Some people want to advertise their stupidity.
Related Link: Hollywood celebrates Che Guevara
NZC Previous Post: Was Che Guevara Evil?
Hattip: No Minister and Che! The Corrupt, Communist Killer