Sunday, August 31, 2008
Then I learnt about Greenpeace's local campaign called BE THE CHANGE that relates to environmental problems we are experiencing as a human rights issue. Call me stupid but I was initially confused how they relate to eachother. Turns out climate change isnt just fun folly for polar bears, 'sluggish' islands and the apocalypse. And human rights isnt a glam affair reserved for third-world children, prisoners of war or dem poor tsunami prone countries miles away. Even our own township of Kaeo (population 500) in Northland is being forced to consider relocation due to being smashed with floods twice in 4 months, what many deam NZ's first major taste of climate change.
So big business stopping us from cleaning up the planet is taking lives and threatening geography much sooner than we thought huh - so we head into human rights territory as these eco shifts become more violently obvious and people other than 'hippies' are allowed to be pissed off.
On top of this one of our own Mental Detoxers Cat Gwynne is going to Tuvalu this month to undertake a long-term project once a year for what could be up to 5 years (awesome). I look forward to knowing more on this whenua and how this island is being actually effected on a day-to-day basis.
THEN - snap - I meet lawyer Vanushi Walters who is working on a fascinating thesis. She is researching and asking that the Geneva Convention explores and defines the rights of the 'environmental refugee' such as the people effected in these atols. So far they have the same rights as those countries effected by natural disasters, but unlike them, they don't qualify for direct aid. Hence Vanushi's passion for defining the entitlements.
Fun fact: did you know that NZ will be accepting 11,000 people from the Pacific over the next 10 years who lose their land or choose to migrate due to such issues. Did you know that Australia refuses to take any. Kia ora for that. Reminds me of the 2001 elections when refugees from Afghanistan were refused to land on the shore of xenophobic Australia and NZ took them all. To justify rejecting the graphic display of the desperate drowning TAMPA boat - John Howard lied and said they were throwing their babies overboard in order to get re-elected. Kia ora for that.
And to top off all my psychic synergy and everything is connected buzz, I meet a lady who left Australia and never went back over that very issue. Here's a video to creep you out and make you angry in case you'd forgotten. Ka kite!
Deadline tonight for Treaty claims
Midnight tonight is the deadline for Maori to lodge historical claims over Treaty breaches with the Waitangi Tribunal. But while National and Labour say the deadline is good for iwi and the country, the Maori Party says it would revisit the issue if it was part of the next government. Tomorrow the tribunal will still have jurisdiction over contemporary breaches, but any claim relating to a Crown act or omission before September 21, 1992, has to be filed today. If it is not lodged the tribunal cannot investigate because of a 2006 amendment to the 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act which set the deadline. Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell said while he wasn't adverse to a cut-off point for historical grievances, September 1 was picked in a political environment which was more concerned about winding up the the so-called "Treaty industry's gravy train", rather than for any concern for settling claims justly, he said.
Why force a cut off? Other than a belief that the process is one giant gravy train grievance industry which is just a talkback fantasy, why put the justice element of all of this at risk? Because Labour need some make up for this election to mask some of the massive backward steps Labour have taken with Maori, ever since Don Brash’s ‘Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaori get too much’ bullshit which fueled a massive garden varity provincial bigotry to spark to life, Helen has always allowed National to race bait and set the tune for her jig, rather than standing up to beige NZ, Helen has capitulated every time since Orewa reminded her that red necks can still become enflamed. That’s no excuse for not debating the issue and winning it, but it does explain this move.
Media ban likely at 'anti-terror raids' hearing
Lawyers for those arrested in controversial anti-terrorism raids last October are expected to request a complete media ban at today's depositions hearing. A ban is already in place preventing media from recording or filming the hearing at Auckland District Court on the grounds that there are serious security issues. Nineteen of the 20 arrested face charges under the Arms Act, with one also facing a cannabis charge. The last person will have his case heard in Tauranga in November. The group was arrested after police raids last October which centred on the Bay of Plenty settlement of Ruatoki. Several of those arrested in the raids are Maori, including prominent Tuhoe activist Tame Iti. Police alleged he was running military-styled training camps in the Urewera Ranges. However, the Solicitor-General ruled against the application from police to charge him and others under the Terrorism Suppression Act. At this week's hearing, the Crown will seek to prove a "prima facie" case against each of the accused to show they have a case to answer before a jury.
This will be a fascinating case, the TSA was a piece of legislation that should never have been passed and was roundly criticized by the Greens and the Maori Party when it went through as a fools piece of legislation that the Police used as a fishing expedition to record evidence that couldn’t be used which was then released to the public via the Dominion Post. I said that when the evidence that was recorded via surveillance as opposed to bugging was released in this firearms case, those photos of activists running around with semi-automatic rifles would go down like a sack of shit with middle NZ. Tama Iti and his merry militia are not terrorists and never were terrorists and I didn’t agree with the Police tactics in land as steeped in grievance as Tuhoe, but I also refuse to go along with activists ever picking up guns.
Guns don’t just kill people, they kill righteous ideas as well.
Friday, August 29, 2008
"Kim is a revolutionary figure in the sense that she's a woman who is articulating the same perverted thoughts that men have been rhyming about for years"
"Luckily for Kim, when neither her lyrics nor her beats suffice, she can always fall back on her ass"
"Punk rock feminists and rappers like Li’l Kim operate
outside female music traditions by virtue of their masculine genres, their unbeautiful aural presentations, and use of dirty and sexuality explicit words"
Art Theory in Music
"The more Lil' Kim distorted her natural beauty to become a cartoonlike caricature of whiteness, the larger her success"
ROCK MY SOUL - Bell Hooks
"People might say she’s empowered, but really she’s just recreating male fantasies by getting her nose and her boobs surgically altered. Lil Kim isn’t even known so much for her songs as she is for her hypersexual persona"
In her own freaky way, Lil Kim is as shocking and in your face as Courtney Love ever was. The thing is, she works in a milleu that isn't dominated by brooding (white) guitar boys, but by gangsta rap boys. Accordingly, her musical reaction differs as well.
THIRD WAVE FEMINISM
And just to confuse or confirm the subject even further for you, check out this post-modern head-fuck of a video (which the artist conceived herself). I appreciate why Miss Kimberely Jones is problematic in doctrine and why she is condemned by so many (especially in light of recent Detox posts where one could assume I would do exactly that). But as an artist of sorts (or a mere sexualised commodity to most) she blows my mind. Her fashion is at least comically inspired and lyrically I have to admit she is still my fav (sometimes rendering me frozen and bawking for up to 10 minutes - not many things can get that reaction from me). She's so controversial its embarrassing to say so, duh. She's offensively creative with her image plus she gets people arguing about the grey areas of power, sex, image, race, success and what they call "third-wave feminism". Just working out how I feel about our Kimmy for this post was confusing (which is why I chose to go there). The fact is pop-culture created this couture monster and she has inspired feminist thesis and femcees since Biggie introduced her to the rap world. Plus at the end of the day its just fucked up show biz right?
Li'l Kim: somehow inspiring non-stop intellectual fist-fights for over 10 years.
ps the weird pop ups and text in the vid aint me
Thursday, August 28, 2008
By Fidaa Abed
Published in the San Diego Union Tribute on August 15, 2008
As a young Palestinian from Gaza, I had been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to study at the University of California San Diego on a Fulbright scholarship. The chance to escape Gaza's confines and immerse myself in an American education was deeply thrilling. With Israel controlling Gaza's border exits, air space and sea access – notwithstanding its “pullout” of 2005 – I imagined the long, open roads of the United States and its people's unchallenged freedom of movement.
I love my people and my homeland, but a young person needs opportunities. These are far more abundant in the United States than in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Last week, I landed in Washington, D.C., brimming with optimism. Upon arrival, I was whisked into a separate room. An American official informed me that he had just received information about me that he could not reveal. However, it required him to put me on the next plane home. I was shocked. And I was taken aback at the cruelty of snatching away my educational dreams at the last possible moment.
My mistreatment was particularly unexpected because in late May, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice learned that I and six other Fulbright students were being stripped of our Fulbright scholarships, she leapt to our assistance. One by one, Israel let other Palestinians Fulbright scholars out of Gaza, and they made their way to American universities. Then I was mysteriously singled out for last-minute denial based on “secret evidence.” Two others had their visas canceled on account of secret evidence before they could even leave Gaza.
William J. Fulbright was the only U.S. senator to vote against funding for Sen. Joseph McCarthy's Un-American Activities Committee. It is ironic, then, that my remarkable educational opportunity is being stripped from me on the basis of the sort of secret – and fabricated – evidence that Fulbright opposed in the hands of McCarthy. Unopposed, McCarthy destroyed lives. I do hope the United States will side with the openness of Fulbright and not the fear-mongering of McCarthy.
Israel routinely locks up Palestinians based on secret charges. All sorts of outrageous claims can be leveled based on information that Israeli officials garner coercively. Could the secret evidence against me have been extracted through the torture of some young Palestinian? Was I even the one denounced, or someone with a similar name? Was my “crime” sharing a classroom or a lunchtime conversation with someone Israel believes poses a danger? I have no way of knowing, and thus no way of defending myself.
My education is my gateway to the future. The master's degree I would have earned at UC San Diego in computer science certainly cannot be attained in Gaza. And I am not alone. Hundreds of Palestinian students with dreams of improving their lives are stagnating intellectually in Gaza. The doors to our open-air prison have largely been slammed shut.
Israel tightened economic restrictions in 2006 following the election victory of Hamas. Hoping to weaken Hamas, Israel has gradually tightened restrictions on freedom of goods and people from the Gaza Strip to the outside world, maintaining a near total blockade on some 1.5 million Palestinian civilians for more than a year.
Thankfully, I have received support from people around the world. Journalists have wanted to hear my story. The American officials who saw me in Amman and Jerusalem upon my return were friendly and seemed embarrassed by my predicament.
Despite my treatment, I know that most Americans are kind people who mean well. What happened to me runs contrary to the good will exhibited by the American people. Israeli policies that relegate Palestinians in Gaza to prison-like conditions and Palestinians in the West Bank to an apartheid-like existence do not advance the cause of peace. The United States should use its tremendous sway with Israel to advance the cause of freedom and equal rights for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
We Palestinians have been stripped of our land for 60 years. But with educational opportunity we have persevered and made what we could of our lives. Limiting our educational prospects only perpetuates our status as a subordinate people. Nothing is served by confining our best and our brightest to Gaza. A better future for everyone lies in unlocking the gates to Gaza and allowing us to learn and gain exposure to the broader world – with all of the challenges, controversies and diverse perspectives it offers.
Abed, recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, lives in the Gaza Strip.
It's a bi-monthly evening intended to foster new performative ideas from Auckland's artistic community.
It is completely inclusive, any genre of performance is acceptable and given a home.
It's designed to give the pieces of performance which wouldn't otherwise have a home, a place to be shown and watched.
The only requirement is that all pieces conform to between 0 and 8 minutes in length.
The evenings are structured with short films interspersed through the performances, and there is always something to lick off a spoon.
POP ALONG TO CROSS STREET STUDIOS ON SATURDAY NIGHT AND CHECK IT OUT. FEATURING IMPROVISATIONAL DANCE WORK BY VAL SMITH AND SARAH GAVINA CAMPUS.
Winston Peters - Going, going ...
The Serious Fraud Office probe into New Zealand First's finances announced late yesterday makes Winston Peters' suspension as a minister unavoidable. Mr Peters was defiant last night in the face of the announcement of an investigation into the fate of donations to his party, calling the inquiry "ridiculous in the extreme". However, the serious nature of the probe makes it impossible for him to hold a Government role as crucial as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
You can’t make this stuff up, the Serious Fraud Office, about to be voted out of existence next week in Parliament in a dissolution that has been criticized as being a move by the Police to adopt further powers under the guise of ‘Da gangs’, rather than any legitimate way to police organized crime seizes a moment to investigate Peters and possibly disrupt the legislative calendar before the election thus putting their execution off. The fact that it is the SFO at Peters throat is an irony so rich and creamy it could only be thickened by taxpayer gravy money. He is gone, he is so gone, he is gone burger, he is gone burger with fries. His goose is cooked, he’s fucked, so fucked.
What will Helen do?
She will sack him, they don’t have any more confidence and supply issues and she can string him up the second the ETS is passed, so it will still be November 8th election. Much has been made by the right of her ‘lying via omission’ but that’s weak, a Prime Minister knows a lot of things in confidence, she had his word against a claim and no further evidence, being aware of a conflict doesn’t make her responsible for it. Another claim is that Owen Glenns lawyer will drop some more bombshells that Helen wouldn’t want out and so she will dissolve Parliament, this is very far fetched. Glenn was fucked off with Winston lying, he’s dating Labour and just paid off Labour’s ugly flat mate, he’s got no love for the ugly flat mate, but is still going out with Labour. His aim is at Winston, not Clark.
Her reaction to this will be a critical factor in the publics perception, if she shows leadership and publicly executes him, it could show her as decisive, if she slaps him with a bit of wet celery Key wins the moment. FASCINATING just fascinating! For political junkies this really is heaven.
Some posts on Tasers
oh well, then lets have the police carrying sidearms permanently then! For f*cks-sake a taser is a much better option then a bullet.
- Gunshot to the torso
- Baton to the head
- Having your groin ravaged by a police attack dog
- Being tased.
Mates, I get what you are saying, you are trying to suggest that this is the best option in a bunch of bad options right? And that sure while the Taser isn't perfect it's better than being shot, batoned, pepper sprayed or dog set upon. What I'm saying is that point misses the much large issues at stake here.
1: The process was appalling, it wasn't as Amnesty International has pointed out, "rigorous, independent or impartial", you can't implement policy that has the potential to change the very nature of Policing that we have had in NZ since our formation as a country without the process being above total scrutiny? Why are you so keen to give Police more power without the proper over sight? Why is there such a rush to erode our civil liberties? Let's hold a rigorous and independent inquest into the issue before we agree to it.
2: Tasers have the ability to dramatically change the tactics police have to apply when negotiating a conflict situation, ill trained police who only do 19 weeks training are put on the street with something they believe is 'non-lethal' and you get a culture of over use of the taser and instead of negotiating with the public, they get a mentality too readily seen in cops overseas of an arrogant tone and presence of mind that demands immediate acceptance of their authority. That potent cocktail of superiority mixed with the lowered physical requirements to be a Police Officer these days has the potential of a fleet of Napoleon complex cops with a streak bordering on the cruel. I can foresee Tasers being used is Inappropriately as pepper spray has been, I can see people being tasered while in handcuffs, and that makes me feel ill.
3: The complaints process, why would we hand over more power to the Police when we have a complaints authority that is still 70% handled by other cops, so that it is still cops investigating cops – why not wait until the complaints process is 100% independent and completely transparent, why give the Police a weapon that is open to abuse by them when we don’t yet have a 100% transparent, uncensored and independent police complaints process?
I’m not against the Police having the equipment that makes their job safer and gives them the tools necessary to do their job, but I am against self interested processes that are focused on implementation rather than examination that can lead to predictable consequences in the way the Police can treat the Public when we don’t have an independent police complaints check and balance.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Why is Dominic Bowden interviewing Greg O’Conner and getting screwed for 5 long minutes on the issue of Tasers? It was the most unchallenged piece of police state propaganda with Bowden, who forgive me but wasn’t he the host of NZ Pop Idle? I never watched it, but isn’t that what he does, he’s the game show host who is now suddenly a Journalist? Great. So the ex host of NZ Pop Idle is interviewing the country’s Police Cheerleader, Greg O’Conner on the sudden move by the Police Commissioner to hand Police Tasers after an inquiry that Amnesty International described as not rigorous, independent or impartial. Dominic did his best, and I must admit that he’s been a lot less annoying than the other defects who tried co-hosting Breakfast during Paul Henry’s tour of capitalism (who would have thought such a small man could hide such a dearth of talent?) but he was so far out of his depth I almost dialed 111 for emergency services. Greg O’Conner is a terrifying prospect for everyone from hairdressers to paper delivery boys, he has the kind of self belief that made the Spanish Inquisition such a focused exercise in broken windows social policy, I imagine Greg has two of the most disciplined rottweilers known to man. He barely broke a sweat swatting Dominic aside and pulled a nasty face as if Dominic had just farted green mould when Dom had the temerity to ask if the Tasers were controversial. He didn’t discuss the 300 deaths in North America since the Tasers were introduced in 2001, he didn’t discuss the inquiry process and why Amnesty International was calling on a rigorous, independent or impartial inquiry into Tasers rather than simply the opinion of the Police, or why we should give Police Tasers when they can’t use pepper spray within their own procedures or that we still have a complaints process that is still 70% Police investigating Police? Um, no, Dom didn’t really get around to asking any of these questions. Pity. Great to see he got a gig after NZ Pop Idle though eh. Good for him. Neat. Tops. Gosh imagine if an actual Journalist had asked Greg actual questions and pushed right past the pulled faces and actually held him accountable to those very valid and serious concerns. But good for Dom.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Islanders 'drain on economy' report out-of-date - de Bres
An academic report describing Pacific Islanders as a drain on the economy relied on out-of-date data and was misleading, according to a review by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres. The report, Growing Pains: Evaluations and the Cost of Human Capital , was headed by economist Greg Clydesdale, of Massey University's management and international business department, and was released in May. The report said Pacific Island immigrants were less productive and less likely to contribute to economic growth. They had the highest unemployment in every age group, were less likely to start businesses, had lower rates of self-employment and were over-represented in crime statistics. In his review Mr de Bres said Dr Clydesdale's report contained "only a few paragraphs about Pacific peoples and relied on out-of-date data that gave a misleading impression of the situation". Peer reviews were critical of the report's academic standard and The Dominion Post, which originally carried the story, accepted a complaint about the accuracy of its headline and subsequently published a thorough feature on the issue, Mr de Bres said. "No evidence was provided to support the statement that they (Pacific people) were an underclass or a drain on the economy. They suffered disproportionately from the economic and social policies of the 80s and 90s. "Although they do continue to experience social and economic disadvantage their situation is generally improving and their economic, social and cultural contribution is significant," Mr de Bres said.
This research comes out from Massey University’s cash cow Northern branch, the large Columbian Drug Lord cocaine mansion look alike built in the very beige North Shore where the campus mascot is a large burning cross, so Massey proper were more bemused by the report than concerned when it first came out, but now that it is challenging their academic rigor the fun and games and well gelled Aryan haircut of the very crisp Dr Clydesdale are no longer a laughing matter. Garden variety bigotry is fine, but Massey needs to grow their overseas student numbers and these types of things never look good on the prospectus, I imagine Dr Clydesdale and his whining that he is the victim of Political Correctness will get shriller and shriller as he finds Massey slowly moves him further and further away. Perhaps a new campus on Stewart Island?
Monday, August 25, 2008
There is a general perception that Israeli travellers are blunt and aggressive, as well as angry bargainers who are so tightfisted with their money that they will haggle to the bitter end with Indian and Thai stallkeepers over what amounts to a few cents to them (but a few meals to the stallkeepers' families). Travellers and locals alike think that they are rude, and I myself have witnessed Israeli consumers in action, clicking their fingers at locals, barking orders in condescending tones, "please" and "thank you" seemingly missing from their vocab. And I've also seen some Israeli travellers who have exercised extreme indifference to the country and culture that they are travelling in, preferring to hang out in Israeli packs at purpose-built Israeli joints. This has led to the proliferation of "Israelis Not Welcome" signs by peaceful, usually tolerant peoples, such as the Nepalese in Nepal and the Tibetans in their exile town, McLeod Ganj, India. As a result of the McLeod backlash, Israelis have moved out to the satellite villages of Bhagsu and Dharamkot, set up especially for them by enterprising Indians, where they are greeted in Hebrew by the locals, eat hummus to their hearts' content, and lay in a weed-induced coma for months, if not years, conducting minimal relations with the local community. Israelis are now fighting disgruntled Indians in Dharamkot, and there have been riots at this once peaceful mountain spot. Hindu Indians love to make a buck, but even they are taking a stand against the all-night LSD and ecstasy-fuelled raves at the local waterfall, the destruction of local property, the incessant, thumping trance music. No wonder the Indian government has recently signed a deal with the Israeli government tightening the rules around Israelis obtaining Indian visas.
Other backpackers often theorise about why Israelis leave on their mass OE exodus straight after military service (three years for boys, two years for girls). The main consensus is that they must be traumatised by their wartime experiences, and feel fully justified in "escaping it all", strung out on drugs for months or even years in a foreign land, with hardly a nod to the locals. There is also a palpable sense of "how dare you question me", a sense of entitlement to "cope" with their situation in any way they please, or, as the Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir, put it: "The nations of Europe who did not help us during the Holocaust are not entitled to preach to us."
Although groups can be intimidating and difficult to get a peep out of if you don't speak Hebrew, I have approached the more amenable individual Israeli for a chat. The Israeli occupation is a touchy subject - speak with a young Israeli who has just served at your own peril. All of the Israelis I have met have, of course, fought the good fight against those pesky Palestinians. One of the things that continually strikes me is just how little dissent against the Israeli army there is amongst the Israeli backpackers that I have talked to. In fact, a quick Google search reveals that those extremely brave and admirable Israeli youths who have conscientiously objected to serving in the military have been thrown in jail.
The only traveller I’ve ever met who criticized the war, so indignant and traumatized was he that his government had made him kill Palestinians, was a backpacker in Bogota who had grown up in a kibbutz. Kibbutzes are small, Jewish, agricultural pockets in Israel, which operate based on the principles of socialism and equality. In other words, a system that challenges the capitalist, war-mongering style of government that most of us in the West are indoctrinated to accept without challenge. Noam Chomsky has cited the kibbutz as a successful example of anarchism. The guy was also the only Israeli I've met who has left his country for good after serving in the military. Perhaps this alternative way of living to the American consumer model had caused him to question Israel and to leave behind his beloved homeland?
An Israeli girl I met, who I was excited to learn considered herself "liberal", told me that she had been dating a Palestinian boy. I imagined her, bravely sneaking to a Palestinian refugee settlement camp every night, defying societal standards and the war for her love. In fact, her boyfriend was an Israeli citizen living in her town who eventually disappeared into the ether due to constant persecution by the Israeli authorities. She had kept the relationship secret from her parents and friends for years. By the time I talked to her, she said that she had given up on the idea, because the only way that it would work was if they both left Israel...and she was not willing to give up her family or her life for him. And to be honest, it was hormones, rather than the broader notion that Palestinians deserved a home too that had occupied her mind during their relationship. Being the truly "liberal' girl that she was, she had, of course, served in the Israeli army against the Palestinians for two years.
Her "liberal" views on the Israeli occupation were revealed when we walked past a poster outlining the record of human rights abuses meted out by the Chinese to the Tibetans. Sitting a little too close to home for comfort, she walked away from the poster in a huff, saying, "I refuse to read or believe such rubbish. There are two sides to every story. "
What “two sides” was she speaking of? As my partner likes to bring up in response to the phenomenon of the Israeli backpacker, "What about the Palestinian backpackers?" The answer is, there is no such thing. Israel (and the Quartet on the Middle East, consisting of the US, the EU, Russia, and the UN) have cruelly squeezed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip for years in order to isolate the democratically-elected Hamas (that’s right, the party that the Palestinian people chose). And after Israel illegally blockaded the Gaza Strip over a year ago, slashing electricity and fuel supplies and limiting the flow of humanitarian aid, 1.5 million Palestinians are starving to death, with Gaza's economy in tatters. Patients in desperate need of medical attention have died because they are not allowed to leave, students who have won scholarships to foreign universities, including the prestigious Fulbright, have been stopped from taking these up, their brains stagnating and their hopes of a bright future slipping away from them. As Michael Shaik of the humanitarian group "Australians for Palestine" puts it, "Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip is one of the great crimes of the 21st century, which the governments of the West and the Arab League are abetting by their silence."
Part of the Israeli story is that Uncle Sam's got their backs. Yasser Arafat once said “The weapons used are…American helicopters, American armoured cars, American missiles, American shells, American bombs.” So while Palestinians throw rocks at, ahem, Israeli tanks, the, ahem, Israeli government continues to develop nuclear weapons and build up an, ahem, Israeli military base that is strategically important in dealing with the Middle East problem to the Bush, McCain, Obama, or whichever administration happens to be the warlord in charge (they're all the same).
Another part of the Israeli story is that the words "never again", uttered after the Holocaust, have once again been forgotten, just as they were in Bangladesh, East Timor, Cambodia, Guatemala, Argentina, the carving up of Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Darfur, and potentially Tibet.
But in the case of Palestine, the irony is just too bittersweet for words.
Nats do fast u-turn over road-tolls gaffe
National is reversing away from an embarrassing blunder by one of its most senior MPs, Maurice Williamson, who now says he was wrong to suggest drivers might pay road tolls of $50 a week if his party becomes the government. National swung into full damage-control mode yesterday to limit fallout from Mr Williamson's weekend comments, which leader John Key has disowned and political opponents have seized upon. Mr Williamson said on Sunday that he didn't know anyone who wouldn't pay a $3 to $5 toll for a new road if they were going to save 40 minutes of commuting time - an equation that potentially added up to $50 a week. He also named five major projects that could be tolled, including the next harbour crossing in Auckland and the Waterview tunnel. But yesterday, Mr Williamson issued a statement to "clarify" that National would not be imposing $50 a week of road tolls on motorists as he had freely discussed in interviews. "I am passionate about roading projects and unfortunately let my enthusiasm go unchecked," he said. "In the National Party we are in the business of reducing people's costs, not increasing them." The gaffe is the latest in a string of mistakes in major policy areas that National MPs have had to correct or clarify in recent months. From KiwiSaver employer contributions to the sale of state-owned Kiwibank, National leader John Key has had to publicly say his MPs got it wrong three times since late May. Yesterday, he said Mr Williamson had got "overexcited" and his comments were not National's policy.
Ouch, Key spat out Maurice ‘got excited’ about 4 times in his interview as he publicly spanked Maurice for releasing policy on Agenda. How come we have to always wait 24 hours for National to clarify their position away from what they’ve just revealed. See why 50% of NZers polled last week don’t believe National, everytime we see some of their user pays agenda Key quickly smothers it, 3 times now since May. So what is it National, $50 a week for tolls on motorways built with our taxes which we will have to borrow for and pay interest on or not? How could Maurice get it wrong, he’s a front bencher and possible Infrastructure Minister so how did he get the entire policy completely wrong, or is it the real policy but Key doesn’t want it out yet? How do we really know what National are actually standing for when they don’t seem to know what they are standing for?
You can’t make this stuff up.
Afghan President pardons three found guilty of gang-rape
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pardoned three men found guilty of gang-raping a woman in the northern province of Samangan. The woman, Sara, and her family found out about the pardon only when they saw the rapists back in their village. "Everyone was shocked," said Sara's husband, Dilawar, who, like many Afghans, uses only one name. "These were men who had been sentenced by the Supreme Court, walking around freely." Sara's case highlights concerns about the close relationship between the Afghan President and men accused of war crimes and human rights abuses. The men were freed discreetly but the rape was public and brutal. It took place in September 2005, in the run-up to Afghanistan's first democratic parliamentary elections.
Some of my ‘friends’ here criticized my less than enthusiastic embrace of the murder of civilians in Afghanistan and my lack of faith in America to win the war, I argued that there isn’t a military solution to this, but my ‘friends’ here decried that as anti-amerikkkanism and we should rally around and ignore the murdered civilians because we need to win. So here we have an example of what exactly the West is fighting for, corrupt warlords and a President who is letting pack rapists walk free, I only thought we had to put up with that in our own country with our own Police force, but apparently the West needs to put up with it from regimes we prop up in countries we invade now as well, and here was me believing the hype that the war in Afghanistan was all about feminism and giving women rights. There is no military victory here, none. We will lose this war, just like every country who has invaded Afghanistan has lost this war, why did we think we were so fucking special?
Remind me again why the West is in Afghanistan killing civillians? Hunting Osama Bin Laden? Women's rights? Pick one and make up a justification.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The various versions of the programme of this Festival, taking place over ten venues, was changed daily, making most written information frustratingly inaccurate. As such, much of my experience was right-place-right-time, but much was missed. Whilst catching the Solomon Island rock band, Black Rose from Fiji and a young Tongan rapper perform in the Jam House and being thoroughly moved by the short film Suffering without Sufferage from Guam, as a young dancefloor fiend from south Auckland, finding the Bowling Club had to be a beautiful highlight of this journey.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Since the earliest encounters between Europeans and indigenous populations, history can show us that women of 'colour' have been portrayed as being lascivious, seductive, alluring, tempting and over-sexualized. During early colonial times when European travellers to Africa came across scantily clad women for the first time, the semi-nudity was of course interpreted through a pakeha lense as being lewd and sexually overt, a misinterpretation that would go on to influence the lives of 'coloured' women throughout history.
A particular historical atrocity that can be considered as being paramount to this stereotype is the case of Saarjite Baartman. Baartman, a young Khosian woman from Southern Africa who became known as the 'Hottentot Venus', was brought to Europe from Cape Town in 1810 by an English ship's surgeon who wished to PUBLICLY EXHIBIT the woman's steatopygia, her enlarged buttocks. Her physique, particularly her steatopygic appendage, became the object of popular fascination when Baartman was exhibited naked in a cage at Piccadilly, England.
The spectacle of Baartman's body, however, continued even after her death at the age of twenty-six. Pseudo-scientists interested in investigating primitive sexuality DISSECTED AND CAST HER GENITALS IN WAX. Anatomist Georges Curvier presented Baartman's dissected labia before the Academie Royale de Medecine, in order to allow them to see the nature of the labia. Curvier and his contemporaries concluded that Baartman's oversized primitive genitalia was physical proof of the African women's PRIMITIVE SEXUAL APPETITE. Baartman's genitalia continued to be exhibited at La Musée de l'Homme, the institution to which Curvier belonged, long after her death.
...And I would argue that this type of stereotyping still thrives in our current social contexts. It may be more invisible, it may be disguised behind Arts degrees and pseudo-liberalism, but it's still there. And not only does it exist, it is also a stereotype that is reinforced and played out by 'coloured' women themselves. I AM ONE OF THOSE. AND I DO IT COZ ITS EASY.
What interests me in all this, is the historical projection of the white male's desire onto these women, and a reciprocated desire by these women to be validated by these men via a sexualization of their identites. I will leave you with a couple of slamming and extremely controversial quotes belonging to an old school philosopher - Frantz Fanon - who wrote about this projection in early colonial times. It's a fairly dated observation, but brave as fuck and deeply resonating:
"Paridoxically, the racial gaze produces a twisted recognition. The White racist, who subjugated, enslaved and colonized African peoples, transfers domination into sexual fantasy. He desires AND fears the Black, who is perceived as the source of virility. White civilizations sublimation of libidinous drives, primarily sexual, finds an outlet in the production of the Black as sexual Other - deviant, oversexed, and sensuous. The Black male is synonymous with the penis, to be set alongside the 'Hottentot Venus' with an enlarged clitoris and buttocks. The gaze is simultaneously haunted by hate, fear, anxiety and sexual desire of the Black body. The racist gaze thus suffers from double consciousness, the consciousness of superiority and the consciousness of inadequacy, incompleteness, and incompleteness that is manifest in the visual desire of the Other, the Black Other."
"The racial economy of the colonial city, which has been experienced since childhood, becomes flesh in the woman of colour's subjective certainty. She wants to live in a mansion on the hill, dominating the city, and that can be made real by magically turning White. For the Black, there is no way out of the social structure except through the White world."
Ever watched Beauty & The Geek and wanted to kill yourself afterwards? Ever been hypnotised by a magazines hot Hollywood list and secretly known it was bullshit poison? Basically there's a cool project that has been going for a couple of years in the US where the only way you're deamed a babe is if you're an awesome brainy person as well, ca-razy. Lady activists, artists, scientists, community workers all getting props instead of quasi-rad sluts on meth, it's pretty awesome and a minor relief.
"The REAL hot 100 is a grassroots media project that recognizes and celebrates young women who are working to make the world a better place and provides the resources and networking necessary to help these remarkable women succeed. The REAL hot 100 list is compiled of women who best represent the intelligence, drive and diversity of young women in the U.S. The REAL hot 100 website highlights the important -- but often overlooked -- work these women are doing to improve our world.
The Real Hot 100
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Shout out to Hamish Kuka (who i don't know or have ever met, but for some reason bo, i'm on your email list? word) who sent this to me...
It is a really moving story about a man who feels so much for one of the greatest human creations.....music.... and i think those of us who aren't 'sleeping' will really feel for this...
The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.
For more work by Sean Dunne; visit HERE
PEACE, ya dig.
...in this attractive beige building:
In Cologne, there are several mini-mayors and they are all controlled by the ober-mayor. I guess I have to get used to being a committed Bürger.
(Bürger means citizen).
And he will be my master.
On the wall in the immigration department, a poster reminded us of our ID photo requirements. Some Muslim women and actors out of the Matrix are clearly discriminated against.
Outdated hairstyles are also against the rules. German residents must not have hairstyles from 1992! Girlfriend!
On the way back home, we almost got re-directed in the subway to the social welfare court: but I don't think I'm quite at that point yet.
By international standards, the German welfare system is comprehensive and generous. However, not everyone benefits equally. In the mid-1990s, the so-called safety net was deficient for the lower-income strata and the unemployed. It was also inadequate for persons needing what Germans term "social aid," that is, assistance in times of hardship.
Despite the existence of a comprehensive interlocking social net, women face inequalities in accruing benefits in their own right because of periods spent rearing children or caring for an elderly parent. Divorced women also fare poorly because of the welfare system's provisions, as do widows, whose pensions are low.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Like us, these guys wanna be empowered by the TRUTH, not the lies that the corporate fat cats feed us to keep themselves on top and us as passive consumers.
Media Lens is a response based on our conviction that mainstream newspapers and broadcasters provide a profoundly distorted picture of our world. We are convinced that the increasingly centralised, corporate nature of the media means that it acts as a de facto propaganda system for corporate and other establishment interests. The costs incurred as a result of this propaganda, in terms of human suffering and environmental degradation, are incalculable.
In seeking to understand the basis and operation of this systematic distortion, we flatly reject all conspiracy theories and point instead to the inevitably corrupting effects of free market forces operating on and through media corporations seeking profit in a society dominated by corporate power. We reject the idea that journalists are generally guilty of self-censorship and conscious lying; we believe that the all-too-human tendency to self-deception accounts for their conviction that they are honest purveyors of uncompromised truth. We all have a tendency to believe what best suits our purpose - highly paid, highly privileged editors and journalists are no exception.
Media Lens has grown out of our frustration with the unwillingness, or inability, of the mainstream media to tell the truth about the real causes and extent of many of the problems facing us, such as human rights abuses, poverty, pollution and climate change. Because much modern suffering is rooted in the unlimited greed of corporate profit-maximising - in the subordination of people and planet to profit - it seems to us to be a genuine tragedy that society has for so long been forced to rely on the corporate media for 'accurate' information. It seems clear to us that quite obvious conflicts of interest mean it is all but impossible for the media to provide this information. We did not expect the Soviet Communist Party's newspaper Pravda to tell the truth about the Communist Party, why should we expect the corporate press to tell the truth about corporate power?
We believe that media 'neutrality' is a deception that often serves to hide systematic pro-corporate bias. 'Neutrality' most often involves 'impartially' reporting dominant establishment views, while ignoring all non-establishment views. In reality it is not possible for journalists to be neutral - regardless of whether we do or do not overtly give our personal opinion, that opinion is always reflected in the facts we choose to highlight or ignore. While we seek to correct corporate distortions as honestly as possible, our concern is not to affect some spurious 'objectivity' but to engage with the world to do whatever we can to reduce suffering and to resist the forces that seek to subordinate human well-being to profit. We do not believe that passively observing human misery without attempting to intervene constitutes 'neutrality'. We do not believe that 'neutrality' can ever be deemed more important than doing all in our power to help others.
We accept the Buddhist assertion that while greed and hatred distort reason, compassion empowers it. Our aim is to increase rational awareness, critical thought and compassion, and to decrease greed, hatred and ignorance. Our goal is not at all to attack, insult or anger individual editors or journalists but to highlight significant examples of the systemic distortion that is facilitating appalling crimes against humanity: the failure to communicate the truth of exactly who is responsible for the slaughter of 500,000 Iraqi children under five; the silence surrounding the motives and devastating consequences of corporate obstruction of action on climate change; the true nature, motives and consequences of 'globalisation'; the corporate degradation and distortion of democratic society and culture. Our hope is that by so doing we can help all of us to free ourselves from delusions. In the age of global warming and globalised exploitation these delusions threaten an extraordinary, and perhaps terminal, disaster - they should not be allowed to go unchallenged...
...We hope that this website will help to turn bystanders into compassionate actors.
Calling all former students, staff and parents of Bethlehem School, Tauranga (opened in 1883 as Te Paeroa Native School) to celebrate, with current pupils and families, 125 years of service to its community. To be held from Friday 7th November to Sunday 9th November 2008.
Registration forms and further information can be obtained from the school office
ph. (07) 576 4726
The 150th reunion for Rawene School will also be held during Easter 2009. The event, held over the weekend of April 11 and 12, promises to be a big occasion including formal commemoration events, entertainment, historical displays and a wide range of social activities.
Registration forms can be obtained from the School Secretary, Vicki Leef on 09-405-7885, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Rawene School, P.O.Box 59, Rawene. Registrations are $25.
Who look up and sway with the wind,
Who look down and dance with the shifting soils,
Who swim with the movement of the tides
Who seek the truth around them
And discover that we are,
And have always been in paradise.
The reflections of heaven on earth."
Jason Harrow was born in Scarborough, Ontario (in Toronto's east end), and raised by Jamaican immigrant parents. He later settled in the Oakwood-Vaughan neighbourhood, in Toronto's west end. Harrow started rapping at the age of eight and was winning competitions by the time he was 12. Also at the age of 12, he performed live and on stage for the first time, with Nelson Mandela in attendance during Mandela's first visit to Toronto. By 1993, he decided to change his alias "KoolAid", and went by the moniker "Kardinal Offishall" after being inspired by the great 17th century French politician Cardinal Richelieu.
His hometown, which he credits for reflecting "the cultural mosaic philosophy instead of the melting pot," seeps into his music: broad-reaching, deep-running.
On his album Not 4 Sale: "I first had the idea for a T-shirt I'd made a few years ago; it read "Not 4 Sale" and had a bar code on it. My idea was something provocative— that went beyond gender, went beyond race, went beyond what type of music you're into. And people would literally stop me on the street, telling me how dope the shirt was, how similarly they felt. The concept grew in my head based on that reaction. There's energy you can't buy— the essence of people that can't be bought or bottled, and lives within them. That's how I feel about myself—I can't be bought."
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
India is no paradise, but it does have (some) porous borders and the willingness to open its arms to asylum seekers and refugees, who squeeze into a country bursting at the seams with a population of 1.1 billion people. That's right, 1.1 billion. As opposed to New Zealand's 4.1 million.That reminded me of how New Zealand's attitude towards immigrants and asylum seekers (unless they happen to be minted) is tighter than a virgin's vajeen. Despite the fact that we have land to boot, more sheep than people, and love to ham up our carefully constructed image as clean, green and nice on the world stage.
I was discussing how selfish NZ/Western immigration policy can be with a German fellow in India when a baked, balding, 50-year old kiwi with a seemingly liberal demeanour and an "Asian" girlfriend (nowhere to be seen), piped up from his hammock.
"Yeah, but I can see why the NZ government would close its borders. There are too many fucking Asians in the country."
The entire group stopped in its tracks with the usual thoughts in such instances of "I didn't realise that New Zealand was racist. I thought that it was a really nice place," hanging in the air.
"What do you mean too many Asians?" I asked, slanting my eyes. "Have you checked the 2006 census results lately? About 68 percent of kiwis identify themselves as European, and about 9 percent as Asian."
"Yeah, well, have you walked around Auckland lately?! That place is crawling with Asians! I feel like a minority in my own country as a white guy."
Sigh. Kiwi male, with his (obviously trophy) generically "Asian" girlfriend, is addressing a NZ-born Chinese person with his concerns about how NZ is crawling with Asians. The rest of the international audience looked tense and positively mortified at his un-kosherness. Little did they know that this is the typical attitude of so many in NZ. And coming from a so-called kiwi hippie guy living in India with an "Asian" girlfriend. It made me depressed about going back to encounter Cantabrian rugbyheads who worship Richie McCaw as god and can sink heaps of piss, eh.
I wanted to loudly thank him for reminding me of the general climate in PC paradise that I had so blissfully forgotten abot in India's cultural melting pot. And such a boring reminder as well, not a shred of anything more original than the usual argument that has been doing the rounds since the poll tax was introduced.
Instead, I said, "Well, yes, actually I live in Auckland, and many of these "Asians" are temporary students who are actively encouraged to come to NZ by the government as part of the export education industry and pour billions of dollars into the economy. Most of them will go home afterwards, often cos they've had bad experiences integrating here, or cos NZ employers won't give them a chance. So you're safe, mi amigo."
I wasn't sure where this argument was going...I was talking about how shameful NZ's policy towards asylum seekers is in light of India's welcoming stance, which had little to do with the "Asians". But it did remind me that the NZ government lures Asian students to NZ in the tens of thousands, sucks them and their families of their moolah (often precious savings), with minimal support once they arrive, and minimal education to the NZ public (who obviously need it) about why these students are here, what benefits they are providing to the NZ economy, and that a smile and "hello, welcome to our country" wouldn't go astray either.
And that's just the fee-paying Asian students, never mind the asylum seekers. I dread to think what would happen if kiwi immigration policy ever grew a heart...then there'd be calls that there are "too many fucking asylum seekers in this country." And how damaging would that be to the trembling psyche of that minority group, the kiwi European?
Half doubt National's honesty
National is sky high in the polls but some New Zealanders are suspicious about the party's plans.
The latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll found many voters believe National is not being honest about its policies, including some of its own supporters.
But the party leader John Key is seen as relaxed, approachable and friendly.
"I intend to campaign on trust. I intend to be a prime minister that earns the trust of New Zealanders and I'm going to keep that trust," he says.
Critics are questioning National's honesty after secret recordings of senior MPs suggested they are planning changes, like selling Kiwibank, without telling the public.
ONE News asked voters in the poll whether National is being open about its plans.
Fifty per cent say "no", while 37% think they are. And a quarter of National's own supporters say they are not being honest.
"We only have one agenda, that's the one we talk about, which is to make New Zealand a prosperous, confident and successful nation," says Key.
National believes it can improve New Zealand's prosperity by funding new infrastructure and will increase borrowing to pay for that. Fifty two per cent of voters disagree with that plan while 39% agree.
There is a rumor that National have done their own internal polling in the wake of the secret taping and that it has hurt them hard and that they are in a panic, and this type of poll is now starting to bear the fruit of that panic – 50% of NZers do not believe National are being honest with their policies – 50% That is a staggeringly high number, and even National supporters don’t believe their party is being honest – so the question we have to start asking is why would we vote for a party that 50% of us don’t believe are being honest and even Nationals major policy plank, the sly borrowing for tax cuts under the mantel of ‘infrastructure’ is nor believed by 52% of the electorate.
This is the start of a sea change in opinion and this poll is the first wave.
PM warns on 'dirty' dangers
Overseas countries might exploit environmental concerns as new ways of creating trade barriers with exporters such as New Zealand, says Helen Clark. The Prime Minister, in a public dialogue with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, yesterday told an Australasian climate change and business conference in Auckland that New Zealand could not risk being seen as a "dirty producer". She said that as protective quotas and subsidies were knocked over, countries would look for new ways to create trade barriers. "I suspect they will be environmental," she said.
You suspect right Helen but I hardly call a $940 a ticket environmental conference attended by the largest polluters in the region will do anything more than the usual greenwash bullshit all the while the Arctic is predicted to be ice free by 2013. It’s like a crack dealer convention where they are discussing how to ban P – the crack dealers have no intention of banning P, but they want to look like they will, Government has to do less talking and more telling major polluters in our country that it is no longer business as usual.
Law may make rape suspects prove consent
Accused rapists who plan to argue that sex with their victims was consensual may have to prove in court what measures they took to gain consent. The proposal is one of three changes to sexual violence legislation being put forward by the Justice Ministry. "Changing the law would send an important message about community standards and about what the law expects," ministry documents say. "In particular, there would be a reminder that consent has to be obtained on each separate occasion."
Under the proposal, if a defendant claimed sex was consensual the courts would have to look at what steps had been taken to find out that consent had been given.
This is a great idea, how many times have we had rape suspects tell us all that it was consensual and haven’t had to prove how they gained that consent – under this change rape suspects would have to prove how they gained that consent, forcing all people to have lift their game when out on the pull, consent is actual consent, and under this change suspects will have to tell a Court exactly how the victim claiming rape was consensually agreeing to that sex, it will have major social implications as to what consent means and with the high level of sexual assault in this country that is a debate that is desperately necessary.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Musharraf gives up saving Pakistan
Faced with the humiliation of impeachment, former army chief Pervez Musharraf quit as Pakistan president, having lost political, popular and increasingly even US support.
Born in New Delhi on Aug. 11, 1943, Musharraf arrived with his parents in Karachi, Pakistan's first capital, a day after the Partition of India in 1947. A career army officer, Musharraf came to power in a 1999 coup, went on to be a close US ally in the war against terror, and narrowly survived al Qaeda-inspired assassination attempts.
His enemies said he betrayed Islam by caving in to US pressure to abandon support for the Taliban government hosting al Qaeda in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
He believed he saved Pakistan.
The US government sank more than $11 billion into Pakistan, mostly its military, and expected Musharraf to produce results.
Pakistan captured hundreds of al Qaeda, and lost over 1,000 soldiers fighting in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Yet suspicions lingered that Pakistani intelligence agencies played a double-game, allowing the Taliban safe refuge.
The alliance with the United States was always a hard sell in Pakistan, and contributed to Musharraf's unpopularity.
Regarded as a military dictator, he was treated initially as a pariah by the West, but at home was seen as a different kind of general when he first seized power.
He had a friendly, straight-talking charm and after a decade of inept, corrupt civilian rule, many Pakistanis welcomed the overthrow of prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Isn’t it sad when a western backed Dictator leaves? Who will do our bidding damn it? Yes Pakistan is a cauldron of corruption, and Musharraf probably had legitimate concerns, but taking over the Government illegally isn’t the solution, perhaps the West could be asked about all the money we allowed to flood Pakistan that ended up funding nuclear weapons rather than schools, indeed because there is so little investment into a public school system it allowed only hard core Islamic education some which helped radicalize an impoverished generation, indeed much of the recent $11 Billion America sunk into Musharraf has all gone on weapons, not into public infrastructure. The other issue that helped undermine Musharraf’s good intentions was the complicity between the CIA and their puppet organization the Pakistani secret intelligence service, the ISI, a relationship that had been forged during the late 70s and 80s when the ISI became the local agent for CIA cash to fuel Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan fighting the Soviets and by playing god, inadvertently funding the birth of Al Qaeda (incidentally they paid for that war with heroin from drug labs up and down the Pakistan and Afghanistan border shipped to America for profit). The history of covert national interests between both spy agencies meant Musharraf could never work out whose side his secret intelligence service was on and his support of America made him hated domestically, his demise is proof that you can’t kill democracy to save democracy no matter how noble the intentions are.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
George W Bush under pressure to take tougher line with Russia
Hawks in the American government are pushing President Bush to take a much tougher line towards Russia, putting the US and Russia on a collision course to a new Cold War.
Hardliners are trying to wrest control of foreign policy from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is widely blamed for failing to predict the Russian invasion of Georgia ten days ago.
White House advisers say events in the Caucasus have strengthened the hand of neoconservatives, who have been steadily losing influence in Washington since the botched Iraq campaign.
The hawks are pushing for the US to press Nato to bring Georgia and the Ukraine into the alliance by the end of the year, as a way if deterring further Russian aggression.
Allies of Vice President Dick Cheney are also pressing Mr Bush to seek Russia's expulsion from the G8 group of leading economies.
They were also instrumental in pushing ahead with a missile defence deal with Poland on Thursday, which led to Russian threats that Poland is now a target for Moscow's nuclear arsenal.
"We've got to get Georgia and the Ukrainians into Nato," said one former White House official, who still advises the Bush administration. "What we've got now, promising them future entry but not yet, is the worst of all worlds. It is a red rag to the Russians and does nothing to protect these new allies."
The very last thing you would want is Georgia and Ukraine in NATO, the 5th article states an attack on one is an attack on all – is NATO going to go to war with Russia over Georgia and the Ukraine? Like hell they are, and such a move would enrage the Russians, what the Neo Cons fail to grasp is how their maneuvers to verify Kosovo and the missile defence shield looks to Russia, to Russia it looks like encroachment, and they aren’t going to put up with that, and attempting to blame Rice as they have for not telling Saakashvili that America wouldn’t back his South Ossetia adventure they way they backed Israel’s Lebanon adventure is hardly Rice’s fault, Bush fell in love with Saakashvili and his trip to Georgia was the only one he took in 8 years where he was welcomed so Bush wasn’t being anything other than dewy eyed to the Western leaning Saakashvili.
We saw them take the same bullshit steps with North Korea…
'Intel spin' by US hardliners sparked NKorean crisis: book
WASHINGTON (AFP) — In circumstances echoing the Iraq war controversy, hardliners in US President George W. Bush's administration spun intelligence and triggered a nuclear crisis with North Korea, says a new book to be released this week.
Intelligence on a North Korea effort to acquire components for uranium enrichment was politicized to depict the hardline communist state running a full-fledged production facility capable of developing a nuclear bomb, said the book by former senior CNN journalist Mike Chinoy.
Now with the Los Angeles-based Pacific Council on International Policy, Chinoy wrote "Meltdown: The inside story of the North Korean nuclear crisis" after gaining unprecedented access during his 14 trips to North Korea and conducting 200 interviews in Washington, Seoul, Tokyo and other Asian capitals.
The book showed that US intelligence did discover in 2002-2003 a North Korea effort to acquire components that could be used for uranium enrichment but that it was only a procurement effort.
There was no credible intelligence that North Koreans actually had a facility capable of making uranium based bombs.
Yet, conservative hardliners bent on ending an "Agreed Framework" nuclear deal with North Korea forged under president Bill Clinton's administration seized on the issue to force a confrontation, the book said.
You can bully North Korea, Russia is another kettle of fish entirely and the Iraq war abortion where no weapons of mass destruction were found, no credible threat existed, no credible links between Saddam and Bin Laden existed and evidence showing Iraq buying yellow powder for weapons was proven false – leading to the Bush administration illegally releasing the identity of an acting CIA agent (for which Scooter Libby will be paid out with a pardon in January as Bush steps down) should rule the Neo Cons out from ever having Executive influence over any foreign affairs policy ever again.
The Neo Cons and their perverse ideology from Leo Strauss with his noble lies and deadly truths need to be burnt at the stake and then crucified, the manipulation of Strauss’s noble lies and deadly truths by the Neo Cons has put the entire planet’s safety at danger with their desperate need to confront the evils they want a flag blinded America to rally around and attack so that fear binds Americans rather than freedom and individualism. No more Project for the New American Century stones of tablets from these people, they are intellectually bankrupt.
We live in a world of staggering inequality. The richest 500 people in the world earn more than the poorest 416 million people. One in six of the world’s people lead lives blighted by poverty, hunger, disease, and anxiety over what tomorrow may bring. More shocking still: there is enough to go around.
From Poverty to Power not only provides critical insights into the massive human and economic costs of inequality and poverty, and proposes realistic solutions. It argues the need for a radical redistribution of power, opportunities, and assets to break the cycle of poverty and inequality and to give poor people power over their own destinies – and leaders, organisations, and individuals need to act together, while there is still time.
With an election coming up, this book represents a challenge to all of us, to update our thinking about New Zealand’s role in the world. With sound policies we can avoid hurting poor and vulnerable people, and instead make a positive contribution towards supporting rights and opportunities for all.
In the run up to the election, Oxfam will be raising these issues with politicians, and we encourage you to also raise them with your local candidate.
As part of his visit to New Zealand, Duncan Green will be meeting with key Labour and National politicians to try to influence future government policy.
Duncan Green will be here in New Zealand and holding discussion forums in Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton from September 1-3. Forums are open and free to all.
12:00-2:00pm Centre for Global Action, James Smith Building, cnr Cuba and Manners St
Hamilton -- September 2
12:00-1:30pm Hosted by Waikato University School of Management (Room MSB.1.01)
Auckland -- September 3
7:00-9:00pm University of Auckland (Room 029, Clocktower Bldg, 22 Princes St). Hosted by Centre of Continuing Education and Oxfam