Thursday, April 30, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Alarm over rise in junk food options
School tuckshops are selling 14 per cent more junk food such as pies and sausage rolls than last year, sparking calls for the reinstatement of healthy eating guidelines. The Green Party released its annual school food survey yesterday. It showed a 14 per cent rise in pie, hot dog, sausage roll and hot-bite sales compared with the year before. More than half of the 50 schools surveyed sold donuts, cookies and cakes while 42 per cent sold chips. The Green Party says the survey results show an urgent need for the reinstatement of the School Food Guidelines ditched by Education Minister Anne Tolley this year. Tolley told The Press schools were still required to promote healthy food and drink options and she trusted school boards of trustees to make appropriate decisions. Green Party health spokeswoman Sue Kedgley said schools were now free to sell as much junk food as they pleased.
Of all the stupid things National have done since becoming Government, deciding to allow junk food back into schools BECAUSE it was – get this – “Political Correctness” to ban them in the first place was petty and blind stupidity at its worst? Ask anyone working with child obesity and the issues poverty play within obesity about the intelligence of this move, look at the concentration rates from children not popped up to the eyeballs on sugar and fat and how much better they perform, talk to nutritionists about how children learn healthy eating styles and everyone of them were critical of this jawdroppingly moronic move by Tolley. The only reason why Tolley would agree to letting junk food back into schools would be because of industry pressure from big sugar and schools complaining about a drop in revenue, letting junk food back into schools is not in the interests of the child health wise or educationally. National need to admit they got it wrong and had used the nanny state bogeyman for the usual political and cultural advantages and ban junk food from schools, it really is as simple as that - they’re wrong and they need to admit that.
Russia 'ends Chechnya operation'
Russia has ended its decade-long "counter-terrorism operation" against separatist rebels in the southern republic of Chechnya, officials say. The move aimed "to create conditions to further normalise the situation", the National Anti-terrorist Committee said. Russian forces have fought two wars in the mainly Muslim republic since 1994. Moscow says Chechnya has stabilised under its pro-Kremlin President, Ramzan Kadyrov, but human rights groups accuse his militias of widespread abuses.
While George Dubya was illegally invading parts of the planet to cause terror, Russia were quietly re-opening the wound of Chechnya and were exterminating any defiance to their brutal occupation, so concerned were Russia that a Chechnya independence bid could lead to other provinces splitting away. While the West were perpetrating their own human rights abuses, it left no moral high ground to demand Russia stop the butchery in Chechnya, the latest move to downgrade their occupation has more to do with shrinking oil revenues to pay for the occupation force than any real stability in the region.
The horror story of Chechnya and Moscow’s vested interest in killing journalists who ask questions became painfully apparent in 2006 with the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko by Russian agents who were also allegedly involved in the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Both researched Russian war crimes in Chechnya, Litvinenko (former KGB)in particular accused the Russians of bombing their own citizens in Moscow, and by blaming rebels from Chechnya, gained popular support from Russians to re-invade Chechnya. The true depth of human rights abuses and the outright manipulation by the secret police to murder their own citizens to create a pretense for re-invasion and to eliminate those who asked such questions may never see the light of day, if the West hadn’t been so busy perpetrating their own war crimes the horror story of Chechnya may have been challenged at the time.
Child advocate opposes tougher laws
A tough new law may force young teenage offenders into police cells again because there will be nowhere else to put them, says outgoing Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro. The proposed new law, on which submissions close today, lowers Youth Court jurisdiction from age 14 to 12 for serious offences, facilitates the National Party's election promise of military-style "boot camps" and creates other new youth penalties. Dr Kiro said the changes threatened one of her proudest achievements as Children's Commissioner since 2003 - a project she led to reduce the numbers of young people being held in adult police cells. "I'm very optimistic about the work being done on reducing the number of young people in police cells, but with the dropping of the legal age to 12 and 13 that will put pressure on the whole system to drive up the numbers again."
Overseas, the private prison industry funds victims rights groups in the hope that the shrill debate that typically follows prompts conservative law and order politicians to pass kneejerk policy. Take the $35 million we are blowing on Boot Camps that every academic report shows don’t work, the level of evidence that runs contrary to talkback rhetoric was so immense that Paula Bennett had the nerve to recently declare that National weren’t setting up Boot camps. Look at the foaming reaction this week to Dr Pita Sharples desire to make prisons places where prisoners can be healed before they are let back out into society, NZ simply isn’t mature enough as a country to look beyond basic vengeance as a motivating factor regardless of what the research or facts show us. Many NZers want people who have wronged us to physically suffer, the concept of a loss of liberty isn’t even considered a punishment any longer and with the desire purely on punishment we start implementing policy as pointless as Boot Camps and lowering the criminal threshold on children without resourcing the places these children will be sent to meaning, as Cindy Kiro points out, more Children being held in Police cells. The utter lack of compassion and understanding (for victims as well as those broken human beings who end up in prison) feeds on each other. Those righteously outraged by the pain caused on innocent people becomes warped into something as bleak as the perpetrator, but the insanity of putting damaged individuals into violent environments that only further dehumanize them is as much a problem as the initial criminal actions that put them there. We aren’t learning from our very obvious mistakes.
They don’t call him Vietchy much anymore do they, they call him ‘Mr Veitch’ as in ‘Mr Veitch you have some very serious charges pending’.
Ugh – the whole thing was so human and awful wasn’t it? A media that when they weren’t being played by each persons PR team were breathlessly reporting allegations as fact to a gossip loving public on one of the last great taboos of NZ society – domestic violence. She was painted as some kind of bunny boiler who wouldn’t leave Vietch alone and when she did push him too far and he attacked her she manipulated the situation to gain cash and a scorned woman’s vengeance. He was painted as a jumped up little git who like a spoiled child couldn’t seem to comprehend anything beyond ‘why me’ and effectively walked with a very light sentence that if had been committed by anyone of a lesser social class would’ve been jail. All of this with a Public campaign in the background that domestic violence isn’t acceptable, a message which seems to have been lost somewhere in the scandal laden headlines.
We are a pretty angry, uptight, alcoholic society, in a colonial culture that respected hard men who earned the family wage, masculinity and the emotional capacity to deal with stress is as primordial as it always has been, while women have taken the 1970’s creed of ‘Women can do anything’ to new levels of independence that seem to further intimidate men who aren’t sure what their role in society is any longer. I’ve never hit a woman, it breaches fundamental principles within my own honour code that I refuse to breach, but I’m cognitive of my honour code and don’t define my own self respect with my fists, many blokes I’ve met however don’t seem to be cognitive of their honor code, there seems to me to be a dark fetid pool of subconscious fury that finds voice through violence that I suspect is rooted in a serious lack of male self identity.
How we go about seriously combating domestic violence requires men challenging other men about their violent behavior, but it is a challenge that demands the violent person to look within themselves and actually talk about why they feel the way they do, to identify the root cause of their malaise while honestly dispatching the bullshit excuses men use to defend the indefensible. Nominally that is a lesson-gift a father passes to his son, but with so many NZ fathers preferring to walk rather than stick around the fundamentals of redefining masculinity are left unlearnt and violently explode out in times of stress and insecurity.
It really is time for NZ men to man up.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Minister backs separate prison unit for Maori
A separate Maori prison unit where the inmates go flatting and the focus is on healing is under consideration by the Government. The "alternative rehabilitation centre" is being promoted by Associate Corrections Minister and Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples. The National Government is open to the concept. Corrections Minister Judith Collins says she is "very keen" if it can be shown to reduce the Maori crime rate. Dr Sharples wants the 60-bed institution to be located in an urban centre so education and employment opportunities can be provided to Maori prisoners "who are determined to learn, heal and socialise". He said the institution would still have security measures like other prisons: "There'll be locks on the gates". Dr Sharples said he had previously referred to the centre as an "alternative prison". It would have fewer jailers and "more healers, teachers, social workers".
Well said Dr Sharples, and about time! We SHOULD see our prisons as a place where broken people heal and liberty granted only when the possibility of recidivism has been dramatically reduced that way parole could actually mean something and be used a s tool to moderate prisoner behaviour rather than what it is being used as now which is a mechanism to free up prison beds. Losing ones liberty is punishment enough a fact so many on the right don’t grasp, but why should this vision of what prisons should become be limited only to Maori, why couldn’t that healing mindset be used for all prisons?
The ones I feel sorry for are the rednecks, here they have Judy ‘crusher’ Collins, their poster girl for public floggings and David ‘homophobic drunk’, Garret, the poster boy for public hangings both agreeing with giving Maaaari softy prison options – which is why Dr Pita Sharples should be so careful, because he’s being taken for a ride. Garrett and Collins haven’t suddenly woken up today caring about the welfare of Maori prisoners, far from it, they want the private prison industry (an industry that may or may not have ‘donated’ money to the Sensible Sentencing Trust AND the National Party, we can’t know because both organizations are so secretive about who donates to them) to take over with the horrific warping their profit motives create. Private Prisons don’t give a fuck about rehabilitation, they care only to have more people in more prisons for longer periods of time, especially now our prisons have been changed into work camps, remember under National no slave work = no parole. These private prisons DON’T save money, they only warp the prison numbers, and overseas they fund victim rights groups so that the public debate becomes so shrill that only 'lock-em-up' longer becomes the only sound heard.
Garrett and Collins are setting Sharples up, they’ll give him his ‘Maori Unit’ but it will be in the form of a private prison, if Sharples idea of jails as healing places are so good, why the hell can’t they be adopted within the public service, how come they can only be adopted in the private system which overseas evidence shows provide a worse service than the current public system?
Pirates – scary huh? So scary the planet suddenly needs to send most of the worlds navy’s there to battle small boat loads of half starved men armed with a couple of Ak-47’s, let’s nuke the fuckers! Let’s teach them that while they watch the blood oil being sucked out of their region to feed greedy western lifestyles which they see no recompense for aside from us propping up the regions most brutal regimes, that they are supposed to shut up and lump it.
I don’t wish to be facetious BUT has it occurred to anyone that perhaps the west might have had a hand in the creation of these pirates – I know, I know, how could I make such a claim, don’t I understand that ‘we’ are the good guys? The West are so righteous and good and sexy, how could the West be blamed for these terrors of the deep? Weeeeeel, I’m no expert BUT perhaps if we had a wee gander at how the West has behaved with Somalia since the collapse in 1991 when 9 million people were suddenly thrown in the deep end and have been close to starvation ever since.
Let’s start with our raping and pillaging (almost pirate behaviour isn’t it) of Somalia’s seafood, $300million a year are stolen from Somalia’s waters, but that’s not piracy, that’s lunch buddy! The transition from fisherman to pirate can’t be too difficult when the west have stripped their waters of anything edible, and what about our dumping of nuclear waste in Somalian waters? As the ever brilliant Johann Hari point’s out…
Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone (in 1991), mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury - you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."
…ha ha ha, hilarious hu, we strip their waters of fish and dump nuclear waste and then get huffy when one American captain gets attacked by hungry fisherman – HAHAHAHAHA – great.
But let’s not hurt peoples minds by demanding we go all the way back to 1991 to try and get a grip on why Somalian’s might not have the infrstructure in place to help up-skill hungry fishermen who can’t catch anything because we strip them of their food while poisoning them with nuclear waste, let’s just have a wee gander at what America has secretly been doing to help re-build Somalia.
Because America can’t tell the difference between ‘Muslim’ and ‘Terrorist’, in 2006 the American’s backed Somalian warlords who butcher and murder (think of them as land pirates) over the Union of Islamic Courts in one of the worst CIA blowbacks since they funded Osama Bin Laden. Once the local population realized the American’s were backing the bloodthirsty war lords, the Union of Islamic Courts received mass popular support and they overthrew the land pirates, and it created for the first time since 1991 a level of stability without the terror of the warlords - now go and guess what America did next, go on, you’ll laugh, did they..
a) Accept they cocked it up and probably never should’ve backed the warlords and that the stability the Union of Islamic Courts created a unqiue situation which could be built upon
b) Give vast military backing to Ethiopia to invade and start a new war?
COME ON DOWN B – that’s right, the fucking American’s backed Ethiopia and launched a war, and we wonder why there are no training polytechs to retrain fishermen.
But it get’s funnier, so let’s put aside the over fishing, the dumping of nuclear waste, the support of warlords and the invoking of a war, how about civilian death from remote control?
January 9th, 2007 and the American’s launched a remote controlled X-box 360 attack on terrorists in Somalia because they had CREDIBLE EVIDENCE. At the time I critiqued America’s CREDIBLE EVIDENCE…
Oh, I get it now, America had ‘CREDIBLE EVIDENCE’ that the people they blew up and killed in Somalia (in what amounts to an illegal military action on the soil of another country) were involved in American Embassy bombings – and I suppose I should just believe you shouldn’t I America. I mean I should ignore the fact that the Union of Islamic Courts wouldn’t have taken over if you hadn’t supported the Warlords last year and that this is just another fucking example of America playing God in third world countries, and I suppose I should just accept this ‘credible evidence’ the same way we had to when you told the world you had ‘credible evidence’ that Saddam had WMDs, and that you had ‘credible evidence’ Iraq had something to do with 9/11 and that you had ‘credible evidence’ to declare ‘Mission was accomplished’ and ‘major military battle in Iraq were over’ and that you had ‘credible evidence’ catching Saddam would be the ‘turning point in Iraq’, oh and let’s not forget the ‘credible evidence’ that hanging Saddam would also ‘turn a corner in Iraq’ - I’m sorry America, with you poised to surge more young men to their death in Iraq, you no longer have any credibility in this war of errorism.
…so what was the outcome of these Somalian ‘terrorists’? Less than 5 days later the American’s were admitting they weren’t who they thought they were after all. Hilarious.
Okay so let’s forget the fact we strip their seas of food, let’s forget the fact that we dump nuclear waste in their seas, let’s forget the fact that the American’s backed the bloodthirsty land pirate warlords, let’s forget the fact that the Union of Islamic Courts brought about the first stability since 1991 and let’s forget the American’s invoked a war to get rid of that stability and let’s forget that America has been mistakenly blowing up civilians via remote control for sometime – LET’S FORGET ALL THOSE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES which may explain why starving impoverished men would jump in tiny boats and dare show any resistance. Let’s instead do a big song and dance about pirates, fuck the facts and our role as the West in bringing about their misery, let’s just go on and on and on about bloody pirates.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Hide rejects accusation he misled John Key over super city
Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has denied accusations he misled Prime Minister John Key about his consultation with Auckland's mayors over restructuring plans. The Government on Tuesday said it would adopt the Royal Commission's idea for a single council for Auckland, but that it would appoint 20-30 "local boards" instead of six "local councils" to look after community matters. Mr Williams said Mr Key told TV3's Sunrise programme last Tuesday that "Rodney Hide did a lot of great work in the last sort of week or so, working closely with all the officials and listening to the community, spent time going out and talking to the various Mayors and different people". However, Mr Williams said the only mayor Mr Hide consulted with was Auckland City Mayor John Banks.
Of course ACT are backing this rushed through Super City to privatize Auckland’s assets, let’s recap on ACT shall we? This is a party that claims Global Warming caused by man made pollution is a hoax, this is a party that used the deaths of 78 NZers to grandstand on law and order and lied about how their medieval 3 strikes policy would’ve saved those 78 lives, this is a party that has allowed a drunk homophobe a position of power to try and screw around with our bill of rights because the Sensible Sentencing Lynch mob have taken over ACT (a group we are still not certain aren’t being given money from the private prison industry), this is a party that pretended in the last week of the election that their leaders vomit yellow jacket was being reported to the Electoral Commission for breaches of the EFA when in reality it was an ACT activist who made the complaint to create publicity and finally let’s remember that ACT are quietly setting up TABOR as a ratchet legislation to strangle public spending forever – this is a far right, extremist political party who want to privatize everything they possibly can, to pretend otherwise is just that, a pretense. To trust someone like Rodney Hide with a rushed through change as massive as the Super City that gags representation of Maori and locals when he’s been caught out lying already about his consultation process is utter madness. Rodney may have lost weight and learnt to dance, but he sure as hell ain’t changed his spots.
Greens to contest Clark's old seat
Party says it will contest 'important' Mt Albert byelection despite Labour qualms The Green Party has decided to stand a candidate in the Mt Albert byelection - despite informal approaches by Labour people concerned that it would split the centre-left vote.
With the Greens so desperate to be relevant they are cutting deals with the National Party (something they decried the Maori Party for), it looks like Labour are the only opposition party in Parliament and that’s how they will have to fight for the Mt Albert electorate. How the Greens think they can cut a deal with a Political Party holding a skeptics select committee into the science of global warming, or who voted junk food back into schools or who gutted the environmental protections from the RMA – how the Greens think they can work with the Nats suggests someone has gotten into the hash cookies.
All of that to one side, goodbye Helen, I’m glad she is off to much greater things, these lone crags of NZ don’t deserve someone of her talents, I have been disgusted by the many NZers whom Radar bumped into who have laughed that “we had gotten rid of the communist lesbian’, what a petty people, she deserves much better and 3rd in line at the UN sets her up as the possible first female leader of the UN, she has worked hard for her country and she deserves this recognition, even if the petty people of her own Islands can’t see that.
While there were times I utterly disagreed with Helen (the disgusting confiscation through legislation of the foreshore and seabed, the despicable imprisonment of Ahmed Zaoui and her refusal to reverse the mother of all benefit cuts) , I do believe she was one of our greatest Prime Ministers, where she and Labour came apart was through their refusal to combat NZs redneck culture, preferring to try and manage it instead. In the wake of ‘Maaaaaaaaaaaaari get too much’ Labour freaked out and started eliminating progressive legislation like closing the gaps. Labour allowed a talkback creation like the ‘Nanny state’ to become a reality that National built into a social movement for all those disgruntled feckless men down at the Sports bar who have backlashed against MMP because their voices were no longer the only ones listened to when making decisions. Rather than challenge their prejudice, Labour tried to manage it and that was their downfall, rather than fronting up to Gerry Brownlee when he claimed Maori were trying to steal the beaches, Helen tried to out redneck the rednecks by passing the legislation and stealing Maori land herself.
She always said NZ was conservative with a little c, and I think she also knew we were racist with a little r, but in the end prejudice has to be challenged rather than managed and without a fresh vision, her 9 years of power ended. History will be much kinder to Helen than bitter nasty NZers are to her right now, she became Prime Minister at a time when Government after Government had lied about their manifestos and she actually brought back trust to politics.
Good luck at the UN Helen, NZ was lucky to have had you as a leader.