In what can only be seen as an own-foot-shooting, futile, other-foot-firmly-planted-in-mouth exercise, Colin Craig today sicced his legal rottweilers onto the satirical blog, The Civilian.
Evidently, Colin “The-Fourteenth-Apostle” Craig didn’t see the humour in the satirical blogpost, Maurice Williamson looking pretty stupid after floods, where the blogger “quoted” Craig as “saying”,
“Williamson likes to talk about big gay rainbows,” said Craig, “but it would help if he understood what the rainbow actually means. After Noah’s flood, God painted a giant rainbow across the sky, which was a message that he would never again flood the world, unless we made him very angry. And we have.”
Let’s be clear here; Craig did not make that statement and most people with a reasonably high-functing brain would’ve understood that.
It was satire. Humour. Make funny. Happy la-la’s.
So for Craig to take offence and instruct his lawyers to send a threatening letter to The Civilian’s editor, Ben Uffindell, kinda beggars belief. In short – what a f****n dumb thing to do.
For one thing, this story has now exploded into the mainstream media, and onto social media. The story has ‘legs’ and been covered in the NZ Herald, Fairfax Media, Radio NZ, Newstalk ZB, and probably elsewhere. (And it will be further raised, discussed, and mercilessly poked fun at, this afternoon on Jim Mora’s panel-show at 4pm.)
So rather unsurprisingly, web traffic to The Civilian has skyrocketed,
Mr Uffindell said the website’s servers had been struggling to keep up with the massive spike of traffic caused by publicity of the incident.
Acknowledgement: Fairfax Media – Conservative Party threaten legal action over satire
This is the kind of publicity every blogger dreams about and Ben Uffindell must be laughing with glee and thanking whatever gods he worships, for his lucky day.
Second point, Craig was quoted (?) in a NZ Herald story and stating,
“I take these things pretty seriously. We are a serious political party and want to go a long way, so making sure that what is reported on what I have said, is accurate is important.
But when it comes to statements being reported in the public sphere … there is no room for humour.”
Acknowledgement: NZ Herald - Colin Craig warns on satirical quote
“…there is no room for humour.”
Well, he’s got a point there. After all, how many people can forget Craig’s explicitly non-satirical comment when he labelled every young woman in New Zealand as whores,
“…We are the country with the most promiscuous young women in the world. This does nothing to help us at all.”
Acknowledgement: TV3 - Kiwi women ‘most promiscuous’ – Colin Craig
No room for humour there, I think. And when given a chance to apologise or withdraw that comment on TVNZ’s Q+A, on 13 May 2012, Craig shrugged it off with a typical rightwing cop-out, hiding behind the label of “political correctness”,
PAUL HOLMES: “Anyway, the perception, I think, is that you blew it with that one bizarre comment. ”
COLIN CRAIG: “Well, look, I’m always going to be speaking my mind. As I say, I think it was a true comment. If people want a politically correct conservative party, then they’re not going to find it in the Conservative Party. ”
Acknowledgement: TVNZ – Q+A
Methinks there’s a strong stench of hypocrisy with Mr Craig having such a micron-thin-skin toward a satirical website – and yet has no hesitation in indulging in some casual misogyny slagging of every young woman in the country by calling them “the most promiscuous young women in the world”.
Imagine if all 2.2 million women in this country instructed their lawyers to send a letter to Craig, threatening him with legal action for defamation?
For him, that’s “political correctness”.
But if a satirical website does it to him… *wags finger* “Tut, tut!”
The good news, folks, is that on Radio NZ’s “Morning Report”, Colin “My-god-is-more-omnipotent-than-your-god” Craig said,
“Look, um, I know and people who know me think I’m pretty funny sort of a guy. I love cartoons.”
Acknowledgement: Radio NZ -
Yeah, Colin, you’re a laugh-a-minute. In fact, people laugh at you more than you realise.
At 11:32 am this morning, Radio NZ reported that Colin “Invisible-beings-talk-to-me” Craig had withdrawn his threat of legal action because this “retraction” had been posted on The Civilian,
“This article is the subject of a legal dispute between The Civilian and Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig, which came about as the result of a legal notice that you can read in full here.
In this article, The Civilian published a statement which it attributed to Colin Craig regarding Maurice Williamson, “big gay rainbows” and the passing of the gay marriage legislation. We accept, upon further review, that Mr. Craig never made the statement attributed to him. We retract the statement and apologise to Mr. Craig for any harm we have caused to his impeccable reputation.
We would like to note that we have also taken the additional measure of bolding the statement in question so that everybody knows which thing it was that Mr. Craig did not say.“
Radio NZ further reports,
The story is still on the website, but editor Ben Uffindel has written to the lawyers with a signed copy of the retraction and apology statement.
However, the letter is clearly tongue-in-cheek and is signed with a large smiley face.
Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Defamation threat withdrawn
Mr Craig, you’re still a clown. As our American cuzzies like to put it, consider yourself ‘owned‘.
TV3: Kiwi women ‘most promiscuous’ – Colin Craig (9 May 2012)
Radio NZ: Legal action threatened over satirical item (24 April 2013)
NZ Herald: Colin Craig warns on satirical quote (24 April 2013)
Fairfax Media: Conservative Party threaten legal action over satire (24 April 2013)
Newstalk ZB: Colin Craig goes after ‘The Civilian‘ (24 April 2013)
= fs =
Susan Devoy, commenting on her appointment as our new Race Relations Commissioner, said,
“There is no denying that this is a huge challenge in my life. I’m under no illusions how difficult it might be but maybe I didn’t realise how difficult it might be starting.”
Acknowledgement: Fairfax – Squashed in court of public opinion
Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Dame Susan first woman in race post
That has to be one of the two worst Under-statements of the Year. (The other being John Key’s now infamous line that Hekia Parata was one of National’s “smoothest communicators”. See: Parata safe in her job – Key)
Ms Devoy’s appointment has been heavily criticised, mostly along the lines that she had zero experience in any field even remotely approaching race relations. And some of her comments in the column she used to write for the Bay of Plenty Times probably didn’t help much.
Comments like this,
“We deserve a day of true celebration and pride. We need a day that doesn’t necessarily replace Waitangi Day but complements it . . . This would leave Waitangi Day to be the day that recognises the importance of Maori, but the door open for a day that we don’t feel ashamed to be a New Zealander.”
Acknowledgement: Fairfax – Squashed in court of public opinion
Oh… so Maori can have Waitangi Day? That’s big of her.
No wonder that Annette Sykes condemned her appointment.
Judith Collins – famous for promising to crush all resistance (or was that Boy Racers’ cars?) – gave a measured, thoughtful, and insightful response to Ms Sykes. Collins called Sykes “stupid”. Wow, that rapier-sharp wit of Collins…
I must admit, when I first heard of Ms Devoy’s appointment, that I raised an eye-brow. I’m not totally familiar with her background, but from what I knew, she seemed to have no social, practical, or academic experiences that might give her insights into race relations.
Simply claiming to have “common sense” is not sufficient. What might be “common sense” for one individual might be offensive to someone else.
For example, referring to “political shenanigans” on Waitangi Day, last year.
Ms Devoy and others of a like-mind might believe that was a straight forward, “common sense”, assessment of events at Waitangi. It was not. It was inflammatory
On the other side of the coin, those who express themselves at Waitangi are doing so from a long history of broken promises; land theft; destruction of their culture; and a Treaty – signed between Maori and the Queen’s representatives here in New Zealand – that for well over a century had been observed more in the breach than reality – and then forgotten altogether.
If we’d been defeated in WW2 and colonised by a victorious Axis power, I think we would begin to understand how Maori felt.
Furthermore, when Ms Devoy said on 21 March,
“One of my strengths is that I’m pretty forthright and not afraid to have an opinion, but at the same time I have a very strong moral compass and I have a desire to do the right thing.”
Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Dame Susan first woman in race post
- that really raised alarm bells with me. Her job is not to express “forthright… opinions” nor to “have a very strong moral compass”. She is not there to tell people what to do nor to impress her “very strong moral compass” on others. If she doesn’t get to grips with that, the next few years will be a rough ride for Ms Devoy and others around her.
Judith Collins responded to criticisms of Ms Devoy’s comments by saying, that her opinions were hers alone, and she would be able to divorce them from her professional appointment,
Mrs Collins said the comments were made before Dame Susan became commissioner, and she would not be as free to express her personal views in her new role.
She added: “The Far Left does not have a monopoly on caring about race relations and Dame Susan Devoy is a very sensible and balanced person.
“We’re allowed in this country to have views that have not been politically sanitised and what’s wrong with that?”
Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Minister defends Dame Susan Devoy’s new role
It’s not very reassuring when Minister Collins asserts that Ms Devoy, “would not be as free to express her personal views in her new role”. The underlying message is that Ms Devoy’s “ personal views” are somehow unpalatable and inimical to the role of Race Relations Commissioner.
Worse still is when Collins says,
“We’re allowed in this country to have views that have not been politically sanitised and what’s wrong with that?”
Is the Minister suggesting that Race Relations Commissioners in the past have had “ views that have … been politically sanitised”?
I would suggest that there is a vast gulf of difference between “ politically sanitised “ and “ politically sensitive “. Unfortunately, National ministers seem not to know the difference.
And really, if Collins is serious about appointing people whose views have not been “ politically sanitised ” – perhaps she could hire the leader of a local White Supremicist group to the role? There’d be nothing sanitary about the political views of a white supremacist racist.
Whatever inspired Collins to make this appointment, I believe, will come back and haunt National. Perhaps not this year. Maybe next year.
Does John Key really need another political fire to deal with? One would have thought that Hekia Parata and her Bigger Classroom Sizes foul-up would have been sufficient warning how events can rapidly spiral out of control?
Unless Ms Devoy has some hidden talent for this most-complex of jobs – her appointment will be like a quietly ticking political time-bomb.
Personally, I bear no animosity toward Ms Devoy and certainly harbour no desire to see her fail. With New Zealand being such a multi-cultural society, the office of the Race Relations Commissioner is important – this is where frictions can be quickly addressed and parties brought together to talk over differences.
I hope Ms Devoy succeeds.
But I can still hear a quiet ticking in the background.
= fs =
Without a doubt, the following story by the NZ Herald on Key’s latest utterances deserves an Award for Outstanding Bullshitting – with a special mention for Self Delusion.
WARNING: do not be drinking anything when you read this – not unless you can stop your gagging-reflex from spraying over your monitor and keyboard,
If Dear Leader truly believes that,
“Personally, I think if I got hit by a bus this afternoon, I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it.”
… then he is dangerously more out of touch with reality than the rest of us ever imagined.
But because John Key gives no indication of any head trauma or diagnosis for delusional psychosis, the only remaining option is that this was a pathetically weak attempt to shore up his Party’s waning public support.
Almost every poll has National’s voter support dropping. This blogger suspects very strongly that National’s own internal polling reveals a much more dramatic fall in public support – and that John Key’s credibility as an honest politician has taken some serious battering this year.
One poll in July of this year, by Fairfax/Ipsos, had this unflattering picture of Key,
” A new poll has found Prime Minister John Key is increasingly becoming a polarising figure – especially among women.
The first Fairfax Media/Ipsos political poll shows National has enough support for a third term, 44.9 per cent to Labour’s 32.6 per cent, assuming the current mix of support parties. But it also reveals a growing divide, with many still strongly backing Key, but a growing sense of anger and distrust among others.
Interviewers asked 1000 people to describe Key in as few words as possible. The pollsters said many voters rated him a straight-shooter and good or excellent leader, but a significant number thought he was arrogant, smarmy and out of touch.
Key still has the confidence of an overwhelming majority – 63 per cent saying he had a clear vision for the country, and was a strong and effective leader. “
Since that poll, National’s support has dropped to 45% and Key’s personal support has plummeted to 42%, in a One News/ Colmar Brunton poll released on 4 November.
National is clearly in trouble with the public and Key’s extraordinary statement that “I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it ” is utterly laughable.
This blogger’s guess is that Key made this statement, off the cuff, and without his tax-payer funded spin doctors crafting a more credible message.
On almost every level, it is a demonstrably false assertion.
Looking at the facts on Planet Earth, rather than on Planet Key, we find the following;
When Key took office at the end of 2008, the household labour force survey reported unemployment at 4.6% or 105,000 real people.
The latest household labour force survey released on 8 November this year had unemployment at 7.3% or 175,000 living, breathing people.
In other words, there are 75,000 more unemployed people now, than there was four years ago.
This blogger accepts that the Global Financial Crisis has been a major factor for rising unemployment, but three questions still remain to be answered,
- Why has National not done anything practical to counter the effects of the GFC, despite having four years to implements job-creation programmes?
- Why did National proceed with tax cuts in 2009 and 2010 when the lost tax-revenue could have been used for upskilling; job creation; building new houses to meet our critical housing shortage; etc?
- Why does National continue to blame the unemployed for being unemployed, when they – the Nats - play the GFC Card when ever it suits them, as an excuse?
Report Card: F – Total Fail
Retail Trade dropped from NZ$18.8 buillion in December 2011 to the current NZ$16.8 billion, in September,
Sourc: Reserve Bank of New Zealand
This constitutes a $2 billion drop in retail activity.
By comparison, the drop from December 2010 to September 2011 was less - NZ$900 million. (See: Reserve Bank A1 Domestic trade)
Balance of Trade
Our Balance of Trade has definitly worsened since November 2008, when the Global Financial Crisis had begun to impact on our export sector,
In part, this may be due to our high dollar, which makes our exports less profitable – but makes imports (consumer goods, fuel, building materials, plant & equipment, etc) cheaper. However, whilst this may benefit one sector of our economy, it means that we are not paying our way with our trading partners.
Economists are expecting the figures to worsen in the coming months and year,
” The annual current account deficit has widened to 4.8 per cent of GDP and economists expect it will keep getting worse, with sharply falling export prices and rising demand for imports.
The current account records the balance of trade between New Zealand and the rest of the world for goods and services, net investment income and net transfers.
ANZ economists said the 4.8 per cent figure was worse than market expectations and given the worsening trade position with lower commodity prices, the deficit was trending closer to the 5 per cent of GDP “danger zone” for international lenders.
The falling value of dairy exports and a drop in spending by tourists after the Rugby World Cup have seen the current account deficit worsen by $600 million to $2.8 billion, seasonally adjusted, for the March quarter.
That takes the annual deficit back up to $9.7 billion for the year to March 31 or 4.8 per cent of GDP according to latest Statistics NZ figures out earlier today. The deficit was equal to 4.2 per cent of GDP in the December year. “
Despite JohnKeys perennial promises (see previous blogpost: John Key’s track record on raising wages – preface), wages have not risen to anywhere near Australia’s levels.
In fact, wage rises in the last four years have not matched those under the previous Labour government, despite Dear Leader’s pledges and claims to the contrary,
As Statistics NZ states in it’s June Quarter report,
” In the year to the June 2012 quarter, there was no significant increase in:
- median weekly income from all sources – up 1.8 percent from $550 to $560
- median weekly income for those receiving income from wages and salaries – up $6 (0.7 percent) to $806
- median hourly earnings – up 48 cents (2.4 percent) to $20.86.”
New Zealanders are generally not fools, and many have taken to voting with their feet to where there are better opportunities for jobs, wages, housing, etc…
Migration to Australia was one of John Key’s major election platforms in 2008. He was scathing of Labour and the exodus of New Zealanders to Australia,
“We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere. To stem that flow so we must ensure Kiwis can receive competitive after-tax wages in New Zealand.
One of National’s key goals, should we lead the next Government, will be to stem the flow of New Zealanders choosing to live and work overseas. We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere. To stem that flow so we must ensure Kiwis can receive competitive after-tax wages in New Zealand. We must cut taxes and grow our economy, and National will have policies to ensure both occur.” – John Key, 6 September 2008
“I don’t want our talented young people leaving permanently for Australia, the US, Europe, or Asia, because they feel they have to go overseas to better themselves. That’s why this Government is focused squarely on improving New Zealand’s economic performance. And to be frank, New Zealand’s economic performance over a number of years has been disappointing. ” – John Key, 15 July 2009
The result? Wholly predictable by now,
As the NZ Herald story reported,
“The number of New Zealanders moving across the Tasman hit a record 53,000 in the year to February, but the unemployment rate at home and Australia’s new tax breaks that would make millions better off are tipped to lift that number.”
As Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley stated on TV1 on 3 September,
“We can’t afford to bleed the numbers of people we see leaving for Australia. We can’t afford to lose the skills. We’ve got to do something.”
“Maybe we want to think about doing a bit more [mining] to encourage people to stay. It’s been a 40-year problem, and if we want to resolve it, we need to get on top of all of those issues.”
Oh really? “Maybe we want to think about doing a bit more “?! Gosh, Mr Key – you think?
Key’s statement encapsulates one simple reality; that his inept “government” is utterly clueless. Dear Leader does not even know whose responsibility it is to create jobs;
“We agree with you, it’s the government’s responsibility to do everything within it’s powers to try to get people jobs.” – John Key, 17 November2011
“Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes better than business growth. For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need more innovative companies out there selling their products on the world stage.” – John Key, 24 August 2012
Whenever National does become proactive, it tinkers with labour laws which will ultimately have the effect of driving down wages. This, in turn simply accelerates the flow of Kiwis to Australia and elsewhere.
On the other hand, when exporters cry out for relief from a high Kiwi Dollar that is ruining their trade, National either ignores their plight, or derides any possible remedies.
As president of the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Managing Director of two export companies, Brian Willoughby, said in utter desperation,
“I’m concerned that this vitally important discussion is degenerating to the point that it is the guy with the biggest foghorn that is going to get heard the most. The Government had the biggest foghorn.
What is starting to irritate me is, here I am just down the road in Christchurch, representing manufacturers producing $2.6 billion [worth of product]. So why doesn’t someone from the Prime Minister’s department pop along and see me? I am far easier to get in touch with than the guys in Hollywood, and I don’t need any special concessions. The ones I need are the same ones with the dollar that the film industry needs.
But the issue is to develop a more balanced economy.
There are a whole lot of people [in manufacturing] who are hanging on by the skin of their teeth and there are a whole lot of redundancies going on that the public never hears about.
The other thing that is poorly understood is that manufacturing jobs support three jobs outside – the courier guy, the guy that cleans the towels, the cafes near the factory. We have the contractors and suppliers – the guy that supplies the nuts and bolts and screws, the guy that does the laser cutting, the guy that does the painting, the guy that does the polishing, the guy that provides the plating service.”
It’s wrong to sit on our hands and say there is nothing that we can do.
We need a proper debate because it is extremely important to the New Zealand economy as a whole, not just to my members. In the long run, exporters ensure that we have a reasonable standard of living. If we can’t sell off-shore with good added value margins, we’ll go broke.“
The Herald story goes on to reveal that Willoughby’s two Christchurch-based companies together employ twenty people. A year and a half ago, it was thirty.
On 25 October, Reserve Bank Governor, was forced to concede,
“Offsetting this, fiscal consolidation is constraining demand growth, and the high New Zealand dollar is undermining export earnings and encouraging substitution toward imported goods and services.”
Our export sector is being damaged by our over-valued dollar (pushed up by speculators); profits are down; and redundancies are occurring.
Meanwhile, John Key smiles and waves and does nothing except make derogatory comments against visiting sports people.
Report Card: E – Verging on Total Fail
One of Key’s oft stated “successes” is that “crime has dropped”.
That may well be. But their may be several factors involved here,
“New Zealand’s crime rate has dropped to an all-time low, latest figures reveal.
The annual crime statistics released by the police today showed recorded crime dropped 5.2 per cent on the previous year.
There were 394,522 recorded offences in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, compared with 416,324 the previous year – a decrease of 21,802 offences.
New Zealand’s population increased by 0.7 per cent during the period, resulting in a 5.9 per cent decrease in the number of offences recorded per 10,000 of population.”
And as well,
“The largest decrease was in Canterbury, where recorded crime fell by 11.7 per cent.
Following the earthquakes there was a sudden large decrease in recorded theft and property damage offences.
Less serious offences reduced the most.
Although small by value, these offences are large by volume.
“This decrease appears to be partly due to the public not wanting to bother us with minor matters when they knew we were dealing with the earthquake,” Mr Rickard said.”
The biggest decrease occurred in the Canterbury region in the same year as the February earthquake that killed 185 people.
Surely Dear Leader is not going to take credit for something that a natural disaster caused?! Of course he will.
This is John Key we’re talking about.
Report Card: none (someone nicked it)
As is usual for John Key, his statements often contain loose “facts”; half-truths; and often outright untruths. His claim that “if I got hit by a bus this afternoon, I will have left New Zealand in a better shape than I found it ” is patently false.
On almost every indicator known to humanity, New Zealand is nowhere near “in a better shape than [Key] found it “. Not unless he is using voodoo socio-economic ‘science’ that the rest of us are not privy to?
Perhaps they originate from Planet Key?
On an end note, I leave the reader with not just the results of my Fact Checking – but this dire warning from economists,
Roll on 2014.
= fs =
Perusing the on-line news section of Radio NZ, I was struck by this short story,
Help me out here, folks, ‘cos this is another one of our recent (?) behaviours that has me utterly perplexed. Now call me kinda old fashioned… But what kind of moron doesn’t let an ambulance pass?!?!
Perhaps it’s just another one of those human behaviours that has been with us, since the first Cave Child graffitied a nice piece of cave wall-art, about a zillion years ago.
Or, perhaps it’s an unpleasant reminder of the quantum-shift in some peoples’ thinking, that they are more important than anything/anyone else – including an ambulance with lights and sirens blazing/blaring, as the medics try to save some poor schmuck who is bleeding to death…
Perhaps nothing better illustrates the Ayn-Randian-Me-First attitude, that neo-liberalism espouses, than someone who refuses to move over because… well, because they don’t want to! Hell, I pay my taxes! I have a right to be on the road!! Screw everyone else!!
If that’s the case, I hope such people are a tiny, tiny, tiny minority. But, judging by the selfishness expressed on many internet fora – I sadly think not.
Just like the able-bodied person who parks in a Disabled Person’s carpark… “Hey, I’ll only be a few minutes!” Or, “Hey, why should they get all the best carparks?!”
Or the smoker who doesn’t care a hoot about lighting up in a car, with children in the car beside him/her (I’ve seen this myself)… “Hey, f****n nanny state isn’t going to tell me where I can or can’t smoke!“
And of course, there are the drunk drivers (those that are still alive) who drink; drive; and just don’t care.
It’s all human selfishness.
Once upon a time, selfishness was deemed an undesirable virtue. Now, there is practically an entire political ideology built around it.
Anyway, the point is simple: People! See the ambulance? Get out of the way! It could be your friend or family member they’re racing to assist!
And if you see some idiot holding up an ambo or fire appliance, despite lights and siren going full tit…
Use your cellphone; dial *555; and report the idiot.
The next life you save could be someone precious to you.
Support & Donations
Ok, well, maybe not the sky per se – but bits of stuff will shortly be falling from it,
Thanks for the warning. Though I do have one question.
What are we supposed to do when we see ‘space junk’?
Just when you thought the human race couldn’t possibly be any more insane than it already is, we find two stories. One is from the most technologically advanced, wealthiest nations on planet Earth. The other is from a semi-failed state that is like taking a Tardis trip 1,000 years into the past.
Members at the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church voted Sunday on the resolution, which says the church “does not condone interracial marriage.”
The church member who crafted the resolution, Melvin Thompson, said he is not racist and called the matter an “internal affair.”
“I am not racist. I will tell you that. I am not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil about a race,” said Thompson, the church’s former pastor who stepped down earlier this year. “That’s what this is being portrayed as, but it is not.”
Melvin Thompson is adamant that he is not a racist or prejudiced.
Of course not. Basing your beliefs on the colour of one’s skin isn’t racism. We all know that. Racism happens somewhere else.
Personally, I’m happy to dispense with the term “racism” and just use alternative terms. Like, ignorance.
There you go, Mr Thompson; you’re not racist, you’re just plain ignorant. Happy?
And from the other side of the planet, far removed from rural Kentucky, the human capacity for infinity craziness and cruelty carries on,
Karzai’s office said in a statement that the woman and her attacker have agreed to marry. That would reverse an earlier decision by the 19-year-old woman, who had previously refused a judge’s offer of freedom if she agreed to marry the rapist.
Her plight was highlighted in a documentary that the European Union blocked because it feared the women featured in the film would be in danger if it were shown.
More than 5,000 people recently signed a petition urging Karzai to release the woman. She had the man’s child while in prison and raised her daughter behind bars, which is common among women imprisoned in Afghanistan.
A statement released by Karzai’s office says that after hearing from judicial officials, the decision was made to forgive the rest of the sentence she received for having sex out of wedlock, a crime in Afghanistan. The presidential statement did not say when the woman was to be released or how much prison time had been pardoned.
The woman told The Associated Press in an interview last month that she had hoped that attention generated by the EU film might help her get released. With the film blocked, she said that she was losing hope and considering marrying her rapist as a way out. She said her attacker was pressuring her to stop giving interviews.
About half of the 300 to 400 women jailed in Afghanistan are imprisoned for so-called “moral crimes” such as sex outside marriage, or running away from their husbands, according to reports by the United Nations and research organizations. Fleeing husbands isn’t considered a crime in Afghanistan.
Ever wondered what a society ruled by misogynistic village idiots would look like? Welcome to Afghanistan, circa 2011AD. Or 1011AD. Or 11AD. (Makes no difference, really.)
The only difference between these two stories is that our American cuzzies have no excuse. They have unfettered access to education and 21st century communications. And when even Presidential candidates indulge in a bit of outrageous racism, is there really that much difference between the two cultures?
It’s amazing the depths of ignorance human beings can plumb, especially when they claim to have a god on their side…
Election Eleven – Tuesday
Now this is just downright creepy: right wing blogger, David Farrar, is now investigating private individuals who have appeared as part of TV3′s audience for their Leader’s Debate last night? A screenshot from his Blog,
I have blanked out the names that Farrar has published and I have not linked back to his article. I have no wish to aid his witch hunt against three individuals.
But I think it is the height of hypocrisy that Farrar and his right-wing colleagues criticised Labour non-stop for “Nanny State” policy – and now he is identifying private individuals for their (supposed) political activities.
Is this to be the new standard set by right wing blogs?
It now appears that if a New Zealand citizen is even remotely politically active, that they may be subjected to what is essentially an online, public, “name & shame” campaign. This can only be viewed as a none-too-subtle form of intimidation. Another term is cyber-bullying.
Does this have any place in New Zealand society? Is this the direction of future politics in this country? And what will it do to getting people more involved in politics?
This isn’t “Nanny Statism”. Nope, not at all.
It’s Big Brother – and Big Brother (aka David Farrer, et al) is Watching You!
I’ll say it now: there is no place in politics – or any other part of our society – for behaviour like this,
Whilst I disagree with Ms Barry’s politics – she has a democratic right to go about her business without being abused like this. I sincerely hope that anyone knowing who this man is, take him aside, and tell him that such behaviour is utterly repugnant and unacceptable.
Ms Barry is an intelligent, articulate woman who has achieved much in her life. Disagree with her if you will – but respect her for her accomplisments; her willingness to participate in the democratic process; and for simply being a human being.
Politics is a contest of ideas – not a spitting game that juveniles might indulge in.
Taken by an observant reader, and sent to me ten minutes ago,
Hmmmm, I’m guessing that for the Nats to state that “Your vote is crucial this sat”, that they are starting to panic? Something has definitely spooked the back-room National strategy boys…
… and yet more fear mongering from John Key, about Winston Peters? I now believe that National’s internal polling is showing that they are bleeding voter support and that they are probably somewhere around 46-48% – if not lower.
Otherwise, why would Key be wasting his time with the leader of a near-non-existent party that isn’t even represented in Parliament?!
National is right to be worried.
There are National supporters who view John Key’s scheme to sell state assets with considerable unease – if not downright hostility. Such voters are loathe to vote for a left-wing alternative such as Labour or Greens. But NZ First is a “soft Tory” alternative.
Expect Peters to return.
Expect a new Labour led coalition.
Oh dear. It seems that National is making election promises regarding matters that are already law,
Someone in the National camp really should check their facts. Promising to implement policy that has been a law for well over a decade seems pointless. Mind you, it is rather a cheap way to make election promises.
They won’t cost anything.
They’ve already been implemented,
Fraud Investigation teams nationwide work to preserve the integrity of the income support system by preventing and detecting benefit fraud.
Fraud Investigation teams work closely with the National Data Match Centre. The Centre shares data with other government agencies including:
- Inland Revenue
- Housing New Zealand
- Accident Compensation Corporation
- Internal Affairs. “
And being already implemented – National can take credit for it!
What a cunning plan!
Whoopsie! Isn’t it a bugger when a photo-op comes back to bite you?
“Lots of young people decide to go for an OE – I don’t know how long she’ll last. I’m not in a position to go into too much; hope she comes back.” Source
Ummm, John… She’s sixteen. She’s hardly likely to be going on her OE, and probably leaving with her family. Probably long-term migration.
She and her family are joining 84,400 who have also left New Zealand in the last year.
Only in America,
I hope that “Phoenix” and “Ghost” understand that Nature abhors a vacuum. Where there are superheroes – there will be supervillains. Just ask anyone from The Watchmen.
I hope his mace-can is fully charged.
Only in America…
Meanwhile, in the Philippines,
I hope he’s bullet-proof…
+++ Updates +++
When it comes to bizarre, this has to take the cake,
A billionaire member of the Chinse Communist Party?!
Karl Marx would be spinning in his grave at such high revs that we could attach a dynamo to him; run wires to a nearby sub-station; and power Hamilton with the energy.
It’s official, folks – China is no longer a communist society. Sorry, Mao – nice try, cuz.
I think someone needs to remind our Italian cuzzies that Terrestrial science is not yet capable of predicting earthquakes. That kind of technology won’t be around for a few decades more.
But if those crazy Italians want to ‘spook’ their scientists into heading overseas – they’re going the right way about it.
In a way, this case – along with ‘junk science’ and alternative ‘remedies’ – shows up one simple fact; that when people don’t have a firm understanding of science, they revert to simplistic notions.
Like those individuals who believe that the moon landings were a hoax. They point to the supposedly “fluttering flag” planted by US astronaut, Neil Armstrong. They insist that, because the Moon has a near vacuum instead of an atmosphere, that it would be impossible for the flag to “flutter”.
Well, in a way, they are right. There is no appreciable atmosphere on the Moon. So flags don’t “flutter”.
But, being made of a fabric with a wire mesh sewn into it, the material still moves with a motion imparted from the rod that it is attached to, as the astronaut is handling it, and trying to bury it into the lunar soil. More here .
Even in a vacuum, objects will move, once energy is applied. (“Energy” in this case being momentum.) Otherwise, of course, rockets wouldn’t work in the vacuum of space, would they?
But back to the case of the trial in Italy. One hopes that the presiding judge will see this as the lunatic situation that it truly is, and dismiss it within about ten seconds. Otherwise every scientist in Italy will probably consider packing their suitcases and buying a one-way ticket out of the country.
I’ve heard of anti-intellectualism (eg; the Scopes Monkey Trial) – but this is one firmly out of the “Strange & Stupid” Files…
See Also: Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy
Floating cities: PayPal billionaire plans to build a whole new libertarian colony off the coast of San Francisco
- Ocean state would have no welfare, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons
- Platforms would house 270 people and hundreds could eventually join together
PayPal-founder Peter Thiel was so inspired by Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand’s novel about free-market capitalism – that he’s trying to make its title a reality.
The Silicon Valley billionaire has funnelled $1.25million to the Seasteading Institute, an organisation that aspires to launch a floating colony into international waters, freeing them and like-minded thinkers to live by libertarian ideals.
Mr Thiel recently told Details magazine: ‘The United States Constitution had things you could do at the beginning that you couldn’t do later. So the question is, can you go back to the beginning of things? How do you start over?’
The floating sovereign nations that Mr Thiel imagines would be built on oil-rig-like platforms anchored in areas free of regulation, laws, and moral conventions.
The Seasteading Institute says it will ‘give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get’.
Mr Theil, the venture capitalist who famously helped Facebook expand beyond the Harvard campus, called Seasteading an ‘open frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government’.
After making his first investment in the project in 2008, Mr Thiel said: ‘Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public sector models around the world.
‘We’re at a fascinating juncture: the nature of government is about to change at a very fundamental level.’
Mr Thiel and his colleagues say their ocean state would have no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.
Aiming to have tens of millions of residents by 2050, the Seasteading Institute says architectural plans for a prototype involve a movable, diesel-powered structure with room for 270 residents.
The long-term plan would be to have dozens and eventually hundreds of the platforms linked together.
Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer who is working on the project told Details that they hope to launch a flotilla of offices off the San Francisco coast next year.
‘Big ideas start as weird ideas,’ Mr Friedman said.
He predicted that full-time settlement will follow in about seven years.
But while some Ayn Rand acolytes may think the idea is brilliant, it’s not without its critics.
Margaret Crawford, an expert on urban planning and a professor of architecture at Berkeley, told Details: ‘it’s a silly idea without any urban-planning implications whatsoever.’
Mr Thiel told an audience at the Seasteading Institute Conference in 2009 that: ‘There are quite a lot of people who think it’s not possible.
‘That’s a good thing. We don’t need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don’t think it’s possible they won’t take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it’s too late.’
I fully support founding such a colony. In fact, I’ll donate $100 for a (one way) ticket for Don Brash to migrate there.
I’ve suggested – on several occassions – that neo-liberals who want to live in a free-market, minimalist government, zero-tax, user-pays society have just such a country to migrate to: Somalia.
Somalia is perfect and meets their criteria in every respect.
Of course, as part of user-pays, they would have to pay for their own security; their own private police force. And why shouldn’t they? After all, why should other taxpayers pay for protection of someone elses’ property, in a User Pays nirvana?
Strangely enough, as far as I’m aware, no neo-lib has ever taken up my offer.
And stranger even still, neo-libs seem to prefer living in New Zealand; a country built on collective efforts by it’s citizens to build up every aspect of present day society; electricity sector, education, railways, health, roading, police, bridges, libraries, etc. Even telecommunications, airlines, and television started off as tax-payer funded services. All paid by our taxes.
Private enterprise was focused on providing citizens with supermarkets, clothing, shoes (once upon a time), and other consumer goods. It was a good balance.
“Mr Thiel and his colleagues say their ocean state would have no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”
No minimum wage? But… who would clean their toilets?
No building codes? On a free-standing oceanic city? Oh, I can see that working… not.
Call me cynical, but I doubt if Peter Thiel’s ‘Seasteading’ project will succeed. For one thing, human nature is involved – and as we all know, human nature can be a bugger of a thing to deal with.
Secondly, what happens if Thiel’s ‘island’ gets in trouble? Perhaps struck by a hurricane? Will the Seasteaders expect rescue from the international community? And will they be willing to PAY for assistance? (User pays, of course.)
The article further states,
“The Seasteading Institute says it will ‘give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get’.”
Uh oh. That sounds perilously close to that pesky concept popularly know as “de-mo-cra-cy”. Damned dangerous, that “de-mo-cra-cy”. What happens if, in time, the population of ‘Seastead’ elect a government that is more interventionist?
Will Thiel then build another libertarian community? To get away from the first ‘Seastead’, taken over over “leftists”?
Personally, I think Somalia would still be a cheaper option.
Let’s be honest here, though.
This is about one thing: money. Thiel wants to keep as much of his money as possible and not pay taxes. There may be other, immensely wealthy individuals, who feel lifewise.
Well, I say “good luck” to them. Let them set up their little sovereign “Island State”. Let them learn the hard way that a functioning, balanced, society involves more than just having a bloated bank balance. A dynamic society is a collection of mutually supporting groups and individuals – not just a handful of wealthy people.
My guess is that this little “Profit Paradise” will not last long. Nor will it be self-sufficient. And, the inhabitants will still want to spend (most of) their time on the US mainland, socialising, doing business, and all the other things that the rest of us enjoy. Their Island State will be nothing more than a taxation “bolthole”; a floating bank account.
And herein lies the dishonesty of such an idea.
But if billionaires want to spend their entire lives on such an Island, and not leave, then they are welcome to it. Imagine being forced to live your life in one little area; never leaving; and associating only with others of your ilk.
It’s called “prison”.
Gosh, just what New Zealand needs; an instruction manual from religious nutters on how to beat your children to death. Because, as we all know, we don’t have enough beaten; raped; maimed; and murdered children in our society.
Just a reminder how “good” we are at beating our children to death, here. But maybe ten children murdered each year, plus the hundreds more who suffer permanent injuries/maimings, aren’t enough? Because it seems that there are “helpful” individuals out there who are willing to put together a ‘manual’ on how we can do it more efficiently.
And if it’s based on the scribblings of a 2,000+ year old religious text – all the better. Personally, I’m waiting for a book on child-discipline according to the ancient Aztec Sun God worship .
I wonder if the next child killer; standing in the dock on charges of murder; will hold up this book and use it as an excuse for his/her behaviour?
“God said I can beat my child!”
How many deranged serial killers have also claimed to hear God’s voice?
“Data sets for the years 1997 to 2001 from each country include all deaths and hospitalisations from assault. The results show that a child in New Zealand is almost three times more likely to die from assault than a child in Sweden.”
So do we really need this book? It seems we’re pretty good at it already.
There is probably some rational reason for a victim of domestic violence to be re-victimised by Immigration authorities…
… but strangely enough, I can’t think what that reason might be?!
When Govt Departments Go Mad 2…
While Charmain Timmons faces deportation (after her residency application was denied because her then-husband was convicted for crimes against her), the Sunday Star Times listed individual who had been given residency after fighting their deportation orders;
Samoan Troy Lologa, 27, who stabbed a man to death in a fight outside a South Auckland Burger King.
Fijian Ramendra Shankar, 62, who indecently assaulted an eight-year-old girl.
South African Kim Gillian Knoll, 22, convicted of attempted murder for stabbing her two-year-old son in the stomach.
Samoan Autalavou Taafi, 47, who raped a woman colleague whom he was giving a ride home.
Samoan Faaua Faataape, 46, who while driving drunk and stoned, crashed, hitting a child and dragging the child under the car.
Tongan Metui Ma’umalanga, 44, who punched and kicked his epileptic wife into unconsciousness then assaulted a police officer. Ma’umalanga was previously convicted of assaulting his wife with a stabbing or cutting implement, drink-driving and male assaults female.
Fijian Pranesh Pratap, 28, who assaulted his wife from an arranged marriage, hospitalising her for four days, after an argument because he would not stop seeing his girlfriend, who he had also assaulted.
Malaysian Tung Seng Chang, 35, convicted of being part of “a substantial operation involving the supply and manufacture of methamphetamine”.
Samoan Setafano Leota, 39, who was jailed for beating his 10-year-old daughter about the face and body with a piece of wood.
Australian Adeline Rogers, 28, who threatened to blow up a Child Youth and Family building and kill her sister-in-law.
Tongan Anoti Vaka, 43, convicted of four assaults against his children including causing grievous bodily harm to his daughter by cutting her head with a knife.
South African Grant Deetlefs, 28, who supported his drug habit through the aggravated robbery of a service station he worked at.
So let’s see if we have this right…
Convicted of violence, drug-use, rape, robbery, murder – residency approved.
Victim of violence by ex-partner – residency denied.
Yes, folks, we have just crossed over into… The Twilight Zone.
Kapiti Coast District Council has told an elderly Mazengarb Rd man it is his responsibility to maintain the 900-square-metre road berm outside his home.
This week the council confirmed to the Kapiti Observer that residents are expected to mow berms, with no limit on how big that obligation could be.
Lou Groeneweg has mowed his berm for 22 years but now, nearing his 80th birthday, he can’t manage to mow the 900sqm – almost a quarter of an acre – of grass.
When Mr Groeneweg and his wife Vicky approached the council with their problem, they were told it was their responsibility, and if they were unable to mow it themselves, the council could supply a list of contractors whom they could pay to do it for them. More.
Every so often, those in authority lose touch with reality.
And every so often, we have to remind those in authority about reality.
Making authority look utterly feeble-minded is certainly one way to accomplish that. Top marks for Lou and Vicky Groeneweg for achieving that feat, and showing their local Council that being made to look like prize prats in the national media is not something to be proud of..
Kapiti Coast Council… *sighs*
The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act says names can be declined for causing offence, being over-long or “without adequate justification” resembling an official title or rank.
Other names that were queried but later accepted included Fanny, Jnr, Shady and Nevaeh (heaven backwards, which, curiously, was the 31st most popular girl’s name in the United States in 2007).
Though Lucifer and Messiah were rejected on taste grounds, the Sunday Star-Times struggled to find anyone offended by the names.
Judy de Leeuwe, an atheist at the Rationalists and Humanists Association, said she was not offended and she did not know why Births, Deaths and Marriages would reject them.
Lyndsay Freer, spokeswoman for the Catholic Church in Auckland, said some Christians could object to the name Lucifer, but since millions of Spanish speakers called their children Jesus, she did not see how the name Messiah could be offensive.
Lucifer comes from a Latin expression meaning “light-bearer” and was the name given to the dawn appearance of the planet Venus, which heralds daylight. There was originally no connection to the devil.
What I find sad is that there has been no reported comment on the effects of bizarre names on children in the above article. No comment whatsoever (unless the journo involved, Ian Steward, decided to omit any such references in his article.)
Call me “old fashioned (actually, don’t) but I tend to believe that lumbering children with weird names is not conducive to their mental and emotional wellbeing. We all know (or, should know by now) how nasty children can be to each other. Giving our little darlings “extra ammo” to use in harassing each other does not seem sensible or desirable.
I’m reminded of this similar instance,
‘Embarrassed’ girl, 9, gets court protection in New Zealand to change her name from ‘Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii’
24th July 2008. What’s in a name? Quite a lot if you’re called Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.
That’s the unfortunate appellation a girl was given by her parents - but now a New Zealand judge has ordered that the nine-year-old, who is at the centre of a custody battle, should become a ward of court until she can choose a name she really likes.
The girl’s lawyer said she told people her name was ‘K’ because she feared being mocked and teased.
Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt said: ‘The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child’s parents have shown in choosing this name. It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily.’ More.
I can’t get into the minds of parents who would do this to their children. It is as if they have taken all leave of their sense, and decided to use their children to “make a statement” or “thumb their noses”.
Children. They are not our chattels. They are not to be used in regards to any “issues” we might have with society.
With children, such parents should consider their obligations, rather than any perceived “property rights”.
Did we, or did we not land on the Moon?
The Moon Landing Hoax is probably one of the most enduring of Conspiracy Theories, along with the JFK assassination; the crashed flying saucer at Roswell; and the 9/11 “Inside Job”.
Moon Landing Hoax CTers will offer all manner of “evidence” that the Apollo programme was a fake and that the astronauts were actually photographed on a secret studio film-lot, where the lunar surface was re-created down to the nth degree.
CTers point out to many “flaws” in the photos, stating that the flag appears to “flutter” in the airlessness of the lunar environment; that stars are not visible; etc.
It’s all rubbish of course.
Common sense will tell you that;
! Too many people would have been involved in such a complex project. Hundreds, if not thousands, would needed to have been recruited for such a massive undertaking. And not one person involved in this supposed conspiracy finally succumbed to temptation to appear on Oprah or Larry King?! Folks, please! This is America we’re talking about!!
! It’s been estimated that the immense cost of such a conspiracy, including requiring to launch an entire, crewless, Saturn-Apollo rocket, would have made an actual trip to the Moon a cheaper option.
! Our American and Soviet cuzzies were involved in a little difference-of-opinion which some folk refer to as The Cold War. It was nothing less than a struggle for world domination. Every aspect of Soviet and American life was a bitter contest for supremacy of ideas, ideology, and economic system. Even the Olympics were a battleground between opposing Soviet and American athletes.
In this climate of subdued agression – and in the cases of Korea, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, overt warfare – the Space Race became another battleground for the competing Superpowers.
When Americans landed on the Moon in July 1969, it was a signal to the world that American technology and inventiveness had triumphed over the closeted, regimented society of the USSR and it’s allies.
One up for the Yanks, we might say.
But imagine if the landings had been a hoax. Imagine if, eventually, the Soviets had discovered the deception? And imagine if they had gathered evidence to prove to the world that the United States had lied on such a vast scale?
The propaganda coup to the Soviet Union would have destroyed America’s credibility – and perhaps lost them the Cold War. History would have altered incalculably and the world today would be a much different place.
No, folks, there was no Moon Landing Hoax conspiracy. The Soviets would never have permitted it.
In July, 1969, two human beings walked on an alien world. And whether we are American or Russian, it’s something to be damned proud of…
LIGHT FIXATION: Asperger sufferer Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp was arrested for looting after the February 22 quake when he was caught trying to remove two light fittings from an empty Lincoln Rd property.
The ongoing police prosecution of Christchurch man, Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp, appears to be bloody-mindedness, verging on persecution. There seems no good reason to prosecute this man, as he appears to have considerable mental-health problems such as Aspergers and uncontrollable compulsions.
And now we hear that the Police are investigating the ‘Sunday’ TV programme?!
What the hell is going on here?
In case folks want to add their voice on this issue, here are email addresses for the relevant Ministers;
Simon Power, Minister of Justice
Judith Collins, Minister for Police
“A motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws went over his handlebars, hit his head on the pavement and was killed, police said Sunday. The motorcyclist, 55-year-old Philip A Contos, likely would have survived the accident if he’d been wearing a helmet, state troopers said.
The accident happened Saturday afternoon (Sunday, NZ time) in Onondaga, a town in central New York near Syracuse.
Contos was riding a 1983 Harley-Davidson on a helmet protest ride organised by the Onondaga chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education, or ABATE, troopers told The Post-Standard of Syracuse. The organisation states that it encourages the voluntary use of helmets but opposes mandatory helmet laws. Contos, of Parish, hit his brakes, and his motorcycle fishtailed and went out of control, flipping him over the handlebars, police said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
New York is one of 20 states that require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Lobbying by motorcyclist groups has led some states to repeal helmet laws.
A helmet that meets federal standards reduces the wearer’s chances of being killed in an accident by more than 40 per cent, said safety consultant Jim Hedlund, of the Governors Highway Safety Association.” Source
I guess the moral of this story is fairly self-evident; do not mess with Karma, the Universe, Providence, or The Fates. They will win every time.