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What would Jesus do?

3 January 2012 6 comments


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The U.S. economic recovery – based on what amounts to a trade in death,

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Aside from the morality of selling weapons of destruction to other nations,  is the seemingly crazy notion of providing more arms to the planet’s “tinder box” – the Middle East.  Just what the world needs; more destructive fire power in one of the most unstable regions of the world.

With several of these nations at war with their own people, one has to wonder if the governments of arms-exporting nations are not, themselves, a little bit crazy. (Or a helluva lot crazy.)

The major arms exporters,

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Who in turn sell to the biggest clients,

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So many of the weapons from the West end up being used against ordinary  citizens,  by repressive regimes in the growing Arab Spring,

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The tear-gas cannister above contains first-aid instructions. How very “civilised“.

I cannot convey to you the disgust I feel, knowing that our allies in America and Britain are selling deadly weapons to repressive regimes, who in turn,  feel no qualms at turning them against their own people,

Global spending on arms in 2010 were an estimated 1.6 trillion dollars, with governments in the Middle East dishing out more than 111 billion for weapons – raising questions as to whether Western arms suppliers circumvented international treaties by exporting to repressive regimes.

Last year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt accounted for over 75 percent of U.S. arms sales – with Saudi Arabia ordering more than 60 billion dollars in weaponry, making it the leading buyer.” – Ibid

At the same time, poverty continues to blight our entire Human civilisation – including what should be the richest, most prosperous nation on Earth.

This is a trillion-dollar business.  Those involved are politicians; arms manufacturers; military leaders; arms exporters; and the good people of America, Britain, France, Germany, etc, who permit it to happen.

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I’m under no illusion that there would also be a number of New Zealanders who would gladly support a domestic arms-industry, if it meant turning a profit. For some people, money is more important than anything else – including lives.

Perhaps the great irony, though, is that the USA is supposedly a Christian nation. They pride themselves on their “special relationship” with their god.

They swear allegiance to their Constitution, invoking their god,

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

It’s  on their currency,

In God We Trust

And it is part of their patriotic fervour,

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Yet, in 2010  the United States exported US$8.6 Billion worth of deadly weapons to various clients around the world. Much of this firepower is often levelled against innocent people.

And just as obscene – $8.6 billion could have been used to alleviate drought, famine, and poverty in many parts of the world. How many lives could have been saved and made better with $8.6 billion?

Which leads me to the obvious question that begs to be asked,

What would Jesus do?

Because this is an apparent contradiction that I fail to understand…

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Additional

World’s Largest Weapons Exporters

NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Export Controls

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Categories: Global Tags: , ,

“Frankly Speaking” – 2011 in review

3 January 2012 8 comments

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: The Body Politic

“One law for all” – except MPs

3 January 2012 4 comments

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The government is going after cameraman/journalist Bradley Ambrose with a vengeance, demanding $14,000 in court costs,

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It seems that this government is as vindictive as ever, when it comes to “settling scores” with critics. Their recent history has other similar examples of coming down hard on those who would dare criticise the current regime.

This list outlines just some of the people who have criticised this government and been abused or derided;

July, 2009

Natasha Fuller &  Jennifer Johnston, solo-mothers

Personal WINZ details released to the media by Social Welfare Minister, Paula Bennett, to discredit both women after they criticised National for canning the Training Incentive Allowance (which Bennett herself used to pay her way through University).

May, 2011

Jon Stephenson, journalist
John Key derides Stephenson’s research into NZ activities in Afghanistan: “I’ve got no reason for NZDF to be lying, and I’ve found [Stephenson] myself personally not to be credible.”

September, 2011

Nicky Hager, writer, researcher
John Key dismisses Hager’s book, on CIA involvement in NZ military activities in Afghanistan:  “I don’t have time to read fiction,” quipped the Prime Minister, adding that the book contained “no smoking gun”, just supposition, which, “makes it business as normal for Nicky Hager”. (Despite the book having 1300 footnotes to referencing documentation.)

October, 2011

Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury, broadcaster, blogger
Criticised John Key on Radio NZ. Subsequently banned/ “uninvited”  from returning to Radio NZ as a panellist for the Afternoons with Jim Mora segment.

November, 2011

Robyn Malcolm, actor
Criticises the John Key led National government for it’s failures at a Green Party campaign launch, and is, in turn, vilified by the ‘NZ Herald’, and by one-time National Party aspiring-candidate, Cameron Brewer.

November, 2011

Bradley Ambrose, journalist/photographer
Investigated by police after complaint laid by the Prime Minister, over the “Teapot Tape” affair. Ambrose investigated and interviewed by Police. Media office raided. Property seized. Eventually, no charges laid. Government considered seeking costs of $13,669.45 from Ambrose – but eventually decided not to.

Whilst “Bomber” Bradbury and Ms Malcolm were not directly attacked by this government,  actions taken against them were made as a direct result of criticising John Key.

It appears that Bradley Ambrose can now be added to that growing list of harassed or vilified dissidents. If it’s any consolation for Mr Ambrose, he appears to be a member of an “exclusive club” of some very talented individuals.

It also seems that the National Party is not averse to resorting to  Muldoonist tactics – where the Prime Minister of the same name had little hesitation in attacking critics on a personal level. Many of us still recall Muldoon’s abuse of power against cartoonist and journalist, Tom Scott, in the 1970s.

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I thought those days were over, and behind us.

Evidently not.

What is even more outrageously hypocritical is that Ministers of the Crown are not above dipping into the public purse to pay for their own court costs – some of which are considerable,

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National MP, Gerry Brownlee also tried to seek reimbursement for a $48,000 legal bill – though this was knocked back. Brownlee knew he was “trying it on”, when he admitted,

In hindsight, I would have thought ‘oh well, I’ve got this big bill, I may as well see what is possible’. But quite clearly it wasn’t appropriate.” – Ibid

Nick Smith has received $122,000 taxpayer funding in his case against timber preservative company Osmose, and an undisclosed sum to reimburse his court costs  in his case against David Henderson.

One cannot help but arrive at the conclusion that there is one law for Members of Parliament – and another law for the rest of us plebs.

It was highly ironic then, considering Bradley Ambrose’s case that the Speaker of the House, Lockwood Smith referred to  court action against the media, as justification for using taxpayers’ money,

Dr Smith said allowing MPs to use public money was warranted, likening it to a media company paying for a defamation case against a journalist.” – Ibid

John Key also climbed into the fray,  justifying the use of taxpayers’ money thusly,

“”It’s a question about whether ultimately those disclosures are brought into the public domain by greater levels of transparency, but that has never been the rule in the past. I don’t think it would be of concern to me if it was opened up to a greater degree. There’s nothing to hide here.” ” – Source

Well, obviously there was quite a bit to hide when it came to the “Teapot Tapes”. So much to hide, in fact, that police were called in to raid several media offices and punitive action is being meted out to Mr Ambrose. Not very “transparent” at all.

It is quite obvious that this government has little hesitation in using taxpayers money – our money – against members of the public who dare annoy a Minister.

It is also quite obvious that this same government will dip into our wallets and use our taxes when it suits them, to pay for their legal expenses.

The term for this is hypocrisy.

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