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Archive for 26 June 2013

When false advertising is hyperbole, so it’s ok

26 June 2013 6 comments

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Pepperoni-less pizza not false advertising

Acknowledgement: Fairfax Media – Pepperoni-less pizza not false advertising

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Well, so the Advertising Standards Authority has deemed that false advertsing is ok when it’s showing  products or services  ‘‘in a hyperbolic manner”?!?!

It’s unclear how this  “practice is likely to be understood by most viewers” when we don’t know what’s in a product like a pizza until we  see it. By then, it’s generally too late.

This decision does not serve the consumer very well. In fact, the ASA may have set a nasty precedent for businesses not to live up to their advertising.

Because it seems to me that if the complainant in the pizza case bought a product with 24 pieces of pepperoni on it and was sold a pizza with only eight pieces, then the up-shot is;

  1. The customer has received only 33% of what was offered in the advert,
  2. The company has made a profit by keeping 66% of the pepperoni,
  3. The company has profited by deception.

This isn’t “hyperbole”, this is fraudulent business practice. And it beggars belief that the ASA believes this is acceptable?!

As one wag pointed out on the Fairfax Comments,

The advertising standards authority does not work as advertised.” – Scathsealgaire

Ah, ya gotta love capitalism. A new way to rip of people every day.

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Dodgy polls, dodgy dealings, and a spot of fear-mongering

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Dodgy Polls

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The lates Herald-Digipoll paints a depressing  picture for Labour. Or, does it?

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Further fall in polls dismissed by Labour - 26.6.2013

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Further fall in polls dismissed by Labour

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However, the poll is by no means as accurate as some would have us believe,

The real poll to watch is Roy Morgan, which calls cellphones as well as landlines.

The Herald-Digipoll should therefore be treated with a fair measure of scepticism.

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Dodgy dealings

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peter-francis-family-campaign-justice

Acknowledgement: Peter Francis: undermining family’s campaign for justice was my low point

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Anyone who believes that expansion of GCSB’s surveillance powers would target only “subversives” should read the above article from The Guardian. Read it in full.

And take note of who the UK Police labelled as “subversives”.

Never underestimate the willingness and  ability of state agencies to pry and interfere in our lives – especially  when those state agencies feel threatened.

The State does not “love” us.

The State is a multi-faceted entity that may help us one day – and spy or threaten us the next.

The story of former police officer  Peter Francis should serve as a clear warning to everyone that the power of the State can be easily mis-used, and is best kept on a short leash.

I am therefore incredulous that the GCSB – which broke the law by illegally spying on 88 New Zealanders, is now about to have that law-breaking legalised, and spying over us all, legitimised. This is practically rewarding criminal behaviour.

Now Winston Peters is flirting with the Nats by offering to support the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill – with “safeguards”.

“Safeguards”?!

Rubbish.

Peters is not in the least interested in safeguarding the rights of New Zealanders. He is interested only in destroying political opposition (the United Party) and safe-guarding his own interests and position at the next election as “king maker”.

I wonder if Me Peters will be willing to explain to his audiences why he is considering expanding the powers of the GCSB, thereby sending us further down the road of becoming a Surveillance State.

NZ First must vote down the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill. Otherwise, he may regret having this stain on his political career.

Mr Peters, just say,

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Fearmongering

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When a politician starts to engage in naked fear-mongering to panic the masses into supporting whatever dodgy agenda they’re engaged in – it’s time to start worrying.

Evidently, according to John Key,  the entire country is in dire  need of “protection” from unseen, unknown  evil villains,

“By the way, very senior Labour members within that caucus understand completely the importance of national security and of keeping New Zealanders safe and the very question they might have to ask themselves if one day there was a equivalent of the Boston bombings in New Zealand would they be the very same members who would stand up and say they prevented New Zealanders from being kept as safe as they otherwise could be.”

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Spy bill: ‘This isn’t playtime’ – Key

That’s on top of Key’s other utterances.

On weapons of mass destruction,

“There have been covert attempts to acquire New Zealand science and technology for programmes relating to weapons of mass destruction or weapons delivery systems”

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald: PM’s hacking claims a distraction – Labour

On foreign terrorism (with domestic support),

“There are people within our country who have links to offshore terrorist groups.  Those links range from helping to fund terrorist groups through to an attraction to their extremist activities.”

And,

“While the terrorism threat in New Zealand has remained low, there are people within our country who have links to off-shore terrorist groups.”

Acknowledgement: TVNZ – Key reveals WMD cyber terrorism threat to NZ

I wonder if those “off-shore terrorist groups” comprise of Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, PETA,  et al?

On cyber espionage,

“And the many other threats to our national security have continued to intensify, these include cyber-attacks against Government and private organisations where information is at risk, and the intellectual property of some of our smartest and most innovative New Zealanders is at risk.”

Acknowledgement: IBID

But it’s all ok, according to Key, who resorts to the “You-Have-Nothing-To-Fear” rhetoric,

“With regards to the three main functions, the Act will be amended to make clear the GCSB can use its powers when undertaking activities in all of these areas, subject to controls and conditions.”

“Controls and Conditions”?!

We’ve already had “controls and conditions” under the current GCSB law, which stated quite clearly* that the Bureau was not legally permitted to spy on New Zealand citizens and permanent residents.

Nevertheless, that still didn’t stop them  from spying on 88 New Zealanders and permanent residents.

Acknowledgement: NewstalkZB – Threats of cyber espionage and terrorism

“What actually happens with national security is protecting the interests of New Zealanders, and if people aren’t doing something wrong, then it’s very unlikely they would be falling within the remit of the GCSB’s activities.”

Acknowledgement: Otago Daily Times – Key goes on offensive over GCSB

Really? “If people aren’t doing something wrong, then it’s very unlikely they would be falling within the remit of the GCSB’s activities.”?!?!

The families spied on by Peter Francis and other UK police [see above: Dodgy dealings] might feel differently, Mr Prime Minister.

Fear-mongering – a despicable way to convince the public for the need to change a law.

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*Note

Section 14 of the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 states;

14 Interceptions not to target domestic communications
  • Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.

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Sparks fly with yet more shocking right wing nuttery…

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malcomx newspapers

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It’s a funny old world we live in…

On the one hand,  the likes of Karl du Fresne  denounce Radio NZ as a left-wing organisation;  journalists are branded “leftist”; and  media pundits  feel the need to defend journos from being labelled as “left wing partisans” – whilst at the same time openly partisan, right-wing columnists like John Armstrong and  Fran O’sullivan are (mostly) unchallenged as  they spread their pro-National messages.

Armstrong’s recent column was nothing more or less than an unpaid Party political broadcast (for National, in case there was any doubt),

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Get-tough Greens preparing for battle

Acknowledgment: NZ Herald -Get-tough Greens preparing for battle

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Out of 31 paragraphs, Armstrong dripped political diarrhoea from nearly every one. Even the Greens’ democratic process took a hammering,

“So much for democracy. Not that too many at the conference seemed to mind. By all accounts, the motion to streamline the party’s antiquated remit system easily obtained the required 75 per cent backing to effect a change to the party’s standing orders.”

Pardon moi?! WTF?!

The Greens “easily obtained the required 75 per cent backing to effect a change to the party’s standing orders” – and Armstrong still derides the process with a curt “So much for democracy”? He thinks that a  75% acceptance of a remit isn’t democractic?!

I think if the Nats had won 75% of the vote in 2011, Armstrong would be spinning a completely different story. He would’ve wet his incontinence-knickers at such a result.

It’s fairly self-evident that  Armstrong’s pro-National leanings have clouded his judgement to such a degree that he no longer recognises when his diatribes are  bizarre, biased – and quite frankly – bullshit. He isn’t the Herald’s “chief political commentator” – he’s National’s media-liaison/spin doctor.

It’s a wonder that his salary isn’t paid directly by National Party Head Office.

Armstrong also commented,

“National Party-aligned bloggers were not the only people asking in the wake of that attack who was being Muldoonist now.”

Well, actually, Mr Armstrong, not many people were asking that. Only you and your pals, the National Party-aligned bloggers.

Perhaps Mr Armstrong and the National Party-aligned bloggers should be a little less thin-skinned. If John Key can throw muck at Russell Norman and the Greens, I’m sure that our smile-and-wave Dear Leader John Key can take a few jibes thrown back at him. Or is the Prime Minister so weakened by constant criticism from the media, public, and Left that he desperately needs shielding from those Big Bad Bolshie Greens?!

Oh, the poor wee flower.

This next bit by Armstrong illustrates the desperation of the Right wing and their venal, lapdog journos,

Norman appeared to offer further evidence of that later in the week when he rounded on the chairman of the Electricity Authority, Brent Layton.”

“Rounded”?!

Good lord, did Russell actually bite that poor man, Brent Layton?! Russell by name, Russell by breed?!

Whatever did Layton do to deserve such a “rounding”?!

Oh yeah. This,

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Power authority head attacks Greens-Labour electricity plan

Acknowledgment: NBR -Power authority head attacks Greens-Labour electricity plan

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Aside from the curious situation of a State sector CEO making political comments which are outside his purview, it seems clear that far from being the innocent injured party in an unprovoked political attack – Russell Norman was responding to an under-handed, well-planned, partisan assault on the Greens and Labour from Mr Layton himself.

As Norman said – and with considerable truth, I might add,

“Dr Layton’s extraordinary foray into political debate is nothing more than a National Party-appointed civil servant who has failed to do his job and is now trying to protect his patch.”

Perhaps if Layton can’t stand the political heat, he should stick to his role as a civil servant running a government department. Being a well paid civil servant for the Electricity Authority, he should be over-seeing lower power prices for all New Zealanders – but instead has  done the bidding of powercos and stood by as electricity prices continue their inexorable climb.

After the 2014 election, this may not be a problem for Mr Layton. He will no doubt be “persuaded” to seek employment elsewhere.

So basically, what we have with Armstrong’s “column” is National Party propaganda spin with a bit of Green-bashing thrown in . Simon Lusk, Cameron Slater, and David Farrar  couldn’t have organised it better. (Or, maybe they did?)

The only question that remains to be answered: why is the NZ Herald paying John Armstrong’s salary?

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