The Daily Blog Watch Tuesday 9 July

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Today’s Daily Blog Watch Round-Up of matters that have attracted the attention, assessments, and articulations of this country’s leading bloggers and on-line satirists…

NZ Left Blogosphere

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

The Jackal suggests that we  Chase those racists out of town. He is referring, of course, to the  the clowns who’ve started up the racist “Pakeha Party” on Facebook.

Every so often, the rednecks will try some new angle on a broken  old record. It will fail as have other racist “movements” because it is a bankrupt, destructive  ideology built on prejudice. Like quicksand, you can’t build a movement on something without proper foundations.

Meanwhile, The Civilian has a look at this new entry onto the political landscape and asks,  What’s in the Pakeha Party platform? Civi lands a couple of good laughs at this laughable group of racist muppets! Also check out the Pakeha Party to fight for more coffee, cheaper DVD box sets and enjoy a laugh at some racists’ expense.

Brian Edward’s Media blog suggests that  With the benefit of hindsight Charles Saatchi would probably not have choked his wife Nigella Lawson in a public place,

Here’s a tip: The next time you hear someone use  the words ‘in hindsight’ or ‘with the benefit of hindsight’, assume they are about to try to excuse or at least mitigate some unacceptable or reprehensible previous behaviour.

I’ve come to this conclusion because of  the increasing frequency with which wrongdoers, particularly those in the public eye, tell us that ‘in hindsight’ or ‘with the benefit of hindsight’ they would have done things differently.

‘In hindsight’, for example, the owners and management of Pike River Coal would have had safety protocols and practices in place which would have avoided the deaths of 29 men. The ‘hindsight’ in this particular case resides in the subsequent deaths of those 29 men. ‘Now that 29 men have died, we can see that we were wrong not to implement those protocols and practices. We’re only human after all. We don’t have second sight’.”

From Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road  comes this piece, explaining how  Winning Women’s Equality – With Men’s Weapons and why politics is skewed to the male,

Culturally-speaking, these sociopathic qualities are overwhelmingly associated with masculinity. And, no matter how loudly we may condemn the men who display such immoral behaviour, when we encounter them in the flesh it’s a very different story.  Almost against our will, we are seduced by these ruthless individuals.

Considering that voters gave their ballot to Key – despite knowing he was less trustworthy than his opponant – speaks volumes to support Chris’s insights.

On Frogblog, the Greens share their concerns,

Building consents no excuse for Christchurch take over – Eugenie Sage writes,

Christchurch’s building consent issue and the appointment of a Crown Manager is not an excuse for the Government to further reduce the Christchurch City Council’s decision making and further restrict democracy in the city.

The Government gave itself increased powers under the Local Government Act last year and is now trying them out on the Christchurch City Council.   The Crown Manager’s powers exceed those of a CEO.  A Crown Manager can direct the Council (ie councillors), which a CEO cannot. ”

Action for Archey’s – The Parakiwai Protest –  Catherine Delahunty writes,

Early on Saturday morning, residents and friends of the Coromandel led by the legendary Coromandel Watchdog group took a two hour walk uphill to the Newmont gold drilling rig in the Wharekirauponga area of the Forest Park.

Newmont has been drilling in this area for several years and claims to be pretty excited by the potential for mining in this beautiful and mountainous habitat. They are unconcerned that it is also the habitat of the Archey’s frog, which is one of the world’s most endangered and ancient creatures, and a popular recreational area for our communities.

Deep seabed mining: a wake-up call – Gareth Hughes writes,

Greenpeace have launched a new report on seabed mining. It’s a large emerging environmental issue and one that New Zealand in particular faces. I recently spoke in Raglan on how resource constraints are driving companies to the ends of the world and the bottom of the oceans in their search for resources and energy. It seems that the bottom of the barrel is their new frontier.”

Gordon Campbell on asset sales contortions, the GCSB Bill and Jay Z  – three issues of considerable import.  The latter is as disturbing as anything the NSA has come up with to spy on people,

So it is not only the GCSB Bill, the NSA’s Prism programme and its French equivalent that we have to worry about. We also need to worry about Jay Z’s attempts to invade our privacy as well. Fans who wanted early access to the rap star’s new album Magna Carta Holy Grail could do so via a special Samsung app. But the app came a set of conditions of use demands that you can access here.”

On Tumeke, Tim Selwyn looks through the  Blue mist at the police chase and shooting of a man on an Auckland highway, and asks several, pertinent questions.  Questions like, how could the police chase have last for 360 kms!

On Ideologically Impure, QoT offers  Random recommended reading, including a link to a very appropriate Emmerson cartoon.

QoT also encourages people to  Support ALRANZ, and thus oppose the anti-choice movement and their extremist Judeo-Christian morality being imposed on the rest of us.

Frankly Speaking has A letter to the editor, reminding us about something that Key said five years ago, and which has come back to bite him on his spotty arse. Gotcha!

Frank also updates his  2013 – Ongoing jobless talley.

Morgan Godfery on Maui Street offers his thoughts on  Egalitarianism, conformism and the Pakeha Party, and makes clear his observations on Kiwi “egalitarianism”,

Egalitarianism is New Zealand’s founding myth: sometimes a symbol of Kiwi exceptionalism, other times a cultural touchstone in “the cultureless society”. Often a driver of social innovation and progress, but never offered on another person or groups terms. If Maori want access to New Zealand’s egalitarian sympathies, they must assimilate. There’s no room for Maori participating as Maori.”

As Morgan rightly points out, a “like” on Facebook hardly translates to real political support. Just as citizens who voted for Key – despite opposing state asset sales.  He does, however, amply demonstrate the schizophrenic nature of the Kiwi psyche.

Also on the silly “Pakeha Party”, LudditeJourno gives us a few  Pākehā Party predictions – you heard them here first on The Hand Mirror. She is uncannily accurate.

Let’s enjoy the laughing and finger-pointing while we can – the PP will be gone by lunch-time. Facebook is great for five-minute wonders, but not much more. (Oh, the fickleness of Conservative New Zealanders…)

On No Right Turn, Idiot Savant writes,

Challenging the panopticon in the UK

Last month we learned that Britain’s GCHQ was tapping fibre-optic cables into and out of the UK and recording all international phone and internet traffic. Their legal justification was a tenuous interpretation of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. Now, that interpretation is being challenged in the UK courts…”

Protecting the press gallery?

Parliament’s press gallery have made it clear to the speaker that they will not tolerate surveillance of their journalism

[… ]

The only way to interpret this is as a sign of a guilty conscience. If parliamentary Services had nothing to hide, they’d be telling us that this was a one-off, that the staff-member had been disciplined / fired, and that it wouldn’t happen again except on the Speaker’s directive. Instead, they’re clamming up. Which invites the question: what are they hiding? Who are they protecting? And how often have they done this in the past?

Amending the spy bill

And meanwhile, the actual amendments demanded by submitters – a total ban on domestic spying, treating metadata the same as communications and requiring a warrant for it, a prohibition on transferring information obtained under the “cybersecurity” function overseas – have been completely ignored.

Fortunately peter Dunne is playing hard to get, and relations between Winston and National are at rock bottom. So if Labour doesn’t betray us, National won’t have a majority for this bill.”

Be careful what you wish for

Last week, protesters in Egypt demanded the overthrow of that country’s democratically elected government and its replacement by an unelected military regime.They got what they asked for. And now, they’ve got what comes with it: military mass-murder...”

Labour fails women

Meanwhile, its a bad day for Labour’s internal democracy when proposals from the members get squashed arbitrarily by the leader. It smacks of dictatorship. And if there’s a way for members to revive the proposal on the conference floor, I urge them to do it, simply to ensure that it is the membership, rather than Shearer, which decides this.”

On the issue of Labour’s back-down on the “man ban”, Scott on Imperator Fish offers some graphics to re-focus our attention and asks   Is this working?

Meanwhile, on The Pundit, Jane Young asks  Can Egypt’s generals and the Brotherhood embrace democracy? Jane’s look at the last few weeks in Egypt offers the clearest picture yet what is happening in that country.

But before anyone gets too superior contrasting Egypt’s nascent democracy with our system, take note of Jane’s comment,

His appointments of Brotherhood colleagues into key political positions grew to be increasingly unsettling for secular Egyptians. ”

– and recall that the current National government here in New Zealand  has been busy as squirrels placing ex-National MPs and supporters in key positions in QUANGOs,  SOEs, and so-called autonomous Crown entities.

On Redline, Yasmine Mather looks at how  We’re all data in the end: the rise of the surveillance state, specifically commenting on the GCHQ and MI5 setting up traps to capture data during the G20 conference in 2009.

Redline also looks at  The Bradley Manning and Ed Snowden cases, with thre astute observation,

In trying Manning, the US government is sending a message to every soldier and every journalist that they will risk their lives if they expose crimes committed by the U.S. Army. Pure and simple, it’s a kind of terrorism – prosecuting one young soldier to scare off all the others.”

Socialist Aotearoa reports on a successful peoples’ action to close down  a Newmont Mining exploration drill for over 30 hours. Nico writes,

“… there has been little to no public consultation and many locals are unaware of what is being proposed in their backyards. Talk of keyhole mining and surgical extraction hide the realities of what will happen if new mining operations go ahead. The infrastructure needed to support such ‘non-invasive’ mining is massive. Roading and support services will have to be carved out of regenerating forests, where the topography makes access difficult. Tailing dams will be a blight on the landscape and toxic byproducts such as cyanide, arsenic and mercury will be released into this pristine environment leaving a toxic legacy for future generations of kiwis to deal with. Is this what we want our children to remember us for? ”

Nico also reminds us,

The new National-led government appears determined to expand the mining and petroleum industry in New Zealand, but at what cost? Seventy percent of New Zealand’s mineral resources are located under Department of Conservation land, meaning the places we hold close to our hearts are also the places they want to dig up and destroy. In 2010, 40,000 people marched in opposition to mining schedule 4 conservation land, which led to a humiliating back down by the government, but this has not stopped them from working quietly to expand mining in other areas of conservation land.

Read the full story on Socialist Aotearoa to find out what went on.

Over on Skeptical Science, there is  Empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming, with a  careful, detailed explanation as to how increased CO2 results in temperature rises.The author has even written it s-l-o-w-l-y so that Climate Change deniers can keep up…

If we add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, the effect is like wrapping yourself in a thicker blanket: even less heat is lost. So how can we tell what effect CO2 is having on temperatures, and if the increase in atmospheric CO2 is really making the planet warmer?

One way of measuring the effect of CO2 is by using satellites to compare how much energy is arriving from the sun, and how much is leaving the Earth. What scientists have seen over the last few decades is a gradual decrease in the amount of energy being re-radiated back into space. In the same period, the amount of energy arriving from the sun has not changed very much at all. This is the first piece of evidence: more energy is remaining in the atmosphere.

This, of course, will be lost on Deniers, who prefer to take the word of  fossil-fuel industry sponsored anti-climate change websites. Because as we know, the fossil fuel industry isn’t just in it for the profits.

They really, really, care about us.

And on The Standard,

Dunne not convinced on GCSB Bill. His vote in the House is by no means guaranteed. Will Peters follow suit?

Snowden on US-NZ intelligence – and draws a link to Bomber Bradbury’s blogpost on The Daily Blog,  when he was  Speculating on what Kim Dotcom has on John Key.

  explains why Why the Pakeha Party is great news for the Left – and his post makes eminently good sense. As Eddie points out,

 All that will happen is that it will take a few percent of the vote, which will be wasted. Where are reactionary Pakeha votes going to come from? National and New Zealand First. That’s great news for the Left because it means a higher percentage of the Rightwing vote wasted – it might even see NZF fail to get back into Parliament. It might even make those parties less reactionary if they lose those people at the margin.”

The Pakeha Party – muppets.

Envy – and points out all the “cool stuff” that Maori get more than their Pakeha cousins.

Can democratic parties succeed – referring to those in the media who confuse dictatorial control with the democratic process.

looks at John Key – Economic Miracle Maker, and wonders at how much National can spend from only one partial asset sale – with  the rest of the SOE partial floats  in question. This is truly loaves and fishes stuff.


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From the Daily Blog

Laydeez represent! –  Burnt Out Teacher  writes,

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 8.43.44 AM

 

Men, how would you like it if parliament was fully three quarters women?! I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say not very bloody much.”

Look Again: Thoughts on the Death of Egyptian Democracy –  Chris Trotter  writes,

To those who looked  at the surging crowds in Tahrir Square and saw a revolution.

Look again.”

Chris looks at the over-throw of the democratically elected government of Egypt, and laments,

Killed by impatient graduates, impractical dreamers, impulsive fools who think a crowd is a movement and a slogan is a manifesto, and that democracy is about getting what you want when you want it.And if someone says “No”, the people have entrusted us with another, different vision, then you simply go back into the Square and shout until the army sends its helicopters overhead towing the nation’s flag – and you cheer.Because the men with guns will give you what you want when you want it.”

Perhaps, Chris, the Egyptian people – for whom democracy is as novel as Martians landing on our Parliamentary grounds would be for us – are still learning how to dissent against their government, without destroying it?

Minto for Mayor policy launch: Free public transport, 20 000 new council homes, living wage & Robin Hood Rates –  John Minto  writes,

How long would it take to put in place?
Less than a year. Currently there are nine transport contracts for buses and trains run by Auckland City. This is one of the reasons the system is so inefficient with frequent and well-justified complaints. These separate contracts need to be brought together to provide a unified, coherent network to enable quick travel across all parts of the city. We also need time to bring in significantly more buses to meet the extra demand.

How much would it cost?
Nothing – this will save Aucklanders money. Based on current public transport usage the cost would be approx $280 million annually (70 million public transport trips in 2012) although this would rise as Aucklanders flock to public transport. It would need an initial investment to significantly increase the number of buses – approx. $400 million over three years to double bus numbers. Additional trains would come later as the inner city link is completed and the rail system can accommodate more trains.”

Free public transport; saving billions in lost productivity and eliminating the need to build new roads. Saving hundreds of millions in imported fuel.

Downside? Nada. Nothing. Nil.

It’s sheer common sense – something that the Human Race sometimes has precious little of. But free public transport to get people out of cars and free up the roads for commerce – that makes sense.

Education soap opera: ‘One in five: The phrase of our lives –  Allan Alach  writes,

Speaking to the Independent Schools of New Zealand (ISNZ) annual conference on Saturday 29th June, Minister of Education Hekia Parata expressed her dislike of the decile based school funding system that delivers proportionately higher funding to schools in lower socio-economic areas, claiming that ‘the socioeconomic status of pupils – were too often used “as an excuse and an explanation” for everything that happened in schools.’ Source

Further: “We do need to review the way we fund schools and focus more on outcomes rather than blunt proxy.”

One does raise metaphorical eyebrows about her decision to deliver this speech at a private schools’ conference, rather than to, for example, the New Zealand School Trustees Association conference being held shortly. ”

Snowden and the limits of American imperial power –  Keith Locke writes,

Being absorbed into the Five Eyes also restricts New Zealand’s ability to conduct an independent foreign policy. No less stupid is John Key’s promotion of the GCSB Bill and the Telecommunications Interception Capability Bill requiring all telecom and internet firms to be “intercept capable”.”

A stupidity on Key’s part that the public are catching on…

TRAINSPOTTING: The high cost of car-dependency –  Green MP, Julie Anne Genter  writes,

Car dependency is, contrary to popular belief, not the inevitable result of “progress” or people’s preferences. It is not as simple as the catch-phrase “New Zealanders love their cars”. The culprits are not the many motorists who have little better option than to drive. ”

Putting a profit motive into road building; fuel networks; and car sales also counts against public transport…

Why Central Government ended up supporting the Rail Link – Penny Hulse  writes,

Despite the announcements, it does get challenging trying to maintain a positive outlook in the local government environment. We remain the ‘whipping boy’ for central government when a distraction is needed, Minister Amy Adams is busy preparing legislation to ensure that councils are unable to support the wishes of their local communities and take a more precautionary approach to the release of GMOs. We have the resource consenting issue in Christchurch, where the agenda to centralise planning into one or two national processing centres rolls on and finally to add insult to injury, the constitutional review currently underway, doesn’t even mention local government. ”

Nah, if you want to see real “whipping boys”, Penny, that would be the unemployed, solo-mums, widows, invalids, etc. But point taken – the Nats do not take kindly to competition for political power.

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Blogpost of the Day

Bat, Bean, Beam’s Giovanni Tiso gives the  harshest criticism yet of   Auckland and Wellington’s agenda to sweep their streets clean of beggars.  The enlightened solution of the middle classes to remove an embarressment from our streets is dressed up in various polite-sounding terms – but Giovanni calls it what is,

As for the effects of the policy, Councillor Cook suggested that ‘[t]hose who are currently perhaps ‘opportunist’ beggars if you like, will gradually disappear because they’re not getting a result.’ Why the genuine beggars won’t be similarly deterred, or deterred less, I couldn’t tell you. Perhaps Alternative Giving is like one of those intelligent bombs that never hit civilian targets. The statement however reveals the campaign for what it is: an instrument not to address homelessness and poverty but to hide the homeless and the poor. To make them ‘gradually disappear’. How you do that is not by donating to organizations that will help them out (that particular money will never be enough to go around, and besides it could be solicited in other ways), but by reducing their income from street begging. That is the sole point of the campaign, and the reason why it is so much more loathsome than its Auckland counterpart: because it dresses up as piety and turns into a desirable social goal the community’s desire to remove its poorest members from sight.

Removing beggars from the streets addresses the symptoms – but doesn’t look at the neo-liberal causes and the cruel society we have built over the last 30 years.

If you read one blogpost today – make it this one.

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Free Plug for the Day

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Action of the Week#1

Tree planting day at Poets Park alongside the Hutt River / Hutt River Trail, 10am, Saturday 13 July until trees all planted.  All welcome.  Bring your gumboots and a spade if possible (but not essential as a few will be available).  Trees and equipment provided.  Planting for a couple of hours or so, followed by sausage sizzle, hot drink and mingle.  For further information contact George Butters, 027 632 1220.  Organised by Greater Wellington and Friends of the Hutt River.  Poets Park is first left after crossing the Moonshine bridge, see Google Map: Poets Park


Pat van Berkel
Friends of the Hutt River

0211 1459 789

Action of the Week#2

From Frogblog, Holly Walker writes about Electoral reform in the constitutional review;

This week the deadline for submissions on the Constitutional Conversation was extended by a month, so now we’ve got until July 31st to submit.

This is a great chance for all of us to have a say on how we want our country to be run, as well as to share our values and aspirations for Aotearoa New Zealand.

We’ve got a submission guide to help you have your say, which includes Green Party policy on some of the specific areas included in the terms of reference.

Two of the official areas under review that I’m really interested in are electoral matters and Māori representation, which include some pretty important issues like:

  • the size of parliament
  • the size and number of electorates
  • how long our parliamentary term should be
  • whether we should have a fixed election date
  • the Māori Electoral Option
  • Māori seats

I think it’s worth thinking about these issues in the context of our MMP system. MMP has brought fairness, diversity and proportionality to our parliament, and it’s important that these principles are reflected in any further changes to the way parliament and elections work.

Read more here.

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Thought for the Day

Assata Shakur

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~ Joe Blogger,

“The Daily Blog Watch” Editor, Imbiber of Fine Sugary Drinks,  & moa tail-docker

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~oo~