The Daily Blog Watch Thursday 25 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

On No Right Turn, Savant presents,

Google turns to the dark side

Google’s motto is “don’t be evil”. So why are they supporting US climate change deniers?

Not quite

Last night saw the first serious challenge to the NSA’s abuse of Americans’ privacy, with an amendment before congress to limit the NSA’s powers. Sadly, it failed…

Climate change: A climate bomb

As the climate crisis has rolled on, it has become increasingly clear that we are going to lose the ice cap over the North Pole. Generally, our leaders have regarded this as a Good Thing, leading to reduced transport times from Europe to Asia, and to a resource rush for oil and gas in the region. The costs of this aren’t considered, or reduced simply to the extinction of the polar bear – something those leaders regard as secondary to increased GDP and political donations from oil companies.

But there are costs, and they are immense. The Arctic is a climate gateway. Billions of tons of methane – a powerful greenhouse gas – is buried in its permafrost. As the Arctic warms, that methane is already bubbling out, driving warming even faster. That’s bad enough, but if it comes out too quickly, it could trigger sudden warming and impose enormous costs…

How it works in the UK

You’re a major UK bank. Like your friends in the media, for the past decade you’ve been using corrupt private investigators to illegally snoop on people, hacking their voicemail, stealing their financial information and phone records, even acquiring police witness statements. All of this is against the law and carries serious criminal penalties. But that’s fine, because the agency which is supposed to be investigating you – the Serious Organised Crime Agency – will instead cover it all up to protect your reputation…

Reported back

The Intelligence and Security Committee has reported back  on John Key’s spy bill, and as expected, has recommended no substantive amendments. Oh, there are minor technical amendments, but the general tone is that everything was fine with the bill and that submitters raising real concerns about privacy and human rights were just silly and don’t know what we’re talking about.

An interesting Ombudsman’s decision

The Ombudsman has issued a decision  on the NZEI’s OIA request for groups which had expressed interest in establishing a charter school, finding that there was no good reason for refusing the request. The decision is a no brainer, but the Ministry (acting under orders from the Minister?) fought it tooth and nail, raising additional withholding grounds every time their previous ones were knocked back – including a patently absurd claim that releasing the information would pose a real and serious risk to the physical safety of charter school applicants (something they continued to maintain despite admitting that they had no evidence whatsoever to support it).

Weak safeguards

How strong a safeguard are the “concessions” Peter Dunne extracted from John Key’s spy bill? Weak, according to the NZ Law Society’s chief submitter;

“Changes to the GCSB bill negotiated by United Future leader Peter Dunne do no address the main flaws of the bill, says Rodney Harrison, QC, who says it is still “rushed, ill-conceived and downright dangerous legislation.”

If you haven’t already, check out The Jackal, who writes that  Peter Dunne shows his true colours. Excellent analysis and commentary.

Open Parachute looks at the use of the “Galileo Gambit” by those who denigrate science – but will still use Galileo to vindicate their minority – often anti-science data – viewpoints,

“The Galileo gambit, or Galileo fallacy, is the notion that if you are vilified for your ideas, you must be right.”

It’s a favourite argument used by creationists, by climate change contrarians/deniers/ pseudosceptics (see the egregiously named Galileo Movement in Australia) and, as I have found lately, anti-fluoridationists. A way of claiming superiority while at the same time discounting, even denigrating, the wealth of scientific knowledge with which the user disagrees.

It’s a fascinating observation and well worth a read.

And on Public Address, well known commentator, Russell Brown, writes about the UK’s pursuit for Community standards. No porn please – we’re Brititish!

On Kiwipolitico, Pablo discusses The political logic behind National’s proposed GCSB reforms. Pablo looks at the organisational aspects of the planned protests this Saturday, as well as National’s strategy for the two Bills,

There is much more but this is the gist: it no only retroactively legalizes the illegal spying done on Kim Dotcom. It extends the scope of that type of spying much further. And as before, all of the domestic data collected under the new Acts can and likely will be shared with foreign intelligence partners, particularly those grouped in the 5 Eyes network.

National knew that Labour and the Greens will oppose the Bills regardless, but does not care because it knew that it only had to win over Winston Peters or Peter Dunne to secure passage of the legislation. Since both of these one man shows are political opportunists at best, a few bones thrown their way in exchange for minor concessions was seen to do the trick.

Pablo calls Dunne and Peters as venal. This is a correct assessment as neither men are particularly principled.

Imperator Fish shares the Love! Specifically, Key’s new-found man-love for fellow penis-wielder, Winston Peters. The Board Rooms of Auckland, engaged in a vast circle-jerk, want this orgasmic man-love to flourish.

We await the wedding date with baited breath (and a shitload of anxiety).

If you haven’t already, check out QoT on Ideologically Impure, damning those who dance with the devil,  Oh look, Diane Vivian: Paula Bennett DID come for you. This has been a hot topic today in the media, but only QoT seems to have sussed the back-ground story to this issue.

Speaking of Hot Topics, Gareth warns us:  Arctic sea ice time bomb ticking: the bang’s gonna be huge, and sez that “losing Arctic sea ice brings huge warming to the lands around the Arctic Ocean. This is extremely bad news for a number of reasons“.

With one of the mildest winters on record (it’s official: I looked out the window), climate change denial is no longer an option. It’s a fact; it’s here; and we better sort this out or the human race – or rather, our children –  is in deep doo-doos.

Check out Gordon Campbell on the GCSB Bill protests, and the outpouring of Royal Baby Love. Gordon makes the interesting observation that,

Some observers have felt enough, already, and said its time to bring down the curtain on the entire, thoroughly dodgy Windsor dynasty. Others have pulled out the sympathy card and empathised with the little blighter’s life of constant surveillance of his every rite of passage and future indiscretion (“The media drones are already overhead”) but hang on….given the realities of PRISM and the GCSB Bill, the same now goes for all of us. We’re all royals now, in that sense. The paparazzi from the security agencies are watching our every move, and we don’t get the consolation of taxpayer-funded holidays on the ski slopes of Europe, or on Caribbean beaches.

Frogblog today has two offerings,

Mojo Mathers writes that  New lipstick not enough for cruel suffering – and damns  the use of animal testing for the beauty industry. Mojo sez,

We already have thousands and thousands of beauty products on our shelves. It is unacceptable that we stand by and allow helpless rabbits, mice, rats and other animals to be subjected to cruel and painful testing simply to bring something as shallow and trivial as yet another shade of lipstick onto our selves.

Right on, sister!

Why do we want a GE free NZ asks Steffan Browning? Steffan points out,

Goodman Fielder’s CEO Peter Reidie said in the Herald’s Chief Executives survey released today that we need “clean, green, pure, quality systems, ‘safe’ food, no GMO’s.”

Even big business is starting to realise that customers demand  GMO-free foodstuffs. This is good for business. Common sense, as they say, prevails.

In Peds Rule,  the Auckland Transport Blog proposes that our road laws  regarding pedestrians having right of way when crossing roads, be amended,

Changing the road rules to favor pedestrians at intersections is something that will transform city life. It will allow people to move around more freely, access services and conduct everyday activities with less intimidation and inconvenience from marauding drivers. In conjunction with simple road markings, it will also help to liberate kids to travel to school or visit friends on their own, and encourage walking as a legitimate transportation mode.

On Frankly Speaking, Frank hits out at  Our growing housing problem – not helped by National’s short-term band-aid policies.

And The Standard presents,

Labour stands by 6A writes,

The Employment Relations Act Part 6A ensures that jobs are transferred to a new contractor, on the same terms, if a firm is restructured. It is one of the few protections that vulnerable workers have – workers such as the cleaners who protested at Parliament yesterday:

Labour leader David Shearer and Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly also addressed the crowd. Shearer said Labour would repeal the changes if elected next year.

A conservative view on low wages – KJT writes,

Further to the discussion the other day about the sayings of Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill:

It is a national evil that any class of Her Majesty’s subjects should receive less than a living wage in return for their utmost exertions…

A king is born: Long Live Inequality! – 

I’ve mostly dodged the MSM coverage of this royal circus, but an article came to my notice this morning about the useless pennies thrown to the peasants as the royal party continues, filtered through today’s diversionary celebrity culture that foregrounds images of the “youth” and (culturally-defined) “beauty”.

This article by Emily Harle on Left Foot Forward, refers to the sop thrown to babies born on the same day as the (potentially) future king (4.24pm on 22 July 2013 in the UK and, I estimate, 11 hours later in NZ – 3.24am 23 July 2013 – correct me if I am wrong), Harle writes:

Though their names, weights and times of birth were not announced to the world’s media, just over 2,000 other children in the UK have one thing in common with the new Prince: their date of birth. These children will each be given a silver penny by the Royal Mail, recognising their historical link to the baby that will one day be king.

For most of these children, this is where the similarities end.

Petition for congestion free network

Generation Zero are running petition targeting the Auckland transport system. You can sign it here.

Auckland needs a transport network free of congestion in order to become a livable low carbon city.

Local government elections are coming up in Auckland we want Auckland’s leaders to sign on this vision for Auckland by making a public statement supporting it. Politicians will listen to the people who vote for them so sign the petition to show them that Auckland deserves more from their transport system that provides them with a genuine choice. By investing in a congestion free network Aucklanders will have the freedom to choose between their cars and an efficient public transport system finally.

Winston Peters, King Maker -writes,

So John Key is no longer ruling out the possibility of National going into coalition with NZ First. As Karol has pointed out this is a dramatic change from his previous position and when you review what he has said in the past it is a stark change.  Stand by as the forces of the right engage in a major revision of our recent history to try and persuade us that nothing untoward is happening.  TV3′s recent poll may be the first of many events suggesting that Peters is now acceptable.

John Key: These are my principles – Karol writes,

… and if you don’t like them, I have others.

John Key, as reported by Bay of Plenty Times, Feb 2011:

After yesterday’s shock announcement of a November 26 election date, Mr Key said there was no place for Mr Peters or his party in any future government he might lead.

And The Civilian has announced,

The Civilian is on hiatus this week as we establish our political party. We will return on July 29th.

The world waits…

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From the Daily Blog

Fat chance of owning a house! – Efeso Collins  writes,

I was staggered watching the news last night and hearing the PM say that first-time homeowners were still a priority for the government. He was obviously pitching at middle and upper class New Zealanders because that is so far from the reality of Pasifika families.

Welfare dependency and affordable housing – John Minto  writes,

Today’s Mana announcement is to extend our housing policy to all New Zealanders and in the context of the Mayoral campaign to look particularly at what Minto for Mayor would do for the people of Auckland where a housing affordability crisis is in full swing.

Right-wing Left-wingers: Labour’s Oxymoronic Tragedy 1946-2013 –  Chris Trotter  writes,

How is it even possible to have a “Labour Right”? Why would right-wingers join a Labour Party – or, indeed, any party of the Left? Surely the term is oxymoronic?

Peter Dunne, for a second there, we totally thought you were for real – Burnt Out Teacher  writes,

We thought, Peter Dunne, you’re our unlikely hero. All it would have taken to stop it, to slow it down, would have been you, Peter Dunne.

But this bow-tie of a man has turned out to be ornamental after all.

Comprehensive sexuality education works – Queen Of Thorns  writes,

If you’re of a conspiratorial mind, you might ask why lying abstinence-pushers are so insistent on a strategy which empirically does not work.

Postcards from La La Land –  Gareth Renowden writes,

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 5.46.20 AM

As Swift put it, “there’s none so blind as they that won’t see.” In this case, the blindness is transparently ideological — a rejection of reality because it doesn’t coincide with preconceived notions. For the writers at Quadrant and American Thinker, that’s their job. They must take the libertarian free-market agenda and portray the world through that lens and no other. If the world won’t oblige by matching their desires, they’ll just ignore it.

This sort of madness is all too obviously on display in New Zealand. From Rodney Hide’s strident climate denial to the posturing of our little band of climate deniers as they try to prove that New Zealand’s not warming by taking thermometers to court, NZ’s right wing is so far out of touch with reality that they render themselves politically irrelevant.

2013 – The Year We Became a Policed Surveillance State – Frank Macskasy  writes,

Mark 2013AD  in our history books. It is the year that we became a Policed Surveillance State…

Peter Dunne has sold NZ out to Big Brother – this will be a genuinely dark day in New Zealand’s history – Martyn Bradbury  writes,

We have spilled blood on foreign shores to fight world wars to stop Governments having this level of control over their citizens, and yet we’ve handed it over to a man who has appealed to our charmless anti-intellectual little brother complex by slurring “I’m comfortable with that’ every time his Government bluntly prunes away our civil liberties.

Why you should march against the GCSB this Saturday if you are MaoriMartyn Bradbury  writes,

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The nonsense of the Urewera terror raids shows how easily those tasked with looking for monsters turn into monsters themselves.

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Blogpost of the Day

All of them! No, seriously. The left-wing blogosphere has filled a yawning gap in serious analytical thinkiing and scrutiny of political events in this country. (I’d love to say the same about thr Right Wing blogosphere – Farrar occassionally comes close – but most their scribblings are too demented to be seriously considered.)

With blogs like The Standard, The Daily Blog, No Right Turn, The Jackal, Ideological Impure, The Hand Mirror, et al, we’d be left with a lot of superficial garbage and X Factor !PUKE!

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Direct Action #1

Protesting the GCSB + TICS Bills

Public · By Stop the GCSB Bill

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A large majority of New Zealand stands united against the GCSB spy bills currently being pushed through by John Key and his cronies.

We the people need to stand up for our rights to privacy!

Join us and the rest of New Zealand in protest on;

27th July

 

Venues:

Bring your banners, your placards, yourselves and your friends and family. This is a family friendly, peaceful protest.

Auckland – Aotea Square – 2pm-4pm

Hamilton – Garden Place – 2pm-4pm

Napier – Memorial Square – 2pm-4pm

Wellington – Cuba St Bucket Fountain (2pm) then march to The Beehive (3pm) for speakers – 2pm-4pm

Nelson – iSite, Halifax St – 2pm-4pm

Christchurch – Bridge of Remembrance – 2pm-4pm

Dunedin – The Octagon – 2pm-4pm

(Hat-tip: No Right Turn)

Direct Action #2

26 July

Direct Action #3

March Against Animal Testing on Party Pills

New Zealand to March Against Animal Testing on Party Pills

On Tuesday 30th July at 12 noon New Zealanders by the thousands are expected to down tools and congregate at meeting points around New Zealand, to show the Government that they object to its decision to allow the testing of legal highs on animals.

Check on more on HUHANZ facebook page, and join us on;

30th July

Direct Action #4

Submit!

The Commerce Committee has called for submissions on the New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill (AKA the crony convention-centre bill). You can submit directly via the link above, or by sending two copies to

Commerce Committee Secretariat
Parliament Buildings
Wellington
Submissions are due by Thursday, 22 August 2013. Topics to raise: the unconstitutionality of the bill purporting to bind future Parliaments to compensate SkyCity of there is a change of government (and of policy); the anti-freedom of speech clause in the deal and its incompatibility with the Bill of Rights Act. While the latter isn’t actually in the bill, criticism by the committee could see it removed from the deal, or make a future BORA case against its exercise substantially easier.

By 22 August

Hat-tip: No Right Turn

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Thought for the Day

Jailed for protesting

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~ Joe Blogger,

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

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~oo~