The Daily Blog Watch Friday 2 August

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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

No Right Turn presents,

He who pays the piper calls the tune

Today’s NSA leak: the NSA are secretly funding Britain’s GCHQ by over £30 million a year:

The US government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programmes.

This also raises questions about whether this is happening in New Zealand. Is the NSA part-funding the GCSB? If so, what do they expect in return from their “investment”? Unfortunately, the GCSB’s budget, even the appropriation saying what services Parliament expects of it, are secret. Which gives our politicians total impunity to lie to us about who “our” spies are really working for.

Savant asks a valid question – and one that I doubt we’ll ever know (unless you’re a historian from the year 2113, looking back on historical records…)

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Democracy and “national security”

Trade Minister Tim Groser during the debate on John Key’s spy bill today (video here):

[W]e all know about Opposition politics. There has got to be some slack given to Opposition politics, where things that were done when the party was in Government are airbrushed out of reality—fine—but there are some limits that have to be observed. We could debate, probably inconclusively, where they should stop—before you start to undercut the fundamental concept where Government proposes and Opposition opposes—but we cannot debate where it starts. Where it starts is national security.

Sorry? Did I just wake up in East Germany??

WTF is going on in this country??

Look! More terrorists!

Yesterday, John Key tried to scare us into supporting his intrusive, over-reaching spy bill by invoking the spectre of terrorism. When this was greeted with widespread incredulity and scorn, he doubled down, claiming that he had signed warrants to observe New Zealanders who were currently training in terrorist camps in Yemen…
Other commentators have already focused on whether this undermines “national security”, or whether it is even true (and lets be honest: secrecy means we have no way of telling, and Key has every reason to lie to us – and the GCSB have every reason to lie to him). I think the more interesting question is whether the Prime Minister has broken the law…

More lies from the Henry Inquiry

Parliamentary Services manager Geoff Thorn has already resigned over this for bowing to the inquiry’s demands, but more heads have to roll. DPMC Chief Executive Andrew Kibblewhite says he was one of the inquiry’s commissioners, along with GCSB Director Ian Fletcher. Let’s start with them.
Meanwhile, this pattern of deceit has been absolutely corrosive of trust in government. Such systematic lying means that we can no longer trust anything the government says. And that’s not good for our democracy…

Head on a spike – 

Geoff Thorn, the General Manager of Parliamentary Services, has resigned. Good riddance…

Phillip Ure on Whoar looks at  “..Which U.S. Multinationals Have the Most Cash Held Overseas?..”

Read The Jackal’s post as to why we are becoming  An international embarrassment. Clue: Key’s scaremongering about phantom Al Queda terrorists.

Is anyone really taking Key’s bogeyman seriously??

The Jackal looks at Tim Groser’s ramblings in Parliament (and really, the guy is incoherent) and sets about Translating Tim Groser.

The Claytons “Safety Review” saga continues, sez n the Hand Mirror,  and brands the “safety review” by the Glenn Inquiry as “shonkey”.  LJ sez,

I guess it’s one of the benefits of the private sector dealing with domestic violence – safety is literally for sale, and there are few ways to hold such shonky practise to account.  Good on Radio New Zealand for trying, and good on the 28 Think Tank members who have voted with their feet.

Darien Fenton is  Standing Up For Workers on Red Alert. Darien is launching a campaign again Simon Bridges’ proposed Bill which is designed to further undermine Union and worker’s rights. Bridges sez that his Bill is “moderate” – but this is utter bullshit. It is a full-on attack on the trade ujnion movement, and is motivated to prevent another MUNZ/Ports of Auckland Ltd drawn-out negotiation by allowing employers to walk away from the bargaining table.

Click “Like” on Darien’s  Facebook page – Standing Up For Workers.

The latest blog ratings are out on Open Parachute. Check out how the blogs rate on the  July ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter rankings.

On Kumara RepublicThe GCSB: Big Bro Is Watching You. A point is made that,

The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by French secret agents – the first and only international terrorist attack in NZ – was quickly solved with good old-fashioned police detective work.

So not only did the GCSB and SIS not prevent the French attack – but it was left up to solid Police work to nab the terrorists.

A point that seems to have been lost on The Establishment.

Scott Yorke on Imperator Fish takes a dig at Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman with the publication of  A statement from Dr. Jonathan Coleman, Defence Minister. Scott has nailed Coleman’s subterfuges perfectly.

A letter from a Kiwi terrorist is a funny look at one of John Key’s so-called “terrorists”. It’s hard to take our mendacious Prime Minister seriously at the best of times – and this just adds to making him look even more foolish.

And check out Scott’s  criticism of  David Farrar for not condemning the National Government’s assault on our liberties with the current GCSB Bill and related Telco interception Bill – but then He delivers, and how!

Don’t forget to check out the links Scott makes to Farrar’s blogposts. The links tell the full story.

Some more satire on Porcupine FarmK9 Kapers looks at Key and the privacy breeches  in Parliament…

Gordon Campbell on the Vance phone scandal

Pity the poor Prime Minister. The phone records of Fairfax reporter Andrea Vance? Don’t look at him. Once again, John Key has been let down by his minions, or by the people who were misled or intimidated into compliance by his staff’s overtures, either through fear or ignorance. Not Key’s fault either way. Scout’s honour, he never asked for, looked at, or did anything improper with respect to that woman. Even though his own chief of staff Wayne Eagleson had asked the hapless Parliamentary Services staff to supply all of the relevant information being asked for, to the Henry inquiry. Nothing to do with Key. Eagleson must have gone rogue. Or David Henry – can we blame him? Some faceless Parliamentary Services contractor? Anyone?

More and more, Key is being known as the The Little Tory Who Couldn’t  (take responsibility). First noticed by bloggers, and now being repeated in the MSM. This will be Key’s unravelling, as the public tires of his tendency to avoid taking responsibility for anything.

On Frogblog, Jan Logie reports that  Young women being ripped off.  Recent Statistics NZ’s stats show young women are earning almost a third less than young men. Equality seems to have stalled under this government.

Need another reason to go organic? asks Mojo Mathers? Pesticides are being tested on animals! Which seems pretty pointless if, by going organic, our produce would be clean; our environmental less polluted; and we can reduce testing on animals.

On the Auckland Transport Blog, Matt L asks  If supermarket fuel discounting is getting out of hand? Matt refers to the discount vouchers – often up to 25, 30, and even 40 cents off per litre of fuel. Is there a correlation between fuel vouchers and rising food costs? Look at Matt’s data and judge for yourself.

I think we’re being had.

On Frankly Speaking, Frank begins series of op-ed pieces by Guest Authors on ways to resist this shabby government, starting with Resistance 101 (Action #1). Frank also has a new look at the wording of  Our national anthem…

Chris Trotter asks if there’s  Nothing To The Story on his blog, Bowalley Road, and scrutinises how the msm is often too willing to drop a story at the behest of a politician. What Chris is describing isn’t investigative journalism – it’s acquiesance.

On Hot Topic, Gareth reports on  New Zealand’s changing climate and oceans: new Gluckman report out today. Gluckman’s report on climate change’s effects on our weather patterns will be one that our useless Prime Minister will find hard to ignore.  Considering that the Nats have watered down the ETS (agriculture is permantly excluded) and we have rejected the Kyoto Protocols – the Nats are left naked as environmental vandals.

From Alastair Thompson on ScoopThe Privileges Of Parliament & Peter Dunne

It is hard not to conclude – in the wake of more than a year of half answers, miss-truths and outright lies around key aspects of the GCSB debacle – that we are now dealing with a rogue Government.

Now the latest monumental balls-up/gross abuse of power (you pick your description) has dragged the Speaker into the net and that has really opened pandora’s box.

On Imperator Fish, Danyl is on fine form;

PR dilemma of the day – a look at Key’s attempt to manipulate public opinion through naked fear mongering.

It’s the worst abuse of government power imaginable – the kind that affects the press gallery – Danyl writes  about the, “incidence of illegal activity, lies and cover-ups that seem to have occurred around the work the security services and the government have carried out regarding Andrea Vance and Kim Dotcom, and the fact that we only know about all this incompetence and law-breaking because both Vance and Dotcom are highly privileged individuals.”

I am never right about these things – Danyl asks the questions the media seems to find awkward to put to Dear Leader…

The Civilian has been busy – and as biting as ever;

‘Everything is fixed,’ says Key

Responding to the newly-announced housing policy of his rival David Shearer, Prime Minister John Key told media this morning that there was no need for a policy like that, because everything in New Zealand is “fixed,” and now that his Government has passed a bill restructuring the powers of the GCSB, there is nothing more left to do.

“Our work here is done,” declared Key at a scheduled press conference this morning. “After five years of a strong, focused National Government, we are proud to announce that we have finally fixed New Zealand.

Key to confiscate nation’s phones for bad behaviour

Prime Minister John Key has told the nation this afternoon that he will be confiscating all of our phones after we failed to behave with them over the past several months.

Key had warned the nation late last year that he was concerned about the way in which New Zealanders were using their phones, and told them that if they didn’t clean up their act soon, he would take them away.

Al-Qaeda offered charter school contract after showing proficiency in training New Zealanders

Prime Minister John Key has revealed that due to al-Qaeda’s success training New Zealanders for operations in its overseas camps, the terrorist organisation has been chosen to run one of the country’s first charter schools.

In a More FM interview earlier today, Key said that “there are people who’ve been trained for al-Qaeda camps who operate out of New Zealand, who are in contact with people overseas, who have gone off to Yemen and other countries to train.”

Bill English drafts English bill

In an apparent effort to distract from the spying-related scandals currently plaguing the National Government, Finance Minister Bill English has begun drafting a bill about English…

On a vastly more serious note, The Standard presents in-depth coverage and political analysis of political issues and National’s current crop of scandals;

The magical world of New Zealand’s, Neo-Liberal right wing writes,

It has been obvious that some people live in a different world than the rest of us.

One where Chicago school economics, work!
One where you save the village by blowing it up!
One where global warming can be stopped, Canute like, by legislation.
One where dropping wages and giving everything to bloated financiers, makes us better off!
One where removing money from an economy makes it work better.
One where every country is going to get rich by out exporting every other country.
One where enabling greater inequality than the dark ages, works!

Roy Morgan shocker –    writes,

Latest Roy Morgan is out and it’s a shocker. Labour has dropped below 30% and the Nats are now over 50%.

Waking up the fourth estate writes,

Is this what it takes to wake up the fourth estate so they truly fulfill their role to speak truth to power.

Andrea Vance is mad as hell that revelations that her phone calls where passed to the Henry inquiry.

 In other circumstances, I could probably find something to laugh about in revelations that the journalist who broke a story about illegal spying was snooped on by Parliament’s bureaucrats.

Spy scandals – today’s required reading

Vance’s admission that this burns so much because it happened to her personally is crucial. We all feel this way, more concerned about our own well-being than others. Journalists, with the greatest of respect, you need to see this government as an attack on you personally, and do a better job at informing the public about what is really going on.

Key throws Thorn to the wolves writes,

In a desperate move to stop the spygate political scandal from reaching into National’s political machine, Key has thrown Parliamentary Services head, Geoff Thorn, to the wolves (if you think he jumped I’ve got a bridge you may be interested in buying).

How did Peters know that Dunne was gone? asks

88 flavours of bullshit

Yesterday Key played the reds under the beds terrifying terrorists card to try and justify his spying Bill…

John Key trashes the Constitution

So according to John Key New Zealand citizens have taken part in Al Qaeda training camps and this justifies increased powers for the GCSB.  It is interesting that this claim was made on the day that Parliament debated the second reading of the GCSB Bill.  It is also interesting that the security system appeared to be working perfectly well in that these misguided individuals had been identified and warrants for their observation issued.  If anything this information is justification for retention of the legal status quo.

Fool’s gold writes,

While the GCSB story exploded yesterday another, just as important, story was playing out as select committee hearings began for the the Health and Safety (Pike River Implementation) Bill.

In their submission, the second largest miner operating in New Zealand, Oceana Gold, was busy explaining why the new legislation shouldn’t apply to them. Claiming instead that they had a great safety record and that a union-paid onsite check inspector (elected from members onsite, by members onsite) couldn’t be trusted to look after the safety of their peers without politicising the job.

John Key’s big movie love – Karol writes,

John Key is currently under pressure as the result of issues related to NZ’s intelligence services.  And this all stems from the Kim Dotcom case, with John Key at its centre.  It has been alleged that Key bowed to pressures from the Hollywood movie industry for NZ justice and spy services to co-operate in the pursuit of Dotcom’s Megaupload.

Friday document dump writes,

The government has tried a good old fashioned Friday Document Dump (doesn’t work so well these days!), releasing the email correspondence relating to Henry Inquiry. See the press release on Scoop, with links to pdfs of the emails between “Inquiry Administrator” and “Parliamentary Service”.

Oh look – the Dunne / Vance emails were passed to the enquiry. Peter Dunne is pissed…

Key shows how much he really cares about security –  writes,

Yesterday, on More FM of all places, John Key casually mentioned that there are Al Qaeda-linked Kiwis in the country and in Yemen. If that’s true, it raises several questions…

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From the Daily Blog

Hey Hekia, aren’t you missing something? – Allan Alach  writes,

The 2012 PISA testing results will be published in December this year, five years since the last results. Politicians all over the world, especially those in the GERM (Global Education Reform Movement) countries, will be waiting to see if their countries have gone up or down the rankings, to either justify the success of current policies or to justify more ‘reform.’

Hekia Parata will, naturally, be one such politician, ready to use perceived ‘failure’ as the lever to open the door to more extreme neoliberal education policies. There is one big ‘BUT” here, however. PISA tests 15 year olds, whose formative years of primary education will have been completed by 2009 or so, long before National’s education agenda could have any effect. It is possible that New Zealand will improve its ranking, which would be a result of the Labour education policies from 2000 onwards. What will she say then? Oops, we got it wrong? Primary education is in good shape?

Weird gender double standards – Martyn Bradbury  writes,

How many times do Immigration investigate those older white chaps and their new brides from overseas? Doesn’t this reek of a double standard?

Close Waihopai! Abolish the SIS! – Mike Treen  writes,

The opposition to the GCSC bill and spying on journalists is creating a political dilemma for the government. Opponents of the spy bill have an opportunity to deal a real blow to the government’s plans and are looking at ways of doing so. Helping our cause has been a real split in the establishment.

How much does the NSA subsidise the GCSB? – Keith Locke writes,

Is the NSA subsidizing the GCSB either in money or provision of sophisticated equipment? If it is, this might explain the refusal of Prime Ministers Clark and Key to give out any information as to the cost to the taxpayer of the Waihopai spy station.

Health Minister circumvents law to fulfill 2008 election bribe? – Frank Macskasy writes,

Considering that Key and National found over $200 million to support last year’s rugby world cup tournament(Blowouts push public Rugby World Cup spending well over $200m), it is inconceivable that they cannot fund medicine which seven New Zealanders desperately require.

The alternative is death.

Who Are The Fifty Percent? – Chris Trotter writes,

Three opiion polls in as many weeks have shown popular support for the National Party government of John Key hovering just short of, or actually above, 50 percent of the electorate. This is an extraordinary, indeed unprecedented, level of support for a government halfway through its second term of office.

Who are these National Party supporters? Because National’s historically-defined electoral base: the tiny percentage of New Zealanders who still live on farms, and the roughly 10 percent of Kiwis who own and operate their own business, cannot possibly account for more than a third of them. What is it that makes the other two-thirds tell pollsters they’re voting for the Nats?

And don’t forget the best in current affairs analysis,

Citizen A This Week With Martyn Bradbury, Marama Davidson & Colin Craig

Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 7.18.53 AM

 

As Broadcast on FaceTV: On this week’s Citizen A Martyn Bradbury is joined by Colin Craig & Marama Davidson to discuss these three issues: What do the revelations about possible spying on journalists Andrea Vance & Jon Stephenson tell us about the state of NZ Democracy in the week the GCSB Bill passes its second reading? Should foreigners be able to buy land in NZ? Should religious education be part of State schools?

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Blogpost of the Day

Who’s to blame for the abuse on Andrea Vance? asks Tim Watkin on The Pundit. Tim writes,

But as I say, contempt for the press and obfuscation is nothing new in politics. So the question I’m asking is what’s changed? How has the rivalry and even contempt turned into this kind of intrusion and abuse of power?

Two reasons leap to mind. First, we live in a time when principle is little discussed. Issues are most often presented and debated in the light of how they impact on me and my family, not in a wider social or principled sense. For example, we debate the GCSB bill in the context that “if you’ve got nothing to hide then you’ve got nothing to fear”. I suspect polling would show most New Zealanders see the issue from that viewpoint. It’s too hard to think about the principles of privacy and the rights of others and more complicated civil liberties. We aren’t as willing to engage as much in debate about what this says about our tolerance level as a country. Most people are just too busy and tired to think through those big hoary Thomas Paine-type arguments.

Indeed. Tim’s story is a perceptive observation about modern New Zealand life, as it is about political abuse of power.

Check out his whole blogpost. It’s a fascinating read.

 

Direct Actions

By 16 August

Are you one of the 70,000 who just got un-enrolled?

The Electoral Commission have just had to remove 70,000 New Zealanders from the electoral roll, after the election packs they sent out for the local body elections later in the year were returned, saying ‘gone – no forwarding address’. This was part of the checks to make sure that everyone who’s eligible is correctly enrolled to vote.

This means that there’s 70,000 people out there who have moved house but may not know even realise that they won’t be able to vote at the election.

If you think you might be included in this number, don’t despair! You’ve still got time to re-enrol in time to vote at the local body elections this year. Just head to www.elections.org.nz, freetext your name to 3676, call 0800 36 76 56 or go to any PostShop by August 16th.

Hat-tip: Frogblog

By 22 August

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.

 

Hat-tip: No Right Turn

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Thought for the Day

Dear Leader John Key(Has Key taken this cartoon literally??)

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~ Joe Blogger,

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

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~oo~