The Daily Blog Watch – 5/6 February 2014



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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

On Whoar, Phillip Ure reports “..The Daily Blog Watch – 4/5 February 2014..”

“..the daily blog have resumed their local blogs round-up..”

Well, it’s refreshing to know that someone is reading this thing, and not just Tracey and Jono over at the GCSB. (By the way, Trace & Jono – does your supervisor know you two’ve been doing ‘The Wild Thing’ on his office couch? Well, he does now. That “goldfish” on his desk is in reality a water-proof robot-camera. Sprung!)

There’s more on Whoar; evolution vs creationism; Len Brown and that Report; Obama’s terrorist drone war; new (recycled old) laws in Afghanistan to suppress their women; and how the free market is killing us all with junk food, sugar, salt, fat, and any other crap they can shove into our processed foods.

TDB Recommends

Open Parachute delves into The fluoride debate – what do the experts say?

“The impending High Court decision on the legality of fluoridation in Taranaki, and Paul Connett’s current speaking tour in New Zealand is bringing the fluoridation issue into the news again. New Zealand’s Science Media Centre (SMC) responded by conducting a Q&A with public health experts on fluoride. Here are the results…”

KJT has the third in a series on the concept of a UBI (3). Taxes, income and Welfare, and made this pertinent observation,

“However, a UBI is a change in distribution of incomes, not an increase in the size of Government.
WINZ will shrink, for a start. So will tax compliance costs for small business.

Higher progressive taxes are inevitable. As Obama said “it is math”. We cannot have a viable economy/society while reducing Government services below a minimum and continuing to borrow, so a few wealthy people can pay less tax.

We cannot afford the compounding interest, on the billions required over time, for National’s unaffordable tax cuts.”

A Universal Basic Income (or negative tax, as Gareth Morgan referred to it) is eminently logical and would save billions, long term, in bureacracratic-costs. But because the Right have a knee jerk disdain for anything “free” (except corporate welfare), they’d scream blue-murder at it!

Speaking of Gareth Morgan, Gareth blogs on Why Government’s Plans For Our Rivers Will Make You Sick,

“We think we should be able to swim in all rivers, and that is what we have told the Government in our submission on water quality standards (attached). The standard suggested by Government is only that we should be able to wade or boat in our rivers – but for goodness sake don’t slip and put your head under. Under their plan average water quality has to improve, but some rivers may get better and some may get worse. It is unclear how this will be measured, indeed measurement techniques are so imprecise as to make it impossible for government to claim it will keep the rivers on average the same. Will they be telling us a pristine brook in exchange for a despoiled Waimakariri is a fair swap? Even more worrying, are you happy for your local river to be spoiled?”

Forest & Bird‘s Mike Bell reports that there is a  Bright future for albatross chicks,

“Each day on the Chathams dawned in the usual manner – ferocious howlers and churned up seas – and day by day, this never-ending storm slowly chipped away at our hopes of executing a NZ first – an albatross translocation.

We were hoping to transfer 30 threatened Chatham Island albatross chicks to a specially protected site on the Main Island from a rock islet called The Pyramid in order to create a second colony…”

On ScoopGordon Campbell on the alleged gains to New Zealand from the TPP,

The fog of secrecy around the Trans Pacific Partnership has always triggered concern about what New Zealand may be willing to give away in these talks, without any substantive Parliamentary debate of these concessions beforehand. The potential losses are one thing. Yet on RNZ this morning, Victoria University economist Geoff Bertram put the spotlight on the other side of the ledger, onto the alleged gains that the TPP will bring in its wake – some $5 billion by 2025 according to Trade Minister Tim Groser. Bertram has discovered that the study on which those gains were based appears to be seriously flawed…

Russell Brown on Public Address has a few pertinent points  to make on David Cunliffe’s recent policy launch, while  Aiming for the feet,

“I really don’t think Labour leader David Cunliffe had a cunning plan to hide the fine print print of his party’s Best Start policy from the public last week. Because, frankly, making a statement about how many families would be covered by the baby bonus that is contradicted by the policy paper you’ve posted on the internet is just too dumb to be a cunning plan…”

Imperator Fish’s headlines; The Marries are at it again, writes Scott Yorke,

“Waitangi Day is just about here, and yet again it’s being ruined by the Marries.

Every year it’s the same. Every Waitangi Day the Marries turn up to the Treaty grounds to protest, shout at people, and generally cause a nuisance. Why can’t they just look pretty in their grass skirts, do a nice haka or dance for the crowd, and then move to the side quietly so the important white people can talk?”

And the not-so-funny thing? I know people like this!

Local Bodies has a piece on Waitangi Day and the Right to Protest, with B Sprout writing,

John Key’s overly enthusiastic condemnation of protestors at Waitangi was another attempt to feed the perception that protest is unhealthy and unnecessary. It turns out that the Governor General wasn’t under any threat and the scuffle was really a minor incident. I am sure that there was a tactical element to Key’s comments given that the Te Reinga Hikoi against deep sea drilling was due to arrive the following day and he wanted to minimize its impact by labeling any protest as undesirable.”

On Redline,    Yassamine Mather questions the   Legacy of the Arab spring,

“The Arab masses have nothing much to celebrate following the third anniversary of the Arab uprisings. There is little sign of the kind of political freedom called for by the protestors…


In Tunisia and in Egypt opposition to the rulers, whether ‘moderate’ Islamists (Tunisia) or the secular military (Egypt), is not tolerated. The economic situation is catastrophic. There are no new jobs – on the contrary unemployment and uncertainty is on the rise and the majority of the population cannot afford many basic goods. The jails are full of political prisoners and the banning of oppositionists is part and parcel of the new order.”

If you haven’t already, take a quick squizz at Giovanni Tiso’s  The cost of living on Bat, Bean, Beam. Has much changed from the historical era he describes, in terms of attitudes toward the poor?

“A working man’s wife in receipt of a regular allowance divides it as follows: rent; burial insurance; coal and light; cleaning materials; clothing; food.

Imagine what it would be like, if you already lived from payday to payday, to have to set aside some money, week in, week out, to insure the life – or, more accurately, the death – of each of your children, knowing that you’d probably lose at least one, maybe many, and so that you may give them not a lavish funeral but a dignified one. Imagine what it would be like to have to do this on the penance not just of unbearable heartache but of the intolerable shaming of pauperisation, should you be unable to provide for such an occurrence. I think it would be like dying a symbolic death, on paper, every week.”

On the theme of historical contexts for current day issues, check out Chris Trotter’s Wearing Racism on Bowalley Road. Read this and then decide whether or not Metiria Turei was correct when she referred to the racist attack on her by National harpies Ministers, Tolley and Collins.

On the Transport Blog, Patrick Reynolds presents a multi-media look at  Cycling, Liveability, and the ‘Culture of Fear’, as well as presenting some solutions,

“The key point here seems to be a growing recognition that cars and cycling don’t mix – especially not if we want to get more than a tiny fraction of the population cycling. We need to tackle the ‘culture of fear’ around cycling by making it safe and by making it feel safe. People need to feel like they could let their kids go for a bike in the local area, people need to feel safe and comfortable cycling around in their normal clothes, people need to feel that cycling is something easy to do – not something that you need to attend a myriad of “courses” in order to participate. Clearly this means, more than anything else, a big investment in infrastructure is required. Not just green paint on a road, but the proper cycling infrastructure described in the Listener editorial.”

Red Alert has a re-published op-ed piece by Labour’s Maryan Street; The state sector revisited, where she critiqued the current government’s mania for “reforms”,

“The National-led government vowed to strip back the state sector, undertaking to get rid of the “back room” functionaries and place more people on the “front line”. It undertook to improve public service delivery with a programme called Better Public Services (now, inevitably reduced to “BPS”), with key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets to make sure the improvements were happening.

It was as if a new owner had taken over the company and decided to do the usual Stage 1 managerial reforms such as sacking the old guard simply because they were the old guard and giving people new goals and targets to meet so that they could demonstrate their efficiency.”

On No Right Turn, Idiot Savant  looks at,

The Scottish Parliament has passed a Marriage Equality law…

It’s a disease I tells ya! Equality is breaking out everywhere!!

The latest Household Labour Force Survey was released today, showing a drop in unemployment to 6.0%. But there are still 147,000 people out of work – 42,000 more than when National took office (plus 88,000 who have simply given up and left the labour force). They’ve had six years to fix this problem, and done nothing, preferring to leave it to the market. And as a result, they’re forecasting that it will take another four years for unemployment to drop another percentage point…

Well, that’s the Nats for youse. The “market” broke it. So’s the “market” can fix it. (Where’s the fricken bandaids??)

“Back in 2008, three peace activists broke into the GCSB/NSA spy base at Waihopai and deflated one of the satellite domes. They were subsequently prosecuted for criminal damage, but acquitted by a jury. The government, in an act of petty vindictiveness, has since been pursuing them for $1.2 million of damages. It knows they can never pay, so the sole object is to drive them into bankruptcy as punishment for standing up to the spies.

But now the government seems to have come to its senses and is ending this persecution…”

I betcha Key and his mates choked on that decision!

“Afghanistan is going to let men beat their wives and children without penalty:

A new Afghan law will allow men to attack their wives, children and sisters without fear of judicial punishment, undoing years of slow progress in tackling violence in a country plagued by honour killings, forced marriage and vicious domestic abuse…”

Violence, sexism, domestic violence, corrupt politicians. Welcome to ‘Truth, Justice and the American way’. Mission: accomplished.

Earlier in the week the Australian Human Rights Commission launched an inquiry into the welfare of children in Australia’s refugee gulag in Nauru. The inquiry would require visiting the camps in Nauru to investigate the conditions there and their effects on child detainees. But the Australian government has vetoed the plan:

The President of Australia’s Human Rights Commission says she has been barred from entering Nauru to visit children detained in Canberra’s asylum seeker camps.

The Commission has launched an inquiry into the impact of detention on the health, well-being and development of children in the camps.

But Professor Gillian Triggs says her jurisdiction doesn’t extend to other countries, which is the reason Australia’s immigration minister, Scott Morrison, has given for not letting her go to Nauru to investigate.

Funny – I thought this kind of shit only happened in Third World countries; South American military juntas; and the old Soviet Bloc. Silly me.

Green MP, Jan Logie on Frogblog, also  looks at the issue of  NZ and refugees – Syria and Australia,

“Over the last couple of weeks the situation on Nauru has escalated as the magistrate who was about to hear the case of the detainees charged from the riots, who had made strong presentations to the Nauru government about the conditions in the camps, was illegally deported and the Chief Justice, who lives in Australia was denied an entry visa to try and sort out the situation, and visas for journalists have escalated in cost from $200 to $8000…”

And closing with one of the most influential blogs in this country, The Standard;

“Roy Morgan survey reports on total real unemployment and underemployment in New Zealand:

In total 19.8% of the workforce (519,000, up 69,000) New Zealanders were either unemployed or under-employed…”

As usual, our  MSM does its infotainment coverage of Waitangi Day, this year with our PM leading the jonolistic charge.

The corporate media loves a bit of drama and conflict, and tends to tell it from the position of the dominant Pakeha culture. And the corporate news media has little historical focus beyond the ratings-driven drama of the day. It does nothing to counter the myths that keep getting re-circulated in relation to Waitangi Day and beyond.”

“Charles Waldegrave has slammed Brian Scott’s critique of the method used to calculate the Living Wage in New Zealand.

In a detailed and interesting analysis, he addresses the databases used to develop the Living Wage and compares the New Zealand approach with that of other countries. He shows Scott’s critique, and that of the Treasury, lack an informed understanding of the definition of a living wage and confuse market wage rates and welfare transfers.”

Australia again. I wish they would adopt an honourable and fair stance to New Zealand instead of using us whenever they want to gain advantage for themselves or throw a hissy fit.

Now they are discriminating against our food exports in two large supermarkets, one of which has a large store ownership here.

On which issue, Frank Macskasy on The Daily Blog also took a swipe at a neo-liberal acolyte; A lesson in free market economics for ex-National MP, Katherine Rich. OUCH!


Blogpost of the Day

Morgan Godfery, on Maui Street explains the Myths of nationhood: why I’m not “celebrating” Waitangi Day,

“But the Waitangi Day of Pakeha imaginations isn’t real. Waitangi Day is where Maori pushback against the myths that society clings to: the Treaty is a living document, Maori retain their identity and New Zealand has poor race relations. The health, wealth and education gaps exist and they exist off the back of the broken promises of the Treaty. Waitangi Day is where Maori can reveal New Zealand’s separate realities.”


Thought for the Day



~ Joe Blogger,

“The Daily Blog Watch” Editor, Imbiber of Fine Sugary Drinks,   Moa-whisperer, and part-time oxygen snorter.