The Daily Blog Watch – 11/12 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

No Right Turn is one of those must-read Blogs. Idiot Savant’s pierce are always short – but cut straight through the bovine excrement to get to the point. Today was no exception,

Welcome to National’s New Zealand, where people are being forced to live in tents because HousingNZ doesn’t give a shit about them:

Housing New Zealand has apologised to a family of seven who lived in a tent for five weeks as they waited for a house to become available in Tauranga.

Housing New Zealand yesterday offered them a home after Maori MP Te Ururoa Flavell intervened.

Housing New Zealand exists to stop this from happening. But they cared so little about their job that they didn’t even visit this family in desperate need for seven weeks, and only got involved when an MP kicked their arse about it.

Glenn Greenwald has launched a new news site, The Intercept, “to aggressively report on the disclosures provided to us by our source, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden”. its first major story? The NSA’s secret participation in drone-murders:

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

Nevada is giving up on defending its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in court:

Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, in a motion filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said Nevada’s legal arguments defending the voter-approved prohibition aren’t viable after the court’s recent ruling that potential jurors cannot be removed from a trial during jury selection solely because of sexual orientation.

“After thoughtful review and analysis, the state has determined that its arguments grounded upon equal protection and due process are no longer sustainable,” Masto said in a statement.

Today Labour tried to put forward a Parliamentary motion calling on the government to release the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement before signing it, on the simple democratic grounds that the public deserved to know what agreements were being made in our name.

National refused to.

The upshot: National hates transparency. It also hates democracy. Rather than negotiating openly and transparently with a clear and ongoing mandate from the public about what it is allowed to give away, it wants to do so in secret, so as to present us with a fait accompli, in the manner of a king.

On Public Address, Russell Brown looked at The Uses of Dotcom and reports  on some dodgy news-making by TV3 and Patrick Gower,

Last night’s 3 News story on its poll of potential support for the Internet Party seriously over-egged its intro. The news script opened thus:

Kim Dotcom’s efforts to stay in New Zealand received a boost today – with Labour and the Greens revealing they are prepared to stop his extradition if they take power.

That’s pretty big news. Trouble is, neither David Cunliffe or Russel Norman actually say that – or anything of the kind – in the report. I checked with the reporter, Patrick Gower, on what might have been said off-camera, by Cunliffe especially.

Gower told me that Cunliffe said he would be “open to considering” declining the US extradition request for Dotcom, were he in government. Strictly speaking, this isn’t news. The responsible minister is required under New Zealand extradition law to consider the request. As Graeme Edgeler noted to me, the role of the courts is solely to confirm that a subject is eligible for extradition. The minister makes the call.

I guess if there’s no big crime story or political scandal, a media beat-up is the next best thing…

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

On the same issue, on The Pundit, Andrew Geddis asks, Will no one rid me of this turbulent German?

The final say on whether Kim Dotcom will stand trial in the US may lie with a politician. Which is just the way the law says it should be.

Following some rather breathless speculation by Patrick Gower over at TV3, Kim Dotcom’s fate under a future Labour/Green Government has become quite the talk d’jour. This hasn’t been helped, frankly, by some loose language from Russel Norman on the topic. But still, the overall story strikes me as being a bit of a beat up.

Paddy is definitely getting a right paddy-whacking, it seems…

Also on The Pundit, Andrew Geddis looks at Key’s Soviet-style tactic in denying New Zealanders the right to travel overseas and Taking away our freedom to fight. He asks, 

New Zealand is stopping people going to fight in the Syrian civil war. Can we do that?

Like fuck he can. Key has over-stepped the mark (yet again). Will the Dozy Hobbits notice? Nah, Home Improvements is on the telly….

In a piece headed, The Banner Of Us All, Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road comments on Key’s latest “red herring” – changing our flag,

The Prime Minister, John Key, has suggested that the time is right for New Zealanders to consider changing their flag. Mr Key appears to subscribe to the widely held belief that the current design lacks distinction and fails to identify New Zealand as a unique and independent nation of the South Pacific. On 29 January he raised the possibility of holding a referendum on the issue in which the current New Zealand flag is pitted against an alternative of the Government’s choosing. Mr Key’s preferred replacement is the silver fern flag so beloved of All Black supporters.
 
The first thing to note about the Prime Minister’s suggestion is its utter disdain for any kind of public participation. Mr Key proposes to give the voters just one alternative to the status quo, its design to be decided by himself and his colleagues. End of story.

Except, it’s not the “end of story”, and Chris has his own thoughts on the issue.

Me, personally, I prefer this one,

FOR SALE

Nothing quite says “We Are Open For Business” than a nice, big, red “Sale” sign. (If that doesn’t make the Free Market/Neo Lib nutters happy – what will? Selling our kids into white slavery??) Just imagine, we could fly the “Sale” sign everywhere as as an act of national patriotism – AND signifying there is a sale on!

How feckin’ clever am I???

Moving right along….

Frogblog has some excellent pieces today,

I was pretty amazed to hear the news that Otago Uni has become one of the major sponsors of the Otago Highlanders rugby team.

Universities should be focusing on student achievement and investing in good quality public education and research, not on corporate sponsorship.

The Minister for Tertiary Education seems determined to see our universities and wananga reduced to organisations whose purpose it is to sell a commodity called education to ‘consumers’ whose primary relationship with such organisations will be a  commercial one.

The National Government today stayed true to their destructive agenda for the tertiary sector,  announcing their intention to ‘reform’ (i.e. degrade) University and Wānanga Governance.

In October last year, the Government released a proposal for reforming councils that included decreasing the number of members on councils, and removing the requirement for councils to include student and staff representatives.

No, we haven’t been hacked and no, it’s not a technical glitch. It’s on purpose. Today the Green’s joined nearly 6000 other websites that have gone black as part of a global day of action against mass surveillance by blacking out their website to stand up for Internet freedom.

New Clothing Standards set by National Party reports Frank Macskasy on Frankly Speaking. Said new standards will apply to Green Party MPs and poor people, as determined by Judith “Get Gokked!” Collins.

Bat, Bean, Beam looks at Writing Social – and Air New Zealand’s recent attempt to persuade budding writers to give away their talents for free to the airline. Quite a nice little story from Giovanni Tiso.

From The Standard,

Is this election year going to be the most vicious in recent history?

There’s always a bit of argy-bargy in politics, and sometimes it’s personal.  Despite the best of intentions, it’s impossible for people’s families and backgrounds to never be part of the conversation, because often they themselves bring it up – whether it’s John Key growing up in a state house or David Cunliffe being the son of a country minister, Holly Walker talking about her own experiences of motherhood, Darien Fenton speaking publicly about her past struggle with addiction, the personal story is everywhere in politics.  And sometimes this means it gets turned into a weapon by the other side (whichever side you’re on.)

There’s been an excellent Insight on Radio NZ on Sunday / Monday, looking at the income gap and the consequences for our society – the loss of social mobility, the loss of health (mental & physical) for all, the increased incarceration, drug use etc etc

An interesting article by Colin James in today’s ODT on the living wage proposals and how lifting wages may have wider economic benefits. He starts with the example of the supermarket boycott of low-wage New Zealand produce in Australia:

New Zealand wages are around 30 per cent below Australian wages. That makes our goods competitive in Australia — too competitive for some Australians. Their solution: a non-tariff trade barrier. So New Zealand producers and exporters will likely find here and there blockages to entry that contravene free trade agreements in spirit if not in the fine print — as the Australian supermarkets are doing with CER.

Modern western governments have been about essentially, two things. On the one hand they have ensured an environment favourable to the operation of the market economy. On the other they have been known to serve the interests of citizens by protecting us from the worse excesses of the market. That’s a simple but good enough brushstroke version of governance within a market context.

But the balancing act of governments, whether weighted this way or that, has run into some problems. The problems are such that governments can’t continue with those roles through the near and unfolding future. Obviously, one way or another, there isn’t going to be a market economy. But without a market economy to manage, what remains for government to do?

Local bodies writes on the way that National has been concentrating their personal attacks at the Greens. It is a pretty typical display by National in any election year. But you get the impression they’re going to seriously be dumpster diving for dirt this year – especially Judith Collins. National are getting desperate at their disappearing coalition partners.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win”
-Mahatma Gandhi

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Blogpost of the Day

No Right Turn has nailed John Key’s arse to the nearest flag-pole with this excellent post,

Yesterday we learned that John Key had responded to the “threat” of people travelling to Syria to participate in its civil war by cancelling their passports. This was done without any sort of due process or review, let alone threat of criminal charges; Key has said explicitly that those travelling “may not have broken the law” and that all the government can do if they return is watch them. But while it may have been effective at preventing these people from travelling, there’s a problem: its illegal.

Read the whole thing (it’s short) – Key stands revealed as a tin-pot dictator…

 

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Thought for the Day

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~ Joe Blogger,

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

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