The Daily Blog Watch – 13/14 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

There’s Sex, Lies and Valentines Day, says  Josie Pagani, on The Pundit,

No, reducing gender inequality doesn’t make income inequality worse…

…Actually, we know the causes of inequality. Inequality grows when technology changes quickly and when unions and employment protections are weak. According to an OECD study “A more equitable distribution of educational opportunities also contributes to a more equitable distribution of labour income.”

Income inequality is lower when temporary and permanent workers enjoy similar protection (note this, everyone who criticised me for saying casual workers particularly need protection.)

 Bullies, brown shirts & butter: Shane Jones & the uncomfortable truth about the supermarket business, writes Tim Watkin,

Shane Jones is demanding an investigation into supermarket practices amidst claims of extortion. But the food business in New Zealand isn’t a simply matter of good supplier vs evil supermarkets; what’s more, the story begins and ends in your wallet.

Shane Jones’ performance in parliament yesterday slamming Countdown supermarkets owner Progressive Enterprises for blackmailing New Zealand suppliers has certainly tipped the corn flakes all over the floor, so to speak. Progressive has rejected the claims, but former National MP turned suppliers rep Katherine Rich has backed the Labour man.

On No Right Turn, Savant offers,

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

The Guardian has an appalling statistic: after the withdrawal from Afghanistan next year, the UK will be at peace for the first time in a century. And here’s the timeline to prove it.

Except its worse than that, because the UK was constantly at war long before 1914. In fact, it has been constantly at war, stealing colonies, enslaving independent nations, suppressing colonial rebellions, and squabbling with other imperial powers over the spoils of its robbery, since 1760…

The increased public scrutiny of Customs’ search and seizure of digital devices has forced them to release some statistics – and some spin:

Customs would have you believe that this is all about child pornography. But stats relesed last year showed that half of all seizures were in fact for “materials breaching intellectual property rights”. Those stats also showed that between september 2012 and August 2013, only 234 searches resulted in finding prohibited material. Assuming the number of searches has not jumped dramatically in the last four months, this suggests that only around a quarter of these grossly intrusive searches are successful.

Yesterday the Auckland Council started wringing its hands over misogynist rap group Odd Future’s planned concert this weekend…

…As for how to deal with groups like Odd Future, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the answer to speech you don’t like is more speech, not less.

Danyl posits an  Alternate theory   on The Dim Post,

“Everyone – including me! – is excited about the idea that John Key found out about Winston Peters visiting the Dotcom mansion via the state security services.

But an allegation that Peters made three visits was in the Herald’s gossip column last Friday, which also ‘broke the story’ of Russel Norman’s visit. The Herald’s gossip journalist Rachel Glucina is a loyal little cog in National’s comms wheel so I guess you could claim that the Nats gave the story to her. But would they really give GCSB intel to the gossip columnist?”

There are   Rich Schools, Poor Schools  on Local Bodies,

“Into this mix we have the new Charter (or Partnership) Schools where the concept of a level playing field has again been thrown out the window. These schools are being funded at a rate well above a similar sized public schools and teachers are being grabbed from previous positions with the attraction of much higher salaries. It will be hardly fair to compare the success of the Charter Schools against the public schools when the level of public funding per student can be around $3500 greater. What is even more obscene is that the Charter schools don’t even have to use the state funding for educational purposes and can filter some off for profit or other purposes.

The Government’s latest plan to pay some principals and teachers much higher salaries, based partly on their National Standards results, will likely destroy what little collegiately is left in the profession. Teachers and principals will be pitted against each other for an increase in salary of up to $50,000 and the temptation to fudge results and narrow teaching to access the money will be strong. This is the experience of other education systems using similar policies.”

Check out Steffan Browning writing on Frogblog on Pesticide residues in many foods – organic is the answer,

“Agcarm also said the latest Dirty Dozen ‘mischievously’ puts grapes in number one position, claiming that 98.2 percent of samples had pesticide residues. But those grapes did. Safe Food Campaign was absolutely right. What Agcarm then tried was to tie the percentage of possible residue detections from the most recent results from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) food residue surveillance programme which tested 24 batches of grapes for 59 substances. Agcarm pointed out MPI detected 111 residues across 1,416 possible detections. Less than 10 percent they spin. Agcarm and previously MPI try to use the percentage of chemical detections to confuse the reality that 98.2 percent of the grapes had pesticide residues in them and multiple residues are common.”

Phillip Ure comments on Whoar on a  “..Rap group banned – deemed ‘a threat’ to NZ..”

 

“..Rap group Odd Future has been refused entry to New Zealand –

– because it is “a potential threat to public order and the public interest”.

And in Phillip’s inimitable style, read his caustic and edgy reports and comments on  New Zealand Parliament – List of questions for oral answer – Thursday – 13 February 2014..

On Imperator Fish, Scott Yorke comes ‘clean’ on  His involvement with Kim Dotcom: a disclosure,

“I received a call on my cellphone late one night a week or two ago, from a number I didn’t recognise. The voice seemed strangely familiar, but it took me a few moments to realise that I was talking to the most dangerous man in all of Christendom.

“I am sending a chopper to you now,” he told me. “Don’t tell anyone where you are going. Not even your wife.” Even as he spoke I could hear the thud-thud-thud of an approaching helicopter. I barely had time to put a pair of shoes on before they were knocking on my door, and two gentlemen in black were hauling me towards the chopper. I was blindfolded and gagged and tied with ropes, and told to sit still and say nothing.”

Whilst Frankly Speaking checks out allegations that Dear Leader is a reptilian alien from outer space. It seems that our friends, the Silurians, take offence…

Gordon Campbell on smear tactics in politics comments on Russell Norman, Kim Dotcom, and Winston Peters,

“To state the bleedingly obvious, there is nothing illegal about Russel Norman visiting Dotcom, and having a conversation about Internet commerce and Dotcom’s plans to found a political party. Similarly, Peters says his diary of private visits is no one else’s concern. Key has been interestingly specific about how often Peters is supposed to have visited Dotcom, on three separate occasions. How could Key know this? Surely, one would hope, not through using SIS/GCSB surveillance for his own political purposes? Norman’s subsequent opinion – that the ministerial discretion about Dotcom’s extradition should take heed of the history of law-breaking by the state against this individual – is grounded in the law to do with how the extradition process should operate.”

Gordon also points out a few inherent problems with the TPPA, as it relates to Kim Dotcom’s extradition request.

Fightback writes on  “The Sin of Cheapness”: Harriet Morison and the Tailoresses’ Union,

“Early migrants to New Zealand had high hopes. From the slums of the East End to the peasant villages of Guangdong province, they carried with them a shared vision of a fresh society, one where the injustices of the “Old World” would be no more than painful memories. However the discontinuity between their dreams and the reality of colonial life was marked.

The moneyed class in early New Zealand had a different future in mind. They were intent on replicating the modes of production prevalent in the industrialised world, while avoiding the reaction from below – the “evils” of Chartism and other progressive working-class movements.”

From The Standard,

The Salvation Army’s latest State of the Nation Report: “Striking a Better Balance” (2014) has been the subject of some intense debate from the right and from the left. On the surface, it just appears to be a different interpretation, and hard to tell which is the correct interpretation.  It is necessary to go to the report itself to see where the spin is being applied.

It has been repeatedly shown that it’s far cheaper to pay farmers upfront to adopt more environmentally sustainable business models and practices, than it is to clean up after them. By one estimate, it would cost $6000 to stop a tonne of nitrogen and/or phosphorus entering Lake Rotorua. It costs around $240,000 to try to get it out. That’s a lot of cash we could instead be using to promote change for the good, while liberating farmers from the intensification treadmill. We could call such payments anything we like: after all, we’ve come all this way without using the “s” word. Let’s call them incentives, so that we don’t run foul of the World Trade Organisation. Lets administer the payments through the Sustainable Farming Fund, which would need better resourcing to cope with all the demands of monitoring, compliance and diligence.

The question I’d like the media to ask is “Where did John Key get his information that Winston visited DotCom three times?” Most likely source it seems to me is the GCSB. I think Winston  may have a point about his right to privacy.

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Blogpost of the Day

Savant on No Right Turn writes, that is is  Worrying,

Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index 2014 is out. The good news: we rank 9th, up there with the sorts of Scandawegian countries we like to compare ourselves to. The bad news? we’ve dropped a place. The reason?

In New Zealand, the interception of reporter Jon Stephenson’s metadata by the military, which thought his articles were overly critical, and the release of journalist Andrea Vance’s phone records to a leak investigation is indicative of growing government mistrust of the media and their watchdog role.

Screw “clean and green”. New Zealand’s new reputation is a thoroughly modern policed Surveillance State. Where the feckin hell did we go so horribly wrong?¿

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Quick Quotes

“The radical right is so homophobic that they’re blaming global warming on the AIDS quilt.”

– Dennis Miller

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~ Joe Blogger,

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

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