mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
If you were upset about the assault on civil liberties represented by s92A you should be absolutely livid over the current proposal for "cease & desist" orders, designed for use against "boy racers", but of course perfectly usable against anyone who ever drives or rides in or on a motor vehicle.
No court, no hearing, no evidence, just a single police officer's suspicion. You don't even have to be suspected of committing a specific offence - being in the wrong place at the wrong time is enough. In fact, it's quite clear that you can be punished for the offending of others, without any requirement to prove or even allege that you were involved.
Also any breach of the notice becomes a summary offence (3 months imprisonment / $2,000 fine). Meaning that effectively, you can be put in jail for three months without evidence of a crime, and without a hearing, at any time on the word of a police officer. Because of course they will also have the power to decide if you are in breach of the order, possibly within seconds of issuing it.

The Jester

Mar. 18th, 2009 09:44 am
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
I've been impressed by John Stewart on Comedy Central over the last couple of years. Often he does more hard hitting interviews and investigative journalism than the people who are supposed to be doing that. I was thinking this morning that it's odd that this should come from a comedy show, and then it hit me that Stewart is fulfilling an ancient role, that of the jester.

Traditionally the jester, or fool, could get away with saying all those things no-one else could. Often, the king or queen relied on that, because while other couriers would not tell the truth to them, through either fear or intrigue, the jester often would. Protected by being able to say what they liked because "it's only a joke", jesters performed an important role of pointing out those things everyone else could not, like the fact that the king is wearing no clothes.

One of the things that has disappointed in New Zealand recently is the general lack of good current affairs comedy shows. It seems Newsboy (Jeremy Wells) has been just about it for some time now.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
Via AVAAZ :

While it's not being covered widely by the media, the US Senate is this week debating if it will set up an independent inquiry into war crimes committed during the War on Terror. A Commission of Inquiry would send a powerful message that the US wants to repair the damage done to human rights by the Bush years, while strengthening the fight against terrorism.

But without a massive global and US show of support, champion US Senators may not rally the numbers needed to have this commission established. Sign the petition. which will be presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee before they make their decision this week -- and help get an inquiry with real teeth over the line. If enough of us around the world make it clear to the US Government that we support an effective and powerful inquiry - we could tip the debate!

mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
So it seems Stephen Joyce, along with Chris Finlayson is planning to pass ACTA, and planning to keep section 92a which allows for the disconnection of individuals from the internet upon the mere accusation that they have violated copyright.

Finlayson, despite being a lawyer, seems to feel that there is no need for there to be any proof that a person is infringing the law before punishing them for that alleged infringement, and despite the fact that both his and Joyce's websites contain enough infringing material for people to lay complaints against them as soon as the law comes into effect. It's almost humorous, two politicians planning to put forward a law that will result in them being it's first victims. Talk about "being hoist by one's own petard!"

Even the UK, known for it's draconian police state, has refused to go anywhere near this far, backing off of keeping similar, though still less draconian, arrangements in their version of ACTA.

People need to realize that copyright breaches are not the issue here.

Regardless of one's beliefs about the validity of intellectual property, the thing that both I and the good folk at The Creative Freedom Foundation are annoyed at here is that S92a of the act brings in a provision that will require ISPs to cut the internet connections of people if someone else (anyone else) makes a formal complaint against them, regardless of whether that complaint is actually well founded, and without giving the accused the chance to defend themselves from the complaint. This is a fundamental change to our law.

At present there are one or two other places in law where guilt is assumed, and people can be punished without trial, but all of those at present relate to national security, such as the ability of the Director of the SIS to put people like Ahmed Zaoui in prison without a trial.

ACTA is fundamentally worse, as while one might expect that the Director of the SIS would understand the danger of his powers, and would normally, at least in his mind, have good reason to use them, here, we're talking about giving similar (though admittedly not so draconian) powers to every member of the public who can fill out a complaint form. Does anyone really want that? Imagine the potential for extortion and harrassment that the Mongrel Mob and other criminal organizations will now gain.

The other bad thing, and the reason that the UK dropped these sorts of provisions, is that they require your ISP to act as an arm of law enforcement. Not to co-operate with law enforcement, as they do now, but to be law enforcement. All of a sudden a bunch of geek network operators will become policemen without training. But real policemen have some legal protection to act in this manner, and are given money by the government to enforce laws.

ACTA will require ISP''s to take up this job without additional pay, and without legal protection, meaning that they could get sued for doing it. This will necessarily drive up the already outrageous cost of internet access in New Zealand, which in turn will act us a brake on our already stumbling economy.

So, email steven.joyce@national.org.nz and c.finlayson@ministers.govt.nz, and point out to them that this is not a copyright issue, it's a legal and economic issue that affects the whole country, not just those naughty file-sharers.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
Just had to pass this Aussie column on :

As the rest of the world struggles with the excesses of capitalism and free-market worship, our dearly beloved neighbours suddenly think a former investment banker can make them ruch, as well as thuck.

Think of the dazzling US election - then think of its antithesis, and you have the Kiwis' "defining moment".

You might not have noticed their election campaign, let alone Saturday's "historic" and "fascinating" (as claimed by Sky News) election.

Don't feel guilty -- it resembled a domestic squabble over whose turn it was to put out the garbage, only without the heat and sense of urgency.

mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Ah well, as usual the country goes down the tubes, and I have a good time. It's rather funny really, although the election was won in almost the worst possible way, it will make me better off.

At least the cartoonists will have someone who is even easier to make jokes about than Helen, and those who have forgotten, or just aren't old enough, to remember what the current National team were like when they were in power eight years ago will get a reminder. Yes, other than the leader, the team is exactly the same, and basically pull puppet Key's strings. So much for voting for change, instead people have, probably without even realizing it, voted to have the government they hated eight years ago.

It may not be nice to laugh as New Zealanders fuck themselves, but large numbers have given their consent to be fucked, so who am I to judge their masochistic choices? Especially as it will give me more money.

Of course I didn't know anything about the election until a lady came into get the depression beaten out of her at the Fetish Ball.

I had a fine time, the performers were great, Mark & Fly-Girl making the most of our somewhat more relaxed performance laws to go all out, the Hellfire club team were great fun, borrowing our cross for their naughty sailor girl performance, evoking 1940's pin-ups, and Lady Xanthi and her pony Rivendell took pony-play into a new dimension, with some great costuming and staging. The show began with a fashion show from Thornapple Boutique, and the gear was yummy. I was pleased not all their models were slim people.

Said hi to lots of people including yonderman and J who told me how great [livejournal.com profile] ferrouswheel did at BM, and who encouraged me to come to Kiwiburn.

It was nice being in an atmosphere where sexiness was everywhere, and people wanted to be looked at. I had to smile at one lady in tight pink PVC hot pants as she slid her EFTPOS card down the front of them, about the only place she could have stored it! There were some great costumes, and many of the guy's costumes were as fun to look as the women. The burnt and shrivelled angel wings on the back of one guy were impressively constructed.

Much of my night however, was spent managing access to The Cage. It turns out many young ladies dream of dancing in cages. Often in pairs. And they were all very friendly and scantily dressed. I think I'll be having dreams of what I observed in or on that cage yesterday night for some time to come! And that a cage needs to be an accessory at any future party! :)

Next, to do it all again, but with less pressure, in Christchurch!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
The only party that real New Zealanders should vote for in the coming election!

I think the straight-forward honesty of the Future New Zealand party should impress those jaded by US politics. As I know many people that, while having no real reason to vote for National, seem to think it's about time we gave someone else a go, I put forward this party for your consideration seeing as they're clearly so much better than National! Their leader is already winning as most preferred Prime Minister!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Jet Black)
This smug millionaire Owen Glenn who lives in Monaco to avoid paying tax in New Zealand is going to go back to his billion-dollar home and laugh at the idiots in New Zealand who are believing the smarmy bastard over their leaders.

Just like the wanker George Soros who single-handedly crashed the Asian Tiger economies because they wouldn't do what he wanted, Owen Glenn is just showing off to to his cronies and one-upping Bob Jones, by saying "look, I can force a government change just by lying thru my teeth, because people trust rich bastards who want to rip them off more than any politician".

He has, at least as far as the media has reported, presented no actual evidence of wrong-doing by any politician, yet for some reason the media are saying he has. What does a record that he made a phone call mean? Nothing. What does the email prove? Nothing.

Yet because of this so-called evidence, and his insinuations, Glenn gets to sit on prime-time television and call the Prime Minister "self-serving". If there was ever a case of the pot calling the kettle black... Glenn pretends to be altruistic. He's got the media playing this up for him. He isn't. Have look, every time he donates something, he gets something out of it. If he was truly altruistic his donations would be anonymous.

Glenn gets to sit on television and claim that the Labour party president broke the law in the last election, even though if he actually did do so in the way Glenn claims (buying dinner at KFC for a large number of Maori & Pacifica people), there would have been so many witnesses that he would already be before the courts. That was the thing that really made it obvious Glenn is either lying thru his teeth, or, as the Labour party are gently suggesting, has gone senile.

That claim was just one claim too far. If New Zealanders believe Glenn after that claim... well, they deserve to be fucked by National. Of course, none of our politicians can financially afford to take him to court for that slander, because they don't have as big pockets as he does, and Glenn knows it, which is why he's saying such crazy slanderous things on national television.

Pay Scaled

Jun. 17th, 2008 12:42 pm
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Morpheus)
Another of those great NY Times graphics, this one showing the relative rise of CEO compensation in comparison to that of the average worker. Interestingly, from the mid-1940s to the mid-1980's top level executive compensation in comparison to workers remained about the same, around 50 to 60 times that of workers, and then it rose sharply to a massive peak in 2000 when the top executives were being paid over 700 times what the workers were, and has now dropped back a bit to just 350 times
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
Old Sisters in high rotation on the phone.

Saw something this morning on the train. Seems the Samoan Church wants to charge each member, including all babies, twenty dollars. Now the congregation of the Samoan church tends to be Samoan. Who tend to be at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Who often have large families. How can a church put that sort of load on their members?

I have no real issue with the overall goals of the Family Violence - It's Not OK campaign, though I do sometimes wonder what will happen when we're all spineless wimps and we get invaded by a country that hasn't emasculated itself. But I do take issue with the way it emphasizes males as perpetrators, with all four of the campaign "faces" being male, even though statistics show that the majority of child abuse is carried out by women, and that there are almost as many beaten husbands as there are beaten wives. So I'll add my own line to it : "It's Not OK to continue to propagate the myth that men are the only perpetrators of domestic violence". They need at least one female abuser to add to their line up of four males, if not more, to help represent the reality.

However, I find the idea of women sending used panties to the military dictators of Myamar extremely amusing. Of course, as Asylum points out, it may backfire, as there's a market for used panties in Japan and elsewhere.

There's a lovely NT times article on some old scientific books going up for auction at Christies, including a 1543 edition of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) and a copy of the first ever telephone directory (Connecticut, 1897). Some of the contents of that are lovely to read through, and it contains, amongst it's instructions for using the phone, the gem : "When you are not speaking, you should be listening."

Our owners (HP) have just release this piece of lust-creating technology, a 30-bit colour accuracy, 1 billion colour, 1920 x 1200 pixel 24" wide screen LCD

House is remarkably clean for a week-day. Slept poorly. Woke up several times during the night. Not sure why. Got up late but still managed to squeeze all normal morning's activities in the reduced time, and leave earlier than normal. Even made bed. Far more cars are parking at the Silverstream station in the morning these days.

Tonight I play Corwyn of Jerbiton, somwewhere. Tomorrow lover arrives in town ! Squee! Then there will be Sweet Mother's Kitchen with French-speaking folk Friday, followed by flat-warmering and other stuff.

P.S. : Here's a little bit of technical education on the OO concept of polymorphism passed to me by a work colleague. Warning : It contains words of a sexual nature, thus making it easy for non-technical types to understand it.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
So many things I wanted to write about. So little time spent writing. Will try to remember what I wanted to say...
(Bonus points for people who can explain my choice of title)

Michael Cullen. All about "Social Democracy" but not into socialism any more. Seems to believe everyone is inherently of equal worth. Seems to think that if you don't believe everyone is of equal worth, you must be one of the other party. I must disagree.

You can believe everyone is equal all you like, it won't change the physical fact that people are not of equal worth in any realistic sense. In the most basic sense of the cost price of our constituent atoms, a larger person is going to be "worth" more than a small person. And frankly even in the sense Cullen meant it, I do not believe people are of equal worth. Some people are just a waste of space, and are not worth that space being wasted on them. Others are worth ten or more "normal" people.

However, I believe that regardless of a person's inherent worth, which is a subjective judgement anyway, there is no privileged market frame, therefore all measurements of worth are relative to a chosen market frame (has anyone applied general relativity to economics yet ?). the law, and any government bodies, must treat people equally. This I believe is the fundamental disagreement I would have with the belief's Cullen espoused. It doesn't matter what I or anyone else believes, our state functions must be impartial, and you don't need to have an internal belief system like Cullen's to support the legislative and governmental concepts proposed by his "social democracy".

I was interested in his admitting that there is a basic conflict between the core tenets of social democracy and treating Maori as TangataWhenua. Doing this creates both an Orwellian "We're all equal, but some are more equal than others" situation; and it means that a socially democratic government ends up directly supporting, and pandering to, a racially-based, largely sexist, hierarchical, non-democratic, government system within it's own borders, which is a form of apartheid.

Note that I am not attacking targeted assistance, nor am I attacking Treaty of Waitangi settlements (as if one accepts the treaty, as our government has, the settlements become a legal necessity.

To me, the important issue is in giving Maori, and thus iwi and hapu, greater say in the development of the country than, for example an association of Asian business-men, a Tongan friendly society, or a Dutch-descended clog dancing troupe. Why should the fact that some group of people was "here first" (which for Maori isn't true anyway) have any bearing whatsoever on their rights and privileges now? It is in direct opposition to the social democratic idea of everyone having equal worth, and really is just a special privilege to a racially-defined subset of land holders. It's like suggesting in modern-day Britain that Anglo-Saxon land-holders should have more rights than Norman land-holders. In this analogy, the Maori are more like Angles and Saxes than Picts, because the role of the Picts is played by the Moriori, the Maori are another invader race just like the Angles.

Please don't mistake the above with racism. To me, at least, it is it is an explicitly anti-racist position, because this idea of "being here first gives privilege" extends beyond Maori. European-descended New Zealanders in their thousands vote for Winston Peters to protect them from Asians and other more recent immigrants, automatically assuming they have a privilege of "being here first". If the government supports the rights of Maori over later immigrants, it is a moral precedent that would make it difficult for them to not support greater privileges for European-descended New Zealanders who arrived prior to recent Asian or Pacific Islander immigrants.

Cullen claims to dislike hierarchies, and that the opposition is a party of hierarchies based primarily on how much money one has, but the government are supporting a different, and equally untenable, form of hierarchy that is base on "time in country" rather than wealth.

I suspect the majority of people would probably believe they should have greater privileges for being here first. The concept of "first come, first served" is heavily ingrained in our society. Some might even argue it is only fair that existing inhabitants get better treatment, but is it really?

Actually, I'm still unsure about this myself. I think we've attacked the ideas of privilege based on social rank and on money, and now there are other areas of privilege that to me seem equally wrong, but some of them may be so heavily ingrained in our culture and ideas of fairness that it's hard to determine what's right or wrong.

As Cullen said, one sometimes has to do things for political reasons. It was interesting that Cullen said there were something that he would not compromise on, and that should, for instance, he be backed into a situation where he would have to support the death penalty, then he would not, even it meant leaving power.

Finally, I think that regardless of any such disagreements, or why Cullen was there, the fact that we live in a country where arguably the second most powerful person in the country can turn up at a normal pub with effectively no security to drink and talk to a small left-wing poli-club, getting really no more fanfare or privilege than any other speaker would, directly answered questions, and was treated well, just makes me smile and be happy I live here.

Anther thing that makes me happy is our recent Copyright New Technologies Ammendment Bill. We're getting kudos for it from overseas. Did people realize we now have explicit legal protection to make copies of CDs and DVD's for personal use, and break any DRM involved? And that if you can't do it, you can ask a librarian or other qualified person to help you? So much better than Australia's recent pandering to the US' DMCA.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Largo)
So, Monday was a day of cleaning and organizing things as mentioned.

Tuesday I was remarkably organized and actually got into work on time. Even more exciting, I spent the day actually trying to solve a gnarly database query problem that possibly I only have enough knowledge to understand, so the day went quickly and i felt needed and useful. Love that.

I even got time to go out and buy myself new shoes as I was beginning to get tired of getting wet feet on rainy days due to splits n the soles. I have a bad habit of splitting soles in my shoes across the ball of the foot, which would otherwise be fine for longer, possibly because of the way I find myself sitting with my toes bent at my desk. I'm going to have to try and sit more flat-footed in the interests of shoe longevity. I have a pair of Hush Puppies that are beautifully comfortable. I thought you had to break in shoes, that a new pair of shoes meant a couple of days of sore heels as you made the shoe conform to your body. Not with these Puppies! Also, ecause my main work trousers split down a side seam last week (just wear, not bulging buttocks!) and were getting paper thin anyway, I bought a new pair of trousers. Will be picking them up this afternoon after they've sewn the hems.

After work I went up to Long Xiang in Dixon St. for lemon chicken, and then to Brix for the TES AGM. I ate first because a) I had time to fill in, and b) I haven't been impressed at the food available at Birix in the past K&E announced their engagement, and various people have things planned. I avoided having another web-site to maintain, largely because E was really keen. Ah, the enthusiasm of youth! it looks like interesting things may happen, and enthusiastic people are involved. I got a lift home from a certain HBB (grin) , which was great because it meant I got home much earlier than I would have otherwise, which is largely why i managed to get that post up last night.

And when I got home I found a lovely present from my lover had arrived. It's U2 by U2, a beautiful coffee-table type book. It even came with a lovely inscription! I an going to have to get a coffee-table to put it on now, the old ex Wigram Corporal's Club brown Formica thing is grody!

Tonight I go off to drink liberally at the Southern Cross with the Minister of Finance, Dr. Michael Cullen. I love living in a country where a Cabinet member will come down to a local pub for a beer and a chat. I may have to change into my new trousers for the occasion though. :)

Tomorrow I have a meeting with Friends of Tangaroa, and then I'lll be cruising down to TNC. Friday will probably be Fidel's unless I find myself tired out by all this not going home in the evening after work!

It's exciting and happy-making to hear about friends hooking up, and congratulations to them!

P.S.: On the way up in the elevator at work, an older guy I barely know but who works here, pointed at the MegaTokyo Largo button on my trench-coat, and said he didn't recognize the cartoon which "she" came from! Sheesh ! I thought by this time of my life I wouldn't be having these teenage-style generation-gap gender-mistake moments! I told him it was unlikely he'd heard of it because it was from a web comic. I didn't bother correcting him on the sex of the character. I do sometimes have this desire to turn up at work one day with both a guy and a gal on my am, or maybe several of each, and kiss them all good-bye when they leave. Probably not a very good idea though.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
What might happen in New Zealand if the sort of US-based zero-tolerance shit recently advocated here by the so-called consultant Mike Sabin is brought in? This :
Frances Johnson, a 68-year-old grandmother in Washington, D.C. who faces eviction simply because her grandson was arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana. The federal government's public housing system has a "one strike and you're out" policy for any drug law violation -- even if that violation occurs miles away from home
And apparently, even if you're not the one arrested.

Luckily for us, even the prohibitionist Anderton took issue with Sabin, saying
"I must admit I always have a bit of suspicion about people who are in the business of being paid as consultants to do this sort of work, who then come along with a 'great plan'."
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Default)
I'm going to try to do a number of posts today, because the things I have to write about are somewhat unrelated. Thanks to an email from Idiot Savant, I discovered that the inaugural Drinking Liberally for Wellington was happening at the Southern Cross at 6pm yesterday evening with a talk from Green MP Nandor Tanczos.

My first surprise was what had happened to the Southern Cross itself! It's undergone an extensive refit since the last time I was there, with huge brightly coloured bean bags around the fireplace in the back room we used to use for KapCon. The Old Guard will mourn the loss of the gazebo, but the outside area is much nicer and more comfortable than it was, as is the interior. I was impressed. The place seemed much friendlier than it used to, with cute skinny guys behind the bar bopping to the long-haired instrumental group which made me think of the Dandy Warhols' song Bohemian Like You. As I wandered past the bean bags I commented to a couple playing table tennis that I hadn't been in for a while and the place looked great, and the lady squeeed and said she appreciated people saying that and that she'd done the flower arrangements on the tables. It's almost like the place has been taken over by a hippy commune... :) I think I may have to take friends there and curl up on those bean bags one day!

The meeting itself was interesting. I met a young Labour Party researcher, and one of the guys responsible for The Standard. When asked how I found out about the meeting, I said that Idiot Savant from No Right Turn had told me, and several people complimented Idiot on his research and well-written arguments. People asked about Idiot, and I suspect my caginess may have given some of them the impression that I might have actually been him, though the person who asked about Idiot's brother by name probably wouldn't have! Unfortunately not really knowing said brother, I couldn't tell them anything anyway. [livejournal.com profile] mr_orgue & [livejournal.com profile] richdrich were there along with a number of other people whom I see "around".

Nandor was fun to listen to. Having only really seen what comes up on on various news-bites about him, I was surprised to discover he was an anarchist at heart. And not a stupid anarchist either, he understood the need for some forms of control, but spoke about why do we always assume that has to be invested in a nation state ? Many things would seem to be better devolved to lower levels. At the same time he spoke about how some things by their nature need to be managed at a global level, and nation states make the devolvement of power to the best level largely impossible. I found much to agree with in what he said, but felt he could have gone further in some areas, but perhaps he was toning it down, unsure of his audience.

He dealt well with the kiddies running around his legs while he spoke, and basically I left that meeting with a much higher opinion of Nandor than I had prior. It's a shame he's quitting, though I can see how being part of the system for nine years must be hard for an anarchist!

Unfortunately I couldn't stay and drink after Nandor's talk, due to other engagements, but I think I'd enjoy doing so next time. Only potential problem is that someone might convince me to actually get involved! I'm trying to avoid that. Like Paul Atriedes, I've looked down the Golden Path, and I don't want to take that route, even though my seventh form class voted me person most likely to become prime minister. Consulting and think-tanks, maybe, but give me actual power and you'll have a Chavez on your hands.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Jet Black)
It's become apparent that TV One News is heavily biased against the Labour government, to the extent of giving the National Party positive propaganda.

Guyon Espiner this evening blatantly lied about the National Party proposed tax cuts, repeating National's own lie that the "average New Zealander" would be better off by fifty dollars under National. As pointed out by No Right Turn earlier today, the definition of "average New Zealander" that National, Guyon Espiner, and thru him TV One News, is using, is : "those who earn more than $60,000 per year". Again as No Right Turn points out, IRD data proves that this means just 14% of the population. Considering the 14% highest earners in the country as "average New Zealanders" either shows just how much contempt National and their media puppets have for the real average New Zealander, or how stupid they are, neither of which bodes well for said "average New Zealander".

Just so you know, I'd be one of those 14% gaining that extra $50, in fact I'm in the top 2% of income earners in New Zealand, there's only about 120,000 people earning as much or more as me, and y'know what? I really don't need that extra $50. I can make that much extra a week thru speculative trading on TradeMe if I really need it. There are many people who need that $50 more than I do, and I'd prefer the tax cuts going to the 52% of New Zealanders who earn under $30,000 a year. So that's why I'll be voting Labour this year!

At the same time TV One News tried to portray the Emission's Trading Scheme as a bad thing, repeating the forestry industry's whining, with a clip of John Key saying that under Labour more trees had been cut down! If that's true, John, you dickhead, why aren't you voting for the ETS to try and stop that arbourial destruction?
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
In less fun news, EDS' net nanny blocks Drinking Liberally for the following reasons : Drugs/Alcohol,Personal Beliefs/Cults,Politics (Global).

However, The Church of Scientology is not blocked, even though they have a silly flash player on their home page showing the "Scientology Video Channel" thus soaking up far more company bandwidth. I'm planning to leave it running in the background, just to cause trouble. Also, the Southern Baptist Church web site is not blocked, nor is the Republican Party's web site. Further the Budwieser company web-site isn't blocked, though several scotch whiskey and absinthe sites are. Pfizer, one of the worlds largest manufacturers of drugs, also isn't blocked

So, what one learns from this is that EDS thinks it's OK if you're a beer-swilling Republican Baptist or Scientologist, and is happy for workers to watch Scientology videos on company time, because being a Baptist or a Scientologist is obviously not a Personal Belief, Republicans are obviously not into Politics, and Budwieser beer apparently contains no Drugs/Alcohol.

So, by blocking that one site, EDS has caused me to waste time and bandwidth researching and venting about it. Maybe one day they'll realize that blocking sites loses the company more money than not blocking them.

Recently we also discovered that it was blocking Wikipedia images. I can only assume they have blocked an entire image host network that Wikipedia uses.

Now I've just been told we're going to waste even more company time taking the waste-of-time estimate I was working on through validation at an Asia-Pacific level. Feckin' stupid company. Well, it's not my problem. I'll just keep accepting their money, being a general nuisance, and concentrating on enjoying my life. And it's not like I was doing anything useful anyway!
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Tyler)
If we don't, we will be hypocrites.

None of those who claimed during the Springbok Tour that it was appropriate to protest against the sporting teams of a nation whose government policies are abhorrent will be able to deny that we should do the same to China, a country that has produced far more abhorrent policies than South Africa did, and killed far more people.

It has also occupied a sovereign country since 1950, for exactly the same reason that Israel occupied the Golan Heights, they feel they can't defend their country if they don't occupy the territory. They have since caused huge amounts of damage to the natural habitats of the Himalayas by building military air-bases in them (far more than the damage caused to the Everest region by mountain climbers), and have continually suppressed Tibetan Buddhism in the land of it's birth. The presence of Chinese troops in Tibet forces India to maintain huge numbers of troops in Himalchan province to try and counter the Chinese threat. If ever there was a place where the Third World War will start, it's the Himalayas.

Stuck between the two potential combatants along with Tibet, is Nepal, a place that New Zealanders have a special relationship with because of our recently deceased Kiwi icon, Sir Ed. Nepal produces punk rock bands like Ra Ko Ris, and café operators who make great freshly-squeezed fruit juices, as well as Sherpa guides. Tibet produces a studious and hard working people, many of whom choose, or are forced, to live poorly but freely within India's borders rather than under China's oppression. There are other parallels between Israel & Palestinians, and China and Tibetans, except that Tibetans have not yet produced a Hamas or PLO , being generally less violent, though after the last few days, it's likely there will be such an organization soon, and China is bigger than Israel.

Of course, it's quite apparent that few people actually have the courage to stand up to Beijing, and I'm sure there will be many apologists talking about how we need to maintain dialogue and the potential damage to our trade opportunities. This merely points out that we only have morals when commerce is not threatened and we aren't scared of the bully. We had no commerce to speak of with South Africa, and they had no real power projection capability outside the African continent, not to mention we had the UN on our side, so we could afford to be moral there.

I agree that China is large, dangerous, and has been known to be a bully. We cannot defeat China militarily or economically. Even the USA is completely unable to do that, with China controlling the value of the US dollar and being able to complete destroy the USA's economy if it so wishes. The only hope is that we can cause the Chinese to change their government by social osmosis, the same way the USSR and the Eastern Bloc fell. Even though the Chinese government controls the media, the non-presence of foreign nations will tell the Chinese populace volumes, in exactly the same way that not having sporting contacts with South Africa spoke to those there.

The Beijing Olympics are also causing an ecological and humanitarian catastrophe as grass is painted green and raw materials are strip-mined to allow the Olympic facilities to be built on time and look good. Millions of cats, dogs, and birds are being killed to keep the Olympic city "clean", with no thought to what this will do to the populations of insects, etc, in the following year. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese workers have died in construction accidents, their bones and, if you believe in such things, souls, ground up and bound into the stadiums that overseas visitors will be sitting in and our athletes will be competing in.

I actually wrote all of the above last Thursday, but at that time, most people didn't know what was going on in Tibet, so I thought posting it was futile at the time. Now people are more aware, and [livejournal.com profile] seraphs_folly had a chance meeting with a random person who also knew Raj, one of the café operators mentioned above, so there it is. More emotional than rational, but I'm not going to apologize for that.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Jet Black)
From The Smirking Chimp :

On the streets of Miami, Luis Posada Carriles might look like just one of the dozens of nice, elderly Cuban gentlemen who gather outside the Versailles Restaurant for a strong cup of java. But there is nothing nice or gentle about Posada Carriles. For starters, he is responsible for the 1976 downing of a Cuban passenger plane with 73 people on board-the first act of aviation terrorism in the Western hemisphere. In 1997 he orchestrated the bombing of hotels in Havana that resulted in the death of Italian businessman Fabio Di Celmo...

The U.S. Justice Department has called Posada “an unrepentant criminal and admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks. ” When he was being held in a U.S. immigration detention center in 2005 for having sneaked into the country with a false passport, the Department of Homeland Security said that due to his long history of criminal activity and violence, his release from detention would “pose a danger to both the community and the national security of the United States.”

So why, then, does Luis Posada Carriles live freely in Miami, eating lechón asado at the Versailles Restaurant, socializing at the Big Five Club, exhibiting his paintings at the Miami Art Museum? Why isn’t he behind bars?

Read the comments too, where someone points out that the downing of the airliner was, on a per capita basis, far worse for Barbados than 9/11 was for the USA.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Forever)
Sure, many of us are not citizens of the USA, but whomever wins the next USA presidential elections will have the ability to affect the planet in significant ways due to their control of USA foreign policy, and their ability to affect USA national internal policy on climate change and human rights.

Whomever wins, they need to be made aware that the the world is watching. To that end Avaaz.org would like your signature on an open letter to the candidates encouraging them to commit to climate protection, to respect human rights, and promote peace. In other words, to reverse the direction the US has been travelling under the incumbent.

Avaaz has already had a significant affect on the world stage, with the presentation of their petition dramatically affecting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, and their continued work to prevent the media from forgetting about the siege of Gaza or the repression in Burma, among other things, so this is not just a wasted gesture. IMO, it is the beginning of what might be called "The People's UN", as the existing UN is more for governments than people.
mundens: Picture of Brad Pitt playing Tyler  Durden from Fight Club. My Hero (Morpheus)
It really didn't sound to me like something the Iranians would do, as it didn't gain them anything. Iran doesn't want a war, it's Bush that wants a war.

It seems my suspicion at the time was correct, as it has now come out that the story that got sent around the world a few days back by CNN about Iranian speed-boats threatening US warships was basically fabricated by Bryan Whitman, the Pentagon's top spokesman, with the help of Barbara Starr from CNN.

It was hilariously funny anyway. A major naval fleet of "The World's Greatest Military", equipped with multi-million dollar state-of-the-art military technology, including weapons such as the Phalanx CIWS which is capable of shooting a missile out of the sky in the minuscule amount of time they have between detecting an incoming sea-skimmer and it hitting the ship, by basically filling the air with a curtain of projectiles, saying it felt threatened by a few men in a couple of speed-boats.

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