Sunday, October 30, 2005

Jeez Wayne!

I have alluded to, but not written of, the National Party's "shadow Cabinet".

It has all of the usual culprits. Obviously Brash Donny is Numbero Uno, I think the fortunately invisible Bill (Catholic) English is in two and Jonkey is number three. Georgina Te Heu Heu is their Honarary Maori, or is it Honarary Pakeha?

Somewhere down toward the bottom is the name Wayne Mapp. Alongside is a new portfolio - "Spokesman for the removal of political correctness.

Keith Ng sets out his reasons for remaining vocally "liberal".

My mind goes back to Jon Gadsby, David McPhail, and "Jeez Wayne!".

MTC over the next three years...

Added later -

Kip in front of the box (A1 Racing on it couldn't keep me awake...) does wonders for the brain.

I am letting the usual culprits off just a bit too easy.

Jeez Wayne goes back to a speech during the election campaign. I have not heard nor seen more than third hand reports, but apparently he was trying to pull Brash Donnies 2005 Orewa speech back into the news.

As I understand it, he has defined (re-defined) Political Correctness, spoken strongly against it, and has his post of PC Eradicator as a result. It is that funny au!

His definition (I don't have the exact wording here) connected "mainstream NZ" to policies and government sponsorship of "minorities".

When Brash Donnie opened the NP campaign with the "mainstream NZ" tag, everyone began wondering just who he was meaning. Please leave suggestions in comments Not only that, everyone began fearing that they might falloutside of "mainstream NZ" for some reason, some "thing" that would make them in a minority that they did not know about.

So, to start -


Saturday, October 29, 2005

A quick look back -

A short while back, I posted on the attempts a father was making to "save" his son from a death penalty imposed for drug trafficking.

Dave Justus took some exception to the stance I had taken, and now that I am on leave I have a few minutes to reply...

Dave's comment...

I don't think that the death penalty is appropriate for selling drugs.

I don't think it would be appropriate in the U.S. I don't think it would be appropriate in New Zealand and I don't think it is appropriate in Indonesia.

You seem happy that he is being killed because he is a drug dealer. I am not happy about that.

I am for some legalization of drugs, but I am unsure if that should apply to all drugs or not. However, that doesn't really enter into this particular question. I think a society does have a right to choose whether to legalize this sort of thing or not. If they choose for it to be legal there are a range of penalties that would be appropriate to punish those who break the law. The Death Penalty is not in that range for this crime.

I don't have any opinion on whether the AFP should have intervened or not. They certainly had no responsibility to do so.

You seem to feel that if something is legal (death penalty for drug trafficing in Indonesia) it is also moral, I strongly disagree with that premise.

There was a splash in the news recently about gays being executed in Iran for being gay. Based upon your logic I presume you approve of that, since the maximum penalty for being gay in Iran is death and presumably these men knew that and were warned. Obviously they deserve every lump. That is just part of the risk.

It is more a matter of realities, rather than trying to rationalise the morality.

Obviously, from what Dave says, it is not a good thing to be homosexual in Iran. While the death penalty does not apply in the US, I suspect that there are likely a good number of devout Christians in America who would fully approve of adopting the same law in their country. That might still not make it moral. It would not in my book.

No, the reality is this...

If I were to visit the US, and if I were to murder a Texan in downtown Dallas, it is probable that I would be sentenced to death. I know that. It is the reality of the situation. Should I as a NZer escape that process of law? No.

If I smuggle drugs in Indonesia, the legal penalty is death. It might not be "moral". But the lack of morality does not remove the reality.

We agree that the death penalty is immoral. In my mind there is no crime that justifies it. That does not stop other nations having it and justifying its use.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Well its been an interesting couple of weeks - but better is coming...

Well I know without being told that it is a while since I contributed anything to the world wide fund of misinformation, rumour and bigotry. So it is time I remedied that...

It is not the outcome of our elections – Auntie Helen “won”; there has been a bigamous marriage (or is it civil union) between Winnie the Pooh, Uncle Peter (Piglet) Dunne and Auntie Helen. Winnie has said he is being consistent and is not going to sleep in the marital bed, and ignores the fact that he has already achieved his major promise to his electorate – of having the toll road to Mount Maunganui paid for by the government. Peter the Piglet has his cuddle in the form of Transmission Gully motorway funding. I wonder if he owns property on the Kapiti Coast – the prices there are rocketing already.

The full Cabinet has been announced - and there have been the obvious prognostications of doom and despondancy with Winnie the Pooh being given the Very Important Job of Foreign Affairs. Given his “refusal” to be part of the merry threesome in the marital bed one can but wonder at the subtlety of Auntie Helen’s hint.

Interesting that one of his first ambitions is “to build bridges with the US”. Good luck Winnie. Given your success with the Mount expressway, a bridge should be a piss in the wind. Just make sure of which way the wind is blowing.

There is a report that NZ is the third least corrupt place after Iceland and Finland. Well I guess that is good to know. I might dispute its restriction to financial corruption – there are other aspects that I might take issue with. That is not the foremost in my mind either. The Truth Laid Bear had better take a look at the pork barrels wandering around Wellington to see where his attention might be better focussed.

The news today that Taranaki (otherwise known as Mt Egmont but I prefer Taranaki because it is more “personable”) is overdue for eruption by some 200 years and when (not if) it does it would potentially cover the whole of the North Island with ash. Start swimming if that gets the bowels moving. There was another report at the same time that “fear” triggers more heart attacks than high blood pressure. Mostly (apparently) it is the fear of having a heart attack that causes the problem. Taranaki just adds another dimension.

No. The news of the day, and in my opinion it will be NOTD for some time to come, revolves around a kiwi doctor serving with the RAF.

Michael Kendall-Smith has already served two tours of duty in Iraq. He was posted to a third tour in Basra. He has refused to comply with the order on the grounds that the war is not legal.

Now there is one heck of a lot of water to flow under this bridge. There is one very log floating downstream at the moment – one which I shall be trying to track in the next few days. It is a report from the British Attorney General to the effect that Britain has never declared war on Iraq. From there onward the initial news items become a little confused, such as the report that appeared in the Sunday Star Times -

Effectively this has the potential to put Tony Blair and the whole process associated with Britain’s support of the Bush expedition to Iraq under the legal microscope.

In my opinion the charges will not proceed. Kendall-Smith will get a discharge. It might be “without comment” on his service to avoid counter-suit but is unlikely to be “honourable”.

Why is this most likely? Simply because the British Government can not afford to have the Attorney General being produced in Court to effectively prosecute the Government. Not even in a military court – where a charge like this will most likely be heard. The rights of Kendall Smith to call the A-G as a witness will take some while to unravel for a start.

It might also lead to the A-G having to go back to his day job. His position on the Iraq war is almost certainly giving Blair the taste of raw alum in his mouth, and a similarly strong alum enema as well. Having the ultimate in pursed lips dragged out into public would not add to Blair’s current popularity.

But before that happens – what prospect there be for the interplay between accused, prosecution, civil and military law, and the politics involved...

Can the British government permit Kendall Smith to go without challenge? No. Probably not. For the simple reason that it will allow far too many other servicemen to “opt out” of Iraq service on the grounds that “war has not been declared”.

Can that be remedied? It will look a bit more than funny if Britain declares war against a country that it “defeated” two years ago... As Jeff da Maori would say, “Not even au”.

What a delicious dilemma.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What price a human life?

Can I present you all with a problem, actually a small series of questions.

First the background -

A couple set off in a 9m yacht, well founded, well fitted, for Cook Islands. Some 5 days out of harbour they strike extremely heavy weather. It is not unusual for this time of year, but was not forecast at all on the long range weather until two days before it crossed NZ, three days before it got to where the yacht was. During the five or six days of continuous 40knot plus gales and very heavy seas (up to 14m when the first rescue was attempted) one of them is badly hurt, the other unable to handle the yacht alone. They send out a distress signal and are subsequently rescued.

The latest news is that the rescue - spread over some three days - has cost over $1 million.

That cost is paid by the taxpayer of NZ. It would be irrespective of the nationality of the sailors. In this instance they are NZers.

Right, questions -

Do you believe that every nation should have the responsibility of rescuing those in distress at sea? At the moment that universal responsibility comes from the International Law of the Sea.

Do you believe that that responsibility should come with the right to recover that cost from the people who have been rescued?

At what point should it be decided that rescue is "not economic"? Remember here that some years back the Australians rescued a solo yachtsman from deep southern waters in an exercise involving at least three flights (long range) by Orion aircraft to locate him, drop supplies, a four day emergency dash by a RAN frigate, three flights from the helicopter to effect the rescue and a five day return voyage, plus intensive medical treatment.

Would you consider such a cost a "fair payment" to be made from the taxes that you pay?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Not suitable for Children...

Hat tip to Truth Laid Bear under the heading of "Gargamel Is Going to Be Pissed "for this

This is what does need to be done.

A father's loyalty and devotion...

From here

… papers presented to the Federal Court in Darwin claim the father of one of the accused, 19-year-old Scott Rush, had told Australian Federal Police of his son’s intentions before he entered Indonesia in a bid to prevent his involvement in a crime punishable by death.

The papers follow widespread criticism of Australian help provided for an investigation of a crime likely to involve execution, in contravention of official Australian policy.

Indonesian prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty for all nine accused.

They say evidence not only links them all to the alleged heroin shipment, but also ties several to two earlier smuggling conspiracies through Bali.

In the papers handed to the Federal Court, Lee Rush claims police gave assurances through his lawyer that Scott would be warned he was under surveillance.

The papers say that despite these assurances, no approach was made to Scott Rush before he flew to Bali.

Rush and another alleged mule, Renae Lawrence, 27, are suing the AFP for the denial of judicial fairness and for what they allege was its illegal conduct in providing assistance to the Indonesian police.

The Government has consistently defended the AFP’s involvement.

In a statement, the AFP said it had acted appropriately at all times and in accordance with policy.

Brisbane’s Courier-Mail said [Indonesian] police evidence would also claim Chan, Sukumaran and Lawrence had smuggled an earlier shipment of heroin to Sydney in October last year, and Chan, Lawrence, Norman and another five people had planned, then aborted, a further shipment in December.

Well now, it has to be said.

Goodonyer Dad, for trying to save your son’s hide. No one can blame you for that. How much notice did you honestly expect that he would take? And honestly, was that why you told the AFP what your son was up to? In the hope that they might stop him from leaving town? And the next time after that?

In fact I can even feel sorry for you. There is a good probability that you will lose your son to the judicial processes of another country. I have no doubt that you would have told him time and again of the risks he was taking, and of the possible consequences.

I can understand and appreciate the grief that losing your son will cause.

It has to be said.

Dad, what about the people who bought his drugs? Is it sufficient to rationalise his activities as “supplying a commercial demand”? Is it sufficient to dismiss his part in what seems to be a large and highly active illegal importation business as “of little consequence”? After all, he did not start his customers on the road to heroine addiction, did he? All your son was doing was providing them with what they needed. They were just the druggies, the marks, the punters and scores.

It has to be said.

How many of them died, Dad?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The appointment of justice

After drifting through a wide range of blogs and news commentary pages there is one thing that completely puzzles me about the nomination of Justices to the bench of America's highest Court.

In all of the pages that I have seen there are two ideas that I consider fundamental to Justice.

    Objectivity - the ability to consider both sides of an argument fairly and with impartiality and understanding.

    Independance - the appearance and fact of holding the position and authority with no duty or obligation to any other person.

Yes, in the Senate selection process there is "close" examination of each candidate on "favourite topics" such as abortion. The purpose of the approach is to reveal any preconceptions and prejudgements on those specific topics. But does it go far enough?

Dave Justus 10/5/05 picks up on the idea with a quote from Bush himself -

''It's important that whomever I pick is viewed as an independent person from politics. It's this independence of the Fed that gives people, not only here in America but the world, confidence.''
DJ - This is at least as important as a supreme court nomination.

But that is the Chairman of the Federal Bank, not a Justice to the SCOTUS. I agree with Dave, but he misses the point in his next post on Miers.

So, tell me America.

What is it about your justice system that the qualifications for President of the Fed are considered more strictly than a Supreme Court Judge?

"Swimming Houses" yet?

Browsing around (hat tip here to ALD) brought up this idea from Netherlands.

If you think that the sinking feeling being felt in NO and surrounds is just terminal bad news, what do you do if a goodly proportion of your nation is slowly sinking into the sea? We have all seen the photos of the 20m high levees and flood control dikes and the other massive works in the Netherlands' attempts to ward off the sea and river floods.

So they are working on not just "swimminging houses", their first "swimming town" is planned.

These are not houseboats. Read it...