Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Eternal Debate...

I made a fairly intemperate post over at The Debate Link

David Schraub has posted a "WTF" and I think that he is right. I was going to post an "explanation" but the rant left me...

David, it is a question, not of what is being said, but of what is not being said.

In the editorial you posted (and supported) the "anti-semitism" of a series of gruesome murders was emphasised and repeated. I do not belittle the inhumanity of those killings. The rationale behind the op-ed seemed to be two-fold. First to castigate the current fav. whipping boy - France. Second to post up yet another gruesome, full technicolour, anti-muslim propaganda piece.

And this was the little bit that got me going...
Murder of Jews isn't a political tool you get to trot out to show just how really bad the Islamists are. It's bad because killing Jews is bad, period. And not covering the murder of Jews as Jews is a form of anti-Semitism, irrespective of how it plays into our global conception of what the war on radical Islamism is.

Your words, David. I was trying to paint the other side of the truth.

Perhaps then, this might help...

In the course of digging around the Sun-Times commentators I came across this...

Religious tradition, however, does not deter Israeli policy. The new barrier will confiscate 39 percent of the village's olive fields and take over the aquifer that supplies one-fifth of the West Bank's total water supply. In October, construction uprooted 500 grapevines in Aboud. Twelve kilometers of the barrier will be built on Aboud's land, and the villages of Al-Lubban and Rantis also will lose more territory.

All this is justified as protection against terrorists, but the Holy Land Christian Society rejects that. ''It is clear that the security barrier is not about security but the annexation of land for the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Israeli control over the water supply,'' argues a society paper. Israeli settlements Beit Arye and Ofarim were built on land taken from residents of Aboud.

The problems of the Catholic and Orthodox Christians of Aboud do not resonate in American politics. The evangelicals have signed a blank check to Israel in the interests of security in the Middle East. Of the many Roman Catholic members of Congress, only the venerable Rep. Henry Hyde (in the last year of his long career) has shown much interest in the subject.

That is why Cardinal McCarrick's involvement is encouraging for the champions of Holy Land Christians. He will visit the West Bank next month and may meet with Karen Hughes, under secretary of state for Public Diplomacy, for the sake of a few Christians in an ancient city.

Any paper publishing this kind of "news" in the US is likely to be branded anti-semitic - with no appeal... for the sake of a few Christians in an ancient city.

Is there the same concern and publicity given to the thousands of Palestinians affected in the same way? Does anyone speak out about what is, has always been, MSOI's version of ethnic cleansing?

Of course not - they are the "terrorists". They have no right to defend themselves. They only have their bodies to defend themselves with - against helicopters, aircraft, tanks and men.

That is why I have no bother with people calling me "anti-semitic".

And, David, that is why I reacted in the manner I did.

Cultural property -

There was a “local” doco broadcast last week, of which I regrettably missed all but the last 20 minutes.

The foundation for the doco is the protection of cultural and intangible property where the origin is outside of current copyright and patent protection.…

Imagine for a moment that your company develops a product, let’s say a fashion label, to which you apply your own name. Initially success is small, but a major showing gives an international breakthrough.

Suddenly, you have a problem. Your “name” has been registered in another country as a trademark. The registration is broad enough to include anything that you might produce under your name or fashion label.

Can’t happen?

Arrowtown fashion designer Tamsin Cooper has hit back at industry giant Trelise Cooper who is opposing the registration of her brand name saying it is too close to her own.

Tamsin Cooper has lodged a counter-statement with the Intellectual Property Office in response to Trelise Cooper's opposition to the registration of her brand.

Tamsin Cooper told the Otago Daily Times the arguments contained in her counter-statement were three-fold: First, the two brands were not confusing, and did not attempt to deceive the public.

Secondly, the name Tamsin Cooper was her own; and thirdly, her brand was already two years old and she should be able to continue using it.

Trelise Cooper said the name was too close to her own brand, launched eight years ago and now internationally recognised, and would cause confusion in the competitive fashion industry.

Both these ladies are using their own, birth, names. It would seem fair to say that there had been no intended trading off by one against the other. But that should not deny a person from defending their trade name, it should not allow the prospect of trading off either.

But that is only the beginning!

Ok, how about a musician?

Companies right around the world are on the look out for something to help brand their product in the global marketplace. In order to create a point of difference, companies are turning their eyes to N.Z .Things we take for granted, that we think belong to us even words and names, are up for grabs.

In 2002, singer Moana released her self-titled album into Europe, accompanied by the usual blaze of publicity associated with a CD release. Halfway through her tour, Moana was told that her record company was being threatened with a lawsuit by another German company. Media FX had trademarked the name Moana in Germany for around 40 products, including CDs and 'anything made of paper or cardboard.' That meant Pirate Records had breached international copyright law by releasing a CD under the name Moana into Germany.
Despite it being both her birth and stage name, the NZ artist was forced to rename her CD and all promotional materials for the German market.

This documentary looks at how a foreign company can control the use of a Maori name. It explores the extent to which intellectual property law can protect indigenous property or even what we think of as part and parcel of our nation.

Maori have challenged big companies in their tracks and forced big business to engage with those whose images, symbols and words they seek to co-opt.
This is an authored documentary narrated by Moana, as someone who has been exposed to this situation at a personal level. We start with her experience and join her on a journey to understand the international implications of current intellectual and cultural property laws. This takes her to Germany (and the man who trademarked her name), Denmark (Lego), London then to Detroit (Ford Motors), San Diego (Sony Playstation / Bottlerocket) and throughout New Zealand.

And there we have the basis for the documentary.

New Zealand is proud of its dual heritage. A visitor will see the evidence anywhere from a city church to a remote country store. It might not be obvious, it might be right out in the open. Kowhaiwhai patterns around a sign; a seat outside the door with no one sitting in it; a person removing a hat from where it was placed near food…

I must say that NZ as a nation has on occasions been less than considerate or consistent in our use of Maori images and cultural identification in the past. That is not (directly) the problem.

Imagine the uproar that might occur if I were to start marketing a brand of washing machines in the US with the brand name “George Washington” and the advertising catch “We can not lie about it”. Or how about a men’s bathing suit line with the trademark of “Running Bear”? Still happy? Or a range of digging implements named “Navahoe”? How about a laxative product named “Geronimo”? In addition to licensing the trademarks, protection is taken out over the names preventing their use on a wide range of products only vaguely related to the initial range….

Now if I were to protect those product names as both copyright and trademarks in Europe as well. The effect? No other product is allowed to show those names. More importantly, no recognition monetary or otherwise is given to the source of those names.

OK, let us change direction just a bit.

Some years back, it was with considerable pride that NZ sent to the US an arts and cultural exhibition called “Te Maori”. That exhibition received rave reviews from every city it was shown from the NY Met to San Francisco.

Some of the artifacts shown were effigies of people, REAL people, rendered in wood carvings. Some of them were weapons or tools, imbued with their own history, their own “whakapapa” (which is like a spiritual genealogy).

Some of them were religious artifacts; one in particular a spectacular and powerful carved representation of Uenuku. It might appear simply “a primitive black stick” to many, but it does actually date (by carbon dating) back some 450 years.

An adapted form of the Uenuku image appeared recently as a motif on a car seat in a vehicle manufactured by Ford. It is not out of line to compare the placing and usage of that image (where it is demeaned and insulted by being sat upon) with using the image of Michaelangelo’s statue of the Pieta as the central image on a teatowel.

To be fair here, Ford were contacted by the producers of the programme and have both apologized on air for misusing the image and have withdrawn the car-seat product from sale. It seems that they did make some effort to obtain “permission” – from a Hawaiian I believe. To be fair too, Ford are not the only “users” of Maori cultural “motifs”; others include Lego and Sony.

If you want, try and wade through this plethora of information but you can take my word for this much; there is no protection in any national or international law for cultural, religious or racial heritage.

That is (at least should be) about to change. One thing is certain, expect the Maori to be at the van of that change; expect the rest of NZ (small as we might be) to be close behind. The first steps have been taken by the French, with state enforced protection for names such as “champagne” and “Bordeaux” and in more recent times moves to protect “brie” and “camembert”. That approach is the high-cost solution. They also have the advantage that French law may have the effect of influencing EU action and law – a far wider scope than NZ and any other small country could hope to achieve.

There has to be change, in both the definition and operation of trademarks and the relevant laws, to protect all cultural property. The mere fact that present law has (mistakenly or by default) made such property generic is a major failing.

Made my day, punk...

One of the best laughs since Gerald Ford walked and chewed gum at the same time.


"[The unit] was requested to cover the road junction on the Auchterarder to Braco Rd as the President of the USA, George Bush, was cycling through. At about 1800 hours the President approached the junction at speed on the bicycle.

"The road was damp at the time. As the President passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting, 'Thanks, you guys, for coming'.

"As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head."

The report tells how the President skidded 5m along the road after knocking down the constable, who was off duty for 14 weeks after the accident.

It reads: "The President continued along the ground for approximately 5m, causing himself a number of abrasions. The officers ... then assisted both injured parties."

The injured officer received a phone call of apology while he was on his way to Perth Royal Infirmary, where he was treated for damage to his ankle ligaments and given crutches.

The White House initially claimed the policeman had recovered within hours of the prang.

The collision could have led to a police fine and Strathclyde Police last year issued three fixed penalty notices as part of a crackdown on rogue riders.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Free Speech - again...

We hear about the Muslims, the right to publish cartoons of little worth or redeeming feature.

I have been spouting about Catholics, protesting the broadcast of a scatalogical little cartoon of little merit or redeeming feature.

How many of us have heard of "Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005"? Say what???

How many have heard the name Maya Evans, or Mark Wallace.

OK, I knew nowt o' this until this morning.

From Telegraph -
In five weeks' time, Milan Rai is to be prosecuted for organising a remembrance ceremony without a permit. He was arrested at the Cenotaph in Whitehall last year with Maya Evans, a fellow anti-war campaigner, under security legislation designed to protect politicians.

Evans has already been prosecuted, convicted and fined for reading out the names of British soldiers killed in Iraq.

Maya Evans, who was arrested for protesting in Parliament Square, says the law is in a muddle.

But Rai's own criminal record has been longer coming, because his organisational role in the peaceful protest was greater, and required the attentions of the Crown Prosecution Service.

He has been told to appear at Bow Street magistrates' court, central London, on March 16, and faces a three-month prison sentence or a fine.

[... Taken out relates to Muslim protests at Danish Embassy ...]

"The police made no attempt at all to move us on, whereas last year when there were only two of us we were prosecuted. What is the point of this legislation?"

Meanwhile Rai, a 40-year-old author and campaigner for the group Justice Not Vengeance, said: "There is a lot of inconsistency going on and the police have been put in a very awkward position.

"We were arrested because we refused to apply for police authorisation to hold a ceremony of remembrance for the soldiers killed in Iraq.


Mark Wallace, a campaigner with the lobby group The Freedom Association, is less charitable. He was stopped by police under counter-terrorism laws in Brighton last autumn after asking passers-by to sign a petition against ID cards. He was filmed and questioned under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and told that his details would be kept on file indefinitely.


Now, after I have (intentionally) left out the vinaigrette we are left with two small vignetes which directly relate to the right to free speech.

It is not legal to read aloud the names of British servicemen and Iraqi civilians killed in the war in Iraq at the War Memorial outside Britain's parliament - without Police authorisation.

It is not legal to collect signatures on a petition opposing the introduction of identity cards - it is considered (apparently) an act of terrorism.

I can not blame the Police - as is pointed out in some of the snips I have removed from the Telegraph article their responsibility (onerous it must be too) is limited to appropriate enforcement.

And note too the name of the law that creates this illegality...

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

This too, from Guardian
...We are now called upon to defend the civil liberties of small and unpopular minorities: those accused of terrorist crimes, those seeking asylum, those seeking to avoid deportation. But remember that all of us are minorities at one time or another. All of us could be wrongly accused. All of us could express views or do things the government does not like. We all of us sometimes do unpopular things. We all of us need the protection that the rule of law gives us.

That is why we must not just oppose the illiberal measures that this government is bringing forward, notably this week the ID cards bill and the terrorism bill. We must also roll back Mr Blair's previous incursions, such as section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, used to harass demonstrators such as Walter Wolfgang at Labour's conference, or the restrictions on protest near parliament under which Maya Evans was convicted for reading a list of the war dead in Iraq.

Some Labour and Tory MPs now regret the protection that the Human Rights Act 1998 provides. But everyone needs such protection. With so few checks and balances on the government - elected with just a third of the votes - every constraint on what Lord Hailsham called our "elective dictatorship" is now essential. Our freedoms are at stake.

Now, in case you think that there is effective opposition to this policy stream, here is the Conservative Party attitude...
Conservatives have called on the police and prosecuting authorities to ensure that the law is upheld, following the way Muslim extremist demonstrators backed terrorist acts and glorified the July 7 bombings.

While fully supporting the traditional right to peaceful protest, Shadow Home Secretary David Davis warned that Friday's demonstration in London "crossed the line", and amounted to a direct incitement to violence.
And he stressed that failure to respond firmly would signal that Britain is willing to tolerate anything, would show the law to be inconsistent, and would make it more difficult for moderate Muslims to give a lead to their communities.

While Home Secretary Charles Clarke told MPs that legal action against those taking part in the Friday protest over foreign cartoons satirising the Islamic religion was a matter for the police, Mr Davis declared in the Commons: "It would have been entirely proper for those offended by these cartoons to have mounted a peaceful demonstration against their publication. The right to demonstrate is an extremely important night for British citizens. But it is a right with clear limits.

"It does not include the right to violence. Neither does it include the right to incite violence. That, too, is outside the law. Placards carrying slogans calling for people who insult Islam to be "beheaded" or "massacred" or "annihilated" are direct incitements to violence.

"Slogans like 'Europe your 9/11 will come', or 'Europe you will pay, Fantastic 4 are on their way' are at best indirect incitements to violence, as is dressing up as a suicide bomber."

Mr Davis said he was not criticising the police for not making immediate arrests at the demonstration itself. "Public order decisions are very difficult, and should not be second-guessed on a minute by minute basis," he declared.

However, action should be taken against those who have clearly incited violence, and taken soon, "because it is vital that we make it very clear that incitement to violence has no place in the political life of this country", he added.

Now I agree that is a "fair and measured" response. It is! But it misses one very important fact.

One would think that the mouthpiece of a political party would happily quote its own people in full and accurately. Right?

Why then, when calling for "the traditional right to peaceful protest" is the Hon shadow home secretary David Davis not questioning the application of the Act to Evans and Wallace?

Yes. We should be concerned...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why IS David Irving so hard to "handle"?

These are two comments I have left with neo-neocon here...

Fascinating, just fascinating. So many words, and so many people talking past each other.

Hitler? Primary responsibility has to lie with the German electorate.

That does not deny the continual (and continuing) efforts of all the major nations: US, China, NTH and STH Korea, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, et al to influence the actions of other nations as and when it suits "their interests".

The means and techniques are manifold - Japan "selecting" little island nations onto the IWB with aid payments being made in return for supporting Japan; the sale of weaponry at bargain prices to third-world nations in return for unfettered access to natural resources; the list is long and open-ended...

If we were to return to the original topic - that of David Irving - then there is one question that must be asked.

How did he get to the prominence he actually achieved without being exposed?

Exposed he was, as was recorded in the head post here, by the media having the guts and determination to say "We are right" in a Court of Law. That is not all. The publishers also knew that if the initial findings went against them, they had the resources to appeal; Irving did not.

Now truly, Neo-Neocon, the path that question leads to MUST be the number of charlatans, the cheats, and outright liars who are not exposed because they have the resources (legal and monetary) to ensure that a definitive conclusion is never reached.

The tobacco companies almost pulled it off. The actions (I think there were three?) by individual States of the US did eventually make the breakthrough. But in large part solely because the States could match (and were prepared to) the resources of the tobacco industry.

As I said, how many in positions of power and influence hold those places through their ability to ward off challenges of process and exposure?

and here...


There was an interesting comment made here [in NZ] in the past 24 hours to the effect that there was a direct correlation between anti-denial legislation and law that "prevents" inciting racial hatred and violence.

There was a considerable amount of regret that Irving was NOT allowed into NZ some four years back. The regret was that it prevented the implementation of some fairly rough, and illegal, justice.

But let's be truthful about this.

Charlatans such as Irving are not restricted to the field of historic studies, nor is their dishonesty limited to denial of the attempted extermination of the Jews in Germany.

They rise to positions of prominence and power in many fields; science (who remembers cold fusion?), politics (start with Milosevic and Saddam, but don't stop there...), religion (Hubbard and Moon if you like, or Falwell and Robertson), business (how about start with Enron?).

The very BIG problem is that so many people can not see these charlatans, liars and cheats for what they really are. After listening to Bethany McLean last night previewing her documentary (Smartest Guys in the ROom) I think I am getting a glimmer of how it can happen.

I want to pick up on the question I dropped at neo-neocon and (sad to say) which will probably not be picked up on.

Dave Justus sees it like this -
Using government power to define and protect truth strikes me as a very blunt and unsuitable tool for the job. There are more effective ways to prevent this sort of evil, and they don’t spawn the risk of re-creating the very style of evil they are designed to prevent.

I could probably trawl for the next 24 hours and find plenty more in similar vein. Responses that I have seen cover virtually every concievable aspect of the line between government definition and the protection of the right to free speech - even to including the Second Amendment as one surety.

But I do not believe that this is really the answer. Nor, I believe, is David Irving anything more than a very minor but obvious instance of the real problem.

neo-neocon gets close with this -
So it seems to me that the only remedy is free speech in the theater of ideas. We must believe in the ability of truth to ultimately triumph, and in our ability to wage war against those who would preach hate and follow through on it with destruction. If Irving and his ilk have influenced Iran, the damage is long done, and the remedies lie elsewhere--unfortunately.

- but it still does not cover the full problem.

I referred to Bethany McLean and her book - now film documentary - "Smartest Guys in the Room" and this is starting to reveal the real problem.

In the tv interview last night she was asked "Why did you see what was happening at Enron when no one else did?"

Her answer was most revealing. She had not read the company's publicity, the stories in the business pages, and of the hype and gloss that was Enron. She had a copy of their financial statements and she could not make them "work". There was information missing. Things did not add up, in every sense. Her questions were continually rebuffed and she would not let it go. As she put it...

There, gentle folks, is where I believe Hitler came to power, where Milosovic was able to sashay his way through Kosovo, even why Rob Muldoon was able to bankrupt NZ.

We are told, continually, in every sphere of life, what we want to hear. Part of the failing is that we refuse to listen to the voices that dissent. Part of the failing is that we are not critical of what we hear. We accept too easily that "this is the truth" when it can be a flat contradiction of yesterday's truth.

So, as I said in the second of my comments
Charlatans such as Irving are not restricted to the field of historic studies, nor is their dishonesty limited to denial of the attempted extermination of the Jews in Germany.

They rise to positions of prominence and power in many fields; science (who remembers cold fusion?), politics (start with Milosevic and Saddam, but don't stop there...), religion (Hubbard and Moon if you like, or Falwell and Robertson), business (how about start with Enron?).

And here we reach the nub of the problem.

Hands up all those who believe that smoking cigarettes does not cause cancer.

Of you, how many can support that with scientific fact?

The remainder, how many of you believe that to be the case because the tobacco companies told you, or because you trust them not to sell you a product that is dangerous?

All of you again, think back 40 years if you can and answer the questions again in the light of your knowledge and feelings then.

Why has opinion changed?

It was a series of extremely expensive Court battles. They were not taken by individuals, but by State governments in the US.


And there, gentle readers, is the true reason why people such as Irving are such a danger. As I said, he was a bacteria. The top of this food chain is a different matter all together.

And, more to the point, what do we do when the government, the highest authorities in the land reach that level of corruption, as they did in 1930's Germany and (it must be said) as may be the case with the Muslim religion.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

On "idols" and other "realities"...

Catallarchy has a small piece on the latest "American idol" programme.

Another that falls into my category of "cringe tv".

Cringe tv?

Yeah, the kind of "product" that requires a "rather them than me" response in order to be called "entertainment". I guess that we could blame the likes of Candid Camera, or the Japanese for things like the log riding sports, and the Best Home Video programmes for the decline.

That is before we get into the so-called "reality programmes". When we were in Vanuatu last year we went to the site of the "Survivor - Vanuatu" programme. How they managed to keep the resort just down the beach out of camera shot is a mystery...

The truth is that the vast bulk of the population it seems will swallow anything that is dealt to them in the name of entertainment.

That perhap carries another truth?

Monday, February 20, 2006

My last three words on the cartoons...

"Good on him".

The television cartoon show of a Virgin Mary statue bleeding will go to air despite Catholic bishops urging their congregations to boycott TV3's news and advertisers.

Responding to an open letter from Catholic bishops, the chief of TV3 and sister channel C4 said if Catholics feared they might be offended by the "Bloody Mary" episode of the South Park show, they should switch it off.

"We absolutely expect there's segments of society that would be offended by the programme," said Rick Friesen, chief operating officer of CanWest-owned TV Works.

The bishops yesterday circulated a letter that was read at Masses and is published on the church's website decrying South Park's "ugly and tasteless" depiction of Mary, the mother of Christ, who is revered in Catholicism.

The episode shows a statue of Mary bleeding, which is taken to be a miracle, until Pope Benedict suggests it is simply menstruation. The statue then starts spurting blood.

The seven bishops' pastoral letter says the programme is demeaning of Mary and women in general.

It also suggests protesting against the "insults" by boycotting TV3 news and products advertised on TV3 and C4 - and telling TV3 and the advertisers why.

Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn said he would stop watching TV3 news if C4 went ahead with the programme.

The bishops' letter follows one last month by Catholic and other religious leaders, including Jewish organisations and the Council of Christians and Muslims, to TV Works complaining about "Bloody Mary".

The "scurrilous" programme would give "grievous and gratuitous offence" to many.

"Mary is honoured and commemorated by millions of Christians, including Catholics, and is respected also by people of other faiths," the letter said.

In the United States, Comedy Central screened the episode once last year but pulled a repeat after pressure from a Catholic group.

Mr Friesen said it was no "edgier" than usual for South Park, which was a satire. "C4 viewers expect an edgier channel. They expect C4 to go a little beyond what TV3 would. They would be pretty disappointed in C4 and the brand if we didn't run it."

It was "definitely" a press-freedom issue, he said. "We definitely decide what will run on the channel.

"We absolutely want to respond to viewers, but don't want to be overly responsive to pressure groups."

He denied any parallel to the debate over the publication and broadcast by news media of cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad, one of which showed him wearing a bomb-like turban - an act which prompted widespread protests from Muslims and violence overseas.

"All this is a depiction of a statue of the Virgin Mary, commonly seen in churches," Mr Friesen said. He did not mention the spurting blood.

In reaction, Prime Minister Helen Clark said: "We respect the right of media to free speech, but it is a matter of taste and judgment and we hope they take care to show respect to all cultures and faiths."

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres, who brought together Muslims, media and others to help settle the row over the Muhammad cartoons in New Zealand, yesterday urged CanWest to consider the submissions of those who objected to the South Park episode.

He said he generally did not comment on such issues, but he drew a distinction between news media, in which readers and viewers had little choice in their sources, and entertainment, where the choice was wider.

Parishioners at evening Mass at St Benedict's in Newton believed C4 should not broadcast the episode.

Consultant Michael Hart thought the episode insulted Christians and likened it to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

"I think newspapers and television should be more attentive to the thoughts and feelings of people."

Regular South Park watcher Simon Dennerly said he would stop watching the programme. "It's clever stuff, but if they keep at it, why should I?"

Elly Blackwell said it was just one more in a series of high-profile insults to Catholics - another being the Te Papa exhibit Virgin in a Condom. "Now this, what's next?"

The episode will screen on May 10.


Announced last night that the offending episode will screen tonight (22 Feb). I will still NOT be watching it.

This morning's Herald has Garth George - that local hero of the moral minority and all things good in society drawing a fine line between "the mild lampooning of the prophet Mohammad and the obsenity of a menstruating Virgin Mary".

I wish that, without having to pay for it, that I could access an earlier column of his (from last week) headed "Muslims must learn to live with blasphemy". The comparison in tone is fascinating to say the least.

George, your double standard looks fantasitic.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More on cartoons -

I was going to paste up the three cartoons Donald Sensing showed, but rather than tap his bandwidth, and in view of the fact he has not sourced them it is difficult to find other (original) sources. Similarly my restricted access to the 'net does not allow me to get into fancy html statements. (That they appear to be screen stills from Fox News led me to look there as well.)

Tom, I posted comment at Donald Sensings - there was no other comment on his post at the time. I wrote much in the same vein as my previous post. The Reverend, as he may, has not allowed that comment to remain. I have no argument with him on that. It is his right.

In addition to the content of my last post, I posed these questions -

"Should Christianity be judged on the actions of those who advocate violence against doctors working in abortion clinics and their patients, or the burning of the clinics?"

"I note that the depictions in each of the cartoons are; a half naked man/monster, a devil, Uncle Sam and a Jew. Which of those is a denigration or caricature of your God or the Jewish God?"

Perhaps, since it is most unlikely the Reverend Donald will answer, you could enlighten me?

As for your comment "How many death threats were received by the 'artists' who produced "Piss Christ" and the image of the Virgin Mary in fecal matter and surrounded by close-ups of female genetalia?" -

There was a raruraru here some years back when the new New Zealand Museum was opened in Wellington. Among the exhibits of "contemporary art" was a 3" statue of the Virgin sheathed with a condom. That caused a furore of some dimensions, including threats to burn down the museum (something of a problem that since it is 95% concrete) and to steal the offending article.

Note this as well -
Another museum exhibit, a picture of The Last Supper with a bare-breasted, female Jesus, sparked further outrage. Catholics, joined by evangelical Christians and Muslims, led the outcry.

With regard to moral relativism, can you explain what other form of measure is being used to judge the out-breaks of violent reaction to the insult offered to Islam by this tinpot little editor? Surely the definition of "moral relativism" is the judgement of an action in one morality system by the standards set in another?

Dave, your comment falls in this category of moral relativism as well.

I agree that "the eeeeevil Jooos" have not bombed Cairo, nor has NZ ever attacked Australia over some of their caricatures of NZ and our politicians, nor too has Aus ever attacked NZ other than by bowling underarm in a cricket match but that is a different story altogether. But then, it was not a caricature of Khomenei or Ahmenahabad that was the "cause", was it? As I asked above, which of the caricatures in the cartoons Sensing featured as a response has a depiction of the Jewish or the Christian "God".

The original publication in Denmark of the offending cartoons was something like September last year. Can anyone find for me an Islamic cartoon that features God, Christ or any other Jewish or Christian religious figure that predates the Danish publication.

There is a challenge.


First of those responsibilities must be to cherish the freedom.

Second must (surely) be not to abuse the freedom.

I firmly believe that, in this instance, the freedom of speech has been sadly and sorely abused. As a misuse of that freedom the Danish editor's publication must rank alongside of pornography - in this instance the most grossly obscene.


I posted this as a comment to Dave Justus. It needs to be here as well...

cite="From WSJ article" Returning late one night to his Copenhagen apartment, Mr. Rose slumped in a leather sofa with his wife to watch the news. It showed protesters waving signs that read "Behead Those Who Insult Islam." "This whole thing is crazy, totally crazy," he groans. "I had no idea anything like this would happen."

There is a point, reached here in NZ yesterday by the two local papers that published the cartoons, where one realises the consequences of an action.

In the case of the two NZ papers, they have issued an apology to the local Muslim community for the insult and offence caused without resiling from the right to publish.

Media present, including Dominion Post editor Tim Pankhurst and The Press's Paul Thompson, apologised for the offence caused – but did not resile from the decision to publish.

"They (Muslim leaders) for their part, recognised freedom-of-the-press issues, but we also accept that does not come without responsibilities," Mr Pankhurst said. Twenty-four countries had published the cartoons and in the context of international reaction it was appropriate to print them.

Now, perhaps, rather than concentrating on the "rights", perhaps others might recognise the responsibilities that come with free speech and at least make an apology for the offence and insult to a major religious figure.

In the meantime, the current "up your nose" attitude does nothing for anyone.

Thought required...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A parallel...

I have an idea for a fantastic new business!!!

I am going to go into the toilet tissue game.

I am going to sell a toilet paper printed with your choice of Christ on the Cross or the Virgin Mary. Choose according to your sexual preference (or bowel condition if you like).

Scented with frankincense and myrhh (well sandalwood and artificial ambergris anyway) it is sure to be popular with the whole Christian movement. I have written to Il Papa for his endorsement, enclosing four sample rolls.

I wonder how long it will take for the first death threats to arrive and for my factory to be burnt down.

Friday, February 03, 2006

More excellent music...

Whirimako Black (again) - Kura Huna

For those who never get to see the mist rising from the bush, this CD will mean little. For me - landscapes from the past. A small sample (I hope)


Fat Freddys Drop

My wife bought this and was a bit afeared of my reaction. She need not have worried...

Go look their website.

Anyone with sound - are there links there?

This is SP Reggae with hiphop and soul.

GREAT listening.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

It is always good to hear from Riverbend

even if the "news" is not entirely "good".
Americans write to me wondering, “But where are the educated Iraqis? Why didn’t they vote for secular parties?” The educated Iraqis have been systematically silenced since 2003. They’ve been pressured and bullied outside of the country. They’ve been assassinated, detained, tortured and abducted. Many of them have lost faith in the possibility of a secular Iraq.

Then again… who is to say that many of the people who voted for religious parties aren’t educated? I know some perfectly educated Iraqis who take criticism towards parties like Da’awa and SCIRI as a personal affront. This is because these parties are so cloaked and cocooned within their religious identity, that it is almost taken as an attack against Shia in general when one criticizes them. It’s the same thing for many Sunnis when a political Sunni party comes under criticism.

There seems to be a fundamental of human nature here. The second sentence of that last para could apply to an Israeli, or an American (not you Dave, but I can think of at least three I have crossed swords with), or even - dare I say it - a NZer. Substitute Likud, or Republican, or Destiny Church respectively and you might see what I mean.

It’s like the pope for devout Catholics- you don’t question the man in the chair because he is there by divine right, almost. You certainly don’t question his policies.

Now ain't that the truth, except that the Catholic Church managed to get enlightened some time back (400 years? to the advent of the Protestant Churches?) and began allowing some "feedback" from the masses. I am not sure just when the infallibility of the Pope was finally laid to rest or if it has at all. Certainly there is no longer an Inquisition.

That aside, it is a good and I must say objective review of the impact that the recent elections might have on an "ordinary" Iraqi woman.

On his right sat an Ayatollah with a black turban and black robes. He looked stern and he nodded with satisfaction as Jaffari spoke to the students (or penguins). His speech wasn’t about science, technology or even development- it was a religious sermon about heaven and hell, good and evil.

Now doesn't that sound just a little familiar? Except that I don't believe Rummy was wearing a black turban when Powell addressed the UNSC all those months ago in 2002. Oops, sorry forgot to turn off my sarcasm switch there for a moment.

Now I am wondering, where are all of those good American people who were pooh-poohing the idea of a Shia controlled Iraqi government. Where are the good American Christians who were promoting the idea of a secular America.

It is just like the result of the election in Palestine -

Who could have seen that coming?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

At last, it seems I am not alone at all...

Hat tip David Farrar in his "Round the Blogs" today for his link to KiwiPundit...

I have not yet read (as distinct from scanned very rapidly) all of what is a fairly lengthy post but there seems to be little to disagree with...

Samples -

Beliefs About Law and Politics

- The essence of law is regulation of the use of force.

- Law, including constitutional law, is shaped far more by social forces than are social forces shaped by the law. Trying to use law to 'send messages' is generally a waste of time.

- Most bad law is the result either of failure to properly consider what sort of behaviour is incentivised by that law, or of failure to grasp the important differences between law and morality.


- Same-sex marriages should be allowed by law.

- The current level of petrol tax is about right and should be supplemented by tolls, especially on busy roads during peak periods. The revenue should be mostly spent on improving the roading network. Ultimately we're going to be driving electric or other non-fossil-fuel vehicles, but we'll still need lots of roads. Rail and other public transport is fundamentally incompatible with New Zealand's geography, population density and preferred lifestyle choices.

- The best, and probably only way, for news media to achieve balance is for them to bring in people from both sides of an issue and let them argue it out.

- Global warming is real and if anyone can devise a workable plan to combat it, we should probably adopt that plan. No, not the Kyoto Protocol. I said a workable plan.

- People possess genetic intellectual and behavioural differences that correlate with race and gender. However, the consequences of taking into account these differences in law or public policy are far more negative than positive.

- We have gone too far in eliminating opportunities for voluntary risk-taking.

Ones that I might disagree with...
- If my neighbour beats his wife, I should call the police. If the police refuse to act, I am entitled to call up some friends and go over there with shotguns to sort him out. A similar principle applies to international relations - and we know that the U.N. almost always refuses to act. (I hate cheap political shots)

- In order to effectively fight wars and combat terrorism, some traditional liberties have to be infringed. The right of a detained person to consult privately with a lawyer, and the requirement that the government obtain a warrant at least shortly after conducting a search, are not among those liberties. There should be no compromise on loss of freedoms or liberty. Why the H3ii CAN'T I do my manicure on the long flight between Auckland and Raro?

- The only things expected of immigrants should be that they work hard and obey the law. Some cultures need to assimilate more than others in order to do this. Could do with specifics here - no, on second thoughts he might show the true nature of the idea.

- If everyone received an itemized monthly tax bill similar to a phone bill and paid their taxes by writing out a cheque, taxes would be much lower and government services would be better. I disagree. It would just be the most expensive waste of paper ever. Why good money after bad?

- A successful family usually requires two parents, at least one of whom has a job. The least we can expect from government is that they refrain from rewarding the exact opposite. ...with no regard for the consequences.

- Gun control does little to reduce violent crime. Nonetheless, we should ban silencers, devastator bullets, fully automatic weapons, and some of the other really bad stuff. Yeah, I know where this is coming from. Everyone who wants to own a gun should be shot.

Good stuff - take a read.