Friday, November 30, 2007

Five things to be Thankful for...

Al, the Whig, has been talking about this guy and he seems a reasonable kinda guy. At least his Thanksgiving post struck a brief chord...

1 My Family

2 Fresh air

3 Fresh clean water

4 Good food

5 A warm house

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The answer to the abortion debate?

Three priests hold a meeting to discuss where life begins. The evangelical priest says, "No question about it, life begins when the child is born." "No, no," says the Catholic priest, "it all starts when the sperm meets the egg." "You're both wrong," says the Rabbi. "Life begins when the children have left home and the dog is dead."

Got that from here...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Annapolis 2007

The new edition of The Economist has as its cover story "Mr Palestine" with a very formal photo of GWB.

The accompanying story is an interesting, and thorough examination of the possible directions that the coming Annapolis Summit might take.

What is most heartening is that the Economist's writer has penned exactly the scenario for which I would hope. Starting with the idea that all of those involved - Olmert, Abbas, and to a much less extent Bush - have their hands tied to explosive political realities of their own there would seem to be even less likelihood of Annapolis being any more successful than Camp David (remember the new settlements?) or Oslo.

So what is needed? "How is about a new approach?" says The Economist.
...unless George W. Solomon turns up too
In this speech Mr Bush needs to set out forthrightly America's own plan for dividing Palestine. That would mark an historic change. In the past—in Madrid in 1991, for example, and at Camp David in 2000—the Americans asked the Israelis and Palestinians to thrash out their differences on their own. But they can't. The gap is too wide, and even when their respective leaders want to narrow it neither dares move towards the other for fear of the uproar from the ideological bitter-enders at home. The existence of an American blueprint that commanded international support would, however, immediately transform the political dynamic of both societies, fortifying the moderates and pushing the hardliners to the margins.

Although it would be too much to expect Mr Bush to unfurl a map at Annapolis, he could come quite close. For a start, he should make it clear that when America talks of a two-state solution, it has in mind a border based on the pre-1967 line. Three years ago Mr Bush said in a public letter to Ariel Sharon that it would be unrealistic to expect Israel to evacuate all the dense settlement blocks it has planted in the West Bank. Fine. But since most settlers live close to the old border, he can now tell Israel that it cannot keep more than a few percentage points—say 5% or so—of the West Bank, and that it must offer the Palestinians land from its own side in compensation. On refugees, Mr Bush should say, as Bill Clinton did, that their right to “return” should be exercised in the new Palestine and not in pre-1967 Israel: that is a bitter pill but it is the logic of a peace based on partition. And Israel too must accept a bitter potion: Jerusalem, the beating heart of both peoples, will have to be the capital of both.

If Mr Bush gives this speech, Mr Olmert and Mr Abbas will wax furious. They might agree with him in their hearts, but if only for domestic political consumption they will have to accuse the American president of setting an ambush, bullying the little guys, prejudging the final-status issues and riding roughshod over the views and rights of the people most directly affected. These fulminations can be safely ignored. Israel and the Palestinian territories alike are full of politicians who will tell you knowingly but off the record that only a deal along the lines described above stands the remotest chance of bringing permanent peace. It is high time the superpower and the rest of the world threw their weight behind such a plan. The photo-op at Annapolis may be just the place to do it.

I agree.

I also will not hold my breath. The nature of the American electoral lobbies is such that GWB will be too conscious of the possible effects of such a move on the election of a Repub President in 2008.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

NZ has TERRORISTS!!! - 7

In this morning's Herald...

The anti-terror raids of October 15 resulted in the seizure of only four weapons and 230 rounds of ammunition that have led to charges.

The early-morning raids involved more than 300 officers.

The police have not said what they seized in the property searches in Auckland, Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Christchurch using warrants alleging crimes under the Terrorism Suppression Act and have declined a request to do so.

But of 16 people charged with firearms offences, items seized on October 15 are the basis of charges against only two - Tame Iti, and a man who has name suppression.

So, all of this has had so little behind it?

That rat is getting real stinky, and I am still not at all happy that there is just "normal Police intelligence" behind the whole Operation Eight fiasco.

More and more one gets that horridible feeling of political influence...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NZ has TERRORISTS!!! - 6

Well, it is all over. The Solicitor General has determined that there is insufficient evidence for charges to be laid under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

There are two consequences -

First there is the law itself.

But, while commending the police investigation, he described the terror legislation as "complex and incoherent", and said it should be reviewed by the Law Commission. He said it was almost impossible to apply to domestic terrorists.

Mr Collins told a media conference he had read hundreds of pages of communications and viewed photographs and video footage.

"Regrettably not all the evidence I have been able to see will be made public," Mr Collins said.

"The key reason I am not prepared to authorise prosecutions under the act is there is insufficient evidence to establish to the very high standard required that a group was preparing a terrorist act," Mr Collins said.

He said his decision was not a criticism of the police who had no doubt "put an end to disturbing activities".

We have his word for it... and that of Auntie Helen...

The other side is that of those arrested. Apart from Iti, all that I know of them is the little that has appeared in the news. All of those will live the rest of their lives with the tags of "arrested on suspicion..." and "terrorist".

Well, I want to make it very clear.

Until found guilty in open Court, all of those arrested HAVE NOT COMMITTED anything that is "terrorism".

If my AMerican friends want a point of comparison, they could perhaps consider the FBI action against the Branch Davidian sect at Waco Tx. No one was killed at Ruatoki. No houses were burned down. But in terms of scale, and the effect on the affected communities and individuals, the comparison stands clear in my mind.


Tuesday 13 December...

Today is a day of shame for this little country. Today the Terrorism Suppression legislation was extended in scope rather than limited.

Parliament today voted 108-13 to strengthen terrorism suppression laws, but Parliament was told the bill had no relevance to last month's police raids and the Solicitor-General's ruling against charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

That, given experience over the past year or so from this current government, is very close to a downright lie. As a "truth" it probably is true, in the same way that I might say to the wife that I had stopped at the pub to drop a mate there; that I came home with a skinful three hours later is not included in the explanation.

Exactly the same rationale was used to justify the original law. Exactly the same argument was expressed both inside and outside of Parliament by the same suspects. Exactly the same sentiments were expressed when the first law was used by Police to "suppress" the actions of 17 people who were suspected of plotting to commit acts of terrorism including the assassination of George Bush, Auntie Helen, and the Royal Family.

The Bill that makes the new law has been in the House so the second part is also true. It has been around since long before the Operation Eight hit the light of day.

The Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill was drafted long before the police raids with the main purpose of allowing New Zealand to meet its international obligations in terms of designating terrorist organisations.

But it also creates a new offence of committing an act of terrorism, under penalty of a life sentence, and gives the prime minister responsibility for designating groups and individuals as terrorists.

... and does the prospect of that responsibility being in the hands of any politician scare the proverbial out of me? Youbetcha it does. Whether it is Auntie Helen, the Jonkey, or Rob Muldoon does not matter one jot. This is not a power that any individual in government (as a political body) should have.

It is BAD LAW.

It is unsupportable - on any ground.

And the most fearful thing of all is that 103 of our politicians - from both sides of the House - supported it!!

NZ does have Terrorists, let me list them -

Auntie Helen Clark
The Jonkey John Key
Old Miser Uncle Mike Cullen
Teacher Bill English
Mad Duck Trevor Mallard

and all of the rest of their respective scurvy crews.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

NZ has TERRORISTS!!! - 5

From Herald last Thursday -

* Valerie Morse, 36. Three firearms charges. Name suppression lifted yesterday. Reappears today.

* Emily Felicity Tuhi-ao Bailey, 30. Seven firearms/weapons charges. Name suppression lifted yesterday. Reappears today.

* Moana Hemi Winitana, 53. Two charges. Name suppression lifted yesterday. Reappears December 3.

* Ira Mangaimihi Timothy Bailey, 28. Name suppression lifted yesterday. Was released on bail. Reappears December 3.

* Tame Iti, 55. Eleven charges. In custody until Wednesday, when he will appear in Rotorua District Court to appeal against a decision not to grant him bail.

* Jamie Beattie Lockett, 46. Remanded in custody until November 12 to find out if he will be granted electronic bail.

* Omar Hamed, 19. Three firearms charges. Remanded in custody to reappear today.

* Marama Mayrick, 24. Five charges. On bail. Reappears December 3.

* Rawari Kiyami Iti. Six charges. Remanded in custody. Reappears today.

* Rongomai Peropero Bailey, 28. Four charges. Released on bail last week and did not appear in court yesterday.

Names suppressed:

* A 32-year-old female dancer. Three charges. Released on bail and will reappear on December 3.

* A 59-year-old unemployed man. Remanded until December 3.

* A Manurewa man. Six charges. Remanded in custody until December 3.

* A man, who was released on bail until December 3. Three charges.

* A Swiss national, 23. Four charges. In custody until December 3.

* A man, who was remanded in custody and reappears December 3. Four charges.

Note that none of the charges are under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. They are all "holding charges".

Garth George has come out on Winnie the Pooh's side... can call me a racist until you're blue in the face and I don't give a damn.

I came to live, after all, in the Maori capital of New Zealand.

The fact is that it's not the Urewera raids that have set race relations in this country back 100 years, it's the reaction of the Maori (and some Pakeha) activists and their lawyers, and the dishonest and inflammatory pronouncements of such "leaders" as Pita Sharples and Hone Harawira.

Good on Mr Peters for telling it like it is.

Well, Garth, I think you (like Winnie and so many others) have really missed the point.

There is a far more reasoned discussion here -
When Tamati Kruger of Tuhoe speaks in measured tones of the importance of the Tuhoe nation as his primary allegiance, rather than that of a New Zealander, it seems many people cannot understand the message.

Worse than that, rather than try to understand what mana motuhake or rangatiratanga might actually mean for Tuhoe, critics set up fanciful straw man arguments to dismiss heartfelt pleas for Maori control over Maori resources.

Winston Peters of New Zealand First equates Tuhoe nation with the state-enforced dominance of the majority by a racial minority in South Africa. He overlooks the fact that separate nations do operate within numerous other modern democratic nations.

The Nunanvet and Nishgaa nations in Canada are two of many examples I am aware of for indigenous or First Nations exercising self-determination and autonomy through their own representative institutions in the United States and Canada.

The Sami nation in Norway have their own parliament. Even in Britain the Scottish Parliament legislates for separate rights and separate privileges for Scotland, and of course Scottish law is quite different from English common law.

It is plain nonsense to seize only on the discredited system of apartheid to peremptorily dismiss calls for Maori tribal self-determination in Aotearoa New Zealand. Why can we not see what we might learn from successful examples of indigenous peoples asserting their own autonomy in ways that include the diversity of others living in the same country?

Then an Auckland barrister, David Garrett, goes off into fanciful nonsense about the need for Tuhoe to build an international airport if there is to be secession. Has he read any of the history of Tuhoe? Does he know anything of the autonomous community of Maungapohatu led by the prophet Te Rua Kenana in the early years of the last century?

What they wanted was to be left alone to live their own lives on their own land, but would the Government allow that?

No, a police invasion under the pretext of enforcing racially discriminatory licensing laws saw the pillage of an autonomous community. If Mr Peters and Mr Garrett are so appalled by racial discrimination, what steps have they taken to ensure the Government apologises to the descendants of Te Rua Kenana for the police shooting of his son, his own imprisonment and the destruction of his vibrant modern community on the pretext of enforcing licensing laws of the time that treated Maori and Europeans so differently?

It is not as though Maori calls for autonomy are so new that we are not yet able to comprehend the possibility of positive rather than negative reactions to such calls.
Must it always be that Maori leaders write petitions, lodge claims with the Waitangi Tribunal and make pleas for the rest of us to listen, only to be rebuffed by angry knee-jerk reactions and fanciful arguments?

Surely political debate in this country needs to include reasoned discussions of what are the minimum parameters necessary for the operation of the state while embracing the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination.


No, that is off the point also.

The very real reason for the protest - it is on my part at least - can be found here

No, I am not suggesting that Auntie Helen will be the Pacific's second Bainimarama, or Masharraf. But therein lies the danger of this kind of law.

MULTAN: Javed Hashmi, PML-N acting president, has said all political forces and people in the country will strongly oppose imposition of martial law or emergency in the country by General Musharraf in order to prolong his rule.

Talking to newsmen here Saturday, he said Pervez Musharraf wanted to convert the army into a political party, however, he will be held accountable for his misdeeds because their support to the military dictator would ruin the country.

Javed Hashmi said that General Pervez Musharraf was pressurising courts for his vested interest and to remain in power by all foul means. He said certain international powers wanted an armed confrontation between the army and the people, however, the people and all democratic forces would foil such attempts of foreign powers.

He said the judiciary was determined to decide cases in accordance with law and constitution and 160 million people as well as all political parties stood behind the judiciary. The PML-N leader said it was high time to save the army and the country from the influence of foreign powers because such situation could prove dangerous for the nation, armed forces and the country.

To a question, he said the ARD and APDM should merge together for removal of dictator, restoration of democracy and supremacy of constitution. He demanded free and fair elections for restoration of democracy and transfer of power to the elected representative. The PML-N acting chief said the masses would never accept martial law, emergency and any move aimed at confrontation with the army.

Musharraf wants to rollback N-programme, says PML-N: Saeed Ahmad Qureshi, a PML-N leader, has said after Afghanistan and Kashmir General Musharraf is now going to take u-turn on the atomic programme of the country to appease the Americans.

Talking to newsmen here, he said it was unjust that America struck a deal with the PPP which started the atomic programme but the PML-N will work hard to win the elections with people support and save atomic programme. Meanwhile, Rana Mahmoodul Hassan, ex-MNA and a leader of PML-N, said elections were near and the PML-N along with other opposition parties would start its struggle against the dictatorship. He was addressing a seminar of PML-N here in Latifabad. Rana Abdul Jabbar, Imran Liaquat, Sharif Rehmani and Rehmat Rehmani also spoke on the occasion.

PPP plans to plunder national wealth: Faisal Mukhtar: City District Nazim Faisal Mukhtar has said the PPP chalked out its programme in America to loot the country because the party leadership found the national exchequer fully filled with wealth.

Addressing a meeting in UC 34 Islampura in NA-150 constituency, he said Punjab Chief Minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi had strengthened the PML and thus created hurdles for the PPP. He hailed the decision of Syed Baradri of Islampura and Haji Ismail Shah s/o Haji Jamaldeen Tarkan, Haji Muhammad Ilyas Shah, Labour Councillor Akhtar Ghouri, Ejaz Ahmad Somro, Muhammad Sultan, Mahmood Khan and Umar Khan to join the PML.

Faisal Mukhtar said now the people had fully awakened and corrupt mafia could not cheat them once again. He said political waderas were now without crowd and there was none to serve them. He said political waderas could not serve the poor people and humanity while in political field politicians had to win the hearts of the people with love and spirit of devotion and service to humanity.

I left in a comment to Dave Justus the fragment -
If George Bush suspended the Constitution...

... the Second Amendment militias would (should) be out in force, all over the USofA.

Now the question -

Would those people be defending the Consitution, or would they be terrorists?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The passing years...

The ol' probligo turns 60 at the end of the month and the family has been putting the acid on to get something presentable together. In an attempt to keep some of the more embarrassing examples well hidden, the probligo agreed to sort a few out.

Of the two, the earlier one is more like me, the second (how gawky can you get) was taken in studio when I was 16 or 17.