Monday, September 30, 2019

Blogging will be minimal...

... for the next four weeks, as it has been for a week now.

Twenty sixth wedding anniversary and all that.

But I've scheduled some posts.

WAXING WHIMSICALLY

My last few posts have been pretty heavy stuff so in the interests of not much perhaps you might want to ponder this ...

What does a sheep do when it wakes up and thinks I'm bloody sick of grass ... it all tastes the same and what's more, my fellow sheep have been trampling all over it and pissing and s*****g on it ... I want a good lamb roast ... ooooops, sorry, good beefsteak with lashings of garlic butter, mushrooms, fries and coleslaw... just asking.

Bye the bye.....

 I own a bell, it’s a ships bell, it’s a bloody monster of a bell. I’ve had it for 33 years and it takes two men to carry it for any distance. It has sat outside my many front doors or patios  over the years. None of your antiquee nonsense with braided rope here, it’s  the real deal.

Cast into the bronze is the Legend “Olympic Chivalry 1964”. Every time I look at it I am reminded of two things, the assassination of  John Kennedy and the short lives of ships and men.

Olympic Chivalry’s keel was laid at Kiel Germany (no pun) in 1962 and launched in 1964. Aristotle Onassis was on board the vessel as it prepared to launch when he heard the news of  Kennedy’s death and the future husband of FLOTUS immediately flew to Washington. I like to think he was within a few metres of my bell when the bad news struck.

On the short lives of ships, it was a mere twenty years after that I took possession of the bell. The Olympic Chivalry stood a mile offshore of a Pakistani beach and at high tide rung for full ahead and drove herself up onto land.

Like ants dismantling a carcass a great mass of men with the most rudimentary of tools dismantled my ship into it’s component parts...such is the short lives of men and ships.






Sunday, September 29, 2019

ON THE STATE OF THE PARTIES ... NATIONAL

This is number four of four looking at the state of the major players in the lead up to next years election.  Today it's National's turn.    My involvement with the Party at virtually all levels stretching back 56 years to when I fronted up at the dog dosing strip at Dunsandel (I kid you not) and handed over ten bob to the electorate chairman is fairly well known.   Paradoxically it has made this post harder to write.

My good friend Psycho Milt and I will agree to disagree on many things but he was 100% on the money when he said in a comment on the post that I did on the Laboour Party that no-one outside National gives a s**t that they scored more votes and won more seats than Labour last time round.   But many in the Party did and it dominated their thinking, so much so that their 2018 conference was run as if National still occupied the treasury benches.   Much of that year was wasted.    They did score a minor victory with Melissa Lee doing the hard yards that led to the sacking of Clare Curran while the Labour Party Youth Camp scandal which led to the resignation of their General Secretary gave some heart to National as did the Sroubek affair.  Then along came JLR who went feral in a spectacular fashion when confronted with allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying.   It was not a brilliant first year by any means.

But all through that year and since National kept polling in the low to mid 40s.   Put simply, the jury is out and remains out on the ability of the CoL (read Labour) to manage the economy.   People remember that Labour in 2008 'gifted' the incoming Key government a 'decade of deficits' (Treasury briefing papers) then along came a couple of earthquakes ... the rest is history.   National bequeathed Labour a set of books that incoming governments die for.   And now the economy is in downturn and predicted to contract further.    Just how far it contracts will have a large bearing on the outcome of the election.

This year has seen the demise of Kiwiflop with Minister Twyford losing his Housing portfolio and the ongoing second Labour Party sex scandal which has already claimed the scalp of the Labour Party President with perhaps more to follow.    Meanwhile the antics of Ministers Genter and Jones continues to attract comment as does the conduct of the Speaker who has done a stellar job of running interference for the government.

In the meantime National has invested considerable time and effort into policy development with a number of discussion documents in play or about to be released.    National will go into the election with developed policy.   It won't be relying on working parties in government as a substitute for doing the hard yards in opposition.

Simon Bridges has struggled to achieve cut through with the general public (as do most opposition leaders) although clearly he enjoys solid caucus support.   He will remain leader as long as National's poll numbers hold up. Judith Collins remains a distraction for him as clearly she enjoys wide Party grassroots support.

National does not have an effective coalition partner.  ACT is there but for the grace of God (read National) but is hampered because it is brand damaged.  On a good day and with a following wind it might be good for two seats but those additional votes won't be coming from the government side of the fence.    The New Conservatives, so called, are a busted flush and a repository for wasted votes.

But what some may consider to be a weakness can be turned into a positive.  Consider this.  MMP is predicated on compromise ... promises can be abandoned on the alter of compromise.  National OTOH can campaign on the basis of promises made are promises to be kept and held accountable to three years hence ... a powerful message measured against the cop-out inherent in MMP.

Having said all that and right now I assess National to have, at best, only a 30% chance of regaining the treasury benches post the election.   It is predicated on them maintaining their vote in the mid 40s with ACT picking up at least one additional seat and with NZF failing to make it back.    Big ask but not impossible and always with the caveat that a week is a long time in politics and 51 weeks an eternity.




Not a subject I'd ever have pictured myself writing about...


...rugby, that is.  My thoughts on rugby generally take the form of  "Who?", "The what?", "What does that even mean?" etc.  However, one piece of information about the current Rugby World Cup has penetrated my consciousness, so I'd just like to post how completely fucking awesome it is that Japan can field a successful rugby team called the "Brave Blossoms," apparently without anyone involved considering it an existential threat to their manhood.  If NZ's rugby team were named after pretty flowers, half the men in the country wouldn't be able to get an erection.

Ho Ho Ho






Landfill Road with 'Putrid Stench' to Be Named After Barack Obama


















Saturday, September 28, 2019

IF TRUE, MY CO-OPERATION HAS CEASED.



It is suggested that PT PM Ardern and Police Minister Nash in cahoots with Police Commissioner Bush,  Deputy  Commissioner  Clement and Police union leader Cahill are coming after lawful licenced and law abiding firearm owners with even more onerous and costly reforms of who may hold weapons secured in approved places of their choice, shortened licence terms, more costs incurred in compliance, plus a yet to be announced what, why and where options for those wishing to continue owning weapons.

Meanwhile those who kill others with unlicensed weapons still remain beyond any controls.

Warnings abound the proposed tightening of the law will end some current weapon clubs who among their aims and rules seek to improve firearm safe use, storage and maintenance.

I began safe use of such weapons at around age eight and still remember vividly the bollocking a slightly older youth received from his ex military Dad for suggesting he had missed a great opportunity to shoot a Deer silhouetted on a ridge from dying sunlight  after dusk, because he had his weapon empty and safe for the walk home.
His Dad went ballistic as it was clear the normal safe "field of fire" rules for a safe shot were compromised in the poor light and his safe carry did its job.

Then there are suggestions that Doctors becoming aware of a change in mental health of a patient will be required to report such private medical conditions to the police.
Will it be assumed that all patients will be regarded as potential weapon owners,
What ever happened to the very important privacy mores that most involved in all levels of medical care regard as essential in getting accurate information during assessment sessions. There are already more than enough difficulties in getting accurate information  from pride, morals, shame, religious and belief stances and a general attitude in many to minimise symptom degree seriousness.
What were the odds that Tarrant had any link to a Dr during his time to roam free here before his slaughter

Lets suggest for a moment that they succeed, I accept we who desire to own weapons are already a Minority just as are Farmers,  who in the eyes of urbanised light intellectuals in posh burbs are pure evil, then who is going to disarm and maintain that nirvanna like dream those who already own and employ lethally but with scant regard to legal niceties,  firearms.
They will never comply with any laws and regularly dispatch those they decide have no right to live any longer.

Tarrant was not typical licenced firearm owner.
What information exists in the public arena as to how he got sufficient legal status to acquire his weapons and the ammunition, who signed off on his licence application,  Who inspected his secure storage facility,  who vouched for him as an unrelated referee.
That is where the already sufficient system failed.

Take a deep breath people there is a growing mood to increase unlawful arms behaviour,  in the accepted vain hope someone will do things differently sometime in the future.
John Howard's moves after Port Arthur received widespread support in Australia but take a look at rates of gunshot deaths across the Lucky Country currently being reported.

We, the  still law abiding are not the problem.

SHANE JONES .... PISSED!

It is reported that a 'highly charged' (some less charitable have it as pissed) Shane Jones (Minister of Forests) highjacked the Forest Industry Awards Ceremony in Whangarei earlier this month to deliver a blunt message that they should vote for him or risk having the funding tap turned off.

Clearly Jones is determined to ensure this remains the most open and transparent government ever ... the threat is upfront, naked and unambiguous.

But equally clearly Jones got carried away by boosting his success in getting his cuzzie bros off the couch and into employment.  Not for him the MBIE stats which show Maori employment in Northand in the June 2019 year decreased 3.8% to just 21,500 ... mind you, he was highly charged ... pissed.

But he did in a moment of lucidity confirm that he would be standing in a seat north of Auckland come the election ... Te Tai Tokerau in his sights for the four time loser?


Friday, September 27, 2019

ON THE STATE OF THE PARTIES ... LABOUR

This is the third of four posts on the four main parties in parliament.   Today I look at Labour.   No 'helpers' ... just a totally 'unbiased' me ... cough.

Labour enters the run up to the election with four big advantages ... Jacinda Ardern; the advantage of incumbency including the ability to control the agenda; the fact they have two potential coalition partners and finally, that voters tend to be forgiving of first term governments (although Jim Bolger may have a view about that).   I'll focus on Ardern and their coalition partners.   The other two are self explanatory.

Make no mistake about it, Ardern is an asset although her halo may have slipped a tad in the last little while.   She is personable and articulate (albeit in sound bites).   She is the face of Labour.   Destroy Ardern and you destroy Labour but National need to exercise caution in going after her and choose their moment carefully.  KDS didn't work for Labour; ADS won't work for National.   As for coalition partners and Labour can count on the Greens to be in parliament and for their support.   NZF is more problematic; they are unlikely to make it over the 5% threshold and, if they are to be there, Labour will need to make it happen.   If they're smart they will.

But it's not all plain sailing.    Labour is tagged with policy failures because of their failure to do the hard yards while in opposition (eg Kiwiflop); health remains an Archilles heal while their front bench is nothing to write home about with the exception of Robertson and (possibly) Megan Woods.    And all the while the economy is slowing and is predicted to slow further.   Bill Clinton had it right with his 'It's the economy stupid' remark that sunk George HW Bush.   The state of the economy will figure large in the election.

I assess Labour as having bedrock support of around 30% plus with another 10% floating support.  Add in the Greens and NZF and that should get them over the line and able to form a new government.   Even if you edit out NZF as a wasted vote then that could still see Labour sitting pretty.

So, on balance and with less than twelve months to the election, I see Labour in pole position to form the next government remembering always Harold Macmillian and his 'Events dear boy, events' advice.


DOES "Bob a Job" STILL EXIST, ANYWHERE ?




Mid last century young people began an education about the rudiments of commerce when they sold their labour to a neighbour, extended family and even established commercial enterprise.
The Paper Round, yeah I know very few still buy dead trees with ink printed on them but there are still many opportunities for a budding entrepreneur, surely.

Scouting raised it to a higher level with "Bob a Job"and a synchronised program with a focus on a week of the fifty two.
Girl guides sold their branded biscuits.

"Mr Green" pulled up outside my neighbour and began to mow Pete's lawns this morning, so when he emptied the grass before going to do the lawns behind the house I asked how much to cut mine.
A quick look and a verbal quote for $45.
Now It takes a near cripple around thirty minutes and that include edges and placing the cuttings in the ubiquitous Green Bin, so it would appear an hourly rate of $90.
Allowing for inflation that seems quite good money, yes he has a vehicle, a trailer a mower and he needs to find a disposal site but probably not a lot of accountancy or GST and even no tax would increase the shine.

I guess in a welfare dominated society doing a lawn for a neighbour would rate well below the priority lists for youth when a trip to whatever the state largess agency calls itself today will deliver  when asked.

No surprises that Begging outside Ballantynes is attractive, only a short walk from the car in a disabled carpark and the money just falls from the hands of total strangers. Not even the one time hooting on a mouthorgan eh.

And Porn Jones thinks he will get the Nephs to get off the couch. LoL

No the modern day child can ignore the rudimentary bit about earning a dollar and instead take the last day of term to head downtown to a protest about the way the adults are screwing the planet with man made global warming, complete with shoes from petroleum based industry, clothes made from synthetics, a plastic bottle of water, an iphone,  having accessed the event by a parent provided taxi, very few of them EVs.

I guess "the Bob a Job" has gone where the shilling penny and Pound went.  I wonder if the truth will ever be absorbed in the Millennial Mind that screwing the planet might just be that strange  person in the mirror.

Old man yells at cloud



I had been wondering why the right features so many old White men ranting about a teenage girl. Most of it is about how Asperger's syndrome means she's mentally ill and can be ignored, or how she must be being used by the shadowy forces of... well, don't expect them to make sense is all I can say.

Mike Hosking is one of the (strictly unintentionally) funniest examples. The man who rants for a living and whose every argument-free opinion piece makes me think "When your gut was telling you that, what did it use for a mouth?", says that Greta Thunberg's style is overly-emotional hyperbole and hot air. Even funnier, he accuses her of having a "fantastic sense of self-entitlement." However, most of the grumpy old White men gracing us with their personality assessments of a 16-year-old girl are anything but funny. All I can say is, avoid Fox News or Kiwiblog on the subject. What the fuck is wrong with them?

Fortunately, Liam Dann has explained it for me in the excellent piece "Why old men are triggered by Greta Thunberg." He writes:

The angry old man lives inside me. He's reactionary and defensive. 
He doesn't like change and I hear him getting louder as the years roll by. 
He's technically right about a lot of things, but he's almost always on the wrong side of history. 
I don't like him much.

Damn, he's talking about me too.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

IS WANTING MORE THAN ONE MOTHER IN LAW AT ONE TIME STILL A CRIME?



Asking for a friend.

Or has embracing Diversidy led to ignoring that law because some Muslims seem to need two and more women to wash their sox.

Is polygamy still a crime, long haul truck drivers and all.

ON THE STATE OF THE PARTIES ... NEW ZEALAND FIRST

This is the second of four posts on the state of the body politik in New Zealand (admittedly as seen through blue tinged spectacles).   Today I look at NZ First.    I am indebted to my friend X, sometime NZF MP for his thoughts and input.

It is impossible to write on NZF without focusing on WRP.  Many would argue the Party is a cult ... that WRP is the Party and the Party WRP.   Suffice to say that the future of NZF is moot once WRP exits stage left (with a wooden stake through his heart ... only joking ... but I doubt if one voter in a hundred has ever heard of Fletcher Tabuteau, his designated successor, and therein is their problem ... I digress).     Peters is now back in harness following an extended convalescence and what is interesting to me is his forthright defence of Ardern over the sex scandle affair she's caught up in with Peters describing the allegations as 'unfounded fiction'.    Now that's actually pretty ballsy when a more prudent course of action might have been to stay stumb and let Labour take the heat.   What it tells me is that Peters has decided that the future of NZF lies with Labour and that he will work to secure a deal with Ardern that will see them back in parliament post the election.

Right now I assess NZF to have around 2% bedrock support comprising the permanently aggrieved and disaffected who see Peters as the Messiah who can do no wrong.  NZF will have burned off much of their floating support and especially those who banked on Peters to go with National as well as those who believed the cannard that the Party would do away with the Maori seats.   Bottom line; NZF will not make it over the 5% MMP benchmark.    The only hope for them is to win an electorate seat and the only Party they can look to help facilitate that is Labour.

That seat will not be Northland for a variety of reasons including the decision by government to can the Wellsford to Whangarei highway.    The sprinkling of dosh from the PGF (including some quite questionable projects) hasn't offset the angst the cancellation has caused.   National's Matt King is too well entrenched.   His electorate membership is the third highest in the country; his campaign is fully resourced and he has a strong, united and active team around him.   Compare that with a virtually non existent NZF electorate organisation while Shane Jones, their presumptive candidate, 'enjoys' a negative image particularly among female voters.   Te Tai Tokerau OTOH is an entirely different kettle of fish.   Davis could easily go List only while the Jones boy would be seen by Labour voters as Labour in drag.   He would win that seat at a canter against Hone H remembering that National doesn't stand candidates in the Maori seats.

That would see Messrs Peters, Tabuteau and possibly Martin (sorry about that Ron) returned to parliament along with Jones. It's a win, win for Labour. It would see NZ First beholden to Labour in the same way ACT is to National while Ardern gets four votes and a weakened NZF allowing them to be more vigorous in pushing their agenda.

But all that could be undone by the emnity that has been brewing for some time between Peters and Jones.   Put simply, you have two egos in conflict and the Party isn't big enough for both of them.   Jones wants to be the leader post Peters while Peters wants Tabuteau, his handpicked man, in the job while all the while, sculling around the edges, is an embittered Ron Mark still smarting from beng dumped as Deputy Leader.   Trouble at Mill?????





COMPLETELY IGNORED, I WONDER WHY?



Amidst the avalanche of touchy feely surrounding a mentally affected Scandinavian teenager who was placed in the position of hectoring adults on matters Climate, the judicial interference by UK Justices over The UK political leader's clearly political tactics to get progress in advancing the wishes of the Majority of referendum voters over Brexit and late yesterday pants wetting by the anti Trump brigade over a phone call by the leader of the free world,  one matter that resonated with many including self,  incidentally featuring the very same President of the free world.

Avoiding the opportunity to grandstand with the many shallow, intellectually challenged leaders of countries many,  of whom had rather tenuous links to any right to speak on behalf of their citizens, or even pontificate on what they ate for breakfast.
Donald Trump went back to basics of what the United Nations enjoyed as  a very basic plank during its founding as the "free world" made moves to build a framework to avoid another destructive world conflagration such as the world was then enduring a mere two decades following "The war to end all wars"

Article 13 1 b
Promoting international co-operation in the economic, social, educational and health fields, and assisting in the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to Race, sex, language or religion!!!

The authors of these grandiose aims included the anti christian Soviet union because all who had signed up to oppose the Axis of Germany, Italy and Japan were automatically involved in extending the "Atlantic Charter into the United Nations Charter

Under the century of peace ushered in following that war to end all war began a dramatic state sanctioned attempt to annihilate the ancient religion of Judaism, an assault  that lasted almost a decade and that religion based  wholesale slaughter only ended with the end of the thousand year reich after a dozen years, 
Alas since then the move to end Judaism and its subsequent offshoot Christianity has continued unabated, continuing to this day particularly where it attempts to survive and flourish under Communism and more emphatically under the various sects of Islam in more clerically dominated states

So Donald Trump uses his address as a Leader to the United Nations General Assembly to confront the leaders who regard Christian adherence as a crime to be punished in so many ways even by execution for merely wanting to remain a follower of Christ in any of the several different belief systems. The recent Middle East troubles were rather disastrous for Yazidis, then attacks on Coptics in Egypt.

Eye balling some rather despotic leaders who have no regard to the basic human right of worshipping a different god was a rather significant move and coming from the universally despised Trump was quite momentous yet who actually is aware of his ground breaking speech?


The best Prime Minister the UK never had.......

Gina Miller, brain the size of a planet and sharp as a tack. of Indian descent and born in British Guyana. Worn many hats including being a chambermaid in a London Hotel.

Has taken the Conservative government to court twice and has won twice. That is a better strike rate than all of Trumps business’s (failed) and Boris Johnsons six in a row losses in the house.

Democracy, parliament and the people owe a huge debt of gratitude to this woman who, in spite of death threats and 24 hour police protection showed more steel and nerve  than any politician I could name. Oh...and she put her own money where her mouth was.

On Brexit, it is thus.......leaving without a deal, ie. hard Brexit, is now unlawful so it is not going to happen unless the EU says “Fuck Off”.

The EU now will not discuss any aspect of leave or deals unless the Irish border is first on the menu. The Govt has been given a week to come up with a border plan....that’s not going to happen. So an extension until after an election or referendum is the only answer.

On Elections, it is thus.......No one except the Tories want a single issue election. An election now will just be anther referendum with some of the pressing election issues being ignored for another four years....in fact it will be the worst possible outcome for everyone and every party with no clear Brexit mandate.

O a lighter side Niggle Fromage was set up beautifully on a London station LBC where he has a phone in program...given the number of people who tune in they say you could hear the laughter in Paris.

It went like this......

“Mark” to  Farage, just buttering him up ready for the grill.....

“I’m immensely grateful for everything you’ve done in British politics in the last few years. I used to be an ardent remainer. I voted remain and I believed in the European project, and I believed that staying in the European Union was the best thing for us.
“And then something happened – something monumental happened – and it completely changed my opinion on the whole situation.”

Long pause....

“What was that monumental thing Mark?” a visibly beaming Farage asks.

“I was kicked in the head by a horse.”

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

WHEN DOES USING CHILDREN AS POLITICAL PAWNS BECOME ABUSE?



I have never seen the increasing use of Greta Thunberg as abusive, merely manipulative,  that was until she delivered her lines at the UN yesterday.
That was unadulterated child abuse.

If that is not abusing the fragility of a child already suggested to be living with Aspergers and  other mental issues then I am somewhat deficient in my understanding of what I thought was providing a supportive and caring environment for development of a vulnerable young person.

It is being claimed that health professionals are dealing with mounting numbers suffering anxiety and other child focussed issues from fears their world will end in a dozen years,  even to some cases being treated with drugs that should never be dispensed to growing children.
It is pure unadulterated bollocks

We grew up and dealt with a frightening threat that the ever rumbling "Cold War" could at anytime become a planet ending armageddon should someone push the button,  unleashing uncounted nuclear bombs many times more powerful than the toys that destroyed two Japanese cities to finally end WW2 in our theatre.
I never read Neville Shutes Book but the Film starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire certainly did give pause for thought.

Watching that clearly disturbed child being destroyed is plain bloody awful, the parents and all involved in her torment should be facing charges,

TIME UP FOR TRUMP?

If confirmed the news that President Trump ordered his staff to freeze $400 million in funds appropriated by Congress earmarked as aid to the Ukraine a few days before he telephoned the Ukrainian President seeking 'dirt' on the family activities of Joe Biden, his possible Democrat opponent in next years election, is impeachment material slam dunk.   For the Democrats this is the smoking gun ... Speaker Pelosi has been counselling caution on impeachment ... not any more.

As I said, it's smoking gun slam dunk.  The withholding of federal funds to pressure another country to provide dirt on a political opponent.    Simple question ... what say National had won the election and Prime Minister Bridges had instructed MFAT to withhold aid to the Tokelau Islands pending him phoning Kerisiano Kalolo (Head of Government) seeking dirt on Ross Ardern (the Administrator and father of Jacinda) that he could use against his daughter as Leader of the Labour Party ... don't bother answering as there is only one answer ... resignation.

If Trump were smart he would resign and get the now President Pence to issue him a blanket Presidential Pardon.   But he won't because he's not that smart.   Impeachment will proceed apace and, if successful, you could well find the 'orange' man in an orange jump suit.   Perhaps 'time' will see him breaking bread with a certain large German well known to us all ... they have much in common.

Who is in charge?



Brexit has become a power struggle with serious conflating issues to the Trump election saga.

At the time of the suicide mission that engulfed Camerons prime ministership a clear majority of votes cast decided to end the experiment of submerging the sovereignty of a nation to fit into a bureaucratic super power.

Yes there was a very large majority of potential voters who did not vote to exit the European union, but for as many reasons as can be thought up 52% of those who were sufficiently motivated to take the trouble voted to leave.

So with a speaker using powers actual and imagined acting in concert with the  Remainers, a labour party totally confused as with the Conservative rump of remainers it is only the Liberal Democrats of all the parties that has maintained party unity.
A latest set up from the remainers has the Supreme Court ruling that The Prime Minister does not have a power, never previously challenged in centuries, to prorogue the Parliament and restart his prime ministership with a speech from the throne.
A process that has long standing constitutional precedent.

No law quoted as being broken, No judicial precedent employed just a totally new territory used to declare Boris Johnston has acted illegally, using "was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification." 


So a bench of justices who seem to have made sense, except that a serious majority of them are said to have very pro remain beliefs, so strong they clearly believe they have a power over the duly appointed Prime Minister and the Monarch.

Just one more bit of evidence the UK should have called a halt somewhere along the steady erosion of the kingdoms sovereignty that began 50 years ago as a free trade treaty. The UK saw fit to retain its currency while allowing every thing else to be handed to "Brussells"

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Supreme court ruling, now it gets really interesting......

Hale says prorogation 'unlawful, void and of no effect'

Little Donny no mates....

So intrigued by the post on young Toms home town was I it made sense  to know more and how better to get the feel of a place than to look at the blogs......Tom says we can't trust the MSM although he does rely heavily on it for factoids. 

In the interest of fair play I thought I would start with the right wing blogs and started with the most popular.....bit of an eyeopener, as it touches on my Fascism post.... I could get to like  this town.

It seemed like 1968 in Chicago

 
By Rick Esenberg
I happened upon a left-leaning website the other day (sure, I read them) and read that “right wing voters love Donald Trump.”

Actually, we don’t.

Last weekend, I spoke at a panel at CPAC, a large national conservative gathering in Washington DC. Oh, I thought I was going to be brave. I resolved to let the chips fall where they may and boldly denounce Trump if given the chance. And I did. The subject was free speech and I said that Trump’s proposal to “open up” the libel laws so powerful politicians like him could sue their critics was antithetical to everything we believe in.
Huge applause. Turns out I wasn’t being so brave after all.

The only thing that really surprised me was the near uniformity and intensity of the anti-Trump sentiment. It is a running joke among movement conservatives and libertarians that, like Pauline Kael who knew no one who voted for Richard Nixon in 1972, we don’t know anybody who is supporting this guy. In fact, it seems that everyone we know not only does not support Trump, they can’t stand him.

That’s extraordinary.

Chicago - Not My Kinda of Town Anymore (Update)

My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of razzmatazz
And it has all that jazz
Chicago's downtown at night from Lake Michigan
I think it's fair to say that I fell in love with Chicago a long time ago. From simply being my first American city, it grew to be more than that.

It starts with it's architecture: the downtown skyscrapers and other buildings along the Chicago river and Lake Michigan.

Unlike the canyons of Manhattan, the Chicago view is a great sweeping vista that allows each building to be viewed almost alone, or together, depending on where you stand.

Laura Gale House, Oak Park, Chicago
Then there's the wonderful Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Oak Park - technically a suburb and not part of the city proper - just 10 minutes South of where I lived. You can see all these homes by just walking the streets. They're not museums but lived-in spaces.

Aside from places like this I was struck by the neatness of the homes, streets and lawns in older parts of the city, both North and South-side. Then there's the lake and its beaches.

The history of the place was deep too, given it's relative youth; from being the centre of trading in the Mid-West, where options and futures trading was invented, to the site of the worlds first nuclear reactor, as well as having great influence in music and American TV.

108 Years of Agony Ends
And I grew to like the people too, who turned out to be so different to the "loud-mouth Yanks" I had feared I would encounter.

And then there's the Chicago Cubs!

But of course all cities have their downsides and in the case of Chicago there are several. When I arrived in the mid-80's there were around 900 murders per year as the Crack Cocaine Wars raged. There were certain parts of the city, mainly on the West Side, where you simply did not go, even in broad daylight.

Tagged with this was the relentless corruption that always comes with a one-party state. The last Republican mayor of the city left office in 1931. The last GOP alderman (city councillor) was in the mid-1990's, and even that was a fluke due to the great GOP wave of 1994.

Chicagoans themselves treat the situation with black humour, the only way to cope. And if you read old stories of the city, from famous Chicago journalists like Mike Royko, you realise that it's been like this for a long time. And to be fair, it did work in getting things done, even if they were not always the smartest things - like Cabrini Green, which had a police station like something out of a dystopian SF movie.


But in recent times I've begun to feel pretty bad for my adopted city as even the normal corruption has broken down, resulting in a system that is more corrupt than ever but produces nothing that is good.

Let's start with crime. Like most of the USA, Chicago saw a steady fall in shootings and murders from the early 1990's to the late 2000's. But in the last few years there has been a dramatic increase, to the point where we are approaching the bad old days of the 1980's, pushing past 400 and then 500 murders per year before peaking in 2016 with 808 murders. It's trended down a bit since then but is still very high compared to a decade ago.

Cook County Stroger Hospital is regularly staffed by US military doctors as it is the go-to place for learning how to deal with gunshot victims and triage for mass shootings.

But why now? Insufficient gun control always gets the blame, but both New York and LA have seen no such increase and their combined total is less than Chicago's, even though they are larger.

If there is one journalist in the city who has inherited Royko's mantle it's John Kass, who writes for the Chicago Tribune with the same combination of scathing humour, insight, knowledge of the city's history, and without fear or favour; he spent eight years ripping George W Bush, to the delight of Democrats nationwide - and then outraged them by regularly tearing Obama a new one, especially since he had tracked his rise to power through the city and the State of Illinois.

As this Chicago Summer started he had this to say about recent killings:
Calling it “gun violence” lets local politicians off the hook, because they want to shift the blame away from the lousy schools they’ve provided and taxes that cripple or drive away businesses so there are no jobs. 
The proper name is “gang violence,” and the gangs kill people over drugs, money, over revenge, over nothing, over they just felt like it.
Lakeshore Drive, looking South
There always has been gang violence in the city, but it seems to be spreading beyond its traditional West-side confines. There have even been shootings on the Lakeshore Drive Expressway of all places: the Gold Coast of the city.

How bold have they become? Kass again:
Authorities confirmed that two police officers — TAC cops, not rookies — were making a drug arrest shortly after 2 p.m. on Sunday. 
A mob appeared, threatening the officers, surrounding them, threatening to reach for their own weapons to shoot them dead, and the cops let the suspect go. 
What is learned here? The street is officially no longer afraid of the Chicago police.


The CPD have had a bad reputation for decades. My Father-In-Law certainly did not trust them. Things came to a head in 2014 when a young black man, Laquan McDonald, wandering up a street with a knife in hand and as high as a kite, was shot by a CPD detective. McDonald had stabbed the tire of a policecar and no doubt was a danger - but the detective emptied his whole clip into the boy, 14 of the shots coming after the first two dropped him. You can judge for yourself by watching dashcam footage here. Then he and the three other officers involved lied about it.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
The detective was convicted of 2nd degree murder and is currently serving 6 years in jail. Charges of conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice against the other officers were dismissed earlier in 2019.

The city paid $5 million to McDonald's family, settling fast once the bodycam footage was released - after Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Obama's former Chirf of Staff) had won re-election in 2015. The usual Chicago crap in other words. His polls never recovered from the outrage and it wasn't surprising that he decided not to run for a third term in 2019.

So things had to change, and the current mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, owes her rise to power to all this, which saw her appointed by Emanuel to be Chair of a special Police Accountability Task Force.

The problem is that things may have changed too much. As in other cities Police have "gone fetal" in patrolling. They're basically waiting for calls and if they see suspicious activity in the worst-crime areas they're now just rolling past:
“I don’t know what was going through that officer’s head, but I guess part of it was he didn’t want to shoot anyone, and wind up charged and in jail like (Jason) Van Dyke,” wrote an officer via email. “Like I said I wasn’t there so I can’t second guess him or read his mind. 
“The criminals are emboldened to challenge the police because the politicians and media will not stand up for the police and are only too happy for any excuse to jump on the police to gain political support... Now there is no fear of going to jail.”
Ironically, more blacks have died as a result of all this and Lightfoot has publically upbraided the CPD for holding back on pro-active policing. As the quote above shows, this has been met with a shrug from the Thin Blue Line, although they did ticket a friend of ours just the other day - for putting a "FOR SALE" sign in her car on the street.

Meanwhile, reporter John Kass's article showed where this is going as he investigated further and met a couple of gangbangers on the West side:
Two of them talked to me, as others drove past, slow, to watch. 
“Yeah, yeah, I know you,” said a pleasant man who called himself “John” on the corner on Thursday. The other guy looked at my ID, and said his name was “Kass.” 
“It wasn’t no ‘mob.’ But this is the hood, man,” said John. “This shit happens in the hood.” 
"Not this shit", I said. 
“It do now,” he said.

UPDATE: And the summer goes out with a bang: 26 shot, 5 fatally in Chicago weekend violence.
It's also amazing how many mass shootings in Chicago this summer never made the news beyond the local area.

Is he or isn't he........

“History doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.”  Mark Twain once said. I came across that quote while studying the rise and fall and rise again of world fascism and when fascist movements on populist agendas took power in Italy, Germany, Spain and elsewhere.

Is the Trump Administration Fascist?
To answer that we have to look to the past and judge the five standout points.

One/. 
 The political invocation of a mythic past. That tendency is obvious in the language of Donald Trump in the US, his catchphrase ‘Make America Great Again’ promises a return to a golden era. Things were much better in the past, this of course does not stand to the most cursory glance.




Two/.
The use of propaganda and of a culture of promoting ‘anti-intellectualism’ and ‘unreality’. This involves deliberately undermine confidence in the media, dismissing it as fake news; they vilify experts and universities  and they spread conspiracy theories and misinformation. Fascist politics relies on polarising opinion, making people scornful of public discourse in general, and appealing to the crudest emotions and passions of the public.

Three/.
Hierarchy, the idea that one group of people in society has a greater claim to that society than others. Trump’s rhetoric in the US privileges white, ‘native-born’ Americans over people of colour and immigrants is a planned assault.

Four/.
Victimhood,  representing men as victims of feminism, or of whites being victims of criminal acts committed by blacks and immigrants. In Nazi Germany, ordinary Germans were depicted as poor victims of the machinations of Jews.

Five/.
A paranoia about law and order ( the vilification of Muslims as terrorists or illegal immigrants); a sexual anxiety about the vulnerability of women in the dominant group to other men, the notion of ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’, a resentment of cosmopolitan, urban elites as decadent, mongrel and corrupt (as opposed to the moral sturdiness of the average citizen), and, lastly, the claim that the enemy group is lazy and needs to work harder. ..... arbeit macht frei .

All in all the Trump administration meets the traditional criteria of Fascism.  Trying to isolate a form a fascism is like trying to isolate a particular form of Communism which operates under a democratic system.

Socialism on the other hand is easily defined.........Equality through democracy

Monday, September 23, 2019

LABOUR NEEDS THIS LIKE A HOLE IN THE HEAD

The revelation that Deon Swiggs, Christchurch City Councillor and 2013 candidate for the Labour Party nomination in the Christchurch East seat vacated by the now Christchurch Mayor Lianne  Dalziel, is under investigation for sending inappropriate text messages to a young boy aged 13.

Just as concerning is the report that Dalziel knew about the allegations two months ago and failed then to address the matter.

Am I the only one to detect a certain pattern here .... out of the Labour Party handbook for dealing with 'tricky' situations.




ONE MORE ELECTORATE SEAT

The Representation Commission has determined that, based on population growth, there will be one more electorate seat created in time for next years general election.    Indications are that it will probably be in the Greater Auckland area.

Put to one side the argument that the hard data in support of the move is questionable given the census was a right royal f****p and before you tear your hair out at the thought of one more snout in the trough the good news is that this additional seat comes at the expense of List MPs whose numbers are reduced by one.

Parliament will still comprise 120 MPs (unless there is a overhang).


ON THE STATE OF THE PARTIES ... THE GREENS

This is the first of four posts on the state of body politik as seen through blue tinted spectacles.    That said, I am indebited to W who has a distinguished pedigree as a Green Party supporter (of the intelligent variety) and to X, a one-time NZ First MP, for their valuable insights.

It would be trite not to acknowledge the Greens have a bedrock constituency of around 4% +/- with onother 2-3% up for grabs as floating voters.   That 2-3% comes essentially from 'soft' Labour supporters.  The interesting question ... if Labour is in trouble do those soft voters return to the fold or do they stick with the Greens in order to teach Labour a lesson ... whatever that lesson may be ... stop treating the Greens as last cab off the rank comes to mind.

As last cab off the rank the Greens have had to forfeit their principles on at least one occasion (the Waka jumping legislation) and hold their collective noses on others.   Many in their constituency will accept that as the price of doing business under MMP.   Others will be less forgiving.   Underpinning all of that is the established fact that minor parties in coalition governments tend to shed support.   Their policy wins are overshadowed by the sins, real and imagined, of their coalition partners.

But more interesting to me is the battle for the soul of the Greens between the moderate (Shaw) faction and the increasingly radical (Davidson) faction.   The battle is as real as it is devisive although  the Greens have done a good job keeping it 'in house' ... for now.   Word is that the Davidson faction has the numbers with Shaw increasingly marginalised with one senior Green MP openly opining that Shaw would be better off as a Labour MP.

How will this play out ... provided the Greens don't implode I think there is a reasonable chance of them returning to parliament post the election albeit in reduced numbers.   Whether those numbers will be enough for Labour to form government in coalition with them is moot.   A week in politics is a long time as we have seen recently ... 51 weeks is an eternity.


Rugby World Cup - some early observations

So far I have watched most of 3 games - would have seen all of the Australia v Fiji game but my picture dropped out with just under 10 minutes to go when the game was safe for Australia anyway. Other games were France v Argentina and obviously the All Black v South Africa match.

The All Black win was well deserved as they used the ball and took their chances much better than the Springboks who only looked threatening in the first quarter. Why they (SA) kicked so much good ball away was beyond my comprehension especially when it became obvious that the high ball was not a threat. Man for man the All Blacks looked the better team and the idea of starting Beauden Barrett and Ritchie Mo'unga continues to produce results - I just wish they would get the ball into Mo'unga's hands a bit more in the early stages of the game as he is a bit more controlled than Barrett. Last year Cody Taylor was my most improved All Black and this year so far it is easily Ardie Savea - this time last year I did not rate him but he is becoming a very important part of the team and was a huge contributor last night as was Anton Lienart-Brown in the backline - that was a superb break to set up Scott Barrett's try.

Although they got behind in the early stages Australia came away with a comfortable win against Fiji I think they will struggle against the better organised teams and forward packs - injuries could impact on them as well. Surely Genia will start from now on - White is too slow in clearing the ball.

France v Argentina was a match which I thought could go either way and France were lucky in the end to get the win from a well taken drop goal with 10 minutes to go and then they held on. Argentina I feel can be disappointed with some of the refereeing decisions against them in both halves. Either of those teams could give England a nudge in their upcoming games but both of them will need the rub of the green from referees.

Refereeing
After three games the referees on display have not inspired much confidence that they will get the big decisions right - as evidenced by:
* Garces not putting Mapimpi in the bin for a blatant professional foul on Mo'unga which stopped an almost certain try.
* Gardner let France get away with slowing the ball down in both halves against Argentina. I thought they should have had at least one player in the bin in each half.
* I read of a dangerous tackle by Australian Hodges on the Fiji 7 which involved contact to the head and resulted in the Fijian player who was starring for his team leaving the field for the rest of the game. I did not notice this incident during the game and have not seen a replay but there have been suggestions that it was a red card offence - if so why no citing? Update I see on Stuff that Hodge has been cited.

As I write this I am keeping an eye on Ireland v Scotland refereed by Wayne Barnes and he looks the most competent referee that I have seen so far in the competition. Barnes has a good feel for the game.

Rogues gallery....

Always attack the man not message and pile on unrelenting pressure is the far right mantra when attacking anybody or anything that smacks of leftyism..I just made that word up....but you can use it if you want.

I thought the post on Trudeau’s many hats a tad offensive, not to Trudeau but to thousands of others who wear or have worn some of the  outfits.

Starting with the kilt, Trudeau is descended from Scots and French so what would he wear at highland games... a track suit? Perhaps a bowler would be more appropriate than a stetson at the Calgary stampede? He is more entitled to wear a kilt than the NZ Regt that wears kilts.....so on behalf of all kilt wearers an apology is due....Americans don’t understand the finer nuances of the British commonwealth.....but moving on.
But wait, who is this playing dress up...not John Key surely.

Good old Boris, still can't get his hands out of his pockets.
Big hair man needs bigger hat.

How did David Cameron get here?

Wow.. a stetson, hope he's got permission from Justin.

Bloody copycat...can't be anywhere but the centre of attention.

Is that?.....no it can't be...but it is.

And finally something to upset the far right....there is an Islamic tartan.

Lots more lovely photo's but I suspect you are all getting bored now. I know it's a silly post but not quite as silly as the one that instigated it.







Sunday, September 22, 2019

ON CLIMATE CHANGE

I'm no climate change denier although I'm mindful of the fact that climate is constantly evolving and has been ever since Adam was a cowboy and before.

But serious question ... I have to wonder if, in this increasingly secular world, climate change has become the new religion to be embraced uncritically less you be damned for wanting to consign the planet to hell in a handcart  ... the fire and brimstone of old.

Indeed, the fervour exhibited by many of the apostles of this new religion reminds one very much of the religious fundermentalists who hold their disciples in thraw by a mixture of fear and brain washing.

Put it this way ... are the climate change Nazis a reincarnation of Jim Jones of Jonestown 'fame' and is
climate change our new God to be worshiped by all ... or else?   Just asking.

Ho Ho Ho