Saturday, November 30, 2019

A defence of PM Jacinda Adern's friendship with rapper Tom Scott


2014: Former Home Brew singer Tom Scott
:
Asked about the the lyrics, Scott said: “I mean obviously I regret what I said. I probably should have said I was going to rape his son.” When asked if he had any regrets, he said: “I don’t regret what I said actually. Screw that."
"Did Tom Scott threaten to rape Stef Key? No, he wrote /rapped he was going to fuck her. That could have been a rape or romance fantasy. Did he get called out on it? Yes, he did. Did he apologise? Yes, he did.Has he grown and changed since 2004? Yes, he has. 
 The Veteran comments on the same thread
"My point is that JA doesn't appear too choosy with her circle of friends ... Scott, Hardcore, a (yet to be named) sexual predator in her office."

I think that you misunderstand what rape means here Veteran. Tom Scott is part of a society oppressed by the white, patriarchal, heteronormative power of people like John Key. In this context “rape” is merely a theoretical construct which does not present as the literal act per se but as a representation of Mr Scott fighting back against his oppressors.

While Max Key may have found himself also brutalised by this process that is simply a regrettable but understandable consequence of his inheriting the power of his class, race and gender. Max could of course check his privilege and ameliorate the problems that Tom Scott faces, but power does not usually yield to good intentions.

Similarly Radio NZ should not have been asking Tom Scott to compromise on his reaction any more than it would think of demanding that a starving Parisian refuse to pick up a pitchfork in 1789. As Mr Scott would be the first to point out, this merely shows how much the likes of Kim Hill are part of the power structure and the problems.

By contrast, the rape culture of people like John Key and Brett Kavanaugh is the status quo situation resulting from class, race and gender imbalances in our society, and since this is the responsibility of our ruling classes it is incumbent upon them to make the changes necessary.

The fact they will not is simply because – unlike Mr Scott – rape is part of the way that they maintain their power and control over society. Sadly Ms Hill’s failure to stand with Mr Scott is simply a reflection of the dominant forces at work within Radio NZ and the rest of our society.

However, Prime Minister Adern's solid friendship with Scott shows that the oppressed of the world can overcome and forgive their differences and of course Scott has refrained from threatening PM Adern or her young son with rape and physical violence in a show of solidarity against the reactionary forces that constantly attempt to divide them.

Still, there is much Progressive work to be done and while Adern and Scott's friendship, as well as that Radio NZ programme, represent small and bright sources of hope it is noted that Adern cannot remain in power forever and the show could only be broadcast on a quiet Sunday morning rather than between 5 and 6pm every week night.

IS SHE REALLY FIT TO BE PRIME MINISTER?

Go here for the story about Jacinda Ardern's private conversations with the rapper who sung about wanting to kill John Key and rape his daughter.   By Their friends Ye Shall Know Them.

Real classy for a PM who will don a headscarf and make an apology at the drop of a hat.    One might be forgiven for thinking that at another time and another place she would shed a tear for Tarrant as a poor misguided youth ... if she thought it would win her votes.

Friday, November 29, 2019

LABOUR PARTY SELECTIONS

I see in a tweet Labour List MP Willow Jean Prime confirmed her selection to stand in Northland along with Kelvin Davis in Te Tai Tokerau.   I guess that finally puts to rest the possibility of Davis standing aside in TTT to give Shane Jones a clear run at the seat which he would win.    Twill be interesting to see what sort of campaign Prime runs up here ... dollars to donuts it will focusing on the Party vote.

But this got me thinking.   In the National Party every sitting MP and prospective MP goes through a formal selection process.   Nominations are called for and advertised in local papers.  Anyone can stand provided they meet certain membership requirements and if they have demonstrated support from local Party members.

Not so with Labour.   I can find no evidence of the Labour Party calling for nominations in either Northland of TTT.   It seems the selection of Prime and Davis as sitting MPs was determined by a secretive cabal at Fraser House without local input.   Sez much for how Labour works.

ANOTHER SMALL VICTORY FOR TARRANT!


Many are lauding the Crusaders Board for not appeasing the coalition of anti rugby followers and luvvies by abandoning their "Crusader" Brand.

In my ever humble opinion they have still allowed another small win for the deranged foreign person responsible for the truly awful killing of over fifty unarmed souls.

Churchill defined an Appeaser as one who feeds a crocodile hoping the reptile will devour them last!

It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.

Tolerance of injustice is appeasement, and it will find you next.

Ben Franklin on freedom:
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
This will not satisfy those who are as woke as the Crusader Board, the bell rings for round two!

Another sad day for those disgusted at Tarrant's rampage.

Movie Review: Ford v Ferrari



The best movie I've seen since The Martian (2015) and one you absolutely should not miss on the big screen.

I'm no petrol head, so have never been much into the mechanics of cars or motor racing. I've watched parts of Bathurst races and appreciated rally car events because they at least drove on the sort of roads I used. But the idea of going to a Formula 1 track to stand in one place watching large slot cars whip around a corner seems fantastically boring. Let alone something like NASCAR where they fly around a rectangular track with exactly two corners.

Added to all this has been Hollywood's increasingly rapid descent into Woke World, where seemingly every movie, even "historical" ones have to deliver at least one, and probably several "Messages" that are approved of by the Modern Left, whether it's LGBTQ, Global Warming, or the evils of the USA and free enterprise ("Big Business"). The two movie stars in this effort - Matt Damon and Christian Bale - are very much plugged into all that.

As a result I had very low expectations going into the movie and only went because of two reviews. I even persuaded my oldest son to go with me and he's even more reluctant than I am to spend money at movie theatres, so...

But the movie is magnificent and it's lot more than a car racing movie.


Carrol Shelby
Ken Miles

It tells the story of two men - Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby - who worked together in the mid-1960's to build race cars for Ford.

And not just any racecars but ones  that could beat the then invincible Ferrari team in the famous Le Mans 24 hour car race in France.

Despite Ford's gigantism, this plays as an underdog story and works as such.



That's because it's not actually supporting Ford as much as supporting two guys up against both Ford, with its corporate "suits" and Ferrari, with it's typical European snobbishness about America.

The Shelby Cobra

Shelby - played by Matt Damon - had actually won Le Mans as a driver several years earlier but been forced out of racing by a heart condition, which is where the movie starts.

He turns his considerable engineering and sales skills to making his own sports cars, including the legendary Shelby Cobra pictured here.

Meantime in the world of corporate cars another legend, Lee Iacocca, then a young executive tyro with Ford Motor Company, is trying to persuade senior management, including CEO Henry Ford II, to "jazz up" their vehicles and appeal to the upcoming Baby Boomers who have jobs and money and want sexy European cars rather than the staid clunkers that Ford is turning out. The attitude is captured perfectly when Iacocca shows a picture of James Bond standing beside his Aston Martin, only to be told that "Bond's a degenerate" (modern feminists would likely agree). Nevertheless Iacocca wins his sales pitch and support for his plan to buy Ferrari, which is almost bankrupt.

But it all goes wrong. Enzo listens to Iacocca's offer but goes with Fiat instead, delivering some choice insults along the way about how the Americans should just go back to "their big, ugly factories" to produce "their ugly little cars" - and that Henry Ford II is not the man his grandfather was.

Bale listens to Damon's Le Mans proposal
Spurred by these insults Ford decides to write a blank cheque to beat Ferrari at the Le Mans race they have dominated for some time.

Through Iacocca they pick Shelby to get it done, and he in turn picks Ken Miles - played by Christian Bale - as his primary driver-engineer.

Miles is an Englishman and a WWII veteran who drove tanks from D-Day to the end of the war and now lives with his wife and son in California.

He loves his family very much and shows it - but he's also loves cars and racing them. More than just a driver he runs a small car repair shop (which has tax problems), understands every aspect of car engineering, and berates the occasional customer for not driving a sports car as it needs to be driven. He's also a very combustible chap.

The two men get to work to build what eventually becomes the Ford GT40. They test the hell out of it at Los Angeles International Airport and after initial doubts, Miles comes to love every minute, even the problems, one of which involves the brakes failing at high speed.

Ford GT 40 Mark II - 1966 Le Mans

But Miles is not liked by some of Ford's management, especially Senior VP Leo Beebe, who does not consider such a volatile man, and a Brit, to be "the Face of Ford".

It doesn't help when Miles, on first meeting Beebe and not knowing who he is, tells him that the newly unveiled Mustang is "a lump of lard".



Rejected from joining their first Le Mans attempt, Miles listens to the race as all the GT40's steadily drop out with various mechanical failures, as he had warned would happen if they did not drive them carefully.

Shelby has to answer to an angry Henry Ford who wants him to give one good reason why the whole show should not be canned after such a humiliation. Shelby's answer is that even with all the failures, one GT40 went down the Mulsanne Straight faster than anything Ferrari has ever produced and that "Old Man Enzo" must know that and be fearful of it.

Ferrari 330 P3 - 1966 Le Mans
The next year Miles gets his shot and the last hour of the movie centres on the race itself and his role in it as one of the co-drivers of the three GT40's Shelby put into the race.

One of the keys to winning is their idea of swapping out the entire brake system, which is within the letter of the law. It's not a spoiler to say that they win: you can look it up on the Internet.

But there is an unexpected, bitter-sweet moment when Beebe demands that all three GT40's cross the finish line together to provide "a great photo", despite Miles's car having to slow down and wait for them since he's leading by almost two laps. And this is added to by the pathos of how the movie ends a little later.

Christian Bale as Ken Miles

Christian Bale is just fantastic as Ken Miles, even if he is aided by getting all the meaty scenes. Although the Oscars have fallen from most people's view, this role should surely net him another win, this time finally for Best Actor: he's been nominated twice for it as well as twice for Best Supporting Actor, with one win for the latter.

Watching the movie I'd wondered what criticisms I'd find later about his wonderful "Brummie" accent - only to find out that his actual British accent is not too different. Perhaps his native heritage is a cheat here but even holding one of his endless "moogs" of tea he looks the part.

But Bale's performance clearly conveys that underneath the language, oil, grease and mechanical knowledge Miles is also an artist, with an artist's temperament; he absolutely cannot stand authority, at one point telling Shelby that the Ford "suits" will destroy them simply because they hate men who refuse to follow the slots and grooves of everyday life.

We can see that he is desperate to do what he was born for, but only on his terms, meaning that he seeks perfection, as he explains to his son in this quiet and beautiful scene:

"The perfect lap. No mistakes. Every gear change. Every corner. Perfect"

Matt Damon is ok as Shelby, although an actor like Matthew McConaughey probably would have been a better pick. Damon just doesn't look right in a cowboy hat and boots with a Texas twang - which he completely gives up on by the end of the movie! But if Bales shows us the artist's temper, then Damon certainly portrays with compassion the pride and ambition of a man as he swallows corporate bullshit and deals with his disappointments - and navigates between the suits and Miles.

"Got a face like a smacked arse now, haven't ya?"
And the two actors do have great chemistry on the screen, in dramatic and comedic moments. They're helped greatly by sparkling dialog:

"They said I’d have carte blanche this time. I looked it up, it’s French for ‘horseshit.’".

And it does not always require dialog. In one dramatic scene Shelby has literally bet the sale of his little company to Ford plus Miles driving at Le Mans, on winning the Daytona 24 hour race and finds Beebe scheming to get the other Ford GT40 team to win by using a NASCAR pit team rather than the build crew Shelby has. Under instructions to keep the engine below 6000rpm, Shelby, near the end of the race and with everything to lose, writes on an instruction blackboard and carries it across to the side of the track where Miles can see it:
7000rpm+. Go like Hell.
In keeping with the joyousness of the whole movie, Miles whoops with delight at being able to unleash both himself and the machine he rides.

The movie's story may be simple but it is beautifully structured and flows effortlessly, with scene after scene that amount to brilliant little movies in themselves. None more so than the last part about the 1966 Le Mans race. There are breaks in the action as drivers swap out and rest, pit stops made and problems - both human and mechanical - are dealt with. It's not forty continuous minutes of racing, which would be boring.

There is some CGI in the film, mainly around the crowd scenes and the accidents, which are fast and brutal but, as from the drivers perspective, not lingered upon. The racing sequences were mostly filmed on tracks with replica cars, and they are some of the most intense and real that I've ever seen, whether externally or as the drivers must have seen it from inside the cars. Whether it's evading the accidents, cornering, passing, watching the brakes become glowing red discs, or ploughing into rain and darkness at 200mph you truly get to feel how dangerous this is. I saw audience members flinch during one accident scene as a car literally comes apart in front of Miles.

But it also captures those quiet moments that Miles reaches for, where he is simply, "a body moving through time and space". And yet even in that there is nothing pretentious about this movie: no reference to Zen.

Also no lecturing buzzkills, no puffed up self-importance, none of the usual "messages". No woke. There certainly is a message told through character and story though and it's a vital one in these days of whining Western self-criticism and self-pity, and that's a message about being your own man, about not getting chewed up and spat out in some corporate or government collective, about sons and fathers and husbands and wives and friends and chasing impossible dreams.

By contrast there were those two reviews I mentioned at the start, from which I'll provide some excerpts. First up is one Hannah Elliott in Canada's National Post:
Ford v Ferrari shows a generation best left dead and gone....men dominate the screen for 98% of the time, by my unofficial count..... And when I say men, I mean white, straight men...It’s no surprise to survey this patriarchal wasteland — but it’s no less depressing to see it, nonetheless.
Second is something called L.V. Anderson, in The Daily Grist:
‘Ford v Ferrari’ is the climate change horror film nobody needed...  As wildfires rage in Australia, a record-breaking hurricane season draws to a close, and meteorologists predict that this year will go down as the second-hottest in recorded history, it’s clear that Ford v Ferrari is the wrong movie for 2019...
Thanks idiots, it's called The Streisand Effect.  As soon as I read all that I knew that this was a movie I had to see.

You should see it too - and take your sons and daughters and grandsons and grandaughters as well. They'll probably be able to see past the 98% aspect and know that it's 100% about human beings with a human story that they might be inspired by.

Friday's Fulminations

There is mild moderation.  Normal rules of blogger etiquette and courtesy to blog hosts will apply.with serious transgressors being thrown out.

Unfortunately our system does not allow your comments to show up in the blog post itself.  Just in the comments section.

Visitors might consider the wisdom of using moderate language.

Regards

Adolf

Thursday, November 28, 2019

"THE HEPATITIS FOUNDATION" WHO KNEW?


Public buildings, churches and other structures throughout history had a foundation stone often laid with great fanfare and publicity along with a plaque honouring the beginning of construction naming  an officiating Prime Minister, Minister,  MP,  Mayor or or some other notable desperate for a mark of their existence!

Of course with the passage of time, often embarrassingly brief their contribution disappears into the swamps of time.

No matter, the very bit of theatre that is marked by such a "laying" gives a meme of probity accompanying the word "Foundation".

The Bible records in Matthew 7/24-27 some words on foundations with reference to a foolish man who builds a house on "Sand" and suffers the indignity of a failure.

"Foundation" is currently under a similar fate as alluded to by Matthew, with the Winston First Foundation, apparently portraying a rather dodgy base.

Back to the Hepatitis Foundation that many, self included, were totally unaware of its even existing!

State Radio as reported by Farrar today reveals some rather serious lavish expenditure by its Chairman, one "Professor"  Chris Cunningham,  on meals at upmarket Auckland restaurants and extensive travel expenses.

Following a somewhat early retirement from a 45 year career in farming I then volunteered at my own cost for participation,  private  travel for training, and service, in first response, including Fire Service, Ambulance and a Service club, with nary a cent of subsidy from any trough.

Oh there was a couple of remunerated community services, one for the Police as an arms officer where any profit disappeared in travel costs and a few months of Community Board involvement under the Banks Peninsula District Council until amalgamation with Christchurch City where the "morning teas" were to be fair rather embarrassing, when a biscuit and a cuppa would have sufficed and remuneration was again laughable

Not sufficient for Prof Cunningham though, with an entitilitus gene predominating and not limited to the Hepatitis Foundation, this character seems to have found many troughs to sup from, his concept of "public service " seems to require a many faceted sourcing of the pearls found in troughs.

No doubt his "service" will result in a mention in a subsequent Honours promulgation and the simple inveterate trougher will never become aware his memorials will disappear into the swamps to find oblivion faster than blowflies devour a rotting corpse leaving only bones.

Charity activity seems to attract some very avaricious persons who see nothing awry in diverting significant sums of donated money whether from donors who may suffer hardship in their giving, or monies extracted from productive citizens for distribution by a government beautifully encapsulated as a "Grant" to their personal benefit.

To single out the Hepatitis Foundation may seem a tad unfair, it is but the latest exposed, and hepatitis in any form is a debilitating disease often avoidable that needs addressing as a scourge in modern medical practice, and for Cunningham and his fellow beneficiaries to garner a lifestyle from the money is nothing short of an abomination.

It is not "your" money.

ONE MORE MARKER, MELONS HATE COUNTRY FOLK!



Associate Minister for Transport has made her derisive biased attitude to country folk clearer.

In announcing speed limits in the vicinity of schools the Melon Moron is suggesting 40 Km per Hour for urban schools and inexplicably a limit 10 Kph above the existing limits for urban school environments, for rural schools!

Can someone explain how a reduction of 10 kph near town schools is so needed yet a forty tonne behemoth can threaten country children at sixty Kph???

Obviously rural lives have a lesser value as they might just emerge as dirty farming persons or at least support persons.

The silly bint is clearly ignorant of a trial that has been ongoing for years where  all schools including rural schools have advisory signage of 40Kph in The Selwyn Electorate with good observance and very little inconvenience.

Perhaps the American immigrant sees fitter and more aware country children living beyond the urban precinct having  less need for protections such as reducing the speed of passing vehicles to 40 Kph

Much more likely she is just one thick person displaying ignorant bias towards Rural folk being so  busy creating much of the wealth she enjoys spending on cycle ways and public transport while perpetrating a total halt to infrastructure projects across the nation.

Out of touch seems inadequate maybe.

HMMMMMMMMMM

So the 21 year old (related to a Labour Party cabinet member???) who pleaded guilty to two amended charges of assault during a drunken 'orgy' at last years Labour Youth Summer Camp has been discharged without conviction.     Pleads guilty ... discharge without conviction ... go figure.

No wonder one of the victims has spoken out saying he has lost all faith in the justice system.

Welcome fella to a system that puts the offender first and the victim a poor second.    


A Tale of Two Headlines

RealClearPolitics.com carries opinion pieces from across the political spectrum, predominantly from the USA.

Today there were a couple from Great Britain.  Adolf appreciates the sense of humour possessed by the editor of RCP.

Here they are, side by side.


Jeremy Corbyn? Meet Prince Andrew


If you thought that Prince Andrew's TV interview about his history with Jeffrey Epstein and his "girls" was bad, then you really need to see this one on the BBC with Jeremy Corbyn that happened yesterday in Britain.



Just staggering. At this stage the only thing that seems to be holding Labour up are Remain voters who think that a Liberal-Democrat vote will be wasted.

And Labour's internal pollsters may know that, which would explain Corbyn's wooden-headed determination to continue waffling around how to handle Brexit, including in this interview being unable to say who would lead the campaign for his Brexit deal in a second referendum, in which he has pledged to remain neutral!

Then there's the spending thing, which actually did look like it was under control with tax increases to balance out all that extra spending. Scary, but at least it added up.

Until they sprang a new plan about compensating female pensioners born between 1950-55 for changes made to the pension scheme back in 1995 - the so-called WASPI group (Women Against State Pension Inequality). Trouble is that it will cost £58 billion that Corbyn admitted Labour have not got,  even with their tax increases.

And in then dealing with that whole tax increase thing, Corbyn was rather surprised in the interview to find out that the top 5 per cent of earners, who he has targeted for tax increases, already pay 50 per cent of all income tax. Which is probably why he and shadow chancellor John McDonnell were so gung-ho about such tax increases. It's quite a common Left-wing belief across the Western world that "the rich" don't pay enough taxes, including income tax, or that they don't pay "their fair share", so naturally facts like this do come as a bit of shock.

And of course this then led Corbyn having to admit Labour would breach its longstanding promise not to raise taxes on workers earning under £80,000.

And all this wreckage is aside from what happened with the whole Jew-Hating problem, where Corbyn assured the interviewer that it had been taken care of inside Labour - only to have no response as specific cases were put to him of Labour activists and candidates saying blatantly classic Jew-hating things and suffering no consequences. One example in particular was getting Corbyn to agree - finally - that the following statement is anti-Semitic:
“Rothschild’s Zionists run Israel and world governments” 
After several attempts Corbyn finally got around to admitting the obvious - and was then confronted with the next logical step:
“So we’re agreed it’s anti-Semitic? Right, that’s all I wanted to establish. 
Yet these were the words used by Liam Moore. He’s a Labour member, former council candidate. Your party’s actually been investigating him now for almost a year. … But has he been suspended? He hasn’t been suspended. You said everybody’s been suspended or expelled?”
Is it any wonder that just the other day Britain's Chief Rabbi slammed Labour for how it deals with anti-Semites - and of course Corbyn had only waffle in responding to the Rabbi too.

There's actually much more, but you have to watch it for yourself to get a true grasp of how awful an interview it is for Corbyn. I have seen TV interviews this bad, but usually not with politicians and certainly not with the leader of a major political party.



I'm reminded of the stories around Ouroboros: the snake that eats itself.



In ancient mythology it's supposed to be a story of renewal, but in the case of Corbyn and his Marxist mates it's more a case of living inside a bubble and consuming yourselves because you can't escape your own beliefs.




PRINCE ANDREW ON ANDREW


His Royal Highness Prince Andrew has today expanded on his reasons for stepping away from his royal duties, explaining that he is battling a little-known but debilitating medical condition known as Late-Onset Regret Disorder.

At a hastily-convened press conference His Royal Highness, who appeared to be gagged by a dainty handkerchief with an "E II R" monogram, handed out a printed statement before making a bee-line for the exit.

The statement explained that the Prince had been diagnosed with Late-Onset Regret Disorder, known as LORD, a condition that delays the expression of normal human emotions and which the Prince's medical advisor had advised was a consequence of his wartime experience.

The statement reads in part "The doc tells me that in the same way that my heroic actions serving Britain in the Falklands Campaign fried my adrenal glands and left me unable to sweat, so my empathy receptors also went on the fritz. That's a medical term, obviously."
"Absolutely not my fault at all, of course, and I'd do it all again for a chance to hop in my kite and punch Johnny Argentine in the nose. Still it's left me labouring under the handicap of not being able to express regret at times when, apparently, I should."


 "On that note, I'd just like to apologise for telling Papa as a boy that I discovered a teenage Charles in his bedroom talking to his geraniums about sustainability. It's just occurred to me that was an absolutely dreadful thing to do. Sorry, Chaz."

The press conference was then addressed by a man wearing a white coat and stethoscope who described himself as 'Dr Harley Street-Doctor' and who, onlookers report, would have borne a striking resemblance to Prince Andrew were it not for his large beard, moustache and glasses. 

Dr Street-Doctor explained to the assembled journalists that the condition caused regret to lie dormant in the subconscious until triggered by a traumatic event.

"A purely hypothetical example of such an event would be a senior relative of the sufferer grasping him or her firmly by the shoulders while saying 'Stop being an oik and fall on your sword or it'll be you who's cut off from his stipend. Got that?'

"In a very real way" Dr Street-Doctor added, "as a sufferer of Late-Onset Regret Disorder Prince Andrew is another of the victims of this tragedy."

Meanwhile Prince Andrew's royal duties have today waded into the controversy, saying "it was less him stepping away from us than us running very quickly away from him".

And for His Royal Highness, the latest developments have at least provided him with one silver lining to an otherwise very nasty shart-storm - finally, he seems to have made a full recovery from his other unusual and little-known medical condition.

"Thirty-seven years since the Falklands War," said the Prince. "Thirty-seven years in which I've never been able to perspire.    "Not anymore. Right now, I'm sweating like a pig."

Hat tip ... Andrew Gunn

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

REFLECTIONS OF A VIETNAM PLATOON COMMANDER


I once heard a senior officer say in respect of the Vietnam veteran that they were “the best of the best”.

You interpret that as you will. My take on it, as a twenty two year old Platoon Commander in Victor 3 Company given the absolute privilege of commanding thirty two 'young' men, is that they were superb soldiers who gave of their very best in a shitty war that had them vilified at ‘home’ as baby killers and the like.

Everyone had to deal with that, each in his own way. Most blanked it out of their minds and moved on. Others found it very difficult to cope. Some of those scars can still be seen today. Certainly the Vietnam veteran is somehow different from most other veterans.

For myself I guess the whys and wherefores regarding our involvement in Vietnam didn’t bother me too much. I had accepted the ‘Queens Shilling’ and our government had made a decision they were entitled to make.

What did concern me was that my platoon should come through the tour with minimum casualties and in that respect I was fortunate indeed that my command team included a quite outstanding mix of section commanders and section 2ics. The Vietnam war, at least in Phouc Tuy Province, was essentially a Section Commanders war. They were the ones who saw ‘Charlie’ face to face. Platoon Commanders were, for the most part, one step removed from that and when "in contact" based their decisions on how the Section Commander saw it. I certainly trusted the judgment of my command team.

My soldiers were an eclectic mix of young and old from ‘Silver’ L to John C and included a renegade Australian. They played hard and drank to excess often but in the field they were totally professional. There were times when individuals were ‘down’ for whatever reason and in the vast majority of those cases it was their colleagues that rallied around him and sorted the matter out rather than referring the problem to me.

So all in all I was hugely ‘lucky’. I did have difficulty however with stupid decision making based on peacetime norms. I was a member of the Poananga Battalion and had been in Malaysia a year prior to taking over the platoon. And so it was that the system required that I hand over the platoon half way through the V3 Coy tour and return to New Zealand having completed the standard two years in SE Asia. You don’t change command just for the sake of it. Yes, I certainly accept that in theory the standard of training should be such so as to allow for any change of command with the minimum of disruption. It doesn’t necessarily work out that way. Every commander has his own style and his troops get used to that style. Introduce change and there must always be a settling down period and that can have consequences. I would have been more than happy to serve an additional six months and wanted to. Peace-time decision making decreed otherwise.

One other issue. In the Poananga Battalion we were equipped with 7.62 modified Bren guns. They were a superb weapon well suited to jungle fighting. Simple to operate and hardly ever ‘jammed’. The closed magazine protected the ammunition and as 90% of soldiers in the platoon carried a 7.62 Self Loading Rifle their magazines were always available to supplement those carried by the gunner. But no, going to Vietnam we had to give them up to be replaced with the US M60 machine gun used by the Australians. To put it mildly, the M60 was a bitch of a weapon.

Post Vietnam I served two further tours with 1 RNZIR in Singapore together with an attachment to the Malaysian Army and a stint at the RNZAF Command & Staff College (where I learned how to bomb Halim Airbase/Jarkata International Airport ... useful stuff) before retiring from the military after twenty plus years (I joined age 15) at the ripe old age of 37.

I was a Chief Executive Officer in Local Government for nigh on 8 years before joining the staff of King’s College Auckland from where I retired (for the second time) in 2003. In 2012 I rejoined the workforce and will probably retire (finally) at the end of next year.

Unlike others I decided I could not just walk away from my Vietnam experience, hence my involvement, for twenty five years now, with the Vietnam Veterans (Neville Wallace Memorial) Children’s & Grandchildren’s Trust which I now Chair. I started these reflections with the comment that the New Zealand Vietnam soldier was the best of the best. That quite simply is why I won’t walk away from them. The Vietnam veteran is a member of a quite unique ‘Band of Brothers’.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

PALMERSTON NORTH

I guess you are supposed to have some attachment to the place of your birth although I have to agree with John Cleese's descriptive of that fair city ... I digress.   Over at Kiwiblog my good mate DFP commented here on the National Party selecting a seventeen year old as their candidate to stand in Palmerston North in next years election.   Now, I'm all for empowering youth but I have to say giving the nod to seventeen year old William Wood is a big call despite his quite impressive credentials.   You would have to ask what are his life skills?

But all that aside what's really significant to me is the fact he beat three other candidates (including a sitting List MP) to win on the first ballot.    Four candidates standing for nomination in one of Labour's supposedly safest seats sez something.   Is there a sense that the odious Iain Lees-Galloway is vulnerable?    He should be with the stench of the Sroubek affair lingering over him like a bad smell.   Perhaps, just perhaps, the chickens are coming home to roost for the cloth-cap unionist with his poor little rich boy King's College background. 

I suspect we have not heard the last of William Wood.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Two stories out of China



China is the nation that the world watches with concern and sometimes alarm. Whether it's their economy, their "Social Credit" system of controlling citizens, combined with mass surveillance using cameras and AI, or their pressure on neighbouring countries, particularly Hong Kong, there's something for almost everybody to worry about.

Two recent stories from unusual sources add to the picture.

The first is from the China Law Blog, which bills itself as "China Law For Business". The story that intrigued me was this one, How to Conduct Business with Chinese Companies That See a Dark Future, and what made it epecially interesting was the author comparing current experiences with his work in Russia in the 1990's where he represented some American and European companues involved with fishing, timber and mining in that country.

His clients would set up long term deals with Russian companies - many of them formerly state-owned - which nearly always went bad and quickly because the Russian company would grab whatever money there was and walk away. His clients could not understand these companies “irrationally” sacrifice so much money in the long term to grab a relatively small amount of money in the short term.
You have to understand that for most Russian companies there is no long term. They are used to the Soviet Union where the rules and the laws constantly and unpredictably changed to their detriment. They do not believe they will be able to operate freely five years or even one year from now. So though you see them as having irrationally sacrificed massive long term gains for much smaller short term rewards, they see themselves as having quite rationally grabbed what they could while it was still there.
The thing is that he's starting to see the same things happening now in China:
Practically every week one of our China lawyers will get an email or a phone call from someone who bought product from China and received nothing in return or nothing even approaching what they actually ordered. This sending of “junk” instead of real product has spread to pretty much every industry in China and ordering your products from allegedly reputable online sites provides little to no protection.
The article bluntly states that there is little chance of getting the money back. It also makes a number of recommendations to reduce these risks - right down to sending your own people to investigate the manufacturing site - but notes that nothing is 100% sure to work.

One scam in particular is ballsy since it involves an insurance company called Sinosure, which is China’s state-owned export insurance company that pays Chinese manufacturers that were stiffed by their foreign buyers and then seeks to collect from the foreign buyers that allegedly failed to pay:
The typical Sinosure case involves a Chinese company sending over (let’s say) $500,000 in bad product. The American company cannot sell that product for its usual $950,000, but instead is forced to unload it for $350,000. The American company tells all this to the Chinese company and seeks to resolve its alleged $500,000 debt to its Chinese supplier with a one time $250,000 payment. The Chinese company goes silent and a few weeks later, the American company receives an aggressively threatening letter from one of Sinosure’s U.S. lawyers.
Clever! But also desperate!

There are other bits in the story involving IP theft, especially brand theft, and a section dealing with joint ventures:
It’s as though the Chinese side in these joint venture partnerships views it as their patriotic duty to kick their foreign partner to the curb.
Which reminded me of Fonterra's great China fuckup partnership, BeingMate. While I'm loathe to excuse the incompetent bastards at Fonterra I do have to wonder if they too were subject to a "scam', albeit a much larger, more complex and longer-term one?

Certainly after reading this I'd have to wonder how exposed other New Zealand companies are to all this, even with the supposed protections of the Free Trade Deal we have with China.


The second story is entirely technical in nature. As reported in the MIT Technical Review, someone or something is spoofing the GPS data in the huge Chinese port of Shanghai:
Analysts noticed that the attacks had actually started the previous summer, increasing as the months rolled on. The most intense interference was recorded on the very day in July that the Manukai’s captain reported difficulties, when a total of nearly 300 vessels had their locations spoofed. While the disruption was affecting ships right across Shanghai, most of those spoofed were vessels navigating the Huangpu River.
The "Crop Circles" of spoofed Shanghai Port GPS units
The details of the spoofing are pretty hair-raising and amount to more than a simple jamming of GPS signals:
According to the Manukai’s screens, another ship was steaming up the same channel at about seven knots (eight miles per hour). Suddenly, the other ship disappeared from the AIS display. A few minutes later, the screen showed the other ship back at the dock. Then it was in the channel and moving again, then back at the dock, then gone once more. 
Eventually, mystified, the captain picked up his binoculars and scanned the dockside. The other ship had been stationary at the dock the entire time. 
When it came time for the Manukai to head for its own berth, the bridge began echoing to multiple alarms. Both of the ship’s GPS units—it carried two for redundancy—had lost their signals, and its AIS transponder had failed. Even a last-ditch emergency distress system that also relied on GPS could not get a fix.
Nobody knows who is behind this or what its ultimate purpose might be. These ships could be unwilling test subjects for an electronic warfare system of the Chinese state. But it could also be criminals involved with a rather unexpected type of theft:
Sand dredged from Yangtze River, which has the ideal consistency and composition for cement, helped fuel Shanghai’s construction boom in the 1980s and 1990s.
...
In 2000, Chinese authorities banned sand mining on the Yangtze completely.
...
The trade continued illicitly, however, expanding to include the illegal dredging of sand and gravel from the Yangtze estuary and the open seas near Shanghai. By day, such ships look innocuous. By night, they lower pipes to the riverbed to suck up thousands of tons of sand in a single session. A full hold can be worth over $85,000. So far in 2019, police along the Yangtze River have seized 305 sand-mining vessels.
Sand thieves are known to have cloned the AIS (Automatic Identification System) systems of seafaring boats to avoid detection and in June this year, an oil tanker smuggling oil and using a cloned AIS rammed an police patrol boat in Shanghai while trying to evade capture.

So this huge GPS spoofing exercise could be very valuable to such criminals.

But in China, as with so many other things, nobody can be sure.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

ON PRISONS

I have to say I'm not too concerned over reports that the gummit is to reverse the decision denying prisoners serving a sentence of under three years the right to vote.    If they're NZ citizens that is their right.   Prison is their sentence ... the right to vote remains.   Indeed, I would be prepared to debate the three year timeline.   What's so special about that? 

But I am concerned over the news that this pathetic, politically correct driven, nanby-pamby, gummit is directing prison officers to address prisoners by their first name rather than their surname.   Taking to a senior prisons officer at Ngawha Prision and, for him, its the last straw ... he's submitting his resignation papers come Monday.    To paraphrase his words ... those 'idiot' (in fact he used a stronger word) parliamentarians just have no idea what prison is about.  5% of prisoners accept their sentence, do their time and don't come back ... they're not the problem.    For the other 95% its a no holes barred 24/7 contest vs the warders where we're fair game for anything and everything ... so what am I expected to do when a prisoner refuses to come out of his cell and throws a cup of urine or something worse over me?    Say 'c'mon John, that's not nice ... be a good boy please'.   

He continued ... They're living in a dream world to think this will make prisons better or safer.    It won't.   It will be another tool for prisoners to use against the warders in the 'great game'.    Prisoners should be addressed as 'Prisoner Smith' because that's what they are.   Prisons are not an hotel and we're not hotel flunkies.

Couldn't agree with him more.   Minister Davis is a bad joke getting worse.  The one saving grace ... think what it would be like with a Green Party minister in charge.

Oh, I bet he doesn't


On Stuff this morning, Simon Bridges says he doesn't see any reason for tightening up NZ's electoral finance laws in light of recent examples of how the existing laws facilitate corruption:

National leader Simon Bridges says the revelations around NZ First's funding this week do not necessarily mean electoral laws need to be changed.

Given that National also uses a foundation to conceal the identity of its donors and is currently under Serious Fraud Office investigation into whether it split a donation of $100,000 into smaller amounts to avoid declaring it, it's no surprise at all that Bridges isn't keen to see those activities restricted.  Life for both National and NZF would become a lot more difficult if our laws made it harder for the wealthy to buy influence.

It's almost comical to see National MPs pontificating about this. Maybe after they've shut down their own foundation and told us what happened to the non-declared $100,000 that quite likely came from the United Front, they'll have a little credibility.

Ho Ho Ho
















IMG_0217.JPG

In Genius Move, Trump Supports Impeachment, Forcing Democrats To Oppose






Saturday, November 23, 2019

Friday, November 22, 2019

QUESTION FOR NZ FIRST

Thorn Services Ltd is the purported company that invoices the NZ First Foundation for wages connected to their work for QComms Ltd, the shadowy entity that manages the NZ First website.  

Problem is that Thorn Services Ltd is not listed in the Companies Register (although QComms Ltd is ... Director and sole shareholder a certain Mr Brian Henry).  

Section 381 of the Companies Act covers the improper use of  Limited ... 'Any person who, not being incorporated with limited liability, whether alone or with other persons, carries on business under a name or title of which Limited, or a contraction or imitation of that word is the last word, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to the penalty set out in section 373(2)\.'    That section provides for a fine of up to $10,000 for a person convicted of that offence.

Now there may be a perfectly innocent explanation for this.    The Rt Hon Winston Raymond Peters sez it's not his problem and that others can answer ... but neither QComms (Mr Henry) or the Trustees of the NZ First Foundation (Messrs Henry and Woolerton) will front the media ... wonder why.

    

You betta check yo self before you wreck yo self


Picture yourself as a defence lawyer having to get up and claim that your client "accidentally" killed someone by bludgeoning them in the head repeatedly with a hammer, and you get a feel for the job poor old Ian Brookie has had the last couple of weeks.

In TV and the movies, people get their neck squeezed for a few seconds and they're dead. IRL, you have have to cut off someone's breathing for upwards of five fucking minutes to kill them.

Have a think about that for a moment. You have to squeeze someone's neck with your hands hard enough to cut off their breathing and you have to maintain that pressure for more than five minutes to kill them. The muscles in your hands don't like exerting continuous pressure for minutes at a time and would be telling you after a couple of minutes that they really want you to stop.  The person you're strangling would be unconscious after a couple of minutes but you'd have to maintain the pressure for several minutes even after they'd stopped struggling to be able to kill them.

In short: strangling someone to death requires significant physical exertion and mental determination - you have to work pretty hard to achieve it.  Don't try to bullshit us it just happened by accident while you weren't paying attention.

The only hope I have from this case is that, in future, defence lawyers will just stare blankly at a murderer trying to claim he strangled someone to death by accident and say "Seriously, no jury's going to believe that. You might as well plead guilty now and trade that off against your sentence."

PRINCE ANDREW

No doubt the Chief of Army will be reflecting on DPFs blog post here that Prince Andrew should relinquish his appointment as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Logistic Regiment.

And so he should.

Continental Drift and Its Victims


A few days ago, my fellow blogger, The Veteran, drew attention to protests on the West Coast against the Labour-Green-NZ First government in this piece: YOU DIDN'T SEE THIS ON TV:
The rally heard speakers from all sectors of West Coast industries; mining, farming, tourism, forestry, plus lines company Westpower and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae.    They railed against the freshwater action plan, the ban on new mining on conservation land, the Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill, the rejection of windblown timber legislation, the canning of the proposed hydro dam on the Waitaha river all of which were seen as doing 'irrevocable harm' to the West Coast economy.
Ye Olde Classic Lefty, Chris Trotter, has now joined the fray in yet another of his almost endless paens to a lost world in The Message From Messenger Park:
It’s precisely this widening gulf between those with actual experience of things like guns, chainsaws and drilling machines, and those who regulate their use, that accounts for the angry crowd at Greymouth’s Messenger Park. In the rarefied atmosphere where decisions to shut down whole industries are made, hands-on experience is not only rare – it’s despised. What do workers know about anything? 
For a start, they know that human-beings have been changing nature for millions of years. From the moment some brave ancestor pulled a burning branch from the edge of a blazing forest, our species ceased to be just another mammal. From chipping flint to smelting steel, humanity’s relentless drive to innovate and alter has granted it, in the solemn language of Genesis: “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” 
You don’t truly understand this truth until, using your own strength and skill, and the strength and skill of your workmates, you collectively transform your world. And that sort of truth: the knowledge you gain down in a mine or felling a tree: you won’t find in a book anywhere.
Good solid Working Class stuff! Salt of the Earth. The sort of thing laughed at regularly by university graduates for decades now, whether they were Lefties in the Humanities Departments or Righties in Commerce and Management Studies.

But what really cracked me up was the following comment from one "Sanctuary", familiar to most readers here for his always-angry rants on blogs like The Standard and Kiwiblog about the failures of the Left and the evils of the Right.
Wah wah wah, cry me a river. I am heartily sick and tired of the whining exceptionalism of coasters and farmers. Plenty of people work hard for sweet f**k all, try being an all night cleaner in Tamaki's industrial sprawl. 
The world is changing. Coasters seem to think they have a right to do what they want because, reasons. Nobody forces them to live in that rainy and dreary place. Yes, their way of life is out of date. So stop whinging that the rest of us have some sort of obligation to support a dying way of life, like some sort of giant outdoor paean to the 20th century and accept it.
I had a bit of deja vu as I read that, for it could have come from the pen of any Rogergnome in the 1980's that one cares to name as they wrote about the dead and dying world of the Polish Shipyard that was the NZ government-economy.

So much for all the criticism heaped on the "Labour Party Traitors" and the Right for crushing and destroying the outdated world of Sanctuary and his friends.

Turns out that his only real objection was being the target. It's rather like his Leninist forebears in 1900's Russia whining about the cruelties of the Okhrana, the Czar's secret police - only to set up a vastly more evil secret police, the Cheka, as soon as they got hold of the levers of power.

Similarly, now that the boot is on Sanctuary's leafy suburban foot it's time for that boot to stamp on the faces of the Coasters - forever.

It also reminded me of a present-day argument presented in this article written in March 2016:
The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. 
The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.



That's hardline Rightie, Kevin Williamson, writing in the classic Right-Wing magazine, National Review.

It could be Sanctuary writing about the West Coast of NZ.

Incidently the title of that NR article is The Father-Führer, where Williamson raged against the populism of Trump as he appealed to save these American places that can't be saved.


Perhaps like the 1980's we are about to see a new "Rightish" realignment within the Labour Party between the likes of the Sanctuary's and the Williamson's, as we've seen between elements of the "new" Democrats and WTO Republicans in the US.



By the same token, in the USA we've seen a "Leftish" realignment with Working Class Democrats voting for the GOP - well, specifically for Trump in 2016, much to Williamson's disgust. Or the "strange" realignment that seems to be taking place in Britain since at least the Brexit referendum, where a polling trend shows the Working Class increasingly supporting the Tories.

The continental plates of Western democracies appear to be cracking and shifting. In the case of the West Coast I doubt that voting National will change anything for the Coasters, given that National are equally in thrall to the urban voters who know little of the provincial-rural world and care even less.

Still, Sanctuary's words, coming as they do from a hard-core Labour Party man, should be sent to every West Coaster along with the message:

This Is What You're Voting For.

YOU GOTTA LARF AT HIS SHEER BRASSINESS

As the financial scandal surrounding NZ First gathers pace you have to larf at the sheer brassiness of the Rt Hon Winston Raymond Peters when in said in parliament 'I look after the political wing of the NZ First Party.  That is an administrative matter.  Ask someone else'.

Question is who to ask ... the Party President who resigned after refusing to sign-off on the Party accounts because he thought they were dodgy; the Party Treasurer who was sidelined for having the temerity to question where the money was coming from; the ever so slightly 'controversial' Clayton Mitchell MP and Party Whip, bag-man for donations or perhaps even lawyer Brian Henry, the Party Eminence Grise (although you would have to phrase the questions carefully so as to avoid being sued for $30m as per his threats against Simon Bridges and Nick Smith). 

Said it before and I'll say it again.   Peters in NZ First and NZ First is Peters.   Nothing but nothing happens in the Party without Peters' knowledge and say so.    The 'buck' stops with him. 


Friday's Fulminations

There is mild moderation.  Normal rules of blogger etiquette and courtesy to blog hosts will apply.with serious transgressors being thrown out.

Unfortunately our system does not allow your comments to show up in the blog post itself.  Just in the comments section.

Visitors might consider the wisdom of using moderate language.

Regards

Adolf

Thursday, November 21, 2019

NOW WHERE DID WE HEAR THAT BEFORE?




I litigiousness a communicable disease?

Brian Henry, in  a generic Winston First response to the revelations over the New Zealand First Foundation and its apparent suspected machinations over avoiding the doner declaration and hopes of transparent funding so wished for by many, is threatening to sue Nick Smith and Simon Bridges for thirty million dollars should they repeat their allegations outside the sanctuary of the parliament.  Allegations made in the parliament yesterday under privilege.

Poor old Mr Henry, he is claiming he has "lost" a lucrative US contract because of the adverse publicity, clearly false,  that there is anything illegal in donors thinking they are setting Winston up to keep the bastards honest when their donations to Winston First  somehow end up with "the foundation".
One quoted in media as 'disgruntled' is said to be Garry Chittock a large player in the  Waikato Bloodstock industry, It is suggested he felt a certain disappointment when Winston appointed Ardern as the Part Time Prime Minister.

Next question? will  David Seymour  take his concerns to the police not that there is much hope they will give him the time of day, with their track record (pun intended) over electoral transgressions.

AS I SUGGESTED, TARRANT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN APPROVED!


Evidence provided to a parliamentary select committee looking at the next tranche of gun law changes revealed that last Friday: subject of a post at Kiwiblog.

I have posted previously questioning how the foreigner who perpetrated the Al Noor Mosque killing ever became the holder of a licence that permitted him to acquire the AR15 and ammunition?

In evidence given to the Committee last Friday from Paul McNeil, a licenced firearms dealer - and summarily removed from the "web" almost immediately, on the spurious notion that the submission  might cause problems in the upcoming prosecution of Tarrant - the following was revealed:
“At the time, Brenton Tarrant was issued with a 10 year [firearms] licence, expired 8 September 2027, indicating he was issued a licence in September of 2017, which from my information was only a matter of five or six weeks after he arrived in the country,” McNeill told the committee. 
“[At] this time, he has no family, no partner, no job, no footprint in the community, yet he was vetted as being fit and proper and obviously given a full licence which allowed him to arm himself.”
I call Bullshit on those actions. One fact that is clear: the McNeil evidence proved just how the Police - the same gang that under Police Minister Stuart Nash is still perpetrating the gross assault on thousands of lawful licenced firearm owners, with more to come - are revealed as totally incompetent in allowing Tarrant to have lawful access to purchasing the means for his disastrous rampage.

As stated previously I was for a time the Arms Licencing agent for the Police on Banks Peninsula, but our relationship was ended on my action because I refused to do "referee" checks over the phone when;

(a) I had no way of identifying who I had contacted as the named non-relative person not living with the applicant who could be expected to have a valid opinion as to the suitability of the applicant to have access to firearms.

(b) They declined to compensate me for the considerable vehicle costs to undertake a face-to-face interview. How anyone might be able to make the vital assessment of suitability, both physical and mental, without that serious interview, escapes me.

Yet Tarrant - after a short time as a NZ resident with no partner, no employer, no established social contacts, and probably unlikely to have had a place of residence with approved secure storage - was able to obtain a licence in September 2017. A month later he begins lawfully obtaining weapons and ammunition in quantities that would have raised my suspicions immediately.

"Ammunition purchased in quantities said to be in the thousands". FFS. I am what many might categorise as a "Gun Nut", with a semi-auto shotgun, a full bore rifle, two .22s and an air rifle. But I would doubt my total ammunition to hand would ever reach more than 500 rounds including the .177 pellets.

Many doing the task I was employed to do as a community service are spouses of serving officers who use the Police car after hours to do what I funded using my own vehicle and for a fixed fee per application.

If the Commission is serious about any failures that allowed the killings to become possible, they need to call all those to account in the chain of command who ultimately paved the way for Tarrant to access the firearms he used so disastrously:
  • The police Officer who he filled the original application form to begin the process;
  • The Police Arms officer who gathered the file for the process - and believe me some of them were a health hazard in weight;
  • The Police person or their duly appointed agent who conducted the interview of next of kin, then the "referee", unrelated and not living with Tarrant, and finally whoever inspected Tarrant's storage facility for security and compliance;
  • Then the Arms Officer who signed it all off, setting Tarrant on his path to infamy.
No wonder Plod wanted the evidence given by McNeil removed; it made a prima facie case for criminal charges for dereliction of duty.

I recall an AOS incident in Ashburton when a South Canterbury licenced owner stopping for a comfort stop removed his secured weapon he was taking to a gunsmith in Christchurch from his car as the law required him to do.

Nek minnet he was surrounded by AOS and ordered to get to the ground and then taken to the station for questioning before his entirely lawful actions were satisfactorily explained.

ONE FOR MILT

Milt ... a point of information.     I have been looking at the Green Party Constitution.     I note that clause 8.8(e) requires that there should be a strong emphasis on gender balance in the selection of delegates to attend the Party Annual Conference.     I had in the back of my mind that this also applied to the ranking of the Green Party List but clearly as the 2017 election returned only two male MPs (out of 8) that has gone by the board.

Are you in a position to confirm that gender balance no longer applies in determining List ranking and, if so, how does that square with clause 8.8(e)?

Looking at the 2017 Green Party List and were that to be repeated in 2020 it is entirely possible that James Shaw could end up being the only male Green Party MP. 

Meth. They're On It!

Walter White: Why not South Dakota?


The great TV series, Breaking Badwas the story of cancer-stricken High-School Chemistry teacher, Walter White, who decides to start cooking Methamphetamine as a way of making enough money to provide for his family when he's gone.

I see it's described as, "An American neo-Western crime drama". Really? Because it was set in New Mexico?

Moving on!

You don't have to be an aficionado of the series to know that Methamphetamine is a bit of a problem in the US. Although it has been overshadowed recently by the focus on Opioids, at least in terms of media coverage, Meth is still killing plenty of people.





Although it's not an exact match to users, the following graphic of Meth Lab "incidents" provides a pretty good idea of where the stuff is being used in the USA.


And it appears that even a state like South Dakota (10 incidents in that map) is not immune. So much so that the State Government decided to try and raise public awareness of the issue:
The nearly half-million-dollar fee went to Minneapolis-based ad agency Broadhead Co. Referring to the head-turning campaign as "inclusive and empowering," South Dakota Social Services Secretary Laurie Gill praised the effort as an "aggressive approach." 
"It's evident there's a need for an aggressive approach to reduce use of the devastating drug," Gill said. "This is a movement to educate South Dakotans on the signs of addiction, the treatment resources that are available, and how to implement prevention techniques in their homes and among their communities."
Which is all fair enough, although I'd hope they put a cap on the advertising budget to end the campaign at some point. People tend to switch off or tune out any advertising effort the longer it runs, no matter how "aggressive" it is, especially when it's dealing with a very negative subject. Also at some point it's likely that the money would be better spent on actually doing something about the problem - and even that assumes a government can actually do anything positive, which I doubt, given the history of government dealing with drug addiction anywhere in the world.

And so we come to the advertising campaign itself.







Ummm.....





.....Okay then.








I can see what they're trying to do here, in that it's both "aggressive" in telling you that people you might never think of being on Meth actually are - and "inclusive" in making it clear that as a result the problem belongs to everybody in the State.

But that slogan was just screaming from birth to be parodied.

Having sat in on a few of these sessions over the years I have to wonder at the number of people, time, money and other resources that were spent batting this around. And of course you have to know that there were slogans rejected because they were thought to be worse than this.

It could actually be worse in that they might have invented a logo for it, and the result might be similar to what Telecom NZ produced over a decade ago as they changed their name and branding to Spark.

The laughter this produced inside the company was brutal, with some of the following comments sticking in my memory:
Spark - Join us. We're a mess too. 
Spark - Hung up in our own underwear. 
Spark - Failing to connect you forever. 
Spark - These wires go where?

Admittedly, this was snark and sniping from the IT crowd and what do they know about branding, marketing and advertising?

And Spark have stuck with this logo for a decade now, although that may simply be a case of not wanting to throw more money at the challenge, while also taking the Anchor route of the old NZ Dairy Board, where an accidental branding simply stuck as a result of the years passing until it was felt it could not be abandoned.



In the case of South Dakota, this latest slogan of theirs should probably not have come as a surprise, given the history of other advertising efforts by the folk in the state agencies, such as the ones wanting to persuade people to come and live in the state.

In 2015 the Governor's Office of Economic Development worked with a marketing and advertising agency, Lawrence & Schiller, to research what people in their mid-twenties outside the state knew about and thought about the state. The results were summarised in one picture:



Alrighty then. Based on this research they decided to plunge ahead with an advertising campaign, and  they decided on a .... different approach:
The young people being targeted by the campaign "are saturated with media," said Mary Lehecka Nelson, director of marketing for the Governor's Office of Economic Development. "Something needed to hook them, and we know that demographic spends a lot of time talking about trending topics." 
The idea is for South Dakota to become part of the conversation, instead of trying to direct it with more in-your-face messaging.
"In Your Face"? I'm detecting a theme here.

As a result they decided that since people at the time were talking about colonizing the planet Mars, then something alluding to that might be the "hook" they needed for cut-through:
"Older people thought we were crazy, and finally the governor said, 'OK, who here in this room has heard of this colonizing of Mars?' It was a stark contrast. Half the room raised their hands, and those people were 35 and under. That's the effect. We want to go after those 25- to 40-year-olds and that's where this hook works."
The approach did not exactly win plaudits in the advertising industry's specialist media, with AdWeek's "Creativity" section providing a blunt description: "South Dakota sets the bar low". You can watch the thirty second advertisement below and make your own judgment.


The tag line of this TV advertisement:

‘Why Die on Mars When You Can Live Here?’

Readers are invited to submit their own possible tag lines about living on Mars, or in South Dakota, and using Meth.