Friday, 28 September 2012

Nicky Hagar came to town...

Nicky Hagar Investigative journalist.

The day Nicky Hagar came to town.

Last Friday evening at 7pm here in Palmerston North in our wonderful public library, a young investigative journalist stood and addressed a crowd of one hundred and sixty eager listeners. The audience was keen to hear what he had to say.

The subject wasn’t national standards in our schools, although there was a connection. The subject wasn’t which political party was best suited to run our country, but there was a connection and a powerful one.

The subject was ‘Other people’s Wars’ a book about New Zealand’s role in conflict events around the world. The connection to education was via our unique relationship with history. It was also connected to politics via the changing behaviour of inclusion of the public, to isolation of the public to both political and military matters.

Nicky Hagar wrote the book and he did so by over many years, and with a massive amount of gritty hard work, and using the tools of investigative journalism, he connected the dots that in the end revealed exactly what took place over a decade or so as we moved from a climate of openness and transparency, into the dark world of spin and manipulation of public awareness.

It is said, that who ever wins the war, writes the history of that war that may be true in total or in part. But today one could be forgiven for thinking that they write the history of a war before the war even takes place, such is the ability of the spin machine to corrupt and falsify reality.

During the Second World War the information lines between the political and the military were clear and concise. We knew what the war was about, the goals, the enemy, the desired outcome were for the most part understood and accepted. It was an event where it could be said, “It was our war”. The Government in most respects took the people with them, although we stii had the hangover of “Where Britain goes we go” a leftover from the First World War where we were simply a British colony that supplied gun fodder for others.

But really, as Nicky Hagar pointed out, we have throughout our history fought other people wars. The major difference now days is that we have replaced Britain with the USA…and are currently fighting their wars, supplying the gun fodder you could say.

Nicky Hagar suggests that’s not what the New Zealand people want, but it is what the government wants and herein lies the disconnect.

He suggested that there was no good reason for NZ to be involved in much of the conflict that is happening right now. For example when NZ offered reconstruction assistance in Afghanistan some ten years ago the public were told it was to help the local people, but that was a half truth, because the SAS were engaged in fighting a destructive war…and some of the NZ troops didn’t like what they were ordered to do. Killing farmers in their fields and civilians willy-nilly just seemed stupid to them and was most certainly not in line with the New Zealanders view of justice and fair play. It was more about assisting with the takeover of Afghanistan by the US.

What deeply concerned Nicky Hagar as both a journalist and a New Zealander was that the news coming out of the war zone of Afghanistan. While in Iraq, which we were assured by government that we didn’t have a combat role, but only to find that our Navy was deployed in that very role but kept secret from the general population.

His presentation was both stark and frightening as step by step he revealed just how little the public were told about the situation into which our troops had been ordered.

I thank the Friends of the Library for hosting Nicky Hagar to our city, for our city is situated in the centre of military activity with both Linton Camp and Ohakea on its edges. I thank the library staff and team for making available the sight and sound zone for this extremely valuable presentation.

PS: As an ex-soldier the presentation was of special meaning to me. I took part in operations in Malaya and in our full sized battalion which was just on a thousand troops our public relations team had about three members. I note now that the US forces number one public relation person for every 100 servicemen or women and that tells us all the value they now put on spin and misinformation…

America at war...2012 style...and we are part of that. 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Is truth bad for your health?

Is truth bad for your health?

Why do people at the top have to lie to maintain their PR image of being so-called tough leaders? Why is it necessary for leaders to appear as if they are always correct? Is it because we the public demand this so called ability of decisiveness from our leaders, why can’t they accept the fact; that they are human and mistakes are human?

Find me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll suggest to you that you’ve found a liar. To err is human it is said and it is a truism proven beyond doubt.

Of course it is often very convenient to claim an error has been made by persons unknown. That way you can state with a small sense of reduced honesty…that it wasn’t my fault but the fault of someone else, usually unnamed.

ACC did it and have done it for years, when a doctor fails to give them the answer they want they find another doctor who will, and pay him accordingly. Why they thought they wouldn’t be caught out is beyond intelligent reasoning.

Leaking homes is another area where blame was allocated to cowboy builders where in fact the blame lay clearly and obviously with the removing and lowering of the standards permitted by law. And that was the work of the government, and it has cost, and is still costing billions to fix.  

The latest batch of half truths and straight out lies was the John Banks saga. Everyone knows that John Banks lied and if one doesn’t know that now one would have to be blind, ignorant or named Roger Douglas. The Prime Minister John Key, I don’t doubt has instructed his cabinet not to read the official police report so they can plead ignorance and thereby not be convicted of lying. This behaviour is of course typical of some one who sees himself and his appointed cabinet as above the law.

But the damage has been done. Bank’s is finished his political career over, his party ACT has all but disappeared from the political scene. Roger Douglas, Don Brash have been dispatched to the scrap heap, but the reality is that their insane and racist dream has been picked up by National. These failed concepts have been picked by Steven Joyce and Bill English and Paula Bennett who spin half truths about their value. Once again this is official lying on a massive scale. Banks rarely appears in Parliament but still picks up his two hundred thousand dollar salary.

The PM has received another kick in the butt over the handling of the Kim Dotcom saga, his natural inclination to please the country that made him rich [USA] has led him into a sea of half truths that are now showing what he really is best suited for, a salesman, and ex Wall Street hack who got out at the right time before Wall Street was shown to be a bunch of crap artists who grew fat by bankrupting people and even nations.

His statement that he never knew about Kim Dotcom until the day before the massive police, FBI, invasion of his mansion is beyond belief. Didn’t he read about the huge fireworks display that cost 500 thousands dollars celebrating Dotcoms NZ residency acceptance. Dotcom lives in his electorate. It’s simply crap of the highest order. Today he even tried to stop parliament from discussing the issue until he had got the main stream media and his pet bloggers on board. Fortunately he failed, if he had succeeded the issue couldn’t have discussed in Parliament for three weeks. He is a lazy Prime Minister who has failed to supervise the spies he is in charge of that work for the Government Communications Security Bureau [CSB]. The GCSB is answerable to absolutely no one other than the Prime Minister and according to the act, the prime minister represents the only democratic restraint on that organisation who job it is to spy on foreigners only and not on NZ citizens or residents.  

So it would seem that truth is bad for your health especially your political health. So it is correct to assume that lying is good for politicians health, based on the above it would appear that the evidence of the last three or four years that lying is better than honesty. We need to remember that our leadership only gets away with this self-centered behaviour because we allow them to.

These words from Albert Einstein say it all…

Monday, 24 September 2012

Gordon Campbell on spies etc.

This is the best blog on this issue...If only mainstream media wrote like this...

Gordon Campbell on Dotcom, spies and plausible deniabilitySeptember 25th, 2012

Well, John Key promised us a different style of government than what we’d had from Helen Clark. No more of that being on top of every detail in every portfolio. Do that, and people not only get sick to death of you (no one likes a know-all) but you can held responsible for knowing what’s going on in every dark corner of your administration, and that can take its toll on your popularity, too. For a number of reasons, Key is just not a detail kind of guy.
But does that make the job any easier? Not at all. Because every week the list of “need not to know” subjects seems to get longer. Last week, Key decided that he needed not to read what was in the Police report on John Banks and his mayoral campaign contributions, lest he should find something that would inconveniently require him to revisit the issue of Banks’ credibility, or lack thereof. Long before that, there was the need to be kept out of the loop about the imminent Police raid on Kim Dotcom’s moment until the very, very last moment. And now to cap it all off… there has been the need not to know that the very security organization that reports to him – the GCSB – was carrying out surveillance illegally on Dotcom, at the behest of the FBI. Who knew? Who knew that our biggest security service seems to have been working more closely with agents of a foreign power than with its own Minister? Not John Key, even though most of the time, he (as Minister of the Security Services) is the guy supposed to be signing off the GCSB’s surveillance warrants. Is it plausible to try and insulate yourself from knowledge of the actions of the very organisation for which you have oversight responsibility?
One can only imagine the relentless thirst for plausible deniability around the Cabinet table in this administration. The Christchurch rebuild? Don’t tell him about it. Literally, don’t tell him, Gerry. Bill, you and Treasury have finally got a plan for economic growth? I really don’t want to know – just tell me its cost neutral and spare me the details. In the Dotcom case, the fact of illegal surveillance only came to light in court papers to do with Dotcom’s extradition proceedings, and it seems to have been only at that point that the GCSB informed their Minister, and thereby triggered an investigation by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, Paul Neazor. It should be quite an exercise. What did the Prime Minister not know, and when did he not know it?
As yet, it is unclear whether the information provided to the Americans by the GCSB extended beyond locating the whereabouts of certain individuals. Probably more, but who knows? It is unclear whether Dotcom’s lawyers will be told its full extent – if they aren’t this would surely prejudice his right to a fair trial – or whether Paul Neazor’s full findings will eventually be made public.
The context for the actions against Dotcom are significantly different than what existed during the previous decade. What we saw in the 2000s under the Clark government was a covert effort by the NZ Defence Force to pursue a special relationship with the United States in its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, regardless of the avowed independent foreign policy stance of the government of the day. That was the main thrust of the evidence collected by Nicky Hager in his book Other People’s Wars. Currently though, New Zealand has a conservative government actively engaged in seeking a special relationship with the Americans, and the task of collusion is therefore far easier to pursue. One can readily see why the GCSB might have had – or thought it might have had – a green light to do whatever would please the Americans, and enhance the wider relationship.
The formalities do have to be gone through, though. The need to restore even a smidgeon of public confidence in the neutrality of the security services makes it imperative that full disclosure of Neazor’s findings should occur. As things stand, there is an unsavoury looking trail here leading from corporate entertainment chiefs to US Vice-President Joseph Biden, and radiating back outwards to the FBI/NZ Police operation against Dotcom. To date, that hyperactive collusion in January between our Police and security services and those of a foreign power operating on our soil has resulted in search and seizure actions deemed by the courts to have been illegal – and those transgressions have now been compounded by an admission of illegal domestic spying. As yet there is no sign of anyone taking any Ministerial responsibility whatsoever for the series of screw-ups that has marked the Dotcom affair from the outset.
That lack of responsibility is partly due to the fact that everyone involved appears to have remembered not to forget not to tell Key beforehand what was going on. When it comes to some aspects of government, this Prime Minister appears to think it is smarter to be kept ignorant, thereby enabling him to stay inside a cone of plausible deniability. Given the level of (in)competence of those reporting to Key, one can readily see why.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

John Key supporters offer help.

Dear John Key and a anxious lead supporter. 

A letter to John Key…from his supporters.
As polls show a decline in national support. National party supporters and even members are deeply concerned and are seeking ways that it can help John Key achieve his wonderful and bright future he envisions. Here are just a few of those that can be published.  

Dear Kind Uncle John Key please tell us, how we can report all the beneficiary bludgers, would it be best to send you an email with their names and their crimes listed in alphabetical order. Are rich people who get given plumb state jobs or contracts beneficiaries? Should we include John Banks for example, for he never seems to go to work and he still gets paid?

Dear Dr. John Key, please tell us how we can stop all these thousands of young people from committing the crime of being born into the homes of the poor and needy. Should we introduce sterilisation for all those under 25 earning less than $50.000 per year, and how can we help in selecting those worthy for state sterilisation.

Dear Headmaster John Key how can we help you ensure that all those on benefits wear a yellow star that shows they are not fit to bring up children in this day and age. You may recall if you read, using your very selective reading skills, history that this was a very successful way of weeding out the unworthy in days gone bye in a really right-wing state.

Dear finance whiz-kid John Key can show us the path by which we all rip off the system and end up owning mansions in Hawaii or London. We know that you know the answer to the wealth gaining dilemma because you successfully achieved this very worthy goal.

Dear Salesman John Key, now that international criminal Panetta and you are buddies, how can, we as your loyal followers, help you decide where to station a few thousand US troops so as to help us fight an unknown war against an unknown enemy and for reasons as yet unknown.

Dear educationist expert John Key, can we contact you by phone, fax, email, letter or even pigeon to let you know about all the nasty teachers who by their poor work habits and shocking teacher skills force our children not to learn and should we burn down all the decile one to four schools so as to raise the national standards you have fallen in love with.

Dear Master Chief John key, please give us the wisdom and ability to live on twenty five dollars a day for a family of four, I’m sure that your massive experience of living in a state house and on a well deserved benefit back in the good old days will enable you to teach us middle class kiwi’s how to not only survive but save millions for our brighter future… 

There were hundreds of others but the language was such that they couldn't be published... 

Friday, 21 September 2012

US hit man pays us a visit...

NZ hosts ex CIA hit man Leon Panetta. 

USA top hit man visits NZ as guest of our Minister of Defence Jonathan Coleman.

“There are different types of courage”, says Jon, an US Lieutenant Colonel, “Ours requires moral courage. We take moral and legal risks. If I pull the trigger and I’m wrong I have to live with the consequences”, he said. [Guardian Weekly 10.08.12]

This Lt-Col is talking grap. He is a pilot who sits in a trailer up to a hundred miles away from this target, he pilots a drone unmanned aircraft and presses the button to release the rockets or bombs at civilian targets while he drinks his coffee. That takes stuff all courage. He has no worries at all, and needs to fear no moral condemnation, because the government and nation he works for doesn’t give a hoot about how many people die as he performs his legalised murder in the ironic name of freedom.

His direct boss is US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, an ex boss of the CIA who are legally in the US allowed to kill who they wish, when they wish and where they wish. In fact they give them medals for doing just that.

Just yesterday this legalised murder machine was dining with our Minister of Defence Jonathan Coleman.

Earlier Panetta told us American forces will act on "any information that is credible" to hunt down and send a message to the insurgents in Afghanistan responsible for the deaths of three Kiwi soldiers. [US PR words for killing the families and innocent victims]

Our part time PM leapt aboard and Prime Minister John Key confirmed yesterday a small contingent of SAS had returned to Afghanistan to be involved in the hunt for the intelligence against the bombers responsible for the three latest New Zealand deaths.  

Beat that for stupidity…giving the so-called enemy advanced warning.

But if the US carry’s out any sort of attack the chances are they will murder farmers working in their fields, women taking their children to school or anyone they happen to spot. The US is well known for killing the wrong people, remember it was they who invented the phase ‘collateral damage’ legal US word for murder of innocents.

Using Panetta’s latest murder weapon ‘Drones’ thus far they have murdered around 2,500 to 3,500 innocent victims in Pakistan alone. [ Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakinstani High Commission in London]. And believe it or not Pakistan is a US Ally; if that’s how they treat their allies and we are one, what must they be doing to their enemies.

And this Mr. Leon Panetta is the guy NZ is sucking up to.

Would you invite a murderer in for Sunday dinner…there are those who would rightly suggest that we should actually arrest this rat-bag while he’s here and hand him over to the World Court for trial on well based murder charges.

But I doubt Key and his followers would show that kind of courage…their courage is not unlike the so-called brave US half Col who sits well out of danger protected by the Atomic Bomb and guides a death machine across international borders, bombs the life out of an innocent population and says what a good boy I am, and gets a purple heart for stubbing his toe while getting out of bed...

So much for justice, honour Coleman Key style.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Key - Brownlee - Dotcom - Banks saga

Gerry Brownlee, I know nothing. 

Known as Boss.

Key - Brownlee - Dotcom - Banks saga:

It is often thought that governments are made up of highly talented individuals who work their guts out for the benefit of the nation. Their work room, the parliamentary debating chamber is adorned with the banners of proud military units and each day the proceedings commence with a prayer where they swear that, ‘They will put aside all personal interests”, let me assure you that they don’t. What’s written below is but one example:

The characters in my tale are the Prime Minister John Key, Cabinet Minister and King of Christchurch Gerry Brownlee, Speaker Dr. Lockwood Smith and one person without a speaking role, Mr. Kim Dotcom.

John Banks also had a starring role but sadly he forgot his lines and failed to turn up. The rumour is that he was visiting Sky City Casino to thank them for their $15.000 donation which of course was anonymous     

JK: “Oh there you are Gerry”…

GB: “Where did you think I’d be boss”,

JK: Just for one moment I thought that was you upstairs in the public gallery”,

GB: “You mean that big fellow sitting in the front row?

JK: “You’ve got it in one Gerry baby”

GB: “Oh come on boss, he’s fat and he is a Jerry as in German”

JK: “Well…”

GB: “That’s Kim Dotcom, and the good looking bird sitting next to him is his wife”

JK: “I was only joking Gerry baby”

GB: “Anyway Kim Dotcom is a good mate of your buddy John Banks isn’t he?

JK: “No way, according to John Banks they hardly even know each other”

GB: “Then why did Dotcom donate fifty thousand bucks to his mayoral campaign fund”

JK: “Where did you hear that Gerry?

GB: “It was in all the papers and on TV and it says so in the official police report”.

JK: “You’ve read the official report! I thought I instructed everyone in cabinet not to read that nasty politically motivated piece of crap”.

GB: “Oh you did, but you know when you then went off to your holiday home in Hawaii… you know the old saying, ‘While the cats away the mice will play”.

JK: “You want to stay in cabinet do you Gerry baby?

GB: “Oh yes please boss, Christchurch needs me to keep them in line”.

JK: “Your bloody lucky Gerry baby that since I can’t sack the whole mouse like cabinet for disobeying my clear instruction you’ve got a second chance, but one more stuff up and it’s back to teaching woodwork at an intermediate school, that’s if there are any left in Christchurch after Hekia Parata finishes her mauling down your way”.

“Mr. Speaker”, shouted the Sergeant at arms as he led Dr. Lockwood Smith into the debating chamber. JK stood and Gerry struggled to his feet as the speaker slow marched toward the speakers chair…as he neared JK Lockwood Smith paused and said to the PM, “Don’t worry boss, I’ll protect you during question time”.

GB: “What have you promised Lockwood Smith?

JK: “Nothing much, just a Knighthood and the top London diplomatic post, he really loves the Queen you know”.

GB: “What’s he going to do in London, read the Queen points of order about her wider family’s strange behaviour?

JK: “Now, now Gerry stay clam I was thinking of posting you to diplomatic post in Fiji so you can stuff up Suva in the same way as you’ve done in Christchurch.

At this point the chamber got down to business with questions for the day...and we all know what happened next, the news media was full of it...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Questions to Ministers should be answered honestly

The perfect crime...

The words below appear in an official police report. The PM John Key refuses to read this report, he stated on TV One, that he didn’t need to read the report because he has great trust in John Banks. Here is the vital paragraph in that criminal assessment report:

“The executive summary of Detective Inspector Mark Benefield’s criminal assessment report, which indicates in it, that the threshold had been reached for prosecution under section 134(2) of the Local Electoral Act for John Banks’ actions, but it did not occur because it was outside the 6-month time period”.

Now after reading that, any person of sound mind, would accept that John Banks broke the law, lied to both the PM and the media, but was not charged because the period of six months for laying the charge had expired. The PM stated that he has no intention of reading the report, why, because he is not paid to do so!  

Yet knowing this to be true Steven Joyce answering on behalf of the PM, stated the following over and over again in answer to questions in the house from Labour Party Deputy Leader Grant Robertson.

  • that the police determined that there was insufficient evidence to consider a prosecution : Wrong there was sufficient evidence.

  • I also note that the police obviously assessed the information and determined not to do a prosecution. Wrong because the six months had expired.

  • I have not read those details, but I did note that the police determined that there was insufficient evidence to consider a prosecution. Wrong again.

  • The police determined that there was not evidence to prosecute, and did not. Wrong yet again.

In a matter of five minutes Steven Joyce answering on behalf of our absent part time PM [it was Thursday and the PM rarely appears in parliament on Thursdays] gave answers he knew was wrong, no matter how ones views it these were lies.
They were not only incorrect in actual fact, but were lies.
Would you trust a person who can lie with such ease? They are obviously lies because the sworn police evidence proves that they are. And these guys Joyce and Key are running our country…and believe or not with the willing support of John Banks the man who told the lies and who is a minister in the ACT / National / Maori Party / United Future government, and note that the Speaker Lockwood Smith never once pulled Steven Joyce back into line…


Another very interesting question was asked last Thursday about the ACC and its shonky and disgusting behaviour, some would say criminal…

KEVIN HAGUE (Green) to the Minister for ACC: Does she agree with Peter Trapski’s recommendation in his 1994 Report of the Inquiry into the Procedures of the Accident Compensation Corporation that “the Corporation must ensure that the opinions it obtains from medical practitioners are independent, not only of the claimant, but also of the Corporation, and that they are seen to be so”?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS (Minister for ACC): Yes.

KH: Is she concerned that just four of ACC’s favourite specialist medical advisers— Dr Martin C Robb, Dr Vic du Plessis, Dr Bill Turner, and Dr David Beaumont—are collectively paid up to $2 million a year from ACC for services rendered?

Judith Collins: Yes

KH: [Greens] asked, “Does she believe that an ordinary person would consider it possible that medical advisers like Dr du Plessis, Dr Turner, Dr Beaumont, and Dr Robb could remain independent of ACC, when it pays them between $300,000 and $500,000 each per year?

Judith Collins: Yes and Maybe and I don’t know

KH; Does she agree that an ordinary person would find it unbelievable that ACC would continue to fly these doctors around the country and pay them an average of almost $1,700 for each client they see if they were not acting as “hit men”, to use the phrase that Laurie Gluckman was described as according to Judge Trapski, in targeting the exit of long-term claimants, which ACC has referred to as low-hanging fruit?

Judith Collins; It could be perceived that way

KH: Does she accept that there is a risk that the assessments performed by a doctor who earns up to half a million dollars a year working part-time for ACC could be affected by that doctor’s desire to continue receiving such lucrative contracts from the corporation?

Judith Collins; as for above question

KH: Does she agree that contracting for specialist medical assessments with district health boards or professional colleges would help ensure that they are independent and are seen to be so, as Judge Trapski says they must be?

Judith Collins; Maybe and she is meeting with the board [her old mate and pet National board appointee Paula Rebstock] and will have a chat about it.

Barbara Stewart: New Zealand First] asked, “Will ACC cap the annual amount it spends on any individual medical assessor to avoid the risk of incentivising advisers to provide reports that ACC wants rather than independent advice?

Judith Collins: I am not sure that that would be a good idea, particularly if, for instance, there may be only two or three specialists with the level of expertise in the country. So I think that might be a bit of a blunt instrument, but I can undertake to look at all those considerations.

And so it looks as if ACC will walk away from its disgusting and revolting corporate ingrained and arrogant learned behaviour leaving its victims damaged and still in great need of rehabilitation paid for out of their own pockets. This is: justice honesty and fairness.
Nick Smith the dumped ACC minister should be totally ashamed of himself, as should Judith Collins who continues his corrupt régime, smiling as she does so.    
No doubt this matter will end up before the courts…

Friday, 14 September 2012

Change agenda led by Mana

Mana leads the way.

This is from Socialist Aotearoa, it explains in very plain terms what is taking place here and now in New Zealand. You don’t have to agree but its message does lead one to consider that change can come quickly or slowly. Change will speed up as the gap grows larger and larger between the haves’ and have nots’.
As the item points out the present Labour party leader David Shearer has been forced to dump his actionless advisor and adopt a new and more action based approach. His acceptance of Hone Harawira’s private members bill on putting food into schools is clear evidence of this. The power of Mana has mobilized key aspects of Maoridom but it has also in many respects replaced labour as the party for those under great pressure from the economic stupidity that has swept the world in a hailstorm of greed. This is from Grant Brooks;

MANA setting the agenda
This week confirms that the MANA Movement continues to set the agenda on the left in politics. It is the intellectual and activist powerhouse that is driving forward pro-worker, pro-poor and pro-Maori politics in Aotearoa.

Firstly, Labour's leader David Shearer this week adopted the 'feed the kids' policy of MANA in the 2011 election to bring healthy meals into working class schools in communities that have been savaged as a result of decades of low wages, high unemployment and five years of economic recession. Labour's move comes the week after Hone Harawira lodged a private members bill to provide free lunches and breakfasts in decile 1 and 2 schools. Hone has neatly replied to the critics, "And as for people who believe that feeding children is a responsibility of the parents, why should our children suffer because some parents either don’t receive enough money to feed their kids or because a small minority makes bad parenting choices?" Even the Herald is swinging somewhat in behind the principle with their editorial; 
Breakfast is not too much to ask. As a side note: those involved in early MANA policy discussions, will remember that some of the inspiration for this policy came from the Oakland ghetto. Shearer may be an unlikely candidate for membership of the Black Panther Party but his adoption this week of 'feed the kids' is confirmation of the revolutionary potential of the thought and deeds of Huey P Newton and the Black Panthers. Radical movements, revolutionary upsurges come and go - the best ideas survive.

He came, he swore, he conquered. Hone Harawira's comments about John Key treating his Maori MPs like 'house niggers' may have won him no friends in the the National Party but it certainly
worked - coaxing Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples into attending and thus acknowledging the absolute need for a united Maori approach to water rights. Over and over again we have heard the refrain that the Maori Party get more from being in the Government than being opposed to it. But Key a month ago was ready to ignore the Waitangi Tribunal and push ahead with asset sales over iwi rights. Now he is being forced to delay asset sales, recognise water rights and negotiate with Maoridom.  This came because of a fight back in the courts, in the streets and in the media led by MANA Movement leaders like Hone and Annette Sykes. Hone's letter to Key in the Herald yesterday was an erudite rebuttal of the Government's current position and his and Annette Sykes' proposals to the Turangawaewae Hui have set the agenda within Maoridom.

speech at the 1000 strong-hui was an eloquent call for the need for unity. As ex-Green MP Nandor Tanczos described the speech, "Just spent the day at Turangawaewae listening to the korero about water and catching up with friends. Annette Sykes, as usual, rocked the mike. She can always be counted on to say the things that need to be said, regardless of who it might make uncomfortable. For well-informed, intelligent, and courageous comment, you can't beat her." If one person can be counted upon to help deliver a crippling blow to the Government in the High Court if Key and co press ahead with asset sales without consulting iwi and hapu it is Annette. Her critique of the Maori elite and steadfast advocacy for women and the poor makes her the key link in the chain between Maori fighting for guardianship over water and all of us fighting against asset sales. The right's racist agenda hopes to stem the alliance of non-elite Maori and Pakeha in movements like Aotearoa is Not for Sale by stirring up resentment over the cost of Treaty settlements. But thus far the championing of the interests of Maori and workers by MANA and its total opposition to any iwi co-operation with asset sales make it a harder proposition for the right.

Some in the struggle and the movements favour an abstenionist position towards Parliamentary parties- from some Maori activists who believe all politicians are corruped by the colonial Parliament to anarchists who think 'if voting changed anything it would be made illegal'. The wins of Mana this week in helping bring Maori  to a united position against the commercialisation of water and in raising the need for meals in low decile schools confirm the importance of building the Mana Movement for all those who want to stop asset sales and child poverty.

In Quebec, Canada 
provincial elections have seen centre-right Liberal Party ejected from office and the centre-left Parti Quebecois take power promising to repeal the hated fee rise for university students and the emergency laws that criminalised dissent. The anti-capitalist, anti-colonial Quebec Solidaire (QS) won 6% of the popular vote and went from one to two Members of Quebec's National Assembly. The success of QS was as a result of their integration with the Quebec student strike. As the Canadian International Socialists described it, 'QS officially supported the student strikes from the very beginning, taking up student demands for free, accessible post-secondary education, joining citizen pot-clanging marches (les cassaroles) and still proudly wearing the red square.'

Building parties like MANA or Quebec Solidaire are important to the social movements and street protests against neo-liberalism - as one Canadian activist
blogged, 'QS helped build the Quebec spring and was in turn shaped by it, with many students joining its ranks, and is in a stronger position to continue giving voice to the movements in the future.' MANA too is shaping and in turn being shaped by the struggles against neo-liberalism in Aotearoa. As it too grows from the water rights movement it will become a stronger voice in the struggles against austerity and neo-colonialism to come.

To read more go to:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Education [American] NZ Style

To understand what the National / Act / Maori Party / United Future government means by Charter Schools read this, its based on the model they are using in their roll in of Charter Schools…there is an a interesting little bit on ‘Vouchers’ which was and still is a key plank of the ACT / National future educational plan…

The Worst Teacher in Chicago
By Greg Palast | For the Occupied Chicago Tribune
Tuesday, September 10, 2012

This is a true story.

CHICAGO.  In a school with some of the poorest kids in Chicago, one English teacher–I won't use her name–who'd been cemented into the school system for over a decade, wouldn't do a damn thing to lift test scores, yet had an annual salary level of close to $70,000 a year.  Under Chicago's new rules holding teachers accountable and allowing charter schools to compete, this seniority-bloated teacher was finally fired by the principal.
In a nearby neighborhood, a charter school, part of the city system, had complete freedom to hire.  No teachers' union interference. The charter school was able to bring in an innovative English teacher with advanced degrees and a national reputation in her field - for $29,000 a year less than was paid to the fired teacher.
You've guessed it by now:  It's the same teacher.

It's Back to School Time! It’s time for the editorialists and the Tea Party, the GOP and Barack Obama's Education Secretary Arne Duncan to rip into the people who dare teach in public schools. And in Arne's old stomping grounds, Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is stomping on the teachers, pushing them into the street.

Let's stop kidding ourselves. This is what Mitt Romney and Obama and Arne Duncan and Paul Ryan have in mind when they promote charter schools and the right to fire teachers with tenure:  slash teachers’ salaries and bust their unions.

They've almost stopped pretending, too.  Both the Right Wing-nuts and the Obama Administration laud the "progress" of New Orleans' schools–a deeply sick joke.  The poorest students, that struggle most with standardized tests, were drowned or washed away.  One thing Democrat Emanuel and Republican Romney both demand of Chicago teachers is that their pay, their jobs, depends on "standardized tests." Yes, but whose standard? 

Here is an actual question from the standardized test that was given to third graders here in NYC by the nation's biggest test-for-profit company:

"...Most young tennis stars learn the game from coaches at private clubs.  In this sentence a private club is...."   Then you have some choices in which the right answer is "Country Club - place where people meet."

Now not many of the "people [who] meet" at country clubs are from the South Side of Chicago--unless their parents are caddies.  A teacher on the South Side whose students are puzzled by the question will lose their pay or job. Students on the lakefront Gold Coast all know that mommy plays tennis at the Country Club with Raul on Wednesdays. So their teacher gets a raise and their school has high marks.

And while Mayor Rahm promises kids in "bad" schools new teachers (the same ones at lower pay) at high-score schools, in fact, they are never actually allowed in.

But Rahm, after all, is just imposing Bush education law which should be called, No Child's Behind Left.

You want to know what's wrong with our schools.  Benno Schmidt, CEO of the big Edison Schools teach-for-profit business is a creepy, greedy privateer.  But he told me straight: that before Hurricane Katrina, his company would never go into New Orleans because Louisiana spent peanuts per child on education.  He made it clear: You get what you pay for.  Not what you test for.   

So the charter carpetbaggers slither in, cherry-pick the easy students, declare success. The tough cases and special ed kids are left in the public system so they can claim the public system fails.

Here's what the teacher who was terrible at $70,000 but brilliant at $41,000 told me:
"They're not doing this in white neighborhoods.  And they want to get rid of the older, experienced teachers with seniority that cost more.  Get rid of the teachers and, ultimately get rid of the kids.  And the charter school gets to pick the kids who get in."

It's simple.  When you look at the drop-out rates in New York (41%) and Chicago (44%), the solution offered is to pay teachers less. They punish those who dare to work in poor schools where kids struggle and you can bet that "washing away" half the kids in our schools is, in fact, exactly what they've planned.

It's notable that, when he lived in Chicago, Barack Obama played basketball with city school chief Arne Duncan, but Obama sure as hell didn't send his kids to Arne's crap public schools. Those are for po' folk. 

His kids went to the tony "Lab" School in Hyde Park.  Obama believes what Duncan believes and what Romney believes:  there's no need for universal education and no need to spend money on it.  Yes, they like to say that "children are our future."  But they mean the children of China are our future, the Chinese kids who will make the stuff we want and the children of India who will program it all for us.

After all, how much education does some obese kid from Texas need to stack boxes from China in a Wal-Mart warehouse? 

Education is no longer about information and learning skills.  It's now about "triage."  A few selected by standardized tests or privileged birth will be anointed and permitted into better and "gifted" schools. The chosen elite are still very much needed:  to invest in India and Vietnam, to design new derivatives to circumvent the laughable new banking laws, and to maintain order among the restless hundred-million drop-outs squeezed out of the colon of our educational system.

Democrats' Bantustans, Republicans' Value-less Vouchers.The Obama/Duncan/Emanuel plan is to create Bantustans of un-chartered, cheaply-run dumpster schools within a government system.  But Romney and the GOP would give every child a "choice" even outside government schools with "vouchers." 

Of course, the "vouchers" don't vouch for much.  Romney's old alma mater, Cranbrook Academy, runs at $34,025 a year, not counting the polo sticks and horse.  The most generous voucher program is Washington DC's, beloved of the GOP, which pays about $7,500, or if the student's "choice" is Cranbrook, about 2 months of school.  Hyde Park Day School Chicago is $35,900.  To give each kid a real choice, not just a coupon, means a massive increase in spending per pupil.  I didn't see that in the Republican platform did you?

The experienced teacher in Chicago who took the pay cut was offered one consolation.  She was told she could make up some of the pay loss by quitting the union and saving on union dues. So that's the program.  An educational Katrina: squeeze the teachers until they strike, demolish their unions and drown the students.
Chicago's classroom war is class war by another name.
Class dismissed.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Are ACC a bunch of Liars...Pet Dr's make millions

Is Paula Rebstock's Goldmine Trustworthy. No says TV3.

ACC appears to be a bunch of crooks.

TV 3’s Sundays 60 minutes carried out a searching look into ACC behaviours regarding its treatment of long term clients or patients and the result was shocking from whatever perspective you look at it.

When Nick Smith the dumped Minister of ACC signed a deal three years ago to reduce the numbers of long term clients he knowingly or in ignorance started a process that ensured that some Doctors made millions of dollars giving ACC the reports that they needed to massively cut the numbers being paid long term payments.

The ACC has used key hand picked Doctors to review long term patients files and declare them fit for work.

Some Doctors according to sixty minutes have been paid up to as high as two million dollars over a two or three year period working for the ACC.

Some Doctors were not even specialists in the field that they were reviewing.

Also ACC would fly Doctors from small South Island locations all around the country to conduct the reviews on long term clients even when there were expert specialists living and working near by.

Other Doctors / Specialist were asked to change their findings and because of this many Specalists refused to do ACC work [Reports]

The programme was hugely revealing and showed concerted effort to have people reviewed by ACC’s favourite hand picked so-call medical experts, for that is what these Doctors appeared to be.

No wonder the national party has made Paula Rebstock the new Chairperson of ACC, she is ideally suited to this slash and burn policy put in place by the National Government.

TV 3’s 60 minutes programme has blown open the rotten core of ACC once and for all.

This present government by creating and condoning this almost and may be, criminal behaviour proves yet again the inhuman behaviour of the treatment of our beneficiaries.

Please if you can go on line and watch this latest 60 minutes programme. I’m sure that like me you will be shocked.

I await some quick action to get rid of those Doctors who have got rich quick by being toadies of our ACC that was once respected.  

Friday, 7 September 2012

Social Justice Week. Presentation Palmerston North.

Feeding people has been a problem since the early Roman Empire and even before that. Every time the grain ships were delayed because of pirates and such-like or crop failure, the hungry mob in Rome threatened the wealthy dictatorship. Suddenly feeding the poor or masses became a matter of urgency even self preservation. Then as recorded history proves repeatedly revolutions, riots, wars and general mayhem reigned until control was reestablished by the strongest. Might was right and as always the victor wrote the history and made themselves the heroes, while the starving continued to be victims.
I today will limit my talk to those areas of actual fact, Poverty, the lack of food for the table is not new, nor is it universal, although it is growing at a rapid rate, but there is one common denominator and that is ‘money’ its the main driver for and against putting food on the tables of everyone.

Fact: Control access to food and you control people, power and the future.

These days there are only four ways of legally putting food on the table: Grow it, or harvest it from the wild, Buy it, or be given it. If none of those four exist you have to STEAL it.

Fact: Greed automatically leads to poverty.

There are people, families and whole societies and even countries today that never think about food, it simply appears whenever they require it. A cell phone is much more important to them, but to others its life or death.

Fact: Preventing poverty via food on the table [availability] has been an unachieved target goal for centuries.

Millions of people have attempted to prevent poverty and food shortages and as yet no one has been successful on a fully national or international scale. Religious, political powers both democratic and otherwise have failed to achieve a lasting answer to the cycle of poverty, starvation, or even the distribution of food itself.

Fact: The world’s leaders have not developed a poverty prevention plan, nor have they had the collective desire to design one.

So long as the poor, the hungry and the needy are seen as charity recipients this will always be the case. Mana says ‘Do away with the word charity’ and create a new word that represents hope and possibilities. I don’t know what that word is but when I hear it I’ll know…as I said:

The only legal ways of putting food on the table is to grow it or harvest it, buy it or be given it.

Does Mana have an answer to this age old problem; an answer that will see poverty disappear over night…it does not. But it is at least is in touch with those affected and those who cause the problem. Other political parties have lost touch.

But somewhere within this room or country of ours, the answer resides awaiting discovery…it won’t be an easy answer…nor will it be cheap…the world has put people on the moon, we’ve put giant sized TV cameras on Mars…and yet we can’t feed the world. We spend trillions on killing each other, billions and billions on mind numbing TV shows, but we can’t afford to feed the worlds population. Yet we call ourselves smart and intelligent, we even call ourselves human. But are we collectively human if we can’t feed those living in poverty.

We are even dumber here in New Zealand, for we have the land…at least for the time being…we have the knowledge and we have the wealth and means of distribution but still we lack the collective ability to share with others willingly.

What to do now is the key question that needs answering, before I recommend a first step, let me state clearly that demonizing those presently receiving social welfare payments is not only self defeating but is ethically and morally bankrupt, so I’ll not waste words on that stupidity. So all this talk of drug testing and punishment régimes is simply a red herring and is nothing more than vote catching by those who can’t see the trees for the forest.

Sue Bradford is Mana’s spokesperson on social welfare and she played a part in producing a revealing document now known as ‘The Alternative Welfare Group Report’. It clearly demonstrates that many [and it’s a growing number] of those receiving social welfare entitlements are treated not as individuals who simply need assistance, but as almost lepers. The key word here is respect. Language management is a key. Language is more than words it is the means by which self esteem is demonstrated.

The words, ‘Universal Wage’ have a demonstrative human respect about them and it is the future track I would recommend. It would give us the greatest chance to make meaningful steps towards the removal of poverty as a major issue here in Aotearoa. This is vital because our society has reached the point that food, housing and all other necessities for a life free of poverty have to be purchased, or stolen. Let us purchase them collectively.

A life free of poverty, free of charity, free of humiliation is an unquestionable human right. There is no such thing as the deserving poor or the undeserving poor. There are only those who for the time being need a hand up. Not to do so is murder by ignorance and greed.

So regardless of where you are targeting your anti-poverty efforts, be it local, national or international, the key message in my and Mana’s view is that every person you are helping, in any shape or form, should be treated with respect, thereby maintaining and lifting their individual and collective mana. This I would humbly suggest is the only acceptable and human response.

Let me finish by thanking you for your collective efforts, particularly Mana acknowledges your work, the papers on the Myths about Poverty and Beneficiaries, your support for the Conference – Beyond Poverty as a counter view to the Government’s conference ‘Beyond Dependency’ which was pushing for time limited benefits. Also Mana thanks you for the work of the Alternative Welfare Working Party and its report. CARITAS and the wider Church and its officials they all play an important role in confronting the myths and political agendas that perpetuate poverty – please continue to speak out strongly 

Thank you.
Peter Wheeler
Mana Ki Manawatu

Peter at
06 359-2030

021 509431
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