Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Inauspicious

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  • Simon Grigg,

    Oh no, not the oil nonsense again. The US has been in Iraq for over 3 1/2 years now and how many barrels of oil have they expropriated? That would be none, zip, zero, nada. Iraq's oil is Iraq's oil, to do with as they please, and they are doing just that. The last time I saw some numbers, despite hopeless infrastructure the Iraqi national oil company is back close to or just above the pre 2003 production numbers and planning to greatly expand in the coming years, to sell to whomever they please. Good on them, now Iraqis can benefit from their natural resources.

    and moving outside the Republican talking points now....this link offers a more considered view of what is actually happening to the Iraqi oil which is NOT quite as rosy as you've portrayed

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    the urbandictionary entries for pakeha are in a similar vein.

    what. are. these. people. like?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    what. are. these. people. like?

    Six years ago I was in New Caledonia on holiday, having dinner at the hotel restaurant. At a nearby table was a middle-aged New Zealand couple who had acquired a middle-aged French lady, and were giving her a primer on New Zealand.

    According to them, the Moriori were the original inhabitants of New Zealand, but the Maoris killed them and ate them. And the Maoris call white New Zealanders Pakehas, which means white pig.

    It took a lot of self-control to avoid going over and screaming at them.

    I have no doubt that people like that, in all age groups, still exist, only now they're online.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1869 posts Report Reply

  • Span .,

    Che asks what these people are like and Robyn gives an example that could be taken from my own extended family :-(

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Che asks what these people are like and Robyn gives an example that could be taken from my own extended family :-(

    Sigh! Back when I was making an attempt at being a family man, my stepdaughter was thinking of teaching her baby daughter a language. She asked whether I knew anyone who spoke Italian or Spanish "or anything really, it would just be great for her to learn another language". "How about Maori?" I suggested, and she replied "Aw, I'm sick of all that fucking Maori crap being shoved down our fucking throats!"

    Shudder.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But that's not the point. Russell was referring to the images of his final moments. It's not easy to make yourself look like the bad guy when you're executing one of the most evil and hated men alive, but yet again the Bush Administration came through for us. The images of Husseins final moments - a dignified elderly man surrounded by masked captors jeering as they fasten a noose around his neck - give him a one-way ticket to martyrdom.
    It's not about Saddam - it's about how allowing his death to be filmed and broadcast will deepen and antagonise the civil war currently underway.

    Unlike one ridiculous Kos diarist, I did not feel sad for Saddam. But I did think the execution was going to be fairly irrelevant. It turned out to be much worse than that. The fact that a Shia militia (some days I'm sure we'd call them "terrorists") infiltrated what should have been a demonstration of of some degree of statehood is just damning. The filming, the timing, everything about it is bad. And it does matter what Sunnis think about it.

    James' comparison of murder rates is a meme and, I suspect, one which does not bear scrutiny. IIRC, there are currently about three million displaced Iraqis, roughly equally split between external and internal. Most of the Iraqi government resides outside Iraq. Schools and universities can barely be said to be functioning

    Even Instapundit linked recently to an interview with an Iraqi rep for Reporters Without Borders who basically said, well, it was better under Saddam - at least people had lives. How hideously wrong does it have to go for a press freedom advocate to say that?

    It's a very, very fucked up place and I'm not sure what can be done about it. And I do not buy the line that it "would have happened anyway". That's a disgraceful cop-out.

    Perhaps it mightn't have been so bad if the American operation had not been so hideously incompetent. But the Katrina experience suggests that these people think that's just the way things are done:

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/12/26/katrina.waste.ap/index.html

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Hogan,

    The other side (that would be the side Americans don't want to know about) of the "Sadam story" is told is bold detail by Robert Fisk here :

    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1231-23.htm

    If they are intent on taking out dictators and tyrants around the world that threaten peace and security, perhaps they would do well looking a bit closer to home.

    Waiheke Island • Since Nov 2006 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Michael,

    Thank you. I suspect you might think that people like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore are really smart guys, so to be called an idiot by you is a compliment.

    Michael, you are actually doing quite well. When I dared to dissent I was tossed in by James as a fellow traveler with Pol Pot and Mao!

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

    the urbandictionary entries for pakeha are in a similar vein.

    what. are. these. people. like?

    I have to second the comments of Span, Robyn & Tom: We'd like to think these kinds of people inhabit some Deliverance style locality far away from us, and that they're easily identified by their cracked teeth, tobaccy chewing ways. But unfortunately they're also our doctors, lawyers, bosses, colleagues, neighbours and even friends and family.

    The worst thing for me is that the Pakeha rednecks are just as bad as the Maori ones.

    And ae, the Listener is listing badly to the right (meaning tabloid pulp) and has been for some time. There's still a bit of wheat in there, but its getting increasingly hard to sort it from the chaff.

    Its a great shame because really what are the alternatives? As much as I hate to point the finger, I really think that since Pamela Stirling took over the amount of self-help, maximise your property value, hold up your saggy baby boomer skin style pulp journalism has risen dramatically. I doubt I will bother renewing my subscription this year, especially considering most blogs are free.

    Whaing─üroa • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    And I do not buy the line that it "would have happened anyway".

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Are you saying that this level of ethnic/religious violence would not have happened had Saddam's regime ended in any other way?

    It seems to me that this was brewing for 30 years - Saddam spent that much time fostering and exploiting pre-existing divisions with Iraq. It was really 30 years of civil war and what we have now is the losers - the Shiites - now able to fight back.

    I'm not sure if having foreign troops there now makes things better or worse.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    Oh no, not the oil nonsense again. The US has been in Iraq for over 3 1/2 years now and how many barrels of oil have they expropriated? That would be none, zip, zero, nada. Iraq's oil is Iraq's oil, to do with as they please, and they are doing just that. The last time I saw some numbers, despite hopeless infrastructure the Iraqi national oil company is back close to or just above the pre 2003 production numbers and planning to greatly expand in the coming years, to sell to whomever they please. Good on them, now Iraqis can benefit from their natural resources.

    It was always about the oil, though not instant access to it for the US, but controlling it and the power over everyone else it'll give them.
    You think if the Iraqis had any say, they would have to spend hours and days queuing just to fill their cars and generators?
    Like all the other assets, their oil fields have be privatised and basically given to the American Corporations. Very little of the profit will go to the Iraqis. You honesty believe that the US well invest so much on getting their hands on it, then just give back?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • Hamboy,

    Oops. Forgive my inability to use the quote function.
    Talking about posting comments, does anyone else have problems posting comments to blogs that use the system that the Fundy post uses?
    Even though I seem to be able to login with my gmail account, I still can't post.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 162 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Russell, thanks for the kudos.

    Hamboy, you are the first to tell me about a posting problem, but then I suppose if you can't comment then I wouldn't know about it. I can't see any cause but everything has been a bit strange since the new version of Blogger went out of Beta.

    I wrote a letter of complaint to Urban Dictonary at their feedback page. You can select the definitions that bother you. Go on, you know you want to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Are you saying that this level of ethnic/religious violence would not have happened had Saddam's regime ended in any other way?

    It seems to me that this was brewing for 30 years - Saddam spent that much time fostering and exploiting pre-existing divisions with Iraq. It was really 30 years of civil war and what we have now is the losers - the Shiites - now able to fight back.

    If it was such an obvious consequence Neil, why did you never think to mention it when we argued on the merits of an invasion in 2002 and 2003? Why didn't anyone think to mention it?

    Why don't I recall one of the arguments for war being that there would be widespread sectarian bloodshed, millions of people displaced and the rise of religious militias, but we might as well get it over with because it's going to happen anyway?

    None of this was part of the sales pitch for war. We simply don't know what might have happened if history had taken another course, because there were so many potential courses. But the White House engineered a particular course - and removed the existing political, social and security infrastructure in the process - and now it has to live with what it did.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    What did that White House aide say about people who live in the reality-based community?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    re: the Run DMC rider...your memory is correct I think Russell. The rider for the 1988 NZ shows was about the same, but with the addition of large amounts of McDonalds too. They were also given vast amounts of Adidas gear by the local distributer (which he was contractually obliged to do) which, if memory serves, they threw into the crowd.

    I have memories of Jam Master Jay knelling behind the turntables, consuming a Big Mac and then leaving the half eaten burger on the floor as he left the stage...nice.

    I've mentioned it elsewhere, but when we bought Ice T to NZ in 1989 his rider included three bottles per night of Champagne. We dutifully obliged with Moet. On the first night his then wife, the sparingly attired Darlene, walked out and sprayed all three bottles over the 200 or so in The Siren. The next two nights they got chardon.....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Independent's lead today, For the first time, a real blueprint for peace in Iraq by 2003-2004 Iraqi defence minister Ali (not Ayad) Allawi is very lucid and, frankly, a better contribution than the endless flow of hot air from most western analysts and commentators. I don't know if he's right, but he reads pretty well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    re: the Run DMC rider...your memory is correct I think Russell. The rider for the 1988 NZ shows was about the same, but with the addition of large amounts of McDonalds too.

    But did they get through all two dozen condoms?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed6502,

    Russell: I think solitary confinement would have been more appropriate for Saddam than hanging. As with fellow psychopath Timothy McVeigh, what if he didn't tell the whole story?

    At least summer's out of the closet here in Welly, and the Beach Volleyball is starting on the weekend. I can hear cameras doing warm-up stretches. :)

    "The worst thing for me is that the Pakeha rednecks are just as bad as the Maori ones.

    From my own experiences as a 6th-gen Cantonese Kiwi, I'd have to concur. I'm tempted to agree with Imogen Neale's view in this regard. In my view the white-necks should F.O. to Perth or Cronulla, and the brown-necks should F.O. to Zimbabwe. And the Listener has been joining the ranks of the yellow journal club since Finlay left. That, along with a certain yellow journalist concocting a yellow peril in North & South, makes me want to blow my nose on a Blue Ensign hanky.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Raffe Smith,

    Russell,

    What exactly was your Christmas whisky? Inquiring minds want to know. I assume it was single malt but from which distillery?

    Grey Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    Ok first of all, having read a few of your obviously republican inspired posts in the past, James sorry but he's right you're an idiot. In fact I'm reminded of a movie tag line that could be paraphrased thus,

    I see dumb people, they're everywhere, they don't even know they're dumb.

    As far as urban dickheadry goes, what a waste of bandwidth that was.
    Actually back to James, I still think you're an eedjit but I do respect your right to be so, I'll just leave it at that, you're not right or I'm not wrong we're just different is all. But my word your leader is a weener. Still, he provides Letterman with a slew of fresh material regularly. I love 'great moments in presidential speeches'

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    The main problem with the Saddam.exe thing is not really the emotive stuff at the event but how completely dodgy the trial itself was. No-one should be put to death after a shambolic endeavour such as that. I know that he was responsible for untold murders and atrocities in his time but the whole idea here was to move on from that sort of behaviour wasn't it? Not to promulgate it further by indulging in what will be percieved as more of the same but this time perpetrated by the great satan or the infidels or bert and ernie. Sometimes it's great to live in a remote archipelago.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    But did they get through all two dozen condoms?

    My best guess is that they would've handed a few on to Derek B, the support act...he was much more of a lad about town than the brothers McD or Mr Mizell who were more interested in getting back to the (burger) bar than anything else.

    And to put a seedy edge on this topic....long forgotten rapper Redhead Kingpin left two used ones in his dressing room at The Box. Which is more than you needed to know, but, hey, its rock'n'roll, no?

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The main problem with the Saddam.exe thing is not really the emotive stuff at the event but how completely dodgy the trial itself was.

    the Human Rights Watch report on trial discrepancies runs to 97 pages, its here and worth a read if you have the time.

    How anybody could have the gall to link the crime rates in NOLA with the bloody mayhem in Iraq is (almost) beyond me and quite obscene. Previous right wing disinformation linked it, as someone said with DC's murder rate, and before that, with both Detroit and LA...all utter nonsense of course, but it intrigues me how they can keep spinning like this in the face of such overwhelming and publicly available evidence. Its incredible what a mass of blind stupidity exists across an allegedly educated nation.

    Even this late in the game the odious Michelle Malkin is off to Iraq to try and establish the media bias that is a right wing item of faith, and I have no doubt that her predicable report will have a good deal of traction in a nation where she and the likes of the ludicrous Coulter and Limbaugh are actually taken seriously.

    Sorry if I'm ranting......

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3209 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Someone asked me where the numbers came from for the New Orleans / Iraq violence murder comparison. Here are articles:

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1107AP_Iraq_Casualty_Count.html
    http://www.wafb.com/global/story.asp?s=5885002

    I posted the comparison to provide a data point that shows that maybe Iraq is not such a complete disaster as it is commonly held to be. All you see and hear in the media is chaos and murder and mayhem, and there is a lot of that, unfortunately far too much. But sometimes a statistic or two can cut through the noise and provide a different, perhaps more accurate perspective, that maybe things in Iraq aren't hopeless after all, that the estimates of 600, 000 dead since 2003 are wrong by several hundred percent. The Newsweek article I linked to in a previous post about Iraq's booming economy supports this alternative perspective as well.

    As far as Iraq being worse now than it was before March 2003, as the UN's former Thief in Chief Kofi Annan said in his departing address, I saw the Iraqi UN Ambassador asked that exact question on CNN the day after Saddam's rope dance. The Ambassador didn't have too much time for that view!!

    His answer was that most of those who said that hadn't lived under the tender mercies of Saddam Hussein and that without the invasion; Iraq had no hope of the end of that brutal nightmare. He also said that Saddam's 14 year old grandson (who was killed with Uday and Quisai) was being groomed to continue the dynasty after Saddam and Quisai's reigns came to and end so that the regime and the mass graves could have continued well into this century. The Ambassador said that while life in Iraq is difficult, now at least Iraqi have hope for a better future.

    Iraq is not pretty, but I think the Pottery Barn rule applies. The US and the UK and the other forces broke it, so now they have to fix it. I think that the UK, the US have an obligation to stay and support in whatever way necessary the Iraqi government as long as is necessary.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

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