Posts by Steve Withers

  • Hard News: The Digital Natives,

    I’m one of those who sees Dotcom as a flawed person in many ways, while also recognising that to greater or lesser extents we are ALL flawed people. What I am absolutely grateful to him for is exposing the extent to which our own government was turning a blind eye to the law governing spying on us all. Further, he exposed the extent to which our own government allows other governments to spy on us all…and do it with impunity.

    Give the guy a medal. He’s done more for the cause of civil liberties in NZ than anyone else in recent times, despite the fact the government responded by eroding our freedoms even further. At least we now see them for what they really are.

    But I’ll be voting Green because they are the only major party that hasn’t sold out on exactly these issue. Sue Bradford, Keith Locke and the other Green MPs past, present and deceased – Rod Donald – have been our consistent champions for the past 25 years. I respect and support that.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Busytown: School bully,

    National misleading people for the benefit of the - usually foreign - corporates? Really? How could anyone think the Multi-National 1% Party (NZ) would ever do such a thing? They must know too much history.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Web, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    Ask Jeeves was pretty good until they started ranking paid-links ahead of the links one might be looking for. Several search engines went that way. Google resisted and was then able to persist. Certainly this is why I kept using Google. They provided results we wanted. But now they only provide the results they are allowed to provide and what we search for is being watched by the security agencies of several countries. So far, I’ve refused to allow that to “chill” my internet freedom…..but at the same time I’m aware that one day my stubbornness may be used against me or my loved ones.

    I remember the lessons of WW I conscription. First people were required to register for conscription. Then later they were conscripted. It was MUCH harder to hide if you had registered in the first place…and much easier to hide if you avoided the whole thing right from the start.

    I keep that lesson in mind every time I open a web browser…aware that for me, it’s already too late. In for a penny…In for a pound.

    Aside from all that....USENET Newsgroups were the battlefield upon which I regularly made a dick of myself, firm in the belief that if someone said something wrong on the Internet it was my sacred mission to put them right. I'm much humbler now and I learned about trolls, too. The's awesome.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Spring Timing, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Looks like Peters may be there either way.....

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: All John's Friends,

    Elections in NZ have devolved into a contest between "Me" and "We" factions. The split is too close for my liking. I thought NZ had more regard for "We" than recent elections demonstrate.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Making it up on smacking, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Love that Wiki article. Thanks for posting the link.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Making it up on smacking, in reply to Russell Brown,

    All credit to the Herald for taking Craig to task.

    However....the Herald and the Dom Post are past masters at dog whistling in a dozen news stories…and then repudiating that message in an editorial read by far fewer people. This way they look “balanced"….but they know full well the overall impact of the two tips firmly one way….

    I’ve been watching media for almost 40 years. This is one of the oldest methods around for shaping public opinion while pretending not to.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Making it up on smacking,

    SOP; “Standard Operating Procedure”: Usage example: “A conservative politician just making stuff up in support of unfounded beliefs is SOP.” See G W Bush / Iraq War.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We need to talk about Len,

    My wife and I stayed at the Langham last year…and we got a free upgrade to the Presidential Suite. I’ll do my best to get them a good deal on dental practice management software when the time comes.

    As for Len Brown….he’s become something of a Bill Clinton figure. Obviously talented. Obviously flawed. It becomes a calculation of sorts: Do we balance the risks of his flaws against the benefits of his intended programs and try to come to some kind of conclusion? Or do we assume there is some other leader in waiting who will promote the same agenda and ask Len to make way for that person by resigning and having an election? If we have an election now, won’t the Right buy it, aided by an NZ Herald deeply in love with business interests? If that were to be the case, we would probably lose the Central Rail Link, Watercare may be privatised and the low-density sprawl to the horizon will continue unabated….and so on.

    With all that in the balance….I hope Len enjoyed his stays at the hotels. Would I vote for him again? Maybe…if the only alternative was a Palino-like proxy for the robber barons who would pillage Aucklanders.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Heads Up,

    I got into smoking dope back in October 1977. I was 19. I quickly progressed to eating a gram of Moroccan hash / day. Perma-stone. By February ‘78 it was obvious even to me my ’new’ lifestyle was a four-lane highway to Nowhere. Emphasising this, two my mates at the time (who had been doing this for much longer) required psychiatric care. Another had been accepted into medical school, but decided doing heroin in Central Park in NYC was a better option.

    I smoked my last joint in April ’78. I wouldn’t recommend drugs of any kind to anyone. I’ve given up alcohol, too. They are all brain wanking….and I find a properly functioning brain (or as close as I’m able to manage it) is much more fun than the drug-degraded version.

    Not saying no one else should do drugs. Just that for me it was obviously a waste of time, money and – ultimately – potential.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

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