Posts by Tom Semmens

  • Hard News: Interview: Glenn Greenwald,

    Haven’t seen any media comment lately about appointment of donkey’s childhood mate as spook chief.

    David Farrar has a post up where he lists all the important and authoritative people who are saying New Zealanders are not spied on. But the problem is that Snowden and Greenwald have exposed the entire establishment as arse covering and self serving liars. The crisis is as much one of confidence in being able to believe what we are told as much as anything. If Key says "The GCSB does not conduct mass surveillance on New Zealanders" a heft portion of his listeners simply don't believe him, or suspect him of using doublespeak where he has a peculiar interpretation of what "surveillance" is or that someone else might be doing it for us and handing the data back. One of the reasons we need a proper, open and informed formal debate on surveillance and the GCSB/SIS powers is the urgent need to re-establish trust in our authorities in the minds of the general public.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The plan against the rebuild,

    From Teara:

    On 11 March 1931 the government appointed magistrate J. S. Barton and engineer L. B. Campbell as commissioners of Napier. Together with local committees they had the daunting task of organising reconstruction.

    The rebuild of Napier is the gold standard against which the disaster that is the Canterbury rebuild should be measured. Tin Town was up in running within weeks, not months or years.

    But the key was the not the “dictators” Barton and Campbell but their committees. The committees were a) local and b) empowered to make decisions. This government, with it’s arrogance, compulsive autocracy, cronyism and contempt for democracy was only ever going to adopt the the dictatorship part of the Napier model. Napier was rebuilt in two years not because it was a dictatorship of two men, but because those two men were informed by committees of locals who understood local conditions. And remember, the whole thing was done in the great depression.

    So what of central government? In keeping with their general economic mismanagement of the great depression the United Reform coalition government of the day, gave only measly assistance (about 1.75 million pounds of the 3.5 million plus required), forcing the local councils to borrow for their rebuilds. Napier was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1938 when a saner central government (Labour) wrote of it’s government loan prompting howls of protest from Hastings, which was not granted the same favour – thus giving Labour a never-to-be-broken grip on the Napier urban vote and creating a feud between the two cities which is still going strong today (SAY NO TO AMALGAMATION!).

    The general lesson in this, as it is with most things, is give the locals the tools and let them get on with it. King Gerry and his appointed apparachiks are a disaster for Christchurch.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Vision and dumbassery,

    Just as an aside, seeing hundreds of people show up, and thousands watching online, to a town hall event where speakers talked on big ideas of freedom and liberty surely puts lie to the claim that people are disengaged from politics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: "Project SPEARGUN underway",

    Snowden made a deep impression on me. The guy is a hero.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics, in reply to simon g,

    Snowden providing a more lucid, coherent, and credible explanation of basic civics than a thousand NZ Herald columns.

    Thank goodness these Americans have “politicized” our election. Somebody had to, and it’s not our homegrown selfie-chasers masquerading as reporters.

    Brilliant summation of my frustration with the NZ media. I think I will steal it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The End of Trust,

    . I sincerely hope the adverse publicity puts any future black ops work on hold indefinitely.

    A quick look at Whaleoil confirms the "tip line", Beehive tap and PR attacks are now firmly turned of, at least until after the election. The trick is to make it permanent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: Sign this Petition,

    Stephen Franks.

    I’m actually speechless. What a vile and foul human being.

    Hey, his buddy Jim Mora has him on all the time. He’s an intellectual you see. knows all about the law, he does.

    Anyone who listens to Franks speak for a few minutes quickly realises he is a deeply unlikeable, nasty and arrogant toss pot in love with his own sense of superiority.

    In other words, another day, another ACT supporter. And that is something important for us all to remember. The climate of born-to-rule arrogance, deep cynicism, loathing of the demos, arrogant superiority and authoritarian capitalism that has led to Slater began with Douglas, Prebble, Bassett, De Cleane, Hide, Franks, Garrett and their ilk in ACT. It looks like this time ACT won't hold Epsom. Getting rid of ACT, and it's evil influence on democracy, is an important part of rooting out the dirty politics in New Zealand.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: But seriously, drug policy,

    A friend of mine was at an event last week where he reckoned the lavatory cubicles were heaving with groups of people all of whom (by the sound of it) were insulfating what he presumed were anti-hayfever medications. So while cannabis reform is all fine and dandy, what about other drugs in widespread use due to our growing invisible trade with South America? Or is it drug reform, singular, and only pertaining to pot, as far as it can currently get here in NZ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Privacy and the Public Interest,

    So when you go to a political meeting, and look around, the question isn’t who they appear to be supporting, but who isn’t there.

    The collapse of mass membership political parties and the damage to our democracy that accompanied the Rogernomics betrayal by our political class in the 1980s and 90s has never really been repaired. MMP has in some ways made that damage permanent by creating elite cadre parties where it is not in the interests of a narrow class of professional politicians to encourage mass participation in politics, lest they lose control of the party machinery that controls party list and the MP selection process.

    Cynicism, the fact that the two main parties have for thirty years had a consensus to maintain a deeply divisive neo-liberal economic model that has created an entrenched reactionary class that controls much of the media, and a deliberate program aimed at the atomisation of society and the annihilation of alternative centres of ideas and political organisation have all contributed to a hollowing out of our democracy where we are in real danger of elections becoming a grostesque charade.

    My personal view is what the public are looking for - and what needs to occur as a precursor to real economic reform - is a political party with the vision to promise a real program of democratic and civic renewal, for example:

    Political reform: Term limits. Ban all donations to political parties. Introduce state funding based on a dollar sum per party member. Make voting compulsory. Make election day a fixed date - the first Wednesday 1095 days after the return of the writs and make it a paid public holiday like Xmas.

    - Devolution: Give local government the ability to levy some types of taxes and hand over to them some government functions like housing and social welfare (Whanu Ora for everyone!). Create a new class of "community juries" that are compulsory, empanelled from local voters at a suburban level and sit every Saturday and Sunday in a local hall. They won't have the power to imprison, but they will hear summary offenses that occurred in their neighbourhood.

    Citizen responsibility: Introduce a graduated community services tax, rebatable upon the completion of, say, 200 hours of voluntary work per year. Earn 160K PA and to busy to volunteer? Then your tax rate just went up. Civics training in schools.

    Fourth estate: Increase funding to state media like RNZ, and completely reform TVNZ. Introduce strong anti-trust laws and force the break up of SKY TV and the media duopoloy. Ban foreign ownership of NZ media.

    The likes of Slater and Farrar and the PR men are a bacillus that fester in a political open wound because democracy is to sick to fight their infection off. We need to apply some democratic penicillin to heal the wound.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Privacy and the Public Interest,

    The Herald is in fine Tory form this (saturday mornin) John Armstrong has produced one of his more blatant pieces of one-eyed opinionating, claiming Labour are the living dead.

    Armstrong operates a ridiculous double standard when it comes to the level of accountability he holds Labour compared to National. Nary a peep from the gasping old bastard on the fiscal responsibility of the the sudden emergence of tax cuts, but a forensic analysis of a slip up in the details of Labour’s CGT and a gleeful dispatch to the cemetery as soon as he thinks decent.

    Less than 48 hours after the “Dirty Politics” revelations started to die down, ZB are using Farrar and Slater as a primary source for their lead political story and TV3 were back to using John Key as a commentator on IMP party policy. My Mum used to say rich Tories never gave the poor anything, if you want something from them you don’t ask – you take it.

    The same applies to the right wing corporate media. They won’t change until the left gets into power and make them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1793 posts Report Reply

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