Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Contains strong language

136 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Newer→ Last

  • Joe Wylie,

    No Joe it was once complex, but now it is not. A complex situation can be solved peacefully through debate & democracy in an open forum.

    Thanks for putting me straight on that, Angus. It's a concept I'd never been exposed to before. Breathtaking (And if youbelieve that, you'll believe anything).

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    A quick googling on Uribe paints a mixed picture. He's managed to get political violence down and has moved to confront both the left wing guerrillas and right wing paramilitaries.

    The current allegations about connections to paramilitary groups are historical in nature - going back 20 years. At the time the person making these allegations, Gustavo Petro, was himself a left wing guerrilla.

    He, or his family, may have been connected to drug cartels in the past. On the other hand if government officials are at present being arrested and investigated for ties with paramilitaries then that suggests he's now doing his job.

    The violence from the Left and Right has been long standing in Colombia so it's not really a good comparison with Venezuela.

    Uribe may have a murky past, so has Chavez, but the comparison is really about what they are both doing now. Uribe may be in the pocket of paramilitaries, the evidence is not convincing yet, or he may be trying his best in circumstances far more difficult than those Chavez faces.

    It depends on whether or not Uribe is seriously committed to dealing with the right wing militias. But he doesn't appear to shutting down opposition media.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Just pointing out that some who criticise his actions today are of the same ilk that tried to prevent Death on the Rock being screened. When that failed they set up a system that could remove the license of an independent station to broadcast.

    ┬┐Eh?

    Let's make a syllogism

    1.Thatcher closed down the station which had criticised her.
    2. Chavez closed down the station which had criticised him.
    3. Therefore, the critics of Chavez are like Thatcher.

    Something is not right here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Crap. The Government first tried to suppress the program and failed. Then they changed the rules for bidding for licenses and put in a closed system for bids in which the criteria for "wining were obtuse to say the least. Thames didn't stand a chance.

    That was the Thatcher governments SOP.

    They did a similar thing with Poll Tax. They made up an immensely complicated formula for grant aid to councils which ended up with:
    - marginal Tory councils = lots of grant, no tax
    - safe Tory/Labour/Liberal councils = some grant, medium tax
    - marginal Labour = no grant, huge tax

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Thames bid on two channels. The first was competitive (ie there were other bidders) and they lost. For the 2nd channel (Channel 3, I believe) they were the only bidder. Somehow, they still lost..

    I understand that this was by no means the full scope of Thatch's activities at the time. BBC footage from the Orgreave protests were seized intitially as "evidence" and later held under the official secrets act. This had to occcur with the complicity of court officials. No surprise then that the existing government is trying to prevent the release of personal expense account details for MP's.

    Census or ID cards ?

    I'll take the census.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 699 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Neil, my understanding is that the US DOD is independent of Gustavo Petro

    Uribe may have a murky past

    and present...

    A letter four weeks ago from HRW to Uribe...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3185 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I understand that this was by no means the full scope of Thatch's activities at the time. BBC footage from the Orgreave protests were seized intitially as "evidence" and later held under the official secrets act.

    and that shown by the BBC at the time had added "riot" sound effects..it caused quite some fuss when it was exposed later....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3185 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    And if youbelieve that, you'll believe anything.

    Apparently so. For one thing firing rubber bullets and teargas into peaceful demonstrations is wrong. Also that smashing the free press is wrong. That censuring debate is wrong. That these wrongs are so simple and as easy to understand that a child could understand them if told in a bedtime story.

    But others believe it to be complex and that it is wrong to be calling him a tinpot dictator who rules through intimidation & fear. That his actions are somehow mitigated because someone somehwere is doing something else and it is complex.

    Or perhaps there is some vague understanding that this man or that woman are on my side in a bigger conflict and thus their actions are justified. They are not. Each action has its own merit or otherwise.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Reid,

    As far as the census goes, I'm still waiting for jack-booted Stats Nazis to kick my door down because I never have, and never will, answer any questions about my ethnicity

    But please, when answering ethnicity, do not put "mongrel" or "New Zealander" as it really really doesn't help. Try figuring out which demographics in the country need help through policy when ll you've got to go on is "New Zealander". It's not racist it's just dumb.
    If you are a "mongrel" tick as many boxes as apply to you, StatsNZ encourage you to.

    I think there are good reasons to answer questions about ethnicity. As Hadyn has pointed out making use of census data to make good policy requires as complete as possible data. There are strong privacy protections around access to the data. And we need good denominators to, for example, follow the disparities between the health of Maori and non-Maori - so that we know whether its getting better or worse, whether inequalities are increasing or decreasing and whether interventions work or not. The reality is that the first census was in 1851 for non-Maori and 1858 for Maori.

    Other routine data collected:
    Births and deaths: non-Maori since 1848, Maori since 1913
    Stillbirths: non-Maori since 1914, Maori since 1942
    Causes of death: non-Maori since 1872, Maori since 1920

    I think the difference in dates is outrageous - Maori figures were too hard to record? Only worth collecting data on non-Maori?

    I think it is justified to demand to be able to record ethnicity on the census - for Maori it hasn't always been possible.

    South Africa • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Angus -
    This is getting tiresome, so a couple of final points:

    I have NOT posted a single word here in defense of Chavez. In fact I haven't even implied it.

    I find it childish and silly to attempt to reduce politics to good guys/bad guys.

    That's all.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3291 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Angus,
    Couldn't agree more with your previous post.

    Another simple point, "bedtime story" simple. If the closing of RCTV is such a minor deal, why have so many Venezuelans been out on the streets protesting for days? Says it all doesn't it?

    Uribe, while no Saint, has done an amazing job in Colombia by bringing some semblance of order to a country long thought ungovernable, which has allowed the country to experience some progress and growth for a change.

    I backpacked through Colombia (whole of Central and South America) in 1992 and came away with the conclusion that Colombia had no chance of ever getting its act together, and now apparently it is in the process of doing just that. Amazing.

    And yes, to achieve this, Uribe has had the Army kill a bunch of FARC guerillas. Good on him. In order to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. God only knows how many people FARC has killed over the decades it has been waging a civil war, and more recently it has been into drug trafficking and kidnapping. Lovely chaps. The more of those that are dead, the better the world is.

    Uribe was overwhelmingly reelected last year, so those in a position to judge him, in a free and fair election (unlike the elections in Venezuela) apparently think he is doing okay.

    If I had to choose to live in either Colombia or Venezuela today, I would definitely choose Colombia, it is on an upward trajectory, while Chavez has Venezuela heading downward into a miserable Marxist future of poverty and totalitarianism.

    Before my wife flew to Caracas last weekend, she had tried to organize to meet up with as many of her friends as possible. She told me, "They are all leaving, all my friends are leaving". It is sad, what Chavez is doing to Venezuela is very sad.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It depends on whether or not Uribe is seriously committed to dealing with the right wing militias. But he doesn't appear to shutting down opposition media.

    It could be argued that he hardly needs to, given that persons unknown do quite a good job of killing journalists who venture on banned subjects.

    And it probably bears mentioning that Uribe's Colombia ranks 131st on RSF's Press Freedom Index. That's 16 places below Venezuala (but still above Mexico and Egpyt!).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    A bit more on Uribe & Colombia from Stratfor.

    The new paramilitary arrests together with the wiretapping scandal are dealing Uribe a tough blow, as they further erode his image as a tough but upright leader determined to uphold the rule of law in Colombia. The fact that both occurred the same day, however, raises the possibility that his opponents somehow managed to stage the timing.

    Uribe's hope for political survival now rests on successfully conveying three things to the Colombian people: that he is not personally implicated in these affairs, that his own government is rooting out the corruption and that he has successfully salvaged his country from a brutal civil war and continues to lead the struggle toward peace.

    Ultimately, Colombians are unlikely to believe Uribe is clean, though there is a good chance they will realize on some level (Uribe cannot state it directly) that the process of fixing a country on the brink of disaster will not necessarily be a clean one. In fact, it appears Colombians already have implicitly accepted this. Despite the paramilitary scandal, his approval rating has been between 70 percent and 80 percent this year. Though

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Uribe was overwhelmingly reelected last year, so those in a position to judge him, in a free and fair election (unlike the elections in Venezuela) apparently think he is doing okay.

    James, it might not suit your point, but I think the elections in Colombia were declared fit by the same international observers who approved Venezuala's.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And yes, to achieve this, Uribe has had the Army kill a bunch of FARC guerillas. Good on him. In order to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. God only knows how many people FARC has killed over the decades it has been waging a civil war, and more recently it has been into drug trafficking and kidnapping. Lovely chaps. The more of those that are dead, the better the world is.

    my death squads are better than your death squads.....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3185 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    And now Chavez is into drug trafficking:

    More from Stratfor

    Venezuela is the main transit route for illegal drugs between Colombia and the European market, the White House director for drug control policy, John Walters, said May 8, calling on EU leaders to "use their influence" to persuade Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop illegal traffickers. Walters' statement comes after Venezuelan Justice Minister Pedro Carreno said May 7 he would not allow U.S. agents to carry out counter-drug operations in the country, calling the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration the "new cartel."

    I guess Chavez really does follow his buddy Castro's lead. Payoffs from drug traffickers is presumed to be how Castro accumulated most of his $600 or $700 million fortune.

    I see Cuba is 165 on RCF press freedom list, 3 places above North Korea on the bottom at 168.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Election fraud in Venezuela.

    This was about the recall election.

    http://www.vcrisis.com/index.php?content=letters/200409080559

    Like he stacked the Supreme Court with his buddies to do his bidding, 3 of the 4 guys on the "independent" election board in Venezuela, are Chavez guys, who control the voting machines.

    Before the recent election employees in government departments, obviously including PDVSA, which is a sizable chunk of the electorate were told that if they wanted to keep their jobs they needed vote for Chavez. And this from a governemnt that controls the voting machines, no one believed that their vote would be secret.

    Free and fair elections? Not by the standards that we are used to.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Election fraud in Venezuela...

    That's as bad as the stuff that goes on in USA elections !

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 343 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Hannah,

    Politically controlled election boards, electronic voting machines, non random samples chosen for recounts.

    Have you no sense of irony sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of irony?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 222 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Common,

    Free and fair elections? Not by the standards that we are used to.

    But free and fair by American standards (sounds very much like whats been happening there recently).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Apparently so. For one thing firing rubber bullets and teargas into peaceful demonstrations is wrong.

    Angus, if that's your measure, then you're going to have a lot of countries on your shitlist. Including, only this month, the USA, where a peaceful march in LA (attended by families with children) against the immigration bill received precisely that treatment. As did some peaceful protesters in Tacoma in March. And some demonstrators on Colorado in 2003.

    I'm sure are more examples. As I said, I hold no brief for Chavez, but tear gas and rubber bullets are a regrettably common response in many countries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    James you are a card. So those drugs the evil Chavez is funneling to Europe come from your comparative paradise...Columbia.

    Paul, try and keep up will ya. "**Some**" of the folk who criticise Chavez's actions are and were big fans of Thatcher. These same people accuse others of "double standards" because their response to Chavez's TV shut down is not knee jerk anguish.

    See the comment above about good vs evil approach to news (c****ometer). The comments from Angus, James and possibly yourself are just too simplistic and one sided. There are all sorts of factors in play here, not least the Munroe doctrine.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1612 posts Report Reply

  • Jonty,

    <Like he stacked the Supreme Court with his buddies... .

    Now who does that remnd me of?

    Katikati • Since Mar 2007 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Like he stacked the Supreme Court with his buddies to do his bidding, 3 of the 4 guys on the "independent" election board in Venezuela, are Chavez guys, who control the voting machines.

    Um, yeah, what he said about irony ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    "... Uribe has had the Army kill a bunch of FARC guerillas. Good on him. In order to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. God only knows how many people FARC has killed over the decades it has been waging a civil war, and more recently it has been into drug trafficking and kidnapping. Lovely chaps. The more of those that are dead, the better the world is..."

    You know, the American world view as believed by shitload of them is a scary thing. Its all about seeing the outside world in the same primary colours & subtlety as a Simpsons

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.