Hard News by Russell Brown


The Bottom is a Magic Place

We now actually have a "smacking" conviction subsequent to the Child Discipline Bill, and good old Bob McCoskrie has been able to further define his vision of "good" parenting: in this case, a father came home from work, heard a report of his son's misbehaviour at school and rather than, say, talking to his child, lost the plot, threw him around and smacked him -- in the process causing bruising to the boy's shoulder significant enough for his mother to photograph it and show it to a relative, who was moved to contact the police.

Both parents sought "anger management, parenting skills and relationship counselling" before the father was sentenced to nine months' supervision. The effect of the sentence is that the state will now pay for the counselling.

And McCoskrie,the man behind this lurid advertisement on child abuse, believes that to be an outrage. Go figure.

Dave Crampton, under the remarkable headline Parent finally prosecuted for light smacking, is already fixing to get the court papers so he can find out whether the father was "convicted because of the bruise or because of the smack, given that it was the bruise the parent was reported for." Most probably, it was the entire incident, but I'm rather surprised that Dave can divine, absent evidence, "light" smacking in the midst of an incident in which the father lost his temper and left bruises on his child. It seems that for pro-smackers, the bottom is a magic place, where hitting cannot be hurting.

Meanwhile, Rynso, the YouTube user who uploaded the Timaru lady speaks out video, has moved on (understandably, given that she appears to have assaulted yet another of her children now; she's alleged to have struck her daughter in the face) and onto the Electoral Finance Bill, where a pathological sense of grievance can be more safely expressed.

The coverage of yesterday's EFB protest at Parliament yesterday is some priceless alternative TV. Jeanette Fitzsimons addresses a hooting mob ("turn 'er microphone orf!") and actually says "fuck" (I should point out she's quoting a placard). Some young chap from the counter-protest gets to the mic too. And -- ladies, grab a pen -- David Farrar gives out his address.

The Standard, inevitably, gets the needle on over the rather small size of the protest, and DPF explains that things didn't exactly go to plan.

After all the shouting on both sides, Vernon Small's column on the EFB saga is a more sober read.

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, John Howard's office is stonewalling on the release of his correspondence with the Exclusive Brethren -- until after the election.

The Brethren have finally outed themselves in Tasmania, actually putting names on the latest smear pamphlet:

The letter refers readers to the Greens and Brethren websites, but also to an anonymous US-registered blog at www.greenswatch.com.

The site accuses the Greens of a belief in bestiality, of starting the race riots on Palm Island in 2004, and of "plotting to infiltrate the Exclusive Brethren".


And then there's this:

The Liberal Party is in damage control after the exposure of a dirty tricks campaign in a key marginal seat, where pamphlets designed to tap into anti-Muslim sentiment were distributed by party volunteers.

Just a prank, apparently. By the Liberal candidate's husband. Wow.

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