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September, 2011

  1. Lefter 45 ~ Before you vote for John Key, look at these other turkeys

    September 26, 2011 by emweb

    I can’t begin to understand why anyone actually likes John Key, I admit it. To me he’s a mealy-mouthed, glad-handing buffoon, utterly entranced by his own completely inexplicable popularity.

    He loves being centre stage and in the limelight to the extent he’s been going too far. Case in point: Key said the Pike River families asked him to step in and sort things out for them. The Pike River families, two days later, fessed up that he had actually gone to them. What an ass.

    Anyway, if you love Johnny and waste your vote on him, check out what comes with Mr Smiley:

    Bill English is Deputy Leader – he’s the enemy Key is keeping even closer. Bill wanted to lead National; he’s the conservative South Island farmer who’s steadily been tightening the reins on fiscal policy as minister of finance.

    Do you trust him? I sure as hell don’t.

    By the way, it was Julius Caesar who famously said ‘Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer’. I don’t think it’s good advice, considering Caesar’s friends and enemies duly gathered around – and stabbed him to death.

    Then there’s Minister for Disaster Gerry Brownlee – he’s been beavering away making a complete cock-up of the reconstruction of Christchurch. He’s another South Islander, but not one enjoying much Mainland love at the moment. His motto on National’s web page is ‘Building better public service’ – to serve who, Gerry?

    Simon Power is a hawk, but that’s fitting: he’s Minister of Justice. He’s the one championing retrospective law changes to justify things that have been done unlawfully by the authorities in the past.

    Oh, and he’s another South Islander.

    Nick Smith comes from a construction business family. He has a PhD in landslides! Rather hilariously, Key chose to make him Minister of the Environment.

    OK – He’s from North Canterbury and he’s been in every National government for the past two decades. Memorably, right?

    (I have nothing against the South Island, but two thirds of the population lives in the North Island. So why are they running the country?)

    Tony Ryall is from the North Island, at least, and he’s ‘building a safer New Zealand’. He’s Minister of Health, State Services and State Owned Enterprises – in other words, with National in power, he’s a prize cutter.

    Judith Collins is minister of Police, Corrections and Veterans Affairs. At least she has a degree in law. Collins campaigned on behalf of Vietnam Vets over Agent Orange. Could be worse.

    Anne Tolley is Minister of Education – so all you students out there and those working in education should have a lot of faith in her, right? If you can remember her name.

    Paula Bennett, gawd, where do I begin? She’s the worst type of ‘made it on the bones of my arse so why can’t you?’ righty. Solo mum, benefit recipient, sympathy for no one. Sounds a bit like Key himself – his mother was a refugee from Nazi Germany yet he pronounces against refugees, and he grew up in a state house but hasn’t time for public schools and state assistance.

    At least Bennett is a hard worker. If only she wasn’t, though.

    Steven Joyce is another colourless bloke – I admit he is working hard for better broadband, as Labour’s Cunliffe did before him.

    Murray McCully is Minister for the Rugby World Cup. You might think this is good.

    I think it’s good … for a third world banana republic. For New Zealand, it’s embarrassing. He’s embarrassing. When he’s not pretending to ‘sort out’ Auckland’s transport mess, which is largely the fault of National’s policies anyway, he’s gadding about in the Pacific, being feted by those who get New Zealand aid money and use it to buy new cars.

    Tim Grocer is the only truly scary person here, because he’s actually clever. Cleverness harnessed to right wing ideology is always a dangerous thing. Shame – what a waste.

    I could go on. But let me conclude: think about what your MP has done for your area, and for your needs, before you vote.

    Think about this bunch of no hopers riding on John Key’s coat tails before you vote. Coz you cop the lot.


  2. Lefter 44 ~ What was wrong with 9/11

    September 10, 2011 by emweb

    In one word: everything. I was as horrified as everyone else when the first plane slammed into the first tower, but my immediate thought was ‘why would anyone do that?’

    Unfortunately, this question didn’t seem to be the reaction of many others.

    The attacks showed genius. I know, cowardly, terrifying, killing innocents etc, all awful things that cannot be sanctioned by anyone – but incredibly effective, powerful, dramatic and attention-grabbing.

    And incredibly cheap to execute, by comparison to what the US has been spending in Iraq and Afghanistan to keep them in crisis.

    But still, why would anyone perpetrate the 9/11 attacks? The reaction in the States and in many Western countries immediately after – and this, unfortunately, persists – was just to demonise (not that it needed much help) the perpetrators.

    They were just ‘evil’, and labelled with all the other buzzwords that makes it easier for us to hate in return. Some Americans even put it down to jealousy! But does any of this help us understand?

    Certainly not. The depth of feeling in parts of the world against the US, and against the global monetary system that keeps the third world in poverty, has not been publicly explored or acknowledged effectively.

    Meanwhile, the average US citizen can point at the rest of the world as being ‘other’, evil and dangerous. Which hardly amends the States’ outward condition of aggressive isolationism.

    Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden cited US support of Israel, the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia and sanctions against Iraq (this was before the invasion of Iraq) as motives for the attacks.

    But while Westerners and others were justifiably horrified on the day, I bet there were hundreds, thousands – perhaps even millions going as far as openly rejoicing.


    And more importantly, why didn’t America ask why?

    Do American policy makers honestly believe anyone would go to the lengths of crashing planes full of guiltless passengers into towers containing innocent victims just because they’re ‘evil’? The notion is ridiculous. Not only that, it’s ignorant and stupid.

    Osama bin Laden may have been a deluded messianic nutcase, but if so, he combined it with a keen intelligence, and he motivated a dedicated cadre. It’s not hard to realise he and his followers knew far more about the US than the US knew about them. And bin Laden was from a privileged background – he was hardly a typical downtrodden and embittered Third World peasant.

    In 1998, Al-Qaeda wrote “for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorising its neighbours, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighbouring Muslim peoples.”

    This was, to some extent, true. America did have troops in muslim states, and was definitely benefiting from oil and other wealth. Meanwhile, America failed to realise the injury and indignation this was causing. Whether the intentions of such were uninvited, or willing transgressions against Islam, is a matter of conjecture and viewpoint. (The summary execution of bin Laden and the callous disposal of his body at sea were almost definitely calculated insults. It also meant he could not be called to account. He could never state his case or explain his actions in an international court.)

    What I find incredible is that the US failed to acknowledge, or to even actively consider, the depth of feeling its actions engendered, and continue to engender.

    America has perpetuated a deep-seated hate around the world which it has consistantly failed to acknowledge. This is mostly due to pursuit of profit at any cost and a reluctance to engage with other societies on an intellectual level. Yet this goes with an arrogance that has it meddling, in sometimes the most aggressive way possible, directly in world affairs. The international monetary fund and banking system has been, and is, culpable for perpetuating unequal trading and banking structures to the detriment of non Western societies. The World Banking Centre in New York was its emblem.

    I’m not saying Al Qaeda’s reaction wasn’t crazy, thoroughly reprehensible, disgusting or misdirected. It was all of those things and more. I’m not condoning any of it for a second – and as repulsive to me is using a concept of ‘God’ in any form to justify any anti-human action. (But this goes for both sides.)

    I’m just saying, the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon were hardly done lightly.

    Yet US forces appear to remain as misdirected. As does the US State Department.

    As for the converse question, what was right with 9/11?


    But what are we really doing about it? Nothing.

    Yet we continue to spread more inequality. Except outside the US, it’s often spread at the point of a gun.