Monday, 15 May 2017

Israel continues its crimes against humanity

Palestinian boy defends his home against the might of Israeli and US military power.

This is scary stuff, yet that boy shows more courage than the NZ Government does in standing up against the might of the Zionist state know as Israel.
Our own chubby foreign affairs minister Jerry Brownlee begs forgiveness for his predecessor doing the right thing when he condemned Israel for its settlement programme where it steals Palestinian land. Brownlee’s latest nickname is ‘Brown-nose’.
The latest of a long list of crimes against humanity being instigated by Zionist led Israel, is its handling of the Hunger-strike by hundreds of illegally detained Palestinian prisoners.

The blog below was written by Lois Griffiths and it asks some hard questions of our gutless MSM, it would seem that Israeli fingers reach deep not only into the backsides of types like Jerry Brown-nose Brownlee but into the bank accounts of our so-called MSM corporations and the finance structures that now control them.
I’ve reproduced the blog by Lois Griffiths in full; why because it tells it as it is and I truly believe that we cannot sit idly by and watch this international crime against humanity.   

“SHUSH! DON’T TELL ANYBODY!  Could this be the motto of New Zealand mainstream media, as regards world news that is in any way critical of Israel?

Or,  could it be that an  ongoing hunger strike , well over 20 days now, of some 1500 to 1600 Palestinians is too trivial an issue, too local, to receive any attention ? 

Do our media assume that no one outside of Palestine gives a damn? After all, Israel is far away.

Israeli media reports that Israelis themselves aren’t the least bit interested in hearing about the prisoners, who they are, what they go through, why they are on hunger strike, or what a hunger strike does to the body.  Israeli journalist Gideon Levy reports that some Israelis are happy about the hunger strikes and hope the strikers will all die. Levy himself, as he has written in Haaretz, is horrified by the depths the regime has sunk to, “Evil is the only inclination guiding the Israeli response to the hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoners. All the rest is pretence about security and hollow political excuses intended only to cloak the evil.”

Yet demonstrations of support for the prisoners have been, and are being, held in many cities around the world: USA, Canada, France, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Sweden, Greece, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Tunisia, Jordan and, yes, even in Auckland NZ. 

Our media bosses could argue that some of the demonstrations were small. (I assume they varied in size, drinking a glass of water with a small amount of salt, as a show of solidarity, is not everyone’s cup of tea!)  Our media could claim that it only reports international news of immense significance, like umm, like whatever the royal family is up to.

However, global outrage is intensifying. Norway’s biggest and most influential trade union, LO, has just approved a boycott of Israel.  (Source  From mondoweiss,” LO joins some of the world’s most important trade union federations, including South Africa’s COSATU, Brazil’s CUT, Quebec’s CSN and the Irish ICTU, in calling for meaningful Boycott, Divest, Sanctions pressure on the corporations and institutions that have enabled decades of Israeli occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.”

Not just trade unions! 

Over 200 American and international lawyers, legal workers and legal organisations, have signed a Letter of Support for Palestinian Hunger Strikers. The letter is worth reading as it addresses  issues of the Israeli legal system that impact negatively on Palestinians, including: the reality of a dual legal system in the West Bank ie military courts for Palestinians and civil courts for settlers, the arrests and degrading treatment, even torture, of children, the systematic use of   administrative detention, ie  imprisonment  without charge or trial for renewable periods of up to six months,  and the use of  long-term solitary confinement, widely understood to be a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that may amount to torture. The letter is found here.   

The letter finishes with a long list of the signatories, individuals and organisations including National Lawyers Guild, International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the Center for Constitutional Rights. 

Surely there is a story here for NZ print and radio media to get their teeth into.

Yet there is more. 

It certainly seems that political leaders everywhere, including here, assume that showing interest in the Palestinian cause, is political suicide.

Not quite everywhere. In South Africa there is strong support, even at government level,  for the Palestinian prisoners and their leader Marwan Barghouti (Palestine’s Nelson Mandela). A 24-hour fast, drinking salt and water, was scheduled to begin Sunday evening 14 May with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and several Government Ministers and Deputy Ministers taking part. Other well-known personalities pledged to participate, including several elderly ex-Robben Island prisoners. Amnesty International and Jewish Voices for Just Peace endorsed the campaign.

In parts of Europe too, politicians are taking a stand. On 11 May, the Portuguese Parliament approved a text of solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike.

As international support for Palestinian prisoners grows, so does the cruelty of the Israeli regime. Leaders are put in isolation, salt is confiscated. Some IDF soldiers held a barbecue outside a prison hoping that the smell of meat would reach the prisoners. There are fears that Israel will import Indian doctors to force-feed prisoners. The IDF created a fake video which amused the Israeli public. It is supposedly of Barghouti eating a cookie in his toilet cubicle.  Pizza Hut Israel even posted an ad offering Barghouti a pizza.  

The strongest support for Palestinians comes from South Africa and from Ireland, because of  memories of colonisation and of Bobby Sands. Remember Bobby Sands?

What about here in New Zealand?  Pressure needs to be put on Israel for real change. But for that, we need an informed public.  

Gideon Levy is spot on, saying that the treatment of Palestinian prisoners is evil. I respect Levy’s outrage. I wish our NZ media would show some outrage too. Martin Luther King said, “To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.”

The public deserves media that doesn’t say to it-self SHUSH! DON’T TELL!

Lois Griffiths is a Palestinian and Human Rights Activist 

We have an election coming up, and we should be questioning those standing where they stand on this issue…do we go down the Brownlee track and brown nose to Israel and the US? Or do we stand up and show that we have just a little bit of the courage of that small boy who confronted that massive Israeli tank. I don’t dislike or hate Jews, but I dislike and hate what the Zionist international criminals are doing.  

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Lets get serious about the election

When the rich get poorer, poor disappear’. If after some thought we consider this a sound goal then what do we do to implement it?
We need a goal for this election year, one that clearly indicates in which direction we wish to head…for example: ‘
To make the rich get poorer, and to make the poor disappear’

There are all sorts of reasons put forward to justify the misguided belief that wealth will drift downward. 

Most are just rubbish and can easily be proven to be wrong. New Zealand proves the point. OECD General Secretary said “the assumption that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged are not true."

Roger Douglas attacked the financial norm in NZ by selling off assets, contracting out services etc. This directly led to massive profits made by his mates as they brought at giveaway prices and then stripped the assets and sold off what was left, one good example was New Zealand Rail. These few individuals made millions if not billions.

While this was taking place Douglas and the Labour Government and later Ruth Richardson and National continued down the same Neoliberalist Capitalist pathway the workers and especially the poor were forced ever downward toward poverty. This from Susan St-John:
“I warmed to Jim Bolger considerably after his Mea Culpa moment. His government indeed was responsible for the unfortunate gutting of the unions and the massive redistribution to the wealthy under National’s failed trickle-down theory.

In contrast Jenny Shipley has no such insights or humility as to her role in the social chaos produced by her government in the 1990s. One of my vivid memories was listening to the dulcet tones of Ruth Richardson and Jenny Shipley announcing benefit cuts in Parliament and the audible sucking in of breath. The ill-effects of the ill-fated 1991 budget reverberate 26 years on.

The wealthy present heart-wrenching stories via the MSM about they will be effected if taxation for them is increased, cosh they’d have cut their time with their personal trainers. Only take two monthly holidays overseas rather than three months. They suggest that if they buy less Gulfstream jets thousands of workers will be laid off, according to them they are the mainstay of the economy…this is basically a lie. 

Since buying and selling money has become the only real business…production and the rewards from production effort has devalued. I have no sympathy for depriving the wealthy their massive incomes, after all if you cut CEO’s three million dollars per year to one million I’m sure they will be able to survive. After all we expect workers earning eighteen thousand to survive.    

Most of the friends of Douglas and Richardson now live overseas in luxury and make maximum use of world-wide tax havens etc. New Zealanders had their welfare or pension lowered by Richardson at a time when Douglas had driven up the unemployment figures to record highs not seen since the great depression. And these people can’t move overseas and use tax-havens to protect their incomes, when laid off they suffered a massive loss of income by going on a benefit and to have these benefits cut was a double whammy.

We all know that when the poor [and these days even the so-called middle class] receive a boost in income; they spend that increase, to pay their bills catch up on outstanding accounts, buy the kids new shoes clothing etc. So if a country wants to reduce the huge gap between the rich and the poor it needs to ensure that the poor receive an increase worthy of the name.

But the government keeps telling us ‘we can’t afford it’, at least not until we balance the books’…this just crap, government debt has gone through the roof since Key took over from Clark as the chart shows; it proves that National has no idea how to manage the economy. When private debt is added we are amongst the most indebt countries in the developed world.

All this has taken place while both parties lowered tax for the wealthy and made it easier for them to avoid tax by making use of tax-havens or trust accounts. Keys bashed the poor particularly badly when he broke his promise not to increase GST from 12.5% to 15.5%, most other countries that use a GST tax, don’t use it on food, but we even ad GST to rates…in other words a tax on a tax. GST has little or no effect on the wealthy.

Take Key for example, if his rate of tax was lifted by say twenty percent, the effect be that he would spend a week or two less in his Hawaii mansion, whereas the massive increase in GST reduced those on benefits by twenty to forty dollars per week [minimum] or higher depending on individuals circumstances. The Nats waited two years before restoring in part some of the cuts introduced by Richardson and they did this just before the upcoming election.

Once upon a time our top tax rate was as high as 75 to 80 cents in the dollar, and I should point out that wealthy people didn’t flee the country…but today even with the top tax rate at 33 cents our wealthy send their money off overseas to avoid paying this tax rate. Data tells us that very few wealthy actually pay the 33 cent rate.
Of course the lower paid and those on benefits can’t send their money off shore, should they have any spare money. But hey, the wealthy have always believed that there is only one direction for the poor to move and that is to become poorer…that to them is the law of nature in action.

So maybe you would like look for a party or push your preferred party to introduce a policy of changing the top rate of tax and removing GST off food and rates. In the last six years we have given away around 2.6 billion per year to the wealthy while collecting the same amount from the lower paid via GST and reduced benefits.

Of course the one tax that both major parties avoid discussing is a capital tax, on property other than the home one is living in…this is a big no-no, too hard. Labour attempted to tackle the problem but got cold feet because of the number of neo-liberal acolytes that still reside in that confused parliamentary party.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Massive Protest Marches in US

‘Marching for climate, jobs and justice change’.

I’ve been watching for hours the ‘Climate Change’ march and sit it in Washington DC, where tens of thousands marched in protest at the lack of action by the US over climate change policy. It was thought that throughout the US hundreds of thousands were marching at the same time.

Amy Goodman from the ‘Democracy Now’ broadcast team covered fully the start of the march in Washington…it took about three hours for the protesters to pass where she was interviewing various people on the issues which the march was about. Ironically it was one of the hottest days ever in Washington DC 93 degrees…

Amy interviewed two very young people one seven and the other nine and their stories were clear and concise. Most noticeable were the huge numbers of young people and women taking part. Based on the signs being carried they were asking Donald Trump [the pussy grabbing one] ‘Are you afraid of science’. Another sign read, ‘Greens don’t agonise they organise’ and I hope that message is being shared here in New Zealand too.

Of course the massive turnout proved without doubt that the US government now led by extremely rich climate deniers in the pay of the various industries involved in mining etc. who are manipulating the science to suit their cheque books are having a hard time convincing an intelligent and growing number of concerned US citizens that they are nothing more than a bunch of crooks.

We here in New Zealand are also faced with the same dilemma with our upcoming election choices, while we at this stage are not contemplating pulling out of the Paris Accord as is Donald Trump, where the biggest climate wrecker in history has put in charge of climate change the fat fingers of the United States biggest climate change denier. We here in New Zealand simply mouth the words while doing nothing in real terms. Trump has vowed that he would make "a big decision" on the historic Paris climate agreement in the next two weeks. Top Trump officials are divided about whether or not the United States should stay in or exit that agreement.

New Zealand’s own Donald Trump Winston Peters is pushing the anti-immigration line and not really commenting on climate change because he has no policy on the issue and will continue down the populist route to gain provincial support. At least [I think] Winston doesn’t pull pussies. He may fib a bit now and then and he may join up with the Nats after the election if they offer him a reward as a Minister. Still we shall see.  

Let’s see how well the MSM covers the massive marches in the US, if they cover it like they covered the Israeli rocket attack on Syria on behalf of the US, we may not get to read about it at all. Are we so dumb that we have to be protected from what is happening in the world? 

Late news: I was correct TVNZ said at the start of the 6pm news that they would cover it...but they didn't do so.
This small item was on their web site: 
  Some shots of the march.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Help sabotage bad politicking.

This the best ever explanation of opinion polls, it particularly relates to political parties miss-use and manipulation of polls and thanks Donna for this wonerful blog...

How to sabotage bad politicking « The Daily Blog
Donna Miles

Yesterday, an email arrived in my inbox from the Labour Party’s 2017 campaign manager, asking one question: Who was I planning to vote for in the upcoming general election?
With the election only 158 days away, the email said, Labour needed to direct their limited resources to the right places.

I am not interested in analysing how my answer would have affected the allocation of Labour’s “limited resources”- that is not the point here- my main concern is how polling is taking center stage in the way politics is being conducted in most developed countries including our own.   
Remember how John Key reserved a special thank-you for the National pollster David Farrar during his 2014 election victory speech?

Key knew Farrar was instrumental in shaping the National Party’s policy direction so that it remained popular with their supporters- often at the expense of New Zealand’s long-term interests.
The result has been catastrophic inactions in many areas leading to housing crisis, environmental degradation, increasing poverty, widening inequality and worsening financial instability.   

Opposition parties do the same. They use opinion polls to attract votes, putting power before conviction.
Great leaders are supposed to shape popular opinion, not become slaves to it.
They are supposed to lead the country for the long-term wellbeing of all citizens, not for the short-term gains that secure their power.

I wonder, for instance, if the Waitangi Tribunal would have existed or its powers ever extended, if those in government at the time, had a way of assessing the true extent of the popular opposition to it.   
The success of Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump in the US showed the folly of political polling but was not enough to secure its demise.

Yesterday, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May made a U-turn on her promise not to call a snap election. She did this for one simple reason: the latest poll put the Tories on a comfortable 21 points ahead of Labour, giving them the greatest lead while in government since 1983.
If that is not a perfect example of opinion polls directing politics then I don’t know what is.  
Focus groups and opinion polls exist, not to strengthen our democracy, but to help politicians gain and maintain power by playing strategical games and by framing political messages in a language that carries the widest appeal.

This type of politicking encourages the public to view politics through a narrow prism of rhetoric and theatre that is devoid of essence and analysis.
So, is there a way of changing this?  

The obvious way to promote a more meaningful political debate is through the mainstream media, but given the media’s focus on clickbait journalism, that is just wishful thinking.
But what if we all sabotaged political polling by never answering the questions correctly?
If these polls turn out to be consistently wrong then maybe the politicians are forced to rely less on populisms and more on doing the right thing.  

We need to tell politicians that taking the lazy route of appealing to people’s prejudices and misconceptions are not acceptable options.
Almost all the major political parties are busy formulating clever ways to “emotionally connect” with the voters. We need to say: Thanks but no thanks.  

Appealing to the voters’ emotions, rather than their heads, is exactly what is wrong with politics today. Just think John Key, Brexit and Trump!
Good politicking is about demonstrating, clearly, how policies are actually going to make meaningful differences to the citizens’ wellbeing.

So, let’s encourage good politicking by getting rid of the bad. Let’s sabotage opinion polls.