Waitangi Week with a Happy Ending

Lets not get into the annual Waitangi Day racist redneck rants of the uneducated idiots populating our media. They are just a sad indictment of their barren minds and of their media handlers’ desire to find an ever lower common denominator for the listening and watching public.

Provocation backfired

The serious business of the week was conducted on Thursday with the signing of the highly controversial Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
Instead of choosing an iconic beautiful New Zealand setting like Millbrook Resort near Queenstown away from the angry protesters the government opted for maximum provocation with the in the middle of Auckland venue of the seedy Sky City Casino. This casino was one prime example of government corruption cited by an overseas monitoring organisation Transparency International for New Zealand slipping down the corruption ranking.
The government pollsters and spin doctors had told the Prime Minister that nothing would be more effective to detract our minds from the toxic substance of the TPPA and even turn it into support than coverage of ugly and violent protests and hundreds of people arrested.

However, the provocation backfired.

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Not only did the number of protesters by far exceed expectations but they came from all “walks of life” and were good natured and peaceful. Even the police, which in recent times have become a more politicised instrument of the government refused to play ball. After initially intimidating activists by knocking on their doors in the lead-up the police overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and clever peaceful tactics of the protesters did not make one single arrest.

The mainstream media – briefed to drive the neoliberal corporate agenda – were deprived of images of violence and turned instead to show clips of some inarticulate young Maori men who couldn’t quite tell why they were protesting and what was wrong with the signing of the TPPA. If anyone would have asked the same questions of the media on the ground most would have been more articulate but looked even more stupid if confronted with the facts than their interviewees having fun. And don’t get me started on the talk-back radio hosts and callers. You couldn’t get a more opinionated and less informed group of people if you tried.
As the media didn’t have any horror story to tell they made it up. The state broadcaster TVNZ in the prime time news hour reported that the two Labour Party dissenters and TPPA supporters had received death threats. On the late night news when nobody was watching they retracted that story and apologised. Damage done.

Cry-Baby Key

Prime Minister John Key was now desperate to get out of his commitment to attend our national day’s celebrations at the birthplace of our nation in Waitangi. He was scared of more protest as it is tradition on Waitangi Day and his pollsters had told him that his racist redneck constituency was rather in favour of not attending. He tried to cleverly exploit the diversity of opinion within the host tribe about where he was to speak to fabricate an excuse to break his long term commitment.
Former Maori MP and still activist Hone Harawira was spot on calling for the Prime Minister to stop being a cry-baby.
However, John Key again achieved one of his main goals to distract us, the New Zealand public and potential voters, from the real issue, which is the toxic content of the TPPA.

Instead we were treated to the image of a dildo flying across the face of senior government minister Steven Joyce at Waitangi free of charge i.e. the female protester was not charged by the police.

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To add to the hilarity pony-tail pulling hypocrite John Key called it a bad look for New Zealand. No wonder that John Oliver’s “John Key the Ponytail Puller” clip appeared again on my Facebook page.

It looked all up from here starting with some good intelligent conversation with open minded people on Friday night’s jour fix at the pub.

Happy Ending on Sunday

On Sunday I enjoyed the sunny weather and open drive into Auckland without traffic jams. With a friend I went for a walk in the Domain to listen to some live music at the rotunda.

Crossing the sports fields we saw a figure almost colour coordinated with the beautiful tree he was shading under. He was sitting in the Lotus position hands open in his lap as if meditating, looking serene. Only when we came closer we saw the smartphone in his hands. Meditation 2016 style.

People had gathered in front of the rotunda having picnic and enjoying the sunny afternoon under the trees. Some were dancing to the music. Then one tall blond women joined in with a huge belly showing that she was close to giving birth. Her partner was careful not to pump into her just from time to time gently holding her hands. Her dance moves were so beautiful and graceful that it was pure joy to watch. As I am of an age where I can safely approach women without getting punched in the head I talked to her when she sat down. I thanked her for dancing and that it was the loveliest thing I had seen for a long time and that I bet that her baby was having the time of it’s life. I hope that I made her day as she did mine.

Later at Orewa beach I had a swim in the surf being pummelled by the breakers. As an immigrant of over 30 years I still pinch myself how lucky I am to live in this blessed country.

On my drying off walk along the beach I watched to my great enjoyment an as feisty as mad little Jack Russel dog chasing along with the kite surfers and charging into the water to catch them. Being an ideal day for kite surfing with many surfers zipping along there was to be one very tired little dog at the end of it.

Today I am wondering if there was a lesson to be learned.
Shouldn’t we all stop chasing red herrings pulled across our noses like flags, dildos and pony tails.
Shouldn’t we instead keep the eye on the ball, which is the neoliberal corporate takeover of New Zealand and the world.

Still that Sunday and Waitangi week for me had a happy ending.

 

 

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Opotiki – New Zealand’s Colonial Past & Present

Summertime in Opotiki

During the summer break we visited Opotiki for just a couple of hours.  The small Eastern Bay of Plenty town made a deep impression on me.

Our friend a local school teacher got his car fixed and we went with him into town not expecting much with the time we had to kill. I was teasing him about Opotiki recently being discovered as the under-age-sex capital of New Zealand. Some overeager righteous parents had complained about some boys over sixteen having sex with girls under sixteen. Oh shock horror ! Poor Opotiki College got into the headlines even if the events had nothing to do with the school other then that some of the youth do or did attend the college. The police would not have (over-) reacted would they not have been under pressure because of a previous mishandling of serious sexual offending against young girls in Auckland, which played out in the social media.

The first thing, which pleased me was the number of little art shops, galleries and the museum I did not expect to find in this poorer part of the country not bristling with tourists. The shops and galleries were full of the works of local artists many of them Maori or in the Maori cultural tradition and design and materials. What a wonderful contrast to the usual op shops full of cheap European nick-nags or made in China rubbish.

Thursday

Walking down the main street I saw a big group of people gathered around  some impressively tattooed men in gang regalia and thought that I’d come across the Mongrel Mob headquarter. Getting closer however, I saw the little historical colonial courthouse and I realised my mistake. As a former lawyer I was interested to see the wheels of justice in motion. I talked to the lovely friendly Maori aunty who’s job it was to call the defendants and usher them into the court room for their appearance before the judge of the day. Taking a seat in the back I noticed that among the about thirty people in the room I was one of only three white faces. All were Maori including the judge.

I watched two cases being dealt with. One a pre-sentencing referral. The judge took great pains to instruct the obviously already convicted defendant in his thirties what he had to do before his next appearance to qualify for home detention. Otherwise the sentencing judge would have no choice but send him to jail. I hope that the man headed the advice as he did not seem to be bothered too much about jail or otherwise giving his supporters in the back a big smile and thumps up as he walked out.
This reminded me of the myth perpetuated by middle class white people calling for more and harsher jail sentences as a deterrent. However, because it would be a deterrent to them does not mean that it is a deterrent to the disadvantaged downtrodden brown offenders as well. Many of them feel at home in prison.

The second case was a traffic offence. The middle aged defendant with a full moko (facial tattoo) was challenging the jurisdiction of what he called this “colonial” court. The judge already had made a determination. It was clear what the outcome would be namely that the district court had jurisdiction in traffic offences even if the offender happened to be Maori. However, because of a clerical error the judge accepted the new submission and would decide on it before the next hearing. The defendant who stood his ground said that the days of martial law were over and he would attend a whanau (family group) meeting and then it would go to some tribal “supreme court” in Tauranga. I must admit that I admired the judge’s patience taking notes for instance of the street address of the supreme court and encouraging the defendant to report the outcome from these what he called “hui” (meetings) to the court. He showed empathy and respect. He did not talk down at the defendant and left his mana (dignity and honour) intact. Even if in the end the outcome will be the same – as I know the argument has been dealt with many times before in New Zealand courts – I was deeply impressed by the dignified way this Maori judge handled the situation. I wonder if a pakeha (European) judge would have done the same.

When I told people of my experience of the Opotiki Mongrel Mob headquarters/court house they all said : Thursday, court day in Opotiki !

Colonial History

About 100 meters across the road stands the well kept colonial Anglican church.

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Part of it’s history is the infamous murder of Anglican missionary Carl Völkner. After a very questionable short “judicial” process Chief Mokomoko among others was hanged for the murder.

“As a result of the murder, the Government sent military troops to Opotiki; the Mokomoko family were reduced to just 30 women and children and 70,000 hectares of land was taken from them. The Mokomoko family have since carried the shame of bringing raupatu (land confiscation) to Opotiki.” (Rotorua Daily Post 2011)
Entering the church you cannot avoid looking at the framed document with the pardon of Mokomoko by the Governor General in 1992. At the back of the church you still find Völkner’s tomb stone where his decapitated corps was buried by the local Maori. His head was never found.
In 2011 further action was taken to rehabilitate Mokomoko.
“In granting the pardon in 1992, the Crown did not consult with the Mokomoko whanau on the wording which implied the pardon was granted because of similar pardons for Mokomoko’s co-accused,” Dr Sharples (Minister of Maori Affairs) said. “And so did not restore the character, mana and reputation of Mokomoko.”
He said, through these actions, the Crown had perpetuated the shame and stigma carried by the whanau of Mokomoko.
“I want to apologise to the whanau and express sincere regret for the way the Crown has acted in the past.”

Result of Colonisation

At the end we went past a group of lovely young late teen Maori girls one of them with a baby in a pram just being able to hold the bottle sucking on the teat. I was aghast to notice the distinct colour of the fizzy drink Fanta the about ten months old baby was drinking. I am sure the young mother wants the best for her baby thinking that a sugary fizzy drink was  better then just water. I was reminded of the anti-obesity campaign featuring Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams with the catch phrase “Too much Love”.

I could not get that image out of my head especially as I have a grandchild of the same age in my house. I started wondering if this had something to do with what has happened to this community over the period of colonisation. This young mother has lost contact to the the wisdom of her own culture but is not educated enough to be aware of the perils of the Western fizzy drink culture.

Was this the image where colonial past and present came together ?

 

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Church of Neoliberalism

Traditional Religions

I was baptised and raised as a Christian with Sunday school and later confirmation. To be precise I was a Protestant, which according to Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life” allowed me to buy condoms.
However before I ever had a need for those I ceased to believe in the biblical stories we were told. As in the words of Dr. Gregory House (immortalised by Hugh Laurie in the television series “House”) you believe in religion till you grow your curly hair. Which means that with puberty we start to develop our rational critical faculties and start to think for ourselves and challenge authority. Anyone dealing with teenage children will tell you so.
Some come through that necessary phase of growing up still as faithful believers. Which indicates that there might have been some developmental mishap.

In some parts of the world – Christian included – religious faith is still leading some believers to extreme practices like self-flagellation.

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What defines religion as fundamentally different to for example science is that it relies on faith not facts in how to interpret the world we live in and how to set the rules for their followers. Another thing the main religions have in common is that they claim a monopoly on exercising these powers, which leads to monotheism as in the example of the biblical first commandment.

Over recent decades at least in the so called West the influence of religion has waned. In New Zealand for example according to census figures the number of people affiliated with Christian religions has fallen  from 60% in 2001 to well under 50% in 2013. Similar trends are observed in all Western countries. Most of them not only call themselves secular but have explicit secular provisions in their constitutions. Even in Britain where the union of Church (of England) and the state still exists the influence of religion is steadily declining.

At the same time however, a new secular religion has emerged. God in his/her various forms has been replaced by the Market. All the other hallmarks of the traditional religions are the same.

Church of Neoliberalism

Emeritus professor Richard Norgaard at Berkeley in an excellent must read essay titled The Church of Economism and Its Discontents talks about the religious qualities of Economism in a broader sense. However I like to be more precise to emphasise the economic theory of the last 30 plus years by calling it the Church of Neoliberalism.

Norgaard on economics and on economists :
Economists themselves have acknowledged the ultimately religious nature of their discipline. In 1932, Frank Knight, the most scholarly and broad-thinking of the founders of the influential market-oriented Chicago school of economics, literally argued that economics, at a fundamental level, had to be a religion, the basic tenets of which must be hidden from all but a few:
“The point is that the “principles” by which a society or a group lives in tolerable harmony are essentially religious. The essential nature of a religious principle is that not merely is it immoral to oppose it, but to ask what it is, is morally identical with denial and attack.
There must be ultimates, and they must be religious, in economics as anywhere else, if one has anything to say touching conduct or social policy in a practical way. Man is a believing animal and to few, if any, is it given to criticise the foundations of belief “intelligently.”
To inquire into the ultimates behind accepted group values is obscene and sacrilegious: objective inquiry is an attempt to uncover the nakedness of man, his soul as well as his body, his deeds, his culture, and his very gods.
Certainly the large general [economics] courses should be prevented from raising any question about objectivity, but should assume the objectivity of the slogans they inculcate, as a sacred feature of the system.”

Have you ever wondered why none of the economists who are always so sure of themselves has predicted the global financial crisis of 2008, which common sense people could see coming. Because economics does not deal with facts like other social sciences. It  is a religious sect busy performing their rituals for the congregration.
“Although economics is cloaked in the rhetoric of science, the modern economy runs on faith.”

The moral Dimension of Neoliberalism

Again Norgaard :

The moral dimension of economism becomes apparent in how it is invoked to justify the status quo. Since the neoliberal transition that accompanied the election of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Helmut Kohl, it has become increasingly common, in both private conversation and political rhetoric, for people to argue that markets correctly determine who gets what. The achievement of great wealth is a sign of merit, even moral probity, whereas poverty is a result of individual moral failings. Because wealth is “earned,” it should not be taxed, even to provide for basic needs such as public education. The wealthy are the “job creators” on whom the system depends, and increased taxation would hinder them in performing the “good work” of getting rich. Economism, by rationalizing market outcomes, becomes the new “opium of the people,” playing the role Marx once attributed to religion in keeping people from rising up against the system.

Galbraith, the most successful economist of the 20th century has seen it clearly :

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The role of the traditional Churches also has always been to subdue their followers and prevent them from rising up against their rich and powerful tormentors the church itself among them. And there are many more similarities between economics and religion for instance how they treat heretics. The economic heretics are lucky not to be burned at the stake. They are instead ridiculed and isolated by their peers and stymied in their careers.

Religious Extremes

Even in its extremes the new secular religion of Neoliberalism resembles the the old traditional religions down to self- flagellation. Here you see some poor US Southerners dependent on social security and obviously in need of medical help having voted for the Republican Party, which campaigned on cutting social welfare and medicare.

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The same thing happens all over the Western world under neoliberal rule where the vast majority of voters vote against their own self-interest. This alone disproves the basic tenet of Neoliberalism that everyone acts in his own best economic self-interest.

While their blood soaks the ground the super-rich 0.1% are laughing all the way to the bank. Religious leaders never spill their own blood. They leave that to their most ardent and stupid followers.

That is what you get if you pray at the alter of Neoliberalism.

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One Photo worth $ 276,753.05

To be precise it was not just this one photo but the one photo opportunity, which lead to this photo and the rest of the coverage of John Key’s last visit to New Zealand troops in Iraq, which cost the New Zealand Defence Force alone NZ 276,753.05 dollars.

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First of all I have to acknowledge and thank the Prime Minister’s Department for passing my Official Information Act (OIA) request on to the defence force and their Chief of Staff Commodore G.R.Smith for his timely response. I hope that he does not get into trouble for this under the “No – Surprises” policy of the government.

Pastoral Care or Propaganda ?

When the commander in chief visits the troops for some photo-, television- and selfie- opportunities it might be a good thing for our people in the desert.
Talking to the soldiers and giving them a pat on the back or pull on a pony tail for the female members of the armed forces might increase moral and qualify as pastoral care. That however, could have been achieved without 8 journalists travelling with the PM. We don’t know if the soldiers other than the top brass actually enjoy the media attention. Remember all the secrecy around their deployment allegedly for their own personal safety ? When the last lot came back the media at home were not even allowed to film them getting off the plane.

Then there is the question about the reporting from the camp in Iraq. The news value of the coverage we received is questionable. What we ‘learned’ is that our training contribution was very much appreciated by the Iraqis. The Iraqi officers who were asked would say that wouldn’t they.
And we ‘learned’ that our soldiers had something special in doing the training job the “Kiwi Way”. I know and appreciate that there is something very special about the way how Kiwis relate to other people. I wonder however, how much difference the “Kiwi Way” makes in a hot desert camp in Iraq where our soldiers are basically training some Arabs to kill other Arabs. No questions asked.
Will they become more deadly fighters being trained the “Kiwi Way”?
However, as you’d expect those questions were not asked when our media trotted out and regurgitated the old “Kiwi Way” myth.

Any pastoral care could most likely have better been achieved without the prying eye of the media.
The news value from the reporting we have seen was more than questionable.
It therefore appears that the whole prime-ministerial trip boils down to a public relations or rather propaganda exercise for Mr Key.

Let’s then look at the propaganda value of what eight journalists produced out of Iraq. The only memorable new thing were the images of John Key in protective armour and desert coloured cap looking like a strong leader as a war prime minister should. When I showed the above image to my son his immediate reaction was : “John Key is having a good day and loving it.”

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These images are worth every taxpayer’s cent the Defence Force spend and more for “Brand Key”. The man nothing sticks to and no scandal can penetrate body armour or not. The only thing, which sticks in my throat is that I paid for the cap as part of the $4,680.81 cost for “equipment, clothing and consumables” as specifically listed in the OIA response.

Timing and Context

We have to remember the timing of the trip and appearances of these images. It exactly coincided with John Key and his minister Tim Grosser in Atlanta signing the TPPA and surrendering New Zealand’s sovereignty and selling our economic future to international corporations. All this while we were not looking being instead distracted by these images from Iraq.

Isn’t it ironic that we have been fed the above images at the exact time when the man featured betrayed everything New Zealand soldiers fought for in WWI and WWII ? That is the democratic right to determine our own future.

The Middle East

Looking at the situation in the Middle East and Mr Key in it I am thankful for a couple of things.
One is our good fortune not to have an aircraft carrier or anything else to land on. John Key would have been on it George Bush style to portray himself as the great helmsman.
The other is the fact that a wiser previous government disestablished the NZ strike airforce. We would by now be bombing Iraq and Syria with the same effect as the German Blitz on London and Coventry.

But to end on a positive note. There are good images coming out of the Middle East. Thanks to Twitter we see Sonny Bill Williams “making new friends” in a refugee camp in Lebanon.

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We didn’t even have to pay for seeing this Kiwi sporting hero making friends for us.

In contrast the taxpayer funded images of our Prime Minister in Iraq are showing New Zealand making enemies.

The difference is far more than just the cost to the taxpayer of NZ$ 276,753.05

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We are better than this

The recent Canadian election campaign, which ended in the defeat of the conservative Harper government featured one outstanding campaign ad. It was not produced by the opposition but Adbusters, the Vancouver based anti-consumerist organisation. Even if it is pretty shocking it is a must see clip.

The ad features a man spitting on a Canadian flag sewn onto a woman’s bag.
Adbusters says that is based on an actual incident that happened at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
What happened?” the man says. “You used to be the good ones.”
The narrator declares, “He was right.”
The ad also shows images of a country that has gone from achievements to be proud of, to a kind of police state that is wreaking havoc on the environment.
I used to be proud of my country,” the narrator laments, “we have come a long way together, but lately we’ve been led astray. And the world now sees us for what we’ve become.
The final line reads: We are better than this.

Looking at New Zealand over recent times up to yesterday and today I cannot get this ad out of my head.

 New Zealand’s reputation under threat

New Zealand more than most countries relies for our economic wellbeing on it’s good will, it’s positive image. The country is dependent on trade with our overseas customers. Buying our product they want not only value for money but want to feel good about it. For this we have developed the image of the “100% Pure Clean Green New Zealand“. However, the reality does not even come close to that image. It should be only a matter of time till New Zealand will be charged with advertising fraud if only anybody would take our claims seriously. Just take a few examples from recent times.

Our prime export commodity is dairy products. We promote the image of happy cows on pristine green pastures in contrast to overseas production, which mostly happens indoors where cows are housed and milked. The feed there is often imported, shipped and trucked around the world at great cost not only financially but to the environment. However, if we look closely our dairy production is far from lilly white. As a consequence of dairy farming most of our rivers are so polluted by nitrogen that they are not safe to swim in. The methane emissions from our livestock account for about half of our green house gas emissions. And we are right at the top on a per capita basis. Our industrialised dairy production relies also in part on imported palm oil seeds for feed, which also contributes to the increasing destruction and burning of the tropical rain forrest in Indonesia. Also a major contributor to climate change.
On top of this we this week were confronted with disturbing images of cruelty to bobby  calves as a byproduct of the milk production. Images, which will go around the world to the consumers of our products as the activist against cruelty against animals have promised.

Our dairy trade is not the only industry threatened by the fact that reality does not match the beautiful imaginary portrayed abroad. Most of our tourists come here with that image in mind. We can be sure that it will have a major impact when potential visitors find out that the clean green 100% pure New Zealand image is just false advertising: 100% pure bullshit. The customer backlash is going to hurt the whole country. It will affect other exports as well, which based on our image and good will have up till now produced premium returns  for our horticultural and wine industry. The dirty big secret is bound to come out.

Climate-Change policy

The biggest threat to our international reputation is our government’s policy on climate change.

Listening to our prime minister at the UN climate summit in Paris making promises with his fingers firmly crossed behind his back makes you angry and want to spit on our flag.

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One policy making the headlines was to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, which internationally amount to over US$ 750 billion annually. New Zealand does not directly do this and therefore it is cheap to demand. What we do instead is subsidise oil & gas exploration at a time when we know that this is the last thing we need to find more fossil fuel resources under the sea. If the world is to have any chance to keep global warming to the agreed maximum of 2  degrees most of the already known reserves of coal and oil have to be left in the ground. So we don’t need to find any new ones. This goes to show that our government is not at all serious about the future of mankind on planet Earth.

New Zealand after the pathetic hypocritical performance of our Prime Minister in Paris was shamed by winning the wooden spoon  “Fossil Of The Day Award”. The world is watching with 8000 journalists in attendance. There is not enough advertising space available to repair the damage.

And we have the means in our country blessed with an abundance of renewable resources to make a real difference if there only would be the political will.

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Are we better than this ?

I first came to New Zealand in 1981 before Neoliberalism had arrived. Everyone I talked to beforehand was full of praise for this beautiful blessed country. I promptly fell in love with it and it’s people and immigrated in 1984. In those days like the Canadians who don’t want to be mistaken for US Americans we proudly attached our flag to our luggage to be safe and liked.

Thirty years of Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us and especially the last seven years of the neoconservative Key government. So I am not so sure if people who really know the New Zealand of 2015 still like us as they did in years back for good reasons.  Advertising and PR do work only for a limited time if not matched by reality.

Our chance to show the world that we are better than this comes around every thee years. Will we take that chance in 2017 – like the Canadians did – and toss out our present conservative government and even better neoliberalism altogether. This year will be another record hot year. We are facing a severe drought in the coming months. How many more record floods, droughts, hurricanes around the world and in our backyard will it take to show the world that we are better than this. 

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They have Guns. F–k them. We have Champaign. *

It took me more than a week to turn to one of the more important events of the year the terrorist attacks of Friday the 13th in Paris.  First I had to let the tsunami of media coverage wash over me, let the dust settle a bit and have some good night sleeps before I hit the keyboard.

The story of the terror attacks on Paris has distinct aspects, which I will try to differentiate in my assessment. There are the attacks themselves and their roots and reasons in the Middle East as well as at home. And there is the reaction of the corporate media hand in glove with the political elite. Both seem to have one thing in common that they both are brutally violent.  They are two sides of the same coin feeding off each other with no end in sight.

One Attack somewhere in a long line

Unfortunately the Paris attacks are not the first and will not be the last. The ground they sprang from in the Middle East as well as in France is still fertile. And by all accounts the reaction from the West fertilises the ground even more.

The Muslim World

The West has created a lot of very angry hateful people in the Arab world going back decades. It started when the Arabs were betrayed after WWI by the allies they have been fighting for. It continued when the guilt ridden WWII allies allowed the Zionist state of Israel to be established on Arab land. The victims of that ethnic cleansing are still lingering in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Gaza. In 1967 the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights begun and is still ongoing. The young people are living without hope and have been taking up stones against guns as long as we care to remember. The repression is getting more brutal by the day including building a wall through Arab land and taking the scarce water resources. Israel is doing it with impunity against countless UN resolutions because of the backing of the USA.

On top of all this the West/the former colonial powers have consistently contributed to  the suffering of the people by supporting the most corrupt autocratic oppressive regimes.

It followed the illegal 2003 Iraq war and occupation, which started the latest round of disastrous Western interference, which destabilised the whole region. Hundreds of thousand died, mostly civilians. The Iraqi army was disbanded and it’s highly professional often British trained Sunni officers were left to join ISIS. It continues with extra-judicial killings by drone strikes. Recently drone pilots who do the killing and watch the results on their computer screens back in the US in an open letter to the US president told us that ‘Civilian Killings Driving ‘Terrorism, Instability’. The Air Force whistleblowers say that the US drone program “is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”

As the US are not likely to listen to their own pilots the consequence are that terrorism will not only continue but increase. On 9/11 2001 New York was hit, in 2004 it was Madrid, in 2005 London and now in 2015 it was Paris’ turn for a second time. Nobody expects that this was the end. And as a true Westerner I only list the major Western targets and not the attacks in the Third World like Bali and Mumbai and the attacks around the Middle East and Africa.

Homegrown Terrorism in the West

On 9/11 New York was attacked by foreigners from the Middle East mostly by our best friends the Saudis. The London and as far as we know the Paris attacks were executed by homegrown terrorists.
We have to look again for what creates such hatred in Muslim suburbs of Paris that young Frenchmen kill other young French people. Here the story goes back to France’s brutal colonial war in North Africa and the influx of many Muslims from the Magreb region. They of course fare much better than their Palestinian brethren under Israeli occupation but still are second class citizens with well documented social problems.

Add to that the rise of religious fundamentalism among Muslims in the Middle East as well as Christians in the US. Crazy people who believe in Armageddon in their lifetime. Remember George W Bush not only spinning us the lie of weapons of mass destruction but justifying his criminal war against Iraq because God told him so.

In other words the attacks were totally predictable. And so did Nafeez Mosaddeq AhmetAt the end of last year, as politicians and pundits cheered on coalition airstrikes in Syria, [he] wrote this: 
“The war on ISIS has already been lost. As regional instability escalates predictably as a direct consequence of the US-UK led non-strategy, ISIS will become stronger, and reactionary terrorist violence against western targets will proliferate – in turn fuelling reactionary and militant responses from western foreign policy establishments.

The Western Reaction

The first to react were the media.
In New Zealand TV ONE decided to devote one and a half Saturday night prime time television hours on the attacks with very little substance to fill the time other then the advertising. I had the distinct impression that our state broadcaster in true commercial form started to make money from the event. The personal tragedies for so many victims and their families will fill the papers for some time to come

Others were making money too. In the morning my son watching the markets reported a notable rise in the stocks of the arms and security industry. There of course would be no war if there would not be huge amounts of money to be made. There is the crux of the matter as well as the solution. Cut off the arms and ammunition supply and let these fundamentalist Muslims who mostly kill their own countrymen go at each other with sticks and stones. However, that would be the last thing the arms industry would allow.

As soon as the media were able to drag the first politicians in front of the cameras they were prompting them to ask for increased surveillance powers and military retaliation. The media were calling for a violent response. Just watch Glen Greenwald blast CNN over this. Or another CNN guest calling for We Should Bomb Even Hospitals, Universities To Fight ISIS. It seems CNN will let just about anyone air their warmongering views on the network. 
One has to feel sorry for French President Hollande, who resorted to the predictable reflex of violent retaliation launching more airstrikes against Syria and now even pushing for a ground war. Any other response would have been political suicide. And by all we know that is exactly what Islamic State intended to lure the Western ‘infidels’ into the trap of a more and more violent conflict on their terms and territory.

Some of the media headlines and stories and utterings of politicians struck me as particularly strange. One said that France found itself at war. I wonder where she had been all year while the French airforce were bombing Islamic State in Syria.

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Is it war only when the killing reaches your shores ? Did the French government expect that the bombing would go unanswered like in the case of the Rainbow Warrior ? That only one side of the war would do the bombing and shooting while the other would just sit there and take it ? Was the West deceived by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict where mostly one side does the shooting while the other throws back stones ?

Then came Charlie Hebdo, the anti-Islamic satirical French magazine, which itself suffered a murderous attack earlier in the year with the following cover :

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This reads in English :   They have Guns. F–k them. We have Champaign.

What were they thinking putting an image on their front page where out of the bullet holes of the victim pours Champaign instead of blood and talking about the them and the us .

If this is any indication of the attitude of France and the West then God, Allah, Yahweh or anything else, which might be out there, may help us.

* Cover of French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo”

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Australia = Racism & Xenophobia = Human Rights Abuse

Australia, the lucky country ?

Australia likes to call and see itself as the lucky country. And it has many reasons to feel that way. Anyone who has ever visited is struck by it’s natural beauty in great diversity from it’s beaches to the red centre. There are so many iconic picture postcard images identifiable as unique Australian to make most other countries envious.

Ayers Rock Under a Blue Sky Uluru National Park, Australia

Ayers Rock Under a Blue Sky Uluru National Park, Australia

However, even the breathtaking natural beauty comes increasingly with a serious downside. The weather extremes seem to give us either severe droughts or floods. There are (lack of) water problems not only in the most populous part of the Murray/Darling river catchment of the Eastern part but even more serious in Western Australia. All this of course aggravated by climate change.
It is an irony that one of the riches of Australia they are exploiting on a massive scale is coal, which directly contributes to climate change. Australia does  not only export coal but also uses it extensively for local power generation despite having ideal conditions for sustainable energy production like solar.
Another of Australia’s riches is space. A whole continent sparsely populated, which could do with more people.

How come then that the Australians are so paranoid about the arrival of a few hundred boat people that they ship them off to far away islands in the Indian and Pacific Ocean including women and children ? Of course not all Australians suffer this condition and many are actually appalled by what is done in their name. However, it seems to be a sizeable majority as both major parties seem to outdo each other especially at election times to stem the “flood” of boat-people by treating them extra harshly and inhumanely.

Racist History

Not only did the colonial history of Australia start as a British penal colony being settled by the low life and petty criminals from England but it was a extremely racist country from it’s conception. When the first English settlers arrived they regarded Australia as ‘terra nullius‘ a land that nobody owned. In International Law ‘terra nullius’ describes territory that nobody owns so that the first nation to discover it is entitled to take it over, as “finders keepers”. This despite the fact that the British boat people were greeted at the beach by Aborigines who had lived there for around forty thousand years. The indigenous people where not even regarded as human but listed under Australian fauna. They then became one of the first victims of British genocide.

These extreme racist attitudes and policies continued over time till today. Since Australia  became an independent self-governing country it had a British only immigration policy. After WWII when Europe was full of refugees and displaced people the then immigration minister had to trick the Australian people into accepting non-British immigrants. He send his officials to the camps across northern Europe to select the most beautiful Aryan specimen the Nazis could not have chosen better for their breeding programme to fill the first immigrant ship. When she arrived in Melbourne the news reel cameras were rolling and the Australian people were pleased with what they saw and accepted immigrant who looked like them or even better. It took many more years to let Southern Europeans in. The White Australia policy lasted many more decades. Even Asians who had come to help defend Australia during war were not allowed to stay.

Only through a referendum in 1967 did Aborigines who had lived there for 40,000 years become Australian citizens some of them having already fought under the Australian flag in WWII. In the 1950s and 60s murdering indigenous people without punity called Abo-Hunting was still considered a sport in some places.

This is the history we have to take into account to understand today’s Australian ingrained racist attitudes.

Experience of Australian Racism

From my personal experience with Australian people I just want to recall a few events.

In 1992 the Australian Hight Court in the landmark Mabo vs Queensland decision for the first time recognised native land title. The ‘terra nullius’ doctrine was overturned for Australia. I was among the group of the Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating visiting a West Auckland Marae. A huge pack of Australian media where quizzing their prime minister over the decision as if the sky was falling in over Australia and what it all was going to cost the commonwealth. Nobody mentioned that with this court decision centuries of injustice could come to an end.

In 1998 we did a cruise around the Yasawa Islands of Fiji. Unfortunately the small local cruise ship was dominated by a group of racist rednecks from Queensland  who made the experience almost intolerable. To be fair to the Australians it has to be said that the expat New Zealanders among the group were as bad if not worse.

At present among our friends and family who live across the ditch many plan to come home giving the intolerance and racist xenophobia in Australia as one of the reasons.

Today’s Human Rights Abuses

The Australian human rights abuses in today’s headlines are mostly directed against asylum seekers. The indefinite detention policy was already in breach of Australia’s obligation under international law. As a further deterrent against desperate refugees risking their lives in leaky boats to reach Australian shores they are now shipped off to remote islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans with no access to legal representation or hope to be treated humanely and fairly. (See Pamela Curr in Left Turn: Political Essays for the New Left)
New Zealand was forced to take notice when our citizens ended up in the same modern day concentration camps run by the infamous private prison company SERCO. Late last year in another knee jerk reaction to perceived muslim terrorist threats Australia passed a law allowing them to deport any non Australian citizen with a criminal record of one year or more imprisonment even if the person had lived in Australia since he was an infant and any other person the minister deemed undesirable. These people had done the time often years back and were picked up from the street and in early morning raids ripped from their families and some ended up on remote Christmas Island.

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When opposition MPs in the New Zealand Parliament raised concerns about these human rights violations against New Zealand citizens Prime Minister John Key tried the old “dead cat” trick to distract from his failings by deviously accusing his critics of supporting rapist, murderers and child molesters even if none of them were.

If that was not bad enough creating a huge furore his alter ago and media personality Mike Hosking in a rant a few days later trying to distract from his master’s lying and insults in parliament basically defended the human right abuses as nobody wanted and cared for those people anyway.

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However, what really should offend every single New Zealander is last years joint statement by the Australian and New Zealand PMs as quoted by Toby Manhire :

No other bilateral relationship has the same immediacy and commonality as the links between Australia and New Zealand. We share common values, including a strong commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.”

Our Prime Minister has again shown that he has no knowledge nor sense of history. I like to think that Kiwis have no immediacy and commonality with racists, xenophobe human rights abusers.

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Rugby, Racing & Royal visit – lets feel good

New Zealand the lucky country ?

This week presented New Zealand with all possible goodies at once. On Sunday “we”/”our boys” won the Rugby World Cup for the second time in a row. On Tuesday “our” horse won the Melbourne Cup the richest horse race in the Southern hemisphere which brings two countries Australia and New Zealand to a standstill for a few minutes every November. And on Wednesday “our” future king Prince Charles and his lovely wife Camilla arrived in the capital for a week long royal visit.

Our prime minister as a professional money changer/gambler must be counting his lucky stars. And did he love it and make the best out of it to increase or at least cement his personal popularity.

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Spring has arrived. The sun is out. The cricket season has started and “our” Lydia Ko is number one of the golfing world. And again we were named one of the top prosperous countries in the world by some obscure overseas organisation. Could we get any happier in this lucky country ? So we thought. Then came Thursday.

New Zealand under threat !

When we got up on Thursday, Guy Fawkes Day, when we still celebrate the historic foiled terror attack on the parliament building in Westminster, we were greeted by the full front page of the biggest newspaper, the New Zealand Herald, which read “SPIES TELL PM The six threats facing NZ” with #1 “Violent extremism in NZ and by New Zealanders”. Enough to want to crawl back under your duvet and pull the pillow over your head.

How come that almost thirty years after the bombing and sinking of the GreenPeace flagship “Rainbow Warrior” the only terrorist attack on New Zealand soil in living memory we again seem to be under threat. Could it be that our attention seeking foreign policy sending a few soldiers to Iraq to fight ISIS: “Hey extremist muslims look at us don’t forget us at the bottom of the world” has actually worked ? Does ISIS now bother to spend efforts and waste resources and in a worst case a suicide bomber on our paradise in the South Seas ?

SIS director Rebecca Kitteridge doesn’t seem to think so.

SCCZEN_A_110315NZHMMSPIES7_620x310Perfect example that an organisation spying on all citizens
does not change by putting some lipstick on it

She is quoted as saying “New Zealand’s spies have turned up new terror threats as increased funding has boosted capability.  It doesn’t necessarily reflect an increased danger to New Zealand and could show the improved ability of the SIS to identify threats.”
“If your numbers are growing as our numbers are growing, and you find more, I have been very careful about not saying the threat has changed. It may just be that we are finding more. You have to be quite careful about all of this. I’m not in favour of shroud waving or scare-mongering. I want to be very factual and not over-egg what we are doing.
However, that is exactly what she is doing scaremongering and over-egg what they are doing. Instead of being “very factual” there are no “facts” whatsoever and there will never be. We never heard of any successful prosecution of any wannabe extremists nor will we in future. All is shrouded in secrecy.

According to her above explanation of the “new terror threats” there is only one recipe to reduce them, which is cut funding to the spy agencies and the threats will diminish.
Instead the spies say they will need new laws and new powers and of course more money to protect the country from “emerging threats”. Sounds to me very much like the perfect protection racket business model of the Mafia: Pay us and we will protect you.

The Prime Minister had to comment and is quoted as saying “On the one hand, our very strong advice is don’t be frightened of these things, but on the other side of the coin the Government has a responsibility to be alert to those risksSo, yes there are some potential threats but they’re at a much lower level from what we see, for instance, in Australia.”
He has a problem. On the one hand he is the minister responsible for the secret services and has to justify their existence and the millions spend on them. On the other hand as minister of tourism he must not frighten potential visitors. The last place New Zealand wants to be is on some travel warning list issued by say Iraq or Syria to warn their citizens from any danger if they are lucky enough to be visiting New Zealand.

Unwrapping of the TPPA parcel

Then came black Friday and with it the release of the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

tpp_worse_than_we_thought

The critics see their worst nightmares confirmed. ‘Worse Than We Thought’: TPP A Total Corporate Power Grab Nightmare :

“Worse than anything we could’ve imagined.”
“An act of climate denial.”
“Giveaway to big agribusiness.”
“A death warrant for the open Internet.”
“Worst nightmare.”
“A disaster.”

While the neoliberal defenders of the so called but anything but “free trade” agreement were relatively muted in its defence. They couldn’t find much advantage for New Zealand so praised our government to have at least done the best possible job of minimising the damage.

I liked the defender of the Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), which is an instrument of public international law, that grants an investor the right to use dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. This gives foreign corporations the right to sue our government for any policy, law or regulation, which they claim impinges on their future profits. He said on Radio NZ that those clauses had been part of trade agreement for 30 years without New Zealand being sued once. He conveniently forgot to mention that Australia had just been sued by an US tobacco corporation for plain packaging legislation and New Zealand delayed its own legislation till that case was decided. It only goes to prove that over the last 30 years neoliberal governments in New Zealand were compliant to the demands of overseas corporation as in the example of postponing public health legislation.

It reminded me of the man jumping out of the 60th floor of the world trade centre passing the 30th floor saying to himself: So far so good.

It also reminded me of the Cinderella fairy tale where the sisters unwrap a big gift parcel to find that the ugly (corporate) sisters got all the wonderful expensive presents while Cinderella New Zealand was left with the crumbs.

Sad to see that all the positive feelings of our best ever week of rugby, racing & royal visit has evaporated even before the week is out.

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Media – Branch of the Corporate State ?

“We all more or less hate the media as countless polls about the trustworthiness of various professions show. Journalists always rank at the bottom between politicians and used cars salesmen. But we as a democratic society cannot function without news media.

Civic role of Media in a Democracy

Whenever you talk to a real journalist (not Mike Hosking) you will hear about their special privileges enshrined in law and obligations and standards drummed into them at journalism school. The main ethical standard is true and fair reporting based on facts. This for instance includes quoting correctly and completely and not out of context. Clearly separating factual reporting from (personal) opinion. Basically painting an accurate picture of events around the world for readers, listeners and viewers to be able to understand and make sense of.

Media are different from all other industries in their pivotal role informing citizens to enable them to exercise their democratic rights and duties. Without media we would know very little about the world we live in beyond the things we are able to personally witness. We as voters would have difficulties making informed choices if we are not informed completely and truthfully.

For this reason of being a crucial part of any democratic system most countries have state funded organisations in the most important part of the media i.e. television and radio.

Media Ownership

When we talk about the media and it’s role in a pluralistic society and democratic political system – at least that is how we like to think of our western ‘democracies’ – we never must forget the Elephant in the room : Media Ownership.

There are two basic models.

Publicly owned state funded media like the BBC in the UK, Television and Radio NZ in New Zealand and the ABC in Australia for example.

Privately owned now mostly corporate media like newspapers and the increasing number of private television and radio stations. Neoliberal globalisation has led to a concentration of media ownership in the hands of very few corporations controlled by very few individuals. Rupert Murdoch is by far the leading example but there are others.

To own and control a crucial part of the democratic process gives you enormous power. No surprises really that the young Labour leader and aspiring Prime Minister Tony Blair had to go on a pilgrimage to Australia to seek the blessing (and probably embrace and secret handshake) from before mentioned media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Ironically Rupert had embraced a snake who allegedly contributed to to the breakup of Murdoch’s later marriage by having an affair with his wife.

Media editorial Independence

What we as media consumers really care about is not who owns what and pays or makes money but that we are reliably impartially informed to the highest journalistic standards.

The public model deals with the problem of potential political/government interference in these standards by (at least formally) granting their media editorial independence.

The private model on the other hand in the recent era of neoliberalism has not only lead to increased concentration of ownership but also control over editorial content.

You can call me naive that knowing all this I am still outraged about the latest low points in media performance. I am almost lost for word about what we witnessed recently in the UK media around Jeremy Corbyn, in the US around Bernie Sanders, in Canada leading up to this weeks elections and in New Zealand around reporting on PM John Key and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

These examples demonstrate that the media have morphed from reporting events into dispensing cutting edge propaganda for fellow corporations and attached governments.

Media promoting corporate/government agenda

In the UK during and after the election campaign for the Labour Party leadership the anti Jeremy Corbyn sentiment in most of the mainstream media was relentless. And the media were just clearing their throats for the campaign to destroy the new Labour leader who was just elected with overwhelming democratic mandate. Just watch the beginning Corbyn’s Labour Party conference speech.
There is only one conclusion that mainstream media have abandoned their primary function to enable and facilitate democracy and are now focused on destroying it.

Routledge-Cartoon

And it is not only the print media owned by private corporations doing it but also the publicly owned BBC. They continuously label Corbyn if not worse “left-wing” as in bad and unelectable while refusing to balance that by labelling Cameron by the same token as “right-wing”. There was even a petition for the BBC to change this biased practice.

In the US just last week we witnessed the efforts of CNN to successfully re-write the history of the first Democratic Party presidential candidates debate staged by CNN. Against the overwhelming result of their own polling giving Sanders the win

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they declared Clinton the winner pulling their own poll results from their website and spread the “news” widely with all the other mainstream media in hot pursuit.

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And it worked as nationwide polls have picked up for Clinton on the back of the false news of her “winning” performance in the debate.

In Canada print media tried to stop the avalanche burying the incumbent Conservatives.

screen_shot_2015-10-18_at_6.44.39_amIt reads: Anything but voting for the Conservatives
“will cost you”

In the National Observer under the headline “YELLOW STAIN: The bystander bigotry of newspaper endorsements“Sandy Garossino writes :
“The stain of this shameful moment in Canadian journalism will never wash completely clean from the Globe and Mail and Postmedia. Not only did they tolerate the ugliest political episode in Canada’s post-war era, they signed their names to it.”

If you think in little New Zealand the media are still doing their job of reporting facts impartially think again. These are the latest examples of media bias in this case by state owned Television New Zealand.

Two examples, which at first might not look like much but in reality are in the same league as what we are seeing in the UK and US.

One is the relentless government spin repeated by Television New Zealand talking up the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as a “free trade” agreement while in reality it is anything but. Only a very small number of the chapters are about trade. There is even less about freeing up trade rather more on enshrining tariffs on for instance our dairy exports. Most of it is about the right of corporations to sue our government in overseas Kangaroo courts, extending intellectual property rights adding billion to the balance sheets of big corporations, extending patents on new lifesaving drugs, regulating the internet restricting innovation by newcomers and the list goes on. Still our TV presenters  insist on the term “free trade agreement” like Simon Dallow on Q&A : But ‘surely’ free trade is a good thing.

The other example was the “reporting” on Prime Minister Key’s recent visit to our soldiers in Iraq while ignoring that at the same time our sovereignty and land was sold out from under our feet. The “reporting” that our soldiers are appreciated for doing their job differently to our Australian and US allies because we are doing it “The Kiwi Way”(?). The images of Key in body amour among the troops not really telling us anything other than look at me not the TPPA. The whole exercise made us cringe by making us think of the immortal image of George W Bush on the aircraft carrier.

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Media defending status quo

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act“. (George Orwell)
It is safe to say that the corporate and government media cannot be accused of being revolutionaries.

What is the reason that the media are freaking out now over Corbyn, Sanders and any other challenge to the status quo ?

The permanent political class is freaking out because it knows it is under very real threat. They are going to use every weapon in their armory to neutralise that threat.” (Kerry-Anne Mendoza)

By doing what the media are doing in the above examples they just confirm for us that instead of fulfilling their civic journalistic duties they are just a Branch of the deep Corporate State.

 

 

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TPPA : No bus but sheep truck

TPPA – more of the same old same old

zero_tariff_cartoon3

This cartoon appeared in the Listener Magazine in 1999. Slane could recycle it for today. Nothing has changed. Then it was the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) conference in Auckland. New Zealand’s neoliberal government was frantically trying to run us over the cliff. Then we were saved from ourselves by other countries, which were not prepared to follow our folly. What I have written at the time about the disastrous results of New Zealand’s then 15 year neoliberal globalisation adventure you can find on the Economic-Myth-Busters website.

Sixteen years later in their latest attempt the international corporations and their neoliberal zealot helpers in government and media are at it again. This time even bolder and more insidious in it’s consequences. And again our best chance to be saved relies more on other countries than ourselves.
Here in our country without a constitution there won’t even be vote in Parliament to decide if we should sign up to the TPPA. It just will be discussed in a select committee stacked with neoliberal supporters. The voice of the people will be dismissed by our arrogant government as that of uninformed, stupid, whinging Luddites from the flat earth society. This has been the basic attack line of the government and it’s coterie in the media against any criticism of the so called “free trade” agreement, which we still are not allowed to see.

What “free trade” ?

The brainwashing propaganda from the ‘Ministry of Truth’ and its lackeys in the media starts with the word “free trade”, which is the opposite of what the TPPA really is. Only a few of the chapters are about trade. The vast majority is about protecting monopolies in the area of pharmaceuticals, intellectual property and the internet And by all accounts instead of freeing up the dairy trade New Zealand is most interested in the agreement is a big disappointment to the industry.

The TPPA should be called a corporate monopoly power protection treaty because that is exactly what it is.

Still the government and media keep selling and talking about it as a “free trade” agreement knowing that this misnomer invokes positive connotations. This is the whole purpose of the spin. This “free trade” spin is only the beginning of the hard sell over the next few months. At the same time the government and media can brush off critics for another few weeks by insisting that we haven’t seen the full text yet.

Minister acting illegally and unconstitutionally

The blanket withholding of any information by minister Tim Grosser requested under the Official Information Act (OIA) was not only illegal but unconstitutional. The NZ Herald reports
Firstly, there was “no lawful basis” for the Minister to withhold some of the information requested by Professor Kelsey.
Secondly, Justice Collins wrote, “the Act plays a significant role in New Zealand’s constitutional and democratic arrangements”.
“It is essential the Act’s meaning and purpose is fully honoured by those required to consider the release of official information.”

How bad must the deal be if our government goes to such length of deception, coverup and breaking the law and constitutional conventions to push it down our throats ?

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And the government is succeeding with it’s dirty tactics. The time frame is such that being kept in the dark and fed propaganda lies for so long we will hardly have an opportunity of meaningful analysis and debate before the TPPA is pushed through.

What are we : man or sheep ?

The interesting observation of the latest turn of the debate is that since the results of the negotiations became clear and the deal was agreed the protagonists of the TPPA have run out of supporting arguments.

After the big disappointment for our dairy industry the little bits of tariff reductions for some of our other primary industries over the coming decades are negligible even if their questionable value to New Zealand is totally overstated. (see my last blog: Dining out on dead rats)

On the other side the costs, which were hidden and denied for so long, are very real and substantial.

One example is the extension of intellectual property rights by 20 years. This just adds billions of dollars to the balance sheets of the corporate copyright owners we consumers have to pay for. There is not even any pretence of a justification unlike the big pharmaceutical corporations, which argued that they had to recover the huge costs of developing new generation drugs.
When the copyright extension from 50 to 70 years was passed in the US some years ago on behalf of the Disney Corporation when their major copyrights were due to end the law was appropriately called the “Mickey Mouse Law“. Why on earth should we adopt the Mickey mouse law to benefit Hollywood ?

What the protagonists are left with is the notion that it is unthinkable that little New Zealand would not be “on the bus”, when it was leaving the station. This is not even an argument. It is a variation of being part of the “club” and having to pay a price for it. Whenever New Zealand often reluctantly joined the “club” for no good reason other than being bullied by the big boys we paid a hefty price from Gallipoli to Vietnam to Afghanistan.

Have we forgotten our proudest moments in living memory when little New Zealand stood up to the bullies and decided not to be part of the club or on the bus ? When we resisted US pressure and took an independent position on the nuclear issue. When we did not join the phoney coalition committing the war crime of invading Iraq in 2003. A war, which not only was an international war crime but also so stupid that 12 years later the world has to deal with its disastrous consequences in the Middle East. To keep us off that bus was the only great achievement of the Clark government. Now she has for her own personal ambitions fallen behind the TPPA proponents.

What is wrong with us that we have to follow and be on any bus without asking where it is taking us ?
I cannot help to see my lambs pushing and shoving to get on the “bus” when their time has come to go to lamb heaven.

How bad must the TPPA be when it’s protagonist have to scrape the barrel and resort to the most stupid argument ever : Being on the bus.

Is there no consideration that the bus we are so desperate to be on is in fact a sheep truck taking us to free trade heaven.

 

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