Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Signs of a changing country?

I went to get some cash out of a machine yesterday evening and had to choose what language the machine displayed... this felt strange as I'd never encountered such a thing here before.

I assume that this reflects the changing nature of our population - especially the influx of new immigrants whose first langugae isn't english and also the diverse nature of tourists coming here.

Tis cool

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Climate Change - the debate simplified

A friend, Matt D, sent me a link to the following video recently. It explains why we should be doing something about the environment and climate change in a manner few could disagree with.

Simple logic really, its nine minutes and worth watching if you are still unsure as to what, if anything, we humans should be doing to ensure the survival of our species.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stumbling out of a darkened cave

Tis strange some personal stuff happens in ones life and everything else goes out the door... then you emerge back into the world wondering what you missed, what has been going on.

A lot and nothing it seems

Friday, October 26, 2007

Rude Not 2 - it must be summer (well soon)

With special guests: Mr Boinkin, PH8L and the lovely Michelle(live mc and vocals) DJ Randomplay, Bn1, Sifter an Award winning BBQ chef, Cheap beer and Aucklands most eclectic music policy


Fun times (keep Nov 16 & Dec 7th free for Bob D shall be ruining music by playing rekkids)


Thursday, October 25, 2007

We’re all Iraqi too... Welcome to the building

Bloggers Without Borders... River in Syria

Syria is a beautiful country- at least I think it is. I say “I think” because while I perceive it to be beautiful, I sometimes wonder if I mistake safety, security and normalcy for ‘beauty’. In so many ways, Damascus is like Baghdad before the war- bustling streets, occasional traffic jams, markets seemingly always full of shoppers… And in so many ways it’s different. The buildings are higher, the streets are generally narrower and there’s a mountain, Qasiyoun, that looms in the distance.


The mountain distracts me, as it does many Iraqis- especially those from Baghdad. Northern Iraq is full of mountains, but the rest of Iraq is quite flat. At night, Qasiyoun blends into the black sky and the only indication of its presence is a multitude of little, glimmering spots of light- houses and restaurants built right up there on the mountain. Every time I take a picture, I try to work Qasiyoun into it- I try to position the person so that Qasiyoun is in the background.


The first weeks here were something of a cultural shock. It has taken me these last three months to work away certain habits I’d acquired in Iraq after the war. It’s funny how you learn to act a certain way and don’t even know you’re doing strange things- like avoiding people’s eyes in the street or crazily murmuring prayers to yourself when stuck in traffic. It took me at least three weeks to teach myself to walk properly again- with head lifted, not constantly looking behind me.

-snip-

We live in an apartment building where two other Iraqis are renting. The people in the floor above us are a Christian family from northern Iraq who got chased out of their village by Peshmerga and the family on our floor is a Kurdish family who lost their home in Baghdad to militias and were waiting for immigration to Sweden or Switzerland or some such European refugee haven.

The first evening we arrived, exhausted, dragging suitcases behind us, morale a little bit bruised, the Kurdish family sent over their representative – a 9 year old boy missing two front teeth, holding a lopsided cake, “We’re Abu Mohammed’s house- across from you- mama says if you need anything, just ask- this is our number. Abu Dalia’s family live upstairs, this is their number. We’re all Iraqi too... Welcome to the building.”

I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gone but not forgotten

Today I say goodbye to my mother, I'm really really dreading today....

I get to say the eulogy... this is it, I wish I could do better:

Thanks to all our family & friends for being with us today to say goodbye to Mum.

It is hard for me to believe she’s gone, my mother, my supporter and most importantly my friend has left me physically.

I’d like to stand here today and entertain you all with a grand eulogy, filled with stories of her life, to share with you all my love and admiration for her. Please forgive me when I say I don’t feel I am capable right now of such a task.

Rather I’d like to save these for the times we share together over the coming years. Times when I feel better fit and suited to celebrate my mother than dwell on our loss.



Liz was first and foremost our mother, a job she took very seriously, we were always her primary concern and like most mothers she continued this right to the end.

In typical fashion she left quietly – she didn’t like people making a fuss about her, so she left quietly and with dignity, our mum right to the end.

She did leave us with some gifts; unwavering love, unwavering support and a keen sense of humour. As the days, weeks and years pass I know my gratitude for these gifts will only grow. If I could write an epitaph for our mother, it wouldn’t be a sad one, it would say that:

“Here lies Elizabeth Jane Kerr, born September, 27th 1942. Died 19th October,2007. A loyal partner and a loving mother. She lived her life with courage, love and laughter. She taught her us to see the clouds and the trees, to love life and to value family and friendship above all else”.

I have a couple of important thank you’s to extend; first to Amand,a Belinda and Ross – thank you for being there for Mum over the past few weeks, it hasn’t been easy for any of you and we all thank you.

A testament to Mum was the wide variety of age groups and people she had as friends. Many of whom are here today. So “thank you” to all of you here for being such wonderful friends, it was all of you that helped to keep her so vital and happy right to the end.

And now she’s gone and nothing will ever be the same again. I am so glad that she was my mother and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for all I have learned from her.

Liz you will always be my loving mother, my dearest friend. This is only a goodbye to your elegant dignified, worldly body. Your gifts will continue to sustain me until we meet again. I love you mum. Thank you so much for being you.





Rock on Mum..

Friday, October 19, 2007

DJing is a scam

This year DJ Mag has been appalled and disgusted to discover suspicious voting irregularities in their Top 100 DJs poll.

For the first time ever, now that DJmag is wholly independent again, the votes in this year’s poll have been collated in-house, and while in previous years we’ve relied on technology to weed out suspect votes, this year it’s been proved that there’s nothing more effective than the naked eye.
With 345,000 votes cast by email, publisher James Robertson has spent a ridiculous number of man-hours going through each vote. His discoveries have resulted in several DJs being disqualified from this year’s poll.

Roberston explained: “This year, I made a decision to investigate votes where the same IP address appeared over 50 times for the same person. The chances of the same person getting voted for by 50 different computers each having been allocated the same IP address within a week would be billions to one.” The biggest DJs at the centre of our investigation were US stars Christopher Lawrence and DJ Dan. Both shared the same marketing manager.

“In both their cases, a script was used to bypass our security system,” said Roberston. “Not only did we get multiple votes from the same IP address, but we got multiple votes from multiple IP addresses — in other words, we received in excess of 50 votes from the same IP address on over 20 occasions. Both Lawrence and Dan vehemently denied any involvement in vote rigging. “I take this matter very seriously,” said DJ Dan. “My assistant and I confronted my former marketing manager via telephone. He strongly denied any wrongdoing, but had no credible explanation for the improper voting. Christopher Lawrence, who used the same marketing person this year, reported similar voting problems. When I discovered the common link was our marketing person, I immediately terminated him.” Lawrence’s lawyer Kent Liu said: “My clients are willing to declare under oath that they themselves did not purchase or use a script, nor did they instruct any person in their employ to do so.

”Chinese cheat DJ Tiesmi admitted paying cash for votes. “Tiesmi explained to me that it cost 4000 Yuan (£260) for 100,000 votes. He had paid a software engineer to create a script to by-pass our security code,” said Roberston. “However, it became apparent very quickly that Tiesmi was cheating when he raced to the No.1 spot within hours of the voting starting. “His friend Yutise, who seemed to appear on the same bill as Tiesmi, as the second DJ, was also investigated. He explained that it was not him cheating, but his crazed fans who he had no control over,” said Robertson. “It’s funny though that the world’s biggest DJs, like PvD and TiĆ«sto, don’t seem to have such problems.”

More voting irregularities surround the Flash Brothers from Israel — we detected over 1300 votes from the same IP address. They blamed “friends and family”. In a statement to DJmag, they said: “It appears that some of our friends and family simply wanted to surprise us at all costs and help our cause. We certainly do not condone such behaviour. We feel very distraught about this whole affair. We accept full responsibility for this affair but are quite adamant it boils down to sheer stupidity and oversight.” Hong Kong DJ Erick Junior has been dubbed “the fastest cheat in the East” after a four-day avalanche of votes saw him shoot to third position in the poll. Like the others, he has been disqualified.

DJmag Editor Lesley Wright commented: “It’s outrageous that DJs should attempt to cheat. It shows a blatant disregard for the Top 100 poll, for DJ Magazine and, most importantly, for their fellow DJs. Shame on them.”

From DJ Mag


Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Iraqi Genocide

By Paul Craig Roberts

10/16/07 "ICH" -- - -Why has not the Turkish parliament given tit for tat and passed a resolution condemning the Iraqi Genocide?

As a result of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, more than one million Iraqis have died, and several millions are displaced persons. The Iraqi death toll and the millions of uprooted Iraqis match the Armenian deaths and deportations. If one is a genocide, so is the other.

It is true that most of the Iraqi deaths have resulted from Iraqis killing one another. But it was Bush’s destruction of the secular Iraqi state that unleashed the sectarian strife.

Moreover, American troops in Iraq have killed more civilians than insurgents. The US military in Iraq has fallen for every bit of disinformation fed to it by Al Qaeda personnel posing as “informants” and by Sunnis setting up Shi’ites and Shi’ites setting up Sunnis. As a result, American bombs and missiles have blown up weddings, funerals, kids playing soccer, and people shopping in bazaars and sleeping in their homes.

Not to be outdone, Bush’s private Waffen SS known as Blackwater has taken to gunning Iraqi civilians down in the streets. How do Blackwater and Custer Battles killers escape the “unlawful combatant” designation?

One can only marvel at the insouciance of the US Congress to the current Iraqi Genocide while condemning Turkey for one that happened
90 years ago.

People seldom see the beam in their own eye, only the mote in the eyes of others. Every member of the Bush Regime is busily at work denouncing Iran for causing instability in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the US has invaded two countries, throwing them into total chaos, while beating the drums for war with Iran and conspiring with Israel to invade Lebanon and to attack Syria.

The indisputable facts are that the US and Israel have attacked four Middle East countries and are determined to attack a fifth. Yet, it is peaceful Iran, at war with no one, that Bush and Israel blame for causing instability in the Middle East.

Not content with its many wars in the Middle East, the Bush Regime is sponsoring wars in Africa and is setting up an African Command. The US government has been bombing and attacking other countries ever since the cold war ended. Instead of peace, the gang in Washington DC chose war.

Other than the Israel Lobby, the greatest supporters of Bush’s wars are Christian evangelicals, specifically the “rapture evangelicals” and the “Christian Zionists.”

I remember when Christianity was about saving one’s soul. Today it is about bringing on Armageddon. While the various evangelical Christians preach war in the Middle East, they condemn Islam for being a “warlike religion.”

Americans are so full of themselves that they are blind to their extraordinary hypocrisy.

The US government has broken every agreement with Russia by withdrawing from the anti-ballistic missile treaty, pushing NATO to Russia’s borders, conniving to place missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic, and buying governments in former Soviet republics and installing US military bases therein.

When Russian President Putin finally has enough and protests, the US Secretary of State blames Putin for being difficult and restarting the cold war.

Few Americans realize it, but they take the cake.

International polls show that the rest of the world regard the US and Israel as the greatest dangers to world peace. Americans claim that they are fighting wars against terrorism, but it is US and Israeli terrorism that worries everyone else. The rest of the world knows that the wars are about US and Israeli hegemony and that the US and Israel are prepared to engage in whatever acts of terror are necessary to achieve hegemony.

That is the bare fact.

When the US dollar loses its reserve currency status, the US empire will come to an abrupt end. Sooner or later the rest of the world will realize this and, in an act of self-protection, dethrone the dollar.

Paul Craig Roberts has a Ph.D. in economics. He has held a number of academic appointments and contributed to numerous scholar journals. He is author or co-author of eight books and was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy.
-----------


Genocide, from the Greek genos (family, tribe, race) and the Latin –cide (massacre), was originally coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish legal scholar, in 1943. There exists, however, a large debate on how to properly define the word “genocide” and moreover, what events constitute genocide or are otherwise crimes against humanity or war crimes.

In 1948, the United Nation’s Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defined genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:”

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The Convention was ratified in 1951, becoming a part of the international body of law. However, the USSR did not join until 1954, China until 1983, and the US until 1988. 133 countries have now ratified the Convention and are subject to its responsibilities. The countries that have signed the Convention are required to prevent and punish acts of genocide, in peace and wartime.

There are 8 stages of genocide, as identified by Genocide Watch. They are: Classification, Symbolization, Dehumanization, Organization, Polarization, Identification, Extermination, and Denial.

Classification includes the creation of the “other”, dividing society into defined groups. Symbolization is when a group is forced to wear or adopt a certain symbol, such as the yellow stars Jews were made to wear in Germany . Dehumanization is when the hatred against one group becomes so strong that murder, rape, and destruction does not become as deplorable. Organization, phase 4, is when special militias or army units are trained, recruited, and armed to stage the genocide; genocide is not a series of random acts, but rather is well-orchestrated and highly sophisticated. Polarization includes the usage of hate propaganda, intending to greater separate and fuel hatred between or among groups. Identification leads the victims to be identified and separated according to their race, ethnicity, or tribe. Extermination is when the physical violence and murders takes place. Denial, after the extermination, is when the perpetrators refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

There have been numerous noted genocides in the 20th and 21st century. The Armenian genocide of 1915 is regarded as the first of the 20th century, followed by the Holocaust of WWII, and followed by the Cambodian, Bosnian, and Rwandan genocides. The most recent genocide, as identified as such by the US , is that occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan , having begun in early 2003 and continuing through to today.

Genocide and Iraq - it doesn't quite fit, yet.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NZ police hold 17 in terror raids

I can't help feeling that this will backfire badly on someone.... probably the police and govt.
At least thats where my two cents are for now.

BBC NEWS Asia-Pacific NZ police hold 17 in terror raids



A great read

Interested in a sustainable business model or example of. Keen on the water and surfing in particular. Bored and want something to read?

Go here, tis worth the effort, quite inspiring!




Sunday, October 14, 2007

The tree update

The weekly look at how 'my tree' is doing... I love the tree, it affords shade and privacy once fully covered.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Some Local Songs I Like

Whilst mucking about the other day I put together a list of 100 NZ songs I really dig... by no means a comprehensive list just a bunch of what I consider some truely awesome songs.

The list is ordered by song title for no toher reason than thats how it is

Artist - Song Title

Soultrust - 456
SJD - A Boy
Chris Knox - A Song Of The Only Child
Bailter Space - Ad man
The Gordons - Adults and Children
The Skeptics - Agitator
The Pin Group - Ambivalence
The Clean - Anything Could Happen
Screaming Mee Mees - At At
The Dead C - Bad Politics
The Clean - Beatnik
Garageland - Beelines To Heaven
Cyphanetik - Blaze Em
The Great Unwashed - Born In The Wrong Time
Snapper - Buddy
Look Blue Go Purple - Cactus Cat
Look Blue Go Purple - Circumspect Penelope
Features - City Scenes
Fetus Productions - Classical
The Gordons - Coalminers Song
The Swingers - Counting The Beat
Dimmer - Cystalator
Body Electric - Dash 1721
The Cakekitchen - Dave the Pimp
The Verlaines - Death & the Maiden
Pig Out - Disco Bag
Headless Chickens - Do the Headless Chicken
The Chills - Don't be Memory
Blam Blam Blam - Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than The Both Of Us
The Clean - Drawing To A (w)hole
3Ds - Dreams Of Herge
The Great Unwashed - Duane Eddy
Jean-Paul Sartre Experience - Elemental
The Clean - End Of My Dream
Upper Hutt Posse - Et Tu
Cuffy & Leon D - Feel
Lava Lava - Feel the Heat
SJD - Four Door
Herbs - French Letter
The Terminals - Gasoline
Able Tasmans - GG 3000
Frybrain - Hanging Out
Spelling Mistakes - Hate Me Hate Me
The Dead C - Helen Said This
3Ds - Hellzapoppin
The Alpacha Brothers - Hey Man
Fat Freddys Drop - Hope
Phelps & Munro - Horse Winning Without Rider
La De Das - How Was The Air Up There
Proud Scum - I Am A Rabbit
The Great Unwashed - I Can't Find Water
The Double Happys - I Don't Wanna See You Again
The Chills - I Love My Leather jacket
This Kind Of Punishment - Immigration Song
Sisters Underground - In the Neighbourhood
Subware - Into
Childrens Hour - Looking For the Sun
HDU - Lull
Able Tasmans - Michael Fay
Headless Chickens - Monkey Jar
Concord Dawn - Morning Light
Victor Dimisch Band - Native Waiter
Chris Knox - Not Given Lightly
The Tall Dwarfs - Nothings Going To Happen
The Tall Dwarfs - Paul's Place
The Chills - Pink Frost
Patea Maori Club - Poi E
Dance Exponents - Poland
Toy Love - Pull Down The Shades
The Chills - Purple Girl
The Verlaines - Pyromaniac
Reactor Music - Rainy Day
Shyane Carter & Peter Jefferies - Randolphs Going Home
Phase Five - Realisitc Biscuit
The LEDS - Rumba
Soane - Runaway
Suburban Reptiles - Saturday Night Stay At Home
Screaming Mee Mees - See Me Go
The Exploding Budgies - See You Round The Stones
The Clean - Side On
3Ds - Sing Sing
SPUD - Slo Gin
Hand Of Glory - Stars In Their Eyes
Bailter Space - The Aim
Vorn - The Americans Are Going To Kill Us
Dinah Lee - The Bluebeat
Car Crash Set - The Outsider
Micronism - The Quiet Mind
This Kind Of Punishment - The Sleepwalker
Headless Chickens - The Slice
Bailter Space - The State
The Chills - This Is The Way
The Scavengers - True Love
The Tall Dwarfs - Turning Brown, And Torn In Two
The Subliminals - Uh oh
Reduction Agents - Waiting For Your love
Bing Turkby - Wanganui
No Tag - What A Great County
Pop Art Toasters - What Am I Going To Do
Fetus Productions - What's Going On

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time to move to a new copywrite regime?

The Entertainment Industry Police Crackdown
by Dean Baker

Last week, a jury determined that Jammie Thomas, a single mother living in Minnesota, should pay $222,000 to the recording industry for allowing other people to download 24 songs off her computer on a file-sharing system. That's a pretty steep fine for passing along a few copies of Britney Spears' latest hits.

The recording industry was apparently able to track down this crime by hiring a high-tech sleuth who has software that can monitor the files people place on their computers. No doubt, the recording industry's sleuth has been visiting a computer near you.

The recording industry has been having a difficult time adjusting to the modern world. Digital technology and the Internet make it possible to instantly and costlessly transfer recorded music, movies, videos, and other material anywhere in the world. While this is great news for consumers, and those who value freedom of expression, as well as writers and musicians who want their work to reach the greatest possible audience, these technological developments are really bad news for the entertainment industry.

The entertainment industry makes its money off of copyrights. It wants to be able to charge people to get music and movies and it can't do that if people can get it for free. And, they want the nanny state to make people pay them. That's why Ms. Thomas may spend the rest of her life paying a fine for allowing 24 songs to be shared with others.

This is not the first time the entertainment industry has gone over the top to try to enforce copyrights. A few years back, it had a Russian computer scientist arrested at an academic conference for presenting a paper that explained how the industry's encryption codes could be broken. It has gone into college dorm rooms and teenagers' bedrooms looking for evidence of unauthorized copies of recorded music. It has coerced colleges into having propaganda classes on the virtues of copyrights for incoming freshman (no doubt led by experts from North Korea). It has even prepared a new curriculum that seeks to indoctrinate kids as early as kindergarten in the merits of copyright protection.

It's long past time for a little reality check. Copyright dates back to 16th century Venice. It was a mechanism for allowing writers to profit from their work by giving them a state-enforced monopoly. It has continued since that time, with the state-granted monopoly being extended both in scope and duration. Copyrights now cover music, movies, video games, and a wide range of other material. The duration has also been repeatedly extended so that copyrights in the United States now persist for 95 years after the death of the author.

While copyrights do provide an incentive for creative work, they are an extremely inefficient mechanism for this end. It is most efficient when items are sold at their marginal cost. Economists generally get infuriated about the economic distortions that are created when tariffs of 10 percent or 20 percent are placed on items like steel or clothes. In the case of copyrights, material that could otherwise be transferred at zero cost, instead commands prices of $15 for CDs, $30 for movies, and even higher prices for other items, entirely because of the government-granted monopoly. For this reason, the economic distortions created by copyright dwarf the economic damage caused by other forms of trade protection.

There are many other mechanisms for supporting creative work, such as university funding (most professors are expected to publish in addition to their teaching), foundation funding, or direct public support. It is easy to design alternative mechanisms to expand this pool of non-copyright funding, such as the Artistic Freedom Voucher, which would give each person a small tax credit to support creative work of their choosing.

With the entertainment industry getting increasingly out of control, it is important that we start to develop better alternatives to copyright. We need to think of how we should support creative work in the 21st century and not let the entertainment industry drag us back into the 16th century.

Dean Baker is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. (www.cepr.net).
---------

The record industry's response to file-sharing has been asinine and out-of-proportion, on that everyone (bar them) can surely agree.

Copyrights that take medicines away from the sick and the dying are immoral at best, and that situation needs to be urgently addressed.

The qustion is how do we protect owners rights without furthering the scenario where a person can be fined a huge sum for something they don't see as wrong - are we all to become copywrite lawyers?

If normal people are breaking the law in the fashion they are then the law is simply out of date and this needs addressing, changes to the copywrite laws here have actually made the situation worse.

Where do we go to? I don't know.

I hope that someone real clever soon comes up with a viable alternative that works for all; the consumer, the creator and those whom license those creations to turn a buck... the sooner the better because crimiminalising normal law abiding citizens is a lose/lose.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nuclear-armed states are criminal states.

US/Indo Nuclear Agreement: Derailing A Deal
by Noam Chomsky

08 August, 2007 -- Nuclear-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation, confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on them to carry out good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear states has lived up to it. The United States is a leading violator, especially the Bush administration, which even has stated that it isn’t subject to Article 6.

On July 27, Washington entered into an agreement with India that guts the central part of the NPT, though there remains substantial opposition in both countries. India, like Israel and Pakistan (but unlike Iran), is not an NPT signatory, and has developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty. With this new agreement, the Bush administration effectively endorses and facilitates this outlaw behaviour. The agreement violates US law, and bypasses the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the 45 nations that have established strict rules to lessen the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons.



Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, observes that the agreement doesn’t bar further Indian nuclear testing and, “incredibly, … commits Washington to help New Delhi secure fuel supplies from other countries even if India resumes testing.” It also permits India to “free up its limited domestic supplies for bomb production.” All these steps are in direct violation of international nonproliferation agreements.

The Indo-US agreement is likely to prompt others to break the rules as well. Pakistan is reported to be building a plutonium production reactor for nuclear weapons, apparently beginning a more advanced phase of weapons design. Israel, the regional nuclear superpower, has been lobbying Congress for privileges similar to India’s, and has approached the Nuclear Suppliers Group with requests for exemption from its rules. Now France, Russia and Australia have moved to pursue nuclear deals with India, as China has with Pakistan - hardly a surprise, once the global superpower has opened the door.

The Indo-US deal mixes military and commercial motives. Nuclear weapons specialist Gary Milhollin noted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s testimony to Congress that the agreement was “crafted with the private sector firmly in mind,” particularly aircraft and reactors and, Milhollin stresses, military aircraft. By undermining the barriers against nuclear war, he adds, the agreement not only increases regional tensions but also “may hasten the day when a nuclear explosion destroys an American city.” Washington’s message is that “export controls are less important to the United States than money” - that is, profits for US corporations - whatever the potential threat. Kimball points out that the United States is granting India “terms of nuclear trade more favourable than those for states that have assumed all the obligations and responsibilities” of the NPT. In most of the world, few can fail to see the cynicism. Washington rewards allies and clients that ignore the NPT rules entirely, while threatening war against Iran, which is not known to have violated the NPT, despite extreme provocation: The United States has occupied two of Iran’s neighbours and openly sought to overthrow the Iranian regime since it broke free of US control in 1979.

Over the past few years, India and Pakistan have made strides towards easing the tensions between the two countries. People-to-people contacts have increased and the governments are in discussion over the many outstanding issues that divide the two states. Those promising developments may well be reversed by the Indo-US nuclear deal. One of the means to build confidence throughout the region was the creation of a natural gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan into India. The “peace pipeline” would have tied the region together and opened the possibilities for further peaceful integration.

The pipeline, and the hope it offers, might become a casualty of the Indo-US agreement, which Washington sees as a measure to isolate its Iranian enemy by offering India nuclear power in exchange for Iranian gas - though in fact India would gain only a fraction of what Iran could provide.

The Indo-US deal continues the pattern of Washington’s taking every measure to isolate Iran. In 2006, the US Congress passed the Hyde Act, which specifically demanded that the US government “secure India’s full and active participation in United States efforts to dissuade, isolate, and if necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.”

It is noteworthy that the great majority of Americans - and Iranians - favour converting the entire region to a nuclear-weapons free zone, including Iran and Israel. One may also recall that UN Security Council Resolution 687 of April 3, 1991, to which Washington regularly appealed when seeking justification for its invasion of Iraq, calls for “establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery.”

Clearly, ways to mitigate current crises aren’t lacking.

This Indo-US agreement richly deserves to be derailed. The threat of nuclear war is extremely serious, and growing, and part of the reason is that the nuclear states - led by the United States - simply refuse to live up to their obligations or are significantly violating them, this latest effort being another step toward disaster.

The US Congress gets a chance to weigh in on this deal after the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group vet it. Perhaps Congress, reflecting a citizenry fed up with nuclear gamesmanship, can reject the agreement. A better way to go forward is to pursue the need for global nuclear disarmament, recognising that the very survival of the species is at stake.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Disgusted

I can't help but feel shame when i look at how my fellow country people are responding to our defeat at the hands of the French the other day.

I apprecaite many are feeling down and disappointed, but do we need to be so callious and angry about something that is nothing more than a game.

We really do need to seriously address our attitudes as a nation to such events, the hate and violence a simple game can engender in us is embarrassing and for a ntaion that is so smug about our lot in life we have I fear more to be ashamed of than proud of at times like this.

Reading some of the comments on the NZ Hearld site made me want to vomit. Reading the wikivandalism some bright spark has created only helps show our smallmindedness to the world. Are we so simple minded?

Thank christ for Public Address and the other sources I have found that show we're not all spoilt kids throwing our toys from the cot - some of us can take defeat with dignity and good humour.

Watched the news last night and all the NZ Rugby union guy could talk about was the financial implications... fucking knobhead! Nice to see them in charge really do care about their team and the game itself. Keep ya money grubbing moaning behind closed doors please.

I watched the game, my first for years and we didn't deserve to win, simple as that. Sure we played a well controlled game but one doesn't score off control alone, top marks to the french who defended so well and took their opportunities when they were presented.

Suckhole for the Ref, whom I though apart from a few rough calls did a decent job - he's human people, this is a game... sometimes calls go your way and sometimes not. The strength of a great team is they over come no matter what. Now we have yet another excuse for lossing when I believe the obvious reasons are more to do with attitude.

Well done the French, you won and showed us how one can be dignified in sucess - the same dignity you would have shown if the results had gone our way, we could learn something ehre but alas we won't. instead our grudge against your team shall only grow.

To the ex pats that pop by - I so wish I was with you, not here having to witness first hand another cringe worthy NZ moment.

Kia Kaha

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Burma

Global Hypocrisy on Burma
by Satya Sagar

As the Burmese military brutally cracks down on a popular uprising of its citizens demanding democracy the question on many minds is – so what is the world going to do about it?

From the trend visible so far the answer is simple- nothing at all.

Nothing, that is, beyond the usual condemnations and pious appeals for ‘peaceful dialogue’ and the posturing at international forums in support of the Burmese people.

Nothing more than sending a lameduck UN envoy to negotiate with the paranoid Burmese generals. Negotiate what? Funeral services for their innocent victims mowed down like rabbits on the streets of Rangoon?

It is not that nothing can be done at all – to begin with, how about kicking the illegitimate military regime out of the UN seat it continues to occupy and replacing it with the country’s elected government-in-exile? Why should Burma continue to be a member of ASEAN or for that matter, by default, also of the Asia-Europe Meeting or ASEM?

What about international sanctions on foreign companies doing business in Burma- including dozens and dozens of Western companies apart from those from Asia? Why should large oil companies like the US based Chevron, the Malaysian Petronas, South Korea's Daewoo International Corp or the French Total continue to be involved in Burma without facing penalties for their support of one of the world’s most heinous dictatorships?

The answers to these elementary questions are quite elementary too- it is Burma’s abundant natural resources and investment opportunities that really matter. Which government really gives a damn for corralled Burmese citizens desperately battling a quasi-fascist regime that is open to foreign enterprises and shut to its own people.

Following the bloodshed in Burma the new French President Nicholas ‘Napoleon’ Sarkozy for instance grandly called on French companies to freeze all their operations in Burma. Close on his heels Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner clarified however that the French oil giant Total, the largest European company operating in Burma, will not pull out for fear they will be ‘replaced by the Chinese’.

Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister also expressed ‘outrage’ at the Burmese government’s despicable behaviour but was mum about UK companies merrily investing away in Burma. Between 1988 and 2004 companies based out of British territories invested over £1.2bn in Burma, making Britain the 2nd largest investor in this supposedly ostracised country. The sun it seems has not only set on the British Empire but–on its way out- also deep fried the conscience of its politicians.

The Japanese government, another monument to global hypocrisy, shed crocodile tears at the cold-blooded killing of Kenji Nagai, a Japanese journalist shot by a Burmese soldier after he had fallen to the ground while photographing a fleeing crowd of protestors. Mustering all the courage at its command Tokyo asked for an ‘explanation’ and got the response ‘ooops….very sorry” from the Burmese Foreign Minister who must have also muttered ‘that was easy – Moroni San’.

On the question of cutting off aid to the murderous Burmese regime of course the Japanese made their position quite clear- ‘ it is too early’ for such action. They are probably politely waiting for the regime to murder an entire posse of Japanese pressmen before doing anything - Burmese deaths being of no consequence anyway.

The most predictable rhetoric of course came from US President George Bush who while announcing a slew of sanctions on Burma’s military leaders incredibly said, “I urge the Burmese soldiers and police not to use force on their fellow citizens”.

Wait a minute, that is what the Burmese soldiers and police are trained and paid to do- shoot fellow citizens- so what was the point Bush was trying to make? As usual only he and his Maker- from whom he claims to take instructions directly- knows.

Bush could have maybe uttered better chosen words but none of it would have been credible coming from a man with a record of war mongering and mass killings in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush own regime’s systematic destruction of international human rights norms have robbed it of the right to lecture even something as low as the Burmese junta about anything. A sad situation indeed.

What about Burma’s old friends like Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia who in a surprise indictment of their fellow ASEAN member expressed ‘revulsion’ at the use of deadly force against innocent civilians? Their statement was welcome no doubt but comes at least two decades too late to be of any real meaning.

Burma’s military rulers have already milked the dubious ASEAN policy of ‘constructive engagement’ for what it was worth to shore up both their regime at home and claw their way back to recognition abroad. In the early nineties when the Burmese generals were really down and out it was ASEAN who offered them succour and friendship while chastising those who called for democracy in Burma as being ignorant of ‘Asian values’.

All this leaves China and India, two of Burma’s giant neighbours, who for long have showered the Burmese junta with investments, aid and sale of armaments and whom the world now expects to use their ‘influence’ over the generals.

China’s active support for the Burmese regime is not surprising at all for a country with its own sordid record of suppressing democratic movements at home and shooting civilian dissenters. I don’t however think the Chinese are really worried about Burmese democracy triggering off another Tiananmen-like event in their own country- not immediately at least and not as long as Chinas’ consumerist boom keeps its population hypnotised.

In fact the Chinese, pragmatic as they are and conscious of protecting their many investments in Burma, may also be among the first to actively topple the Burmese junta if they feel that the tide of protests for democracy is about to win. Their future position on Burma will surely seesaw like a yo-yo depending which cat, black or white, is catching the mice.

Of all the countries around the world the most shameful position is held by India, once the land of the likes of Mahatma Gandhi but now run by politicians with morals that would make a snake-oil salesman squirm. India likes to claim at every opportunity that it is ‘the world’s largest democracy’ but what it tells no one, but everyone can see, is that its understanding of democracy is also of the ‘lowest quality’.

Why else would the Indian government for instance send its Minister for Petroleum Murali Deora to sign a gas exploration deal with the military junta in late September just as it was plotting the wanton murder of its own citizens. In recent years India, among other sweet deals, has also been helping the Burmese military with arms and training- as if their bullets were not hitting their people accurately enough.

It was not always like this though. The "idealist" phase of India’s foreign policy approach to Burma dates from when Indian Prime Minister Nehru and his Burmese counterpart U Nu were close friends and decided policies based on trust and cooperation. After U Nu’s ouster in a military coup in 1962, successive Indian governments opposed the dictatorship on principle.

At the height of the pro-democracy movement in 1988 the All India Radio’s Burmese service for instance had even called General Newin and his men ‘dogs’ (very insulting to dogs of course). With the coming of the P.V.Narasimha Rao government in 1992 though it is India that has been wagging its tail all along.

The "pragmatic" phase of Indian foreign policy toward Burma since the early nineties meant throwing principles out the window and doing anything required to further Indian strategic and economic interests. An additional excuse to cozy up to the military junta was the perceived need to counter ‘Chinese influence’ over the country.

In all these years however there is little evidence that India’s long-term interests were better met by "amoral pragmatism" than the "muddled idealism" that had prevailed in the past. In fact, what emerges on a close examination of current Indian policy is that, for all its realpolitik gloss, the only beneficiary is the Burmese regime itself.

Take the myth of India countering China which, according to Indian defence analysts has in the last two decades gained a significant foothold in Burma, setting up military installations targeting India and wielding considerable influence on the regime and its strategic thinking. They say that India’s strong pro-democracy stand in the wake of the 1988 Burmese uprising provided a window for countries like China and Pakistan to get closer to the Burmese generals.

Indian and other defence analysts, with their blinkered view of the world as a geo-political chess game, forget that the then Indian government’s decision to back the pro-democracy movement was not a "mistake" born out of ignorance, but an official reflection of the genuine support for the Burmese people among Indian citizens.

The second myth that propels the Indian foreign ministry to woo the Burmese generals is that by doing so India can get Burma’s support in curbing the arms and drugs trafficking that fuel the insurgencies in the Indian Northeast. This argument assumes that the Burmese junta is both willing and able to control the activities of Indian ethnic militants and Burmese drug traffickers along the border. In the case of drug trafficking from Burma there is reason to be worried—groups close to the regime benefit directly from the trade.

Through its current policy the Indian government has achieved none of its strategic aims in Burma and instead alienated Burma’s pro-democracy movement and its millions of supporters worldwide. While sections of the Indian population are apathetic or ignorant about their government’s policies towards Burma, their silence does not imply approval.

India is not a democracy because of the benevolence of its elitist politicians, bureaucrats and "defence analysts" but despite them and because of the strong abhorrence of dictatorship of any kind among the Indian people. It is high time that the Indian government respected the sentiments of its voters and stopped misusing the term "national interests" to support Burma’s military dictators.

As for the Burmese people themselves what the world’s wilful impotence in dealing with their brutal rulers indicates is that ultimately they will have to achieve democratic rule in Burma entirely on their own strength.

The people of the world will of course support them in whatever way they can but to expect governments around the globe to help topple the Burmese military regime is as unrealistic as asking the regime to step down on its own. There is no option but to keep the struggle going.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Something on my mind

I can't sleep, too many thoughts and feelings rushing round the ol noggin, so its internerding and pistachio's for the time being

So here I am catching up on some reading and trawling round my usual internet haunts, killing time and doing a rather bad job of it.

Been reading about the new Radiohead album and waiting to get up and go to the first Big Day Out lineup announcement.

Never been much of a Radiohead fan, nice enough songs and all that but simply not my cuppa. Hats off to em though cause they sure are forging into the future with how they are to release this new album (refer link above). Huge respect to em from this small chap downunder and must say I love the middle finger being pointed directly at the recording industry - always been a fan of those who can and do things their own way. We might just be seeing a glimpse into how things might be done by some in the future.

If I was a fan I reckon I'd be bordering on the setting "rabid fan" about now. For any income they might have sacrificed they have earnt themselves lifetime fans and in this fickle world of ours this is a rare thing. Respect.

At odds with this forward thinking prospect is the Big Day Out... I don't know how many times they've rolled out the same old marketing technique but I do know I've been bored with it for a very long time - enough alrady, name ya acts, stick the tickets on sale and get on with it would ya. I appreciate the free publicity angle, I get the building hype and all the other aspects but for gods sake, fuck all that and book some awesome acts.

Already I am preparing myself for the announcement of yet another old headline act to be heading the bill, some tired old 90's act that once was cutting edge and know is simply cutting bread.

Will it be the Smashing Pumpkins or Rage Against The Machine or or or... I dunno nor care... once the Big Day Out was a big deal. A day out seeing some of the best acts of the day, not yesterday. It seems to have become safe, alternative safe...

At a time when festivals are not in short supply here the BDO is one of them that simply has lost its spark - still a great day, a wonderful means to see a bunch of acts and all that but its simply not essential to attend.

I do hope they have a good smattering of the exciting new wave of local acts to give it some edge.

Saying that I should point out my highlight last year was John Cooper Clark, a old fart who performed a so so set of peoms to a bunch of old bastards like myself... I loved it! Yep I don't mind a bit of the old, I'd perhaps just like to be more excited by it all and a new way of selling the day mightat least add some spice that I feel has been lacking - cause I have little faith the Aussies whom control the festival will be giving us the best of whats currently on offer in the new and exciting stakes.

Maybe I'll be wrong - that would be a damn fine surprise... in about eight hours I'll know, or at least have a inkling.. until then I wonder just how I shall pass the time

Update 8:41 am: Arcade Fire & LCD Soundsystem... yep that will do me... no act announced that hadn't been rumoured and nothing to make one go "oh my god" but saying that for the first announcement I can safely say there's enough to jusitfy Bob getting in amongst the kids for a day...

AUCKLAND BDO 2008: Rage Against the Machine, Bjork, Arcade Fire, Shihad, LCD Sound System, Dizzee Rascal, Billy Bragg, The Clean, Katchafire, The Phoenix Foundation, SJD, Grinspoon, Cut Off Your Hands, Hilltop Hoods, Paul Kelly, Battles, Young Sid, Antagonist, Motocade, White Birds and Lemons

Oh and you Burmese could ya stop ya ruckus Bono can't sleep!

To be honest I didn't realise dinosaurs slept