Friday, November 21, 2014

Butts in the gutters of Newmarket

I work in Newmarket. I often walk up Alma St, alongside the Maori TV building. It really disgusts me how they come out the side entrance, smoke in this small street and then just throw their butts in the gutter. Even at my worst as a smoker I would try to find somewhere better. There are usually a huge number of butts on display. You'd think as a principle sponsor of Quit-line that they would at least supply their staff / performers / contractors with outside ash trays so they'd leave the surrounds looking better.

I often have lunch in memorial park.  Recently as I walked back to work I passed the front door to Maori TV. I noticed for the first time that they had a sign up but pointing inwards asking people to smoke in the park opposite and not outside their building.

I suppose we should be grateful that there isn't a kindergarden or primary school opposite for them to send their people to smoke in but for the first time since I gave up smoking I was regretting it as that sign so offended me that I would have loved to have had a smoke and stubbed it out on their precious front steps.

Friday, October 17, 2014

ISIS Has Kiwis jumping at shadows

Islamophobia or just downright stupidity? According to TVNZ news, New Zealand businesses with names like Isis or Issis are getting resistence from customers and having to change their names.
There are dozens of New Zealand businesses operating under the name Isis or Issis, which is the name of an ancient Egyptian goddess.
This reminds me of a tale I heard 30 years ago about a company that had spent years building up their diet food business around a product called Aids. Their business got wiped out by the emergence of AIDS in the early 1980s. Ironically one of the early names for AIDS was "Slim" as late term sufferers lost a nearly all their body weight.

Now suddenly the world is focussing on the organisation sometimes called "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" or ISIL, sometimes the Levant gets translated as Syria and thus ISIL becomes ISIS.  Except, of course, this isn't even the name of the organisation. It's name is in Arabic and is more accurately represented as ad-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fīl-ʻIraq wa ash-Shām (I have no idea what that initialises as, but the French Government has started referring to them as 'Daesh').

Suddenly we are told that people are refusing to do business with businesses with names similar to ISIS. How stupid can you get? Daesh isn't I.S.I.S.; I.S.i.S. isn't Isis. Isis isn't Issis. None of these businesses are related in any way to Daesh.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Salvation Army worker in sex inquiry

What's wrong with this picture?

A Salvation Army  worker and a 15 year old woman allegedly had a sexual relationship. According to Stuff:

"Salvation Army's central division commander, Lieutenant Colonel Ian Hutson, said it had received a complaint several months ago. It immediately stood down the employee and told police.

Police said their investigation was still at an early stage and the alleged victim had not yet been interviewed."

Give up?

What ¿Que? thinks is wrong here is that the police were informed "several months ago" and "the alleged victim had not yet been interviewed". Huh? 

So why are the police spending time on the case but not advancing it? Either close the case and say they will do nothing or go and interview the woman and see if there's a case.

OK, it's under age sex, but not really what we think of when we think of child abuse. The Woman's of an age where we tend to ignore the "technical" violation when it's de facto, if not de jure, consensual. The employee apparently wasn't in a position of power over the woman. Ignoring that ¿Que? believes that laws that aren't enforced are ipso facto bad, there's very little going on.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Terrorism and NZ Passports

I've heard news reports that the government is thinking of removing passports from people that are likely to go and be foreign fighters for "terrorist" groups.

What are they thinking? Where do I want to start on this?

What do they mean by terrorist? 

If they were talking Pre Good Friday agreement IRA, post 11/9 Al Qaeda, or Tama Iti's "Not terrorist at all" training camps  we could probably agree but as it's being used here the term just seems to be a code name for any islamist movement that the USA doesn't like.

Is ISIL "Terrorist"?

I regard them as a nasty inhuman faction in a civil war, but I fail to see how they are "terrorist". Hate them or loathe them, ISIL, like Hamas are now no more "terrorist" organisations than IDF or the USA are. All four are the defacto (factual) governments of territories and project their military power across the front-line into the territory of their opponents. ISIL is just the last to arise and only arose because the west would neither allow the Syrian government to buy the necessary aid to allow it to suppress "Terrorists" (i.e their enemies) nor give the rebels the necessary aid to overthrow the regime in Damascus.

We're making exactly the same error in Syria that "the West" made in 1936 in Spain. What should have been over (one way or another) in months dragged on for 3 long years, teaching the Axis how to efficiently bomb civilian towns and the Left how stage a take-over and destroy liberal internal opposition without destroying your own army on the front. After the final fall of the Spanish Republic, refugees were amazed to see the arms  that the republic had paid for all lined up in France; not allowed into Spain because of humanitarian inspired weapons embargoes.

What's the Spain connection?

John Key's English father is reputed to have left his first wife to fight in Spain. If he'd stayed with her he would never have met  John's mother and ...

If this proposed law had been on the British books in 1936, his passport might have been lifted and the world would never have known John Key.

How do they plan to stop Kiwis leaving?

Kiwis travel. We book one way flights from here to Europe with stopovers in Asia.

I'm not interested in dieing for anyone's imaginary friend. Not Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Kali or Mohammed's Allah, but if I decided to go overseas into the middle of someone else's civil war I sure as hell wouldn't tell anyone about it here before setting out. The chances are that anyone they do manage to stop will be on the stupid end of the spectrum and more likely to make some corner of a foreign field forever Kiwi than do harm.

Should we let them leave?

Part of me says we shouldn't allow New Zealand citizens to fight in any foreign militaries (Although an exception could be made for the Samoan, Tongan, UK and Australian ones), the penalty for voluntarily enlisting should be loss of citizenship. As a point of comparison, US passports warn the bearer that they "may lose your U.S. citizenship" by "serving in the armed forces of a foreign state." The "may" comes from a court ruling in 1967, before that "may" was allegedly "will"; except that the veterans of the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade" were apparently still regarded as US citizens despite their service in Spain.

If we did manage to keep them here, the chances they would still want to help their cause and may see themselves as imprisoned by an unfriendly government in a hostile country and start actual terrorism here. We've never been immune to terrorism in this country; In 1951 union supporters blew up a rail bridge, Neil Roberts blew himself up to attack the police computer system in 1982, someone blew up the Trades Hall caretaker a couple of years later, the French sank the Rainbow warrior and so on.

I'd rather not see a new batch blowing things up here because of their religion.

 If Kiwis are dumb enough to go and get themselves killed in foreign wars, I say "Let them go" but I also say "Don't let them back".


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