Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Contains strong language

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  • Tom Semmens,

    cartoon.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    crikey. what a lot of conversations. i don't know much about venezuela but i do know that primetime news programmes in this country are RUBBISH. given my innate laziness which translates into a tendency to try to get info from one easily digested half hour (fifteen minute?) news programme conveniently screened just when i'm flopping down on the couch .... (pant, pant) ... maybe that's WHY i don't know much about venezuela.

    i'm sooooo tired of advertisements in the news. i'm sooooooo tired of bullshit american brighteners lifted straight off CNN or whatever bastion of truth and enlightenment they get it from. i'm sooooooooo disenchanted with TV3 news i'm about to give Channel One a go. now that's desperate.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    i'm sooooooooo disenchanted with TV3 news i'm about to give Channel One a go. now that's desperate.

    Back on topic! I have to agree. I have a lot of respect for what Mark Jennings did with 3 News, but there's a nasty edge creeping into it lately.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I guess Chavez really does follow his buddy Castro's lead. Payoffs from drug traffickers is presumed to be how Castro accumulated most of his $600 or $700 million fortune

    oh, you mean like the Contras and the Bush / Noreiga connection.

    I assume you have some solid evidence for the claim (from outside the Miami disinformation network hopefully) because others disagree (and yes I'm aware of the French investigation a decade ago, but they turned up nothing after quite a bit of digging).

    If you want a better idea of the transit routes and the intrigues, and who really gets the bucks this is your book...I finished it last month, it's fascinating..

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Kirsten Brethouwer,

    For reasons largely of cost, a number of European countries are moving towards a register-based approach; buttressed, in some cases, by sampling. (I could be wrong, but I can't see that any country is conducting the exercise solely through sample surveying.)
    Register-based approaches require the state to keep and hold an enormous amount of data and, as such, tend to be employed in the nanniest of nanny states.

    and from your dutch 'in my country'-correspondent: A number of European countries are not so much moving towards, but have traditionally kept registers and that practice hardly gets questioned. You're registered with the local council and when you move to another town you have to deregister at your old place and go in and register at your new council office. When you leave the country you actually have to deregister locally and then get kept in a national database in The Hague. They also register your religious orientation (but you're not forced to give it) and will inform your church when you're moving town. It will quickly make those people who may feel christian inclined but don't want to give the church any money revert to godlessness.
    It maybe the nanniest of nanny states but they do get good stats. Census seems to whip up a whole lot more emotional media crap every time it comes around than continuous data keeping.

    Waiheke Island • Since Nov 2006 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    oh, you mean like the Contras and the Bush / Noreiga connection.

    Snap! That caller stole my thunder. There's nothing that hasn't been done in modern times that wasn't lifted out of the US's Vietnam Playbook. (excuse the tripledouble negative) It was the US that tried to have Chavez ousted as soon as he was elected, and they admit it.
    As for ASBO's ... forget boy-racers - I bet they are being implemented to prevent dissent whenever a Chinese delegation comes to town. Only a fascist could think they were a good idea ...

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I never have, and never will, answer any questions about my ethnicity

    I'm with you Craig. I usually answer that question with Homo sapiens sapiens

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    Here's my Census story:

    Last century (the last time I filled one out, you'll see why shortly) the Census Person came to my door to drop off the forms. Turned out it was a guy I went to school with. We had a chuckle about old times, he gave me the spiel about how important the information was for Govt planning, how it was all confidential, and said he would be back in a week to collect the completed form.

    He collected the form a week later, but returned a day later saying my responses were no good and he couldn't accept them. He said he knew I had lied on the form. I said how did he know I was lying? and I refused to fill in any more forms. The "lie" I had made was that I said in the employment section that I was a prostitute, earning $40k a year.

    Of course it was lie, but he wasn't to know that, and besides ... so much for being confidential! I haven't filled one out since.

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    It could be argued that he hardly needs to, given that persons unknown do quite a good job of killing journalists who venture on banned subjects.

    And those persons unknown include left wing guerillas not just right wing militias. I haven't seen any evidence that Uribe is responsible for any of that.

    He might be, I genuinely don't know. But all I've seen is that maybe he was involved with drug cartels and/or the militias to some extent in the past. But given that a lot of his political opponents came in from the (left wing guerilla/drug dealing) cold I'd like to see a bit evidence that he's a bad guy now.

    I'm quite prepared to believe that most of the left wing guerillas left their bloody past behind them when they entered politics. And am prepared to give Uribe the same benefit of the doubt, if he needs it.

    It's like with Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley. They were both aligned with very unsavory elements but that doesn't mean that what they are doing now should be continually held to ransom because of their past.

    But if Adams, Paisley or Uribe were shown not to have left their past behind them, not to be working for peace, then I would condemn them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    The "lie" I had made was that I said in the employment section that I was a prostitute, earning $40k a year.

    I would have thought your school mate would have given you the benefit of the doubt....$39 400 is pretty close ;op

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Of course it was lie, but he wasn't to know that, and besides ... so much for being confidential! I haven't filled one out since.

    This is where your privacy risk lies with a New Zealand census; at the petty, rather than the institutional, level.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Mahal,

    I'm afraid to say I'm one of the annoyances who answered "New Zealander" - since my parents deemed me responsible enough to answer the thing, in fact. (That was the point I stopped claiming a religion, too, if I remember correctly.)

    As far as bad reporting and bad press go? I'm (surprisingly) feeling somewhat sorry for Mercury Energy. Not aided by the wonderful sight of an overpass en route to work this morning, where some charmer had spraypainted "RACIST MURDER MERCURY ENERGY". No doubt that there was some serious issue there - and my heart goes out to the family - but don't demonize the company without knowing the facts!

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • William Rubin,

    I don't believe there is any justification for census prosecutions. I can think of only two reasons for them:

    1. To obtain the withheld data from the non-respondent.
    2. To deter future non-respondents.

    The first doesn't really make sense; as I read the Statistics Act (1975), people are only required to supply:

    ...name and address, sex, age, and ethnic origin...

    They already know Nik Haden's name, address and sex. So the only gain in data would be his age and ethnic origin. And as Craig R has shown people often don't put their ethnic origin (or sometimes put something meaningless).

    Realistically, prosecuting non-respondents does not add to the data, or its quality.

    As for the second point, this is largely a matter of prediction so no-one can really say what will happen. But if anyone is of the opinion that census prosecutions are snapping the rest of the population into line, I would ask them what they think of official SNZ policy to be "reactive" to prosecution cover in the media. Surely, if you're going to make an example of someone/ some group, you would want people to know about it.

    The vast majority of people fill out their Census forms because they believe it's a good idea, not because they're afraid of going to court.

    In my view, those two reasons are impractical. If anyone can think of another justification I'd be interested in hearing it.

    Also, I haven't seen any comment mention the costs of prosecution. I can't be certain, but with the costs of the prosecution staff salaries and Crown Law, etc. for 72 court cases -- I estimate SNZ has probably spent well over $100,000. Nik Haden's fine could be up to $1,500.

    And just as prosecutions have the potential to scare people into compliance, it has just as much potential to persuade someone into refusing as an act of defiance. Possibly, a "soft-refusal", i.e. just hiding from the form collector which is just as bad for the dataset but doesn't attract attention like a census-form-BBQ.

    And Russell: if you value census data, my advice is to worry less about whether 1 of ~92,000 miscounted people are getting their punishment, and ask SNZ if five years and a ~$70 million budget is enough time and money to get the results that are of the standard you're expecting.

    Since May 2007 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    And unlike King, I take the Bill of Rights Act seriously.

    I don't believe that our law should deny those affected by persistent anti-social behaviour an effective means of redress. As Tony Blair once said, the rights of law abiding citizens should come first. Our Bill of Rights need not be understood to protect that which we ought to condemn.

    Asbos - anti-social behaviour orders - are a cornerstone of Tony Blair's commitment to crack down on the sort of everyday nuisance acts that blight communities but, in the past, police have been largely powerless to act on.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3674430.stm

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Weston, the issue is not so much with the behaviour prohibited, but with the process of the prohibition. A civil order requires a lower standard of proof. And we're talking about fairly basic things like freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and freedom of association here.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    As ASBO's are made by civil courts, they are made on the civil standard of proof.

    http://society.guardian.co.uk/crimeandpunishment/comment/0,,1664715,00.html

    In Essex, a 38-year-old woman was banned from abusing the emergency services, after she called 999 38 times in nine months.

    The man was also banned from using doorbells or phoning households without permission. He had stolen from 250 elderly people after entering their homes by posing as a milkman, a policeman, or simply by asking for a glass of water.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It's like with Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley. They were both aligned with very unsavory elements but that doesn't mean that what they are doing now should be continually held to ransom because of their past.

    Oh, fuck that Neil - that is a truly decadent and depraved bit of semantic whitewash. These men were not "aligned with very unsavory elements" - they were, and are, spokesmen and apologists for ogranisations that over decades murdered, tortured and intimidated thousands in acts of savage sectarian violence and outright terrorism. Held to ransom? Adams and Paisley should spend the rest of their lives on their knees, thanking God they're not being held in a cell awaiting their trials for crimes against humanity.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Adams and Paisley should spend the rest of their lives on their knees, thanking God they're not being held in a cell awaiting their trials for crimes against humanity.

    Decadent and depraved, eh? Must be Brian Tamaki talk-like-a-pantomime-dame week.
    Rather than having Gerry & Ian spend their remaining years in permanent grovel-mode, I'd suggest that their current non-religious style of atonement is infinitely more productive.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    As ASBO's are made by civil courts, they are made on the civil standard of proof.

    Uh, yes. That is exactly right, and exactly the problem: criminal sanctions applied without the same standard of proof normally required.

    All the justified cases in the world won't convince me that beyond reasonable doubt isn't a good idea.

    I read that article by Blair, canting weasel that he is, some time ago, and I wasn't impressed then either.

    If you believe in legislating for decency, move to Singapore.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'd suggest that their current non-religious style of atonement is infinitely more productive.

    Joe: Is every day when Ireland isn't defaced by sectarian murder, torture and harassment a very good one indeed? Of course.

    Then again it would have been 'infinitely more productive' if people like Adams and Paisley hadn't spent decades as apologists and enablers for mass murder.

    But one photo op around a conference table should never efface or mitigate that. Sectarian bigots and their death squads certain should not be euphemised as "very unsavory elements."

    And when you get right down to it, I'd rather be Buttons The Panto Dame than Alastair Campbell.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Adams and Paisley should spend the rest of their lives on their knees, thanking God they're not being held in a cell awaiting their trials for crimes against humanity.

    That's for them and their conscience. I'm no fan of either but I think they played a big role in bringing the psychopaths on both sides under control. They may have been a part of the problem to begin with but once they became a part of the solution then that's when it's time to move on.

    From what I've read of Uribe he might be playing a similar role. What I've seen of Chavez is that he's definitely an Adams or Paisley from the 70's.

    I'm far more impressed with Lula da Silva than with Uribe or Chavez and don't spend a lot of time angsting over Castro, the Cuban revolution having lived up to some of its ideals at least. But I'm not going to accept that US support for Uribe is tantamont to supporting rigth wing death squads without a bit more evidence.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    All the justified cases in the world won't convince me

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I understood that to obtain an ASBO the target must be shown, on the criminal standard, to have engaged in behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. This is despite the fact that ASBO's are civil, not criminal orders. Secondly, any breach of an ASBO (the event that attracts criminal sanctions) must be proved to the criminal standard. I don't see the force in your objection?

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    It's more complicated than that, Weston.

    The second part of the test - whether an ASBO is necessary to prevent further harm - is on the civil standard.

    As to the breaching part, while I accept that it is treated as a crime, I am still bothered by the ability for a court to create a personalised crime, just for you. I don't like that idea either.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    The second part of the test - whether an ASBO is necessary to prevent further harm - is on the civil standard.

    This is simply because its not possible to prove what will happen in the future beyond a reasonable doubt. ASBO's arise from a judicial process, not an exercise in clairvoyance.

    My sympathies are not with those who make a habit of making life unpleasant for others. There is only so much irritation people can reasonably be asked to bear. With respect, I do not believe it is any more complicated than that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Whether it is an Uribe, a Paisley or a Adams, whomever is left standing after a civil war or violence of some sort is not going to be a saintly chap with no blood on his hands, but they are the ones who have the ability to bring the violence to an end and make peace, if they have the vision to do so. Uribe is no saint but he has Colombia heading in the right direction, which is a lot more than can be said for Chavez.

    As for Castro's drug trafficking activities, these are just 2 of the articles that came up with a Google search.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n23_v43/ai_11732953
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/archive/cubaandcocaine.html

    Yes, much of the coke comes from or is processed in Colombia. Until Americans stop shoveling it up their noses it will keep coming, along with the huge damage it does to both Colombian and US societies.

    As for comparing Chavez's stacking of the Supreme Court with his lackeys with Roberts and Alito and the process they went through, that is just pathetic. Roberts and Alito are both supremely well qualified for their posts, yes they are conservatives, just as Clinton's appointees Ginsberg & Breyer are both liberals. Elections have consequences. Roberts just crushed the Dems on the Senate Judiciary committee during his hearing, it was fun to listen to, man against boy stuff.

    Below is an interesting review Venezuela's democracy as of 2002. Go to page 35 onwards. It highlights the downhill slide Chavez has Venezuela's democracy on. It has gone downhill further since 2002.

    http://kellogg.nd.edu/publications/workingpapers/WPS/294.pdf

    And yes, the Yanks have propped up some nasty characters over time. Some of it was in the "zero sum game" environment of the cold war, and some of it has been and continues to be oil related (Saudi Arabia). But the Yanks have also pulled the rug out from under a number of their nasty characters. Noriega sits in a US prison. Pinochet was told to step aside and/or have an election (but look how well Chile has done on the path Pinochet put it on, truly the envy of Latin America). Marcos was ditched. Both South Korea and Taiwan were told to clean up their acts. And the last time I checked, those countries that had had the largest US presence for the longest time, Germany Japan and South Korea were doing quite well.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

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