Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Crash and Contempt

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  • HORansome,

    Islander:

    I heard stuff to that effect. Certainly, given the rampant paranoia at the time the servers were (I believe) confiscated it seems understandable. But no, I haven't looked into it. It's a philosophy thesis, primarily, and thus I'm looking at the structure of Conspiracy Theories as beliefs rather than the individual beliefs themselves.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    strangely i find the guns a little more perplexing than the silencers. call me old fashioned.

    more to the point,for me, this (loosely used) republican culture war seems largely indistinguishable from the whole NZ 'suppression of terrorism act', and the subsequent way this whole fiasco went down, up till the solicitor general stepped in with a crumpet of sanity.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    given that we have a presumption of innocence in our justice system

    That is where the line is becoming so thin.
    Methinks, with technology what it is today, assumption, presumption, supposition, and MSM combined have drawn the line well before any courtroom.
    I am constantly reminded of gladiators and wonder who the next "entertainment will be.
    I do know of another situation where another person was grabbed by AOS and presumed quilty until after his (legitimately licensed) replica guns were destroyed. These antiques are irreplaceable, and for what?, a mentally ill tenant on the property became a bit delusional.
    Also, there is nothing more annoying than having incompetent cops who don't do their homework when you are the one on the receiving end. Having been known for my ability to stand up for my human right, I gained a tag on one of my passports for "association" and cant even replace my US one that got stolen. A Seattle Sheriff told me that nobody would be stupid enough to carry it in my handbag. So when people do try and inform the public via media, it is often because they are feeling wronged. The truly guilty are pretty good at "keeping mum". Loose lips sink ships, and Lawyers cost gazillions.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I don't want to relitigate the culture war on this, so I won't comment on the charges.

    But surely, in any case, there's a public interest in the jury hearing a reasonably fresh version of events that isn't just a layer over a media haze of allegation and rumour. Which is why we have contempt laws.
    (You could argue otherwise I suppose and say that freedom of speech is an absolute and wrongful convictions/acquittals are the price we pay for this).

    If a newspaper gets given stuff that's obviously contempt, shouldn't their lawyer (I wouldn't expect a journalist to do this) see that and warn them that there's a huge fine involved if they go any further.

    Consequently, I'd say that if the court finds it *is* contempt (which I guess it might not be), a token punishment isn't going to cut it - the firm needs to be fined a significant amount that will make the CEO in Aussie leave the editors/lawyers in no doubt of the way to behave in future. (Note I suggest fining the company - it's their responsibility here, not the individual journalists).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    There's a difference between "things in the public interest" and "stuff the public is interested in". Brangelina's babies fall into the latter, IMHO, just so you understand where I'm seeing the boundary. Things that are in the public interest might include tax decisions, government business, tsunami warnings etc. - stuff the public needs to know that they might not actually enjoy.

    The MSM, it its efforts to garner eyeballs for their advertisers, have conflated the two areas as entertainment. The erosion of the opportunity for a fair trial has gone.

    Myself, I favour a system of suppression of all details before the court (including names) until the accused is found guilty. If aquitted, name suppression remains, as that person is innocent. It's up to them to reveal who they are if they want to.

    It won't work, of course - NZ is too damn small and half of us are related to the other half, so word gets around. But we have to redress the balance around a fair trial.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Or to put it in a way that will keep Angus happy:

    Sarah Palin's performance and behaviour as Mayor of Wasilla and Governor of Alaska is in the public interest

    Sarah Palin's children is what the public are interested in

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    That is where the line is becoming so thin.
    Methinks, with technology what it is today, assumption, presumption, supposition, and MSM combined have drawn the line well before any courtroom.

    Sofie: Well said again and I still think there are recent occasions when the accused is hammered long before a defence can be mounted. What would it take to reign in MSM abuse (to my mind anyway) of justice?

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Back to the small matter of the end of finance capital...

    So, NZers think a dozen finance companies going belly-up and the house market falling 10% are not so good...well, the news is unlikely to get better a few months down the track.

    Between Lehman and AIG, the whole securitised debt instrument (including derivatives thereof) cupboard is being exposed as, um, bare. As in, empty. As in, make-believe. As in, scam-a-trillion.

    Nouriel Roubini says all the Wall Street independent broker/dealers are "toast". Great NY turn of phrase, eh? But no worries, two down, two to go, only GS and MS are left. BTW, he said that in July.

    Just for a taste of how corrupt the US financial "system" is, take a look at this take on AIG's attempt to save itself by stealing US$20b from its own subsidiaries. All with the proper approval from the "regulators":

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/09/crime-in-buying-aig-time.html

    Hat tip:
    http://cryptogon.com/?p=4095#comments
    (comment no. 9)

    Let's just say that this is not just an American problem. When the default global currency becomes worthless, there could be some flow-on effects even in far-off NZ. IMHO, of course.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    One suspects that the Dom Post knew the risk that they were running publishing the material, and decided to do it anyway. Either because they thought they'd have a reasonable chance of getting off, or a minor punishment, or they thought a sizeable fine was still worth the publicity, or because they thought that publishing was too important a principle to not do in this instance.

    I'm increasing dubious about the value in suppressing information and preventing the media reporting on it. The media had already reported a great deal on this case, whatever is and isn't suppressed, we're still only getting half the story. I'm dubious that more of the story, from one side or both, is suddenly going to affect justice greatly.

    Apart from anything else, I think if the information is publicly available then defence and prosecution lawyers can deal with it. They can stand up in court and say "this an accusation made in the media and does not form part of this case for these reasons". Currently people know stuff anyway and are just expected to suddenly forget they have that knowledge - a la Louise Nicholas trial where thousands of people across the country and at least one member of the jury knew that two of them were already in jail for the same crime.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Let's just say that this is not just an American problem. When the default global currency becomes worthless, there could be some flow-on effects even in far-off NZ. IMHO, of course.

    Of course, but there is that two trillion dollars that China has in the bank. That'll surely provide them a wee bit of a cushion.

    Or maybe they're just waiting to pick up the scraps?

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

  • Simon Grigg,

    Just for a taste of how corrupt the US financial "system" is, take a look at this take on AIG's attempt to save itself by stealing US$20b from its own subsidiaries. All with the proper approval from the "regulators"

    Understanding this is a learning curve for many of us, me included, but that was fascinating..and easy....thanks Stephen

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

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sarah Palin's children is what the public are interested in

    Because Sarah Palin and John McCain put them there. Sorry, but if you really think your children aren't a matter of public interest don't use your disabled infant son as set decoration for you televised primetime acceptance speech.

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

  • giovanni tiso,

    Sorry, but if you really think your children aren't a matter of public interest don't use your disabled infant son as set decoration for you televised primetime acceptance speech.

    Wait a minute: Obama did that too. Would you be okay if somebody went after the girls?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    my initial conclusion is that the AIG thing is not the beginning of the end, but signals the middle phase of the end. of the wall st system, that is.

    i just found it funny (???) that the total (book value) "assets" of Lehman is so similar to the amount AIG is trying to borrow to remain solvent. US$75b.

    As for the Chinese, when they stop buying US$ debt, the whole system really is toast. and they know it. so if they kill the US$, it's sort of like murder-suicide. alas, it looks like they are running out of time to solve this insoluble catch-22.

    Krugman hasn't written anything of substance yet...

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    woops. got that wrong.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080915/ap_on_bi_ge/lehman_brothers_bankruptcy

    Lehman said that as of May 31, it had assets of $639 billion and debt of $613 billion.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    As for the Chinese, when they stop buying US$ debt, the whole system really is toast. and they know it. so if they kill the US$, it's sort of like murder-suicide. alas, it looks like they are running out of time to solve this insoluble catch-22.

    If McCain & Palin pull the trigger on Iran, do I sense a 21st Century Suez Crisis in the making?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5442 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Wait a minute: Obama did that too. Would you be okay if somebody went after the girls?

    Who the hell has been "going after" Trig Palin? If anything, Palin has been quite happy to use what (in my view) isn't anyone's damn business but her own -- her decision to bear a child she knew would be severely disabled -- as a way to burnish her anti-abortion credentials in a way Obama hasn't. (We've got pretty clear evidence that Michelle Obama didn't have two abortions.)

    I don't buy the line that public office means you and everyone you've ever know surrenders all expectations of privacy. But Palin can hardly cry foul when she can't treat the very attention she craves -- presenting herself as some paragon of family values -- like a light switch.

    A better comparison would be with a certain John Edwards. Perhaps I'm decadent, but I'm not shocked by the idea that politicians are as prone to adultery as any other occupational group. But I've got to admit it's hard to feel much sympathy for someone outed as a hypocrite, and who was taking a very high moral tone indeed while screwing around on his terminally-ill wife.

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

  • Simon Grigg,

    so if they kill the US$, it's sort of like murder-suicide.

    yes and no, they are also cushioned by a vast internal market which consumes in an increasingly middle class manner. 1.2 billion people buy a fair amount of almost anything. What they lose is the cream, which has given them that $2tr in the kitty.

    Off to HK / Shanghai in 48 hours..gonna be interesting to be there right now.

    This piece, including the maps on the page, written before the crash I'd say, is worth a read:

    The economic pall heading into the final weeks of the 2008 campaign means that Democrat Barack Obama, representing the party out of power, should be well-positioned to attract voters who are angry or stressed over the tough economy. But not all is doom and gloom for Republican John McCain, because economic hardship seems relatively mild in the wealthier ’burbs where, some analysts say, the election could be won or lost.

    In the wake of the stock market plummets in the last day, the last sentence have have a different resonance now.

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

  • Simon Grigg,

    Bah "might have"........

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

  • giovanni tiso,

    Who the hell has been "going after" Trig Palin?

    Other than suggesting she wasn't Sarah's daughter, and in more or less the same breath (which was quite an achievement) questioning the wisdom of Sarah's birthing choices? And it wasn't a lunatic fringe, you know, we talked about it here.

    If anything, Palin has been quite happy to use what (in my view) isn't anyone's damn business but her own -- her decision to bear a child she knew would be severely disabled -- as a way to burnish her anti-abortion credentials in a way Obama hasn't.

    That's harsh. She was on record saying that they knew that Trig was disabled and that they felt blessed to have her; which of course wouldn't have hurt her with the anti-abortion crowd, but if those are her beliefs, and she wants to give them a positive expression, it's okay with me. What I think needs to be attacked are her views on other people's families, on abortions and homosexuality and civil union outside of the Palin household. But leave her family alone; she's using them to construct the narrative of who she is, same as Obama, same as Biden. The only person who's resisting that particular tempetation is McCain with his soldier son.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    But leave her family alone; she's using them to construct the narrative of who she is,

    I'm on record here as saying how appalled I was by the Trig episode. But, sorry, I also find the public expression, by Palin, of a desire for privacy for her family and then the presentation of same, including son-in-law to be, on a global stage a couple of days later, a tad hypocritical.

    You can't have it both ways.

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

  • giovanni tiso,

    You can't have it both ways.

    What I'm trying (badly) to say is that you can, it's a convention of the political presidential genre. Families are useful props and at the same time strictly off-limits. Obama is following that very same script, and wasn't above parading his daughters at the convention. (Does anyone remember that woman in Times Square on CNN after the convention talking about how great it was to see a successful, happy black family on a national stage?)

    You bet he'd furious and cry foul if somebody alleged he wasn't the father or stuff like that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Why anyone would want to make their kids and their private lives part of a political narrative, I have no idea.

    Politicians with 40 years experience get burned by getting involved with the media. Your 1, 5, 10 year old kid? You get photos of them with their parents and then get to back away media people. None of the rest of the world's business.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    When the default global currency becomes worthless, there could be some flow-on effects even in far-off NZ. IMHO, of course.

    Stephen, your post was chilling. I'm a rank amateur and was wondering whether the kind of avarice and corruption that caused the problem can also potentially fix it? Y'now, smoke and mirrors galore till things miraculously recover?

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    When self-styled radicals start acquiring silencers for their rifles, I start to get more relaxed about them being under surveillance. I mean, seriously, are you okay with that?

    I'm OK with all sorts. Marijuana, guns, fast cars, bikes without helmets, boys spending a few days in the bush talking shit. Are silencers legal? If they are, as they should be, then leave them be. If you want to require a special licence to have a silencer, well, perhaps; not that it would ever do a damn thing but make you city folk slightly more comfy for a day or two until you found the next thing that needed a special licence to make you feel safe.

    They're easy enough to make at home, BTW, or to improvise on the spot, and are worse than useless on any sort of rifle you'd want to assassinate someone with, if that's your concern.


    OTOH, what I'm definitely not OK with is a police force that rounds up all the local dissidents and slanders them all as terrorists when it's just done an extensive investigation proving they're nothing of the sort; what with us not having any actual terrorism at all, other than perhaps that anti-apartheid crowd back in the day and their flour bombs that stopped a rugby match.


    Economy? Ha. Hope you're all working on getting those veggie gardens in. Beans go alright this time of year, as do some varieties of carrot and a few other bits and bobs.

    Since Nov 2006 • 611 posts Report Reply

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