Thursday, March 24, 2005
Proposed Finance Policy
(1) USURY(i) The Bible explicitly condemns the lending of money at interest among co-religionists, yet this is shamelessly done throughout New Zealand today.(ii) This practise, too long tolerated through the moral cowardice of successive governments, is now being actively encouraged.(iii) The current Government, as well as having investments of its own, and investment is nothing but self-promoting usury, is also encouraging investments in others and plans to do more.(iv) This iniquity has continued beyond all reason.(v) The Destiny Party pledges to enact a committee of inquisition (see Justice Policy, 4, i-iv) to determine whether various economic transactions are lending at interest or merely a proportional fee for service, as was the original arrangement when Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep.(vi) Those found to be engaged in in usury shall be warned, and if they persist, shall be shaken from his house and labour even as Nemeniah shook his lap.(vii) All share trading, investment, borrowing, student loans, interest-bearing bank accounts and commission sales will be suspended pending the committee's report.(viii) After this evil has been purged a new economic system will be established based on lending exclusively to foreigners and heathens.
(2) TITHING(i) All are commanded by the Bible to give the best tenth of their income to God.(ii) That doesn't mean giving money to the State, nor to charity, but to the Church.(iii) I think we all know which Church we're talking about here.(iv) This may seem onerous to some, but it will be compensated for by the total abolition of all taxes.(v) What need we to support the huge structure of Government when the only leadership Christ recognises is that of the freelance prophet-judge?(vi) The practise of tithing also discourages richness, which while not precisely forbidden by the Bible is famously warned about, with reference to camels.(vii) Tithing as operated under Destiny Party policy relieves the mass of people of an encumberance to salvation by concentrating wealth in the hands of a few souls holy enough to transcend the spiritual perils of wealth.
(3) RIGHTEOUSNESS(i) The Destiny Party will govern New Zealand in accordance with God's will not just in fiscal policy as in all others. (ii) This will cause us to achieve worldly prosperity due to the power of His blessing, whereas if we continue to defy him, we will as surely be destroyed economically as bodily.(iii) For does history and experience not show that the morally righteous always triumph over the iniquitous?
(4) TOLERANCE(i) The Destiny Party believes in respecting the beliefs of others, where those are compatible with the Bishop's interpretation of scripture.(ii) So, while the above policies are not negotiable, we will listen to the suggestion of potential coalition partners on other points.(iii) Such as, how best to promote economic development using the new slave class of homosexuals and mahometans.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Fighting Talk welcomes with love Sarah Barnett, joined 22 March 2005 (9lbs, unknown quantity of ounces). A sister for Lyndon, Hamish, Max, Tom, Patrick, and Michael, and a much-needed mentor for Matthew. Special thanks to Dr. Dre and the staff of Compton Hospital for their support.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
I have seen Fight Club and it is inside the Slipknot moshpit. At the Big Day Out the masked thrash-metal band starts playing 'The Heretic Anthem' and many thousands of people go mental. I think they are dancing, but I could be wrong.
From my perch above, the crowd of blackshirted metallers boils violently. Temporary circles form and aggressive young men stomp around the impromptu arena, deliberately knocking each other to the ground. This ritual is known as the fight circle , similar to when stags cross antlers during mating season, and they aren’t for the faint-hearted or unlucky. A small chap not wearing MTV-issue black gets caught out as one such circle forms around him. Ouch.
Away from the groveling, jumping and fighting teens, the day offers much for the more civil of heart. Also wearing black are Matt Heath and Chris Stamp of Deja Voodoo, New Zealand’s answer to the rock-com masterpiece Spinal Tap.
With lines in their bar-room anthem 'Beers' like; “I write songs that always rhyme/That’s why I made this one rhyme” and “Songs this good don’t write themselves/That’s why I wrote it myself”; it’s a travesty they were overlooked for a Silver Scroll. Two shirtless men in the crowd certainly agree. Overcome with euphoria they shout “Yeah!” and swing open palms for a high five. Missing with their first attempt, the second connects with a meaty smack. There is irony applenty in the goats being thrown, irony lacking when the Slipknot crowd, as one, salutes their leaders.
I modestly suggest to Stamp and Heath a follow-up to their classic 'Today, Tomorrow, Timaru.' They know where to send the cheques when 'You’ll Die Happy in Taihape' goes gold. Blending deconstructionist rock and hedonism, Deja Voodoo are quite possibly the smartest thing to take the stage all day. But, I could be wrong, it’s possible they’re simply dumb rockers.
North Shore boys the Checks will soon be old enough to enjoy a well-deserved post-gig pint, Scribe’s still playing that song, and Shayne Carter and Dimmer still don’t get the crowds they deserve. Punishing drum’n’bass act Concord Dawn are off to Austria in August in an effort to conquer the world and Trinity Roots played as the sun set on both the stadium and their time together as a band.
“Seen anyone passed out and convulsing?” journalists frequently ask, getting desperate for horror stories as the day wears on. They seem to have missed the ruccous on the dancefloor. Despite all the indigenous talent on show, the locals don’t get near Slipknot for fan frenzy.
Their music may be described by the Guardian as sounding “halfway between the full-on assault of Motorhead and a tramp vomiting into a cement mixer”, but the stage show is truly something to behold. If Tim Burton directed The Nine Boilermen of the Apocolypse it would look something like Ericsson Stadium that Friday afternoon.
Their fans like to call themselves maggots, and from my perch in the top of the stadium at the bar the crowd certainly looks like a wriggling mess. The next day a maggot writes on the internet that he lost his footing “and disappeared under every other motherfucker and it all went black and I thought I was going to die … Got bruises all over me, boot prints on my back. Hell yeah!” I think they were having fun, but I could be wrong.
Sitting far above the seething mass of aggressive, flailing bodies, I play Where’s Wally?, trying to find the woman wearing the oversize red and white Dr Seuss hat. Not since the heyday of the Kiss Army have I seen so much white makeup, and not since the Men of Destiny marched on parliament have I seen so many black T-shirts.
On first glance they may not seem similar, these Men and maggots, especially now the Men wear white jumpsuits, but they’ve more in common than you might think. The maggots roar “people equal shit”, the Men of Destiny stand against sinners and sodomites. The two groups don’t seem to be polar opposites, rather different ends of the same horseshoe - all tight-knit anger, forged outside mainstream society. I'm sure they both know, in the heat of the moment, march or moshpit - mobs rule. But, I could be wrong.
The next day I see belligerent and aggressive blackshirts everywhere. Nursing a stout and dazed head, I took a smoko break while watching the first match between the Black Caps and the World XI. While I’m out, cursing bright sunshine and enjoying fresh air, I miss three scoring strokes. Stephen Fleming struck 6 6 6.
Monday, March 14, 2005
NAVY WARSHIP COMMANDING OFFICERRecruiter: Good Afternoon, Navy Recruiters, --------- speaking.
Our new ships are coming in. Want to command one?
In a few short years you could command one of our new $20 Million Inshore Patrol Vessels. Want more? Then graduate to a $80 Million Offshore Patrol Vessel. Still want more? Try a $600 Million Frigate. You must be fit and active, over 17 and a NZ citizen to apply.
Call 0800 NZ NAVY
Geoff: Hey, yeah, I saw your ad in the paper and it sounds like something I want to get involved in, can you tell me a little bit more?
Recruiter: Certainly, what do you want to know?
Geoff: Well, do you guys have, like, a list of targets?
Recruiter: Yes we do, we have so many people that we recruit for certain jobs, yes.
Geoff: No, I mean for your warships.
Recruiter: Do we have a list of them?
Geoff: Yeah, you know, once you get a warship do have like a list of targets that I can go out and… you know.
Recruiter: No, no. No, we don't.
Geoff; Well then what's the deal with your warships, how do I get one?
Recruiter: Well, I guess you could purchase one if you wanted to build one.
Geoff: Your ad here says that you've got a bunch of new warships and you need people to command them, so, here I am. That definitely sounds like something I want to get involved in.
Recruiter: Well, you'll have to start at the bottom and work your way up, just like everyone else and it'll probably take you a good fifteen to eighteen years to get your own warship.
Geoff: That sounds like a long time.
Recruiter: It is a long time.
Geoff: Well, shit, the war in Iraq will be over by then.
Recruiter: Well, it will be. No, it probably won't be. Let's be honest, it started in '91 and it's still going.
Geoff: The ad here says that in just a few short years I could be commanding a warship.
Recruiter: I wouldn't say in a few short years, but certainly over a period of time.
Geoff: Well, I don't need a big one, not like on of these $20 million or $80 million dollar ones. Do you have, like…
Recruiter: One of the little ones?
Geoff: Do you have any small boats with, like, missiles or maybe a speedboat with a machine-gun?
Geoff: You know, I've also been playing a lot of navy-themed video games recently. So will that help me out, maybe take a few years off?
Recruiter: No, no it won't. How old are you mate?
Geoff: I'm 25.
Recruiter: Are you a New Zealand citizen?
Geoff: Well, I was born in New Zealand, but I grew up in America so, you know, I'm ready to fight.
Recruiter: Well, it certainly seems like you have an American attitude. Like, “Bring it on, Grrrr!”.
Geoff: Yeah, definitely.
Recruiter; Well, let me send you and information pack and we can go from there.
Geoff: Okay my address is…
Stay tuned for updates on this job hunt.
(This originally appeared in Salient, Issue 2, 2005. Perhaps soon their website will be up, so this shameless plagurism won't be required.)
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Ernst Zundel (it's actually Zündel, but I can't be bothered) is inevitably described as the author-publisher of The Hitler We Loved and Why and other hits. He stands out among more mainstream holocaust deniers in that along with the usual fascism he is openly anti-semitic in a full-blown, conspiracy-driven way.
One can no doubt get a flavour of this from a devotee ("Earnest [sic] Zundel is a genius.") posting - apparently with no sense of the ridiculous - on Pravda's english-language forum. Then scroll down to find the start of a satirical piece called "Nazi Sympathizer Denies Continent" (If you can get it to load, the whole thing should be here). Scroll down further and the Zundelist responds in way that makes it clear he doesn't know when he's reading something that's obviously untrue.
Why am I not surprised?
By the way, Zundel also teaches us that UFOs are a Nazi secret weapon deployed from Antartica.
I'll mention his own website too, if only because of the bit that says all updates are "Chronically indexed". They're arranged by date, too.
Anyway, the ruckus is about Zundel's deportation from Canada to his native Germany earlier this Month.
Zundel had previously been imprisoned in Canada for holocaust denial under their "spreading false news" laws. These were a pretty obvious breach of freedom of expression. They were eventually struck down by the courts and Zundel was released.
Later, he left Canada for the US, vowing never to return. He may have been motivated by the way the Human Rights Commission was investigating him at the time.
Those of you who are unfamiliar with Zundel's case may still experience a certain deja vu from here on in.
Having been kicked out of America for not meeting his immigration requirements, he was sent back to Canada, where he applied for refugee status.
However, he was held in pretty-much solitary confinement for some two years while authorities decided whether he was a security risk under their new anti-terrorism laws. Much of the unclassified version of the summary of charges against him has been ridiculed and it's difficult to understand how he - personally - can possibly be a threat to the Canadian state.
See what I mean?
One thing Ahmed Zaoui has over Ernst Zundel is that nobody likes Zundel. Also, as Canadian commentator Rex Murphy has it (quoted on WIkipedia): "If Ernst Zündel is a refugee, Daffy Duck is Albert Einstein." (more of Murphy's Zundel-inspired sarcasm is here).
At any rate, he was found to be deportable and sent to Germany, where he was promptly arrested for Holocaust Denial on the basis of his website. They probably won't have much trouble making that stick.
Zundel's lawyer says they didn't try to challenge the deportation because they were told old Ernst would be bundled on a plane immediately, pending appeal or no.
Now, before I get too riled, the first question is whether, leaving aside the boring old terror-law-abuse-of-due-process, this is actually a freedom of speech issue or not.
The damning Canadian judgment (pdf) maintained that he intended serious violence to result of his work and, despite his professed pacifism, knowingly associated with white supremacists of a streak that could accurately be called terrorist, acting as an idealogue and leader.
This contrasts with a strident J'Accuse from investigative journalist BIll Dumphy. He has done a lot of investigation of Canada's white supremacist movement and clearly dislikes them. And doesn't think it's much of a threat to anyone these days. And that there is "no justice" in the state's summary of facts against Zundel. That Zundel was kicked out of Canada because nobody likes what he says.
Incidentally, all this trouble could have been avoided if the US had just deported Zundel straight to Germany, where he is a citizen, and instead of to Canada, where he isn't. Or if the Canadians had just waited for the refugee process to expel him.
What's the New Zealand link in all this? Well, if Canada really does have a habit of deporting holocaust deniers on trumped-up immigration charges, what does that say about the Canadian immigration charge against David Irving that is our reason for denying him entry to New Zealand?
It would remain an adminstratively convenient method of keeping him out, even if it was dodgy. I don't want him visiting New Zealand more than anyone else, but we should remember that administrative convenience is not the same as right and wrong.
Fortunately. I know of no reason to doubt the soundness of Irving's deportation. Of course, Irving says it was a flagrant miscarriage of justice, but then he's a liar.
While we're on the subject, I may as well note that David Irving hasn't sued us yet.
By 'us' I mean the New Zealand Government rather than Fighting Talk.
But you never know.
It would make his account of events clearer if his site's FAQ on the New Zealand 'controversy' was actually in the form of questions and answers. I'd particularly like to see his response to "What legal grounds did the NZ govt cite in excluding you?" and "You've threatened to give NZ 'the mother of all legal battles' twice now - when's it going to happen?" Any mention of legal action seems to have dropped off the site.
It's possible that, in the right conditions, someone like Zundel could be a threat to a nations social order. Which is to say, I'm not going to argue with the German denial laws just now.
But surely Canada's not in such dire straits, and neither is New Zealand. If Irving had only kept his nose clean, we would have had to let him in. And one day we're going to have to find ways of dealing with our own hating liars that doesn't make martyrs of them.
Remember that they way their beliefs are repressed is actually part of the deniers' argument. Why help them out?
Recently I've been reading The Doubter's Companion. Among many points it makes well is that freedom of speech isn't a luxury so much as a precondition of modern civilisation (the same source reminded me that administration isn't everything).
There's something rather rich about fascists, of all people, complaining about being persecuted as dissidents. And it's not as if these people are models of humanistic values. But defend their rights we must. Because they're not just their rights. They're everybody's.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
The young man is on the tram. His oversized Great Outdoors backpack, green, bumps passengers from their restricted standing room in the overcrowded carriage. He holds onto the overhead rail with both hands to take up as little space as possible. His daypack hangs from his front. He makes an ideal target for pickpockets. He has 5 million Turkish lira pickpocketed. Just half-an-hour in Istanbul and he's already blown millions. 5 million lira is worth about NZ$5.
Off the tram in the tourist suburb of Sultahnamet, Hamish is immediately accosted by a Turkish David Brent look-alike. And act-alike. "Where are you from?" says the Turkish Brent, "Australia?". "New Zealand," Hamish answers, proud to be able to name a country that hasn't really been party to the blowing up of other countries. But then again, there was that minor run-in with the Turks circa 1915. "Come and look at my hotel," smiles Turkish Brent, "I give you good price".
The naive New Zealander follows him to look at 'his' hotel. It's far too flash for Hamish, having a separate bedroom and private bathroom, so he makes the excuse that he needs to eat before deciding. Turkish Brent, in all his generosity, decides to accompany Hamish to lunch. Over soup, the burly Brent-alike keeps driving down the price for 'his' hotel. Hamish wants to look around before he decides. Brent is beside himself. "I don't understand; I give you very good price and you don't like -- why you don't like my hotel?" He slumps into a tremendous sulk, and huffs his way through the rest of his meal. Every so often he tries again, punching numbers into his calculator to offer a lower price. It's not the price (way too expensive) that is at issue. "I don't understand," he wails, "I offer you good price."
Of course, the Brenturk doesn't own the hotel. Commission is a business in Turkey.
Later the Kiwi finds a suitably cheap hostel.
It rains for the next three days.
Hamish looks at mosques. Hamish looks at a 1500-year-old underground cistern. There is a cafe at the end selling Coke. One day Hamish takes a boat across to Istanbul's Asian shore. He is disappointed not to find a China Town. The whole time Hamish is pissed off by shopkeepers stopping him on the street: "Excuse me, my friend, where you from?" It takes about 10 such encounters before Hamish realises they don't really care where he's from. Sometimes the shopkeepers simply offer: "Yes please, sir".
Oh, but Istanbul is a great city. 18 million people. The Spice Bazaar is a highlight. Here Hamish stuffs himself on free samples of delicious Turkish delights. He even accepts the offer of a tasty white tea from one shopkeeper. He rewards him by purchasing a small pack of pistachio nuts.
"Excuse me, friend, where you from?" Fuckoffistan.
Hamish's crappy package tour booked him into a hotel. He has a separate bedroom and a private bathroom. He feels like a cheat. When he arrives he's not allowed to get into his room until after he's done the day-tour.
He does the day-tour. He's in a group with 10 Japanese girls and a couple of Turks. Of course, the obligatory fat American couple is there, and they make the obligatory references to Bush being a danger to the world -- as is necessary when you're surrounded by 'foreigners'. Hamish feels lonely being the only one who really speaks English (the Americans speak American).
Hamish is duly amazed by the weird rock formations, sculpted by thousands of years of volcanic activity and erosion. He marvels at the ancient cave-homes built by Christians in Biblical times. In his cynical mood however, he can't help but pay more attention to the stall-holders selling statuettes and postcards, frothing at the mouth at the vision of Japanese tourists in their sleek shoes and bomber jackets.
Later the tour stops at an "underground pottery factory" so the tourists can see how pottery is made. Just in case they hadn't already done that at primary school. The pottery-making demonstrations last about 10 minutes. 30 minutes -- the same amount of time the tourists spend at any one natural attraction -- is set aside for shopping in the upstairs salesroom.
Commission is a business in Turkey.
Lunch, hooray, is just around the corner. Sadly, Hamish is in the toilet when the tour guide announces that drinks cost extra -- the food is included with the tour. Hamish orders what he thinks is a glass of red wine. Hamish is given a small bottle of red wine. After lunch Hamish is presented with a surprise 16 million lira bill. Luckily Hamish is half-sozzled, so it doesn't hurt as much.
Hamish decides to forgo the belly dancing show on offer that night, with unlimited drinks, for just US$20. Instead he stays in his room and eats a packet of chips and some pistachio nuts. He sleeps well.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
It is therefore with the greatest of caution I now suggest that to execute George Hawkins - for example, by hanging him and placing his head on a spike in the centre of the parliament chamber - may not be the best possible move at the present time.
Since the idea is so radical, and so at odds with the spirit of the moment, I will be entirely clear: I believe, and with some degree of determination, that Mr Hawkins should not be killed at all. No, not even as a human sacrifice in honour of the new Speaker of the House.
Before I present my reasons for this, I wish to emphasise that I am not some ignoramus who does not understand the arguments - some of them very sound - for the proposed abbreviation.
Firstly, there are suggestions of diminishing of public confidence in the 111 emergency system. Whether this is more due to actual major problems with the system or to media and opposition scandalmongering is clearly immaterial. Responsibility for any perceived crisis must be sheeted home to the relevant Minister in the goriest possible manner.
Judging by recent reports, 111 calls may have a failure rate as high as one in 25 000. Little wonder, then that many suspect systemic failings - how could it happen by chance? Even I, clearly ready to fly in the face of public opinion, would not dare to suggest that such a rate might be normal, or even surprisingly good. The undeniable fact is that, compared to absolute perfection, the performance is pathetic.
Though it's remarkable they do even that well, considering that, as far as I can gather, 111 staffers spend most of their time ignoring critical emergencies while smoking P and impregnating single mothers.
These facts do indeed call out to every godly soul for the immediate termination of Mr Hawkins. All the more so because the few crime reforms the Government is now proposing, such as the Prison Riots (Restoration) Bill and the Defining Practically Any Picture As Child Porn Bill, will not improve the functioning of the 111 system in any way.
And now we discover that - on that same Minister's watch - the crime rate has been allowed to descend to a level wildly out of touch with what the people of New Zealand and the Opposition benches think it is. There is universal agreement that the police minister's function is to combat the public perception of crime. If that means freeing up a few police from pursuing actual criminals, then so be it.
In this task, George Hawkins has failed and should indeed pay the severest possible price.
And still further misdirection of resources appears: he persists in allowing police officers to spend measurable amounts of time doing traffic work. This waste of police time (is that not a crime, Mr Hawkins?) is spuriously justified on the grounds that many, many more people die and are injured on the roads than due to crime.
This ridiculous comparison will earn him no sympathy. I myself would far prefer to die trapped in the burning wreckage of my car than shot in an aggravated robbery, and I know any reasonable person would feel the same.
His performance in parliament, I humbly submit, may be considered less damning. Though he has clearly been singled out as the weakest link and hides the resulting dread of parliamentary questions poorly, those who decry him for this may be missing some crucial points.
Firstly, as with any other playground, the members of the House do need someone to bully.
Secondly, in some respects his behaviour has been of actual benefit to our Government which, since opposing it appears to be sedition, I can only support.
For example, one effect of Mr Hawkins' demeanour is to enhance the impression that those Opposition MPs pursuing their just case against him are doing something akin to kicking a puppy.
And, with a less tempting police minister, National and ACT, instead of concentrating on law and order at a time when police numbers and successes are rising, the crime rate is dropping and prison terms are getting longer, may have chosen an election-year issue on which they have a leg to stand.
But this, though we may agree it offers no reason to kill him, is not, I admit, a reason we should let him live.
The wheels of liberty must be greased from time to time with the blood of martyrs - having been said by an American founding father, this must logically be true. But, unparalleled and evil though his crimes may be, there are reasons George Hawkins should nonetheless be permitted to see the sun rise. These rest not with him, but with ourselves.
However strong the case for teaching Mr Hawkins the hemp fandango, I submit that the destruction of any human life has a brutalising effect on the executioners, and indeed society in general, that should not be discounted. To punish in that way would be to bring us, as it were, to the level of the parliamentarians we are trying to eradicate.
In fact, I cannot bring myself to advocate a general policy allowing any political executions. It would obviously have no deterrent effect - MPs are not know for considering the consequences of their actions, and even the most thoughtful are unable to project them more than four years into the future.
Also, if we allow the execution of one Minister, albeit for undeniable and multifaceted incompetence, it is the beginning of a slippery slope. We may one day execute a politician who is capable of giving the impression of being a good use of space, or conceivably even people, such as violent criminals, who are not parliamentarians in any way - a practice internationally condemned as cruel and barbaric.
I therefore suggest that we merely flog George Hawkins daily. Should this prove to be a breach of his human rights, the taxpayer shall have first dibs on any compensation he wins. While I consider this an admirable solution, some may find it too lenient. If that opinion prevails, I propose the more sadistic option of making him continue answering opposition questions until the next election.