Criptic Critic Conscience and Known for it

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Matthew George Richard Ward

Matthew George Richard Ward

 I don't want to ever own a gun, as much fun as they are. However, if there is ever a weapon that destroys unsolicited surveillance, I would buy it and use the fuck out of it.

mental block
don’t let the thoughts
hurt, rushing water wearing
out the cracks in my tissues
sounds like images wasted in the farm land
where the poor use to live. Now hide, away from overhear
the sun the sky, the planes and helicopters. No one wants to be watched
Create a weapon that stops unsolicited surveillance.  





Throw out all my thoughts, that's all I want to do
There's things I want to say to you
I look up at the sky and close my eyes, and think of you

I've met no one like you before
I think I love you
And there's nothing I could want more
I think I love you

I feel happier today, I feel okay
Breathe in your sigh
I look up where you stand, and leave this land
You make me fly
There's things that we both know
Can't let each other go

I've met no one like you before
I think I love you
And there's nothing I could want more
I think I love you

And to save you for something
You could watch me die and love this world without me on this stolen hill
I would multiply into a thousand words
And through your heart I'd come back to you and tell you to move on

Move on
Move on
Move on
Move on

I've met no one like you before
I think I love you
And there's nothing I could want more
I think I love you

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Clear and concise analysis. Gordon Campbell on Nicky Hager’s new book

Thursday, 14 August 2014, 10:32 am

Gordon Campbell on Nicky Hager’s new book

by Gordon Campbell

According to Minister of Everything Steven Joyce – whose duties now extend to fielding questions about Nicky Hager’s new book Dirty Politics - Hager has got it all wrong, and the apparent collusion recorded in its pages between the prime minister’s office and blogger Cameron Slater is really no more than business as usual between government on one hand, and the journalists they brief as a matter of course on the other. Nothing to see here, move on.

If that’s true, one wonders why almost all the key players mentioned in the book have gone to ground, and don’t seem to be available for interview. To date, the other well-worn route of response has been to cast aspersions about Hager’s motives and to denigrate his modus operandi. Prime Minister John Key laid out that line of defence yesterday – even before Dirty Politics was out of the box - by trying to write Hager off as “a screaming left wing conspiracy theorist” who didn’t really know what he was talking about. Methinks the PM doth protest too much.

The simple antidote to all this ad hominem abuse is to read the book. I doubt that many people who do read the book - and especially the emails that provide the bulk of its narrative - will feel very happy about how politics is being conducted in this country right now. That’s the thing. Hager hasn’t needed to clothe the content in a conspiracy theory: the emails speak very eloquently for themselves. Just as in The Hollow Men, the damning material is right there in black and white, in the contributions of Cameron Slater, Jason Ede, Carrick Graham, Judith Collins etc. And that’s the real problem for Key with this stuff; if he didn’t know about the conniving that has been going on right under his nose, he is incompetent. If he does know, he is complicit.

By now, most of us know the general thesis of the book and how it came to be written. As Hager explained at the book launch last night, Cameron Slater’s Whale Oil website got hacked and crashed in January, in the wake of widespread outrage over a particularly vile posting by Slater. Thousands of emails were collected, and were eventually handed over to Hager.

So what do the emails reveal? Primarily, they show Slater to have been a major cog in the National Party’s spin machine. It is a spin cycle that’s been designed to allow Key to project a likeable public persona and deliver the positive messages, while keeping himself at a plausible distance from the “dirty tricks” techniques that are (a) being outsourced to National’s flunkies in the blogosphere and (b) then get beamed back into the mainstream media coverage. It is kind of ironic that Kim Dotcom is being accused of money laundering, among other sins. On the evidence in Hager’s book, the government has become a dab hand at laundering the seamier side of its own political operations.

The government’s systematic use of the blogosphere to outsource its negative campaign messages is of such an extent as to introduce an ugly new dimension to our political culture. It also runs counter to any notion of healthy open government for the leader to be presenting a carefully-constructed facade to the public, while his underlings do the hatchetings of its opponents (and/or its erstwhile friends) behind the arras. Hager’s book suggests for example, that Rodney Hide was pressured into resigning as Act Party leader by threats that Slater was about to publish release inappropriate texts allegedly sent by Hide to a young woman. There are many revelations in the email trail that the book draws on extensively.

One’s level of tolerance for this sort of thing will vary from reader to reader, but on the evidence presented by Hager, Key’s press officer Jason Ede played some part in the hacking and/or use of material hacked from the Labour Party’s computer system in election year 2011. On a regular basis, it also seems that Ede would contact Slater when an OIA request was about to be released to the media or to the Opposition parties; allegedly, Ede would invite Slater to lodge a request for the same information and then release it to Slater first, so that Slater could help to nullify the story. On another occasion, Ede allegedly primed Slater to request certain SIS secret documents, which were then speedily de-classified on the understanding that Slater would use them to humiliate Labour leader Phil Goff. Ede may also have assisted Slater with the framing of OIA requests in order to enable Slater to attack MFAT staff who were opposed to Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s programme of reforms at the Ministry. And so on.

Moving right along, some readers are likely to be appalled by the climate of collusion between Judith Collins and Slater and their apparent readiness (see pages 49-50) to use access to the likes of ACC information to settle scores and go after critics and suspected enemies. There are also revelations that content was published under Slater’s name on Whale Oil that was actually written and paid for (at a rate of circa $6,500 a month) by lobbyist Carrick Graham who, like Slater, hails from an old National Party family. These ghosted postings would routinely target academics and others critical of the tobacco and alcohol industries, or – in another example – to attack and undermine campaigners against the sugary drinks known to be linked to New Zealand’s obesity epidemic.

Other chapters in Dirty Politics deal with Slater’s celebrated role in the Len Brown sex scandal expose, and with the attacks made on David Cunliffe and Kim Dotcom this year. The attack on Winston Peters for what Key revealed as being three visits to the Dotcom mansion – a triangulated release of information that apparently involved Key, Slater and NZ Herald gossip columnist Rachel Glucina – is discussed at pages 122-123. Hager sums it up in these terms:

Key did not control Slater, but when it came to smearing the reputations of their political opponents, they willingly worked together. Key was not responsible for everything Slater, [David] Farrar and colleagues did; but as leader of the National Party and head of the prime minister’s office, he was directly responsible when his staff and the party worked with them. The bloggers were now a routine part of John Key’s political management. The Winston Peters three-visits hit had been a typical collaboration and there were more to come.

The series of attacks on David Cunliffe this year also seems to have involved Ede, who appears to have been tasked with monitoring the Labour leader’s every statement and action - including the photographing of Cunliffe by Ede in Copperfields café at Parliament - and then feeding a rolling series of negative images and information to Slater. This strategy was in line with techniques successfully deployed by the Republican Party which (p126) had proved to be a key ingredient in the successful campaign to defeat Senator George Allen. Hager, again:

He lost, the [Republican] study suggested, because ‘his opponent had a staffer whose sole job was to record everything Allen said in public’ Any time he said anything stupid, or anything that could be made to seem stupid, it was ‘put on the Internet within 24 hours’ and seen by large numbers of people at almost no cost to the campaign.’ Someone appeared to be playing this role in New Zealand, and feeding the results to the attack blogs.

From there, the attack lines could feed back into a mainstream media increasingly dependent on blog analysis. Crucially, as Hager says (p 132) “the trick of political management is not to get this or that press release covered ; it is about framing how journalists perceive issues.” In Cunliffe’s case, a series of small mis-steps (and in one case, a trap sprung by the government’s access to historical documents released with suspicious speed to the media under the OIA) have seen Cunliffe successively framed within the mainstream media in terms of a narrative of bungling and distrust. In the process, the negative perceptions of the Opposition leadership have probably received more media attention this year than the government’s own (lack of an) economic strategy and its likely third term agenda. The two track strategy – which has successfully insulated a popular Prime Minister from the collusion of his office with the attack blogs - has worked like a dream (until now) for the National Party. It is working far less well for the health of our small democracy. In summing up about the government’s strategic love affair with negative campaigning, Hager concludes by repeating at the outset, a chilling quote from National Party strategist Simon Lusk:

“There are a few basic propositions with negative campaigning that are worth knowing about. It lowers turnout, favours right more than left as the right continues to turn out, and drives away the independents.’ In short, many people stop participating in politics. If politicians cannot be trusted, if politics looks like a petty or ugly game, and if no one seems to be talking about the things that matter, then what’s the point of bothering to participate? Just leave them to it. There are innovations in US Republican Party thinking on this point; election tactics do not have to be just about winning votes; they can be equally effective if groups of people in society just stop voting altogether. We should not assume that everyone thinks low voter turnout is a bad idea. Sitting in the midst of the negative politics was John Key…

So far, the objections to what Hager has exposed – and how he’s gone about it - seem trivial. Especially when set alongside the ample evidence he provides on a variety of related subjects – from political attack gambits to systematic union bashing to tobacco and alcohol industry pandering, to the evidence of Slater trawling for sex scandal information from sex workers that he could use for hits against the politicians and journalists he didn’t like – that Hager has amassed. It is an ugly picture, in toto. Briefly, let’s go through the usual objections:

1. Hager either stole the emails or was a receiver of stolen goods. Well, duh. If people are manipulating the political and news agenda in secret, chances are they won’t confess to doing so, and won’t be volunteering the evidence. What Hager has done is whistle blowing. The motive is to disinfect politics, and to better inform the public about the nature of those people standing for re-election to higher office. As one commenter in the blogosphere has already pointed out, there is a difference between the tactical use of taxpayer funded intelligence services against one’s political opponents – for which the book gives a disturbing example - and the outing of that practice for the public good. In any case, Slater can hardly complain. As the book shows, Slater began his jihad against Labour by being complicit with how the hacking of the Labour Party website was exploited. He has now been exposed by much the same means. Some would see that as karma.

2. Everyone is doing it. Hardly. As mentioned, one of Slater’s early coups came via the hacking of the Labour Party website and the subsequent pressure put on Labour Party donors. There is no evidence of the Clark administration doing likewise, on anything like the scale portrayed in the pages of Dirty Politics. Moreover, many of the actions in question seem to have been orchestrated from the ninth floor of the Beehive. This is not simply a case of Bad Attitudes common to the Beltway. It has involved abuses of power by some of the most powerful people in the country.

3. Cameron Slater may be a nasty piece of work, but that doesn’t mean John Key is to blame. True, there’s a lot in Hager’s book to suggest that Cameron Slater is not a nice person. Yet the book is not simply a case study in the psychopathology of Cameron Slater. Ask yourself; if Key’s hands are as clean as usually presented, why has the Prime Minister been ringing this patently grubby guy on a regular basis? (Such co-operation goes way beyond Helen Clark’s occasional calls to members of the press gallery.) Can Jason Ede - one of Key’s closest advisers on the ninth floor - really have worked on an entirely rogue basis with Slater for so long, without his leader’s knowledge and consent? To swallow that, we’d have to believe that Key and Slater didn’t mention Slater’s relationship with Ede during their phone chats, and that Key and Ede in turn, didn’t discuss what Slater was up to. That seems unlikely, on both counts.

Finally, it would be tragic if Dirty Politics merely gave people more grounds for cynicism and turned them off politics altogether. The reverse has always been Hager’s intention. Ever since he published Secret Power back in 1996, his aim has been to make government more open, and to render the exercise of power more transparent. This book is no exception.

There’s a further moral to this story, on a somewhat smaller scale. After the Hollow Men debacle, you wouldn’t think the National Party would need a second lesson that anything you commit to the digital realm can be – and eventually will be – exposed in public. Chortle and connive away online at your peril, because inevitably it will become public knowledge. From now on, surely no young, ambitious bright spark around Parliament and no Cabinet Minister with an eye for promotion will want to be seen dead collaborating with Cameron Slater. If it does nothing else, Dirty Politics may succeed in turning Slater into a political pariah: or at the very least, into a major election liability for National.

Hopefully, a lot of voters will read Hager’s book. They may reach the conclusion that Slater has been only a tool. The real culprits – who should suffer for it at the ballot box - are the people in the Beehive that Slater has served so assiduously.


RIP Jack Shallcrass
Word overnight is that the great New Zealand educationalist, writer and humanist Jack Shallcrass has died. This 1992 essay gives a lovely portrait of the man, and his view of the world.
ENDS

Article cut and pasted from here

Wellywood Woman: Safety in Paradise?

Wellywood Woman: Safety in Paradise?:<< Link to article

  • Wells Tao "I always notice how few [films by women] there are at film festivals. I went to Créteil International Women’s Film Festival in France with Wasp in 2004, stayed on for a few days and watched all these films by women. I spent the whole time crying because there were so many films that had so much resonance for me, being female. It actually made me realise how male-dominated the film industry is in terms of perspective. If you think about a film being a very popular and expressive way of showing a mirror on life, we’re getting a mainly male perspective. It’s a shame. I saw a lot of fantastic films at Créteil that I never heard about again. " - quote
    Unlike · Reply · 4 · 21 hrs
  • Wells Tao " Finally, when I read the #nziff director’s ‘Welcome’ in the catalogue I considered the role of taxpayer funding of the festival, in a kind of anti-women institutionalised synergy. The New Zealand Film Commission (#NZFC) makes a substantial contribution to the #nziff, year after year. This is how the festival’s (male) director sees that contribution–

    The major sponsorship we receive from the New Zealand Film Commission is the best institutional endorsement of a long-standing notion of ours: that a smartly curated influx of the best and latest of international cinema stimulates the vitality of our own creative culture.

    Why is the #NZFC endorsing the #nziff’s limited commitment to films by and about women? Can the #nziff really claim to be ‘smartly curated’ or to ‘stimulate the vitality of our own creative culture’ when ‘Time and time again [women] don’t get our share of representation’ as directors at the #nziff and when women and girls are at the centre of the work selected, those stories are predominantly told by men?"
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 21 hrs
  • Wells Tao "Like the Safety in Paradise video and the #nziff selection, the use of mesh in New Zealand is a small country version of a global problem, with its own unique slant. The Women's Health Council and WHA research shows that the institutions that should protect New Zealanders and women affected by vaginal mesh insertion have all failed, "
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 21 hrs
  • Wells Tao "Veteran women’s health campaigner Sandra Coney, one of the authors of the article that exposed the ‘unfortunate experiment’ posted this the other day on Facebook–

    I was on an advisory committee in 1986 which recommended a regulatory system for medical devices - everything from hip replacements to heart valves to IUDs and products like mesh. Nearly 30 years later we still do not have one. It's a disgrace."
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 21 hrs
  • Wells Tao "But Jacqui Scott still had her two kinds of mesh. She had extreme pain from pudendal nerve damage. She had limited mobility. She had a compromised immune system. She got shingles. She'd lost her teeth. Her hair was falling out. She suffered from severe depression. She was passing mesh and/or sutures through her bowel. And she suffered from the chronic serial violation caused within the institutions that she turned to for help."
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 21 hrs
  • Wells Tao "raising the issue of the serial violation Jacqui had experienced, including violation-by-bureaucracy, I believed that because one of the ministry’s four platforms is violence against women, that it would be aware of New Zealand’s history of medical failures in the care of women’s genitalia, that it would understand that Jacqui’s situation was probably not unique, and that it would be concerned and helpful. It was not. I then approached women’s affairs spokespeople from every party and their responses were also unsatisfactory, if they responded at all.
    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 20 hrs

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does. - Charles Bukowski

August 12, 1986


Hello John:
Thanks for the good letter. I don’t think it hurts, sometimes, to remember where you came from. You know the places where I came from. Even the people who try to write about that or make films about it, they don’t get it right. They call it “9 to 5.” It’s never 9 to 5, there’s no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don’t take lunch. Then there’s overtime and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there’s another sucker to take your place.
You know my old saying
, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”
And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.
As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did
Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: “Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?”
They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn’t want to enter their minds.
Now in industry, there are vast layoffs (steel mills dead, technical changes in other factors of the work place). They are layed off by the hundreds of thousands and their faces are stunned:
“I put in 35 years…”
“It ain’t right…”
“I don’t know what to do…”
They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn’t they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?
I just wrote in disgust against it all, it was a relief to get the shit out of my system. And now that I’m here, a so-called professional writer, after giving the first 50 years away, I’ve found out that there are other disgusts beyond the system.
I remember once, working as a packer in this lighting fixture company, one of the packers suddenly said: “I’ll never be free!”
One of the bosses was walking by (his name was Morrie) and he let out this delicious cackle of a laugh, enjoying the fact that this fellow was trapped for life.
So, the luck I finally had in getting out of those places, no matter how long it took, has given me a kind of joy, the jolly joy of the miracle. I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I’m gone) how I’ve come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.
To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.
yr boy,
Hank

Monday, August 11, 2014

Of course the system can not be beaten on its own terms. It can be beaten by creating terms **outside** the system - William Burroughs

“Of course the system can not be beaten on its own terms. It can be beaten by creating terms **outside** the system. One hole and everything leaks out.. To use a simple illustration: Imagine an island completely isolated from outside contacts. This island is governed by the control of money. The inhabitants are granted money = power comfort security if they serve the interests of money and in exact quantitative measure for the services performed. 

Now imagine someone who does not wish either to advance in the hierarchy of the system nor to suffer its sanctions who points out that quite other norms are possible. The whole weight of the system will be directed against him. 

All existing systems are based on absolute monopoly – the premise that no other system is possible – monitored by the hierarchical lie that all spiritual and temporal rewards can only come through the system. 

The pyramid of Life Time Fortune doling out stipends of the life time and fortune they have stolen and monopolised, the communist hierarchy of power, the Catholic Church’s monopoly of the Grace of God, such systems of so called mystic initiation as the Gurdjieffians and the Scientologists.. it is all the same thing: total monopoly of a commodity whether spiritual or temporal and a payoff in the monopolised commodity… A childish game that must end if the human experiment is to continue.”
 
William Burroughs to John Broderick 18-xii-1965

Friday, August 8, 2014

WINNER 2014 Contemporary Art Awards, New Zealand.

WINNER 2014 Contemporary Art Awards, New Zealand.
 


It has been announced that New Zealand's "Beneficiary" Artist Tao Wells has been awarded top place in this years Waikato Art awards. Tao who came to national prominence in 2010 for his controversial work about institutional abuse and media manipulation said that though he couldn’t really afford the five hundred dollars it had cost to participate in the competition, had fallen in love with the story to be told from his win. “In the five years after I had lost my job at Uni, I had been invited to do over 30 shows. Those invites pretty much stopped after 2010’s ‘The Beneficiary’s Office’, where I decided to work with poor people” says the artist. “I saw this years judge Simon Reese’s recent returning to NZ as a possible un-bias chance to be recognized and supported and I was right”.

The winning work’s $95,000 price tag and title, “untitled (Mc Can’t)” were explained in a 150 word statement required to be released with the work. Tao said:


Anyone can make this commodity. Bag functioning, surfaces 'no' flicked, becoming arts ‘on’. Typical protest work smacking the fingers in the cookie jar. Helping to chuckle and cheer for those with the cookies, celebrating a generation of avant-garde art, state funded as University practice. Those silent beneficiaries of welfare meant to demonstrate the ideals of education, democracy, free speech, who take the money and instead stay silent.

Peter McLeavey commenting on a similar version of this work said it was a “true, rough as guts, great New Zealand painting”, but there wasn’t a market for it, then bought the work. Supposedly a formal barrier to challenging the tenets of capitalism is being openly bought and sold in the marketplace. This artworks transparent economic investment (!), is a mechanism in sharing wealth.
Not everyone can afford this work, the price is the same as my student loan (+ 46% gallery commission).”

While Tao could not attend the awards due to personal circumstances, the awards $15,000 dollar prize was going to be put to good use says the artist, in his acceptance speech delivered by fellow contestant Kirsty Lillico;


“ I thought I'd win this. Hence this speech. Thank you. I'm still unemployed but working full time (as a parent and artist). However I need to use some/all of the money to take a private gallery that stole my work and a public gallery that broke a contract to show my work to court, in some kind salute to the rich man’s ability to pursue justice in this country. Now you are implicated. It never ends.
 Beace, Luff, ha-money”

It had been rumored that Wellington artist Deanna Dowling, won the 2014 National Contemporary Art Award with her piece "Tell Someone if Something Happens”. With a strict fundamentalist attention to the facts this could be true, but that doesn’t change the story being told here.





 untitled (McCan't).  Air New Zealand Plastic Bag, Wooden Frame, Acrylic paint.

The presidency of Barack Obama ended on Friday, August 1st, 2014, as far as I am concerned. He'll sit in that round room until January of 2017, but he can go peddle his platitudes elsewhere. By lining up with and defending the torturers, he has added his name to the roll call of shame that continues to dishonor this nation. I no longer have any interest in what he has to say.

The Dumpster Fire of Obama's Moral Authority

Thursday, 07 August 2014 09:03 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-E
 
2014 807 oba swPresident Obama briefs the press on the economy and foreign policy issues at the White House, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. (Screengrab via Whitehouse.gov)Whatever lingering moral authority remaining in the administration of President Barack Obama fell to dust last Friday in a news dump that no one, apparently, was expected to pay any attention to.
That's what Friday news dumps are for; you drop the smelliest stories in the late afternoon, when the citizenry is staring out the window at work and waiting for the weekend to begin. Very few people pay attention to the news on the weekends, and by Monday morning, the damning or damaging stories that were dropped on Friday have flowed far down the river to pollute the bay, out of sight and out of mind.
The news dump last Friday, however, was a doozy, and didn't sink from sight in the manner the Obama administration hoped it would. Over the intervening days, a great many people have taken a long, slow burn on remarks made by the president regarding America's use of torture during the so-called "War on Terror."
"Even before I came into office," said the President on Friday, "I was very clear that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values."
One is immediately struck by the staggering glibness of using the line "We tortured some folks" to encapsulate a years-long comprehensive international program that tore a great many people to pieces, among them many innocents, to no appreciable gain. The program was used, in no small degree, to extract niblets of highly questionable "intelligence" the previous administration used to justify a war of aggression against Iraq that won them elections and made their friends rich. Along the way, public international knowledge of America's actions destroyed this nation's reputation utterly. They all got away with it.
"I understand why it happened," the President continued. "I think it's important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the twin towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this."
As bad as the "some folks" gambit was, this, this right here, is where the moral authority of this president and his administration became a dumpster fire. No one has any business blaming President Obama and his administration for the deplorable actions of his predecessor. However, the simple fact of the matter is that all of them swore a public oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. They are required to swear that oath not for the times when defending the Constitution is easy, but for the times when it is hard. Otherwise, the oath itself is pointless.
By citing the fear that came after the attacks of 9/11 - a moment when defending the Constitution and holding to that oath was very, very hard - as a free pass for those who instituted and practiced this program of torture, the president betrayed his oath, just as those who practiced torture betrayed theirs. No one was prosecuted for these crimes, and the "investigations" conducted by this administration into that torture were so piddly and toothless as to be utterly meaningless.
Beyond that oath is the Geneva Convention Against Torture, of which the United States is a signatory, and is therefore bound to its edicts. Article Two, Section One of the Convention reads, "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture." In other words, no excuses, period, end of file. "Afraid" is not an excuse.
The Constitution was violated, the Geneva Convention was violated, and still everyone walked, and on Friday, the president said that was fine, because we were "afraid." The moral failure in this is so vast as to be bottomless...but Mr. Obama wasn't quite finished twisting the knife.
"And, you know," he continued, "it's important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots, but having said all that, we did some things that were wrong."
"Not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect," he said. Note this well: that specific remark was not directed at the Republicans, the Tea Party or the "mainstream" news media, all of whom happily went along for the ride back when torture was the hip thing to do. Mr. Obama isn't going to get any static from them on the issue of torture; their hands are grimy with the blood they helped to spill.
No, that line was directed at people like me, and maybe you, and everyone who stood up and shouted from the rafters that torture is wrong, that torture is evil, and the people who did it need to be punished if the United States has even a whiff of a prayer of recovering its morality after so long and cruel and despicable a practice. The torturers are the "real patriots" here, you see, and those of us who stood against them - and will ever do so - are only being "sanctimonious" in our outrage.
So what is this about, really? The whole purpose of Mr. Obama's comments on Friday was to discuss the upcoming release of a congressional report on the CIA's use of torture. This came on the heels of revelations that the CIA had hacked congressional computers to steal the report and find out what was in it, a breach of the separation of powers that should make your hair stand on end. For his part, Mr. Obama allowed the CIA to be in charge of redacting "sensitive" information in the report before its release to the public, an act many have called a brazen conflict of interest.
Once congress saw the redactions, they realized the CIA had essentially black-lined the information within to such an egregiously extensive degree that the report had been rendered into meaningless gibberish. Congress, for their part, is having none of it, and a number of powerful Senators have picked a very public fight with the CIA and the administration about getting a clean report.
Why is the president bending over backwards for what is demonstrably a CIA that has gone dangerously rogue? It might have something to do with the fact that the current CIA Director, John Brennan, was up to his neck in the torture program while a member of the Bush administration, and is now the CIA director because Mr. Obama nominated him. Yes, it just might.
The whole thing reeks of a cover-up, but don't get too sanctimonious about it. They were "patriots," and we were "afraid," and besides, it was just "some folks" who were tortured.
What took place during the long, gruesome practice of torture is a stain on the soul of this nation. President Obama has done nothing to bring those responsible to justice, and has in fact tapped several of the architects, such as Mr. Brennan, for positions of incredible power. On Friday, Mr. Obama chose to soft-pedal the disgrace of torture, called the perpetrators "patriots," and told those of us upset about the whole thing not to be "sanctimonious" in our indignation.
The presidency of Barack Obama ended on Friday, August 1st, 2014, as far as I am concerned. He'll sit in that round room until January of 2017, but he can go peddle his platitudes elsewhere. By lining up with and defending the torturers, he has added his name to the roll call of shame that continues to dishonor this nation. I no longer have any interest in what he has to say.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt is Truthout's senior editor and lead columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know," "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence" and "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation." He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

NO TE REO, NO HAKA


Nō : 1. (particle) of, belonging to, from - indicates achieved possession.
Nō Te Whakatōhea ēnei whenua. / This land belongs to the Whakatōhea kinship group.
(Te Kākano Textbook (Ed. 2): 2-3; Te Kākano Study Guide (Ed. 1): 27; Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 22-23;)

2. (particle) Used when the possessor did not have control of the relationship or was/is subordinate, passive or inferior to what was/is possessed.
(Te Kākano Textbook (Ed. 2): 54-56, 140-141;)

3. (particle) at, in, on - used for time comments in the past.
Nō te tau 1769 a Kāpene Kuki i tae mai ai ki konei. / Captain Cook arrived here in 1769.
(Te Kākano Textbook (Ed. 2): 85; Te Kōhure Textbook (Ed. 2): 80;)

4. (particle) on account of, owing to, it was because.
Nō te katanga a tīwaiwaka i a Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga i kūtia ai e Hine-nui-te-pō, ā, mate ana. / It was because the fantail laughed that Māui was killed by Hine-nui-te-pō when she drew her legs together.
(Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 123-124; Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 178-179;)

5. (particle) at the time that, from the time that, until, when.
Nō te taenga mai o te Pākehā, ka ngaro haere taua tikanga. / From the time that the Pākehā arrived here that custom began to be lost.
(Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 123-124; Te Māhuri Textbook (Ed. 2): 178-179;)



  • Mark Hanson hit 'em where it hurts
  • Anton L'Etranger they'll never understand. To paraphrase, of all people, Winston Peters: you can't have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.
    • Wells Tao bollocks
    • Wells Tao These arms are for hugging
    • Anton L'Etranger you'd have to get the All Blacks on your side....hmmmmm...now theres an idea. y'know how at all football stadiums in Europe nowadays the advertising hoardings read "Respect" (long running campaign to encourage thuggish soccer fans to not be racist/sexist dicks)...you should petition for NO TE REO, NO HAKA tm to be prominently displayed at all rugby games...if you can get the All Blacks to support you.......
    • Wells Tao This could be the beginning of something beautiful
    • Wells Tao
  • Rangituhia Hollis Kia ora is this a slogan? I'm confused, but intrigued that there are potentially blurred readings that might be generated depending on whether or not we read the meaning of 'No' in te reo or in english. I tend to iterate between two readings yet each appears to mean something very different - is this the intention?
    • Wells Tao yeah I've been meaning to add the title " A determinate"
    • Wells Tao woops, I mean " A particle"
    • Wells Tao 1. (particle) of, belonging to, from - indicates achieved possession.
      Nō Te Whakatōhea ēnei whenua. / This land belongs to the Whakatōhea kinship group.
      (Te Kākano Textbook (Ed. 2): 2-3; Te Kākano Study Guide (Ed. 1): 27; Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 22-23;)

      2. (particle) Used when the possessor did not have control of the relationship or was/is subordinate, passive or inferior to what was/is possessed.
      (Te Kākano Textbook (Ed. 2): 54-56, 140-141;)

      3. (particle) at, in, on - used for time comments in the past.
      Nō te tau 1769 a Kāpene Kuki i tae mai ai ki konei. / Captain Cook arrived here in 1769.
      (Te Kākano Textbook (Ed. 2): 85; Te Kōhure Textbook (Ed. 2): 80;)

      4. (particle) on account of, owing to, it was because.
      Nō te katanga a tīwaiwaka i a Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga i kūtia ai e Hine-nui-te-pō, ā, mate ana. / It was because the fantail laughed that Māui was killed by Hine-nui-te-pō when she drew her legs together.
      (Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 123-124; Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 178-179;)

      5. (particle) at the time that, from the time that, until, when.
      Nō te taenga mai o te Pākehā, ka ngaro haere taua tikanga. / From the time that the Pākehā arrived here that custom began to be lost.
      (Te Pihinga Textbook (Ed. 2): 123-124; Te Māhuri Textbook (Ed. 2): 178-179;)
    • Wells Tao But without with the macro over the 'o' what does it say to you Rangituhia Hollist?
    • Rangituhia Hollis I read it as Noo (which looks wrong, but I can't write a macron on FB) I guess in my reading I just put the macron there. Its been awhile since I've seen Noo written instead of heard it spoken. I think that given that 'te reo & haka' seem to be the dominant aspects of the lingua franca that it appeared that you may be engendering I preferred and prefer to ignore an english sentence structure and to see the text as a wholly Maori text - its easier on my eye and I prefer the reading that it engenders. But I like the Indeterminacy of the initial interpretation and my guesses at your intended meaning.
    • Wells Tao Cheers it's a refinement of this earlier assertion http://taowells.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/wells-group.html...

      taowells.blogspot.com
      if the fight is directed against power, then all those on whom power is exercise... See More
    • Wells Tao I too prefer it as a wholly Maori text, finding the potential left in English engaging.