Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hey---cool it--the debate about our involvement in Afghanistan needs to happen!

I was shocked to read about the reaction to a film makers comments on her Face book page has resulted in death threats and various other insults. Another Face book page was created that has provided a base to enlarge this reaction. Since then some saner heads have prevailed but this does not alter the fact that no one should be attacked in such a manner as this lady has been. For a few moments I thought I was in another country; probably one in the Middle East or some tin-pot failed corrupt country.
I am not saying that the comments made by Barbara Sumner-Burstyn were not insensitive given the timing, but to then lambast her in a threatening way is a total over-reaction on the part of some of the participants in the ‘debate.’
A debate is what we need to have. Yes, we all know that any Kiwi joining the armed forces may at some time face and pay the ultimate price is a fact of life. Yes, we know that the armed forces themselves do not choose where they are sent; that role is purely the Government’s prerogative, although they must adhere to what the nations expects. There have been other wars in New Zealand’s past where a huge number of citizens have gone to the streets to make their point, so Barbara’s words represent no more than a ‘literary’ commentary about her opinion and her right to express that must be protected.
She made many salient points about our involvement in Afghanistan and while I don’t support some of them, she has expressed what may be a growing groundswell against our involvement in this USA-led conflagration. I find it hard to understand (other than the timing and some of her claims) why people are moved to utter ‘death threats’ against her. If we do not clamp that down, then we are looking at a crossroads in New Zealand that I find abhorrent. Have we not gone to war in the past for so-called ‘freedom,’ albeit, one that comes with responsibilities.
I am not going to use this blog to further describe my thoughts on our involvement in Afghanistan, as I have done that in previous blogs. I am deeply moved by the loss of our fine young men and a wonderful lady. There famillies grieve ut they accept that such a possibity is a risk that nay 'soldier' takes. 
It was the timing of Babrbara's words that so many have reacted to. The debate however, must continue. Given the claims in the same paper that reported Barbara’s opinions also described how NZ forces are being targeted because they do not have sophisticated equipment---well--- maybe that should raise the ire of some of those attacking Barbara.

Make our homes warm--yeah right--The PM is deluded.

Perhaps the PM should give himself a reality check; pull his head out of the sand or take a trip to the world of renting, where many land lords care only about the profit they make. I am not saying that the majority of LLs are like that, but a significant number will look at his comments about ‘doing the right thing’ and laugh all the way to the bank.
Come on Johnny boy, get real. Unless there are legislated minimum standards, why would many LLs bother to make their ‘investments’ healthy for their tenants? History has taught us that sometimes the Government has to take a lead over issues of importance. Take minimum wages. If it was open slather, God knows how low some employers would go in an effort to keep wages low and their profits high. One only has to look at some of the reports about immigrant workers being ripped off to quote a recent example.
This Government represents what so many National Governments have done in the past. They have often done nothing on issues that affect the poorer sector of society until the problem becomes so serious that even they cannot ignore it. Then, they will pass legislation that only goes so far; believing that they have quelled the outrage, even if only temporarily.
Labour is better but far from perfect. Their conservative members have also watered down effective laws in the past and under Rogernomics (Something that they are trying to forget) they showed a side that hurt many.
Back to our ‘houses.’ I am lucky enough to live in unit that has the ‘makings of a healthy home.’ I also don’t need to ask a LL to make changes for improving my lot. I know that many people live in homes that are quite different. I am sure you have all seen the worst examples of wet, damp, draughty homes that LLs have done little to alleviate. The children who live in these homes are unhealthy, miss school and fall behind in their educational achievements, thus re-emphasizing their position in society.
Imagine the damp walls and black mould, along with asthmatic kids. This is common, especially in the larger cities in NZ. Yes there is Government help these problems but the uptake still falls way behind the need to change these homes. Instead of telling LLs to ‘do the right thing,’ Mr Key, tell them that if they don’t they will be ‘obliged to.’ Maybe the health bill will retreat to Manageable levels for you. Hell, isn’t that enough to convert you to real fairness?

Hell--- what if the Republicans win?

What a scary thought---as more Republicans drag themselves from under some Mediaeval rock to espouse policies that would put social justice causes back a century or two. The attacks on women, gays and health schemes that could help a significant number of poor Americans are a repugnant development in the politics of this proud nation.
What is equally frightening is the fact that such a small number of citizens will even bother to turn out on Election Day. Would I be correct in proposing that a large portion of the American public don’t give a stuff about the state of their national political scene and that generally, unless they feel directly threatened by a particular policy, they simply get on with their daily lives and leave the important process of choosing candidates at all levels of Federal and State legislatures to a significantly small group of voters because the ‘turnout’ is pathetically low? Compare the turnout figures against other Western democracies and I am sure you would all get the point.
Now let’s look at some of the policies that the ‘candidates, presidentially and at local level. We have ‘bible-bashing,’ ignorant and anti-women candidates. It would be fair to say that the huge majority of these candidates come from the Republican side of the political spectrum. I know that we can’t judge the Republican Party alone for the views of that deluded Todd Akin, but the fact that he even progressed as far as he did; before the Republican leaders took fright at his views and did their best to thwart his plans says much about the party.
The social conservatism that is re-emerging is scary enough. Add in the gaffs from Romney, then ‘thinking’ Americans must be wondering at how far the move to the right has advanced. Hell, all we need now is a ‘McCarthy’ and the picture would be complete.
I just pinched myself---trying to make myself believe that there is a counter-movement within American society and that it is fighting the narrow views of the above mentioned candidates. Perhaps they can create a momentum that will stop the march of the ‘crazies’ and keep Obama in power, despite many of his disappointing back-downs or watering down of action on issues that we thought he had used to win the last Presidential election.
There is no one else. The USA does not have strong credible alternate candidates, so the choice comes down to Obama or a Reaganite, gaff-inflicted ‘darling of big business’ conservative Romney.
The Democrats need an equivalent of the ‘Tea Party’ that invigorated the Republican cause at the last election, but somehow, I don’t think Democrats could get over the ‘cringe factor,’ associated with that movement to enable them to go down that road. Instead they fight at local level, try to make sure they get their voters out, enrol their voters and ‘talk.’ We will need to see a great deal more action and not rely on talk if Romney’s Republicans are to be kept out of power.

When is Nick Afoa going to release a CD?

It’s half time in the NZ---Aussie test and the predictions we all made with huge scores are not happening yet----lol. The only thing I want to say is---didn’t our Nick do a good job. He’s the man and it’s about time he gave us more----he has a great voice and it suits heaps of styles---he can croon---- he can Ballad--- he can romance and God knows what else. Bring it on Nick!

Ok--- back to the second half