Friday, September 14, 2012

Feed a family of 6 for bugger all

Easy as! Everything is cheap in this one. I fed myslef and many flatmates years ago so there is no excuse for going out and buying KFC when oyu can do this so well.
Buy some 'precooked' sausgaes---they are really cheap at The Mad Butcher and supermarkets. For a family of 6, buy 2 kilos. (You might even have some over)
Fry one or two onions and then chuck in the suasages and sliced carrots. (maybe two) You can slice/cut the pre-cooked ones first if you like. Use cheap curry powder---maybe a mild one for the family, Fry the mixture for a few minutes then pour in about two cups of boiling water. Add salt to taste. I have kept this recipe simple--- no other ingredients. Cook gently until the carrots are soft. Mix some cornflour in a cup with water and add to the mixture. If it is thick enough---it's ready.

Variations. Chop some Silverbeet (Swiss Chard) and add it to the mixure before you thicken it. Every NZ household should be growing this 'easy as' vegetable---so good for you. Nicer  when young. You could also add some frozen veggies as an 'extender.'
Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.
If there is any over, I love it on toast for breakfast.
I find it hard to believe that this simple recipe is not used more-----not only for the budget conscious, but actually quite good for you.

A pathetcially ignorant video brings and equally hysterical response!

In many of the religions of the world there are extremes, sometimes fuelling hysterical and ignorant actions or reactions to imagined slights. We have fundamentalists in all religions, be they Christian, Islam brothers. The result is one of degree, depending on the nature of the adherents.
Christianity has a history of extremes and there are those ‘sects’ even today who would like a Christian style Sharia Law like base. Thankfully, those segments of Christianity are relatively small and recent history has moved them on from the medieval type actions of the past. That is, they don’t burn witches anymore and it has been a many years since Christianity tore itself apart in senseless wars, but we must acknowledge that the past was brutal.
Islam has had its responses in the past to Western ‘Imperialism’ and the Crusades of the past. Islam was once the religion that supported the arts and had cities that prided themselves on their educational bases and the tolerance to others’ beliefs. Things have changed, possibly as a result of perceived threats from the West and the rise of a powerful USA.
Since the USA abandoned its ‘Isolationist’ past, there has been a gradual resurgence of resistance to the new USA and its role as ‘Policeman of the World.’ Many would say the stance of the USA in modern times is more about economics than it is about any desire to protect and stand up for freedom. To put it more bluntly, oil and access to the vast resources of the Middle East is the driving force for modern USA foreign policy. Cynical perhaps, but think about it.
The USA has put itself forward as some sort of ‘saviour for the peoples of the Middle east. It has dragged many ‘friends’ and reluctant allies into various conflagrations in the Middle East. Take Iraq and Afghanistan as examples. Both wars have left many Americans dead or wounded---what for? Are those countries any better off and in the case of   the latter; do the people have any more freedom than they had before. Lurking in the background, the Taliban are poised to surge back into power once the ‘coalition of the unwilling’ finally leave.
In other so-called more moderate Middle Eastern states, the Arab Spring has brought forth whole new elite, one that paints itself as ‘moderate Islamist’ in nature. Time will tell, but the events of the last few days, where we are witnessing hysterical crowds, intent on killing and mayhem, bursting forth onto the streets, all in response to a pathetically ignorant idiot who had made a film that purportedly insulted Islam. I do not support the attacking of any religion, but I am against what I have seen on TV. No amount of evidence that supports the fact that this film was made by a seriously ignorant extremist, who fooled actors into thinking they were making a film that bears no resemblance to what actually ended up on Utube.
Try telling that to the rabble that have let themselves yet again become the tools of equally ignorant leaders, who have agendas that are repellent. Where are the ‘moderates’ now; sitting at home, wondering where their ‘new regimes’ are heading? The power of the people in the streets is often misinformed and their anger blunt in its desire to ‘punish.’
If the USA and other countries were not so dependent on Middle Eastern oil reserves, perhaps the USA could turn its back and retreat from its role in this region. All they need is to find an alternative to oil. (A big ask). Surely the last few years point to the need for a new direction on the part of policy makers in the USA. Maybe I have missed something here, but I don’t see the point in the continued presence of the USA (and allies) in the region. Pull out and see what happens. It is time for the region to sort itself out. If we don’t like the results, then perhaps the USA should look to meeting its own needs, along with its new trading partner, China. Somewhere in that mix, there will be room for the rest of us.
I hope my words are not defeatist, but surely we can learn from history. It is never the powerful who pay for misadventures in the backyards of others; it is those who do not make up the decision making elite; the majority of us. Does not the example of Vietnam teach us something? Could the Middle East eventually achieve the same result?

The two Johnys are still supping from the same cup--

Politicians of almost any Party will try to hang on to power despite the fact that they have to ‘sup’ with an ally who has dubious qualities. John Key must almost gag when he has to sit down with John Banks. The evidence is pretty clear that ‘Banksie’ as he likes to be called has gone several steps too far re his attempts to defend himself from the facts about his mayoral election campaign.
The fact that Brother John needs Banksie in order to have a workable majority in the House is the reason and the only reason for him to hang on to his disaster prone mate. If the National Party had a few more seats you could be sure that Banksie would be history and that John Key would talk about ‘honesty and transparency.’ He does not do this because we would see an election almost immediately.
Labour too had the problem of rogue Ministers and those who caused embarrassment, so the plight of the Party Leaders is not one that National alone suffers.
We can be sure that the ‘Opposition’ parties will step up each time they sense yet more blood on the floor.
I do not see this Government going full-term. Watch this space.

Who 'owns' the water?

Water--- the most basic of needs—God/Nature-given, flowing freely in our streams, river and into our lakes, or falling from the clouds. Who owns it? There has been a timely debate at a Hui (meeting—for those outside NZ) called by our Maori King. His move in itself is quite unusual. Emptions have been stirred amongst many New Zealanders. The question has been ‘below the surface’ for many years in our wonderful country, because one thing for sure is that we are indeed blessed with our water resources.
The debate about ownership has come to the fore, because our Government is intent on selling some of our State Assets. From all of the polls conducted by various media, it seems that the majority of the NZ public are against such moves, even if they are only so-called ‘partial’ sales. That means that the Government retains 51% of the assets.
The Government has remained resolute in its claims that they foreshadowed such a move in their manifesto, prior to the elections of 2011, thus claiming the mandate to continue. That the public is becoming quite vociferous in its opposition to the sales has made no difference.
Maori opposition has increased and the question of ownership of a range of ‘natural’ assets has arisen. This includes water, rivers and even the wind. The debate has ramped up yet again, as Maori see (along with a good deal of the public) their claiming ownership of the said resources (although their claims have existed for a very long time) as a means of stopping or at least delaying the asset sales.
They may well succeed where others have failed. In the long run however, the question remains about ‘who actually owns the assets they are claiming as their own. I have always been happy when Maori talk about ‘guardianship’ of lakes, mountains, rivers etc. I see that as being in line with the treaty Of Waitangi (a founding document for New Zealand). I agree with the concept that Maori retain some form of guardianship over the said resources in partnership with the State. That does not imply ownership in the traditional ‘Western style model.
Am I wrong in assuming that what I am now hearing is quite a different concept about ‘ownership? The ‘reported’ rhetoric from the Hui sounds suspiciously different and the King has come out quite strongly to reinforce this understanding. He has been reported as saying that ’We own the water.’
I am glad that the debate is continuing, but I am uncomfortable when I hear that claims are being made that go beyond the concept of Guardianship. I know that there is debate overseas about ownership of wind resources and I am sure that Maori will be watching that closely. I hope that the debate in NZ remains logical, legal and based on a shared future. I am happy though, that the debate may derail the Government’s plans got sell our State assets but at what price now that the debate seems to have neared the very heart of the Treaty. Our next moves must be very sensitively and sensibly thought out.