It struck me with some humour the other day that the same laws causing the resignation of Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam from the Australian Parliament could be used to paralyse the country in a time of crisis.
The law in this case is Section 44 of the Australian Constitution which disqualifies anyone from representing the country who
“is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power”
In this case. Both these MPs found out they were citizens of other countries as well as Australia.
Your government must be capable of interacting with other states.
I imagine that they would instantly come under the control of the Queen again since hers was the previous government. Perhaps step three should be get along really well with the Queen.
So next time Australia gets on our nerves, why don’t we just make them all dual citizens and then sit back with a beer to watch them trying to get their heads around how to change the law when nobody is able to be an MP. 🙂
Updating Australia’s national anthem
New Zealander all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage Advance New Zealand Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance New Zealand Fair.
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours,
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas,
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine To Advance New Zealand Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance New Zealand Fair.
One of the main problems with our surveillance system, especially with the GCSB, in New Zealand is oversight. Who watches the watchers, in a system where the information cannot be revealed to the general public?
Is there a problem?
We don’t know. But we do know that people with access to others information use it for un-intentioned purposes.
An example of this can be found in recent events with the prosecution of Jeremy Malifa in the Auckland District Court. Mr Malfila pleaded guilty to 21 counts of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose “where he viewed the victims’ personal information, including contact details and their interactions with police, in order to establish sexual relationships with the women.”
And this is with oversight. If he had of been an employee of the GCSB then it is likely that no prosecution would have followed. The public would never have known.
So, unless you know that you have been adversely affected, the oversight of the GCSB has no power to see if anybody has been unfairly targeted unless it is at the request of the Prime Minister or the Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence services.
That is a giant hole in the system. I guess you could say there is internal oversight like the one that caught 133 people in the Police but I am not aware of anybody in the security services ever being disciplined for misconduct.
Even when they were found to have breached NZ law 85 times in the Kitteridge Report no-one was charged or disciplined. Perhaps because the Prime Minister (John Key) was also the Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence services?
This has been taken and re-written from,”The Pencilsword: Denial” by Toby Morris. You should read the original first before reading this. Actually, read all of his stuff. It’s great.
I am unsure if this breaches copyright in New Zealand. I have send the Wireless an email. Their decision.
I remember when we used to laugh at the guys with the tinfoil hats so this is for them 🙂 It works both ways, you know?
Hey, you wanna hear something crazy? The government is spying on us.
Every year the government spends tens of millions of dollars on the GCSB in the name of protecting us from terrorism. Do you realise we haven’t had a terrorism incident in NZ for 30 years. They’re using that money to listen to us and sending the information to foreign intelligence operators.
Correlation is not causation. Cherry picking statistics is just one way we trick ourselves into all kinds of ideas. Our brains are weird.
I’ve got a friend. A peace activist, and he gets harassed by the Police where ever he goes. They stand at protests and take photos of him and then lock him up. And you know what. The judge says it is illegal but then does nothing about it.
Humans value anecdotal evidence over scientific research. We react to stories more than facts and figures.
Just look at what they did to Kim Dot Com and those other 80 people. It makes me sick to think about it.
Our brains give more weight to the times things go wrong than when they go right.It’s called negative bias. We don’t give much thought to the millions of times our cars worked, or planes didn’t crash, or vaccines worked fine, but we obsess over the times they don’t.
And all those experts in suits try to tell us what to think. It’s for the terrorists, they say. We aren’t watching you. It requires a warrant. Can’t they see sit makes no sense when there isn’t any terrorism in New Zealand? Do they think I am dumb?
The Dunner-Kruger Effect is where the limits of our own intelligence mean we mistakenly overestimate our own brain power. In short, most of us aren’t smart enough to judge how smart others are. Scientists spend their lives researching climate change or vaccines and we still think we know better.
I just had this feeling so I started studying and listening to other people. Once you get past the constant social pressure to conform and start looking at what they get out of it. It’s real. It blows my mind.
Confirmation bias is where our brains preference information that supports our existing views. Whatever you are worried or frustrated about you’ll likely find a community of people worried about the same things reinforcing their beliefs together online.
And you wanna know the truth? The government spies on us to stay in power, to control us. Same as always.
Occams razor is a philosophical principle that basically states the least complicated explanation is usually the right one. We get drawn into the drama of convoluted conspiracies, but the truth is usually mundane. Vaccines work. Cliamte change is real. The Earth is not flat. Tupac is dead. Sorry.
And after I found out, man I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t just remain a sheep and let them control everyone. But no one would join me.
Were wired to believe that doing something and it turning out to be the wrong choice is worse than not doing anything and having an identically bad result. It’s called omission bias and it’s why people often choose inaction when they are under pressure.
So I’m out. I’m a hard core encryption advocate now. I’ll decide who I want to be and when I want to be happy. When they come for me they won’t have any leverage because they won’t know anything about me.
Humans are terrible at risk perception. We over inflate perceived dangers, and ignore less visible ones, even if they are much more dangerous. We massively underestimate how bad polio or measles or rising sea levels are because we have never lived through them.
And to be honest, there is part of me that’s like…f*&^ you man. You don’t control me.
Sometimes denial is convenient. Identity protective cognition is how our brains are wired to selectively accept or dismiss information in order to preserve socio-economic structures that are of benefit to us. That’s why wealthy conservatives deny climate change, men won’t see the pay gap and racism is so hard to discuss.
But speaking of racism, why in this age of supposed cultural tolerance are deniers so demonised. And isn’t it healthy to question authority and social conventions? To varying degrees these biases and logical traps affect us all right?
I think you have to ask yourself if your denial puts others lives at risk. Rejecting vaccines threatens the lives of kids who can’t immunise and ignoring climate change threatens us all.
Look, in the end I just have to do what’s right for me, you know?
This is a story of how Etihad Guest tarnished my good experience flying with Etihad.
My Etihad Experience
In March I booked a return flight to Paris on the website of Etihad and on the 4th of April I travelled to France with Etihad and returned on the 17th of May.
It was my first flight overseas for a while and they made it easy with reminder emails and an app I installed on my phone to keep me up to date. The staff were nice, the aircraft was clean and well maintained and the food was good. I was happy and would have favoured them in future travels (of which it looks like I am going to be doing quite a few).
At this point I had received three emails from Etihad.
Electronic ticket receipt, April 04 Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris, France for …
Your Etihad Airways Travel Reminder (going to Paris)
Your Etihad Airways Travel Reminder (returning from Paris)
My Etihad Guest Experience
On the 20th of June I received my first email from Ethihad Guest.
OK. That’s great I thought. I am going to be travelling again so I can use the miles to get a cheaper ticket or upgrade or something. So I clicked on “Claim My Miles”. This took to a place I could register (remembering that they know I don’t have a Etihad Guest account yet) and again repeated the promised 500 bonus miles. So I registered.
It Starts To Go Wrong
At this point it should have all been done. I have registered on the link they gave me and my name matches my ticket etc…. I should have my miles. And for a minute I though I had. Until I realised that at the top it said,“0 Miles Etihad Guest”.
Where are my miles? Oh, OK. I have to apply for them now. But didn’t you just tell me that,
“To claim your miles, simply enrol in the Etihad Guest programme before 28th of June 2017. “
Oh look, there was fine print in the Email.
“Terms & Conditions: To receive Etihad Guest Miles for flight(s) taken with Etihad Airways in April 2017, you need to enrol in the Etihad Guest programme and activate your new account before 28th of June 2017. Etihad Guest Miles will be awarded to your new account by 30th June 2017 as long as the first name and last name of your Etihad Guest membership account match the first name and last name on your Etihad Airways ticket and passport.”
All very simple except the “From” form is mandatory and won’t accept the Airport I flew from. So I emailed them and they replied with an unhelpful email stating,
“To help us to process your claim for missing miles, we kindly request you to email a copy of the boarding pass and e-ticket number to RetroClaims@etihadguest.com.”
Which boarding pass? I received six during the entire journey and I don’t keep them. Why would I keep them. For that matter why would they need them? They sent me the initial email, they know I have flown with them, they know I am me. They have my passport number, they registered me on the flights. So why exactly do they need the extra information?
Remember, they have already told me, ” You’ve earned 2217 miles from your recent Etihad flight” and that there would be,“500 bonus miles – on top of the miles you’ll receive for your flight”.
Are they a scam? Why are they lying? Why do they want information they obviously already have otherwise they couldn’t have sent me the initial email?
Why would they screw up a perfectly satisfactory customer relationship for no reason?
Etihad Guest put me off Etihad. They spoiled a good customer relationship and they flat out lied in order to get me to sign up. Thank you, Etihad Guest.
It was after the last election I joined the party. The day after in fact. It didn’t matter to me that the media was attacking it. It didn’t matter that the general population thought they looked like a bunch of idiots. What mattered was that they were right.
That was only one reason to vote for the Internet Party. Their support of Education and Health care. Their rejection of the TPPA (Ratified by our cabinet and now being resurrected by them) being forced through. One of the few parties that rejected the destruction of democracy after the Christchurch Earthquake. They had a host of decent policies from saving the Maui dolphin to updating the health system. Policies that were based on fact where possible, hope where needed, and aspiration where applicable.
And now they are back. Some policies have stayed, some have been updated. New policy has yet to be announced. Some policies appear to have been dropped. I hope, however, that they will continue to stand for what is right and true instead of what is politically feasible. We need to stop being #labnats and stand up for what we are, and what we want to be.
It is this rebuttal that this post is about. According to the slides she was misquoted, Nikki Turner either ignorantly or wilfully mislead the public, and everything she had said had a sound reasoned basis to it. It turns out that isn’t true. 75% of the references lead back to one website run by James Mercola. An American who is, in his own words, running “The World’s #1 Natural Health Website” and in the words of his critics “Mercola publishes daily risk-based attacks by heavily syndicated “news” blogs which are frequently afterwards tied to his choice “safe” product alternatives to possibly heal a ill or risk promoted in his explanation articles.”
And here is my ten cents on the videos slides.
I will list the slides on the video by time.
0:44 Vitamin C proven to cure over 30 major diseases
The slide is of the Natural News website. A blog that well…read the wiki entry. The “Vitamin C proven to cure over 30 major diseases” entry is based on the clinical papers of Dr Klenner which were published in between 1949 and 1970. The scientific consensus is that while vitamin C dificiency will harm a sick patient there appears to be no papers I can find that regard vitamin C as a cure for measles. However, vitamin A is used in the treatment of measles. Vitamin C isn’t toxic though so it probably won’t hurt to try, but you should probably read this first.
1:22 This is not true. Katherine Smith did not talk about herbal medicine.
Yes she did. She recommended people see a Doctor or a Naturopath. A naturopath is,”a form of alternative medicine employing a wide array of “natural” modalities, including homoeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture, as well as diet and lifestyle counselling.” She also identified herself as a herbalist and stated that she had looked into it professionally.
1:30 Unnamed website
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.
1:34 The voice of Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre
2:07 Measles vaccine more dangerous than measles itself
Another screenshot from the Mercola website. See 0:48. I would suggest you read this. Especially this bit,”But in endemic areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the measles case fatality ratio often ranges from 5%–10%.”
2:28 Unnamed website
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.
2:36 Studies show measles vax spreads virus
The website is The Healthy Economist, there are links to the studies at the bottom of the page. It also says this at the bottom of the page.
“The number of measles deaths declined from 7575 in 1920 (10,000 per year in many years in the 1910s) to an average of 432 each year from 1958-1962.17 The vaccine was introduced in 1963. Between 2005 and 2014, there have been no deaths from measles in the U.S. and 108 deaths from the MMR vaccine.”
Which would suggest the vaccine is far safer with 1.8 deaths per annum vs 432 in the unvaccinated population in America.
2:49 Measles vaccine likely caused the death of four infants in Nepal, say authorities.
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.
2:56 Twins die minutes after measles vaccination
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.
3:04 Unnamed website
Probably this page on a website that advises,”*The information we provide access to is not intended, nor designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.” Further reading on the website founder can be found here.
3:30 Alert recently vaccinated in individuals can spread disease
I was unable to find this slide anywhere.
3:41 Measles vaccine undeniably linked to autism
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.
4:04 Most pro-vaxxers have never even looked at a vaccine package insert Suggested reading.
4:08 CDC whistleblower statement
He has also released another statement,”I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.” and the paper has not been retracted. Full statement is on here (sorry, I can’t find the original) and a wider discussion is here.
4:41 unamed website
Mercola again. See 0:48.
5:08 Inflammatory staged vaccine photo
5:16 The voice of Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre
My impression of this rebuttal is not good. Basically it is repeats the views of four websites; Natural News (1 time), Mercola (9 times), Greenmedinfo(1 time) and The Healthy Home Economist (1 time). The views of Mercola are reapeated 9/12 times or 75% as proof that Katherine Smith’s assertions (rebutal as least) are correct. To quote wikipedia,”In 2005, 2006, and 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Mercola and his company to stop making illegal claims regarding his products’ ability to detect, prevent, and treat disease.” Further referenced reading on Mercola can be found here and here.
I mean really. If you want to back your views, this is not the way to do it and Mercola.com is not the company you should be referencing. All the anti vaccination lobby, that is really what the ‘No Forced Vaccinations’ group is a front for, need to do is to use their funding (which they get a lot of) to do some actual scientific air tight studies and when the study is criticised to take that critique on board and do an even better study instead of being the mouth piece of a company that appears to prey on peoples fears in order to make money.
Great Barrier Island is a beautiful and wonderful place but its beaches are not unspoiled if you take unspoiled to mean what they were like before human occupation. Pre-human beaches were probably mounded with driftwood. Look here for an example from Fiordland. I hardly think that Medlands, Kaitoke, or Whangapoua fit this description. We have logged and cleared and burnt the forests and as a result we have beaches relatively unspoilt by mounds of driftwood. Perhaps that is what is meant.
Untouched beauty falls in to the same category. The Island has not just been touched, it has been torched. I have heard there was a time not to long ago when the sea would turn brown for a kilometre around the Island when it rained as the top soil washed out because there was little vegetation to keep it in place. The Island is anything but untouched. What we have now is a direct result of human interference.
The use of the word natural. Arghhhhh! The word natural in this case means,”existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind.” which is bullshit. Humans are natural, cities are natural, Ebola is natural. Somehow defining nature as being without humanity is stupid as the act of defining it as such requires a human. We are a part of nature, we just happen to be a part that can choose what we want in the world around it and that choosing is natural.
In my lifetime I have seen New Zealand go from a country that felled it’s forests for farmland and houses to one that pseudo pretends to value them. And I say pseudo because in almost all circumstances we value them now because we receive a benefit of some kind even if it is just a feel good benefit. Tourist operators bandy the word natural about constantly, even though bringing tourists to a ‘natural’ environment will change that environment further. Each year the Island gets overrun by thousands of people who happily crap all over it, bring vast amounts of rubbish, and annihilate large amounts of aquatic life. Whilst this is all perfectly natural, it isn’t the vision of the world they wish to raise in our heads when they speak of it, or show to us in images and video. They are selling a dream.
Nature and Pest Management
Today I went to a Pest Management meeting and there were some good ideas. I especially liked Brads feral cat eradication plan. But there was also more than a hint of all of the above, that somehow in managing the pests we would be restoring the natural balance. Things are already in balance. The rats are part of nature, the cats are part of nature. They have reached a balance.
Unfortunately that balance has come at the expense of other ‘native’ plants and animals. That is evolution. That is nature. I wish we could stop trying to ‘Disneyfy’ things and just admit that now, because we value these creatures over those (eg; one is called pest and the other native), we want to change the natural balance to change the current outcomes. I am fine with killing the rats, I don’t like rats and I do like native flora and fauna. I do not want it dressed up as ‘100% Pure’, or restoring the balance. If we are to murder thousands of thinking feeling animals for our perceived emotional or financial benefit, let’s at least do it knowingly.
I have never managed to catch Facebook out, although I have tried once or twice, until today when I posted a link to Laudae Finem and then on a hunch I contacted an alt political friend and got him to look at my homepage. And what do you know, the last post he could see on my homepage was from him even though there are ten posts, seven of which are political, after his post to me. All seven political posts would have interested him, so what happened? Why can’t he see them? Or, why does Facebook show them to me but not to him. The last page I posted had been shared with Facebook more than 6000 times if you are to believe the little share button so it isn’t unpopular.
Another way to look at it is that Facebook is a company with shareholders and must make money. One way to make that money is to advertise, another way is to change peoples feeds to point them toward ways of Facebook making money, and the last way is to have and maintain the largest market share so no-one can upset your throne and stop you making money. This doesn’t fulfil the first proposition as nothing was advertised more or less than normal. It doesn’t fulfil the second proposition in that not having anything on my page didn’t point my friend anywhere except away from the page as nothing was happening. It doesn’t fulfil the third proposition as the way they maintain market share is by encouraging people to interact on their site.
The only other thing I can think is a reversal of the second proposition. Facebook changed its feed (eg; the view of my homepage to my friend) in order to make money by not showing things to people and that is enough to me nervous………
I am deeply concerned by the stance the government has taken during the negotiations of the TPPA. There have been multiple clear breaches of the OIA, even after the ombudsman made sure Tim Grosers office was aware of their legal requirements.
I am concerned about any loss of sovereignty of our government, either directly, or indirectly from this agreement. The reason for having a country is to have the ability for a group of people (ie; the country) to make rules for themselves. Any change in this circumstance should be put to a binding referendum at the very least.
We currently face an unforeseen and unprecedented outcome of the form of capitalism which forms the basis of this document. Namely the threats to our planet caused by ‘business’. That this agreement seeks to further embed the very trade which is wrecking large (and small) scale havoc on our planet is blind to say the least. It ignores science and limits our options of environmental improvement in the future.
I oppose the costs to consumers by copyright extension. The taking of free goods and creating artificial scarcity in order to make money from them serves no public good. It should be remembered that the original reason for copyright was to encourage the creation of new works, not to protect the resale price of old works or the rehashing of old works into a new format. Copyright, as it is used at the moment, takes our culture and then makes us pay for it in order to participate in it. This is wrong.
The TPPA also serves to further undermine what freedoms still exist on the internet. It should be a warning to the negotiators that they seek to monetise something that was created freely. It is akin to poisoning the river in order to sell us clean water. That we should be spied on for profit and control is also disgusting. Note that those who use their scale to invade the privacy of others fiercely protect their own networks and databases.
Although the TPPA has provisions to protect the Treaty of Waitangi(ToW) it will be impossible for it to do so. Those covered under the ToW are but a small portion of the country. It will be impossible to say, “Well, 90% of you have to do this but 10% don’t”. Remember that the governments position on ToW is subject to change over time. Fifty years ago it was not even recognised.
I object to the undermining of our democracy. One of the keystones of democracy is an informed public. The TPPA cements in secret tribunals and secret negotiations for business. This does not allow the public to be informed.
Currently (at the time of writing) there is a suppression order on the release of the Serco Report. The TPPA would extent this ability to suppress financially sensitive information and take the decision to suppress information outside the New Zealand justice system. This is unacceptable. I do not support the amount of suppression given by the New Zealand justice system currently (re: Mike Sabin) and allowing extending the ability of business to extend suppression orders is unacceptable.
I object to the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the TPPA (and in fact all other treaties signed with ISDS provisions). The government of New Zealand exists to benefit the people of New Zealand and can only achieve that by having the ability to freely make decisions that benefit the people of New Zealand. The ISDS provisions in the TPPA inhibit this ability. This is unacceptable.
The TPPA will effect the price and/or availability to public health and medicines adversely as well as diminishing our ability to react to future changes in medical science. This is unacceptable.
Finally I object to the amount of power the TPPA cedes (or reinforces) in either power or influence to corporate entities. The political process should benefit the people of New Zealand and they should decide as an informed public. Not as informed by one, or a small group of entities, but informed as a well and broadly educated public. New Zealand is currently failing at this, in my opinion, and the TPPA will exaggerate this ignorance.