America is the greatest country in the world…really?

Watching the CNN debate yesterday I heard several occasions again one of the Republican Presidential Candidates citing some version of the phrase “America is the greatest country in the world!” I just really want someone to inform me how is America the greatest country in the world. Seriously, can someone please educate me as to the rationale behind that statement, because if it is the greatest country in the world I will happily support the statement.

It would seem that the citizens of America don’t think it’s the greatest, and the younger the age of the person surveyed, the less likely it is that they believe that the US is #1.

I ask this question genuinely looking for people to tell educate me as I want to understand how so many Americans continue to tell us that they are the best in the world. A quick scan of the internet makes it difficult to see how anyone can read any international standards that rank them at #1 in anything other than incarceration rates of their own population.

Now I want to make it clear, I am not suggesting they are the worst country in the world, I am also not suggesting that it isn’t a ‘great’ country, what I am wanting to know is is it the greatest? Show me the markers and I’ll accept them.

There is a very famous scene from The Newsroom’s very first episode of the very first series where this question gets asked.


Now this is fictional, but fact checking his information at the time the episode was filmed…he seems to be basically accurate in the statistics he is giving out although there is a little wriggle room depending on the research you cite.

Please, educate me, is America the greatest country in the world? Why, or why not? is terrible, but the whole news industry is moving this way

Hosking CrosshairsSo I am in shock at the decision by newly launched gossip magazine to use rifle cross-hairs to target Mike Hosking in what they apparently call an ‘exclusive’ which was that he vacuumed his car in a public street…OMG Stop the presses!!! I’m shocked that this is a story, I’m shocked that this is the way the whole news industry is moving (more on that soon) but I’m mostly shocked that whoever made the ‘cross hairs’ decision seems to have no knowledge of what terrible occurrences that exact idea has lead to in the very recent past.

Anyone remember Sarah Palin targeting Gabby Giffords?

If not let me remind you. Sarah Palin has targeted 20 Democratic seats to encourage Republican voters to do all they can to win them back for the Good Old Party using rhetoric like ‘don’t retreat, reload!’  The map that was drawn up had cross-hairs on the seats and on one fateful day, a mentally unwell person took Sarah Palin’s advice a little too literally and stormed a Gabby Giffords event and shot her in the head.

Now I am not saying that NZ has the same culture that exists with guns in the US, but anyone with half an ounce of intelligence would know this is not the way to report ‘news’ even gossip but the post on mentioned the salary that Hosking was on, the price he just paid for his house and the street where he lived. The only outcome from the post was to engender a negative feeling, a feeling of jealously and hatred towards Hosking and if an imbalanced person felt like checking him out he or she now has a pretty good idea on how to find him after hours.

Hilary Barry posted a brilliant retort to the ‘story’ by posting an image of herself vacuuming her car with the hashtag #stalkingisnotok and the best item I’ve seen written on SCOUT today is from Russell Brown who goes into a lot of detail on the story, behind the story.

Many of her former Herald colleagues believed she had, at best, jumped before she’d been pushed, and that the final straw had been not her unethical treatment of waitress Amanda Bailey but her ludicrous “conifers” column. The belief was that she was due to be dispensed with in a reshuffle after the departure of editor-in-chief Tim Murphy.

I am also saddened that this is the path that all the media is taking. I am saddened to see when I visit TVNZ News that most of the video on that site is 40 seconds or shorter and focusing on things that rate heavily on Facebook, I think that content producers are missing the point and assuming what we, as consumers, are prepared to spend our time watching and reading and I think they are wrong. Yes there is a place for ‘bite sized’ content, but not at the expense of serious, interesting, challenging news that informs and entertains. We are focusing too heavily on the ‘entertains’ and it’s becoming very un-entertaining.

News radio shows doing 2 minute interviews on the international intricacies of the Syrian Refugee Crisis, television news spending 23 seconds of video on a tragedy where 4 people died…it’s not right and it sure as hell is not good broadcasting which is why most people I know, most people under 40 are turning to alternative sources of news online to get what we need and want, not what is dictated by 9 ad breaks an hour or a necessity to have a certain number of click throughs. is terrible, it’s a product that doesn’t work in NZ as we don’t have celebrities, we have people with high profile. Peter Jackson and Lorde. they’re celebrities, daylight is second to the next highest profile person in NZ and they come in well below the thresh hold of what one needs to be classed a celebrity.

If anyone is interested in starting a Give a Little page with the object being to raise money to put a Private Eye on the people running to expose their lives and put all the excitement of them walking their dog, or washing their car online for all to see, then I’ll happily donate the first $100 and write the story.

Yahria Law. The only way forward according to Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee

Yahria Law becoming more common

What is Yahria Law you might ask, well just think of Sharia Law for Christians. ‘Yahweh’ plus ‘Sharia Law’ equals Yahria Law and it becoming more and more common.

For clarity, Sharia Law is the body of Islamic law. The term means “way” or “path”; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam. Many in the West see Sharia Law as a great concern as who would want a religion, ignoring the laws of the land, and forcing citizens to adhere to a code or belief system that they didn’t buy into.

Welcome to the world of Yahria Law a ” legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on [a particular form of] Christianity”

We are seeing it more and more, Western societies are warning of the ‘dangers’ of Islam, especially amongst the Conservative Christian section of that society, but are happy to support Christian views being forced on their own society when it flows against the tide of public opinion or even at times when contravenes the law.

If you do not support Sharia Law coming into your society, then you cannot support Yahria Law as it’s exactly the same thing…only you agree with it and that’s the problem.

If you don’t support a law/ordinance/by-law/society norm where someone uses the words “because I’m a Qur’an believing Muslim” as a reason to ignore it, then really you can’t support the tagline “because I’m a bible believing Christian”. The other option is to support both. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

You either let anybody use the tagline “it’s my religious freedom” or you let nobody use it.

If you support religious freedom, especially when it contravenes a law, you will, for example, have to support the Rastafarian society using marijuana as part of their religious ceremonies. You will have to support some Mormons having multiple wives. You’ll have to support Muslims praying five times a day…and the list goes on. If you wouldn’t want to support the above examples…and millions of others from people with religious beliefs…then you can’t say “I won’t supply marriage certificates to Gay couples under God’s authority” when your highest court has made it legal for LGBTI couples to marry in your country.  If you are not happy with a business person, a civil servant, an elected official citing Mohammed, or Buddha, or Ganesha as their reason for refusing your business, or your civil rights, then you cannot cite God as to why you do it. Period.

We have seen Yahria Law in all it’s terrible splendour in America since SCOUTUS legalised Same-Sex Marriage with bakers breaking the law, venue owners discriminating illegally and even publicly elected officials refusing to carry out their legal duties by denying gay couples marriage certificates. It’s disgusting and I want to state publicly that I support the fines and penalties put upon those people breaking the law by denying people their civil rights.

There’s a super easy test to see if you are on the right side of the law (let alone history), if you offer that good or service to the general public, and you wouldn’t/couldn’t refuse it to a, let’s say, interracial heterosexual couple, you cannot deny it to an LGBTI couple. If you are a private club, or organisation and don’t offer those goods or services to the general public then you can do what you like (pretty much).

So here’s the solution for those of you, like Mike Huckabee for example, who appear to want to have a society made up with Yahria Law. Form a private group, a sect if you will, a closed society, remove yourself from the outside world and do it. Make the society with large walls so no one from the ‘outside world’ can get in, and live your life…but if you want to be in society, especially as someone who provides a good or a service to the general public, then you need to abide by that society’s laws.

The more I see individuals trying to perpetrate Yahria Law the more I am reminded of the words of Thomas Jefferson when he wrote to the Danbury Baptists saying “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” No law is to be made using religion as its source and, as I said earlier, you can only interpret the above statement giving you religious freedom above and beyond anything else…if you grant it to every other religion.

This post is the Genesis of the phrase #YahriaLaw, as of this post the phrase does not exist anywhere else on the internet. Use it well.

Yahria Law

UPDATE 12.30 10th September (NZST)

I’m wondering where the rally and support is from the likes of Mike Huckabee for this US citizen who has just been released from her job for not wanting to serve alcohol as it contravenes her religious beliefs…oh, she’s Muslim so her religious freedoms can be ignored #caseinpoint #YahriaLaw

When home is the mouth of a shark

For those of us who cannot understand how ones homeland can be so dangerous that you’d leave all your worldly possessions and run elsewhere, I give you the poem ‘Home’ by Warsan Shire

“HOME,” by Somali poet Warsan Shire:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

Refugee Quota Conversation

Let me state from the outset that I think New Zealand should be taking more refugees. New Zealand’s refugee quota has been set at 750 since 1997 and in that time our population has grown about 20% so at the least we should have kept track with that. I think today we can do more than that but both the Labour Party of last decade and the current National Government have stalled this and have not yet increased numbers. This problem is not about Mr. Key and ‘the right‘ it’s about politics in NZ from the political spectrum ignoring the issue for nearly two decades even though there is a review every three years.

Now in saying that I firmly believe that the quota of refugees to NZ should be increased, I also want to bring some accuracy to this conversation. If any of you have ever heard me on talk-back before you’ll know that I have an almost militant desire to be factual and fair and I think a fair point to make right now is that we seem to do more for refugees in NZ that other countries.

We were challenged on Q&A on Sunday morning that if we to step up to the refugee plate even as well as Australia did, then we’d be taking 3,000 refugees. I thought I’d look into that.

Currently Australia takes 13,750 refugees pa with the Federal Government budgeting nearly $143 million for settlement. New Zealand takes 750 refugees with the Government budgeting $20,190,000 in the 2015 budget. NZ takes one refugee for every 5,900 citizens whereas Australia takes one refugee for ever 1,700 citizens so they appear to be much more open and welcoming, however NZ spends $27,000 per refugee whereas Australia spends just $10,400, on average, on each refugee.

John Key claimed that one of the reasons we accept fewer refugees is that we provide full wrap around services and it would appear drawing the unspoken conclusion that other countries don’t do that. I think that there is validity in that claim if, like Australia, other countries are spending far less per refugee than we do in New Zealand.

So whilst I want to state again that we should definitely be taking more refugees I don’t think we’re having the correct conversation. Assuming that the budget remains the same for settlement of refugees in NZ, what we should be asking is “should we take more refugees and give them fewer services and help, or should we continue to provide the full wrap around services we have for the refugees we are currently receiving?”

Or, of course, we could all open our wallets, Government included, and give more to help those in need.

Sarah Palin interviews Donald Trump – what the internet was designed for!!!

I saw online last week that Sarah Palin was going to be interviewing Donald Trump on her One America News Network show I initially was gravely concerned for the safety of the world. It was a deep concern with a warning in the recesses of my mind where all I could think was that if these two ever crossed paths then all life as we know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light but then I remembered that was a the warning from Dr Egon Spengler to the other Ghostbusters as to why they shouldn’t cross their streams. Mind you, allegorically sparking, the crossing of two such moronic individuals may lead to the same outcome.

When I realised what I was going to be able to view I couldn’t contain myself, I was so excited to see exactly what the internet has been designed for, right up there with kids on pain medication and cats falling off tables, that I went into convulsions of excitement

These two are the epitome of the American electoral system, they are featherweights when it comes to political nous, but among enough of the American voting population heavyweights in popularity. They went toe to toe for 10 minutes, only pausing long enough to remove their noses from each others backsides to take a breath, with conservative pablum and complaints about the lame stream media being biased and asking ‘gotcha’ questions like “what’s your favourite bible verse?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the American political system…mostly because I don’t live there and can look at it from the relatively safety of New Zealand. American politics is the best entertainment show in the world and with Mr Trump, who communicates like a seven year old, and Ms Palin coming together it was like the two best comedic characters in that show combined for a brief moment bringing joy to the world (outside America).

The content of the interview can be viewed below, I would encourage you to watch it to see what the world could look like if either of these people would be involved in the Whitehouse (which I don’t think they will) but for now, as I have used a couple of movie references in this post, it’s probably appropriate that I now use one that best identifies what the interview actually was.

From an outsider looking in, the only thing greater than having Donald Trump go deep into the Republican primaries, would be if he announced that Palin would be his running mate…OMG I am having palpatations at just the thought of the 24 hour news networks covering them. Seeing Palin in a situation again where she has to fend off other ‘gotcha’ questions like “what newspapers do you read?” is almost too much for me to take.

I think I need a lie down.

The full “interview”

Has Duncan Garner been playing the field?

Duncan Garner is on Ashley Madison and he is denying any knowledge of how he got on there. I think someone needs to educate Duncan Garner on how membership websites operate.

Firstly when you sign up, you get a notification email confirming that your address is valid, if someone signs up your email address for you, you would stop the process but not confirming your address.

There is also the question of costs. Not having any experience with Ashley Madison my understanding is that this is a paid service and you would only receive email from potential suitors if you paid for them. Now if this is incorrect I’d appreciate someone letting me know as it wouldn’t be fair to Mr. Garner to cast aspersions, but if it is correct that one needs to pay to receive correspondence from potential sexual partners then we are to believe that firstly someone used Duncan Garners email address, then figured out a way to confirm that address without Garner knowing, then paid for him to receive propositions from females.

Add that to Mr. Garner’s admission that he is on Tinder ‘for research purposes’ and this looks all a little suspicious.

With Garner and his crew being the masters of ambush journalism (scroll to 2.21) I think a journalist should have popped over to his New Windsor home to ask his wife, or him, about why he was on these services with a camera in his face

I think someone needs to ask Duncan what his Story is (sorry I couldn’t help myself)


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