Police raids seem…picky in whom they raid

Seems interesting to me that the Police will raid a mostly Maori community looking for several alleged offenders, but when a group comes out overtly breaking the law their punishment is a nice wee story about their criminal activity in the paper.

New Zealand’s first cannabis club, the Daktory, has been using the machine – which sells one gram bags of cannabis for $20 – at it’s New Lynn headquarters to avoid any of their members being charged with dealing the Class C drug.

The hired vending machine is a standard dispenser but has been filled with cannabis rather than confectionery or toys.

The Daktory was opened in November 2008 and boasted a membership of several thousand before its founder Dakta Green was jailed for eight months for possessing, selling and for allowing the Delta Ave warehouse to be used for drug taking in June 2011

The story from stuff.co.nz goes on

The Daktory announced it was closing its doors to the public and would be used as the headquarters for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml).

But Norml president Julian Crawford confirmed the club was again open for business from Wednesday to Sunday.

He said the vending machine had been a hit with guests with ”a few hundred sales” taking place on busy nights.

”It has been very popular, quite a few people come here.”

So where is the police raid here? Or even a single police officer sidling up and pointing out the criminal activity, that is admitted to, should really be stopped…and if not stopped maybe at least stopped being talked about so openly.

Just a thought.

Is it too late for Sarah Palin to be the saviour of the GOP?

The ‘War’ for South Carolina is happening as I write this post. The winner of the South Carolina Primary will be the GOP nomination to go up against President Obama in November’s election, how can I say this so confidently? Every single nominee for the GOP to run for President in the past, 100% of them, has won South Carolina.

In an earlier post I wrote why Obama will be reelected, I still believe that in fact the events of the last few days have done nothing but confirm my thoughts that America could never elect one of the two front-runners for the Republicans.

Sadly for supports of the Conservative right, your choice will either be Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney. Both who have demonstrated hypocrisy to an unbeliveable degree over the past week or so.

Mitt Romney is the GOP favourite at the moment, but more and more is being revealed about his financial past and how he has amassed his vast wealth and it doesn’t fit with the GOP narrative. Before we get into this let me state that I have no problems with a person becoming wealthy, I am not an ‘occupier’, I am not someone who thinks that ‘rich people are bad or evil’, but when your wealth becomes a problem to the message, then we need to figure out the disparity.

Mitt Romney is reportedly worth about a quarter of a billion dollars, which he amassed by forming a private equity firm called Bain Capital. What a private equity firm does is come into failing businesses, or purchase businesses with good potential for leverage and ‘streamlines’ them i.e. they make cuts, then borrow against them. The companies then tend to strip the companies, sell them on in parts and make a big fat profit. The issue that Romney has with all this is that GOP catch cry is “Save jobs and stop borrowing”, but his whole business credentials which he is using to say why he should be President, is one of laying people off and borrowing to make quick cash. That on top of the revelation this week that Romney pay’s ‘in the vicinity of 15%’ tax on the money he makes from investments makes this an embarrassing week for him.

P.A.Y.E in America starts at 10% and the most you pay is 35% depending on your income, but Romney’s income is made from his investments which classifies it as ‘capital gains’, hence Capital Gains Tax is applied which in America is around 15%. So Romney earns millions a year and pays the same percentage in tax as the guy driving his campaign bus. Romney said in the last debate the ‘top tax rate should be down around 25%’, yet he only pays 15%. Another catch cry of the GOP is we are taxed too much, well it would appear Romney is not.

Mitt Romney needs to stop trying to sell the idea that his is ‘working class’ and own that he is the richest politician in the run for President, and one of the richest politicians in America.

Now we move onto Speaker Gingrich.

With Rick Perry pulling out this week, and endorsing Gingrich as his candidate you might think Newt would have a jump in the poles, but the Romney camp is using the issue of ‘ethics’ to derail and momentum that Gingrich may be getting…and rightfully so. As I have already pointed out, Newt Gingrich seems to have a penchant to sleeping with women that are not his wife and you have to ask the obvious question that is we know about these ones…how many others are there?

Again you could argue that if it doesn’t impact his ability to govern then it shouldn’t matter…but it doesn’t fit with the GOP Christian, conservative, ‘family values’ narrative.

This week we find out that according to Gingrich’s second wife (of three) that he wanted an ‘open marriage’ where he could have a mistress AND keep his wife as well. All this while the Speaker is still standing up for the ideals of marriage “as the union of one man and one woman.”

For Gingrich, ‘the Gays’ are not to be married as it would be ‘an abomination’…but cheating, lying, and multiple hetero marriages is to be defended as ‘God ordained’ and ‘natural.’

All of this happening with many GOP supporters acknowledging that these two the ‘best of a bad bunch’ just confuses me when you have Rick Santorum with a great CV and actually world political experience on the sidelines along with Ron Paul who is really the only ‘real’ small government, less tax candidate. Ron Paul is what Republicans should be…if they weren’t hypocrites.

Finally, I have to admit to being a little intrigued about a very…very…VERY unlikely scenario. Even though she has said she would not run for President and it is contrary to my opening paragraph, I just wonder if we might hear from Sarah Palin as a late entry. The field is so weak, if she came out of the blue with her rock star persona, the ground swell might be there for a Sarah Palin nominee.

Now would it be a bad decision? Well it couldn’t be any worse than a choice between Romney and Gingrich.

America, fast becoming the used car salesman of the world

Last week I wrote of the juxtaposition that is the United States of America. Today we have another glaring example.

Last month America was in an uproar as it was revealed that remains of dead American soldiers, both in intact ‘pieces’ and cremated ashes were sent to a dump in Virginia.

This sparked outrage…and rightfully so.

For days and days the 24 hour news channels were speaking of the disrespect of the dead, especially those who have given their lives to defend their country. “There can be no greater honour than to die in battle” was the catch-cry so to be discarded and disrespected in such a way was treasonous.

When the Pentagon first said it didn’t have the time or resources to investigate how many body parts went missing, Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) had three questions for the DoD: “What the hell?”

“We spent millions, tens of millions, to find any trace of soldiers killed, and they’re concerned about a ‘massive’ effort to go back and pull out the files and find out how many soldiers were disrespected this way?” he asked the Post. “They just don’t want to ask questions or look very hard.”

“My only peace of mind in losing my husband was that he was taken to Dover and that he was handled with dignity, love, respect and honor,” widow Gari-Lynn Smith adds to the Post. “That was completely shattered for me when I was told that he was thrown in the trash.”

Well today we see this story

The US Marine Corps will investigate a video showing what appear to be American forces in Afghanistan urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters.

The video, which was posted on YouTube and other websites, shows four men in camouflage Marine combat uniforms urinating on the bodies of three dead Taliban.

One of them jokes: “Have a nice day, buddy.” Another makes a lewd joke about a shower.

Apparently if it’s not one of ‘our boys’ the same rules don’t really apply.

If you want to see the video, and it is graphic, you can go here

Another example of ‘christian’ hypocrisy

As many of you know I don’t really understand what the word ‘Christian’ means these days but I want to correct something…I actually do know what the word Christian means, what I don’t understand is how people interpret it in so many different, and in my opinion, often inaccurate ways.

Let’s set the record straight. To be a Christian means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. To emulate him and become what some call little Christs here today. To be Christian means to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and to try to demonstrate the virtues that Christ demonstrated while here 2000 years ago.

So that means to act in a way that is contrary to those teachings, example and virtues would be ‘un-Christlike’ and in turn ‘un-Christian’.

I was in Auckland City today when I saw the latest billboard at St Matthew in the City…and how it has been defaced.

In case the above image is not clear to you, it’s an interpretation of Noah’s Ark, where the caption is ‘Welcoming two of every kind’, the twist is that all the animals are the same sex, two male lions, two female cows etc…and it’s advertising St Matthew’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender services on a Sunday evening. A fairly clever spin on the old bible story aimed at the community they want to attract.

What is written in orange spray paint over the from of the billboard, to the best of my deciphering is…Harvest Time Great Division! Followed by several scriptures. 1 Peter 4:17, 1 John 2Ezekiel 33, Matthew 13: 25-42 and 2 Timothy 3: 2-5. Now I have linked the verses above but this post isn’t about one person’s interpretation of scripture. I think we can safely assume by the look of the verses quoted that it’s someone pointing the finger at St Matthews and telling them to sort out their ‘sin’ and claiming they have the right to because of how they interpret the bible.

I come back to the idea of what it means to be a ‘Christian’. To me what is demonstrated by the person, or people, illegally defacing St Matthew’s property is ‘un-Christlike’ and therefore ‘un-Christian.’ Whoever is responsible for that is not following the teachings, example or virtues of Christ who told us to ‘love one another as I have loved you‘. Jesus Christ was a man who served ‘sinners’, who often chose to put himself below people even though he had every right to be treated like royalty of the day.

I challenge the person or people who wrote those unloving, judgemental words to attend one of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender services at St Matthews. I’m going to, what are you afraid of…that you might enjoy it? That those whom you pour scorn on don’t retaliate with some ‘righteous burning coals’…but with love? Are you worried that they may be more ‘Christian’ than you? That they may demonstrate more of the love, the teachings, the virtue and the example of the Christ than you? Maybe so.

I’ll see you at St Matthews tonight.

I wonder what whale meat tastes like?

So the 2012 whaling season in the Southern Ocean has started and I have to admit to always being a little confused as to why so many people have such a huge problem with whaling.

I’ve done this as a talkback topic over the years and the main answers are “It’s a horrific  way to die” and “The Japanese are lying as they claim that the whales are for ‘research’ and we all know they are eating them.” Both of those statements I agree to, but the passion around this issue, aimed solely at the Japanese, seems to far out-way the hunting of whales.

Let me just put in here, as a disclaimer to the negative response sure to come, that I don’t like the hunting and killing of whales, I don’t want to do it, I don’t like to see it, and I don’t want to get into a conversation about being ‘pro whale hinting’, it’s not that, it’s just the confusion around why we Westerners have the luxury of saying that the Japanese are ‘bad’ for whaling but ignore lots of other areas that to me seem similar.

Smoked whale meat on sale in Norway

Did you know that Japan is not the only country who hunt whales, yet they have the light shone on them for. Amongst others Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Indonesia, Norway, The United States and Russia still actively hunt whales but very little, if any focus ever comes onto those countries for their harvesting of this majestic mammal. Norway and Iceland actually hunt on a commercial basis selling their whale meat openly in their communities.

For the 2012 season, it’s been released that the Japanese want to harvest 900 Minke Whales and 50 Fin Whales…is that a lot? Well that’s what we need to know.

The Minke population in the Southern Hemisphere alone is between 665,000 and 761,000, although that is thought to be half the population of the 1980s. The Fin population seems harder to nail down as I have seen estimations as low as 35,000 and as high as 119,000. Obviously there is room to challenge the catching of Fin Whales based on their population, but I do note that between 1988 and 2009 they have only taken 14 Fin Whales in total.

So why does the Western world find this so abhorrent? We happily hunt and kill other mammals putting them through stress and horrific deaths like deer stalking. We happily use technology to gain the upper hand when we hunt other majestic animals like using fish finders to locate swordfish and we happily kill and consume animals in their millions that other cultures would find offensive to kill like our propensity for beef not caring how a billion Hindu feel about it. So what is it about whales?

The other issue of contention for me is the people that are the face of fighting this hunting of whales. Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Paul Watson was one of the people who started Greenpeace but Greenpeace removed him after he became too aggressive during a protest over sealing. Watson’s actions led Greenpeace to lose their charity status for a time in America. From his post as the head of the Sea Shepherd group is he responsible for ramming, and sinking several boats all of which they have claimed responsibility for. His crew carries firearms and it has been documented on numerous occasions that members of the Sea Shepherd have shot at people trying to legally remove them from an area they are not entitled to be and they were removed from the IWC, they had observer status with them and lost that due to what the IWC called the ” Sea Shepherd’s acts of terrorism.”

Let me say again, I am not a ‘fan’ of hunting but likewise I am not a fan of killing all sorts of animals, if you are a carnivore or omnivore then check out the documentary Earthlings about how we treat other forms of meat…then point the bone at the Japanese. I think you’ll find it more difficult, we Westeners treat animals pretty badly as well.

But what is it with whales?

I have to be honest, if I was in Japan and someone offered me a taste of whale I’d probably try it. I don’t like how whales are harvested but it would be hypocritical of me to damn the Japanese, whilst leaving off the list all the other countries hunting whales let alone shouting from the rooftops how that steak got on my dinner table tonight.