The GOP…home of ‘Fake News’

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So I am ‘lucky’ enough to be on the mailing list for the Republican Party who, for some reason, consider all the people on their list to be conservative.

Normally these emails come in and I skim them, ignore them or just delete them but for some reason not today.

I saw that the GOP wanted me, to participate in their survey because they’ve “had almost 68,000 conservatives in your area share their thoughts on what should be the #1 priority for Congress” and of course they “still need your answer in order to get an accurate representation.”

Firstly as a heads up, I suspect my answers may not give them an accurate representation of what their conservative supporters may want…just sayin…but also the survey is so full of ‘fake news’ that I wanted to show you how.

I’m not going to take it apart piece by piece, which I could and would be easy to show how the leading questions or binary options in a world of levels of answers would be appropriate, but as an example I will just focus on one particular question…it’s the question I have as a screen shot above about Planned Parenthood.

The question reads

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So the question is asking if funding should stop to non-profit organisations like Planned Parenthood…that part of the question is fair…moronic, but fair. However the next part, which is not a questions but a statement is in the ‘pants on fire’ category of so called ‘fake news’.

The GOP, the party in the US that controls all three branches of government, is tellings it’s supporters that Planned Parenthood’s ‘primary function’ is performing abortions. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Planned Parenthood provides almost 9.5 million services each year to 2.4 million patients. A ‘service’ can be many things including, but not limited to, pregnancy tests, cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infection testing, contraception, mammograms and abortions.

Last year Planned Parenthood performed 328,348 abortions. That number is 3% of the total number of services which, I think you’ll agree, is nowhere near an organisation’s ‘primary function’. It would be fairer to say that abortions at Planned Parenthood are a miniscule part of the overall work they do but what the GOP does is misinform their supporters into believing these lies, which then get propogated on conservative news websites and that then leads to an ill informed public…the most ill informed…and the cycle of misinformation continues. There’s an old saying…”lies make it round the world three times before truth gets its pants on”.

Add all of this to the Hyde Amendment which states that federal funds can’t be used to perform abortions excepting if the life of the woman is in danger and you’ll see the GOP Fake News in full effect.

It’s been confirmed, the lunatics are running the asylum

Gender_Neutral_AP_c0-66-700-474_s885x516I’ve had many people I’m connected with ask me if I am going to make any comment on laws like HB2 in North Carolina that, among other discriminatory actions, bans transgender individuals from using the bathroom they identify with.

When I was working as a talkback host, one of the most important questions I would ask my callers who had strong opinions was “then what?” The classic example I remember is about a house in Porirua that was frequented by gang members, that was occupied by a solo mum and several kids. There were calls a plenty to get them out of the state house etc…so I would ask “ok, then what?” Often people would be a bit stumped by that question so I would go on, “let’s say we get that solo mum, her kids and other associates out of that house…then what? Then where does the solo mum and her kids go now that they are on the street, or are they in another state house that might be next to you, or are they in a caravan that gets parked at the end of your driveway…then what?”

What the question did was cut through all the bullshit and rhetoric and make people look at the issue from a real world perspective. As you will probably understand some talkback callers didn’t like to be challenged to go a but deeper in their overly-simplistic ideologies.

So as soon as I saw the goings on in America, under the guise of ‘religious freedom’ laws like North Carolina’s HB2, my first reaction is “okay, then what?” What happens if a transgender woman, who was born male, uses bathroom facilities that now by law they are not allowed to use, then what? Is someone going to be standing at the door looking for evidence? Are the police going to be called if someone needs to wee? If the police are called and it’s confirmed that this woman was born male and she is sitting in the cubicle next to my wife peeing..then what?

Well one of the ‘then whats’ is that people start calling the police when they think a transgender woman is in their bathroom, the police turn up and remove that person from the bathroom even though they are female and were born female as shown in the video below.

 

She is a lesbian and dresses in what could be described as a ‘butch’ way, but she is legally entitled to be in that bathroom but as someone didn’t think she looked ‘female enough’ she was kicked out of the bathroom by the police. Madness! As an aside if she was born male the “show me some ID” cop needs to learn that you can re-apply for your driver’s license and even birth certificate and change you name and gender marker from ‘m’ to ‘f’ (as revealed in a recent ‘I am Cait’ episode) so it wouldn’t have been evidence one way or the other anyway.

A lot of this xenophobia is coming from the religious right who are using phrases like “Men should not be using the bathroom with little girls” as a way to increase the level of fear among the ignorant which then leads to situations like the video above, when a woman doesn’t look ‘womanly’ enough to someone, gets accused of being a man at birth. So it appears the law is to protect women from having to use the bathroom with men…or even people who are suspected of once being men…ok, so then what?

What about when this guy walks into the women’s bathroom

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Surely if the woman in the video above cause so much panic that the police turned up, what happens when he uses the women’s bathroom?

Well this is Michael Hughes and he is transgender, yes that means he was born a she and now laws like HB2 are forcing Michael to use women’s bathrooms…because that’s what religious freedom is all about, kicking our lesbians from the bathroom they have to use, and forcing men like Michael to use one they obviously should never be in.

Madness!

 

In a similar vein let me introduce you to Ella Giselle, she is 19 and was born male, she now, by law use the mens’ bathroom. I think that if one side of this conversation is allowed to use the “men with little girls’ scare tactic then I think it’s perfectly valid for me to ask “why you are forcing young, vulnerable women to use that bathroom with dirty, redneck truckers…are we not concerned for their safety?”

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The other more sinister side to this conversation is that what laws like HB2 allow is for a vulnerable sector of society, a sector of society that research shows over 40% attempt suicide compared to under 5% from society as a whole, to be put in a situation where they could be at their most vulnerable.

When using public restrooms the transgender individual is statistically the only one at risk of being attacked as research shows zero…that’s zero…reports of cis-gender people being harassed by transgender people using bathrooms for which they identify and, on top of that, “roughly 70% of trans people have reported being denied entrance, assaulted or harassed while trying to use a restroom,” according to a 2013 Williams Institute report.

So who is at risk with these so called bathroom laws? It’s not the ‘little girls’…it’s the transgender community.

I have a lot more to say about those who would like to bring in what I call “Yahria Law” (Christian Sharia Law) to the West, as you can imagine, when they look for ways to discriminate against minority groups within their society, but for today I wanted to highlight for you the ridiculous nature of laws like HB2 and how, to me at least, it’s now evidence that the lunatics are now running the asylum.

By 4pm today NZ will be at war

John+Key+Prime+Minister+John+Key+Welcomes+taXx7-vF6yhlBy 4pm today New Zealand will be at war, not ‘possibly’, not ‘figuratively’ but literally at war and it will not be by consensus of the New Zealand Government.

The National Party of New Zealand, under the Prime Minister will have decided to put our troops in harms way without the approval of the people of New Zealand, or the majority of our representatives in Parliament.

There are many things that concern me about this, and to be clear the least of them is retaliation on home soil by an extremist group, but one of the most concerning issues is that even John Key doesn’t seem so clear on the issue.

This morning Mr. Key was on TV 3’s Firstline talking over what is to be announced today with reference to sending troops to Iraq. Mr. Key made a flimsy comparison to what Helen Clark did when she sent engineers to Iraq. This is a practice that the National Government uses often, which is saying “well they did it, so so can we.” It’s an attempt to block attacks from Labour and to try to paint them as hypocrites if they criticise the National Government’s moves. This is a valid manoeuvre if the comparisons are equal and opposite but unfortunately for Key in this instance they are not.

The Helen Clark led Labour Government sent “two rotations of 61 engineers [to spend] a year in Basra from September 2003, performing engineering and humanitarian tasks.” This can hardly be compared to training soldiers to kill in combat circumstances.

The most concerning issue is that Mr. Key claims we are not going to be war, but then also acknowledges that he is not sure if this is war or not.

From the interview when asked if we are going to war.

…on the basis that we provide training neither would we be [going to war]. So, you know, if you’re out there and you’ve got your soldiers running around involved in fire-fights and, y’know, your bombing people or whatever the ‘Yup’ you’re at war, but I’m not sure that’s the same case if you’re providing training.

I’m not sure that’s the case” are the six most concerning words to me in this whole debacle.

There is every chance that NZ soldiers are going to end up in fire fights (whilst training Iraqis) and be killed…and John Key is “not sure” if we are at war or not.

To me it sounds like how Vietnam wasn’t a war but a ‘Police Action’ and my vote is to stay out of it.

Syrian reunion

A father who thought his son had died in the chemical attacks has an emotional reunion.

 

Happy Father’s Day for Sunday New Zealand

Well done National on the political stunt

Love them or hate them, support them or be repulsed by them you have to admit that yesterday in the house the National Party had a brilliant moment of Political tomfoolery at the expense of the Labour Party turning the leadership run into an X-Factor type popularity contest.

Contestant number one

Well done on whoever thought that one up. I hope that we get some more clever, funny political moments in the next 12 months as opposed to the negative slanging match that we have started to see more and more of over the past few elections.

Eric Hartsburg to get tattoo of Romney/Ryan logo removed

You’ve probably seen this story, the man in Michigan who received $15,000 to get a Romney/Ryan logo tattooed on his face. He had said in numerous interviews that he would be keeping it for life but it appears he has gotten cold feet and wants the monstrosity removed.

Why you would ever do this is beyond me, but this morning I had the chance to catch up with Eric to get his reasons, his story and his political insights

What hot air (or at least compressed air) can really be used for in parliament

Perfect timing at the end of the piece when protester gets in one more blast…gotta love it

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/air-horn-protest-disrupts-parliament-video-4786910

Gary Parsloe concedes PoA have the right to contract out work…which leaves Auckland with an impasse

Gary Parsloe, the President of the Maritime Union, confirms the Ports of Auckland has the right to contract out jobs however there is no way forward in the dispute between the Ports of Auckland and the Unions.

Now I have extrapolated slightly, but not illogically, from a conversation I had with him this morning.

We spoke for more than 10 minutes of which about half was spent trying to get Mr. Parsloe to answer the question, “Does the Ports of Auckland have the right to contract out the work?” The answers from him ranged from “No” to “We’re challenging it” to “We don’t believe in the way that they have done it” until I was finally able to explain in great details what I was asking him.

“I am not asking you have done it incorrectly? I am asking you do they have the right?”
“Yes they have the right to contract out and even if we’re working they have right to contract out parts of their business.”

An answer, I thought I had better double check…

“We agree then, that the business then, has the right to contract out the work?”
“Yes”

Which moved me onto the part of the conversation that actually interested me.

“If they have the right to do it, what did [the Ports of Auckland] need to do to end up with contracting out the work?”

To which the response was varied, but the theme was definite.

“We don’t want the contracting out!”
“We don’t want it to happen!”

So the Maritime Union, via its President is telling us that they are not going to negotiate around the contracting…they don’t want it and as I said in my interview, come hell or high water they will do what they can to stop it.

Now if you are a Union person you might think this is fair enough, I think it’s at best mischievous…and at worst down right dishonest as all we are hearing from the Union is that the Ports of Auckland are not bargaining “in good faith” that they are not participating in “good bargaining”. I would say that if one side wants to move towards contracting, and that is something that the other side refuses to even discuss, it would be the latter that is not working in good faith.

A couple of other interactions with Gary Parsloe to make sure I was 100% clear

“You don’t want them to contract out the work, so you will do anything to stop them contracting it out.”
“We’re trying to convince them not to.”

“Isn’t the truth you just don’t want to stop the contracting full stop.”
“We don’t want contracting.”

To which we come to the inevitable conclusion

“They have the right to contract, if they want to stick by that right to do, there is an impasse correct?”
“There is an impasse”

City of Auckland…there is an impasse

Click here for full interview Gary Parsloe for WEB

Drop in Legal Aid lawyers a concern for the most vulnerable

Since the ‘crackdown’ on the legal aid system last year lawyers have been fleeing from being available to clients who have no other way of paying for their services.

In 2006 the government were told that if they increased the number of people eligible for legal aid, there would be cost increases, the government of the day did allow more people on legal aid, then when the bills came in they ‘freaked out’ and pulled the rug out from under the system.

Over the past year or so the number of legal aid lawyers working in the family courts has halved from over 2,000 to around 1,100. The number of cases hasn’t dropped, the demand hasn’t halved, but the number of lawyers has. This means the family courts will now start to run even slower, with the most vulnerable in society finding it even harder to find a lawyer.

It’s the beginning of having the wealthy be able to ‘buy’ justice, when the poor have no chance. I say that as if it isn’t currently like that…I guess I say that with a little optimism.

Lawyers who currently receive legal aid are subsidizing the tax payer by accepting a lower fee than required. The current legal aid rates are set at 1997 levels, which means the rate paid hasn’t gone up in 15 years and with the new ‘fixed fee rates’ and ‘onerous paperwork’ many lawyers are running for the hills.

Where is the line between the ‘waste’ they we were told about, and ensuring that those that need the help can get it?

If the lawyers are running from the new system doesn’t that mean that those we should be thinking about, the ones who need assistance, will start to fall through the cracks? I agree that there is not a simple ‘one size fits all’ solution, but initial reports would seem to confirm that this National Government has come at this issue with too heavy a hand.

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.