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Thursday, November 30, 2006

English Exam Propaganda

Marxists like John Minto think that the NZ education system is far too capitalist oriented. I think it is full of socialist drivel and outright propaganda.

Below is Text A from the latest NCEA English examination paper. Examinees are required to read this text then answer three loaded questions on it.

Even though Aotearoa New Zealand is a multicultural society, New Zealanders still judge and discriminate against others because of difference. Recent attacks against Islamic centres, the vandalism of Jewish graves, anti gay rallies, not to mention school bullying and unfriendliness, prove that NZ still has a way to go in its struggle for human rights.

Take a look around you. Most likely you are surrounded by diversity. Gay, black, Asian, redheads, comic nerds, rappers, ballerinas, rugby heads. Its time to realise that the very nature of humanity is diversity. We do not all look, feel, dress or act the same. How boring would the world be if we did? I mean pulease, I'd rather stare at a brick wall than live in a bland world where people are not brave enough to celebrate the difference.

Perhaps we are all a little guilty of judgement. Its easy to judge what we do not know. Most attacks against people different from ourselves are due to insecurity: a fear that aliens will take over or that I might become gay if I befriend a gay person. Sorry to burst the cosy little bubble that you've snuggled yourself into, but that won't happen. So why not be kind instead?

Diversity teaches us about the world we live in. It teaches us compassion and kindness towardds the people who have every right to share our school grounds. If we don't accept diversity on a small level, how can we ever expect world peace?

Do you detect a few socialist themes here?

Cheryl Gwyn-The Lost Years

Cheryl Gwyn is one of NZ's most powerful and influential lawyers. Currently she is
acting Chief Executive and Solicitor-General, Crown Law Office.

Gwyn graduated in 1979 from Auckland University with a BA in Political Studies and English and an LLb Hons.

Her legal career didn't start however until the late '80s when she joined Chapman Tripp after two years as an investigator with the Race Relations Offfice.

Gwyn spent ten years at Chapman Tripp, half as a partner.

In 1996 Gwyn joined Russell McVeagh as a partner in Wellington where she concentrated on employment and human rights law.

In 2001, Gwyn entered the public service as Deputy Secretary of Justice (Public Law) to replace Dr Matthew Palmer. Gwyn's role focused on areas of Treaty Relationships, Constitutional Law, Human Rights/Bill of Rights, Access to Justice, Electoral, Family, Commercial and Property Law.

In 2003 The Solicitor-General announced the appointment of Cheryl Gwyn, as the new Deputy Solicitor-General (Constitutional.

In her new role Gwyn led the following Crown Law Office teams;

Employment Team

The Employment team acts for the government on employment matters. This includes providing advice on human rights issues which arise in this context and also in certain other related or specialised areas such as the administration of penal institutions.

Human Rights Team

The Human Rights Team is concerned with matters relating to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, and general human rights issues. This team frequently works with other Crown Law Office teams on such matters as well as providing advice directly to government departments and ministries.

Law Officer Team

The Law Officer Team provides specific legal and administrative support for the statutory functions of the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General. This includes supporting the Attorney-General as protector of charities and facilitating a number of international functions such as extradition and letters of request for taking overseas evidence. The team also administers the appointments of Queen’s Counsel and Judges to the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Treaty Issues and International Law Team

The Treaty Issues and International Law team works on the legal and historical issues arising from claims made under the Treaty of Waitangi. It represents the government before the Waitangi Tribunal and the courts. In recent years, developments in the impact of New Zealand's international obligations on New Zealand law have provided another area of responsibility for the team.

Gwyn acted for the Crown when the Security Intelligence Service tried to have suspected terrorist Ahmed Zaoui deported from NZ. She was involved in the recent battles over election spending and Parliamentary Services. She has been involved in human rights issues both in NZ and the Pacific.

Clearly Cheryl Gwyn is an extremely accomplished and influential woman.

Did anyone notice the gap in Cheryl Gwyn's CV? The years between leaving university and joining the Race Relations Office?

What was she doing during this time?

According to the Christchurch Press of the 23rd of October 1996, after graduating from law school, Gwyn spent six years working on the chain at Whakatu Meat works near Hastings "to see a bit of life". At Whakatu, Gwyn was also involved in fighting the union to allow women to become butchers. That battle was won by 1985.

Why would a highly qualified lawyer want to work in a meat works? Why not tour Europe or Asia? Why not sail a yacht around the Mediterranean or work for a high powered legal firm in London? Why not work in a pub in Scotland?

I believe the answer to this question lies in decisions made in New York in 1978 by the leadership of a Trotsyist/Castroite political organisation, the Socialist Workers Party.

According to US political website Our Campaigns

This period was the peak of the Socialist Workers Party's growth and influence. Nonetheless, this growth had stalled in the late 1970s after the end of the Vietnam War and the organisation was at an impasse. Despite which the leadership, now based around a group formed around the figure of Jack Barnes, decided that the key task was for party members to make a "turn to industry".

This turn entailed party members getting jobs in blue collar industries in preparation for the coming mass struggles which Barnes argued were coming. The result was the movement of many members and their systematic uprooting often out of established careers and into low paying jobs in small towns.

True to slavelike form, the SWP's New Zealand affiliate, the Socialist Action League followed orders from New York.

Virtually every member of the SAL (the majority of whom were university educated), went to work in railway workshops, biscuit factories, fish processing plants and meat works.

The SAL set up branches in some provincial towns, including Invercargill and Hastings.

The "turn to industry" policy was the reason a Phd in Sociology like Keith Locke spent several years working in the Woburn Railway Workshops and at Gear Meatworks.

It is why a qualified doctor like Felicty Coggan (nee Brereton) was, while a communist candidate for the Auckland mayoralty, working as a sewing machinist.

Was Cheryl Gwyn involved with the SAL?

In 1981, the SAL's newspaper, Socialist Action (March 26th)reported on a meeting
in Hastings, the "Salvador Solidarity Week" forum organised by the Nicaragua Solidarity Committee and addressed by Cheryl Gwyn. While headed at one time by Nicky Hager, the NSC was also full of SAL members, including Keith Locke, Matt Robson, Brendan Gleeson, Steve Hyde and Pat Starkey.

On February 19th 1982, Whakatu worker Cheryl Gwyn wrote a report for SA on the Oringi meat works dispute.

On October 1st 1982, Cheryl Gwyn of the Young Socialists, addressed a Hastings demonstration on Aboriginal land rights (SA 8th October). The Young Socialists were the youth wing of the SAL. Virtually all YS leaders were also SAL members.

In SA, December 10th 1982, Gwyn named Nadia Makea and Linda Harris as SAL members. Both were workers at Growers Canneries Ltd, Hastings. They had their houses searched by the police for drugs, but nothing was found.

On April 6th 1984, Gwyn wrote an article in SA, explaining that as a slaughterboard labourer at Whakatu, she has applied for the learner chain. This position was traditionally reserved for men only.

According to SA May 18th 1984 Cheryl Gwyn addressed a Young Socialists hui at Palmerston North's, Camp Rangi Woods.

I think the evidence is strong. The Socialist Action League gave us Green Party MP Keith Locke and former Alliance Party cabinet minister, Matt Robson.

Did it also give us Cheryl Gwyn, acting Chief Executive and Solicitor-General, Crown Law Office?

US Communists Back "Peace Movement"

From the Communist Party USA's Political Affairs

We have long embraced the struggle against U.S. imperialism as our internationalist duty. We know that victory hinges on winning the U.S. masses to the cause of peace. Over thirty years ago, the peace movement's success in winning the American people against the Vietnam war was crucial to victory for the Vietnamese people. We are winning the struggle now to turn the majority of the American people against the war and occupation of Iraq.

Contribution of the Communist Party of the United States of America to Lisbon Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties, 10-12 November 2006

Author Tim Wheeler is a member of the National Committee and National Board of the Communist Party USA.

Socialists Selfish and Stingy, Anyone Surprised?

From the Chronicle of Philanthropy Hat Tip Arts and Letters Daily

In Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism (Basic Books), Arthur C. Brooks finds that religious conservatives are far more charitable than secular liberals, and that those who support the idea that government should redistribute income are among the least likely to dig into their own wallets to help others.

"If liberals persist in their antipathy to religion," Mr. Brooks writes, "the Democrats will become not only the party of secularism, but also the party of uncharity."

Mr. Brooks is Roman Catholic and politically independent, and has registered as both a Democrat and a Republican in the past decade. In an interview, he says he set out to write a book about values and philanthropy, with no hidden agenda.

He believes liberal Democrats must ignore their leaders who sometimes disdain charity, and demonstrate that the Democratic Party is still welcoming to people of faith, if they hope to prove that they are, in fact, the more compassionate party.

"This book is a call to action for the left, not a celebration of the right," Mr. Brooks says.

Trots Want Troops Out of Tonga

The NZ left have increased their interest in Tonga since the recent rioting and revolutionary activity.

The Auckland based Trotskyist sectlet the Communist Workers Group issued this statement on Indymedia yesterday

Troops out of Tonga!

For a Workers’ and Farmers’ Government!

The long fight for democracy in Tonga has recently exploded into mass protest and the burning down of 80% of the capital Nuku’alofa. The cause was a rejection of the latest proposals for democratic reform agreed to by the King and Prime Minister, being rejected at the last minute. Responding to the government’s calls, Australia and New Zealand had sent troops and police to enforce a state of emergency.

Revolutionaries must demand the immediate withdrawal of these troops, and call for the convening of a Constituent Assembly based on one person, one vote!

The parliament immediately called an emergency Cabinet meeting and passed the reform that would see the number of MPs in the 32 seat house elected by the people increased from nine to twenty-one by 2008. But this decision did not reach the angry protestors who continued on their organised attack on the hated symbols of the rich ruling class in Tonga.

The response of the King was not to apologise for delaying the reforms and inciting the peoples’ anger, but to blame the democracy movement for ‘shaming’ Tonga. He imposed a state of emergency and is threatening severe punishment for those convicted of ‘riot’ and ‘arson’. To enforce the state of emergency (which gives the police the power to ban meetings of more than five people, arrest suspects, impose curfews etc.) the regime asked the Australian and New Zealand governments to send troops and police.

It has taken a long strike and the burning of downtown Nuku’alofa to get even the most modest of reforms accepted by the Monarchy. The danger now is that the Monarchy will dig in and use the excuse of a ‘failed state’ to enlist the long-term intervention of Australia and New Zealand in a RAMSI-type regime to keep the people down and monopolise Tonga’s resources for the imperialist interests.

The response of revolutionary internationalists must be to fight for democratic reforms, always warning that they will never be granted by the reactionary regime whose interests are to ally with imperialism. In NZ and Australia support for the pro-democracy movement must be built in the labour movement. Many Tongan workers in NZ are the backbone of the unions and supporters of the Labour Government. Our program must be:

* Australian and NZ troops out! Reject any label of ‘failed state’ and the permanent intervention of ANZ military and police.
* Campaign for democracy in the Tongan army to split the rank and file from the Monarchy!
* For a Constituent Assembly based on one person one vote, regardless of class, status or gender!
* For the re-nationalisation of public assets in Tonga, without compensation to the Monarchy or the imperialists!
* For a Government of the workers and farmers of Tonga, as part of a Pacific Federation of Socialist Republics!

Communist Workers Group

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ecuador Joins "Pink Tide"

From the Communist Party USA's Political Affairs

The White House has touted recent elections in Mexico and Peru as a sharp defeat for the “Pink Tide” movement of left-leaning governments in the Americas (Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina and, to an extent, Chile). But the more recent victories of leftist candidates Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua (after a blatant intervention scheme led by U.S. Ambassador in Managua Paul Trivelli), and now Rafael Correa in Ecuador, represent a humiliating rebuke for Washington’s chief goals.

Another major winner in yesterday’s vote was Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Although Chavez was somewhat restrained in getting involved in the Ecuadorian race, the same was certainly not true about Correa, who made repeated complimentary references to the Venezuelan president throughout his campaign.

Milton Friedman on Drug Legalisation and the "Iron Law of Prohibition"

The late Milton Friedman deplored drugs, yet he was a passionate advocate of drug legalisation.

While many have praised Friedman for his promotion of free markets as the solution to many of mankind's problems, few have acknowledged his view that drug legalisation is the best and only real answer to the drug epidemic.

Johann Hari of Britain's Independent, while clearly not a supporter of Friedman in many areas, has brilliantly summarised his views on drug legalisation. Read the full aricle here.

Hat Tip Not PC

Friedman thought (rightly) that heavy drug use – whether it was alcoholism, cannabis-addiction or junkiedom – was a human disaster. He once told Bill Bennett, Bush Snr’s drugs tsar, “You are not mistaken in believing that drugs are a scourge that is devastating our society. Your mistake is failing to recognize that the very measures you favour are a major source of the evils you deplore.”

Friedman proved, for example, that prohibition changes the way people use drugs, making many people use stronger, more dangerous variants than they would in a legal market. During alcohol prohibition, moonshine eclipsed beer; during drug prohibition, crack is eclipsing coke. He called his rule explaining this curious historical fact “the Iron Law of Prohibition”: the harder the police crack down on a substance, the more concentrated the substance will become.

Why? If you run a bootleg bar in Prohibition-era Chicago and you are going to make a gallon of alcoholic drink, you could make a gallon of beer, which one person can drink and constitutes one sale – or you can make a gallon of pucheen, which is so strong it takes thirty people to drink it and constitutes thirty sales. Prohibition encourages you produce and provide the stronger, more harmful drink. If you are a drug dealer in Hackney, you can use the kilo of cocaine you own to sell to casual coke users who will snort it and come back a month later – or you can microwave it into crack, which is far more addictive, and you will have your customer coming back for more in a few hours. Prohibition encourages you to produce and provide the more harmful drug.

For Friedman, the solution was stark: take drugs back from criminals and hand them to doctors, pharmacists, and off-licenses. Legalize. Chronic drug use will be a problem whatever we do, but adding a vast layer of criminality, making the drugs more toxic, and squandering £20bn on enforcing prohibition that could be spent on prescription and rehab, only exacerbates the problem. “Drugs are a tragedy for addicts,” he said. “But criminalizing their use converts that tragedy into a disaster for society, for users and non-users alike.”

Some people imagine that after drug prohibition ends, drug use will become rampant, with Chigwell housewives shooting up next to the chintzy ironing board. No historical analogy is perfect, but with one of his extraordinary dense statistical analyses, Friedman showed that the fears at the end of alcohol prohibition – that everyone would be glugging gin the moment they could freely buy it – proved to be false. In fact, alcohol use went back to pre-Prohibition levels, and has been falling since, with a brief spike in the Second World War. He also showed that the vast majority of criminals who had bartered in alcohol did not simply move into another form of crime, but went legit when the temptations of such a profitable criminal market disappeared.

New Zeal As someone who is extremely anti drugs and has seen their disastrous effects up close, I strongly endorse Friedman's views.

Cuba Accused of Slave Trading

Forced labour has been a feature of many socialist regimes. The Soviet GULAG and the Chinese Lao Gai being the most well known examples.

Now Castro's Cuba has been accused of using forced labour to pay its overseas debts.

From Babalu Blog

Adalberto Rodriguez, Fernando Alonso and Luis Casanova, the three Cubans who were able to escape from a forced labor camp at the Curacao Drydock Company Inc. and are now suing that company in US courts for conspiring with the Castro regime to exploit them and hundreds of other Cuban workers, were guests last night of "A mano limpia" with Dominican journalist Oscar Haza, on Channel 41 America Te Ve.

here is a summary of what they said:

The reason why approximately 100 Cubans are working at the Curacao Drydock Company Inc. is that some time ago the company did some work for ships of Cuba's merchant marine and the Castro regime never paid the bill. When Curacao Drydock demanded payment, Castro offered to send Cuban slaves to work there instead. The Cubans work an average of 16 hours per day; have to do the work that the other workers don't want to do; sleep on hammocks at the same shipyard where they work; sometimes they have to work for 30 days without a day off; and on top of that, after ending their 16 hour shifts, they are forced to watch videos with speeches of the Cuban dictator.

The Cuban workers told Haza how they had to hide in Curacao for up to three months where they were helped by a Haitian coworker and several Cuban exiles who live there. When they went from Curacao to Venezuela, the National Guard stopped them and when they realized that they were Cubans trying to flee the Castro regime they asked for all their money they had in order to allow them to proceed to Colombia. They were set free after paying the bribe.

From Colombia they were finally able to reach the US.

One of the workers related how he was ordered by his Curacao Drydock supervisor to enter a gas tank that had not been completely cleared of all the fumes. When he complained that it was unsafe and inhuman to force him to work there, the supervisor, who works for Curacao Drydock, told him: "Remember that Cubans are supposed to follow orders, otherwise we kick their asses and send them back to Cuba."

The three Cubans also said that there workers from Colombia and other countries who were actually working as "helpers" for them, but were making 60 times as much money as they were because they were being paid directly, while in the case of the Cubans the Castro regime paid them an average of three and a half cents per hour, based on the number of hours that they had to work. Also, most Cubans had to work at night and also on weekends, when the pay is supposed to be higher.

They said that on December 31 of last year, the only workers who had to work that night were Cubans. They told Haza that once the Cuban debt to the Drydock Company is repaid, the Castro regime plans to continue to send slave workers to Curacao and have it as a new source of hard currency.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ACT Stands on Principle-Again

ACT Leader Rodney Hide said today he was disappointed that all other political parties are voting to pinch property rights with the Telecommunications Amendment Bill.

"The ACT Party is now the only party opposing this Bill. We consider it an uncompensated taking of property rights that will discourage investment in New Zealand and will not deliver the promised benefits", Mr Hide said.

"It's disgusting to think that all parties bar ACT think Parliament has the right - and should - take people's property whenever politicians agree.

"ACT opposes the Bill for the same reason we opposed Labour's Foreshore and Seabed Bill - because Government's job is to protect people's property rights, not pinch them", Mr Hide said.

W.A.Y.N.C.R? 16, Roger Tobin

My 16th "Where Are You Now, Campus Radical?" profile looks at Roger Tobin, the deputy principal of Logan Park High School in Dunedin.

Anybody who went to Otago Uni in the late 70s or Victoria in the early '80s would probably remember Roger Tobin.

At Otago, Tobin along with Brian O'Brien and Chris Trotter, was one of the leading activists on campus.

In 1978, Tobin was OUSA Research and Action officer. He was also president of Otago's Labour Club and a member of the Labour Party.

It was common for campus Maoists to work through Labour in those days. In fact it was standard practice. There is some evidence that Tobin was doing just that.

By 1980 Tobin was in Wellington studying for an MSc in maths and serving as Victoria University Students Association International Affairs officer. VUWSA at the time was completely dominated by the Maoists of the newly founded Workers Communist League.

The International Affairs officer position was considered particularly important by the Maoists and almost always went to a "comrade". Tobin worked mainly on Apartheid, South Pacific, Palestinian and Filipino issues.

The newspaper "Truth" of 25.11.80 described Tobin as "closely identified with the WCL".

From 1981 to 1983, Tobin served as vice president of the NZ university Students Association. The NZUSA was also riddled with Maoists, especially in 1982 when they held virtually every position.

In 1983 NZUSA officials, Paulette Keating, Robin Arthur and Roger Tobin were described as WCL members or sympathisers in an article in Otago student paper Critic Vol 59 No 7.

1981 was a very busy year for Tobin. He dedicated himself to stopping the Springbok rugby tour of NZ as a member of the Citizens Opposed to the Springbok Tour organisation.

Tobin was a COST marshall alongside such WCL members as Alick Shaw, Dave Macpherson, Simon Wilson, Christine Gillespie, Martha Coleman and Ron Smith.

Tobin was a marshall leading demonstrators in the famous "Battle of Molesworth St", one of the bloodiest skirmishes of the entire campaign.

He was also a member of the COST Legal Aid Committee in charge of fund-raising for those appearing in court cases, a job that continued well into 1982.

Tobin also particapated in CANWAR's anti nuclear warships campaign. He addressed an Anti USS Truxton rally in Wellington on June 10th 1982 in his capacity as NZUSA vice president. The same year, Tobin was also a contact for Wellington CND.

Tobin's view of peace activism was little unusual as the same year he interviewed Ali Kazak, director of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's office in Australia.

After teacher training in 1984, Tobin returned to Dunedin to teach at Logan Park High School. He wasn't quiet for long, soon organising opposition to the proposed 1985 All Black tour of South Africa.

Tobin was co-ordinator for Otago Coalition Against the Tour and organised several protests, marches and occupations. Several CATT leaders had WCL links, including Tobin's old comrade from Victoria University, Campbell Duignan.

By 1989 Tobin was active in union affairs as chairman of the Otago Post Primary Teachers Association and president of the Otago District Council of the Council of Trade Unions.

He was also on the PPTA national executive and a member of its review group, charged with restructuring the union to cope with changes under "Tomorrows Schools."

In 1991 Tobin was active in Dunedin protests against the introduction of the Employment Contracts Act.

From 1993 to 1995 Tobin was national president of the PPTA and later served as vice president. He was a militant opponent of many of the National government's proposed secondary education reforms of the period.

Since then Tobin has remained a highly influential but lower profile activist within the union.

He re-surfaced briefly in 2005 to defend a former teacher and PPTA colleague, David Benson-Pope.

"I hope the truth comes out. If he did use inappropriate discipline techniques then that should be dealt with. But I just hope that people remember how vigorous teachers were expected to be in the 1970s in terms of their dealings with students."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Way To Go, Canada! Cullen Take Heed

From the National Post Hat Tip Dissecting Leftism

The Conservative government issued a "guarantee" yesterday to Canadians that it will cut their taxes annually -- starting at $700-million next year and up to $1.4-billion in 2011 -- by redistributing the savings Ottawa secures from paying down debt.

"We will do this every year: pay down debt, achieve interest savings and apply those savings to personal income-tax reductions," Jim Flaherty, the Finance Minister, said in describing the government's "tax-back" guarantee.

"It's time to give Canadian taxpayers a direct stake and a direct benefit from balancing the budget each year and reducing government debt."

This guarantee was one of the highlights of yesterday's economic statement, which provided an update on the national finances. To no one's surprise, the government revised upward its expected surpluses -- or the amount of tax revenue that exceeds spending -- due to stronger-than- expected growth in personal tax revenue.

Ottawa now expects a surplus of roughly $7.2-billion for this fiscal year, ending March 31, 2007, and $7.3-billion for the following 12-month period. In his budget just six months ago, Mr. Flaherty had projected a $3.6-billion surplus for this year and $4.4-billion in 2007-08.

New Zeal New Zealand has a fraction of the population of Canada and we have an $11 Billion surplus. Even allowing for differing currency values, our surplus is clearly extremely healthy.

Yet our Minister of Finance, Michael Cullen has consistently refused to cut taxes. Says we can't afford it.

Socialist greed I call it.

Correa's Socialist Amigos

A translation of a recent congratulatory letter from the new president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa to comrade Fidel Castro.

Hat Tip Once Upon a Time in the West

Dear Comrade Fidel:

In name of Country Alliance and of tens of thousands of Ecuadorians, I want to extend our congratulations on your 80 birthday, which we are sure will be observed with a great celebration on December 2, on the 50 anniversary of the disembarkation of the Granma in the Cayuelos.

Our congratulations unites with more hope now than ever because the country is entering historical times. Ecuador is preparing for the triumphal entrance on January 8 of the Citizens' Revolution. At that time, Ecuadorians will recover the sovereign power that the political mafias have been maintained and kidnapped for decades.

With great confidence in a new future for our country, we send you this message of friendship as well as to all the Cuban sisters and brothers, and our desire for your quick recovery.

A brotherly hug,

Rafael Correa Delgado

Correa has promised to close the US military base in Manta, where 400 soldiers are deployed as part of the Southern Command's operation to apprehend cocaine traffickers.

Correa's party Alianza Pais ("Country Alliance") is part of an electoral alliance with the Ecuadoran Socialist Party-Broad Front.

Correa has also committed to call a constituent assembly to rewrite Ecuador's constitution.

Ecuador Goes Red?

Rafael Correa, a leftist economist and friend of Venezuela's Marxist president, Hugo Chavez, has almost certainly won Sunday's presidential runoff in Ecuador.

From Associated Press

With 13.7 percent of the ballot counted, Rafael Correa had 66.2 percent compared to 33.8 percent for Alvaro Noboa, according to Ecuador's Supreme Electoral Tribunal. The results are consistent with an unofficial quick count by the citizens election watchdog group and two exit polls.

Correa, a U.S.-trained economist who has rattled Wall Street by threatening to reduce foreign debt payments and oppose free trade efforts, declared victory shortly after the quick count was announced Sunday.

Looks like the world is in for a banana shortage.

Curly Capitalist Question 18 Libertarianism, Health and the Environment

Squirrel asked

I'm very much left leaning yet i dislike the school system, i also have no philosophical problems with the private sector taking over many services that the government now provides, as long as its fair. I also realise that people willingly help each other and that a government is not always needed to get things done.

I just want to hear how a libertarian society would work in practice for example how would act work to protect the environment if it got in. And how would act provide health care to those who earn too little to be able to afford private health care (even if tax was abolished)

Squirrel, ACT is not a libertarian party, it is libertarian leaning, with elements of conservatism and social democracy. However, generally speaking, ACT works to preserve the environment by extending private property rights to the maximum.

Contrary to socialist propaganda, private owners make the best stewards of land, water and other natural resources.

There is a big philosophic difference between libertarians and green/socialists when it comes to environmentalism.

Socialists tend to have a ration book mentality. They are pessimistic, resources are running out, peak oil is looming, disaster is around the corner.

Libertarians are optimists. The universe has materials and energy in abundance. Man's role is to use his intelligence to best utilise those resources to create wealth and choice for himself and others.

There are no shortage of resources, only unnecessary (usually government imposed) restrictions on the use of intelligence and the creative talents.

That's why libertarians care immensely about personal liberty and worry very little about global warming, peak oil, ozone holes or falling skies.

It is not that environmental problems don't concern us, they certainly do. It is simply that we realise that if human liberty is guaranteed, free minds can solve damn near any problem.

Health care for the poor is in principle, quite easily solved. In a free society, health care would be treated like any other service.

As a sound body a healthy mind are highly desirable, there is a huge and lucrative market for anyone who can solve problems in those areas.

Therefore more talented people would tend to go into the medicinal sciences. Doctors would be like lawyers are now. There would be one on every block. When did you last hear of a shortage of lawyers?

With less controls on drug manufacture, medicines would be far cheaper and more effective. Non "conventional" treatment methods and medicines would also flourish.

Medicines would become cheaper, freer and far more diverse. The range of services would dramatically increase.

I accept that even in this environment, a very few would either be unable to afford medical insurance, or would be incorrigibly irresponsible.

For this tiny few, charity would be the most common option.

Free people are benevolent people. Affluent people are generous people.

Charity and charity hospitals would flourish in a free society.

In 19th century England, it was considered the norm, it was indeed expected for doctors and surgeons to work part of every week gratis in charity hospitals. It was simply the done thing to do.

What killed that? The welfare state did. Welfarism kills people's sense of responsibility towards others. Why should you help your neighbour when the government already taxes you to keep the bugger in beer and fags?

Islamic countries have little if any social welfare. They do however have huge numbers of private charities and charity hospitals.

If the government doesn't do it, the people will and they will do it better.


The Nicky Hager File Part 1

Rightly or wrongly, investigative writer, Nicky Hager's book "The Hollow Men", is widely credited with influencing Don Brash in his decision to relinquish leadership of the National Party.

Who is Nicky Hager? What motivates him to so consistently attack the so-called "right"?

There is no doubt that Hager is on the left, but how just how socialist is he?

The son of a wealthy Levin clothing manufacturer, Nicky Hager lived in a family that moved steadily to the left.

Kurt and Barbara Hager, initially supported National, then Labour, then the eco-socialist Values Party. Barbara Hager was at one time the Values party president.

Nicky Hager was also active in the Values Party, but when he went to Victoria University in 1977 he began mixing with an even more socialist crowd.

At the time Vic's student politics were dominated by a pro-Chinese, Maoist faction known firstly as the Wellington Marxist Leninist Organisation, then after 1980 as the Workers Communist League.

The WCL became widely known as the "Weasels", a play on their initials and their reputation for dirty and underhand tactics.

The WCL was known for its ultra secretiveness and paranoia. As the WCL's 1984 policy "manifesto" states;

"The WCL is a discreet organisation in order to protect itself and its members from the state and employers. The League is neither totally secret, nor open to public view. It seeks to combine organisational discretion with the maximum airing of political line and policy."

Consequently membership in the WCL was very often "confidential".

There is no conclusive proof that Hager was a "Weasel", but he was certainly moved in extreme left and WCL circles.

In 1980 Nicky Hager took over chairmanship of the Wellington Nicaragua Solidarity Committee.

The organisation's stated aims were;

1/ to get out the facts on the revolution in Nicaragua.
2/ To provide aid for the Nicaraguan people.
3/ To oppose US intervention in Central America.

Many members of the NSC were involved with the Trotskyist, Socialist Action League; Keith Locke, Pat Starkey, Cheryl Gwyn, Matt Robson, Steve Hyde, Brendan Gleeson etc, but some were more Maoist aligned, including, possibly, Nicky Hager.

By 1982, Hager was a leading member of Wellington CANWAR (Coalition Against Nuclear Warships). The organisation campaigned against nuclear warships and actively harassed any US ships entering Wellington Harbour.

CANWAR activists, Ron Smith and Nicky Hager

Well known Workers Communist League member, the late Ron Smith wrote in his 1995 autobiography "Working Class Son" how he became involved in CANWAR on his retirement from the Public Service in 1980.

Also in 1980 another WCL activist, Simon Wilson had to resign the presidency of the NZUSA after being arrested for spraying anti-nuke slogans on the USS Truxtun, as part of a CANWAR campaign.

CANWAR and Wellington CND were essentially the same organisation, with considerable cross membership.

In 1982, Nicky Hager was listed in student paper "Salient" number 18 as a contact for CND.

The other three contacts listed were;

Bob Rigg; An open socialist and associate of many WCL members, Rigg also spent time in China in the'70s while active in Waikato University student politics.

Margie Thomson; Latterly books editor on the NZ Herald, Thomson was in the early '80s actively involved with the WCL and worked on its newspaper "Unity"

Roger Tobin; Latterly a Dunedin teacher, Tobin was well known as at very least a WCL sympathiser, while active in student politics at Victoria Uni in the early '80s.

A bit coincidental, what?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Everybody Loves Chavez-Yeah Right!

Venezuela's election campaign is entering the final stages. While the media paints Marxist President Hugo Chavez as a clear favourite, his main opponent, Manuel Rosales has earned huge popular support.

From Aleksander Boyd Venezuela Crisis

Caracas 25.11.06 This week has been one of closing rallies although today's events in Caracas merits especial mention. Caracas is a city of close to 6 million people, yet Thugo Chavez thought that blocking access to the city was going to affect Rosales' event.

Mind you how stupid can this little soldier get? Since busing people from all around the country to fill Avenida Bolivar has become a revolutionary custom he must have thought that the Rosales camp was going to do the same. There's a good saying to describe Chavez' reaction "todo ladron juzga por su condicion" which means something like every thief thinks that everyone else is a thief.

In any case here are some pictures taken from a billboard high above Francisco Fajardo highway by yours truly.

The massive outpour seen today in Caracas is by no means an isolated event. Tomorrow or the day after I shall post photos of this week's events in Carora, San Carlos, Valera, Barinas, Merida, Caracas, Valencia and San Felix. A few days ago I invited chavistas reading this site to send pictures of Chavez' rallies similar to the ones I have posted, Chavez being the guy who's going to win hands down the election with 80% support and all, to gather similar crowds would be a piece of cake, wouldn't it?

Pictures say otherwise for not even in his native Barinas two days ago was he able to outnumber Rosales' crowd. Don't tell this to MSM representatives though, they may choke with reality.

Marxist Minto Wants to Erase "Entrepeneuralism" From School Curriculum

Most parents I know regard much of the school curriculum as dumbed down socialist propaganda. There may be the odd bright spot here and there, but socialists like John Minto want to eliminate even that.

John Minto, is Chairperson of the Quality Public Education Coalition. In a recently circulated paper he reveals how he wants to "erase"-(his word) "entrepeneuralism" from the school curriculum.

Read this and weep. From Indymedia.

Most parents will never read the draft for the new school curriculum published by the government earlier this year. It’s available if you know where to get it and if time can be found to read it and understand its implications.

At one level it seems like a collection of well-meaning, uncontroversial, motherhood-and-apple-pie statements about what students should be taught and why these things are important. At another level it contains clearly coded messages about the relative power of the various lobbies who would have been consulted in putting it together.

Most of the focus of public debate so far has been on the expunging of The Treaty of Waitangi from the draft curriculum – a deficiency astonishing for its crude cynicism. Can you imagine a US curriculum without a prominent place for the Declaration of Independence?

Absence of the Treaty sends a message to the wider community. The government is pushing Maori into the back seat.

As well as the slap in the face to Maori there is included throughout the draft the handiwork of big business lobbies. They have been hard at work behind the scenes with the government to skew the curriculum in favour of narrow capitalist economics.

It starts in the first paragraph on the first page where the vision focuses on children being equipped to “contribute to the growth of the economy”. Central to this vision is children becoming “entrepreneurial” – running businesses to make profits – and even when the draft talks about values, “economic values” are included.

The business ripples then run through the entire document. The “economic life of New Zealand” gets plenty of coverage in the main curriculum strands while the Social Studies curriculum has been positively colonised by the “economic world” and the injunction that children “use this knowledge to understand their place in the economic world”.

Business is determined to inculcate our children with the values of the capitalist free market where profit is god and the needs of human beings are subservient to the needs of entrepreneurs and profiteers.

The Enterprise New Zealand Trust is the key driver of this “entrepreneurialism” with their aim to “create tomorrow’s entrepreneurs today”. Organised, funded and supported by big business interests they have a complete package of well resourced programmes to deliver to our children and the draft curriculum will give them the “in” to every school in the country.

In the meantime business influence in schools has been a quiet rust eating away at the options our children may conceive for themselves and their community in the future.

Consider programmes such as the ENZ Trust’s Primary Enterprise Programme at Paengaroa Primary School in the Bay of Plenty where for six weeks of the year the teachers create their own “real world” for children with their own currency, business plans, advertisements, job applications, interviews etc. A real learning experience on the one hand with lots of maths, language development and interesting activities but think about the values and learning inherent in the program when the teacher in charge says-

The scary part about it is how it does mirror society in a big way. They make things and sell them, we have thefts and children who get sacked when they don’t do their work. We haven’t got to the stage where we have the dole but maybe next year. I’m absolutely sold on this approach to learning. Already I can see the children who will be entrepreneurs one day.”

Do we want our children to brand themselves as economic winners and losers when they are at primary school? Surely the focus should be for students to critically question the world they live in and explore other economic possibilities. What about work co-operatives, credit unions, trustee banks, profit sharing?

Imagine the outrage from business if the teacher had created a trade union for six weeks and the children had elected delegates, run recruitment drives for members, organised meetings and worked co-operatively to improve the pay and conditions for low paid employees.

The fury of Enterprise New Zealand Trust’s backers would be palpable and yet this would be a much more appropriate approach. Almost a third of our children grow up in poverty and a large proportion will take up low-paid, part-time jobs for much of their working lives. They need to question and think critically about the economic alternatives to the failure of New Zealand’s economy to work for people aside from a small numbers of wealthy entrepreneurs.

In the early days of Tomorrow’s Schools we had Bairds Primary School giving naming rights to Mainfreight. The school now called Bairds Mainfreight will forever be the symbol of government failure in education.

Unless we can erase “entrepreneurialism” from the curriculum then Education Minister Steve Maharey may as well sell the naming rights. How does the New Zealand Business Roundtable curriculum sound?

John Minto

From the Last Statement of Alexander Litvinenko

You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people.

Former FSB Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Litvinenko (1962-2006), Final Statement, November 21, 2006

Hat Tip Once Upon a Time in the West

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Two Trots? Tour Tonga, Talk To Troublemakers

Two Kiwi socialists?/anarchists?/Trots? have travelled to Tonga to report on the revolution.

From Indymedia

Nuku’alofa (Tonga) – We, two indymedia activists, arrived at Fua’amato International Airport early on Friday morning from Aotearoa. After leaving the plane we had to walk to the arrival hall past three Tongan soldiers, two of which were carrying large rifles and the other a hand gun. A police officer walked around with his dog while people where waiting at the immigration desks. More members of the Tongan Defense Force (TDF), armed and in camouflage gear, stood around in the arrival hall. On our way into town we past a military checkpoint at the turn-off to the airport. They didn’t pull us over and we drove the 20kms into the city.

Tonfon: Burnt to the ground

In the morning we made contact with members of the Friendly Island Human Rights and Democracy Movement (FIHRDM) and arranged to meet up later. In the interim we went for a two hour walk through Nuku’alofa. On our way towards the city we came across a building which was completely destroyed from Thursday’s fires. It was the headquarters of Tonfön, a telecommunication company owned by the royal family.

We came across two NZ police officers and one NZ firefighter who were busy investigating ‘arson crimes’. They told us that there are two teams, made up of one firefighter, one police photographer and two investigators (all from New Zealand) along with Tongan police, operating at the moment. “We are here to help to assist the Tongan police” said a NZ police officer.

Akilisi Pohiva

We then had the opportunity to interview five people who are involved in the democracy movement: Finau Tutone, an organiser with the Friendly Island Teachers Association; Akenete T. Lauti, the director of FIHRDM; 'Akilisi Pohiva and Leopolo Taonesila, both Members of Parliament (two of the nine representatives elected by the people – in a parliament of 30); and Tevita Tui Uata of the National Tongan Business Association.

Finau talked about last year’s strike and the connection between the trade union movement and the pro-democracy movement. He said the system needs to change in Tonga. Akenete informed us about the FIHRDM’s activities. They organise workshops and meeting to educate people on human rights issues. While she advocates for non-violence, she does not blame the people but the Government for Thursday’s riots. 'Akilisi put the movement into a historical context and talked about the progress, or lack of, made inside parliament.

Tevita, who has been blamed for the riots, thinks that representative democracy will get Tonga out of a system that only works for 1% of the population. He was strongly opposed to Tonga joining the World Trade Organisation and says that the wealth needs to be shared more equally among the people.

Democratic graffiti

Many shops have slogans painted on them. Across from the market, someone wrote “THE NU FACE OF YOUTH REBELLION” and “REVOLUTIONARY NOT EVOLUTIONARY” on a burnt-out shop. Other slogans are “Freedomfighter”, “Fight the Power”, “Democracy not Hypocrisy”, “You had it coming” and “Fuck Prime Minister”. Many of them are signed by ‘Ezekiel’.

More democratic graffiti

The police have set up two checkpoints on both sides of town. They pull most cars over and search the boot. We were told they are looking for weapons and stolen goods. They say it is illegal for people to carry weapons and they claim to have confiscated eight .22 riffles over the last few days.

We walked to the King’s mansion which is guarded by four Tongan soldiers. The huge house is around 300 meters off the road. While taking photos a black SUV left the premises and the gate was opened for a few seconds. One of the soldiers was prepared to say a few words on camera. He said he does not want democracy in Tonga, he wants peace.

Rakaia Recce

Yesterday ACT leader Rodney Hide, deputy leader Heather Roy, Upper South deputy board member Andrew Falloon and yours truly did a second recce around the Rakaia electorate.

We toured several local businesses and the Ashburton Branch of Aoraki Polytechnic.
There were also several media interviews.

Rodney and Heather had a particularly productive meeting with Mark Lemon, the local vice president of Federated Farmers. Water and irrigation are key issues in what is one of the wealthiest and driest rural electorates in the country.

Also excellent was a meeting with Ashburton mayor, Bede O'Malley. Health provision is clearly a big issue in the electorate as even affluent towns like Ashburton struggle to attract GPs and specialised medical staff.

Centred in Ashburton and extending to the southern boundaries of Christchurch, the Ralkaia electorate is of strong interest to the ACT Party.

If we're serious about getting our free market policies turned into legislation we need to not only increase our party vote, but also win more electorate seats.

Only electorate seats can give ACT the permanence, certainty and stability required to make ACT a credible and influential third force in NZ politics.

While Rakaia is one of the strongest National seats in the country, it has several unique features that make it a potential target for ACT.

Firstly, with the current MP, Brian Connell offside with National and currently dumped from caucus, Rakaia has zero effective representation in Parliament.

Secondly, Rakaia has traditionally been one ACT's best seats for party vote in the country.

Thirdly, Rakaia's ACT committee is one of the most hard working and well connected in NZ.

Fourthly, we have an excellent deputy board member in the region in Andrew Falloon. Being born in Ashburton and knowing the region intimately, Andrew's local knowledge would be a huge advantage.

Fifthly, Rakaia is largely rural, but also contains Burnham Military Base and Lincoln University. ACT appeals to the rural community with its emphasis on low tax, less red tape and commitment to improved infrastructure. Our strong pro defence views are popular with the military and we have a big following among students and a very dedicated ACT on Campus team at Lincoln.

Sixthly, the close proximity to Christchurch makes it easy to bring our very strong Christchurch campaign team in to help out.

Seventhly, Heather and Rodney are well known and accepted in the electorate. Our 2005 candidate, Brian Davidson was very popular and while only campaigning for party vote, gained a very respectable number of electorate votes.

Eigthly, we already have offers of an office and considerable other material support.

Over all Rakaia is looking like a very attractive option.

Do any ACT supporters have any views or suggestions on the subject?

Russia Supports Iranian Ally

From the Jerusalem Post Hat Tip Babalu Blog

Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said Friday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of Western criticism.

Ministry officials have previously said Moscow would supply 29 of the sophisticated missile systems to Iran under a US$700 million (€565 million) contract signed in December, according to Russian media reports.

The UN Security Council, where Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member, is currently stalemated on the severity of sanctions on Iran for defying its demand to cease uranium enrichment.

The Tor-M1 deal, involving conventional weapons, does not violate any international agreements.

Russian officials say that the missiles are purely defensive weapons with a limited range.

According to the Interfax news agency, the Tor-M1 system can identify up to 48 targets and fire at two targets simultaneously at a height of up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).

Friday, November 24, 2006

Death of a Brave Man


Poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko died Thursday in an intensive-care unit of a London hospital but doctors said they were unable to determine the cause of his death.

Litvinenko, a fierce critic of the Russian government, suffered heart failure and was heavily sedated as medical staff struggled to pinpoint what had made the 43-year-old critically ill, London's University College Hospital said in a statement. "The matter is being investigated as an unexplained death," London's Metropolitan police said in a statement.

The former spy said he believed he had been poisoned Nov. 1, while investigating the slaying of another Kremlin detractor - investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Litvinenko's hair fell out, his throat became swollen and his immune and nervous systems were severely damaged, he said.

Doctors said tests virtually ruled out poisoning by thallium and radiation - toxins once considered possible culprits behind the poisoning.

Just hours before he lost consciousness, Litvinenko said in an interview with the Times newspaper of London he had been silenced. The interview was published in Friday's edition of the paper, copies of which were available late Thursday.

"I want to survive, just to show them," the Times quoted Litvinenko saying.

"The bastards got me but they won't get everybody."

Dr. Geoff Bellingan, director of critical care at University College Hospital, said extensive tests failed to uncover what caused Litvinenko to fall ill.

Family friend Alex Goldfarb said Litvinenko's wife, Marina, son Anatoli and the former agent's father stayed at his bedside as his condition deteriorated.

Andrei Nekrasov, a friend and filmmaker, said Litvinenko's skin had turned yellow, a possible effect of liver failure.

Nekrasov told the Times before his death, Litvinenko had warned his friend not to return to Russia.

"Very sadly, he turned out to be the next victim, attacked in the perceived safety of central London," Nekrasov was quoted saying.

Friends and dissidents allege Litvinenko's poisoning was carried out at the behest of the Russian government. Litvinenko sought asylum in Britain in 2000 and since then had been a relentless critic of the Kremlin and the Russian security services.

On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR, issued its strongest denial yet that it was involved in any assassination attempt.

"Litvinenko is not the kind of person for whose sake we would spoil bilateral relations," SVR spokesman Sergei Ivanov said, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

As Goes Venezuela, So Goes Latin America

A few months ago, Venezuela's Marxist president, Hugo Chavez, faced little opposition and was a near certainty to be returned in the December 3rd election.

Now Manuel Rosales is pushing Chavez hard in the polls and has led a series of huge anti-Chavez rallies in several Venezuelan cities.

Hat Tip Venezuela Crisis

The Latin American and indeed the world wide left realises that this election is a crucial one. If Chavez wins, revolutionary forces will continue to pick off the few remaining non socialist countries in the region. The USA will face revolutionary forces on the Rio grande. If Manuel Rosales wins, the left will suffer a huge moral and material set back. Freedom on the continent will have a chance.

With this in mind, Chavez's main allies, the Communist Party of Venezuela, are talking up a Chavez victory and throwing all their resources behind his campaign.

From Canadian Blog Once Upon a Time in the West

The National Directors of the Communist Party of Venezuela, within the framework of the final offensive for December 3, call upon Venezuelan towns, revolutionary forces, and communists to organize and mobilize for the consolidation of the triumph of the candidacy of Commander Hugo Chavez Frias and to dissuade any adventurer that tries to promote imperialism and reaction against the overwhelming popular victory that is approaching in December.

The PCV, on the basis of its analysis of the political situation in the country, considers that the conditions for an overwhelming victory of the candidacy of President Chavez exist.

Let's hope, that for the sake of 250 million people that Chavez and the PCV can be stopped in their tracks.

Another Old Trot Backs Tongan Revolutionaries

A few days ago I commented that two old Trotskyists, Keith Locke and Matt Robson had come out in support of the so-called "Tongan Democracy" Movement.

Well bugger me, here's a third.

From Indymedia

The Alliance Party has joined the growing numbers demanding the Government withdraw New Zealand troops and police from Tonga.

Alliance Party Foreign Affairs spokesman Paul Piesse says it is nonsense for the Prime Minister to say she supports democracy in Tonga, while at the same time sending in "enforcers" to keep anti-democratic forces in power.

"The Alliance rejects the New Zealand Government's claim that our forces are only in Tonga to 'maintain law and order' when the real question is: Whose law and whose order?"

"Clearly the answer is the law and order of the undemocratic feudal regime is being protected. New Zealand forces are backing that regime's army and police."

Mr Piesse says New Zealand is in danger of being bully-boys interfering in the internal democratic struggles in the South Pacific.

New Zeal

Now like his mates, Locke and Robson, Paul Piesse was once a member of the Socialist Action League.

In fact the three were very closely aligned and remained so well after leaving the League for the New Labour and Alliance parties. All three had close ties to the Marxist-Leninists of the Australian Democratic Socialist Party, which in turn has maintained a long term interest in the Tongan revolution.

In November 1992, Locke, Robson and Piesse wrote a letter to the DSP's Green Left Weekly offering condolences on the death of DSP leader, Jim Percy.

We have known Jim since 1970. Since that time we have shared the same socialist vision and supported the same struggles against oppression. Through two decades we kept in contact with Jim and benefited from sharing political ideas and experiences...Jim was with us in our early political development as members of the Socialist Action League in NZ. He was also alongside us when we formed the New Labour Party. He contributed his political ideas and experience to the NLP in a comradely and supportive way. He saw the NLP as a progressive development which could revitalise socialism in NZ and have a positive effect in Australia...We cannot be with you at the funeral of our comrade. However it is a maori tradition to sing at a funeral. We therefore request that when the Internationale is sung that it be recognised that the voices of Jim's comrades in NZ have also been raised as a final tribute to a respected fighter of the people.

Do I see a pattern here?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

US Communists Seek to Further Influence Democratic Party

My last post discussed how tiny communist parties can covertly influence the policy and direction of much larger "mainstream" parties.

Please read this "hot off the computer" article from Political Affairs, the theoretical journal of the Communist Party USA, with my thesis in mind.

You have to read between the lines a little, but the basic message is pretty clear.

New York (11-20-06) "The right-wing stranglehold on Congress has been broken," declared Joelle Fishman, chair of the Communist Party USA’s (CPUSA) political action commission, to a meeting of its 81-person National Committee this past weekend.

Fishman noted, "This is a victory being celebrated around the world."

Fishman delivered her report to the committee as it discussed the results of the election and prepared to move the struggle for democracy, peace, and economic justice forward in the new Congress, and to build the size and influence of the Communist Party.

Overwhelmingly, the committee claimed victory for the US working class, the world, and for democracy as a result of the landslide that swept the Republican Party from power in Congress.

"Our Party gave its heart and soul to the struggle," declared CPUSA’s Executive Vice-chair Jarvis Tyner.

Sounding a caution that the right is already "working to ease the impact of what happened on November 7th," Tyner urged the Communist Party's leadership body to push forward with its progressive agenda.

Fishman argued that the results of the election were a mandate to withdraw from Iraq, pass health care and labor reform legislation, and to control political and corporate corruption.

The key forces that enabled the victory, Fishman stated, were part of what she called the "All Peoples' Front." This united collection of forces were led by the labor movement and included at its core the women's equality movement and the African American and Latino communities.

Other democratic forces such as the peace movement, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, environmentalists, and other public advocacy groups lent a large hand to the victory as well.

According to the data Fishman provided, labor union members and their families may have comprised as much as 25 percent of the voter turnout and voted about 3-to-1 for union-endorsed candidates, unanimously Democrats.

Labor contacted 13.2 million union members and mobilized tens of thousands of people in key races to staff phone banks, canvass neighborhoods, do literature drops and mailings, and poll watch.

Fishman applauded the labor movement for this role and for the broad unity of unions from both the AFL-CIO and Change to Win. Because of this decisive contribution, "Labor emerges from this election in a key position to lead," Fishman said.

As a result, labor's broad agenda is definitely on the table.

The Democratic leadership in the House has agreed to some key elements of that agenda, including raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour, controlling health care costs, reducing student loan interest rates, and developing a troop withdrawal plan.

But labor wants and deserves more.

According to Communist Party Labor Commission Chair Scott Marshall, "The Democrats are beholden to labor and must pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)."

EFCA is a bill already introduced in the previous session of Congress that would increase democracy in the workplace by enabling workers to vote for a union through a procedure called card-check. This would make joining or organizing unions easier, and because 57 million non-union workers say they want to join a union, such a law would make it easier for them to do so.

Fishman also pointed to the enormous contributions of African American, Latino, and Jewish voters who lent their support to Democratic candidates by margins of more than 12-to-1, 2-to-1, and 12-to-1, respectively.

These strong contributions to victory on November 7th suggest that an anti-racist, pro-civil rights, pro-immigrants’ rights agenda should also be put forward in the next session of Congress.

Tyner argued that the Congress has to address immigration reform that provides for legalization, a path to citizenship, and treats everyone fairly. He also stated that the victims of Hurricane Katrina must be provided for and that egregious provisions in the PATRIOT Act have to be eliminated.

Fishman called for the full participation of the Communist Party in the battle to pass a broad agenda.

To accomplish this, CPUSA Chair Sam Webb stated in his report on the role of the Communist Party, the CPUSA must be larger and more deeply tied to the democratic and workers’ movements.

Erica Smiley, National Coordinator of the Young Communist League, said, "The results of the 2006 election indicate a turning point in our struggle."

Instead of defensive battles to stop regressive Republican Party policies, the people's needs can now be addressed.

How Communist Parties Influence Your Government

Many in the West look at our tiny communist parties and laugh. How could these people, many of whom could hold their national conventions in a phone box, possibly impact on our lives?

This is how they do it. It is a simple step by step procedure which has been perfected, refined and applied all over the world.

Step One: The communists gain control of various social movements, particularly the peace movement, ethnic groups and labour unions.

Step Two: They then formulate policy which they disseminate to their members, covert members or supporters in these social movements.

This is done in many ways, but chief among them is the Party/Non Party Fraction meeting. A group of Party members will hold a secret meeting with say the executive or key members of a union or national peace organisation. The targeted group will often contain covert communists anyway. The desired policies will be transmitted to this group ie Nuclear Free NZ, US out of Iraq, favourable labour legislation, union support for certain sympathetic Democratic Party candidates etc.

Step Three: These groups exert pressure and influence on the local centre left or social democratic party, the NZ Labour Party, the US Democrats, the Canadian Liberal Party etc. All these parties contain communist supporters and secret communist party members, often in very senior positions.

For example in the NZ Labour Party, during the '80s, Socialist Unity Party supporters held at times, the Party Presidency and several executive and policy council positions.

Similarly high level CPUSA infiltration of the US Democratic Party has been well documented.

Step Four: These covert members and sympathisers work to ensure that communist policy is adopted by the mainstream party and is implemented when the party is in government.

Every step is deniable. An MP or congressman can put his hand on his heart and easily deny that what he is promoting is in any way communist inspired.

A Democratic congressman can call for the investigation of President Bush for deceiving the public over Iraq and no one will question him as to where this idea came from.

A New Zealand Labour MP can call for a Nuclear Free NZ and no one will ever link it back to the Socialist Unity Party.

By applying this method, a tiny party of say 500 members can heavily influence the policy of a party of several hundred thousand members.

In this way, tiny communist parties have succeeded in passing legislation and influencing government policy in probably every western nation.

Communists, Cuddle, Congratulate

From the Communist Party of Australia's Guardian

Daniel Ortega, leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front Nicaraguan (FSLN) and former President of Nicaragua, has won the election for President outright with 38 percent of the vote in the November 5 elections. His closest rival was US–backed Eduardo Montealegre of the National Liberal Alliance, on 29 percent.

Among the many messages of congratulations that poured in was a phone call from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. "Congratulations to you, to the Sandinistas and to all Nicaraguans. We are very proud of you … a Bolivarian and Sandinista hug to you all", said Chávez.

Ortega replied, "We send you an embrace from the Sandinista people to the Bolivarian people and particularly to the Venezuelan President, our dear brother Hugo Chávez"....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Former KGB Up To Its Old Tricks?

The British Press is riveted by an apparent assassination attempt against a former Russian intelligence agent now living in the UK.

Hat Tips to Publius Pundit

On Sunday, the British press exploded with reports about the poisoning in London of KGB defector Colonel Alexander Litvinenko (pictured above, circa 2002), who had been in the process of investigating the murder of Anna Politkovskaya to see whether the KGB (now called the FSB) was involved.

The Associated Press reported that “Toxicologist Dr. John Henry, who has been treating Litvinenko, told the BBC that the former agent had been poisoned by thallium — a toxic metal commonly found in rat poison. ‘It points to that in his blood stream,’ he said.” The Times of London reported that the symptoms appeared just after a meal at a restaurant with a former friend who ate nothing and had promised leads on the investigation.

The Times continued:

Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned on the direct orders of the Kremlin because of his biting mockery of President Putin, according to a former Soviet spy now living in Britain. Oleg Gordievsky, the most senior KGB agent to defect to Britain, said that the attempt to kill Mr Litvinenko had been state-sponsored. It was carried out by a Russian friend and former colleague who had been recruited secretly in prison by the FSB, the successor to the KGB. The Italian who allegedly put poison in Mr Litvinenko’s sushi “had nothing to do with it”.

Of course it is state-sponsored. He was such an obvious enemy. Only the KGB is able to do this. The poison was very sophisticated. They have done this before — they poisoned Anna Politkovskaya (the campaigning journalist murdered on October 7) on a plane last year. Who else would know where she was sitting and could poison her food? Probably also it was the KGB that shot her.”

Mr Litvinenko, who fled to Britain in 2001, was a target because of the Kremlin fury at his sarcastic attacks on President Putin, Mr Gordievsky said.

Mr Gordievsky, a former KGB station head in London, who still refers to the FSB by its former name, insisted that he did not know the identity of the Russian would-be killer. But he assumed that the man was a former associate of Boris Berezovsky, the former oligarch and Yeltsin confidant, who has been granted political asylum in Britain. “He used to be in Mr Berezovsky’s entourage and was imprisoned in Moscow. Then suddenly he was released, and soon after that he became a businessman and a millionaire. It is all very suspicious. But the KGB has recruited agents in prisons and camps since the 1930s. That is how they work.”

From Once Upon a Time in the West

Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko made a secret tape recording alleging assassination plots sanctioned by the Kremlin before he was poisoned.

The tape was being passed to the security services today as Mr Litvinenko's condition deteriorated and his treatment in a London hospital became a fight to keep him alive. Mr Litvinenko, 44, fell ill after being poisoned with thallium, believed to have been slipped into his food or drink, the Mail's sister paper, the Evening Standard, has revealed.

Details of his condition emerged as Scotland Yard revealed detectives were examining possible links with a petrol bomb attack on his family's north London home in October 2004. Mr Litvinenko defected to Britain from the Russian state security service and has been a critic of President Vladimir Putin's government.

In the recording handed to Special Branch and MI5, he reveals details of extrajudicial killings carried out in Russia while Mr Putin was head of the country's FSB security agency. A transcript has been shown to the Standard and is likely to interest Britain's security service due to suspicions Mr Litvinenko has fallen victim to a politically motivated assassination bid.

Detectives investigating the poisoning are focusing on a mystery hotel meeting he had with a former KGB officer on the day he fell ill.

A close friend of Alexander Litvinenko revealed that the dissident had met two men at a hotel in central London. He said one of the men was a former KGB officer, who was known to Mr Litvinenko.

The meeting took place after the 44-year-old Russian met an expert on the Italian underworld at a Piccadilly sushi bar.

Police believe the hotel was more likely to be the place where the former KGB colonel was poisoned.

He was admitted to intensive care at University College Hospital last night after his condition deteriorated. Friends say he has only a "50/50" chance of survival.

Mr Litvinenko was taken violently ill on 1 November after swallowing the deadly toxin thallium, a colourless and odourless chemical once used in rat killer.

Fellow dissidents in London have accused the Kremlin of being behind the assassination attempt because of Mr Litvinenko's criticism of the Putin regime.

The case is being investigated by Scotland Yard's specialist crime directorate. If police find the poisoning leads back to Moscow it could plunge Britain into its worst diplomatic crisis with Russia since President Putin came to power.

Earlier this year Litvinenko disclosed to a politician of the United Kingdom Independence Party that current Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi--who also served as President of the European Commission, the European Union's executive body--is a KGB agent.

According to Litvinenko, one of his former superiors FSB Deputy Chief Anatoly Trofimov--who along with his wife were assassinated in 2005--was the source of this information. Another former KGB defector, living in Britain, has confirmed Litvinenko's allegation, as related in the European Union Reporter.

Tonga-A Very Different Viewpoint

Tongan Blogger Samiuela Taufa gives his views of the Tongan Democracy Movement on Nomoa.

Demolition Movement people out there seem to have your wires crossed all wrong.

Just seen an interview with Finau Tutone "Pro Democracy Leader" and he said that the fault of the riots was the "King and Government of Tonga."

For too many years Tongans have taken things quietly, but now they are enlightened.

There you go, if you'd even contemplated some remorse from the Pro Democracy team on what they have recently achieved, then you better just not hold your breath. Let's just put a recap of what the Pro Democracy team have achieved through their riot.

Popular elections for all Parliamentary Positions
Significant parts of government no longer exist or seriously derailed from working (i.e. if you have no office, no records, no files, no desks, then it is pretty hard to do what you were supposed to have done today.) The set back may take days, but some of the resources can never be recovered.

Significant unemployment with the thrown around 80% of downtown destroyed. I wonder what percentage of the employed were working downtown ? A large number of the small business' cannot come back from the destruction as they cannot meet the loan repayments owed to the banks, and may likely lose more personal assets. The foundation for economic recovery (private enterprise, small business) has in one fell swoop been wiped out. Not only have the small business' been destroyed but much of the clientele (Business to Business) economy has been wiped out as well.

Significant damage to Tourism. If you think such things as this do not effect tourism, then you haven't reached the 21st century (read: Fiji, Bali for regional problems relating to acts of terrorism)

Significant food and general goods shortage. Major food suppliers torched include: TCF, Molisi Tonga, Si'i Kae Ola, Fung Shing (not effected were Pro Democracy supporters such as 'Ofa Simiki, 'Uliti Uata, Nova Store.) Strangely, TM Fifita was one of the financial supporters of the strikers so a little adrenaline has gone wrong here, or not ? Major General Goods suppliers torched/damaged: Lalita, Narrotams, Prema & Sons, 'Adiloa, Bhagwan. Looks like there aren't that many christmas presents going around this year (except for the stuff the looters took off with.)

Potential significant price increases in food and general goods due to above shortage. We know for a fact that 'Ofa Simiki has no problems in manipulating the prices up in past shortages, so it will be a change in her not to do so again. And if you get it on the cheap, who says you aren't going to jack the price up and resell it?

Power supply restrictions (since the service provider can't collect fees and therefore has no money to buy more fuel, and the need to review existing infrastructure after the riots.) As insurance premiums for these services are likely to sky-rocket, I'm sure the costs for a new management team are going to be much higher, a + b means higher prices for the consumer (so lets just burn another supplier down so we get zero electricity next time.)

Fear for Property now exists for Tongans.

Fear for Life now exists for Tongans.
For all the corruption and screw-ups of the current organisation, administration, you've got to agree that at least the above points were not a serious consideration. Heck, a lot of people are now voting wth their money with the new world order of the Pro Democracies by leaving the country, that's always a great footnote.

I hear a lot of bluster from supporters of "Pro Democracy" that this is the repurcussions of years of oppression. My take is? get a life and get an updated text-book. I've spent the past ten years in Tonga in various parts of the community and economy and the only oppression I saw were those self-inflicted by delusional know-it-alls thinking they were God's gift to mankind (while on the other side they're riding the system to screw as many people on their way up.) The only hou'eiki people I "knew" in Tonga I didn't get along with nor liked so they didn't ask me any favours and I didn't give them any.

Did I see the corruption ? No more than I'm seeing everyday here in Sydney, Australia. And I saw even more at a time a certain Pro Democracy campaigner was part of the government.

Rally together people of Tonga and best wishes to everyone.

What Does This Tell You About the Tongan "Democracy Movement"?

Two former Trotskyists, Green MP, Keith Locke and former Progressive MP, Matt Robson, have come out in support of the Tongan "Democracy Movement".

From Scoop.

The New Zealand Government should take note of concerns that the presence of New Zealand troops in Tonga could be seen to strengthen the hand of the monarchy, Green MP Keith Locke warns.

Leaders of Tonga's democracy movement have expressed concerns that Australian and New Zealand troops in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa could in practice reinforce the political system that caused unrest in the first place. Meanwhile, the New Zealand joint defence force commander in Tonga says troops are likely to increase their presence.

"The most useful contribution New Zealand could make to law and order in Tonga would be to push the King's government to uphold the agreement reached just before the riot broke out for 21 of Tonga's 30 MPs to be democratically elected," Mr Locke says.

"We should also support the democracy movement's call for a new interim government, pending next year's election under new rules. The present government does not have the support of the majority of the people.

"If we take the side of the people, rather than the regime, there will be little need for New Zealand troops to stay. The riot was a result of frustration with the slow pace of change, and is unlikely to be repeated if people see that democracy is truly around the corner,"
Mr Locke says.

From the NZ Herald

New Zealand needs to wholeheartedly back the Tongan democratic movement or face the prospect of continually sending troops to aid a strife-torn neighbour, says former Progressive Party MP Matt Robson.

When in Parliament Mr Robson instigated an inquiry by the foreign affairs and defence committee into New Zealand's relationship with the island kingdom. He has been a constant critic of Tonga's monarchy and an agitator for democratic reform.

Yesterday he said the weekend violence in the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa, in which eight people died, should make New Zealand politicians think again about their dealings with Tonga.

"A drastic reassessment of their relationships with the different governing elites has to take place," Mr Robson said.

"It's time for them to solidly support the move to democracy and not get drawn into a morass of sending soldiers to clean up these situations ... New Zealand has not given help to the people, but to the elites. Now what they're giving is soldiers. What they needed before this was a firm commitment to democracy."

New Zeal Interesting that backing for Tonga's "Democracy Movement" has come from the far left, even before blame for the riots has been established.

Despite strong allegations from Tonga's biggest private sector employer, Mike Jone, that the arsons were at least partially commercially motivated (targeting non supporters of the "Democracy Movement"), both Locke and Robson strongly support this highly dubious movement.

I wonder if Keith Locke and Matt Robson view "democracy" in the same way most people do?

History tells us that any third world movement with the words "democracy" or "democratic" in its name, usually isn't.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Peace Movement Backs Tongan Revolutionaries

The NZ left has already jumped on the Tongan revolutionary bandwagon.

From Indymedia

Peace Action Wellington opposes the deployment of the New Zealand military and police to Tonga and will protest outside the New Zealand Defence Headquarters in Stout Street, Wellington, today (Monday, 20th November) from 12:30pm.

"These troops are serving the interests of the feudal class in Tonga, while crushing people's desire for change."

"We stand in solidarity with the people's resistance in Tonga and support them in their struggle for self determination," said Valerie Morse.

Bono the Genocidal Hand Clapper

This cracked me up. Pious prat that he is.

During one concert in Ireland, Bono suddenly stopped singing, hushed his band, and waited for the hall to fall silent. Stepping into a spotlight he began to rhythmically clap his hands. "Every time I clap my hands," he intoned, "a child dies in Africa." Whereupon a voice from the audience yelled: "Well stop fooking clapping then."

Hat Tip The Conservative Pulpit

Perhaps Africa should be thankful that Bono usually has one hand occupied.

Why I Admire British Justice

Two leaders of the British National Party have just been acquitted of inciting racial hatred.

From the Scotsman

Summing up, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Norman Jones, QC, said: "This case is not about whether the political beliefs of the BNP are right or wrong. It's not about whether assertions made about Islam are right or wrong."

He added: "We live in a democratic society which jealously protects the rights of its citizens to freedom of expression, to free speech.

It extends to the unpopular, to those which many people may find unacceptable, unpalatable and sensitive."

New Zeal Hear! hear! That's why I admire British justice.

Hat Tip Pacific Empire

Farrar on Men's Group Protests

Good sense from David Farrar on men's groups protesting outside lawyer's homes.

Now I am what you could call a potential supporter of the men's groups who protest against the Family Court. I think in the past there has been bias against men, there have been some awful treatment of fathers by the judicial process and they have my sympathy. I have empathy for the concept of shared parenting rather than one parent having custody etc.

But let me say the tactics of the protesters who target lawyers at their homes on the weekends appals me, and it greatly reduces my desire to support the cause they are promoting. Extremism turns people off. As does reading about how young children of lawyers are having nightmares because of the hours of protest outside their house.

I find the targeting of lawyers involved in the Family Court to be akin to bullying. They are merely advocates doing their job. The protests should be against MPs who make the laws. They are the ones who can change things for you - not lawyers. It comes across as personal and vengeful.

Secondly protests at people's homes, rather than their offices, is intimidatory. It affects their neighbours, spouses and children, and no just because you have lost your kids is not a reason to harass other kids.

The more these sort of protests carry on, the less likely it is that desired law changes will occur. It's a pity that some are blinded with (often justifiable) anger, to not see that their tactics are backfiring.