Sour grapes

The Fox and the Grapes

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei complained that she was overlooked by Angry Andrew for a position on the Intelligence and Security committee because of her sex. She had no proof of this claim apart from the fact that he gave the job to someone else.

He said that he didn’t choose her because he wanted someone with ? ?skills, understanding and experience?? which in her mind implied that she did not have these qualities. Certainly no one would raise an eye brow at his decision to appoint David Shearer given his background in international relations and aid. After all he did spend nearly 20 years working for the UN, managing the provision of aid to countries including Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Iraq.No one could say that Andrew Little gave the position to some one less able and experienced than her. In fact the opposite is true as she has no international experience at all. Nothing, nada, nil, zero, nought.

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So how bad is this Ebola thing anyway?

Well, pretty bad if you catch it, but what are the chances of that?

Again not high. Look at this map:


It comes from an article in the Washington Post about the mis-conceptions about ebola.

Ebola is a frightening, unpredictable disease. Nearly 5,000 West Africans have died from the current outbreak with more than 13,000 people thought infected.

However, so far the problem remains largely limited to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Two other countries, Nigeria and Senegal, have had cases, yet are now Ebola-free. The DR Congo had an outbreak of a different strain of Ebola that now looks like it might be contained. And while there has been one case of the disease in Mali, the patient died and no others have been confirmed at the time of writing — though that may well change. Read more »

Photo Of The Day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outfitted a Gulfstream jet with an isolation pod designed and built by the U.S. Defense Department, the CDC and a private company. The pod, officially called an Aeromedical Biological Containment System, is a portable, tent like device that ensures the flight crew and others on the flight remain safe from an infectious disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outfitted a Gulfstream jet with an isolation pod designed and built by the U.S. Defense Department, the CDC and a private company. The pod, officially called an Aeromedical Biological Containment System, is a portable, tent like device that ensures the flight crew and others on the flight remain safe from an infectious disease.

Ebola Virus

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Trotter on Shearer’s back story back story

Chris Trotter has been doing some research about the back story of David Shearer’s back story. It is a fascinating read…and why I am linking to it…it is required reading for anyone in NZ politics and the media.

Some excerpts:

IT?S SURPRISING?how little we know about David Shearer. For most of us, his sudden appearance among the contenders for Helen Clark?s vacated seat of Mt Albert was the first appearance he?d made upon the New Zealand political stage. For Mr Shearer, however, the 2009 Mt Albert By-Election was a case of third-time-lucky. He had already stood for the Labour Party twice before: the first time, in 1999, as a lowly ranked candidate on the Party List; and the second, in 2002, in the safe National seat of Whangarei.

Our ignorance of those earlier attempts is forgivable, however, because Mr Shearer has always been a political paratrooper. In contrast to the party foot soldiers who slog their way through the Big Muddy of branch meetings, canvassing exercises, billboard construction and pamphlet deliveries, rising through the ranks to fight the good fight on policy committees or the NZ Council, Mr Shearer?s preference has been to jump into parliamentary candidacies from a great height and out of a clear sky.

Chris is a good old?fashioned?campaigner and clearly treats with suspicion anyone parachuted in.

But Chris has also delved into the dark past of Shearer:

Such ideological agnosticism ? explained away as good old Kiwi pragmatism ? does, however, offer us a way into the most unusual and contradictory aspect of Mr Shearer?s entire career: his support for mercenary armies, or, as they prefer to be known these days: private military and security companies (PMSCs).

It is possible to trace this thread all the way back to Somalia in 1992 where Mr Shearer headed up the relief effort of the Save the Children Fund. It is more than likely he enjoyed a close working relationship with the United Nations Mission in Somalia and would, therefore, have been aware of their appeal to the PMSC, Defence Systems Ltd (DSL) for 7,000 Ghurkha mercenaries to protect their relief convoys. In the end DSL turned them down, but it is clear that the notion of PMSC involvement in UN protection work (as opposed to soldiers provided by UN member states) made a deep impression on Mr Shearer.

That impression was intensified by Mr Shearer?s experiences three years later as the UN?s Senior Humanitarian Advisor in the West African nation of Liberia. Just across Liberia?s northern border, in the ravaged state of Sierra Leone, the PMSC known as Executive Outcomes had been employed under contract to the Sierra Leone Government. Shearer was deeply impressed by this mercenary army?s lightning-fast defeat of the Liberian-backed forces assailing the ruling regime.

There are many more revelations about Shearer’s back story…the wonder is why no one in the media has done this sort of work on Shearer.

Could Shearer have done some work for Britain’s spies?

Shearer on negotiation

? NZ Herald

David Shearer has given a speech on the art of negotiation:

Mr Shearer spoke to the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand about his skills in negotiating difficult situations in some of the world’s most dangerous spots.

He acknowledged those gathered, unlike some politicians, were probably not in the business of disagreeing; but were probably – like him – more skilled at negotiation.

He said he shared some experience in their field of expertise from his work with the United Nations and dealing with people carrying weapons – saying he worked in Somalia, Liberia, Rwanda, Lebanon, Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq to help people reclaim their lives.

“Whenever I stepped into the middle of an argument, I learned some more about human nature.”

Which all sounds like bullshit considering his idea in politics is when parties or people disagree they must walk away from deals…strange behaviour really from a person who likes to think he was the master negotiator in world hot spots…no wonder he got on sweet with Somali warlords…when they pointed their AK-47s at him he bailed out just like he wants the Maori party to do.

Lobby group intends to defy electoral law

Lobby group intends to defy electoral lawThe Sensible Sentencing Trust is planing to defy the Electoral Finance Act, by campaigning against political parties whose crime polices don’t measure up to its expectations [TVNZ News Politics]

The gift that keeps on giving is the Electoral Finance Act. Labour, privately at least, must be rueing the day they foisted this law upon us as it has been used as the stick with which to beat them almost every day since the law passed.

Now the Sensible Sentencing Trusts says that its law and order campaign is likely or unlikely, they can’t be sure and neither can their lawyers, to break the law.

Quite rightly they are campaigning to enlighten voters to the issues that they think are important to their members but the problem lies with the wording of the Act because every political party takes a position on law and order and therefore theoretically the Sensible Sentencing Trust would now have to limit how much they spend campaigning for tougher sentences. It is patently clear for all to see that this is anti-democratic and contrary to our rights to Freedom of Speech.

Good on the Trust for sticking to it guns.

Support for NZ First threatened

Support for NZ First threatenedTwo of New Zealand First's biggest backers say their members' support will be lost if the party helps pass the Electoral Finance Bill.
The Sensible Sentencing Trust yesterday said it would withdraw its vote for the party at the…
[NZ Politics]

Crunch time!? Viva la Revolucion!

Winston First is getting the crunch, sandwiched between Grey Power and the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Both organisations are saying that Winston can no longer rely on their support if Winston First continues his support of the Electoral Finance Bill.

Heh when you run on a platform of "dog-whistle" politics sometimes the dogs bite back.?