Thursday, 26 May 2011

Ban Ki Moon and all politicians

Every time you think you have just come across the most stupid example of human behaviour, up pops some other contender shouting, ‘Pick me, for I am surely the most stupid person in the world, or at least I have come up with the most stupid suggestion.” However sometimes things aren’t that clear cut.

This week the Danes are in the news for what looks like all the wrong reasons. No, not the dogs, but those people from Northern Europe who colonised Dannevirke and who are reputed to be the happiest people in the world, although in the light of what has come to my attention this week, you wonder if Gallup mistook happiness for babbling insanity.

The Danes have just banned Marmite. Yes, Marmite is now illegal in Denmark. But not only Marmite; that dastardly and no doubt addictive secret indulgence of many an apparently straight-laced older person, Horlicks is also verboten or rather forbudt (as they would say in Denmark). Rice Crispies, Shreddies and Ovaltine are also illegal substances. That must have really added legions to the list of substance abusers in Denmark. I wonder if they have support groups for those coming off Marmite or who have a bad Shreddies habit. I wondered if they might offer a Vegemite programme to wean them off the stuff, but I discovered that, too has been banned. So I guess it will have to be cold turkey. I’ve never understood how eating cold turkey can cure you of your addiction – unless of course your addiction is to turkey.

When I heard of these bans I initially became annoyed because I am not a great supporter of bans. They seldom ever work and just cause more antagonism between the opposing camps. Usually all that happens is the substance concerned ends up being peddled by criminals over whom no controls can be placed. I don’t know whether the Danes have a Mafia or whether it will be the local chapter of Valhalla’s Angels that will be selling vials of Marmite in back alleys, but rest assured someone will be doing it.

There have already been some memorable quotes on the subject. One ex-pat Pom living in Denmark is alleged to have said, “if they want to take my Marmite off me they'll have to wrench it from my cold dead hands." She’s obviously been taking too much of the stuff and having a vit, which is a vitamin induced fit, a bit similar to roid rage.

Another less imaginative fellow asked what he was to put on his toast now. Poor chap – he is probably one of those people who would REALLY scream out, “Help I’m stuck on an escalator”. Obviously the B12 does not increase brain power.

Some of the jingoistic English types have taken the whole thing personally and believe it is part of an elaborate insult against their products. Colonel Blimp sorts have been calling for a ban in Britain on Danish bacon, Lego, Arne Jacobsen chairs, and no doubt also Carlsberg, Tuborg, Hans Christian Anderson and Lars Ulrich of Metallica. They seem to have conveniently forgotten this is not the first time Marmite has been at least restricted. A few short years ago several schools in Wales took it from their canteens because of its excessive salt content. I don’t remember a call going out to ban leeks, Caerphilly cheese, Tom Jones, Charlotte Church or the works of Dylan Thomas.

But, silly as Denmark’s ban sounds, and silly as it actually is, there is an apparent logic behind it. The stated reason is legislation they adopted in 2004 which prohibits the sale of foods with added vitamins and minerals. To most people this still sounds bloody stupid and I’m inclined to agree. However if you think about it calmly, I think the point being made is that it is far better to eat foods that are naturally vitamin and mineral rich rather than those that have them added afterwards. Added vitamins suggests they are quite possibly synthetic concoctions rather than natural, and on that count I would have to agree it is far better to avoid those foods that have been enhanced.

To me that makes sense although not to the extent of banning the stuff. However it would appear the Danish authorities are a little unsure of themselves on this and when the Danish Veterinary and Food Association (a weird combination of interests if you ask me) was asked for comment earlier this week, they said they couldn’t comment on the Marmite case “because our expert is away until Thursday”.

In an interesting aside, Denmark was also the first European country to legalise same sex marriages and give homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual ones. Which reminds me of an old chestnut that did the rounds about the late Peter Sinclair and Marmite.....

It’s not long since they were found to be the happiest chappies on the planet, so I have to conclude that a life without Marmite, Horlicks, Ovaltine, Shreddies Rice Crispies and vegemite is the secret to a happy life.

 Maybe if we banned a few more foods we could be as happy as the Danes. Let’s start with the diet of garbage we are about to be fed between now and November.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Time out in our time

I don’t really know why I’m writing this because apparently the world is due to end on Sunday morning at 11am our time.

Religious nutcase Harold Camping has widely predicted the end to be at this time – so it must be right, eh? He is actually saying it will be 6pm on Saturday 21 May, but you have take account of the fact he is talking Eastern Standard Time which is 17 hours behind us. Why God chose EST I don’t know, but it means if this ding-dong is right, then he is also wrong, because in New Zealand we will get to see not only the last six hours of May 21 which the Yanks won’t, but also the first 11 hours of the 22nd.  Unless of course God staggers the whole thing so we all get it at 6pm OUR time.

Actually old Campervan has had a previous crack at this soothsaying business and I have to say it didn’t work out that well. Here we are 17 years later all still in one piece despite his strong assertions the world was ending in September 1994.

But what is wrong with an old octogenarian sharing such ‘insights’ with the world. It all seems pretty harmless, really. Well, actually it isn’t, entirely. For one thing this old fart has involved God in the game and I really don’t think he got official permission for that (from the big fella).

I know why he did it, of course. It’s so that when it all goes wrong again he has someone else to blame. “God told me, so it’s his fault.”

The trouble is that nutcases like this prey upon the feeble minded and the gullible and I gather some credulous cretins have divested themselves of most of their worldly goods on the basis that they won’t be much use to them next week.  I notice the crazy old bastard is not getting rid of his money. For some bizarre reason when asked about this he has a brief visitation from the Gods of logic and said, “What’s the point – It will be the end of the world”.  The cynic inside me wonders if those divesting themselves of their cash bought any products marketed by Mr Camp Stretcher or made donations to some phoney fund he has set up.

I have heard rumours of people talking about euthanizing their children to save them the horror of the finale ‘rapture’. Sounds a bit like Jimmy Jones Jones Jones and his soul soul clones to me.

I think somebody should take Mr Pup Tent in hand and cart him away to a secluded hilltop where he can sit and drool away the rest of his life waiting for his final judgement.

I see he believes the Bible not only to be ‘the word of God’ but also to have been actually written by Louis himself. Or as ol’ Guy Ropes would have it, “every word was written right from the lips of God.”

This seems bizarre to me. I know they probably didn’t have computers or pens when the world began, but I doubt very much that God wrote the Bible in drool. On the other hand......

However I guess I’d better put my affairs in order just in case Mr Campylobacter is right. Oh sod it all who cares? Even if he is right who the hell will know?

See you on the other side.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Just lying around

Bigger lies than usual are forming the basis of this year’s election campaign. Hopefully the chorus of fabulists, confabulators, and downright liars will overhype things so much before November that they will be unmasked for all including the usually credulous to see.

We always get lies and half-truths from city councillors, members of parliament and heads of government departments, and election year is usually worse than other years, but this year is somewhat unusual in that our ultimate head of state is also involved.

Governor-General designate, Jerry Mateparae is right at the heart of a monstrous (in both senses of the word) cover-up over the behaviour of New Zealand troops in Afghanistan. The allegation has been made that our lads captured prisoners in Afghanistan and then handed them over the Afghan authorities and I think it is fair to say this is undeniable. But Jezza and his merry band are still trying to deny it and write off the consequences.

I gather one of their tactics has been to start arguing the semantics of the situation. Among the sillier suggestions that have been made is that we were involved in joint operations so (technically) it was our partners who were in charge and therefore guilty if anyone was of handing over people to be tortured. This is complete crap and the sort of argument one might expect from a ten year old who has been caught bang to rights.

Since Mateparae was in charge of our defence forces at the time, it is crucial we have an independent investigation into this before we even countenance having him take the job of Governor-General.

JiangQi has waded in to support the potential G-G by refusing an inquiry and throwing a few massive tito of his own into the mix. On this occasion I think his boyish enthusiasm has got the better of him and he might have just put his head in the noose with his allegations against Jon Stephenson, the journalist who broke this story in Metro. The Prime Minotaur made some pretty specific allegations which Stephenson has not only denied, but consulted his lawyer about. It would seem that he had a witness present when he was alleged to have called the PM and identified himself as Duncan Garner. Furthermore Stephenson claims JiangQi did not hang up on him at the time, but had a quite amicable conversation with him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Stephenson taped that conversation. In fact I hope he did. I guess we’ll know soon.

So what are the other fantastical stories, fables, myths and bullshit that we have endured from the ruling party and their cronies so far this year?

Well their decision to change the rules around KiwiSaver is another example of their duplicity. This week they have confirmed what we have all been fearing for a couple of weeks; namely that the government will lower its contribution, thus breaking their contract with taxpayers ‘to make it more affordable’. That’s rich! Perhaps they could afford it if they returned their BMWs, demanded payment from Mediaworks, asked for the money back from AMI and stopped spending money on security for multi-nationals like Petrobras.

The following is a verbatim extract from the National Party policy on KiwiSaver – the one they campaigned upon at the last election:  National is committed to keeping the KiwiSaver scheme and making it an enduring and affordable scheme for members, employers, and taxpayers.

National is committed to maintaining New Zealand Superannuation payments at a minimum of 66% of the average after-tax wage.

National is committed to continuing the New Zealand Superannuation Fund in its current form and with the current contribution rate.

However what appears in our favour is that they are not planning to bring it into force until after the election. So if you want the government to hold up its end of this particular bargain, your only hope is to vote against the National Disgrace Party in November and hope like hell the other lot don’t try to pull the same stroke.

Among the other promises that are under threat is the plan to lead us to pay parity with Australia. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen while Bull Singlets is boasting to overseas investors what a great place NZ is to come to because ‘the wages are much lower than across the ditch’.

Of course most of us will have forgotten that GST wasn’t going up, either. Civil servants were being capped, but somehow (mysteriously) more than 2000 of them have gone.

Then of course we have to recall the vapid ramblings of that stupid cow Heck Yeah Parata when she was challenged about the decision to grant seismic drilling permits. She said they didn’t have the right to drill, but that is apparently completely wrong and the permit they were granted clearly states they are able to drill one well under the terms of that permit. Lady Gardiner should stick to pruning her roses.  

But to be fair, Heck Yeah was a latecomer to all of this and Jerry Brown-noser did all the really sneaky stuff like whipping this lot through without any consultation either with iwi or the general public.
So what lies in the future? Plenty more where that lot came from, I suspect. Semper Vigilans!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Bin there, dumped that

So Osama bin Hiding is dead.....but is he really? It’s quite amazing how convenient circumstances can be for world leaders at times.

Just as Obama, (is the next person of international interest going to be called Ollama, Okarma or Odrama?) is finding things tough in Congress and during the run-up to the next US presidential election; kaboom! up pops the bullet riddled corpse of Satan’s brother and there is dancing in the streets of Washington.

Obama sagely told the nation, “Justice has been done”.

Justice? Call me old-fashioned and I might even be a bit old, but I don’t think I’m so senile as to have missed the trial. I’ve been scratching my head all morning, but apart from a few dandruff flakes on my fingers I can’t for the life of me recall anything about an arrest, a reading of charges, a trial or a subsequent judicial sentence.

That might be justice Guantanamo Bay style, but it appears to fly in the face of the sort of justice the West is so proud to champion and even contrast favourably to that practiced by Al Qaeda.

I can’t help but be suspicious about how this operation has unfolded. It’s all too bloody convenient. The first thing that strikes me about the so-called raid is that it looks as though it was always a search and destroy raid with absolutely no intention of capturing bin Laden alive. The ‘body’ has also conveniently been dumped at sea with unseemly haste.

A picture has emerged that purports to be the body of Osama, but Reuters had a close look at it and declared it a fake Photoshop job.

So why would they want to take bin Laden out rather than in and why did they dispose of the ‘evidence’ so smartly?

You can only conclude they had stuff to hide. So what did bin Laden have on the Americans that they could not allow him to pass on to the rest of the world? He is known to have had close ties to the Bush family, so my guess is that at some point the administration has been compromised through some clandestine dealings it has had with him. Most likely there was some unholy alliance with the CIA and Al Qaeda somewhere along the line to gain some traction in one oil state or another.

So what happens now?

Well for one thing the propaganda war will hot up quite a bit. The Americans have already started with some stage-managed press releases. Some are actually quite funny, like the one that says Osama was hiding behind a woman and using her as a human shield when they burst in on him. The implication being that Osama (who wears a dress and ain’t no real man like the good ol’ boys that drink corn likker and believe in Je-sus!) was also a big sissy who cries and hides behind women’s skirts.

The level of this sort of crap is so ‘kindergarten’ that I found it astonishing that a newspaper such as The Washington Post would even run it without turning it into a cartoon.

Much has also been made of the luxury in which the Al Qaeda leader was said to be living. So? That distinguishes him from other ‘nice’ leaders in exactly what way? Do all those smiley inclusive baby kissers we call world leaders live in abject poverty, fund their own activities and give a shit about any of their constituency? (Cue Tui ad)

Nah Osama was probably a prick, which puts him in the same bag as most world leaders. He almost certainly encouraged many of his supporters to lay down their lives for his causes and to kill the unbelievers. (Still sounds like any one of a couple of dozen world leaders to me).

But there was one big difference between Osama and the others; his supporters will be seriously pissed off about what has allegedly happened and unlike their wimpier Western counterparts they are likely to take some pretty drastic actions to avenge what they see as an assassination. And from here, it certainly looks like an assassination.

But then I guess it was always going to be cheaper in monetary terms than the trial. America has a huge debt issue and times are tough!