Nats acted with sheer vindictiveness

Eight months on from Labour’s election loss, former prime minister Helen Clark has no regrets and she rejects suggestions that Labour alienated voters by pushing through measures such as the child discipline bill.

Now in New York as head of the United Nations Development Programme, Miss Clark has also revealed unease at the National Government’s direction on climate change and says its scrapping of her flagship sustainability agenda was motivated by sheer vindictiveness.

I had a little bit of a smile on my face when I read the article. Quite honestly I think that the loss of Labour is a combination of alienating voter and a total lack of campaign. Remember, it was never about why yes to Labour and always about why no to National.

But now this, vindictiveness as a hidden agenda behind the change in course on the sustainability agenda. Should she not applaud the fact that there is still some of her “flagship” afloat? Good Lord Helen, are you not taking yourself a bit too serious, “your” flagship?

More and more reports are appearing that this whole climate change thingy has nothing to do with human interference. You were looking to have New Zealanders hand over substantial amounts of tax money (which many don’t have) for the sake of being part of the club, your club for that matter. Vindictiveness… get real and step of that horse, you are starting to sound like some of the Labour supporters on Grassroots Labour (ning network). How cheap but most of all not addressing anything of value.

In the end it is clear now that it was never about democracy and all about you and your ideology: just sit back people and let Mother Helen take care of you by creating the perfect nanny state. Well guess what, vindictiveness has none to do with it. The children grew up after eight years, found out that mother had not been completely honest and found a new foster home.

Have fun in New York.

Deceptive, Polarising Media Practices in New Zealand.

A referendum on whether or not smacking as part of the parental correction options should be a criminal offense or not. In 2007, public opinion already seemed to be against making a correctional smack an offense but despite of that the act was pushed through.

The media seems at least in my opinion very good at making it easy form people to ensure them that they get the “right vote” on your form. Personally I am appalled by how the matter has been presented by the media; back than and again more recently.

Just so you understand: if you are silly enough to vote “no” you will be part of the legion of ‘smack happy’ people. Let’s be clear, the questions and matters subject to a referendum are of an entirely different nature.

The question is not whether or not parents should be allowed to give their child a correctional smack if and when they see that need BUT whether or not a correctional smack by a parent should be considered a Criminal Offense.

These are two entirely different matters as I could imagine myself being AGAINST any form of correctional smacking by a parent BUT at the same time I could be AGAINST making a correctional smack by a parent a criminal offense.

The first deals with a personal vision on parenting, the second deals with a vision or perspective on criminal law and a perspective on how far a state should be allowed to interfere in the private lives of our citizens.

But that is not what the media is making us believe. Not at all, you are either for smacking or against it. It is not so hard to understand how this could happen. It is all about presentation, marketing of an issue and marketing an issue is what the boys and girls at Labour and Greens have always been good at, just like spitting dirt around. It is easy to be misled when someone like Sue Bradford ventilates opinions as could be read in the Waikato Times of 30 July 2009:

“For years, smacking was seen as a parent’s right, vital in the discipline of a child…

… However, Green Party MP Sue Bradford, who introduced the private member’s bill leading to the anti-smacking legislation, disagrees, saying the key point is that New Zealand has outlawed smacking for the purposes of correction.

She said laws like those in NSW or Britain gave parents permission to beat their children.

She said supporters of the “no” vote in the referendum wanted to “have a law which defines the level and nature of violence that it would be acceptable to use on our children.

“The implication is that in some ways it’s just fine to beat your child. If, after the referendum, the National Government changed the law back and defined the level and nature of violence that is OK, that would be such a retrograde step.””

See what I mean? From whether or not smacking is a parental right, we shift quickly to saying that is it just fine to beat your child. But what happened to the question in the middle? Even if the overwhelming majority of people find that a correctional smack is NOT a parental right: does that justify that such a smack is made a criminal offense? Were there really no other options? Is it really so that those that see a correctional smack as acceptable are of the opinion that it is alright to use “violence” against their children? I dare to say not at all, it is just that those that are of the opinion that a correctional smack could be part of the parental toolbox hardly ever get seem to get a chance to publicly discuss their views. The media seems hardly interested in their side of the story and instead pursue the anti-smacking position (the yes vote), until we all believe that that is the way to go. Thank God for Magazines like Investigate and reporters/authors like Ian Wishart.

So what we are actually looking at is a law that was pushed through despite serious questions about whether or not this was something that was backed by the people of New Zealand, parents that need to consider that they are actually committing a criminal offense when they actually use a correctional smack, an extra burden on an already overstretched law enforcement apparatus, a referendum that addresses only part of the relevant issues, a referendum, that is most likely not going to change anything anyway and politicians and media that obscure the issues at hand.

What are we actually voting for?


Somehow I see a parallel with the climate change/global warming debate.

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Waikato people smack law down

Waikato residents have given overwhelming support to allowing parents to smack their children.

Some 92 per cent of Waikato people who plan to vote in the current postal referendum voting papers went out yesterday are against smacking of children being a criminal offence, according to a telephone survey of 409 people in a Waikato Times-Versus telephone poll.

The poll was run this week on Tuesday and Wednesday. The results are a continuation of the high popularity for sanctioning smacking that has registered in national and regional polls for the past four years.

But the Government has already said it won’t change the two-year-old law, which Prime Minister John Key thinks is working well.

The Times poll showed 70 per cent of Waikato residents planned to vote in the referendum, with that rising as high at 78 per cent within Hamilton. Females (76 per cent) were also more likely to vote.

Residents were asked: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” Just 8 per cent said yes.

Why am I not surprised? The support for smacking as part of parental corrections have always been there. It was typically a law that was pushed through by someone with very specific view on parenting.

Whatever your view: the key question of course is HOW FAR CAN A STATE INTERFERE IN FAMILY LIFE?

If I go from the first results, the Anti-smacking legislation is considered by the overwhelming majority as going too far. So that leaves us with the referendum: I can’t help but feeling that I need to vote because of the importance of the subject but at the same time that it is a useless exercise as nothing will change as a result of it, regardless of the outcome?
Is this not a lot of wasted money?

And, where can I find some clarity on how this law has been of influence not so much on Police involvement in parental matters but of CYFS involvement?
Anyone any suggestions or links, please let me know.

Posted via web from John Dierckx

Ghostery blocks the sneaky spies

When you surf the net, and visit a website, there are a number of trackers that are keeping an eye on your behaviour. This is how for instance Google or Statcounter are able to create profiles of visitors. Firefox now has a plugin that prevents that and protects the privacy of users. The Ghostery plugin has been a useful addon to Firefox and recently version 2.0 was made available, which encompasses TrackerBlock. I am really happy with its smooth performance. Besides blocking 'web bugs' Ghostery also blocks advertisements, widgets and other trackers.

The release of TrackerBlock another step in obtaining a collection of tool to protect your privacy and manage your relation with Third  Party Advertisers, Behavioral Targeters and web analytics.

Or in the words of the site itself:

"Ghostery alerts you about the web bugs, ad networks and widgets on every page on the web.
Web bugs are hidden scripts that track your behavior and are used by the sites you visit to understand their own audience."

Ghostery 2.0 is can be downloaded at Mozilla Addons as well.

Posted via email from John Dierckx Air Con: The Seriously Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming (9780958240147): Ian Wishart: Books

In my view one of the more important books of these current times. The book, no matter where you stand, offers lots of great references and it is great to see Ian sticking out his neck for the not so popular view.

If you are looking at getting a more balanced view on what the media is feeding you, this will be your books of choice.

Highly recommended if only because the “climate change” legislative initiatives will cost you dearly as a tax payer and it offers a highly informative view on what global “governance” may very well really be all about. And what are you really changing by all these initiatives.

A highly recommended and very timely book regardless of where you sit on the fence. Brilliant!

Posted via web from John Dierckx

Wit Licht (The Silent Army)

Marco Borsato – one of my favorite singers and most definitely my favorite singer in the Dutch language – as a movie star, I was very curious. Finally, Wit Licht, (The Silent Army) arrived in my mail box this week and I got a chance to see this movie that has been received with such mixed feelings. From a standing ovation in Cannes to some very critical reviews in the Netherlands and also on the net (Imdb).

The story is in short the story of Eduard Zuiderwijk (Marco Borsato), who owns and runs a small restaurant in Uganda. His wife dies and left with his son  Siebe who is in turn very good friends with Abu, the son of one of the staff members. After the death of his wife, Eduard has a hard time running the restaurant and keeping the relationship with his son good. Abu, who fills an important spot here, is kidnapped by the rebels to become a child soldier. The movie is all about the search for Abu, in the hands of rebel leader Obeke, incidentally a former client and ‘friend’ of Eduard.  Intertwined with the search and rescue journey the movie is showing the horrors of children getting involved in war and of course with a happy ending where Abu – who as we understand later had to kill his father to save his own during a raid – is recovered by Eduard and reunited with his mother.

What  personally found most difficult is seeing Marco Borsato playing someone else and that took some time to get over. I cannot help but feeling that some of the emotions portrayed by Eduard in the movie were very real as opposed to played. For an acting debut not too shabby at all! While writing this I am looking at the special feautures and now see that one of the African actresses (Abu’s mother in the movie) actually makes fun of that where she found Marco Borsato crying on the set after she portayed a tormented, screeming mother that just lost her son to the Rebels. So there must have been some real emotions in this all.

I was not always impressed with the dialogues but at the same time, that is probably more close to real life than the ither way around. I was particuly impressed with the performance of the rebel general, throughout the movie, whenever you see him there is this real sense of danger hidden behind a relatively friendly presence.

I think it is fantastic that someone like Marco Borsato, also heavily involved in Warchild, and from the site it transpires that the movie is promoted as “War Child Film”, put his name and efforts behind such a great and important cause through this movie. The movie is most defintely not without its weaknesses but then again has some very powerful images in them that really grabbed me by the throat. Whatever the reviews, for that reason alone it is a very worthwhile movie and a must see. One cannot be pointed out enough how horrible war is, and more importantly how devastating the effects are of any war on children, especially child soldiers.

The strongest quote was by Valerie I guess when she decides to break all protocols to help out Eduard against all advice:

“It is not about why we do things but what we do (or words of similar meaning).” “Most people have brilliant reasons to do nothing at all.” 

A tormented European intellectual or simply a concerned parent?

The Investigate Magazine (s) ( of the past months have highlighted what every parent should be concerned about: how the state education systems of Western societies are failing miserably and contributing to the intellectual decline of Western nations. In his Eve’s Bite, Ian Wishart compellingly documents the social engineering of generations to the educational system. Having seen the output of current students when writing papers or reports I can not help but feeling a lot of sympathy for these feelings of failure.

I was made privy to several papers of University students made up quotes from copied and pasted using Google. Modern media appears to have become the standard and actual scholarly or scientific literature is something that is probably right for the makers of Discovery Channel or a few nerds, but not for the ‘normal’ student.

Knowledge based learning appears to have been replaced by social conditioning: no thought but which ones am  actually allowed to have in there. Reasoning/arguing a particular perspective, viewpoint or position? Nah, “discussing” a subject in a paper is marginalized to blind and thoughtless quotation of a set of prescribed and one sided articles and books (approved literature) by “approved” authors.

Try to incorporate opposite views and you will hear the that is not going to bring me any points argument. Most of all I was struck about the way in which these prescribed views were presented in these papers: do they not teach the basic skill of writing a sentence anymore? This was almost like reading a collection of text messages or so you wish tweets. Now I am known to make the regular spelling error but this was like nothing  ever saw before. Most of all I am truly worried to see that “thinking for yourself” appears to have actually been drilled out. Combine that with the erosion of parental roles, rights and responsibilities for the benefit of enhanced government control of the past nine years and it becomes apparent how much your child is in danger of becoming the next dumbed down puppet. It becomes apparent how much change and I mean dramatic change is needed.

I guess I can sympathize with Amy Brooke in her May 2009 column in Investigate Magazine:

“… Essentially we’re at war – essentially a kind of social war being waged by the mindless products of a rootless, destructive and immensely ignorant sector of society , including parents and their near barbaric offspring – indoctrinated with the grievances of overblown egos – or simply purposeless and adrift. What we’re now involved in is a social revolution against the very forces which traditionally stabilize Western society – an innate sober conservatism and the ultimate message of Christianity – stressing that man has obligations beyond those to himself or his mere tribe.

… This battleground encompasses our schools and their curricula, their anti religious – i.e. specifically their anti-Christian propaganda; the denigration of what he (Peter Hitchens in his book “The Abolition of Britain”) and the watering down of examinations to cover the attack on actual knowledge – and the decline of educational standards. All this in the name of spreading the gospel of a new society where everyone and everything is equal.”

In our state schools here in New Zealand nobody should be first, you don’t try to win a race, you “participate” and there is no room for first prizes. Individual study ad quiet concentration is replaced by group learning and discussion. In the meantime the lowering of the standards have lead to a decline in output of people that actually don’t have some of the most basic skills to develop as a human being: adequate levels of reading and writing and language skills, basic maths and science skills. The other day, and this is not the first time it happened, my four year old comes home with a picture he made. It was sad to see how a teacher can screw up such an effort by making spelling errors in a basic sentence. The boy had been asked what the teacher should write under his picture ended up with the following sentence:

“The sun is shinning today.”

Wouldn’t it be great if our children were actually taught the basics instead of all these ideology based social engineering programs in which the basics are replaced by mind manipulation and lowered standards for basic skills?

I recently had a great talk with Dr Jay Olivier (, someone with a passion for teaching.
He passionately told me about his views on education I realized how incredible it would be for the system to have such driven and knowledgable individuals teach our future generations. At the same time I realized that he would most likely end up being one of those few genuinly knowledgable teachers left, who will have to deal with the “ignorance is bliss” culture of that system. On 14 April he tweeted “Promoting an Exclusive Education Programme in Christchurch, NZwhich most likely will have looked like swearing in church for some.

Count me in Jay! There is nothing wrong with exclusivity for those that do want to break free of the masses and get the best our of themselves. Can we please start with a course in “Thinking for yourself” or “Evaluating what you read and hear” and “basic report and paper writing” as I think they would be a good start to create what they used to call Triple C graduates when I was a student: competent, critical and creative: able to think independently without losing sight for the interconnected and interdependent state and nature of things and affairs and with room for a personal opinion even if it did not accord with that of your professor, that is if you could substantiate your views in a convincing way.

I am now thinking that someone we know would sigh and say: “John you are a tormented European intellectual that does not want to be helped.” I guess I am starting to understand what “help” may very well mean: join in with the ignorance and call it being relaxed. “She’ll be right mate, sweet as…”  In my humble tormented European intellectual opinion, our children are not going to be right at all if things don’t change rapidly and besides that as a parent (yes I refuse to use the word caregiver to describe my role) I think we can substantially contribute in providing a broader scope to what is being taught at primary, high schools, polytechs and universities all within our options and means. Ever since I went on from high school to study music and after that law, I have started to realize the importance of having two parents that opened my world by having books available in the house on any imaginable subject.

While there may have been difficulties with paying the bills at times, there was always room to expand the already impressive collection of books. I remember the days well where I would enjoy reading about the lives and times of the great painters like Van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, Cezanne, Gaugin, great figures of history like Leonardo da Vinci, Gandhi, Napoleon, Lincoln, Washington, and well the lost could go on forever. It must have been in these younger years that I developed that hunger for new knowledge and understanding. Having a primary school where such an approach was highly stimulated only enhanced this experience.  And no we were not are equal, and because of that those that needed extra assistance in certain areas were actually identified and assisted by teachers as well as classmates. Yes there was competition bit at the same time there was a sense of helping out each other since lowering the standard was not an option.

I remember well my warm welcome as a twelve year old at the Greek embassy because I needed to write about Greece. No set rules on what you were to write, but go and read or go and talk to the people themselves, and where better to do that than the embassy. Or, my Wednesday afternoons spent in the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam where with the help of the then Museum librarian I wrote my own first paper on the history and developments of ships and combined with a a number of relevant books at home about the same subject. And just for the record, I was not an exception, that was the way it was done, that was the norm. Groups were based on achievement levels and while there were group lessons, there was a lot of quiet and concentrated time where you worked on your assignments and where the teacher was available to help out with questions, whether it was reading, writing, maths, science, history arts and crafts or religion.

I think I had a good wake up call, and will need to take more responsibilities myself, meaning extra time for the children and stimulating them to be the best they can be at all times an do whatever it takes to ensure that they can think for themselves. In the tradition of my parents that will mean connecting my children with history, the full scope of present and with that hopefully the future, and raising children that are hungry to learn and experience and most of all that can actally think for themselves and develop their own understanding of things.