A discussion of contemporary issues in media ethics, with olives and a twist. Made with only the freshest ingredients, shaken, stirred and poured over ice. I should also mention that I do like the odd, occasional martini. Bombay Sapphire gin and Lillet, dry and plenty of salty olives. Welcome to this cocktail of journalism and alcohol. A fine combination!

Friday, 26 October 2007

Civil rights protest in New Zealand - stop the terror laws

march this Saturday October 27th at 12 noon
from Aotea Square to Mount Eden Prison
For more information Civil Rights Defence Organisation

Socialist Worker (National Exec) statement on Crackdown

If we don’t fight to defend the “Urewera Seventeen” - the activists currently imprisoned without bail or trial - then it could be us next. That’s the simple fact that all of us who believe in social justice have to learn.

Everyone who knows someone who was arrested knows full well that these people are not terrorists. There is no way that these people were planning to kill, maim or destroy in pursuit of their political activism. So why did the cops feel the need to terrorise schoolkids, smash windows and confiscate property on Monday 15th?
It’s surely not a coincidence that that was the week that beefed-up “anti-terror” legislation was up before parliament. And the cops - and the SIS who stand behind them - were probably feeling a bit embarrassed that they hadn’t gotten to use the old legislation yet. So they wanted to give it a go.
But why do we have the “Terrorism Suppression Act 2002” in the first place? Simply put - because the Americans told us we had to.
Using the shock of the aftermath of the attacks on New York and Washington, the United States pushed the demand for “anti-terror” laws through a compliant UN in 2002. New Zealand was “obliged” to adopt these laws, or get in the bad books of the United States.
No New Zealander is on the UN’s list of terrorists or terrorist groups. But Maori activists said at the time that it was only a matter of time before these were used against Maori activists. Looks like they were right.

State violence

Some commentators - even some of those “on the Left” - are wagging their fingers at the people who are currently stewing in jail without trial or bail, saying they should have known better than to even look like they were preparing to challenge the State.
But this is a colonial nation. The New Zealand state was founded on acts of violence and dispossession of the tangata whenua. No-one disputes that. And no-one should be surprised that some Maori are not prepared to accept the status of a defeated people. Challenging the New Zealand state is their political birthright - not an act of “terrorism”.
An attitude that says that challenging the authority of the state should be enough to get you put in “Guantanamo of the South Pacific” isn’t about fighting terrorism. It’s about defining within what limits dissent and debate is “acceptable” - and enforcing those limits with ninja police breaking and entering.
There is no good reason for the “anti-terror” laws. They should be called the Terror Laws - their purpose is to sow terror in the hearts of anyone who might think of challenging those in power over us. Ordinary workers who’ve been in union struggles know that the police and courts are not the friends of anyone who wants to rock the boat.
The Terror Laws must be abolished - before they are used against any of us who doesn’t shut up and do what they’re told. We need to build the biggest possible political movement against these anti-democratic laws - and the corporate politicians in Labour and National who support them.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Doing more with less

BBC announces plans for 1,800 job cuts | Top News | Reuters

The British Broacasting Corporation has just announced nearly 2000 job cuts as it moves into the digital age.
This is a great example of 'doing more with less'. They're going to commercialise and also cut back on news production at the same time as they want to expand their digital division.

Anyway, I'm out of town for a while, travelling in the US and Canada. I may not get a chance to post while I'm away.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Prominent Maori activist arrested in dawn raids

Area sealed off in anti-terror operation - New Zealand, world, sport, business & entertainment news on Stuff.co.nz

Prominent Maori activist, Tame Iti is one of dozens of activists arrested this morning in raids across several areas of New Zealand.

Mr Iti's home was raided at 4.00 am and he was taken into custody.

Police are saying the raids were to thwart an alleged terrorist plot involving Indigenous and peace activists who had been training with live ammunition at several remote properties across the North Island.

The home of environmental activist Frances Mountier was also raided in Christchurch, but as police did not have a warrant, they were refused entry.

Civil liberties groups have condemned the raids as 'draconian'.

There's no clear picture yet of why the mass arrests have taken place, but police are saying that charges may well be laid under anti-terrorism legislation.

This media release was issued around lunchtime today, by lawyer David Small.

Spycatcher Calls Police Raids Draconian
Monday, 15 October 2007, 2:43 pm
Press Release: David Small
15th October 2007

Spycatcher Calls Police Raids Draconian and Probably Illegal

The man who successfully sued police for illegally searching his home at the time of an APEC Conference in 1996 has labelled police raids of the homes of social activists this morning as draconian and probably illegal. Canterbury University academic and spokesperson for ARENA, David Small, said the police seem to have learnt nothing from Justice Young’s judgment condemning the police for failing to distinguish between political and criminal activity.

Dr Small says that for search warrants to be legal, the police must have reasonable grounds to believe that they will find what they are searching for. These raids look much more like a fishing expedition.

Dr Small, who addressed a public meeting in Christchurch last Thursday on state security and surveillance, expressed particular concern about the use of the Terrorism Suppression Act in association with the raids.

“The public has been softened up with the threat of Islamic terrorism to give massive increases in the powers and resources of intelligence and security agencies. But it is now clear that the focus of their attention is really on social activists in New Zealand,” said Dr Small

This is exactly what happened in 1996 when opponents of the SIS Amendment Act were called paranoid for saying it would be used against local groups, and less than two weeks later, the SIS were caught breaking into an activist’s home.

“Democratic societies need free and open debate. And groups engaging in this kind of critical activity need the law to protect their rights to do so. Today’s raids have the opposite effect and are clearly designed to intimidate and silence these voices of dissent,” said Dr Small


Monday, 8 October 2007

Free speech supports lying politicians

This is basically why bourgeois law is an ass. The first amendment to the US Constitution, which is widely heralded as the best protection of free speech anywhere on the planet is now officially a protection for politicians who lie during election campaigns.

I'm not sure this is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind, but it shows you just how far things are degenerating and at what speed.
The bourgoisie - the ruling class in a capitalist system - no longer has any use for free speech, it is in fact counter to their class interests - staying in control of the economy and politics.

Now pro-capital politicians can further cement their grip on power by blatantly lying during election campaigns, safe in the knowledge that they are merely acting in the American tradition of free speech. Bastards.

This piece from Editor & Publisher give chapter and verse on the recent High Court decision.

David McSwane wins right to stay in editor's job

The editor of a student paper has been allowed to keep his job after the furore surrounding a headline on an editorial he wrote.
David McSwane the editor of the Colorado State University paper, The Daily Collegian, was censured by the Board of Student Communications, but was not sacked, as had been expected.
McSwane wrote an editorial in response to the tasering of a student at a Florida university. He headlined the piece "Taser this: FUCK Bush".
Many publications commenting and reporting this story have been coy about using the "expletive", but fuck it: it's a perfectly servicable word.
Congratulations David on keeping your job.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Free Burma

Take part in this action for a Free Burma!

1. Publish a posting (Bulletin Board, Forum, Blog, Social Network, Static Website…) on the 4th of October with the header: “Free Burma!”

2. Tag it if you can with “Free Burma”

3. Choose a graphic from our Graphics page and

4. Link to www.free-burma.org there your readers will find some informations about the campaign and Burma and a participant list which you can join. Even if you're a webmaster of a bulletin board or social network you will find a special Group List to join.

5. Feel free to write any additional text you want

If you have no website or blog we need you even more: Please help us to spread the word across the internet, tell your neighbours, friends or kids and first of all: Sign our list of participants!


Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Fuck Bush - not in this town!

Student paper headline ignites US free speech row | Press&publishing | MediaGuardian.co.uk

The editor of a student newspaper at Colorado State University is facing disciplinary charges at his university for publishing an edition of the Rocky Mountain Collegian with a front page banner headline that read: "Fuck Bush".

The case has become a test of the First Amendment right to free speech and the incident caused advertisers to pull material (and money from the paper). Here's a piece of the action from Editor & Publisher:

Student officials and faculty adviser Jeff Browne told the CSU board that since the editorial ran, 18 advertisers have either called to pull their advertising or threatened to end their advertising in the newspaper, which could result in some $50,000 in potential lost revenue. Officials have said that staff would have to take an across-the-board 10 percent pay cut to make up for the losses, which cut into the $950,000 advertising budget. Browne said some staff members, including a photographer, have quit.

The newspaper maintains an office on school grounds but is self-funded through advertising.

In a written statement submitted to the board, McSwane said: "We've lost advertising dollars. While this is a blow to our organization, I would also encourage the Board to remember that advertising dollars, though crucial, should not control editorial content."

School policies governing student media state that students cannot publish obscene materials but that "indecent or vulgar language is not obscene." Landers noted that the same policy prohibits the use of obscene and vulgar language in editorials.

Personally, I think 20-year-old David McSwane is a hero. But in the blogosphere, he has friends, supporters, and enemies; in particular college Republicans.

I think it's amusing that so many Republican bloggers can get upset about one little word - a "profanity" to use their colloquial term for the word FUCK, but they can still share the love with that asshole of a president and his filthy rich chums from the Blackwater security company who are paid a billion dollars a year to terrorise and murder Iraqis.

However, it's not the first time that David McSwane's journalistic antics have got him into trouble, or rather, into the national headlines.

He scammed a great story for his high school newspaper in 2005 that led to several US army recruiters being stood down in after a sting operation involving McSwane's younger brother, a video camcorder and drug paraphenalia.

Here's more on that story from Editor & Publisher
Teen Journo Draws Fire After Army Sting

By Graham Webster

Published: July 25, 2005 4:23 PM ET
NEW YORK David McSwane had seen the military recruiters around town. He had seen them at the high school. And he knew that with recruitment rates down due to the Iraq war, they were working hard to attract new cadets. And it gave him an idea.

"I wanted to see how far they'd go to get another soldier," says McSwane, a reporter for the Westwind at Arvada West High School in Arvada, Colo. So he set up a sting investigation, posing as a high school dropout with a marijuana habit and went down to his local Colorado Army recruitment station to enlist.

McSwane, 17, knew he would have to document his conversations with the recruiters, so he taped the telephone conversations, enlisted his sister to pose as a proud sibling so she could photograph parts of the process, and asked a friend to operate a video camera across from a local head shop.

But how did McSwane get an recruiter to visit a head shop with him? Simple. The honor student, pretending to have a ganja habit he couldn't kick, went there to score a detoxifying kit the Army office claimed had helped two previous recruits pass drug tests, according to a taped phone conversation broadcast on local TV. McSwane told his recruiter he didn't know what the detox formula looked like, so the man agreed to go to the store with him.
I like this guy's style and nerve. If I had a student like David McSwayne in my journalism class, he'd have my support. So David, if you get kicked out of college, come down to Auckland, I'll find room for you here.'

Just to finish, the profanity in question is defined thus in the online dictionary, dictionary.com

[fuhk] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation Vulgar.
–verb (used with object)
1.to have sexual intercourse with.
2.Slang. to treat unfairly or harshly.
–verb (used without object)
3.to have sexual intercourse.
4.Slang. to meddle (usually fol. by around or with).
5.Slang. (used to express anger, disgust, peremptory rejection, etc., often fol. by a pronoun, as you or it.)
6.an act of sexual intercourse.
7.a partner in sexual intercourse.
8.Slang. a person, esp. one who is annoying or contemptible.
9.the fuck, Slang. (used as an intensifier, esp. with WH-questions, to express annoyance, impatience, etc.)
10.fuck around, Slang.
a.to behave in a frivolous or meddlesome way.
b.to engage in promiscuous sex.
11.fuck off, Slang.
a.to shirk one's duty; malinger.
b.go away: used as an exclamation of impatience.
c.to waste time.
12.fuck up, Slang.
a.to bungle or botch; ruin.
b.to act stupidly or carelessly; cause trouble; mess up.
13.give a fuck, Slang. to care; be concerned.

[Origin: 1495–1505; akin to MD fokken to thrust, copulate with, Sw dial. focka to copulate with, strike, push, fock penis]

fucky, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This
fuck (fŭk) Pronunciation Key
v. fucked, fuck·ing, fucks

v. tr.
  1. To have sexual intercourse with.
  2. To take advantage of, betray, or cheat; victimize.
  3. Used in the imperative as a signal of angry dismissal.

v. intr.
  1. To engage in sexual intercourse.
  2. To act wastefully or foolishly.
  3. To interfere; meddle. Often used with with.

  1. An act of sexual intercourse.
  2. A partner in sexual intercourse.
  3. A despised person.
  4. Used as an intensive: What the fuck did you do that for?

interj. Used to express extreme displeasure.

Phrasal Verb(s):
fuck off
  1. Used in the imperative as a signal of angry dismissal.
  2. To spend time idly.
  3. To masturbate.
fuck over
To treat unfairly; take advantage of.
fuck up
  1. To make a mistake; bungle something.
  2. To act carelessly, foolishly, or incorrectly.
  3. To cause to be intoxicated.

[Middle English, attested in pseudo-Latin fuccant, (they) fuck, deciphered from gxddbov.]

Word History: The obscenity fuck is a very old word and has been considered shocking from the first, though it is seen in print much more often now than in the past. Its first known occurrence, in code because of its unacceptability, is in a poem composed in a mixture of Latin and English sometime before 1500. The poem, which satirizes the Carmelite friars of Cambridge, England, takes its title, "Flen flyys," from the first words of its opening line, "Flen, flyys, and freris," that is, "fleas, flies, and friars." The line that contains fuck reads "Non sunt in coeli, quia gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk." The Latin words "Non sunt in coeli, quia," mean "they [the friars] are not in heaven, since." The code "gxddbov xxkxzt pg ifmk" is easily broken by simply substituting the preceding letter in the alphabet, keeping in mind differences in the alphabet and in spelling between then and now: i was then used for both i and j; v was used for both u and v; and vv was used for w. This yields "fvccant [a fake Latin form] vvivys of heli." The whole thus reads in translation: "They are not in heaven because they fuck wives of Ely [a town near Cambridge]."

(Download Now or Buy the Book)
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Online Etymology Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This
a difficult word to trace, in part because it was taboo to the editors of the original OED when the "F" volume was compiled, 1893-97. Written form only attested from early 16c. OED 2nd edition cites 1503, in the form fukkit; earliest appearance of current spelling is 1535 -- "Bischops ... may fuck thair fill and be vnmaryit" [Sir David Lyndesay, "Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaits"], but presumably it is a much more ancient word than that, simply one that wasn't likely to be written in the kind of texts that have survived from O.E. and M.E. Buck cites proper name John le Fucker from 1278. The word apparently is hinted at in a scurrilous 15c. poem, titled "Flen flyys," written in bastard L. and M.E. The relevant line reads:
Non sunt in celi
quia fuccant uuiuys of heli
"They [the monks] are not in heaven because they fuck the wives of Ely." Fuccant is pseudo-L., and in the original it is written in cipher. The earliest examples of the word otherwise are from Scottish, which suggests a Scandinavian origin, perhaps from a word akin to Norw. dial. fukka "copulate," or Swedish dial. focka "copulate, strike, push," and fock "penis." Another theory traces it to M.E. fkye, fike "move restlessly, fidget," which also meant "dally, flirt," and probably is from a general North Sea Gmc. word, cf. M.Du. fokken, Ger. ficken "fuck," earlier "make quick movements to and fro, flick," still earlier "itch, scratch;" the vulgar sense attested from 16c. This would parallel in sense the usual M.E. slang term for "have sexual intercourse," swive, from O.E. swifan "to move lightly over, sweep" (see swivel). Chronology and phonology rule out Shipley's attempt to derive it from M.E. firk "to press hard, beat." As a noun, it dates from 1680. French foutre and Italian fottere look like the Eng. word but are unrelated, derived rather from L. futuere, which is perhaps from PIE base *bhau(t)- "knock, strike off," extended via a figurative use "from the sexual application of violent action" [Shipley; cf. the sexual slang use of bang, etc.]. Popular and Internet derivations from acronyms (and the "pluck yew" fable) are merely ingenious trifling. The O.E. word was hæman, from ham "dwelling, home," with a sense of "take home, co-habit." Fuck was outlawed in print in England (by the Obscene Publications Act, 1857) and the U.S. (by the Comstock Act, 1873). The word may have been shunned in print, but it continued in conversation, especially among soldiers during WWI.
"It became so common that an effective way for the soldier to express this emotion was to omit this word. Thus if a sergeant sai

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
WordNet - Cite This Source - Share This

1. slang for sexual intercourse

1. have sexual intercourse with; "This student sleeps with everyone in her dorm"; "Adam knew Eve"; "Were you ever intimate with this man?" [syn: sleep together]

WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Free Burma! - International Bloggers' Day for Burma on the 4th of October 2007

Free Burma! - International Bloggers' Day for Burma on the 4th of October 2007

This is a useful way to make blogging worth something.

Free Burma!

You can also get up-to-date information from Burma at this blogspot spot

Chaser lot may be let off for the APEC stunt - National - smh.com.au

It seems the NSW police may have belatedly received some drugs to help with their apparent lack of humour.
This report, Chaser lot may be let off for the APEC stunt , from the Sydney Morning Herald speculates that the Chaser team may well not be prosecuted for their hilarious breach the rabble-proof fence during last month's APEC bonanza in Sydney.

11 members of the Chaser team were arrested on various charges after their fake motorcade managed to breach the wall of security around the APEC leaders.

At the time the cops couldn't see the funny side, but now it seems they've been given a dose of something and had their humour restored.

Justice really.

You can see the full Chaser story here
When you see this you'll soon realise why the cops are not so keen on a prosectution. They look like real gooses here. The police case will collapse - and hopefully some asses will get spanked.