Pope blasts Curia in Christmas message

The Pope has blasted the Roman Curia in his Christmas message to them. He began:

“Sometimes [Officials of the Curia] feel themselves ‘lords of the manor’ [It. padroni] – superior  to everyone and everything,” forgetting that the spirit, which should animate them in their lives of service to the universal Church, is one of humility and generosity, especially in view of the fact that none of us will live forever on this earth.

He went on to list fifteen ‘diseases’ including:

  • The feeling of indispensability “often stems from a pathology of power, the ‘complex of the elect….is the narcissism that looks passionately on its own image and does not see the image of God stamped on the face of others, especially the weakest and most in need.”
  • “Existential schizophrenia” of double lives that create “parallel worlds”
  • “Terrorism of gossip” that sows discord and that amounts to “cold-blooded murder” of friends and colleagues.
  • Being “excessively busy” and not taking time for rest;
  • Excessive planning of functionalizing, or trying to “close or direct the freedom of the Holy Spirit”;
  • Bad coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise instead of music: “When the foot tells the hand, ‘I don’t need you,’ or the hand tells the head ‘I’m in charge’ “;
  • Rivalry and vainglory: “When one’s appearance, the color of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life”;
  • Indifference toward the needs of others: “When, out of jealousy or guile, you feel joy at seeing another fall rather than lifting them and encourage them”;
  • Accumulation: “When the apostle tries to fill an existential emptiness in his heart by accumulating material goods, not because he needs them but because he’ll feel more secure”;
  • Worldly profit and exhibitionism: “It’s the sickness of those who insatiably try to multiply their powers and to do so are capable of calumny, defamation and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally to show themselves as being more capable than others.”

Then he concluded.

After listing these ailments, Pope Francis continued, “We are therefore required, at this Christmas time and in all the time of our service and our existence – to live ‘speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love’”.

“I once read that priests are like aeroplanes: they only make the news when they crash, but there are many that fly. Many criticise them and few pray for them”, he concluded. “It is a very nice phrase, but also very true, as it expresses the importance and the delicacy of our priestly service, and how much harm just one priest who falls may cause to the whole body of the Church”.

He’s a very different sort of Pope. The ‘padroni’ may not like being told hard truth but it’s good to hear the Pope being prepared to shake up their self serving complacency..

Pope Francis launched a blistering attack on the Vatican bureaucracy Monday, outlining a “catalog of illnesses” that plague the church’s central administration, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and gossipy cliques.

The pope’s traditional Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was less an exchange of warm wishes than a laundry list of what the pontiff called the “ailments of the Curia” that he wants to cure.

In a critique that left many of the assembled clerics clearly uncomfortable, the 15 ailments in Francis’ “catalog of illnesses” reflected the take-no-prisoners approach he promised when he was elected nearly two years ago as an outsider with little direct experience in Rome.

Pope Francis issued a blistering critique on Monday (Tuesday NZT) of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that has made them forget they’re supposed to be joyful men of God.

Francis’ Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was no joyful exchange of holiday good wishes. Rather, it was a sobering catalog of 15 sins of the Curia that Francis said he hoped would be atoned for and cured in the New Year.

He had some zingers: How the “terrorism of gossip” can “kill the reputation of our colleagues and brothers in cold blood.” How cliques can “enslave their members and become a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body” and eventually kill it by “friendly fire.” About how those living hypocritical double lives are “typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that no academic degree can fill.”

Pope Francis on Monday used an annual pre-Christmas meeting with the cardinals and bishops of the Vatican bureaucracy — normally an exchange of good wishes and blessings — to issue a scathing critique of them, warning against 15 separate “diseases” in their work and attitudes.

Saying he wanted to prepare them all — including himself — to make “a real examination of conscience” before Christmas, Francis said while the Vatican bureaucracy was called to “always improve and grow in communion,” it was also prone to “disease, malfunction, and infirmity” like every human institution.

“I believe it will help us [to make] a ‘catalog’ of diseases … to help us prepare for the sacrament of reconciliation, which will be a good step for all of us to prepare for Christmas,” Francis said.

Many of the 15 diseases given by Francis were frank and blunt: a feeling of indispensability like a “rich fool”; of having a “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that makes a person dependent on the present; of living an “existential schizophrenia” of double lives that create “parallel worlds”; and a “terrorism of gossip” that sows discord and that amounts to “cold-blooded murder” of friends and colleagues.

His full message:

Pope Francis: Christmas greetings to Curia

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the heads and other senior officials of the departments of the Roman Curia on Monday, in their traditional exchange of Christmas greetings. In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered Monday morning, the Holy Father focused on the need for those who serve in the curia – especially those in positions of power and authority – to remember and cultivate an attitude and a spirit of service.

“Sometimes,” said Pope Francis, “[Officials of the Curia] feel themselves ‘lords of the manor’ [It. padroni] – superior  to everyone and everything,” forgetting that the spirit, which should animate them in their lives of service to the universal Church, is one of humility and generosity, especially in view of the fact that none of us will live forever on this earth.

“It is good to think of the Roman Curia as a small model of the Church, that is, a body that seeks, seriously and on a daily basis, to be more alive, healthier, more harmonious and more united in itself and with Christ”.

“The Curia is always required to better itself and to grow in communion, sanctity and wisdom to fully accomplish its mission. However, like any body, it is exposed to sickness, malfunction and infirmity. … I would like to mention some of these illnesses that we encounter most frequently in our life in the Curia. They are illnesses and temptations that weaken our service to the Lord”, continued the Pontiff, who after inviting all those present to an examination of conscience to prepare themselves for Christmas, listed the most common Curial ailments:

The first is “the sickness of considering oneself ‘immortal’, ‘immune’ or ‘indispensable’, neglecting the necessary and habitual controls. A Curia that is not self-critical, that does not stay up-to-date, that does not seek to better itself, is an ailing body. … It is the sickness of the rich fool who thinks he will live for all eternity, and of those who transform themselves into masters and believe themselves superior to others, rather than at their service”.

The second is “’Martha-ism’, or excessive industriousness; the sickness of those who immerse themselves in work, inevitably neglecting ‘the better part’ of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Therefore, Jesus required his disciples to rest a little, as neglecting the necessary rest leads to stress and agitation. Rest, once one who has brought his or her mission to a close, is a necessary duty and must be taken seriously: in spending a little time with relatives and respecting the holidays as a time for spiritual and physical replenishment, it is necessary to learn the teaching of Ecclesiastes, that ‘there is a time for everything’”.

Then there is “the sickness of mental and spiritual hardening: that of those who, along the way, lose their inner serenity, vivacity and boldness and conceal themselves behind paper, becoming working machines rather than men of God. … It is dangerous to lose the human sensibility necessary to be able to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice! It is the sickness of those who lose those sentiments that were present in Jesus Christ”.

“The ailment of excessive planning and functionalism: this is when the apostle plans everything in detail and believes that, by perfect planning things effectively progress, thus becoming a sort of accountant. … One falls prey to this sickness because it is easier and more convenient to settle into static and unchanging positions. Indeed, the Church shows herself to be faithful to the Holy Spirit to the extent that she does not seek to regulate or domesticate it. The Spirit is freshness, imagination and innovation”.

The “sickness of poor coordination develops when the communion between members is lost, and the body loses its harmonious functionality and its temperance, becoming an orchestra of cacophony because the members do not collaborate and do not work with a spirit of communion or as a team”.

“Spiritual Alzheimer’s disease, or rather forgetfulness of the history of Salvation, of the personal history with the Lord, of the ‘first love': this is a progressive decline of spiritual faculties, that over a period of time causes serious handicaps, making one incapable of carrying out certain activities autonomously, living in a state of absolute dependence on one’s own often imaginary views. We see this is those who have lost their recollection of their encounter with the Lord … in those who build walls around themselves and who increasingly transform into slaves to the idols they have sculpted with their own hands”.

“The ailment of rivalry and vainglory: when appearances, the colour of one’s robes, insignia and honours become the most important aim in life. … It is the disorder that leads us to become false men and women, living a false ‘mysticism’ and a false ‘quietism’”.

Then there is “existential schizophrenia: the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of the hypocrisy typical of the mediocre and the progressive spiritual emptiness that cannot be filled by degrees or academic honours. This ailment particularly afflicts those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic matters, thus losing contact with reality and with real people. They create a parallel world of their own, where they set aside everything they teach with severity to others and live a hidden, often dissolute life”.

The sickness of “chatter, grumbling and gossip: this is a serious illness that begins simply, often just in the form of having a chat, and takes people over, turning them into sowers of discord, like Satan, and in many cases cold-blooded murderers of the reputations of their colleagues and brethren. It is the sickness of the cowardly who, not having the courage to speak directly to the people involved, instead speak behind their backs”.

“The sickness of deifying leaders is typical of those who court their superiors, with the hope of receiving their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, honouring people rather than God. They are people who experience service thinking only of what they might obtain and not of what they should give. They are mean, unhappy and inspired only by their fatal selfishness”.

“The disease of indifference towards others arises when each person thinks only of himself, and loses the sincerity and warmth of personal relationships. When the most expert does not put his knowledge to the service of less expert colleagues; when out of jealousy … one experiences joy in seeing another person instead of lifting him up or encouraging him”.

“The illness of the funereal face: or rather, that of the gruff and the grim, those who believe that in order to be serious it is necessary to paint their faces with melancholy and severity, and to treat others – especially those they consider inferior – with rigidity, hardness and arrogance. In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity”.

“The disease of accumulation: when the apostle seeks to fill an existential emptiness of the heart by accumulating material goods, not out of necessity but simply to feel secure. … Accumulation only burdens and inexorably slows down our progress”.

“The ailment of closed circles: when belonging to a group becomes stronger than belonging to the Body and, in some situations, to Christ Himself. This sickness too may start from good intentions but, as time passes, enslaves members and becomes a ‘cancer’ that threatens the harmony of the Body and causes a great deal of harm – scandals – especially to our littlest brothers”.

Then, there is the “disease of worldly profit and exhibitionism: when the apostle transforms his service into power, and his power into goods to obtain worldly profits or more power. This is the disease of those who seek insatiably to multiply their power and are therefore capable of slandering, defaming and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally in order to brag and to show they are more capable than others”.

After listing these ailments, Pope Francis continued, “We are therefore required, at this Christmas time and in all the time of our service and our existence – to live ‘speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love’”.

“I once read that priests are like aeroplanes: they only make the news when they crash, but there are many that fly. Many criticise them and few pray for them”, he concluded. “It is a very nice phrase, but also very true, as it expresses the importance and the delicacy of our priestly service, and how much harm just one priest who falls may cause to the whole body of the Church”.

Sob story but Salvation Army resists handout mentality

Stuff appears to have laid on the sympathy and guilts:

Kids to go without Christmas, mum says

An Invercargill couple say their six young kids will go without on Christmas day and it’s the Salvation Army’s fault.

Shelly Edwards and Leo Hewett said their six children aged 3-10 will get no presents and have a diet of chicken and bread on Christmas day because the Salvation Army failed to help them in their time of need.

“How can we tell the kids there’s nothing for Christmas?” Shelly asked from their south Invercargill state house yesterday.

Struggling to afford a decent Christmas for their kids, they thought it was sorted when the Nga Kete trust referred them to the Salvation Army scheme called adopt-a-family, which sees businesses and individuals sponsor struggling families during Christmas by providing them with a hamper filled with food and treats.

The family had been on the same scheme last year and received presents for their children, a supermarket voucher and a food hamper, they said.

The couple said they had always believed  the Salvation Army was there to look after people, “not push them away”.

“We were relying on adopt-a-family … it’s sad they won’t help people like us,” Shelly said.

The children would not be getting any presents and the family would eat what was in the fridge, including bread and chicken on Christmas day, they said.

“I feel sad for my kids because they are going to miss out on Christmas … we were counting on that for Christmas,” Shelly said.

But the Sallies didn’t buy this sob story.

However, the Salvation Army says the parents are to blame for their family’s predicament because they have relied on handouts rather than trying to help themselves.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Brenda King said the family had never been put on the adopt-a-family scheme this year, effectively because they had failed to help themselves.

Shelly had been using the services of the Salvation Army for about two years and when she received more than three food parcels in one year she was referred to a budget advice centre to receive financial planning assistance, King said.

However, Shelly had not engaged with the budget advisory service so was not put on the adopt-a-family scheme, King said.

The Salvation Army’s aim was for its clients to get to the point where they could look after themselves and be self sufficient.

“If we keep handing out we are enabling them to stay in the situation they are in. We aren’t actually helping them at all in the long run.”

Shelly and her partner had six children and they were responsible for them, King said.

“I have been in touch with her budget advisor and she assures me they do have money. Like everyone Shelly has known Christmas is coming.”

The Sallies have a reputation for hard work and helping a lot of people.

In this case it sounds like parents have ignored attempts to help them budget through the year, expecting to get a repeat handout for Christmas.

When they were turned down they (presumably) went to the media to shame the Sallies into giving them handouts again.

It’s not surprising to see a tough love stance from the Sallies. It’s difficult for them dealing with a wide range of families in various states of need.

But parents have to take responsibility for their own situation. A range of help is on offer to try and assist them turn their lives around.

This might be a tough Christmas for their kids. But if the parents learn from their harsh Christmas message they might make a better Christmas happen for their kids next year. And they will all be better off for it.

Open Forum – Tuesday

23 December 2014

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome.

Some basic ground rules:

If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.

Mike Sabin and methamphetamine

MP Mike Sabin is being investigated by the police for assault, and it appears that National are looking at possible replacements for him in his Northland electorate.

Sabin has a history of involvement in drug enforcement and education.

Before becoming an MP in 2011 Sabin was a police officer for ten years (including drugs detective) and then in 2006 founded a business called Methcon that somehow made money out of addressing the P problem. They described themselves as:

New Zealand’s only specialist methamphetamine education provider

Sabin’s website profile goes into more detail.

Mike took leave without pay from the police in 2006 having founded a world-first company,MethCon Group Ltd, the aim of which was to provide employers, government agencies, community organisations and members of the public with better education, policy and strategies to respond to New Zealand’s growing P problem. Mike delivered hundreds of seminars and presentations in businesses, schools and communities from Te Kao in the North to Wellsford in the South, gaining a respected public profile and connectivity with communities and organisations around the North.

Mike quickly rose to national prominence as managing director of Methcon Group with frequent media appearances and commentaries. The business quickly expanded from Northland right across the country with Methcon Group gaining recognition with a number of business awards, while Mike himself was recognised with national leadership awards for his commitment in this area.

While researching solutions to New Zealand’s methamphetamine crisis Mike traveled extensively into the United States and Europe and provided research and recommendations to the previous government and the new National lead government, which have given this issue considerable priority.

Mike’s is now considered one of the country’s foremost authorities on matters related to methamphetamine and drug policy which is also reflected internationally in his roles on several international drug prevention policy organisations, including being one of two representatives for Oceania on the World Federation Against Drugs. Mike also attended and gave an address at the United Nations in Vienna at the 10 year anniversary of global drug policy in 2009.

On Youtube: New Zealand’s first methamphetamine education DVD.

Coincidentally I watched a documentary last night on methamphetamine in Fresno, California. The widespread inter-generational addiction problems are awful. And the prospects for kicking the habit don’t look great.

A comment here yesterday from “Concerned Citizen”:

This Sabin idiot gave us the most ridiculous speech about drug addicts one day. He said it was proven that forcing them into rehab was the only way to get results. Hello!! Anyone who has had anything to do with an addict would know that forcing them to do anything won’t work. They have to want to get better. Ruling people with a big stick hasn’t got you anywhere much now, has it Mike?

In a Radio NZ interview in 2008:

Mike Sabin: There are programmes. The effectiveness of them, and the ability to actually have a mandated programme. So in words what we’re talking about is this notion of you only get off drugs if you want to is actually quite incorrect.

With some of the more powerful drugs if you force them into a corner and you give them a hard option or a really hard option they will take the hard option.

And some of the results we’re seeing in the United States with drug treatment courts. You know forty to sixty percent of people are getting clean within three months. Recidivism rates dropped from sixty percent down as low as five percent.

That may not be his current thinking on cessation methods.

Reported in Australia in June this year:

No known treatment for ice addiction, inquiry told

Australia urgently needs to step up research into treatments for ice addiction, health and drug experts say.

Unlike methadone for opioid users, a substitute for methamphetamines largely does not exist.

The Australian Medical Association has told a Victorian inquiry into the supply and use of ice that urgent research is needed to develop suitable treatment and management options for methamphetamine dependence.

Clinical drug experts have joined the call, saying Australia could be leading the way in looking for more effective long-term treatment for people using crystal methamphetamine.

The head of clinical services at Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Services, Dr Matthew Frei, said pharmaceutical treatments for ice were undeveloped and there were limited options for long term therapy.

And Sabin in Australia about the same time:

Prevention the cure for ice scourge, expert says

PREVENTION has to be the cornerstone of any strategy to arrest Victoria’s ice scourge, an international expert says.

Mike Sabin, a former New Zealand Police detective who has become an internationally recognised expert on methamphetamine, said prevention was often the “poor cousin” in drugs strategies, after treatment and enforcement.

“Don’t ever think you can arrest your way out of this problem,” Mr Sabin said.

Mr Sabin said strategies aimed at tackling health issues like heart disease, skin cancer and obesity focused on prevention and ice use should be treated in a similar way.

“It’s an entirely preventable health problem,” Mr Sabin said.

“The key to tackling this problem and every other drug problem in this state and every other place in the world is prevention.

The generation of tomorrow had to challenge the belief that drug use was a rite of passage into adulthood, he said.

Prevention is obviously best – if it works. Preventing the manufacture of meth, prevention pushers from getting people hooked and preventing addicts from obtaining supplies have all proven to be very difficult.

Working with drug addicts is very difficult. Meth addicts have a reputation for violence. Keeping them off highly drugs like methamphetamine has proven to be difficult.

Meth Help – “These pages will help you to make a change, find out about treatment and all the ways you can get support along the way.”

National plans to replace Sabin

While the police and the Prime Minister’s office are not saying anything about the investigation of MP Mike Sabin for assault there is some information being eked out, including possible plans to replace Sabin in the Northland electorate.

Mr Sabin, 46, is understood to be receiving support from a caucus colleague.

They should be supporting each other in general anyway, that support is presumably in relation to the investigation or about moving Sabin on.

Party president Peter Goodfellow told the Herald National’s hierarchy was unaware of any allegations, historical or recent, against Mr Sabin before this year’s general election. He refused to comment further.

Covering themselves for allowing Sabin to stand in the election. It doesn’t answer whether the allegations were known before Sabin was appointed chair of Parliament’s law and order committee. Cameron Slater claims that National have sat it “for weeks”.

Slater also said “there is little doubt that there will be a by-election in Northland”.

Nevertheless, the Herald understands senior Northland National Party figures have already been discussing potential candidates to replace him in the event of a byelection.

So Sabin’s future as an MP looks shaky.

CIA “Queen of Torture” revealed

NZ Herald reports that CIA’s Queen of Torture outed. Like other media outlets they don’t name her but make it very simple to find out her identity.

As with other reporters, Mayer acceded to the requests of the CIA not to name the officer, although she has been identified in other contexts.

However, in response to Mayer’s article and the investigation by television’s NBC news channel that triggered it, the investigative website The Intercept decided to “out her”.

So it’s a quick and easy task to find this. It’s odd when media act responsible and compliant with non-disclosure requests but effectively reveal anyway. The Herald says The Intercept…

was doing so over “CIA objections because of her key role in misleading Congress about the agency’s use of torture, and her active participation in the torture programme (including playing a direct part in the torture of at least one innocent detainee).”

Many of the incidents involving the 49-year-old career CIA officer have been described before. However, because of redactions in official reports of CIA activities, few were aware the operative featuring in them repeatedly was the same woman.

She was criticised after 9/11 for potentially failing to prevent the attacks.

She was harshly criticised after 9/11, when it was revealed that a subordinate had discovered beforehand that two al-Qaeda suspects who later joined the hijack team had entered the country, but failed to notify the FBI.

She went on to become a “key architect” of the “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” (aka torture).

That was the key CIA claim for the torture programme which the Senate’s latest report dismissed as “wrong”.

“She wrote the template on which future justifications for the CIA programme and the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques were based,” the report concluded.

And she made more major mistakes, including feeding falsen information and extracting false information from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed.

She attended the waterboarding at a so-called “black site” in Poland of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the al-Qaeda No3 who masterminded the 9/11 attacks, even though she had no reason, as an analyst, to be there.

She wrote enthusiastically that Mohammed was “going to be hatin’ life on this one”, but accidentally fed the wrong information to his interrogators, who used it to extract a false confirmation.

The information – that there was an al-Qaeda cell of African-Americans operating in the US – led to a manhunt for black Muslims in Montana.

And she was instrumental in an innocent German being abducted and tortured.

She also demanded the rendition of a German citizen named Khalid al-Masri, who was arrested in Macedonia and flown to Afghanistan for interrogation, though the man of the same name the CIA was hunting did not have a German passport.

He was released as a victim of mistaken identity five months later and compensated.

She was promoted and…

… in 2007 gave evidence to Congress on the use of “enhanced interrogation” in which she insisted: “There’s no question, in my mind, that having that detainee information has saved hundreds, conservatively speaking, of American lives.”

That has been claimed to be false testimony to Congress.

She would appear to represent many of the major mistakes made with the torture programme.

The CIA’s arguments for suppression of her name are vague and unpersuasive, alluding generally to the possibility that she could be the target of retaliation.

That’s ironic given that she was significant player in developing and executing a torture programme that appears to be more about oppressive retaliation than legal interrogation.

The Intercept justifies outing her:

The person described by both NBC and The New Yorker is senior CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky. Multiple news outlets have reported that as the result of a long string of significant errors and malfeasance, her competence and integrity are doubted — even by some within the agency.

The Intercept is naming Bikowsky over CIA objections because of her key role in misleading Congress about the agency’s use of torture, and her active participation in the torture program (including playing a direct part in the torture of at least one innocent detainee). Moreover, Bikowsky has already been publicly identified by news organizations as the CIA officer responsible for many of these acts.

Naming Bikowsky allows people to piece together these puzzles and hold American officials accountable. The CIA’s arguments for suppression of her name are vague and unpersuasive, alluding generally to the possibility that she could be the target of retaliation.

The CIA’s arguments focus on an undefined threat to her safety. “We would strongly object to attaching anyone’s name given the current environment,” a CIA spokesperson, Ryan Trapani, told The Intercept in an email. In a follow-up voicemail he added: “There are crazy people in this world and we are trying to mitigate those threats.”

However, beyond Bikowsky, a number of CIA officials who oversaw and implemented the program have already been publicly identified—indeed, many of the key architects of the program, such as Jose Rodriguez, are frequent guests on news programs.

Trapani also argued that the Senate report is “based only upon one side’s perspective on this story” and that an article about Bikowsky “doesn’t require naming a person who’s never had a chance to rebut what’s been said about them.” When The Intercept asked for the CIA’s rebuttal—or Bikowsky’s—to the critical portrayal of her in the Senate report, Trapani declined to offer one. He noted that CIA Director John Brennan had disputed the report’s contention that the agency had misrepresented the value of the interrogation program.

Innocent people were abducted and tortured. US and International laws and morals were stomped all over. In part this was able to happen because the CIA acts in secret and tries to maintatin secrets to hide from responsibility.

The world deserves much better from the world’s greatest power. Power corrupted is dangerous and despicable and should be openly examined to reduce the chances of it happening again.

If there’s a bit of colateral damage in torturers being ostracised and becoming potential targets of retaliation then tough. It’s not like they are being tortured.

Open Forum – Monday

22 December 2014

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome.

Some basic ground rules:

If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.

Caution – serious Slater allegations

While Slater is prone to over selling and under-delivery on scandal stories but he claims that the Mike Sabin assault story will lead to a by-election in Northland and there is another serious claim against a different National MP.

if there’s any truth to The coming by-election in Northland

The story itself, which National have sat on for weeks, is almost too horrible for words, and there is little doubt that there will be a by-election in Northland.

Word from Fraser House is that senior whip and pink cocktail drinker Chris Hipkins is sitting on another ethics story where a senior National Party figure has been nailed for wife beating, and doing a whole lot of things that are not OK. Combine that with the Sabin story and it really looks like John Key doesn’t care about ethics.

…then National have more major problems to deal with.

But when Slater says…

This is the problem you get when you have an ethically challenged party hierarchy.

…then you have to take the irony into account when considering his claims. Slater has National MPs he supports (sometimes for money) and those he acts against.

And another warning directly from Slater:

It’s politics, the court of public opinion rules.

He has a record of framing the narrative hoping that mud will stick regardless of the full facts of a story.

Obviously there is something to the Sabin story. If it’s subject to police inquiry then National can’t front foot it.

The “wife beating” rumour is more of a problem to deal with because there is nothing in the public about it.

But if these are swept under the holidays rug then Key could find it challenging starting 2015 positively.

UPDATE: Radio NZ reports PM’s office confirms complaint about MP

The Prime Minister’s office says it is aware of a complaint that has been made to police about the National MP for Northland, Mike Sabin.

Savage Insult

An insult to Mickey Joseph Savage:

SavageInsult

I see grating clashes in that image, one of which is linking “the architect of the welfare state” with a symbol of crass consumerism. Demeaning and insulting.

‘Blackmail’ blows back on former NZ First MP

Both Asenati Lole-Taylor and her husband have been broken rules accessing criminal records at the Department of Corrections.

Earlier this month it was reported that the husband of ex NZ First MP Lole-Taylor lost his job “after inappropriately accessing the criminal records of a former party official.”

Husband of ex-MP loses job for peek at records

The Corrections Department confirmed manager Dennis Taylor, husband of Asenati Lole-Taylor, is no longer employed after an investigation into a complaint by former director and Mana electorate chairwoman Marise Bishop.

Her historic drink-driving convictions were divulged to senior party members when she sought re-election at a 2012 convention.

Bishop laid the complaint in June. At the time Lole-Taylor said the allegations were politically motivated and “blackmail”. She could not be reached for comment yesterday. It is understood Corrections has written to her.

Lole-Taylor was the party’s Corrections spokeswoman until September’s election.

It was known before the election that this case was pending. Lole-Taylor was retained on the NZ First list but dropped to a virtually unwinnable position at 16 – NZ First have 11 MPs.

Stuff now report that Lole-Taylor also broke rules at Corrections.

Former MP Asenati Lole-Taylor ‘broke rules’ by accessing records

Former NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor inappropriately accessed the criminal records of a former party official, the Department of Corrections has confirmed.

Dennis Taylor, her husband, lost his job last month after an investigation found he looked up historic convictions of NZ First’s former director and Mana electorate chairwoman Marise Bishop.

Now, in a letter to Bishop, Corrections has revealed the investigation found Lole-Taylor, who was a rehabilitation and reintegration services adviser at the time, also broke the rules.

But because she quit Corrections after becoming a list MP in 2011, they can take no action.

NZ First can probably avoid having to take any action as well but they have not responded to approaches for comment.

Bishop, a former Defence Force communications operator and sales consultant, was stunned by the findings, saying it was “unbelievable.”

“I am still comprehending the outcome,” she said.

However, Bishop has taken a complaint to the Privacy Commission and may decide to raise the matter with police.

Her historic drink-driving convictions were divulged to senior party members when she sought re-election at a 2012 convention. But she had already disclosed her record to the party’s executive board.

At the time, Lole-Taylor said Bishop’s complaint was politically motivated and “blackmail”.

Lole-Taylor has a record of making ludicrous claims against critics.

It’s ironic that she accused Bishop of blackmail when she “broke rules” to access confidential information that she used to try and politically damage someone else.

Lole-Taylor was eight on the NZ First list in 2011. Once could wonder how well she was checked out for that.

This attempted political hit job is unlikely to be one that Winston Peters will want to talk about. His latest crusade has been based on information he has been given from within the Department of Defence.

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