Trump in Twitter tirade overdrive – who’s panicking?

If we were watching this unfold from some other country, we’d question the US president’s wellness. “Is the president okay?”

Most countries with respectable democracies with appropriate separations between the government and the judiciary would be (or should be) somewhat concerned if a leader ran an ongoing campaign against a legal inquiry and court cases.

But Donald Trump has worked himself into a position where saying outlandish things is just presidenting as usual.

Recent Twitter tirades:

I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel. In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents. Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!

The failing wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type “RAT.” But I allowed him and all others to testify – I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide and have demanded transparency so that this Rigged and Disgusting Witch Hunt can come to a close. So many lives have been ruined over nothing – McCarthyism at its WORST! Yet Mueller & his gang of Dems refuse to look at the real crimes on the other side – Media is even worse.

No Collusion and No Obstruction, except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats. All of the resignations and corruption, yet heavily conflicted Bob Mueller refuses to even look in that direction. What about the Brennan, Comey, McCabe, Strzok lies to Congress, or Crooked’s Emails!

The Failing New York Times wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite – & the two Fake reporters knew this. This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!

So the enemy of the truth continues with his ‘enemy of the people’ attacks.

Some members of the media are very Angry at the Fake Story in the New York Times. They actually called to complain and apologize – a big step forward. From the day I announced, the Times has been Fake News, and with their disgusting new Board Member, it will only get worse!

Study the late Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!

That’s preposterous, and dangerous rhetoric from a president.

Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel, only with my approval, for purposes of transparency.

Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian Collusion is just someone looking for trouble. They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side – the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more! Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!

Who is the national disgrace?

Where’s the Collusion? They made up a phony crime called Collusion…

I think it’s Trump who made up a claim there was a crime called collusion.

…and when there was no Collusion they say there was Obstruction (of a phony crime that never existed). If you FIGHT BACK or say anything bad about the Rigged Witch Hunt, they scream Obstruction!

I hope John Brennan, the worst CIA Director in our country’s history, brings a lawsuit. It will then be very easy to get all of his records, texts, emails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt. He won’t sue!

Everybody wants to keep their Security Clearance, it’s worth great prestige and big dollars, even board seats, and that is why certain people are coming forward to protect Brennan. It certainly isn’t because of the good job he did! He is a political “hack.”

He seems to be trying to make it sound like revoking security clearance is a prestige damaging punishment.

Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions “Justice” Department? A total joke!

“Bruce Ohr is at the center of FALSE ALLEGATIONS which led to a multi-million dollar investigation into what apparently didn’t happen.” Darrell Issa, House Oversight. We can take out the word “apparently.”

It is outrageous that Poisonous Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China. We can, and must, END THIS NOW! The Senate should pass the STOP ACT – and firmly STOP this poison from killing our children and destroying our country. No more delay!

A switch to something else. Why doesn’t he do something, rather than waste time and credibility tweeting?

Image result for madness of king trump

 

MP’s pay frozen pending ‘fairer system’

The Prime Minister has announced that MP’s salaries and allowances would be frozen for a year “while developing a fairer formula for future pay increases”: MP pay frozen and fairer system for increases developed

“Today Cabinet agreed to freeze MP Pay till July 2019, and to reassess the funding formula used by the Authority to ensure it is fair and in keeping with this Government’s expectations and values,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“I have notified all party leaders of this decision.

The  Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway said the Government needed to take action before the Remuneration Authority initiated new pay rates.

“Because of the timing of the annual increase process set in the Act, we need to use an urgent legislative process, aiming for introduction in September.

“This means we need to amend the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 to suspend new Determinations by the Remuneration Authority and restore the 2017 Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Determination until 30 June 2019,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.

Ardern spoke more about it at yesterday’s weekly media conference.

RNZ: MPs’ salaries to be frozen for a year

The Remuneration Authority recently determined an increase of about three percent for the coming year, which Ms Ardern said did not feel right.

Urgent legislation will have to be passed in order for the freeze to take effect before the Remuneration Authority’s increase comes into force.

Jacinda Ardern said she has told other party leaders about the changes.

“They were brief conversations, obviously [government support] partners and I had an earlier conversation with and they are totally supportive.

“I’ve just got off the phone to [National leader] Simon Bridges and [ACT leader] David Seymour and the general sentiment I sense from them was complete understanding of the situation, and reading between the lines I think they probably agreed with the move as well.”

Ms Ardern said the move was about the government’s values.

“We are focussed on lifting the incomes of low and middle income earners and we also acknowledge that there has been an increasing gap between those income earners and those at the other end.

“We are at the other end. It’s just not right for us to have an increase like that currently and so we want to change the way that our increases are calculated in the future.”

This looks like a symbolic gesture, and a vague one at that.She gave no indication what the ‘fairer system’ would look like.

Ardern seems to think it wouldn’t look right to get a wage increase of about 3% while wage negotiations for 10-16% are taking place for teachers. It certainly looks like an odd move by her.

Is it fair for the Prime Minister to decide when MP salaries should rise, or whether they sshould rise, or what uis fair?

The Remuneration Authority is required by law to determine a pay increase which is in line with rises across the public service, but the prime minister has asked the funding formula to be reassessed, she said, to ensure it is fair and in keeping with her Government’s expectations and values.

More vagueness.

Would it be fairer for MP’s salaries to fall behind public servant salaries?

Would it be fairer for public servant salaries to be frozen pending the introduction of ‘a fairer system’?

Would it be fair to say that Ardern is making a symbolic gesture that will be nothing more than a delay to suit her purposes?

Stuff: Government freezes MPs pay amid multiple pay negotiations with educators, police

MPs’ pay is set by the independent Remuneration Authority – a process that deliberately keeps the annual pay review at arms-length from the politicians.

However, the Government has the power to set the criteria that the authority applies and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a review of the act that governs the process.

Another review, with scant details.

The 2016 decision of the Remuneration Authority saw MPs get a 2.5 per cent pay rise across the board. Ardern earns $459,739, with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters on $326,697.

Ministers inside Cabinet earn $288,900, with those outside Cabinet on a $243,841 wicket. As leader of the Opposition, Bridges is on $288,900, and for other party leaders, a base salary of $175,398 is supplemented with add-ons depending on the size of the party.

A backbench MP with no additional responsibilities earns $160,024.

Allowances were awarded on top of those figures, which took care of “out-of-pocket expenses” related to the job.

Quite generous salaries, but they are jobs with huge responsibilities and especially for the PM and ministers, heavy workloads.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said MPs should eventually only get the same pay rise as the average worker, “in dollar terms”

“MPs are paid well above the average worker, so giving them a percentage rise accentuates their higher pay. When it is right for MPs to get a rise, they should get the same in dollar terms as what the average worker receives.”

So MP salaries would gradually fall behind public servant salary levels.

Would Davidson also want that same system applied to public servants and government workers?

Graeme Edgeler suggests:

Automatically index to inflation just before the election to cover the whole next term

Then it wouldn’t be a political decision, nor a political embarrassment during the term.

 

Media watch – Tuesday

21 August 2018

MediaWatch

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Open Forum – Tuesday

21 August 2018

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Disturbing allegations of online death and rape threats

There’s been quite a bit of online comment lately about females getting serious threats of harm.

1 News: James Shaw ‘really furious’ female colleagues Marama Davidson and Golriz Ghahraman are subjected to threats online – ‘I don’t face that as a white male’

Mr Shaw told TVNZ 1’s Q+A current affairs programme he was “really furious” that his colleagues are subjected to “constant sustained attack” from people making threats against them.

“I don’t face that as a white male – certainly not nearly to the same extent,” Mr Shaw said.

Apart from a spate of attacks and threats over a few months in 2015 and 2016 I don’t get attacked on Twitter, but I don’t tweet very much, and I’m not well known like an MP is.

Ms Davidson tweeted in July that she had received “death threats towards me and my kids from supporters of those two who Goff refused to hire a venue to”.

Ms Ghahraman said in May she has also been subjected to threats online, including threats of sexual violence, and said social media networks like Facebook need to take more responsibility.

I don’t venture much into political stuff on Facebook either. I have seen some examples of threats, and also of more general attacks, so have no reason to doubt their claims. It is an insidious problem that females in particular seem to suffer from.

On Twitter today:

From my perspective, this is an extremely well-timed piece. It’s fast becoming mostly madness on here. So why do we keep doing it? Are we masochists?

During the last 24 hours, I’ve received well over a dozen death and rape threats.

That’s an alarming claim.

I haven’t counted them all. I’m not worried or frightened or scared. Or even angry. I’m just completely inured to it. And that’s not a healthy way to be.

It’s extremely unhealthy for online discussions and socialising.

Now, some will argue that I poked the viper with *that* tweet so what did I expect? That’s one (strange) way of looking at it. The other is that an online world where this stuff is par for the course, is very sick indeed. Do I need to be part of it? Something I need to consider.

The fact that I feel absolutely nothing/zero/zilch about being threatened and called every name under the sun, is a sure sign I’ve stayed too long at the online party. Might be time to call a cab and go home. Before the sun comes up.

That would be an unfortunate response, because that would appear to be the aim of those gutless nameless pricks (I think they are mostly men), to drive off voices they disagree with.

Well, it’s been an eye-opener. That’s for sure. I never really paid the whole issue much attention before. But now I see what the all the fuss is about. Politicians, journalists, and the public should be very concerned about what is happening. But, they’re not.

There are multiple herds that take intolerance to intolerable levels.

Perhaps there’s some way some of the online community can get together and brainstorm ways of trying to deal with this, without shutting up, and trying a counter shut down of voices.

 

Greens confirm they will vote for ‘waka jumping’ bill

The Green caucus decision to vote for Winston Peters’ ‘waka jumping’ bill has been a contentious issue in the party, as they have had a history of strongly opposing similar legislation.

They affirmed their decision to vote for the bill at their conference in the weekend.

RNZ: Green leadership stands firm on Waka Jumping Bill at AGM

The Green Party leadership have dug in their heels and will not be reversing any of the decisions they have made in government.

Party stalwarts Jeanette Fitzsimons and Sue Bradford had hoped the caucus might be persuaded this weekend to pull its support from the Waka Jumping Bill.

Co-leader James Shaw was pushing the party’s biggest wins, ending oil and gas exploration and committing the country to a zero carbon future.

But the concessions they have made got a brief mention in his speech too.

“We haven’t won every debate, and the menu does feature the occasional dead rodent,” he told the party faithful gathered in Palmerston North.

He was referring to the Waka Jumping Bill, described by their own MP Eugenie Sage as a dead rat they had to swallow as part of a coalition government.

One of the party’s founding members, Jeanette Fitzsimons, said it went against everything the Greens stood for, making it clear there were parts of the core base that were still hugely unhappy with that decision.

“I simply don’t buy the line that the government would have fallen,” she said.

“Simply don’t buy the line that Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters were going to say ‘ah well we don’t want to be in government anymore’ and let it all collapse, because they didn’t get this bill through? I mean, really.”

Ms Fitzsimons said they had tried everything to change the caucus’ mind, but described the eight MPs as a “brick wall.”

That’s not a good sign. The Greens used to promote their practice of the party making important decisions rather than the political leadership.

“This is a compromise that we had to make. I understand the different perspectives on that, but the decisions that we came to as a caucus and a party arrived to this,” Ms Davidson said.

“Because we think that providing New Zealand with stable government, is more important than that one issue,” Mr Shaw said.

That’s bullshit. It’s very difficult to see how Greens making a decision based on important party principles should destabilise the Government. The governing arrangement should not force such a contradictory stance on a party.

Unless perhaps Shaw is not being up front about threats made to him (by Peters and/or Labour) if the Greens don’t vote for the bill.

This is a prominent stain on the green stint in Government that they are going to have difficulty washing off.

I think it’s also fair to ask why Jacinda Ardern has allowed this situation to be forced on the Greens.

Ngāpuhi ‘is probably the most incarcerated tribe in the world’

The Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says that Māori make up over 50% of the population, and the Northland tribe Ngāpuhi “is probably the most incarcerated tribe in the world”.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis at the announcement.

Kelvin Davis (RNZ): ‘Ngāpuhi [probably] ‘most incarcerated tribe in the world’

Mr Davis said Māori make up over 50 percent of the prison population, and he wants that number reduced.

“Of that 50 percent, half again, are from Ngāpuhi, my own tribe, so this is personal.

“My tribe of Ngāpuhi is probably the most incarcerated tribe in the world, per head of population, so we really have to look at what we’re going to do differently as a country, to turn these figures around.”

Mr Davis said Māori must be included in the conversation, and is pleased half of the justice advisory group, set up by the Justice Minister Andrew Little and headed by the former National MP Chester Burrows, are Māori.

“If Māori make up more than 50 percent of the prison population, we should actually be talking to Māori about what the solutions are too.”

More than talking. Māori need to be prominent in implementing solutions.

“The question then becomes, ‘so, what do we do about it?’

“Because if it’s not unconscious bias, well then it’s conscious bias and we’ve got to make changes to make sure that Māori aren’t particularly picked on, or seen as the ones that are committing all the crime.”

Is it policing bias and judicial disadvantage for Māori? Or are Māori  proportionally more inclined to commit crimes. Probably some of all of those things.

He points to an instance in the last year near his home up north, where people were incredibly upset about the imbalance of justice.

“A couple of families who could afford justice, actually got a form of justice. Whereas people who couldn’t afford justice, for lesser offences, actually got a prison sentence. And that sort of stuff is not right.”

The cost of ‘justice’, of defending oneself in the court system, is a major issue. If you can afford a good lawyer your chances of being found not guilty or of a reduced sentence will be greater.

Mr Davis said they were looking at all aspects of the system to make sure it was fair for everybody.

He said the justice summit this week is an opportunity for people from all parts of the system to have their say.

“We’re expecting a lot of thought and a lot of ideas to come out of this, and we’ve got to sift through and see which ones are the best ones that can make a short term difference, medium and long term differences,” he said.

It isn’t going to be easy turning poor crime and imprisonment statistics around for Māori, but different approaches have to be tried, by the police, by the judicial system, and probably most importantly, by Māori communities and iwi.

Davis can play a significant role in finding social and judicial solutions for Ngāpuhi in particular.

And there are wider issues that probably contribute to the problems up north. RNZ: Little meets with Auckland-based Ngāpuhi members

The Treaty Negotiations Minister, Andrew Little, has met with hundreds of Ngāpuhi members based in Auckland this weekend to discuss the contentious claim.

Ngāpuhi have been quite divided on their treaty claim.

Q+A: Justice Minister “what we are doing isn’t working”

Justice Minister Andrew Little was interviewed on Q+A last night.

Andrew Little: after 30 years of tough on crime policy, the reoffending rate has stayed the same, “it’s not making us safe”

“We have to change the public debate on what we do with criminals”.

“If we are doing it right there will be more people leaving prison who have been helped and don’t reoffend.”

“It is not right that we’ve had a 30% increase in our prison population in the last 5 years.”

“No we haven’t got agreement from NZ First to get rid of 3 strikes law.”

Andrew Little: can’t rule out the possibility of systemic racism in the justice system

“Just the humanity of it means we have to do something different”.

“What we are doing right now isn’t working”.

I doubt anyone will argue that New Zealand’s incarceration rate is a problem, and that deterrents and reoffending rates and rehabilitation need to be seriously reviewed.

What is missing from the interview highlights (from @NZQandA) are solutions. That’s the tricky bit.

A review of the judicial system is under way. Hopefully that will come up with some good suggestions.

One problem is that a substantial up front investment will probably be required.

The growing number of prisoners has to be dealt with, and that is costly.

But much more resources are required for prevention and rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners after they are released. If these are done much better it should lead to lowering imprisonment rates, eventually.

Many prisoners are the result of long term problems, often intergenerational. Poor upbringings, lack of education and low skills making well paid employment difficult to get all contribute to resorting to crime.

Drug laws have worked poorly and contribute to a lot of crime.

Violence is a huge problem, it is a deeply entrenched issue in New Zealand society. It will be very challenging confronting and addressing this successfully, but it is an investment in effort and money that benefit us all if it works for the better.

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