A United States parliament?


US Parliamentary Pie:


Islamic State claim responsibility

Islamic State have claimed responsibility for another mass killing, this time via a suicide bomb set off at a demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan.

One News: Suicide bomb kills 80 people in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry says the death toll in a suicide attack on a peaceful demonstration in Kabul has climbed to 80.The ministry says in a statement Saturday that at least 231 people were wounded.

A suicide bomber struck a protest march in Kabul by members of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara community, who are predominantly Shiite Muslims. Most of the population is Sunni.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack via its Aamaq news agency. If the claim proves true, it will be the first by the extremists in the Afghan capital, and one of the deadliest in Afghanistan since the Taliban launched their insurgency in 2001.

A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani told The Associated Press that march organizers had been warned of the possibility of an attack.

The Islamic State group is claiming responsibility for the deadly bombing.

Afghan authorities have closed off streets across the capital, Kabul, in preparation for a demonstration by ethnic Hazaras demanding a planned power line be rerouted through their poverty-stricken province.

Afghanistan has been a violent, war torn, internally divided and troubled country for a long time.


(Cartoon updated)

Munich update

The Guardian reports on the Munich killings.

Munich gunman lured victims on Facebook with ‘free McDonald’s food’

German police say 18-year-old who killed nine people aged 13 to 45 and himself had researched school killing sprees

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people and injured 27 others in Munich had researched school killing sprees and attempted to lure victims to the scene of his rampage with an offer of free food on social media, officials have said.

Police said the 18-year-old gunman, who opened fire at a crowded shopping centre and McDonald’s restaurant on Friday evening, had been raised in Munich and was still in full-time education.

They added that he had likely been in psychiatric care and there were indicators he had been treated for depression.

Robert Heimberger, a police investigator, said on Saturday it appeared the gunman had hacked a Facebook account and lured people to the shopping centre with an offer of free food.

The gunman, who has been identified as Ali Sonboly, is said to have researched mass-casualty attacks and had an obsession with shooting sprees, including the 2011 massacre in Norway carried out bythe rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik.

Stuff: Munich shooting: Gunman ‘obsessed’ with mass killings, had no ties to Isis

Munich authorities said Saturday that the gunman who went on a rampage at a shopping centre Friday, leaving nine people dead, had no ties to the Islamic State or other extremist groups. Instead, police believe, he was obsessed with mass killings and may have been mentally ill.

The southern German city’s police chief said investigators had found a trove of electronic data and written materials at the suspect’s home suggesting that he had extensively researched shooting sprees before he went on one of his own Friday afternoon. The items recovered included a book by a US academic on school shootings titled “Rampage in the Head: Why Students Kill.”

Some crazy people use religious ideology as an excuse to kill, others use other excuses.

It was reported yesterday that some ISIS supporters online were celebrating the Munich massacre but I’m not aware of any official claim of ISIS involvement.

It is very difficult to fully protect against attacks like this, and impossible to prevent them altogether.

While they get a lot of attention and spark widespread fears, and also provoke generalised and prejudiced reactions, there are much bigger risks from fellow citizens on the roads, on the streets and in homes.

Social chat – Sunday

A post for social chat to keep it separate from posts that discuss issues.

You can still chat socially on other posts if it happens in relation to other discussions but if you simply want a bit of social chat try this.

The usual guidelines apply as to respecting others, behaviour and avoiding legal exposure.

An emphasis on ‘social’, not ‘anti-social’.

Media watch – Sunday

24 July 2016


Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

As usual avoid anything that could cause any legal issues such as potential defamation or breaching suppression orders. Also remember that keeping things civil, legal and factual is more effective and harder to argue against or discredit.

Sometimes other blogs get irate if their material is highlighted elsewhere but the Internet is specifically designed to share and repeat information and anyone who comments or puts anything into a public forum should be aware that it could be republished elsewhere (but attribution is essential).

Open Forum – Sunday

24 July 2016


Facebook: NZ politics/media+

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is to encourage you to raise topics that interest you. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts.

Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.

Your NZ is 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 unless obviously malicious, from anyone breaching site protocols  or spam.

Super rugby weekend

A big weekend for Super rugby this weekend.

Tonight in Canberra the Highlanders are playing the Brumbies. A very good first half for the Highlanders but not a lot of points to show for it. Conditions aren’t great with winter wind and rain a factor.

A veeerrry tight finish with the Highlanders holding on to win 15-9.

Tonight (Saturday) the Hurricanes versus the Sharks in a wet and windy  Wellington.

Hurricanes ahead 13-0 at half time. Conditions still wet and very windy.

Hurricanes ended up demolishing the Sharks 41-0 so will have a home semi-final next week.

The Crusaders played the Lions in Joburg. The game was still close late in the first half, but a late try stretched the lions to a 22-10 lead. Then in the second half the Lions dominated, winning 42-25. So they will have a home semi.

The Crusaders have played well in patches this season but are nowhere near as ruthless as in the past and lack that winning drive when it matters.

The Chiefs are running rampant in an open game against the Stormers. Halftime 34-14.

The Chiefs continued to run all over the Stormers (who to their credit kept trying to make something of the game) and scored three tries in the last four minutes to win 60-21.

So the semifinals will be:

  • Hurricanes versus Chiefs in Wellington
  • Lions versus Highlanders in Johannesburg

The last four games fro the Highlanders were in South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia and now they are heading back to South Africa. If they win there they will be back to the final in New Zealand.

The Nation today

Coming up on are charter schools making the grade? Or is the process of becoming one too hard?

Are charter schools an “unworkable mirage”? ‘s John Tamihere thinks so…

And we meet to discuss the film she hopes will shame the Australian government at 930

Plus our panel and Don Brash

An interview with John Tamihere on charter schools (aka partnership schools).

“Far too regulatory and the funding model is far too difficult. It’s very tough”.

He says the charter school funding model is too tough and he wanted the Treaty recognised in the contract.

Tamihere likes the idea of charter schools but says it can’t work under the current structure.

Tamihere says they’re not the same as any other charter school and you can’t have one model for everyone.

Tamihere blames bureaucrats rather than ACT MP David Seymour.

“There’s a lot of people who are unhappy with the regulatory approach.”

will go back to the drawing board for the school… Tamihere says they need a game changer in West Auckland

“The lion becomes a lamb” in Parliament – is John Tamihere talking about David Seymour or himself?

Seymour declined to debate with Tamihere but The Nation plays a prior interview with him.

He dismisses Tamihere’s complaint “very easily” saying that Tamihere went to the media when he was supposed to be discussion in good faith.

“He actually introduced new conditions such as the Waitangi Tribunal ruling would apply to the contract” but Seymour said that wouldn’t be re-litigated.

Can the charter schools project afford to lose applicants of Waipareira’s calibre? Yes, we can says Seymour

There’s quite a bit more in the interview. Seymour stood his ground calmly and strongly in the face of Lisa Owen’s questions.

People who think Trump will win

Toby Manhire at The Spinoff lists ten people who think that Donald Trump will win the US presidential election – Ten serious (mostly) people who think Donald Trump will win the presidency – and why

1. Michael Moore

“I’m sorry to be the buzzkill… but I think Trump is gonna … Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. The total votes of [Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania ] make 64. All he has to do is win those four states …”

2. Jake Novak of CNBC

“Trump WILL be the next president … What Trump and his advisers clearly realized a long time ago was that it would have to really disrupt the hardened ‘red/blue’ divide to win.

3. Canada’s former ambassador to the US, Derek H Burney

“Donald Trump understands the angry mood of America better than his Washington-based Republicans, which is why he is the last man standing.”

4. Author Anis Shivani

“It will be easy if he keeps the libertine and destructive aspects of himself in perfect balance, seesawing from one to the other, as he has so far, appealing to an elemental fear in the country, torn apart by the abstraction of the market, to which Clinton has not the faintest hope of responding.”

5. Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh

“My instinctive feeling right now is that Trump is going to win, beat Hillary badly, that it could be landslide proportions.”

6. Conservative writer David Horowitz

“The reason Trump will win in November is that national security is at the top of voter concerns and Trump has been a strong advocate on this front.”

(ISIS and terrorist attacks are playing into Trump’s hands, perhaps deliberately).

7. Canadian newspaper proprietor, British peer and convicted fraudster Conrad Black

“Hillary Clinton is carrying more baggage than the Queen Mary and Trump will carpet-bomb the country in September and October with a billion dollars of reminders … In taking over a major US political party from the outside, (Trump) has done something that has never been done before, and he should win.

8. Trump’s ousted political director Rick Wiley

Trump will capitalize on his crossover appeal with non-Republican voters and win battlegrounds ‘where everyone says he can’t,’ Wiley said. ‘The unwritten story is the enthusiasm gap,’ he said.”

9. Megaupload founder sought by US for extradition Kim Dotcom

“After watching Donald Trumps speech at the Republican Convention I’m sure that he will be the next President of the United States.”

(Dotcom was sure his Internet party would hold the balance of power in New Zealand so his political nous is perhaps a bit questionable)

10. Televangelist Pat Robertson

“The way things are going, from what I have seen, from past elections, it looks like it is going to be a blow out for Trump …”

More in Ten serious (mostly) people who think Donald Trump will win the presidency – and why

“Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy”

While it isn’t surprising to see the Washington Post Editorial Board opposing Donald Trump’s candidacy for president the timing and the force with which they have expressed their opposition seems unusual, possibly without precedent.

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome.

The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament.

They detail:

  • He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance.
  • To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions.
  • Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together.
  • His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril.

And they go on to list:

  • Start with experience. It has been 64 years since a major party nominated anyone for president who did not have electoral experience. That experiment turned out pretty well — but Mr. Trump, to put it mildly, is no Dwight David Eisenhower.
  • There is nothing on Mr. Trump’s résumé to suggest he could function successfully in Washington.
  • he displays no curiosity, reads no books and appears to believe he needs no advice. In fact, what makes Mr. Trump so unusual is his combination of extreme neediness and unbridled arrogance. He is desperate for affirmation but contemptuous of other views. He also is contemptuous of fact.
  • Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. In years past, he supported immigration reform, gun control and legal abortion; as candidate, he became a hard-line opponent of all three. Even in the course of the campaign, he has flip-flopped on issues such as whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States and whether women who have abortions should be punished . Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda. Existing trade deals are “stupid,” but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically.
  • What the candidate does offer is a series of prejudices and gut feelings, most of them erroneous.
  • The Trump litany of victimization has resonated with many Americans whose economic prospects have stagnated. They deserve a serious champion, and the challenges of inequality and slow wage growth deserve a serious response. But Mr. Trump has nothing positive to offer, only scapegoats and dark conspiracy theories.
  • Mr. Trump speaks blithely of abandoning NATO, encouraging more nations to obtain nuclear weapons and cozying up to dictators who in fact wish the United States nothing but harm. Republicans…put forward a candidate who mimics the vilest propaganda of authoritarian adversaries about how terrible the United States is and how unfit it is to lecture others. He has made clear that he would drop allies without a second thought. The consequences to global security could be disastrous.
  • Most alarming is Mr. Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and the unwritten democratic norms upon which our system depends. He doesn’t know what is in the nation’s founding document. When asked by a member of Congress about Article I, which enumerates congressional powers, the candidate responded, “I am going to abide by the Constitution whether it’s number 1, number 2, number 12, number 9.” The charter has seven articles.
  • he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. He has threatened that those who criticize him will suffer when he is president. He has vowed to torture suspected terrorists and bomb their innocent relatives, no matter the illegality of either act. He has vowed to constrict the independent press. He went after a judge whose rulings angered him, exacerbating his contempt for the independence of the judiciary by insisting that the judge should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump has encouraged and celebrated violence at his rallies.
  • Mr. Trump campaigns by insult and denigration, insinuation and wild accusation.

According to WaPo Trump is the worst of the worst.

The party’s failure of judgment leaves the nation’s future where it belongs, in the hands of voters.

Many Americans do not like either candidate this year . We have criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the past and will do so again when warranted. But we do not believe that she (or the Libertarian and Green party candidates, for that matter) represents a threat to the Constitution.

Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger.

I acknowledge that many people, including some in New Zealand and regulars here at Your NZ, see Trump as a refreshing alternative to establishment politics and power in the US and think that he could do great things.

But like the Washington Post I have serious concerns about his playing to populist prejudice, his lack of experience, his lack of substance, and his international threats that could put the world at risk.

Democracy has it’s strengths, especially when compared to the alternatives.

But democracy in the US, in an overreaction to a corrupted, money and business dominated clique) risks making a farce of itself and threatening the stability and well being of the democratic world.

Editorial: Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy

Transcript: Donald Trump’s interview with The Washington Post editorial board



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