Fox promotes the violent left

Fox news has been pushing quite a bit on ‘left bad, right good’ following the shooting of Republican House Whip Steve Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter.

This is all on their current twitter feed:

That’s toned down?

They do have the occasional attempt on balance and conciliation:

But the division goes on. just tweeted:

Levels of rhetoric, division and violence look likely to continue unabated, despite what should have been a wake up call for politicians on both sides of the chasm.

Turei slams NZ First in child protection

Green co-leader Metiria Turei has strongly criticised NZ First for proposing a referendum on the ‘anti-smacking’ law.

Winston Peters brought this up in a speech in March – see Who wants to re-visit the ‘anti-smacking’ law? – but it resurfaced on Q+A yesterday, where NZ First MP Tracey Martin was interviewed along with Sue Bradford.

10 years on from the so called “anti-smacking” law – NZ First calls for a binding referendum

NZ First MP Tracey Martin told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the law change has had a “chilling effect” on NZ parents including herself.

“Well, we’ve always argued, for 25 years, around binding a referenda on issues like this, where our citizens need to speak. We have a representative democracy. 113 temporarily empowered politicians decided this for all the parents of New Zealand. The parents of New Zealand need to be able to speak on it,” said Mrs Martin.

“I remember me being a parent when this bill went through, and I felt that the language that was being used, the politicians that were telling me that if I lightly smacked my child, I was then committing abuse. I found that personally offensive. It had a chilling effect on my parenting. And I believe other parents out there feel the same,” she said.

However, Former Green Party MP and the architect behind the law changes Sue Bradford disagrees.

“For New Zealand First to want us to go backwards on something that’s so important for our babies, children and young people, I just find incredible.”

“From the point of view of protecting our children and babies and saying actually our young kids should have the right to grow up without violence,” says Mrs Bradford.

Turei responded: NZ First putting politics before child protection

NZ First has chosen to put political game playing ahead of the safety of children by proposing a referendum on the ten year old amendments to the Crimes Act.

NZ First MP Tracy Martin said on Q&A this morning that her Party wants to hold a binding referendum to repeal the 2007 amendment to section 59 of the Crimes Act.

“I think it’s appalling that NZ First is willing to remove a basic protection for our kids in the hope it’ll buy them a few votes in election year,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“This law change simply removed a legal loophole that had allowed people who assaulted children to escape charges by claiming it was ‘parental correction’.

“Parents aren’t being prosecuted for lightly smacking their children. NZ First is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

“It’s sad that a political party would choose to use its resources to campaign on removing child protections rather than finding solutions to child abuse,” said Ms Turei.

But it’s election year and populist vote pandering seems to take precedent over protection of children from violence.

 

US shootings

News of two shootings in the US, one of Republican politicians.

Fox News:  Scalise shooter ID’d as James Hodgkinson

A gunman believed to be a supporter of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders sprayed a hail of bullets at a GOP baseball practice Wednesday morning, injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others before U.S. Capitol Police took down the rifle-wielding assailant.

The shooter, who had a violent history including arrests for battery, resisting arrest and drunken driving, was identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, of Illinois, Fox News confirmed. President Trump said Hodgkinson died from injuries sustained when he was shot by police.

It’s awful to see what appears to be a political shooting. Any mass attack is bad, targeting politicians (presuming they were specifically targeted) is terrible for democracy.

Bernie Sanders responded:

“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”

This is likely to spark debate (again) on US gun laws – for example why someone with a violent history was allowed access to firearms – and divisions in US politics.

Gezza has pointed out another shooting:  UPS says employee shoots, injures 4 at San Francisco delivery facility

 UPS employee opened fire at a San Francisco package delivery facility on Wednesday, injuring four and prompting a massive police response in a neighborhood near downtown, officials said.

UPS spokesman Steve Gaut told The Associated Press that an employee fired inside the facility before the drivers were sent out to do their normal daily deliveries. Gaut said four people were injured and that he believed the shooter “turned the gun on himself.”

Employee and ex-employee shootings seem to be common in the US, I saw of another in the news recently.

Earlier this month: Orlando shooting: ‘Disgruntled’ ex-employee had planned shooting, investigators say

The gunman who opened fire at an Orlando factory had planned to kill five of his former coworkers by singling them out and shooting them before turning the gun on himself, investigators confirmed on Tuesday.

Police had confronted Neumann once before at the factory, when he was accused of battering a co-worker in June 2014. The co-worker said Neumann punched him in the back of the head knocking him to the ground, according to the incident report. But the co-worker later said Neumann chased him and then hit him on the back of the head.

No charges were filed in the 2014 incident after both men were interviewed. The co-worker was not among Monday’s victims, Demings said. Aside from the 2014 incident, Neumann also had a criminal history “minor in nature,” with arrests for possession of marijuana and DUI.

Obviously the easy access to firearms is an issue in the US.

I think that the entertainment industry (‘Hollywood’ plus the gaming industry) also has some responsibility with the normalisation of violence and shooting as a way of ‘resolving’ many things.

The Gun Violence Archive keeps track of statistics. Summary to date for 2017:

  • Total number of incidents: 27,811
  • Number of deaths: 6,878
  • Number of injuries: 13,500
  • Mass shootings: 154
  • Defensive use: 939
  • Unintentional shooting: 915

It is spread across the country where there are people, but looks to be worst in the east:

Daily averages:

  • Incidents: 170 per day
  • Number of deaths: 42 per day
  • Number of injuries: 82 per day
  • Mass shootings: nearly 1 per day
  • Defensive use: 5 per day
  • Unintentional shooting: 5 per day

It is not just a law and order problem, it is also a societal problem.

Locking criminals up doesn’t solve the problem – United States incarceration rate

In October 2013, the incarceration rate of the United States of America was the highest in the world, at 716 per 100,000 of the national population.

While the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners.

This rate has climbed dramatically:

The US gun lobby seems to remain stronger than the public safety lobby.

The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world at about 88.8 per 100 citizens.

This is not a problem that will be easily solved. It is sad but inevitable that politicians will be included amongst the targets.

Kids forced to spend time with abusers

Newshub reports:  Kids forced to spend time with abusers, damning Family Court report says

An independent anti-violence group has released a damning report on the Family Court system.

More than 600 women spoke out in the report, compiled by lobby group Backbone Collective, with more than half saying their experience of abuse wasn’t believed or responded to.

It found abuse victims are more fearful for own and their children’s safety after turning to the court, and co-author Deborah Mackenzie says the process is so draining it affects their health.

“Women talked about having anxiety, PTSD, being suicidal, miscarrying pregnancies, not being able to sleep, having eating disorders – all as a result of being stuck in the Family Court for many, many years.”

Respondents also reported being forced into mediations and children were in some cases pushed to reluctantly spend time with their abusers, the report says.

There appears to be a lot of work needed in sorting out how violence, domestic abuse and abuse of children is dealt with.

The Backbone Collective is a national coalition of survivors of Violence Against Women in Aotearoa New Zealand.

We need to call out to each other – the survivors – the women who have the words and understanding to make sense of the Violence Against Women problem.  WE can do this.  We can create a new backdrop to the way Violence Against Women is responded to. Together we can make sure that the dominant voice being heard is that of the survivors rather than the abusers…Let’s turn up the volume so the deaf ears hear us

But in April  Family court strikes back at the Backbone Collective

The Principal Family Court judge has refuted criticisms of the court made by a group of women known as the Backbone Collective, set up by a domestic abuse survivor.

The women claimed they were re-victimised by court process, that the court was not open to public or media scrutiny, and that their complaints had been brushed off.

The Backbone Collective submitted 160 questions to the Government, demanding to know why the system was letting them down.

But Family Court Judge Laurence Ryan disregarded their allegations as “premised on erroneous or flawed interpretations” of the court’s legal framework, or as having been dealt with by Parliament already.

He said that he would not respond in the way the collective sought because “combative debate that pits the judiciary against those who rely on the court’s help” would not improve outcomes.

He highlighted that the womens’ “anecdotal evidence” was a small fraction of about 60,000 applications lodged with the court each year.

The Backbone Collective called the court out for minimising allegations of family violence during periods where parenting access was being considered.

“We are not entering into combative debate as Judge Ryan suggests,” it said in a statement. “We are providing a safe way for women to tell those in authority how the system responds to them when they experience violence and abuse. We thought the Family Court would want to know that currently many women feel they are put in more danger when the Family Court is involved.”

“Surely when systems aren’t working well and safely those in charge want to know how to fix it?”

However, Ryan said the court had “mechanisms” to prevent parents who had been in violent relationships from meeting during this process.

Some of the collective had said they felt legislation meant the rights of abusive fathers trumped the safety of their children.

“Many of the questions addressed to this office relate to matters either already being actively considered by Parliament around family violence, or which have been dealt with by Parliament relatively recently,” he said.

Ryan disputed three of the collective’s broad claims.

On the court’s alleged secrecy, he noted that “more and more” court decisions were available online and that “many” of its proceedings had been reported publicly since law changes in 2004 and 2008.

In response to allegations of absent independent monitoring, Ryan said that all of the court’s decisions were open to appeal – and that judicial conduct was held accountable through an independent complaints body.

“This is the safety valve inherent in the New Zealand justice system,” he said.

Dealing with family violence will always be difficult and imperfect, but improvements should always be sought.

Ryan admitted that the court was not a perfect solution for everyone: “Not all people who are enduring broken, painful or damaged relationships and who come to court seeking resolution or justice will go away satisfied,” he said.

Societal and law enforcement attitudes to family violence have changed significantly in the last forty years in New Zealand, but rates of violence are still terrible so much more needs to be done.

See Family violence response guides launched

Trump: standing up to hate and intolerance

Doing what a president needs to do – speaking against hate and intolerance, and against violence.

Politico: Trump in tweet: Portland attack ‘unacceptable’

President Donald Trump on Monday morning condemned the attacks in Portland, Oregon, where two people were killed after trying to intervene as a man delivered an anti-Muslim rant directed at two women on a train.

The tweet was sent after Trump arrived to give remarks at the Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day.

On Saturday, three men were allegedly attacked after they tried to stop a suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, from verbally disparaging the women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.

 

Dudley family want manslaughter charges

After a Coroner’s Inquiry found that the primary cause of Stephen Dudley’s death was the brutal and unprovoked assault on him, his family is calling for manslaughter

RNZ: Dudley family seek manslaughter charges

The family of a West Auckland teenager who died after being attacked on a rugby pitch will seek manslaughter charges against his schoolmates, based on a new coroner’s report.

A coroner’s report found Stephen had an underlying heart problem and died when the stress of the assault induced a heart attack.

The 15-year-old had just finished rugby training when a teammate picked a fight. The teammate’s older brother then joined in, laying one hard punch to Stephen’s throat and more to his body.

Stephen collapsed on the field and despite CPR attempts by emergency services, he died in hospital less than two hours later.

The two brothers were charged with manslaughter but the charges were downgraded to assault after there was not enough evidence to connect the assault to the heart attack.

The boys were then discharged without conviction and with permanent name suppression.

However, coroner Gordon Matenga has accepted crown pathologist Paul Morrow’s evidence that the assault was the most significant factor leading to the heart attack.

The Dudley family said the coroner’s findings were vindicating but bittersweet.

The family felt robbed by their son’s premature death and wanted justice, their spokesperson Ruth Money said.

“We believe the appropriate charge is manslaughter, certainly against the eldest brother, who was very large when you compare the size of him and Stephen.”

“It was a very violent, very physical assault… that’s been backed up by the coroner’s findings.”

The family’s lawyer, Nikki Pender, said they were writing to the solicitor-general to seek manslaughter charges against the two brothers.

“Stephen was happy and healthy one minute, the physical assualt happens, and he collapses.”

I had wondered if it was possible to have new charges as it has already been dealt with by the Court. You can’t be tried for the same offence twice if there was a legal outcome of the first trial. Apparently it is possible.

There was no risk of double jeopardy – where someone cannot be tried for the same offence more than once – because the brothers were previously charged with assault, not manslaughter, Ms Pender said.

But one of the attacker’s lawyers claims too much uncertainty.

But the lawyer for one of the brothers, Ron Mansfield, said there was too much uncertainty over what was the key factor in Stephen’s death and a new trial was unlikely.

“We’re dealing with a criminal standard when looking at the culpability of a crime – the coroner’s not.”

“He’s looking for the cause of death… They are quite distinct.”

Assessing criminal conduct had already been done by people at a very senior level, involving specialists, Mr Mansfield said.

“The outcome was just and fair.”

It was wrong to see the brothers as villains, he said.

Many people, myself included, disagree that the brothers were not villians. They may not have intended to kill Dudley, but they recklessly attacked him and any normal person would know that that sort of thuggery could lead to grave consequences.

Coroner rules on Dudley’s death

The Coroner has ruled that the assault on schoolboy Stephen Dudley was the most significant factor in his death. It had already been found that Dudley also had an undiagnosed heart condition that was also a factor.

NZ Herald: Exclusive: Fatal assault – Stephen Dudley’s family want manslaughter prosecution after inquest findings

The family of a schoolboy who died after a violent assault at rugby training is calling for a manslaughter charge to be laid after the Coroner ruled the actions of another teen was “the most significant factor” in his death.

Stephen Eruwera Dudley died on June 6, 2013 after he was punched repeatedly by two teenage brothers at a West Auckland rugby field.

KEY POINTS

  • Stephen Dudley died after a an assault at rugby practice in 2013
  • Two teens were charged with manslaughter
  • The charge was lessened to assault after an undiagnosed heart condition was revealed
  • Coroner Gordon Matenga said one of the teen’s punches directly led to Stephen’s death
  • The Dudley family are calling for new charges following the Coroner’s findings

The brothers were initially charged with manslaughter.

But after medical examinations revealed an undiagnosed heart condition, the Crown withdrew the charge – saying it could not be determined whether the assault contributed to Stephen’s death.

In 2014 the brothers pleaded guilty to assaulting Stephen and were discharged without conviction and granted name permanent suppression.

Last year, just after third anniversary of Stephen’s death Coroner Gordon Matenga held an inquest.

Today he released his report, and found that while Stephen may have had an underlying heart condition, his death was the direct result of “stress associated with physical assault”.

Even though Dudley had a problem with his heart he would have lived longer if he hadn’t been attacked and beaten.

There has to be consequences for those who viscously attack others unprovoked, especially if the victim dies.

A clear legal message has to be strongly made that thuggery is both unacceptable and potentially very dangerous.

Brent Dudley said his son was seen by witnesses laughing and joking as he left rugby practice.

It wasn’t until he was “coward punched” that his health fatally deteriorated.

“We are happy that the Coroner saw it the same way that we do.”

The couple said they “strongly believe” the teenager who delivered the fatal blow needed to be held to account.

“We feel, strongly, that he has a case to answer,” Brent Dudley said.

I agree.

Human rights in prison

On The Nation this morning:

Lisa Owen talks to Chief Ombudsman Judge Peter Boshier about whether inmates’ human rights are being violated in our prisons and what his office can do to deal with the issue.

Prisoners lose some rights, like freedom and voting, but a decent society still has to provide human rights in prisons.

Boshier says resourcing is “at the heart” of issue of cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners.

“You can’t have someone in prison with high mental health needs and no appropriate way of treating that prisoner”.

“Frankly I’m horrified… that Serco occurred under our noses” says Boshier.

An unfortunate experiment at Mt Eden prison.

Boshier says he’s concerned about use of restraints in private secure dementia units.

“I’m deliberately signalling that we need to watch this space” he says.

Boshier says he’ll go to Parliament in a year to ask for more funding to expand monitoring of secure dementia units.

 

Time to try Maori prisons?

When I first heard the suggestion by Maori MPs that a Maori run prison be set up in Northland my immediate reaction was nah, we shouldn’t have separate penal systems. But I’ve thought it through and think that it merits serious consideration.

Maori disproportionately feature in prison  and re-offending rates. The current system is not working well. So why not try something different that tries to address core problems.

Critics often say it is up to Maori to fix their own problems, and this Maori Prison proposal does exactly that.

Newshub: Labour proposes Māori prison to fix rising numbers

Labour has come up with a radical solution to the high number of Māori in jail – it wants a separate Māori prison.

It wants to convert an existing prison into one run entirely on Māori values.

“A prison based on Māori values, not exclusively for Māori but for anybody, but they’ll know that the values that the prison will be run under will be based along Māori lines,” Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis told Newshub.

Why not try it? It can’t do much worse than the current penal system.

There are 10052 prisoners and 5077 of them are Māori, making up 50.5 percent of the prison population.

Mr Davis says if Labour wins, he wants to make one of New Zealand’s 18 prisons a prison for Māori, run by Māori on Māori values.

“Why don’t we just try, have the courage to try one of those 18 prisons and run it along kaupapa Māori lines,” he said.

The Maori party supports this: Māori Party backs Māori-run prisons as ‘inevitable’

It is just a matter of time before New Zealand introduces prisons run by Māori applying Māori values, the Māori Party says.

Prime Minister Bill English shot down a proposal, by Labour corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis, on the idea this morning, saying rehabilitation efforts already took Māori values into account.

“It’s incorporated into our [prisons] where it’s appropriate,” he said.

And it’s obviously not working very well.

“We just didn’t see the point in trying to designate – you know, a prison’s a Māori prison and other prisons are not Māori – because actually there’s going to be Maori in all our prisons.”

However, Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox said she had repeatedly raised the idea with the government and did not think it was dead in the water just yet.

“Eventually, in the future, this is going to be inevitable.

“I don’t think it is happening now, but we need to look at what is the pathway to get there – and that is what we’re in discussions about.”

Andrew Little sort of supported the proposal but then as good as ruled it out.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the idea was worth debating, but was not Labour’s official policy.

He did not have “a firm view” on whether separate Māori prisons should be introduced, but said the prison system was not working and something needed to changed.

Mr Little suggested it was sometimes important to have a public debate before forming official policy.

“I’m glad that we’ve got an MP… coming up with creative ideas, new ideas, fresh approaches. That’s important.”

Asked whether it could become official policy before the election, Mr Little said the party was at the “tail end” of its policy formation and the idea was not there.

So he wants to kick the can down the road and fob off the initiative.

But Labour are also trying to secure a big proportion of the Maori vote and are promoting the possibility that 25% of their MPs after the election will be Maori. So why not have 25% of their key election policies addressing big Maori issues?

But one of Labour’s Māori MPs, Adrian Rurawhe, said he would like to see it become formal party policy.

“It’s totally in line with how staff in Māori focus units already operate. So lifting it to another level would have really good outcomes.”

National MP Nuk Korako also said he liked the idea and planned to raise it with Corrections Minister Louise Upston.

“I think a Māori approach to anything is really important. Not only just prisons. If [Kelvin Davis] can get some traction on that, that would be great,” he said.

Mr English said it would not be desirable to create the impression of “some sort of separate system”.

So not just Labour’s Maori MPs, but also a National Maori MP supporting it. And the Greens: Bigger dreams needed for prison reform

Te Taitokerau MP Kelvin Davis is keen to see Northland regional prison at Ngawha run on kaupapa Maori lines, with Greens and Maori Party MPs also sympathetic to the idea.

Unfortunately both Little and English are dismissing it.

Who is more likely to shift on this when they think it through, National with pressure from the Maori Party, or Labour with pressure from their Maori MPs, and perhaps the Maori Party and the Greens?

Others are warming to the idea too.

Martin van Beynen: ‘Lamentable’ Maori incarceration figures demand fresh approach

The idea of special prisons run entirely on Maori values sounds like it is worth a crack.

Things couldn’t really get much worse if you look at the statistics about Maori imprisonment.

Given these lamentable figures and the cost to society – including to the families of offenders – just about anything is worth trying.

The reservation I have with the idea of Maori values is that it’s difficult to know what they are and if they are really going to make a difference.

Nothing much now seems to be making a significant difference, so something else, anything else, is surely worth a try.

Duncan Garner: Why not try a Maori prison? The current penal system is an abject failure

I’m asking for everyone to think outside the square for a few minutes. Please. I support trying a kaupapa Maori prison – run by Maori, for predominately Maori, along Maori lines. Is your blood boiling yet? Bear with me.

The reality is prison is mainly a Maori issue. And the current prison system is an abject failure – they’re just a finishing school for crims and a recruitment dream for gangs.

I’m not talking about the baddest ones. I accept they probably can’t be helped and being locked away is the best answer.

Maori prisons will still be tough jails. Yes, we lock them up each night. But we also take them home to be taught who they are and to meet their whanau.

I’m not suggesting all our jails go this way – let’s just try one. The prison experiment over the past 70 years has been a debacle. Rehabilitation is woefully low, recidivism is painfully high.

What’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work? Too late – we’re there. Make Maori responsible for turning around Maori. That’s tino rangatiratanga if I’ve ever seen it.

I liked Labour MP Kelvin Davis’ call for a Maori prison this week. Labour leader Andrew Little didn’t have the balls to support Davis – it’s election year after all and it’s time to re-start peddling all this tough on crime bollocks that politicians spout. Plus Labour prefer their Maori MPs on the doormat to be walked over.

It’s time to try something genuinely new.

It’s contradictory to demand that Maori sort their own problems out and then refuse to let them try.

A Maori prison must be worth a try and must be given a go.

 

Rachinger convicted and discharged

Ben Rachinger has been found guilty of obtaining by deception and discharged, in the case involving Cameron Slater an attempted hack of The Standard blog.

Rachinger had entered a guilty plea last year and was trying to get a discharge without conviction but now has a fraud conviction.

Suggested on Whale Oil last December “So yes, I think a short custodial sentence is appropriate” so they didn’t get what they wanted either. With Slater getting a discharge without conviction after diversion any penalty for Rachinger would have been a travesty.

Newshub: Former Whale Oil associate Ben Rachinger convicted and discharged

A hacker who was hired by right-wing blogger Cameron Slater to infiltrate a left-wing blog site has been convicted and discharged.

In December, IT consultant Ben Rachinger pleaded guilty to obtaining by deception after he was paid $1000 by Mr Slater to hack into The Standard, with the aim of embarrassing the Labour Party.

Mr Slater admitted his part in the plot and was discharged without conviction in May 2016.

Newshub in December 2016: Slater-hired hacker pleads guilty to fraud

A hacker who was hired by blogger Cameron Slater to infiltrate a left-wing blog site has pleaded guilty to fraud in the Manukau District Court.

IT consultant Ben Rachinger, 28, was hired by Mr Slater to hack into left-wing website The Standard, with the aim of embarrassing the Labour Party.

Mr Rachinger was paid $1000 by Mr Slater, but never carried out the hack they discussed. Instead he blew the whistle to TV3’s The Nation, telling the programme he was asked by Mr Slater to figure out who The Standard’s contributors were and record their IP and email addresses.

Police alleged Mr Rachinger never intended to follow through with the promise he made to Slater. He was charged with obtaining $1000 by deception for saying he could and would hack the site.

Slater made a complaint to the police, which led to the charge.

A summary of facts shows Mr Slater believed Labour politicians were writing for The Standard and posting their views anonymously online.

He offered Rachinger $5000 – paying him $1000 up front – believing the hack on The Standard’s servers would uncover evidence of links to Labour.

Mr Slater admitted his part in the plot and was discharged without conviction in May.

As part of his legal deal Slater needed to admit guilt, but in posts on Whale Oil afterwards sounded far from contrite

Somehow, the media are still saying Cam ordered the hack.  Well, if that was even remotely true, then I don’t understand how stupid he was by asking the police to get involved and asking Ben to share his discoveries with police.  That clearly shows Cam had no intent to do anything stupid.

More details from last year: Slater’s statement on Rachinger looks dirty and Slater versus Rachinger.

Rachinger got embroiled in dirty dealings and has paid for it with a conviction, albeit with no other penalty. Newshub said “he’s looking forward to the chance to put the matter behind him”. Lesson learnt hopefully.

Slater managed to avoid conviction, but his reputation took a further hit and he exposed his hypocrisy on political hacking and his inclination towards dirty politics and retribution.