Wednesday, 25 June 2008

don't forget to vote

just a few random thoughts today. good to hear that the academy of world business marketing & management development conference 2008 in brazil will no longer allow greg clydesdale to present his paper on pasifika new zealanders. bad that their reason is that he has already "published" his report prior to the conference. it would have been much nicer if their reasoning was based on the fact that the report is of poor quality. after all, other academics in this country didn't have difficulty in reaching that concluding (eg professor macpherson's commentary, which may not be available on the web).

i wouldn't have thought that an arch right-winger like french president nicolas sarkozy would have come out with these comments:

Sarkozy said peace with the Palestinians was possible if Israel stopped all settlement activity, lifted the checkpoints that criss-cross the West Bank, ended a blockade of Gaza and accepted Jerusalem as capital of two states.

"Create the conditions for movement," Sarkozy told lawmakers, urging them to back a proposal for settlers to leave the West Bank in return for compensation and rehousing in Israel.

"There can be no peace without a halt to settlement activity," he said, condemning "terrorism" and telling Israel it was not alone facing what he said was a military Iranian nuclear programme.

of course, he balanced all of that with some severe criticism of hamas and solidarity in the face of a nuclear threat from iran. nonetheless, he sounds like he takes palestinian concerns and aspirations seriously. of course, it means nothing until and unless there is some action on the issues he has raised.

brokering peace for israel/palestine seems to be the cool thing to do at the moment. tony blair wants to do it, condoleeza rice keeps popping over, the egyptians are working on it. it seems to be like the ultimate trophy, the one move that will ensure everlasting glory and a permanent place in history. my, i'm getting too cynical for my own good. hopefully, if enough powerful people keep at it, someone somewhere is going to succeed. if it's a right-wing xenophobe, then so be it.

finally, all you waikato people, if you haven't yet voted in the wel energy trust election, please do so NOW. i have a bias. being a trustee of two community organisations, i need the trust to continue its programme of donations to such organisations. in fact, it would be nice if the pool of grant money is increased, but at present the best outcome would be a retention of the current 90:10 split in favour of rebates.

act party president gary mallett is currently running on a campaign of wiping out community grants. his argument: if people want to donate their rebate to charity, they are welcome to do so. that would be their choice. but his will return all profits in the form of rebates. [the fact that such profits arise from overcharging electricity users is a separate issue altogether. you don't hear mr mallett talking about giving people their own money back, oh no. it can't be theft if a corporate does it!]

the nonsense in his argument is that all the hundreds of community organisations that benefit from wel grants do not have the capacity to contact the tens of thousands of electricity consumers, asking for donations. and the tens of thousands of electrcity consumers do not have individually have the capacity to vet each of these hundreds of organisations to see which is genuine, and whose need is most pressing. so of course a few major organisations might get some extra donations from increased rebates, but all the rest of those hundreds of sports clubs and social service organisations will miss out.

and who will be the poorer for it? well not mr mallet, that's for sure. he has plenty of money. in fact there appears to be no spending cap for this election, so his team have paid for a number of full page ads in both community newspapers and the waikato times. in addition, he regularly pays personally for a half page in one of the community papers to ponitificate on matters of interest to himself. he has the money to buy plenty of "free" speech. he won't need those social service organisations because he can afford the finest therapists in the world for his little darlings, should they need it. and he can afford the fees of any sporting code you can think of.

as for the rest of the proles who actually do benefit from community groups, well his "personal choice and responsibility" view of the world doesn't have room for them.

so please vote now, and vote carefully. for the loss of 54 cents worth of rebates, you can help support organisations like shama or community radio hamilton and many hundreds of others, all run by the voluntary efforts of people who care about their community.

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