Friday, 20 February 2015

The Protest in Oxford and the TPPA

On Facebook, Katie wrote this to me:

"You know what? I agree with what you were protesting, but there is a time and a place. This was not it. The poor people who worked hard to put on something lovely for our wee community, the KIDS who practiced so hard to do their part, ruined. I heard the picketing from my house and was really sad that this sort of thing happened in our quiet town."

I wrote back:

"You know what, Katie, I appreciate what you are saying here. This was a very difficult decision to come to. It is so much more personal to join a protest in in our own small town, especially because I know how important this Town Hall opening was for us all. I was always going to attend the Town Hall Opening myself, not as a protester but as a citizen of this town. Especially because I am not going to be living here much longer. I only found out that the protest was happening the day before and I spent a sleepless night, will I, won't I. Hadn't even made that decision until after I got there. But let me explain this. I'm getting older all the time. I'm a mother, a grandmother. I won't be here forever and I so strongly feel that I want to try, try very hard to leave this world going in a better direction than it is now. For my children that I brought into this world, for my grandchildren, for you and for your children. this government is fouling our environment, it is dumbing down our education system, and with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, it is selling away our sovereignty, yours, mine, and the futures of our children and grandchildren (cos you will have grandchildren too, one day). For me that is terribly important and this was an opportunity to stand there, in front of Key, and let him know what I felt about that. And I took it and I make no apology for doing so. I would also like to correct one thing from the article linked here. The protesters were not "drowned out" by the children's Kapa Haka (and incidentally the children were awesome). The protesters stopped calling out during the children's singing out of respect for the children. Kia ora."

 After the big earthquakes, and while the aftershocks were continuing on and on and on and on, our Waimakariri District Council did checks of our public buildings. Many were found to be unsafe and immediately closed off. Some have been inoperable for years now. Like our Oxford Town Hall.

After a time it was decided that the main portion of the Town Hall which had been part of Oxford since 1931 would be saved but strengthened. This is an imposing building in Oxford, a strong statement of the solidity of our township. However, the add-on rooms and kitchen were too expensive to save and the town would be better served by knocking those parts down and rebuilding. Which is what they've done and we have all been watching with great interest from the outside, as our town hall has appeared to keep its character but grew more beautiful.  

So finally we have come to the morning of the re-opening of our town hall. I was so looking forward to going in to see it but then was horrified when I heard that John Key, our corrupt and deceitful Prime Minister of all people had been booked to open the hall. It almost stopped me going down but I realised, as I wrote above to Katie, that this might be my last chance to see inside the building before I leave for Christchurch.

And then I read on Facebook, just the day before on our Waimakariri Greens page, that a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was being organised. Because it is important to keep up the opposition to the signing of this agreement which will take away our sovereignty in our own country. What this agreement means for us, is that we cannot object to any product that a global corporate or any corporate from somewhere else in the world might want to sell here. For example, we might wish to make sure that genetically-engineered (GE) seeds might not be planted anywhere in Aotearoa, we might wish to grow organic crops instead, but the TPPA obstructs us from taking decisions like this. Under the TPPA the Global Corporate, Monsanto maybe, for example, can sue us for billions and trillions of dollars for obstructing their right to Free Trade within our country. We simply can't afford to pay out such vast sums of money, nor can we afford to fight such a case. We really won't have money to feed and educate our kids under such a scenario. This is what is being sold here, our right as a country, as a people, to control our own destiny. And there are several versions of this agreement being pushed all over our world. If - and I must say if, it is too terrifying to think when - these agreements are all signed, then our world will be run, not by a democratically elected global government, but by Global Corporates. That is what we are fighting and why it is important. And why it is so important to keep trying to raise awareness of this issue, to educate people about the TPPA and to let John Key know, at every opportunity, that we will not roll over and let him sell off our futures and the futures of our children, and our grandchildren.

Meantime, inside the Town Hall, John Key laughed it all off. So funny after all. On the video clip below is his "in depth" and misleading explanation of the TPPA. Tailored to his audience of farming folk of course.  

Friday, 13 February 2015

Stupid Men

I was on Facebook reading so many posts about stupid men, especially stupid men in America (but not confined to them). And I guess a kind of anger rose up inside me. 

What kind of a world do we bring children into, I said. I said, I am the mother of five children, now I am a grandmother of five with our lovely wee Lily being born last year. And I had my children because I love children and I always wanted children and I never thought any further about any other issues. And I would never not have had them. And that's the truth. But over the last 15 years or so,  since the twin tower thing when Al Qaeda hit out at the US and then the US plunged our world into this never-ending war which has now bred ISIL, and atrocities on all sides, and so much hate and so much venom, and then add global climate change onto all that - man, I plunged into such a depression some years ago and I looked at my beautiful children and I thought about how selfish I was to bring you all into this dark horrible world. Even now it still brings tears to my eyes. I didn't want this for my kids. 

And I wrote all this to to my friend on Facebook, I wrote, no, dear Meggam, you are not being selfish, I think perhaps you are being very wise and that Pope needs to engage his brain before he opens his mouth. (Because all this came from comments the Pope made, that couples who don't have children are selfish) . But also from other thick and stupid men who want to control what women wear be they fundamentalist Christian or fundamentalist Muslim or fundamentalist anything else, and want to control women's reproductive bodies. Cover-up your bodies, men will get horny otherwise; don't cover-up your bodies, men want to ogle you; have children, don't have abortions, don't have too many children, remember the world is overpopulated already!

What is wrong with this world is not the women in it, not what we do; it is the stupid, stupid men who have reduced our world to an over-heated blood bath. Kia ora.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Is Key a Psychopath?

I know what I think.

I was watching an Australian programme, a series about murderers and psychopaths. The previous programme or two had been focused on psychopaths who murdered, but last night the audience are informed that not all psychopaths become murderers or even criminals - at least not the kind of criminals who usually wind up in prison. Those kind of psychopaths are the unfortunates often brought up in dysfunctional families, perhaps abused, sexually or violently so that the traits of psychopathology exhibit more extremely. Traits of psychopathology often run in families but I guess at this point we could start arguing nature or nurture. But what when our psychopath is born into a more normal family, when nothing in particular, nothing out of the ordinary happens to him (or her)? According to the programme (and I have read this stuff before in a book years back but I am reminded again), there are many psychopaths in this world, many psychopaths grow up to be leaders, they may be risk takers, they do particularly well in the banking world (any of this sound familiar folks?). They are liars. An expert on the programme said you can tell a psychopath by his eyes, when he is confronted, you will see the eyes of a snake (her words), the eyes go flat and hard, there's no light on them. We saw film of a psychopathic murderer in court, when he turned to look at his accusers his eyes did indeed go flat and hard. Like a snake.

Before he became a politician. Key was a banker. He worked for Merrill Lynch, where he became head of Global Foreign Exchange. In 1999 he became a member of the Foreign Exchange of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He made money speculating with other people's money.

The first time I recall observing this phenomenon in Key was late one night when I wound up watching Key being interviewed by a BBC journalist. An excellent interviewer too. No touching of the fetlock here. No letting Key off with yet another of his flip remarks. Instead he pushed and pushed Key. The subject was New Zealand's environment and our "Pure New Zealand" slogan. "But it's not true, is it?" said the interviewer, citing a well-respected New Zealand scientist. Key's eyes go hard and flat. One can feel the rage being held down. "That's his opinion," said Key relegating the eminent scientist to the great unwashed where Key apparently believes he belongs, down here with the rest of us masses, objects in Key's world.

Most of the time when we see Key on the telly, he answers in flip manner. He's been caught telling lies many times. He pretends to not remember things when it suits. He laughs at serious questions, show little respect for his constituency. And yet people vote for him. We live in a strange world.

Lately Key wants us to send soldiers to fight ISIL. "It's the price we pay for being members of the club," he says.