“Iraqis were saying, ‘Not only do I not like these guys, they can’t do anything for me, and they step on my dignity.’”

Far more important than the inarticulateness of the president was the flimsiness of his justification for invading Iraq.

Like Captain Queeg in his rambling courtroom testimony in The Caine Mutiny, George W. Bush was in a state of denial. His refusal to face up to the fact that an exhaustive effort by his own investigators to find an Iraqi WMD program had found none suggests a willfulness that borders on psychosis.

It also reveals that he had ordered a major and costly war for no good reason.

Jean Edward Smith, from his book ‘Bush’ 

USS Sampson on the way to New Zealand: We don’t want it, and we don’t need it.

Community opposition to the November visit of US Warship USS Sampson is growing fast.

There will be an on water flotilla to oppose the visit of the US warship and any other navies that are coming.

This warship visit is about preparing New Zealand for war. The naval war training exercises in the Hauraki Gulf are the real reason for this US warship visit. Letting this US warship in is an admission that John Key’s government is happy to be part of US wars across the world. The warship visit is happening in conjunction with a weapons expo showcasing companies including Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms dealer. The weapons business benefits a few at the expense of the lives of millions around the planet.

We don’t want it, and we don’t need it. Auckland Peace Action 

NZ Inflation now at dangerously low level. 

The deflation risk will weigh heavily on the Reserve Bank, which is required to target an inflation band of between 1 and 3 per cent, which it has been outside for two years.

The idea that falling prices are a bad thing for an economy can seem counter-intuitive. But the problem as economists see it – and as witnessed in Japan over the past 20 years – is that when people expect inflation to be consistently low or deflation takes hold this can create a recessionary spiral. Expectation things will become cheaper suppresses consumer spending and business investment. The two feed off each other as lower consumption forces businesses to contract and focus on costs. That can start to cost jobs.

A cheaper TV or overseas holiday doesn’t look so good if you’ve been laid off. NZ Herald

Porn in the classroom? Here’s why it makes sense. 

We have a choice: either let young people learn their lessons from online pornography, or intervene. 

What, I wondered, do so-called grown-ups think our youngsters are up to when it comes to sex? The internet is the wild west of the information age, and the younger generation is far more adept than the older ones at gaining access to its more unsavoury territories.

Teenagers will always be drawn to the raunchier aspects of whatever culture is available to them. This would once have been a copy of  Lady Chatterley’s Lover, passed around the classroom with a giggle, disguised beneath the cover of Calculus for Beginners. The Guardian

Giving Workers What They Want: Honouring The Legacy Of Helen Kelly. – Chris Trotter. 

WHAT BETTER TIME could there be to talk about Kiwi workers’ rights than in the days following Helen Kelly’s death? Who has contributed more to this discussion than the NZ Council of Trade Unions’ (CTU) first female President? And what other contemporary New Zealand trade unionist’s passing could have left such large and stylish shoes to fill?

 

Few would dispute that Kelly was by far the best leader that the CTU has so far produced. The way she was able to combine rock-solid principle with PR smarts made her the labour movement’s most effective twenty-first century union boss. Though she couldn’t quite match the Unite union’s Matt McCarten at street-level campaigning, Kelly’s keen intellect and her winning ways with the news media allowed her to keep the ideals of trade unionism alive in an era notoriously hostile to the claims of collectivism. Bowalley Road

 

Political economy, social policy, the coming end of Neoliberalism . . . and other facts of our times.