Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Teen Euthanasia That Wasn't

Here's something potentially rather interesting. You know that 17 year old Dutch teenager whom an appreciably large proportion of just about everybody's newsfeed and/or Letters To The Editor section is jumping up and down about? The one apparently legally euthanized, and therefore how terrible a thing legal euthanasia is we can't have it here?

Well, apparently ... that's not actually what happened at all. Instead, it appears that what actually transpired was the kid applied for euthanasia, was refused, repeatedly attempted suicide anyway, and then eventually, just straight-up stopped eating/drinking - at which point, her family and medical team finally acquiesced to her wishes, and agreed not to force-feed her, moving her to palliative care.

Now, your mileage may vary as to ... well, pretty much this whole thing.

It could certainly be argued that actually having let the child go 'on her own terms' prior to all of this, would have been an awful lot less traumatic than having several months worth of repeated suicide attempts, endeavours to have her subjected to electro-shock therapy, before finally conceding that in the absence of ye olde feeding tube down nose, she was going to get her way eventually anyway.

But it seems like, at this point, an array of both news media organizations - and, for that matter, jump-up-and-down-hand-wringing social conservative pseudo-political groups, have deliberately bait-and-switched a story up, in order to try and oppose any meaningful progress on euthanasia law reform in their own countries, riding high off the back of one obviously tortured girl's personal misery.

I can understand why the idea of the state allowing 17 year olds to put themselves to death would be scary. Because it is. [I personally find the idea of forcing teenagers to carry pregnancies to term to also be rather scary, but then I am over here in the #ProDeath camp, apparently, so once again, YMMV]

But I'm not of the opinion that there's a very sensible comparison to be made between "we allowed a teenager to access a state-supported facility for getting us to kill them" - which is what everybody seems to think happened;

and "after many months of effort, we stopped attempting to force-feed or otherwise forcibly keep alive against her own wishes, a person".

It could be argued that the overall outcome is the same. And yeah, sure, one less person on the planet.

But I don't think that it is. Not really. And not least because only one of these things apparently happened.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Saudi Call For Getting Tough On Terrorism Case Of Serial Arsonist Taking Over Fire Department

So I see King Salman of Saudi Arabia's kicked off Saudi's chairmanship of the OIC by demanding that the world (and the Muslim world in particular), get tough on the supporters and enablers of terrorism. The country-level supporters, financiers, directors and enablers of terrorism.

Now, this is perhaps unfair to other insects, but this strikes me rather like a mosquito rolling up and shouting loudly: "I HAVE THE CURE FOR MALARIA!"

Or, I suppose, declaring Tony Blair has the answers when it comes to bringing about peace in the Middle East. But that one actually happened (with Blair transitioning into the role in question almost the same day he stepped down as UK Prime Minister), so clearly we are already well and away into the realms of blatantly counter-factual satire when it comes to a certain geopolitical grouping's activities in that region.

Seriously, for those who do not "get the joke" inherent in what the Saudis are saying - they are regularly identified as being lead vectors in the creation, financing, and other support/enabling of terroristic groups and operations, both throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Never mind ISIS, or their own ongoing links with Al Qaeda (for example in Yemen and in Syria- which has lead to the once again prima facie ridiculous, and therefore apparently straight-up outright de rigeur situation of forcing US co-operation with Al-Qaeda in both locales). The British intelligence establishment literally attempted to point out that Saudi Arabia represented the single most significant funder and proliferator of extremist ideology in Britain (so, you know, their so-called ally!) - and wound up with the report in question being suppressed out of fear that it'd damage the UK economically if the Saudis slapped an oil price-hike on them for daring to acknowledge the facts.

I hesitate, perhaps, to term that "economic terrorism" - yet given King Salman's recent remarks attempting to panic the world at large into aggressive action against Iran on grounds that the latter's sovereignty represents an allegedly unacceptable threat to global oil supplies ... the weaponization of economic interactions by Saudi itself (as has already happened to Canada, at The Kingdom's black-stained hands) suggests that this, too, is a case of bitter, bitter irony all the way down.

Let us be clear about this. Taking the Saudis seriously as anything other than a threat, when it comes to dialogue around combating terrorism, is to indulge their wilful penchant for fact-free chicanery.

Suggesting that they have a lead role to play in opposing the spread of terror, in any way other than by stopping funding and facilitating it themselves, is worse than useless.

It is like deciding that an arch-arsonist with an apparent pathological proclivity for criminal acts of combustion be appointed town fire-chief, whilst simultaneously mandating that everybody drive Ford Pintos, and drape bone-dry paper towels over their heating units. Followed by rolling out regularly-scheduled "come into our home, why don't you" 'inspection' opportunities.

And then - when somebody, whether Canada or Iran, actually says "enough is enough", and attempts to draw attention to the problem via diplomatic/publicatory or direct assistance to deleteriously affected countries, the defenders against Saudi-sponsored terror are either attacked directly, or sabre-rattled against as Next In Line For Some Good Ol'Fashioned Amerika-McWorldist FREEDOM (tm).

The whole thing's a charade - except with real guns, and real deaths. it is saddening and it is sickening that it has been allowed for so long to continue.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

National Projecting Photo-Op Politics Failures At Government Over Budget

So holdup ... the National Party is attempting to make a big deal out of the person whose photo's on the cover of 2019 Budget having moved to Australia at some point in the past few years, yeah?

Now, it's a minorly amusing hardly-a-gaffe, sure. Stock photos are stock photos, and you can't always be assured that the models used in them are going to be entirely ideal if anybody *seriously* looks into them.

Yet as soon as I heard about this, my insta-reaction was to recall another Kiwi who got turned into a 'face of a brighter future', that then turned out to be a 'brighter future' over in Australia.

Way back in 2007, John Key made a much-vaunted visit to a place by the name of McGehan Close. It was a less well off street in what was then Prime Minister Helen Clark's Mt Albert electorate. He picked a 12 year old girl from among the residents, and took her up to Waitangi with him as a sort of walking campaign prop for what he sought to present as the neglected, the forgotten, and the left behind of the last Labour Government.

Which would be one thing. Except flash forward a few years, and it then turned out that the girl in question - Aroha Ireland - had 'fled the country' in pursuit of her own much more tangible "brighter future" over in Australia.

Like I say: it's one thing to use a stock-photo for a cover-shot, and then find out post-facto that the subject of said photograph has moved. I'd hardly say it's substantive.

It's *quite another* to promise to deliver meaningful change for a community, attempt to turn a child (and, by extension, those around her) into political stunts in pursuit of electoral success ... and then seemingly forget all about them once the psephological dust settles, only for their ongoing trajectory through life to provide something of an amazing QED for the fundamentally fallacious and empty nature of National's campaign rhetoric in practice.

But, you know, let's forget all about that and just quite literally judge a book (or, in this case, a Budget hard-copy) by its cover.

Still, to be fair to National - when it comes to the purchase of 'stock elements' turning out to have hidden complications, they're the local reigning experts.

Who could forget their 2014 use of "Eminem-Esque" elevator-muzak [itself an apt metaphor in so many ways for their tenure in office - that is, a weak pastiche imitation of actual governance, in much the same way that 'muzak' is to music]; and the resultant legal fallout which stemmed from their apparent failure to do proper and appropriate due diligence upon the 'stock element' in question.

All in all, I get the sense that National is making so much noise around things going on 'on the fringes' of the Budget, precisely because they have so very little of any actual substance (that's worth listening to) to say about the contents of the Budget itself.

This sort of 'stunt-ed' approach to political discourse came to dominate the Key-era National Party. Bridges is no Key, yet in the absence of anything else to contribute, we're getting Key-Lite (which, I suppose, means it's Politics-Lite-Lite).

A playbook which I am choosing to judge via its cover ... as there's precious little else to actually engage with.

National's Ongoing Budget-Grade Shenanigans - When Is It Appropriate To Lose One's Head?

So here's a funny thing. Right now, the National Party is demanding the resignation of Finance Minister Grant Robertson, after Treasury may have inadvertently made partial summaries of some parts of today's Budget semi-available two days early.

Yet back in 2012, when the Ministry of Social Development made a whole swathe of highly sensitive information about its clients and operations (including case-notes, personal details of at-risk children, medical records, legal paperwork etc. etc etc.) available to literally anyone who walked off the street into a WINZ office and used a self-service kiosk ...

... I don't think I recalled Paula Bennett appearing behind the National Leader of the day to demand that the minister in question responsible resign forthwith?

Possibly because said Minister was, in point of fact, Paula Bennett.

Who had earlier turned the rather more directly targeted unethical disclosure of private information about beneficiaries into something of an art form - endeavouring to use it to silence two critics of hers when it came to the abolishment of a training allowance which Bennett had, herself, taken advantage of some years earlier while a beneficiary.

Now, thankfully, Bennett cannot be demanded to resign from a Ministerial role (whether presiding over MSD, or any other) ... as the results of the last Election mean she's no longer on the Treasury Benches. (She was shuffled out of MSD, to take over portfolios including as Minister of State Services - which curiously, was also the portfolio area that *another* "leak" of private and personal information for apparently psephological gain took place from, pertaining to one Winston Peters and his pension payments, in the run-up to the last Election. Not that I'm suggesting the pattern indicates *direct* intent here, you understand)

Yet it does seem a bit peculiar that National was prepared to tolerate not just repeated, but *outright and downright intentional* disclosures of private information never intended for the public sphere and which had clearly and manifestly detrimental impacts for the vulnerable parties involved ...

... but is now baying for blood and a Scalp over the inadvertent partial-summary release of information which was to become public knowledge *anyway* a mere three days later.

Perhaps the argument is that the Treasury head serang who insinuated, upon GCSB advising, that a "hack" was to blame for the release, is a man lacking in judgement and therefore that whomsoever appointed him is thusly likewise - and therefore should go? In which case, I can only point out that Maklouf was first appointed, and then re-appointed, under the previous National Government.

Still, while I yesterday sought to argue that National's whipping up of a furore over this issue had all the inconsistency of rancid milk purporting to be cream, there is nevertheless at least *one* point on which I have to concede they've been stable in their relative stances:

That part around "baying for blood" over a "release of information which was to become public knowledge *anyway*" a mere few days later. It's exactly, as you may recall, what Simon Bridges sought to do after his rather high transport expenses were 'leaked' to the Media a few days prior to their official disclosure was scheduled to occur.

Of course, funny thing - he didn't seem *quite* so keen to defend the weaponized use of the [accurate, as it happened] information thusly obtained *that time*, did he.



Why The Americans Waited Nine Years To Bring Up Taking Our Eye Out Of The Five

Another article, published today, is doing the rounds about the prospect of NZ being booted out of the '5 Eyes' 'security' club, due to the alleged perforation of the heart of our politics by the People's Republic of China.

I've said it before and i'll say it again.

The problem the Americans have identified was *worse* under National. Yet for nine years the US did NOT seek to proffer this 'threat' at us.

The reason for this is quite simple.

They don't actually care nearly as much as they are pretending about the issue of Chinese 'infiltration'. They DO care, at least somewhat, if i) your governing party is "red" in its electoral material [regardless of its actual substance in practice], ii) it's not all that keen on supporting their general penchant for overseas military adventurism.

So therefore, National got a 'free pass' despite a Chinese intelligence agent in its Parliamentary Caucus, because it made the 'right noises' about wanting to have helped invade Iraq, etc. etc. and not rocking the boat with neoliberalism.

Meanwhile, the Labour/NZF/Greens Government can move to block Huawei from getting the contract for our 5G cellphone network upgrade, start rolling out a policy of attempting to *actively encourage* the US to engage in the Pacific to head off the PRC, and can even preside over the problem of PRC influence/infiltration actually being talked about even at a Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry ...

... and because it is 'convenient' to do so, because it lines up with other priorities, this smokescreen approach of "The Chinese are Puppeteering the Parliamentary Labour Party" gets rolled out.

Whether because the Americans are generally keen on 'disciplining' NZ for not being totally 100% in-line on various geopolitical fronts (and the prospect of trading with Russia may also be in mind here); or whether it is in a bid to surreptitiously 'influence' our domestic politics via the fostering of "Red Scare" style perceptions about the current incumbent Government so as to forment its subsequent replacement via more 'pliable' (by both Chinese *and* American foreign pressures, apparently) National-led administration.

National's Budget Pre-Game Is Double Standards All The Way Down

So let me get this straight:
1. the National Party somehow acquires Budget 2019 materials two days early;
2. Treasury reports it's been hacked and that they've referred the matter to the NZ Police's special cybercrime and security department.
3. National claims that it actually got the papers "lawfully"; Simon Bridges states that Grant Robertson should resign as Finance Minister because of National's receipt of them

Both stories can't be true. But what I found rather interesting was the quite drastic difference between how National's reacting to a potential hack of the Government (which has given them a temporary political advantage - it meant they had a big Distraction for their announcements of the outcomes of their internal review into bullying culture within National, and Alfred Ngaro's Tamaki-inspired backdown on setting up a sidecar support party with which to game MMP) ...

... and National's own screeching vituperation when it came to their *own* instances of themselves or their (Cetacean) subordinates/black-ops crew being hacked in years past. Then, it was quite a different tune - anybody even suspected of knowing who the hacker(s) might be finding themselves with sketchy police search sprees, bank service impairments "just in case", and the high hell-raising that some sort of massive attack upon the very political and social fabric of this country was immanently in progress. [by hackers exposing what National and its cronies had been up to, I mean - not, you see, by WhaleOil, the PM's office, et co, themselves. Funny how that works]

I know it's a truism to state, but it's almost like nobody actually cares about "the rules" over there, and that the only principle they hold dear to is the "Power Principle", the desire to "win" at all costs, and somehow make it look like their own leader isn't in a near constant state of Schrodinger's Resignation, via scalp-demanding from just about anyone and everyone else.

Meanwhile, I was also rather surprised to see the National Party attempting to attack the Government for an increase in Defence spending. I mean ... this is not what you'd expect from National - especially given their rather flagrant over-enthusiasm in years both past and present to deploy the NZDF in support of American military adventurism in the far-flung reaches of the world.

I thought the National Party were supposed to be at least somewhat keen on having a useable and fit-for-purpose Defence Force? But, then, I guess not. Looks like the only Defence they're really seriously interested in, is against the Government's incumbency, by any means necessary. Typical.

The overwhelming impression one gets when looking over the Nats' Budget pre-game, then, is very much the same as that which we've had by looking at them in Opposition these past eighteen months all up.

Namely - it's double-standards, all the way down.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Bridges' Claim On Crime Rates A "Serious Harm" To Causality

Everybody knows the old adage that when it comes to lies, there are three kinds: "lies, damned lies, and statistics". Political press releases, particularly from the National Party, often combine at least two out of the three in some sort of high art form. Yet as is a truth known to only fewer, the best and most persuasive lies are those that actually contain at their core or at least in their sheathing ... a hard element of fact.

Which is pretty much exactly what we saw with yesterday's Herald piece quoting Simon Bridges, Mark Mitchell et co expressing their bewailing concern that there'd been a 25% increase in cases of "serious harm" before the courts - and therefore, that "crime [has been] increasing" since the change-over to the Labour/NZF/Greens Government in October of 2017.

Now watch the 'bait and switch'.

Yes, absolutely, there does appear to be an increase - even quite a notable one - in "serious harm" cases before the courts over the past year and a half.

But that doesn't mean that crime is actually increasing. Not by itself, anyway. I mean, it may very well be that it is. I'm not sure. These stats aren't on the rate of criminal offending experienced by ordinary New Zealanders. Instead, they're simply and exclusively on the raw amount of criminal offending in certain categories that winds up in front of a judge.

And how does an (alleged) criminal find themselves before the Courts?

Well, first they'd have to be apprehended, wouldn't they. For the most part, anyway - some do hand themselves in.

So what do we actually see reflected in these stats which National's publicized? Not evidence of more crime all up. Just evidence of more criminals being dealt with through the justice system.

Which would surely be a good thing?

Now there is, to be sure, some potential merit in something else Bridges said - that the increase in cases before the courts may also be a result of courts taking longer to deal with cases than has previously been the case. And that does deserve to be looked at. Both victims and (alleged) offenders (particularly where it turns out that they're actually innocent) have rights to the speedy dispensation of justice without undue delay. Although this does have to be balanced against the quality of deliberation available - and I'd certainly hope that most would agree with the sentiment that a well-thought-out proceeding which gets a better outcome is superior to a more slap-dash approach designed to have speed as its most significant priority.

But if the increase in numbers of cases is resultant from a slower moving progress through the Justice system, then this suggests that the increase is not - or at least, not entirely - due to changes in crime rates or criminal apprehension. It may be a situation of "both rather than either", and in fact it probably is; yet I can't help but feel that National is pontificating at cross-purposes with its own previously advanced reasoning here.

In any case, that comment around 'apprehension rates' is absolutely key here. As I suggested above, the main vector via which potential offenders wind up in front of a judge, is through hard work by the New Zealand Police. It therefore stands to reason that if the numbers are up for cases in court, that this will be at least somewhat to do with their efforts. And, as you may recall, both Labour and NZF promised significant increases in police numbers at the last Election. The jury's still out on just how well they're going in achieving that, but it does seem there's been som reasonable progress in this area - with the number of sworn officers apparently reaching a record high of 9,506 last month, as a start.

So if there's been a notable increase in the number of "serious harm" cases before the courts, maybe that's at least part of the reason why? The Coalition Government living up to some of its campaign promises, boosting police numbers; therefore leading to more crime being responded to, more (alleged) offenders apprehended, and hopefully, more matters of these types being resolved.

Now, it's difficult to actually verify this prospective claim in the absence of different data-sets - dealing with the actual numbers on crimes committed/experienced and crimes reported (which are not always, themselves, the same for a variety of reasons), incidents responded to, and presumptive offenders then dealt with. And I find it rather curious that National didn't choose to release something much more comprehensive, touchng upon all of those indicators if it were actually serious in its endeavour to convince us that we're 25% more unsafe than we were in mid-late 2017 when they last ruled.

But, then, maybe National doesn't trust those sorts of statistics to do the talking for them.

After all, it is a well-known fact that when National was last in power, and Judith Collins was Police Minister, policing statistics appeared to mysteriously be altered in ways that happened to make the then-incumbent Government look good. I'm sure it was entirely coincidental that Collins' own Papakura electorate seemed to be a particular beneficiary of this sudden and magical sans-crime wave, and that this had nothing whatsoever to do with her decision not to investigate the situation when informed of it as a Minister.

So I guess what I'm saying is - I can see why National might not be keen to use police stats for these matters, given their own previous flagrant mis-use and manipulation of them in the past. And regardless of the changes in stat collection and verification that have since been undertaken by the Police in response to that episode.

But attempting to 'sub in' the figures for cases before the courts in this manner as a substitute for crime-rates, is not exactly any more truthful - even though it doesn't directly entail any actual distortion of statistics for polemical, psephological gain. Just what they might happen to actually represent.

I shall be interested to see if and whether Andrew Little's [and/or Stuart Nash's] office responds by putting out further stats, in areas actually relevant to Bridges' core claim, that enable to assess whether National's contention has much in the way of merit.

Who knows. This may turn into yet another instance of Bridges providing a stirling opportunity for the Government to show that their approach is actually working.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

US-Saudi-Israeli State Sponsors Of Errorism Against Iran


USA: designates Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a 'Terrorist Organization'.

Iran: designates US CENTCOM [the American military command responsible for, amongst other things, the Middle Eastern theatre ] as a Terrorist Organization.

I'll address why this has happened in the next portion; but for the moment - like I say in the image accompanying ... I'm pretty sure that if *anybody's* guilty of the whole aiding and abetting "terrorism as a tool of statecraft", and generally being a "state sponsor of terror", it'd be the Americans.

Also the Saudis (identified by British intelligence services as the lead sponsor of extremist activity in the UK; and openly identified by any number of Western officials as being active facilitators of terrorism and insurgency activity in a half a dozen active hotspots across the rest of the globe) - and Israelis, for that matter (one of the more recent and egregious examples being their active assistance to Al-Nusra in the context of the Syrian Civil War)

If actions that "are fundamentally different from those of other governments " in these areas are grounds for international sanction, as Trump's press-release appears to say - somebody *please* line up Saudi-Israeliya, and the Americans, and start censuring the exceptionalists, accordingly.

But that won't happen. Because none of this is actually about "terrorism". Or, rather, as I'll briefly detail in the next post .. it *is* at least partially about terrorism - namely, the fact that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been a pretty solid force *against* the Sunni-Wahhabi, Israeli, and American-backed groups of extremists marauding the Arabian peninsula and further afield ... and the Anglosphere's "friends" are sick of losing their shadow/dirty war so're switching over to one of the few fields wherein they actually *do* have some form of dominance - the economic slash international talking-shop arenas of injustice.




Right, so here's Iran's Foreign Minister briefly providing a bit of perspective upon what's gone on here with the US's designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a "terrorist organization".

And while the Israeli election is definitely a part of it, the more interesting element is what he's alluding to with the "quagmire [...] consequences for US forces in the region".

See, here's the thing a lot of people don't know: the US has actually had rather successful military co-operation with the Iranians, and specifically the Iranian Revolutionary Guard over the past few years.

This might seem like some sort of bizarre aberration, but actually - if you go back to the opening year or so of the War on Terror, when the main combat theater was Afghanistan, it was the default norm (in part due to 'shared enemies' - the Taliban & Al Qaeda were *not* fans of the Shi'ite Iranian state; and in part because Iran was rather keen to get out of its decades of relative international isolation by being a 'good global citizen' and helping the West tackle a prime vector for terror), a pattern that *would* likely have continued, but for George W. Bush making a rather knee-jerk "AXIS OF EVIL" designation of them, which overnight scuppered the whole exercise.

Now, as the War on Terror, and its derivatives, shifted from Afghanistan to Iraq, with the Invasion in 2003 and subsequent er .. occupation, things changed once again. In *theory*, the Iranians and Americans had had a common enemy in Saddam - it's just that in practice, the Americans probably weren't counting on the Iranians "winning" the peace in much of Northern Iraq - and basically being set to extend the Iranian sphere of influence closer to the Mediterranean than it had been at any point in the past one and a half thousand years [seriously - I actually went back and checked this], as a result.

This created an effective situation of I suppose you might say a 'Cold War' style scenario. The Americans weren't keen on the Iranians merilly marionetting their way through a reasonable swathe of Iraq, yet were not able to do anything serious about it, precisely because the Iranians were a helluvalot better at working in/through/with local Iraqi communities than the US was.

This leads to a hilarious episode of Major General Qassem Soleimani basically IRL trolling his American counterpart with a series of personally written notes taunting the guy about his effective utter inability to do anything about the Iranian influence if not outright control of the area, but I digress.

If we flash forward a few years towards the present, we see the situation change *again*, with the entry into several initially national/insurgency level conflicts simultaneously of *surprisingly* well-funded and supported Sunni/Wahhabist extremist militias.

Now, just *who* was arming, supplyinig, and otherwise supporting these outfits in order to facilitate their shocking early gains, is another matter for another piece; but suffice to say that *somebody* [or, more accurately, *somebodies* from the neocon foreign policy/defence/espionage establishments of at least three countries] quite accurately viewed the immense destabilization potential of these vectors as a very potent weapon against both the Iranians, and also anybody else who might be "problematic" - such as the Assad government in Syria [which, at this stage, was still rather lukewarm about the Iranians, if I recall ] .

However, the trouble with these various prongs of 'anti-Iranian' insurgency/irregular efforts was, in part, that they were "too successful" , insofar as they posed a serious danger of overrunning actual official American satrapies/"friends" in the region [for example - the fear that ISIS might actually manage to topple Iraq itself]. And while it's not *quite* true to state that they were effectively "uncontrollable" [ISIS did, after all, profusely apologize for accidentally attacking Israel], their penchant for causing 'unanticipated [at least officially] occurrences' [c.f the outcomes of McCain's whole "arm the moderates" approach .. which uh .. did arm *somebody*...], and the escalating pileup of optics problems attendant in their ongoing exigencies, meant that eventually, *something* had to be done.

So in a manner not entirely reminiscent of the Dr Seuss book about the kingdom which attempts to get rid of its mice-problem by importing a whole lot of cats ... then attempts to get rid of its cat problem by importing dogs .. then eventually, at the other end of the story, attempts to get rid of its elephant problem by bringing back the mice in something approaching a fruitful co-operation ... the Americans [pointedly *not* the Saudis, the Israelis etc.] found themselves having to once more work with the Iranians, in order to try and corral, constrain, and calceate the cavalcade of decidedly *un*moderate rebels who'd taken up residence and de facto "statehood" in the ruins of what were formerly the Middle East's two leading secular states [i.e. the Ba'athist ones].

This actually worked out rather well, as can be seen by the escalating collapses on all fronts of these various movements - a situation considerably availed by Russian air power and other military contributions, as applies Syria ... although occasionally hampered by both Israeli and curiously enough *American* air-power over the same country.

Now, as vaguely alluded to in the previous paragraph, the Americans never seem to have had a 'monolithic' policy about all of this. At the same time that they were fighting on the same side as the Iranians (and Hezbollah, which I have forgotten to distinctively mention previously, etc. etc. ) against Sunni extremists in the northern Levant ... American forces were actually working *with* Al Qaeda and other such decidedly dastardly "friends of a friend" [that 'friend' being Saudi Arabia] in the *southern* Arabian Peninsula against popular forces *there*.

And at the same time as they were fighting to drive ISIS *out* of Iraq, they were attempting to provide 'red lines' and de facto 'safe zones' for ISIS in eastern Syria to continue operating and regroup in the face of Syrian Army (and Iranian, etc.) offensives intended to drive the Caliphate into the dust.

But I digress.

Nobody has ever accused the Americans of having a comprehensive, cogent Middle Eastern policy that actually makes any sort of sense and which will actually likely achieve the increasingly notional objectives it sets out in pursuit of .... so the aforementioned SNAFUs all the way down, is probably just about to be expected of them.

What's got the Neocons behind this recent Trumplosion all hot and bothered, is the fact that the Iranians have once again managed to go from being "on the hoof" a few years back, to standing astride a pretty much uninterrupted corridor extending from their own border right out to the Mediterranean via Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. And with neither Turks nor "totally not *our* terrorists" able to meaningfully break it. *And*, not to put too fine a point upon it, with the Israeli Air Force now ... rather more circumspect about running *too* much active interdiction, lest they accidentally once more run afoul of the Russians, etc.

Now, to be sure, this is a pretty fragile situation, as far as it goes. The events from the birth of ISIS up until a year or so ago show that if you can create enough chaos via ongoing insurgencies and irregular-warfare (as well as regular warfare, for that matter) efforts along that corridor, that the Iranian influence-pathway is disruptable.

Except the main things, right now, keeping a *lid* on that are, in Syria at least and in no particular order, the Russian military, the Syrian army, and a patchwork of Iranian and Iranian-allied forces. This last set also being pretty active across the border in northern Iraq - occasionally, as noted above, in co-operation with the Americans and American associates.

So if you want to *disrupt* this situation, and do your darndest to try and *prevent* the otherwise surprisingly inexorable march of Iran back to 'normal' relations with much of the outside world ... you've effectively got to turn them, somehow, into "The Enemy".

Both to disrupt their ability to work with others against* these extremist insurgency efforts [and their state-level (pay)pasters], and more directly, to just blatantly have the Iranians 'subbed in' *as* the 'terrorists' or whatever in the first place.

Hence, you put some pressure upon some people in the American government to actually listen to that Bolton guy ... and nek minnit, the very forces which have *taken the lead* fighting the often American-augmented *actual* terrorist/extremist adversaries of the ordinary man ... now suddenly *are* [for official purposes, at any rate], the direst villains imaginable and condemnable with far more force than was put into most of the years of actions against Saudi-Israeliyan associates anywhere in the Arabian peninsula.

"Alchemy" may be an Arabic word, but I don't think anybody ever anticipated such a shameless transmogrification as has taken here in the language's traditional heartland.

The "Quagmire" comment from Minister Zarif, then, is not (just) what it first appears to be - a threat, of sorts, from the IRGC to American forces.

Instead, it is actually a *warning*.

That if the Americans continue to go down this path, then they shall find themselves in exactly the same situation as they faced in Afghanistan after they spurned Iranian assistance *there* in favour of some twenty-year-old blinkered bile-oculars approach.

A long-running effort of erosion against them that *nobody* other than the vultures ... and the vultures which don't have sizeable oil reserves or an election presently in progress ... will actually win.

There is 'food for thought' midst *that* carrion.

On Bolsonaro's Ahistorical Naziism



Several days ago, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made headlines for his visit to a Holocaust memorial in Israel. Not so much for the visit itself, of course - it's the sort of thing that is almost de rigueur for newly minted world leaders heading to that particular country on political pilgrimages.

But rather, for his ensuing statement upon exiting the remembrance center, about those archetypal villains of the narrative of the 20th Century, the Nazis. Namely, that they were of the "left".

Now, for what it's worth - I actually do not necessarily disagree with Bolsonaro saying that Naziism was born out of a 'left wing' movement.

There are some important caveats to that statement, including the fact that 'left and right' mean something different today to how the terms were used thirty years ago - and that the German political milieu and tradition in the 1920s and 30s is ... not something that maps very easily onto Anglosphere 'sports-team politics' of the Neoliberal era (I mean - where do you put Bismarck, for instance? Rolled out some of the most left-wing economic policy of his age ... but with a conservative agenda in mind).

And, of course, the fact that the Nazi Party's ideology shifted rather dramatically between its insurgent first decade and its becoming and/or reaching a reasonably cosy accomodation with 'The Establishment' in its second.

But what occurred to me, upon seeing his statement, is that the state of Israel, which he is so emphatically keen upon .. is *also* the product of a 'left wing' movement. There are good reasons why David Ben-Gurion, a key founding figure of Israel along with its first Prime Minister, was of their Labour Party [funnily enough, he actually apparently had a quite positive friendship with Ho-Chi Minh], why 'Mapai' played such a role in the 'setting up' of what would become Israel in the two decades before its declaration of Independence, and why Zionism has always had a pretty strong representation on and from 'the left'.

Now, I do not say any of this, at all, to try and talk *up* Naziism, or to talk down the vague concept of "Left" in (modern-ish) politics. Or with a specific goal in mind when it comes to the reader's perceptions about Israel being good or bad.

I simply state it because it annoys me when politicians or would-be leaders simply make up things, distort the meanings of terms and the history to which they are affixed, in pursuit of increasingly petty gains for some escalatingly delusory world view.

If Bolsonaro wants to be virulently against anything that is allegedly "left wing" by patrimony ... then I suppose that is his right.

If he wants to be vociferously against "Nazis" [whether real or imagined], then that is also within the bounds of his personal proclivity.

But to be against Nazis only insofar as you think of them as "left wing", seems odious.

And to decide that you *stop* being against anything and everything "left wing" in origin, only when it comes to Israel ... seems a decidedly un-angelic gavotte upon the head of a pin, indeed.

Then again, for men such as Bolsonaro, History is not some sort of sacrosanct set of scriptures which spell out actual truths - the story of how we really got here. Nor is it, as is the more commonly held view, a span of broadly agreed upon facts and their customary interpretation.

Rather, it is merely an exercise in creative (re-)writing, a convenient tool to be used and abused and discarded almost at will. And disparaged with a caustic venom whenever it should so happen to pose a threat to the immanentized manifestation of one's preferred vision for the world, and egoic place within it.

Bolsonaro's purpose in visiting Israel at this time was, assumedly, to endeavour to assist Netanyahu's re-election prospects.

It would appear, then, that he was in 'good' company.





Wednesday, April 3, 2019

From 'End Of History' To 'End Of Democracy' - Why Fukuyama Et Co Now Like China


In the past week, comments have surfaced from Francis Fukuyama - aka the man who propheceyed that the perceived ascendency of 'liberalism' in the late 80s and early 90s meant history was now 'over' - claiming Chinese system is a "real alternative" to 'Western democracy'
I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED I TELL YOU , that the man who thought Neoliberal Technocracy had 'won' history ... is keen to endorse a Neoliberal Technocracy.

I mean, leaving aside the argument that this is actually a dialectical situation in and of itself - the PRC in its present state representing a 'continuance', a 'furtherance' of the developmental trajectory that Fukuyama mistakenly assumed would end with a 'Whiggian' victory, rather than a 'merger' with something that had previously been 'beaten' ...

I suspect that this position, all-up, is going to become an increasingly common one within the circles of those who, twenty to thirty years ago (or even, in some parts, five years ago) were the most ardent defenders of "Liberal Democracy" [uber or unter alles].

The reasoning for this is quite simple. Democracy, when actually practiced, is "messy". It features arguments, debates. The clash of ideas at its finest .. the clashes of print-barons at its lowest .. and the clash of 'mobs', variously motivated, at some (all?) points in between.

It throws up potentially 'unpredictable' outcomes - the recent #Brexit referendum result, for example. Or Trump. Or the referendum and more recently poll results in the now-former Soviet Bloc and Russia respectively about preserving/resurrecting the USSR.

Here in New Zealand, it threw up blatantly predictable outcomes, in 1990 say, when it came to opposing and thence rolling back the Neoliberal Revolution here. Which could not be allowed to stand, by the neoliberal technocrats of their (our :( ) day.

And that's actually at the heart of each one of those 'unpredictable' outcomes I just cited two paragraphs up. They were all arguably "predictable". If not in their precise minutiae nor actual scale of achievement - then at the very least, in the large-scale and shouted from the rooftops and across the town square volume of their systemic discontent with the extant (and "unchallengeable") status quo.

This, you see, is why the Technocrat both fears and loathes Democracy.

Because not only do they find themselves confronted by a patently superior power, insofar as it is 'unmanageable' except on the broadest possible terms - like poking and prodding some great and ineffable beast, hoping it'll go in the right direction rather than kick back against the goad-wielder ... but because, as part and parcel of this, that, it refuses to just lie down and submit to the "superior logic" of whichever teleological fad-ridden moribund die-deology we find ourselves confronted with today.

Hence the ongoing efforts at every possible turn to try and neuter it, to invert it. To insist that "some things are too important to be left to the people" [so can, will, and must be left to the unelected economists and policy-wonks instead].

Now, it is a curious thing - in the mid-late 1990s, and more especially earlier, "Liberal Democracy" was conceived of as being ... if not the "antidote" to Democracy, then at the very least, as a worthwhile 'salve' for its wilder potential impulses. You could corall and constrain and thence restrain and 'restructure' [a gloriously internally contradictory Neoliberal term to effectively mean to "destroy" something whilst simultaneously pretencing at maintenance of its key elements of integrity] Democracy - the actual, untrammelled popular will - and thus straight-up subvert it with the material trappings of the late Capitalist mid Neoliberalist Age.

The idea, then, was that people would not willingly nor knowingly vote to preserve their own voices, or the Post-War Economic Consensus, etc, provided you dangled enough shiny in their faces. Whether the pyrite of "prosperity" [selectively trickluar - both in the sense of 'trickle'-down, but more directively, a "trick"], or the understandable, yet often equally illusory promises of the most recent generations of "rights".

Except it didn't quite work out that way.

And now, nearly three decades on, the very structures that were supposed to provide some sort of bulwark against the Hearing of the People Sing - indeed, against the People stirring to Song in the first place - have proven repeatedly to have failed at this very endeavour.

There are still anti-democratic forces and structural conceits in play, of course - and one only has to look at exactly what happened to Greece around its own referendum on Austerity some years ago, to see just this sort of thing in motion.

But overwhelmingly, the sense is that this "Democracy" thing ... produces loud, uncouth, and "I refuse to accept that what you're telling me is The Only Way" approaches that won't just lay down and go with the fundamental paradigm of endless wars of 'humanitarian intervention', of ever-tighter state budgets yet ever looser financial controls, and some sort of inexorable doom-march back to the darkest reaches of the 1920s drug-capitalism [by which I don't directly mean alcohol-running: I mean quite directly "This Is your Economy On Drugs", in terms of its shaping and essential performative/irrationalizing characteristics. Some sort of delusory, dissociative, and fundamentally health-wrecking, life-ending concoction of the bath-salts of the bastargeoise, one presumes] .

So what do we get instead? The casting about to find an 'alternative paradigm'. One that still combines the vague glitzyness of "proven economic success", yet without that 'troublesome', quarrelsome "Democracy" thing to upset whomever's carefully laid get-rich-long-term scheme. [Like a "Pyramid Scheme", except it's actually an Aztec Ziggurat ... replete with the "trickle down" of the blood of young "necessary casualties", required to keep the whole thing lubricated and in sun-raising 'running' order]

Where's got this? The People's Republic of China, apparently.

And I would be very surprised if their ongoing Soft Power offensive at providing various incentives to people to Say Nice Things About Them, had absolutely nothing to do with Fukuyama's remarks now entering the public arena.

My point is: I understand why it was that these sorts were so keen on "Liberal Democracy" twenty to thirty years ago. Just as I understand why they're already so keen on what they perceive to be its antithesis [see?There's that Dialectic again!] today, and just as they seemed to be so enthusiastic about the fruits of "Illiberal Democracy" [think Singapore] perhaps five to fifteen years ago.

It's because, deep down, they want "control". And they don't want to have to "waste time" explaining to the people being controlled as to why whatever counter-intuitive, counter-productive, counter-cosmological contrivance they've pledged undying allegiance to this time is actually a Really Good Idea despite all available lived experience evidence to the contrary.

For this, the "Chinese Model", is a spectacularly immanent success.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

On The National Party's "Emotional" Indecision As To Migration Pact Petition In The Wake Of Christchurch



> December 2018: National Party comes out swinging against UN Migration Pact it probably would have signed up to anyway, had it been in Government; sets up petition to oppose it
> Friday Night: National Party, perhaps feeling sensitive to the day's events, removes said petition from its website
> Sunday: Somebody asks National what's happened with its petition; Bridges claims it was taken down weeks ago - "well before any of the recent tragic events in Christchurch" - as part of "normal web maintenance" .
> Monday: It's pointed out that the page was still up on Friday afternoon ... so no, no that wasn't what happened
> Tuesday: National shifts to claiming that the petition was removed on Friday night by an "emotional junior staffer". Insists it wasn't lying about its previous stance.

Now, in terms of my own thoughts about the above ... whatever one thinks about immigration, and from wherever slash of whomever - the National Party's claimed opposition to the UN Migration Pact has always rung so hollow, you could creatively refer to it as having achieved Nirvana [ok, well .. Sunyata; but there's definitely no lights on inside, i'll put it that way].

This is a party which, after all, presided over back-to-back-to-back record high immigration figures, while consciously tamping down proposals even from within its own membership to lower them [c.f. Bill English announcing such a policy .. and then walking it back a short while afterwards due to opposition from some farmers and employers] ... and which had such a lackadaisical approach to the "protection of national sovereignty" and lawmaking ability which it *claimed* were core parts of its reasoning for opposing the UN Migration Pact - that it thought the ISDS provisions in the *original* #TPPA were a *good idea*. [They're *still* not a good idea in the revised CPTPP agreement, but that is another story for another time, as best told by Professor Jane Kelsey].

Or, in other words, the Nats do not and have never really cared about the issues they purported to raise by pushing that petition.

They were doing it for mere "populist points". Because apparently, the party which militantly blocked its own ears against the Voice of the People on, say, asset sales in the course of *that* referendum campaign ... was all of a sudden going to be the People's Microphone on a rather obscure piece of intergovernmental values-statement of little actual legal effect.

Or, to phrase it another way - this wasn't really about "listening to New Zealanders". it was about putting out a "YOU SHOULD BE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS" line into the polis, and then using that to try and make the Government of the day look scary, unrepresentative, and even more incredibly Globalist than the Nats themselves were for the previous nine years.

However, the risk with putting out emotive political content into the electorate ... is that occasionally it comes back to bite you in the hand and/or posterior.

And that's pretty much exactly what's happened here.

Now I'm NOT saying that National's stance on the Migration Pact had much, if anything, to do with Friday's atrocity. Because it probably didn't. The terrorist in question claimed he had a thousand years or more of history to Wikipedia his way through and/or visit in person during his European jaunt to (mis)inform his views - with the obvious implication that no help from any New Zealand politician was required.

Had National *not* attempted to oppose the Migration Pact, I cannot see how anything would have really changed.

Yet someone in National was plainly aware that the 'optics' of the matter ... were not going to look particularly good, in the blood-tinged aftermath of our worst-ever terrorist attack. And so - whether motivated by a sense of compassion (or, as Bridges put it today, the result of being both "emotional" and possibly also "junior"), or simply a desire to limit the potential finger-pointing post-facto from a PR perspective ... somebody chose to remove the petition from public view.

Now, I'm not sure quite what to make of National's changing story on the matter. It is at least possible that the conflicting statements are simply the result of an 'evolving informational picture'. That is to say, somebody at National HQ not understanding that "unlisted" and "not viewable to the public" are not actually the same thing. It happens.

Yet it was Bridges' response to a question asked earlier today, as to whether actually removing the petition was the right thing to do (you know, making reality finally accord with what National thought had been the case for a few weeks now, apparently - per their earlier statement, anyway... ) - "I think the reality is we're not going to be critical of it because, as I say it's a junior staff member, [who was] very emotional" - that caused me to wonder if this were really the case.

That implies that otherwise, they *would* be critical of it. But also states that they *aren't* critical of it. It is, so to speak, a bob each way - with an emphasis upon "Emotionally affected Kiwis" getting a bit of slack given recent events.

And that, I think, is very, very deliberate play from National.

They're as-yet uncertain which way both a) public opinion in general, but also b) the rather more specific sectors of opinion in various parts of the electorate which they either claim to represent or really want to win off at least one party in particular (you know, the one you would have *thought* would perhaps be opposing said UN Migration Pact were *it* not in Government) ... which way those are going to go over the coming weeks and months as we head towards the next Election Year.

They *don't* want to make it suddenly seem like they're bowing to "PC", or that they've suddenly stopped faux-caring about national sovereignty or immigration policy settings. That'd lose them the Talkback Brigade, and suchlike.

But they're *also* acutely conscious that, for a pretty appreciably broad swathe of "Middle New Zealand" [often, but not always, where elections are actually won and lost - in those instances wherein they aren't won by tactically nuking NZ First and/or other support parties] - Friday's events represent something of a watershed in which the previously not-entirely-un-acceptable approach to speaking with perhaps outright concern about "Islam" , may now wind up being looked at with very different eyes, indeed.

About the only thing that *everybody* can agree upon, is that Friday's literally atrocious events, have represented a considerable shock and emotive impact to both the collective and individual psyches of New Zealanders.

So any 'inconsistency' on National's part .. well, "we'll just chalk it up to that, then."

In a curious bit of irony, that's probably the closest thing we're likely to see to empathy from Simon Bridges in a press conference, during the entirety of his (remaining) run as National Party Leader.

But I digress.

The point, I suppose, is that we have known for a long time now that National (and, to be fair, other parties too, especially when consigned to the relative discomforting boredom of Opposition), have long ago ceased in believing in acting as a genuine conveyor of polis opinion unto the corridors of power. Instead, they've "outsourced" that, to PR companies, lobbyists, and focus-groups. Which is rather like presuming that an elevator-muzak or cellphone ringtone version of a great opera is much the same thing, at best.

And often, instead, seems to be exactly the other way around to "representing public opinion"; rather becoming far more actively interested in "representing [often pre-formed] elite opinion to the public".

Hence why you need the PR companies involved. And the lobbyists, to make sure you know just *which* 'elites' you should be listening to the loudest.

Now, there's no "script" for what's going on at the moment in New Zealand politics. Not really. I mean, there's general platitudes, and there's an array of foreign case-studies that are being cited about the place [the Howard Government in Australia pushing through firearms controls being Exhibit A upon everybody's lips, it would seem] .... but just four days after the Atrocity in question, it's *far* too soon to tell how things are likely to unfold.

Hell, there hasn't even been time to start focus-grouping or whatever it is that the Nats do when they're trying to figure out which way to arc a long-term policy/political trajectory on something potentially divisive. Or what colour ties Simon Bridges should wear. Or how long Judith Collins should spend outside of Cabinet following a corruption-tinged teacup-milk-scandal. Or the precise differential value of an Indian MP versus a Chinese MP for the sake of donation soliciting purposes. Etc. ETc. Etc.

So in the absence of anything hard or reliable [inasmuch as political opinion about anything ever actually is] to go upon, they've instead adopted a creative non-stance that *might look like* something else, in at least two directions. And which endeavours to hit the mid-point of the intersecting Venn Diagram with an 'emotive' impact, regardless.

Very clever, in its own way. I wonder who wrote that for 'em.

As applies National actually deciding which way it's going to go upon this, and quite a number of other somewhat related issues ... I suspect we're going to be left wondering for awhile yet. The dust takes time to clear on these things, which is what is required in order to perceive the best "optics" for the situation.

The National party are not, by instinct, these days "leaders" - they are "managers".

Which is, one could argue, exactly the wrong set of priorities and proclivities, for an emergent and paradigm-reshaping [at least here in NZ politics] event such as this.

Will NZ Also Initiate Legal Action Against Turkish Politicization Of Christchurch Footage?

Now here is a curious thing. According to today's Herald, Turkish President Erdogan, is using footage of Friday's atrocity as part of his party's ads for a currently occurring suite of elections being held in Turkey.

In some ways, it is not surprising that the attack would have such a resonance in Turkish politics - after all, the shooter, a self-declared 'Turkophage', was quite vocal about said country, and repeatedly singled out Erdogan himself for threat of death.

Yet the ads come at a time when New Zealand authorities have been rather busy seeking to clamp down upon the dissemination of the video as Objectionable Material; and we have already seen at least one New Zealander in court for it [although to be sure, it's likely that some of his *other* postings at roughly the same time, may have 'tipped the balance' toward full-scale enforcement action], as well as, I am given to understand, an array of what are, effectively, 'cease-and-desist' notices sent out to foreign entities demanding that they halt any hosting or distribution of the materials in question immediately or face further legal consequence.

My question is a simple one: will we be *also* attempting the same thing in the direction of the AKP? [Erdogan's party]

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Christchurch Terror Attack - "God Defend Our Free Land" - For Us, The World Has Gotten A Little Bit Darker

Mandir was .. a little bit tense tonight; and was closing early, for understandable reasons.

The world has gotten a little bit darker. At least, from our perspective down here in Kiwiland.

That is to say - I'm fully aware that this sort of apprehensiveness is deplorably, "life normal" for many people in many other parts of the world, day in and day out.

Yet we are not used to it here. We have often felt safe - that the issues which plague the "rest of the world" are so remote, separated from us by thousands of kilometers of ocean, and the glass of our TV screens or the fibre of our internet cables.

Indeed, even the introductory news of this afternoon's occurrences had a bit of that to it. It *Had* Happened Here. But it was in Christchurch, right? A few hundred kilometers, and the Cook Strait away. And after all - "Thar Be White Supremacists".

[Note: that is not intended as a dig at Christchurch - which has been through a huge spectrum of suffering these past eight years.]

It's only once the vague congealment of anxiety and surprise at reading the initial newspaper coverage, is overwritten by the specific shock of the TV and internet news broadcasts - wherein we find, to our horror, that victims, bystanders, first responders, heroes, and others caught up in the tumult ... may speak with Kiwi accents, may be standing in streets, in front of architecture and road-signs and cop-cars and ensigns, that we recognize ... - that things truly start to feel "familiar".

And by that, I mean absolutely, nightmarishly *unfamiliar*, precisely because it is what we are used to seeing and hearing, in the places we are used to seeing and hearing them, but through atrocity, near-completely and utterly divorced from that warm sense of comfort which the 'familiar' customarily elicits.

Yet even then, with our hearts and our headspaces going out in train to our countrymen and our guests; unless we are personally affected by it (and it was interesting hearing a senior Newshub journalist who'd just arrived in Christchurch noting that he'd been picked up from the airport by his brother, who was just about to go grab his nephew from lockdown), there's still a certain sense of the "abstract" to it.

We hope and we pray that "it" won't come any closer.

That's understandable, in the extreme. And precisely because these are extreme circumstances that we are witnessing - it feels somehow eerily 'dissonant' with the relative calm for us out here elsewhere in the rest of the country.

Yet at Mandir tonight [and for those of you who for some reason *aren't* conversant with basic Hindu religious terminology .. that's a Temple] , with the curtains all unseasonably drawn, closing time brought forward, an eye kept upon the perimeter, and a number of those who were there having that extra-electric "everything's alright" carefully-"cheerfully"-charged demeanour of the sort that actually evinces a deep-seated unease which cannot be allowed to be outwardly vocalized [perhaps partially, because white supremacist types are not often known for their faculties of discernment, when it comes to telling apart the perceived "non-white" religions] ...

... well, I guess what I'm trying to say is - without a shot being fired (that I'm aware of) in Auckland, and without the police presence that, say, the Avondale Mosque currently has camped outside it ...

It's those 'little things' that 'bring it home', a bit. That, as I say, the world seems a little bit darker, even here at the other end of the country, tonight.

Obviously, this is absolutely inconsequential in comparison to the suffering being experienced in Christchurch.

The only candle it can hold to it is one of shared grief and memorializing. And maybe, just maybe, seeking to illuminate some of New Zealanders' better nature in shared feelings of support and solidarity with same.

Yet it is a curious thing: as I approached Mandir from the east, down Balmoral Road, with the Sun setting behind it over the Waitakeres ...I noticed that the flag atop the spire seemed a triangle of black. Usually, even when silhouetted by the Sun, it retains its Saffron-coloured hue.

On the eve of World War One, the then-British Foreign Secretary, Edward Grey, remarked that "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time."

New Zealand has often seemed almost an "ark" against the tumult and the current of iniquity which so readily floods global affairs.

We can but hope that those fundamentally, quintessentially Kiwi characteristics of an inexorable resiliency of spirit and cast-iron commitment to community, mean that at least here - here of all places, in what should otherwise be (but sadly, often isn't), "the best of all possible worlds" - "the lights" may be dimmed somewhat ... but that they do not , *cannot* , go out in perpetuity.

It is clear, from what has been said by the abominations responsible for these attacks, that they chose us as a target *precisely because* we are free and we are good-natured.

Precisely because, we have hitherto been spared - despite occasional quite serious provocation - from the rampancy of hard-hearted and steely-eyed "security-mindedness" that so dominates so many other parts of the world (whether London with its "ring of steel", and omnipresent surveillance cameras, or fast food restaurants in the United States being equipped with bulletproof glass, etc.).

And precisely because, lest there be any doubt about this, we have such a society wherein the 'problems' of the outside world - around racially- or religiously- motivated murders, attempted ethnic- or religious- "cleansing", or whatever else these crimes bear a certain resemblance to ... wherein these things have hitherto seemed largely (but not entirely, to be sure) absent from our shores.

If we wind up more like the various Anglosphere etc. countries wherein these things *are* a much more common and even almost "accepted" "fact of life" , which is what the mini-minds of maleficence behind this seem to dearly wish we become ... then needless to say, they will, in a striking sense, have "won".

The New Zealand National Character has always been somewhat 'dour' - even, at times, allegedly "gloomy". [Colin McCahon's paintings, rather than the Black of our national colour, may be the better evidence for this, perhaps]

Yet it has generally also been resoundingly compassionate, and almost incandescently innovative, into the bargain.

In some ways, it is just what you would expect , from a nation whose almost every constituent, either came here themselves, or is descended from those who did, motivated and fuelled by the desire for - the hope and aspiration for - a better life, here, than could be found in those times amidst the often nightmarish and bereftly barren quarters, of so much of the rest of the world. (Seriously - Industrial-era Victorian England, does NOT sound like an ideal place to be!)

It is those values which shall see us through. And, more than "hopefully" - which shall damn near *certainly* see us find a way to "keep the lights on" here, for years - for decades - for perpetuity, to come.

I shall resist the temptation to make a joke about utilizing number eight wire as a filament.

As the National Anthem states, and no matter perhaps whom we're identifying with the personhood of providence within it ...

"God Defend Our Free Land": -

"God Defend New Zealand".

FLIPPING THE SCRIPT: On Friday's Terror Attack In Christchurch

So here is the thing. From what little we know about the perpetrators of what's surely NZ's worst terrorist attack ... the main figure appears to be an Australian who arrived here "recently".

We often hear certain sorts of people going on about the "threat" from "Muslim migration" or whatever other demographic they can scaremonger about. And yet, quite directly - quite simply - what we have seen here is the opposite. Shootings at multiple sites, would-be bombings, and other such things, with a stated intent to show "nowhere in the world is safe" ... as carried out by English-speaking white chaps.

Now I am *not* attempting to say that having white Anglosphere migrants turn up at your door is an intrinsic security risk (I am resisting the temptation to make a 'colonialism in the 16/17/1800s possibly excepted' joke).

But once again: this incident shows quite plainly that "the script" which many subconsciously run on ... of "terror incident" means one group [an Eastern religion] being the perpetrator , and another group they're more closely related to being the victims ... is worse than useless. It's an outright *obscuration* of fact.

What has happened here is quite simple.

At least one foreigner - and in all probability, also some Kiwis (although the IDs of several arrested have not yet been released to confirm this) - have come here, to kill New Zealanders, and our guests here in this country (potentially including the Bangladeshi cricket team).

They have done so, in order to further, to perpetuate, to *perpetrate*, an ideological agenda that has no place here in New Zealand.

Yet because the identified perpetrators are white, they will have been able to walk down the street, operate in our communities with *far less* suspicion or sideways-looks upon them, than an ordinary and morally blameless person who might look like they're of a particular swathe of religious minorities here in NZ.

For a third time: I am NOT seeking to suggest that there's some innate connection between being a white man , and carrying out some sort of brain-dead act of brutality.

What I *am* saying, is that - as applies the New Zealand experience today, especially - "terrorism has no [intrinsic] religion".

It is "political" violence, sought to be amplified through media, to push whatever abys(m)al agenda could not be attained through reasoned discourse.

If you're from any of the various tendencies out there which have previously sought to suggest that it's "only" a "Muslim issue" [which flies flat in the face of the fact that, for a start, the previous incident of international terrorism which took place here in NZ was, in point of fact, *French* government authored] you should probably Adjust your Perceptions, accordingly.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The OTHER Reason Street-Assault Of James Shaw Is Abominable

Waitwaitwait ... let me get this straight. Somebody goes out and tries to bash up James Shaw of the Green Party, on grounds that Something Something United Nations Conspiracy Something Something ...

... and yet the National Party, and other Neoliberal political vectors can engage in all sorts of dodgy efforts to pack up, parcel off, and otherwise dismantle our country and its sovereignty to appease globe-spanning ideological currents ...

... often loudly cheered on by the same sorts of people who'll be braying their enthusiasm for this cowardly attack upon Shaw.

Seriously. Was not the Green Party the only party in Parliament still holding out against the #TPPA, #CPTPP, or whatever it is that it's calling itself these days?

As applies "Immigration" [there's some suggestion on the news that this might be linked to the recent UN Migration Pact], did James Shaw not call for a 'sustainable immigration policy' which would have reduced numbers from the National Party's escalating years of historic highs?

I have always gotten a lot of flakk for my personal advocacy of the view that the Green Party is often far better at being "pro-New Zealand" in values, voice, and vision, than a number of other parties which like to emphatically brand themselves as National-ist.

They are not perfect. They are, after all, a political party, which semi-frequently produces politicians.

But in amidst all the clamouring would-be "castigation" of the Greens as the alleged local beachhead of whichever cockamiemie "conspiracy" is doing its rounds on the sumps of social media this week in particular ... the real culprits who actually are engaged in clandestine efforts to make your and my country a worse place to be, go largely unheralded, and certainly unpunished.

Now, lest I find myself with another visit from the NZ Police's potential-counter-terrorist chaps, I am not suggesting that somebody go out and do to, say, Judith Collins what has been done this day to James Shaw. That would be ridiculous, and highly counter-productive. Dildo-bombardments, perhaps, marginally excepted [for my international audience ... it's a long story, but it involved the protesting of a pernicious international trade-deal, and the then-relevant Minister coming into close physical contact with an object which bore a disconcertingly close resemblance to the shape of his head]

I also do not mean to invoke the annoying downright cliche of WAKE UP, SHEEPLE, directly [particularly given the various quips around NZ having 12 million or more sheep, of which a little above four million tend to walk about on two legs].

But seriously. If you are STILL attempting to pour all your energy into harassing and haranguing The Green Party, alone and all-above any other political party presently active in our politics, our Parliament, an our Government ...

... then you, sir or madam, are likely a moron - and are actively doing the work of the very same people you claim to want to stop by misdirecting the anger of the people around you in their exclusive, especial direction, alone.

I've got little to no doubt that the Green Party, as with any moderately large sized grouping of New Zealanders, has a few Muesli Bars within their number. They may even possess the occasional daft idea as actual party policy, from time to time.

Yet the only "impact" which this peculiar form of pseudo-pugilistic "protest" has upon the politics of the nation ... is the quite literal one, upon the face of the Greens' co-Leader. That's it.

And you know what one of the more ridiculous parts of the whole thing is ? Shaw's actually one of the more reasonable and personally-decent politicians around these days.

GAH!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Insurgents In Jammu And Kashmir Are Not Liberators - They Kill Muslim And Hindu Alike

So earlier this evening, a terrorist attack took place in Jammu; hospitalizing at least 28, of which I'm told, some have already died. This attack was carried out in a similar manner to other such outrages over the past ten months - with a hurled grenade.

Yet while other instances have more directly targeted Indian police (one, nominally against a local police station ... which nevertheless managed to hit a bus-station in front of it, instead; and another, along the same stretch of road as the current one, which *did* actually succeed in injuring two policemen along with at least one civilian); this one just went straight for the mass-casualty civilian-target option instead.

I say this, because it is important.

Every time I have one of my pieces on the ongoing Kashmir confrontation, or other matters relating to Indian politics published, there are people who turn up in the comments-sections of the articles to angrily decry and vitriolically denounce what they see as Indian outrages, Indian excesses. Indian efforts to kill "innocent Muslims", "innocent Kashmiris", etc.

Now, I am not going to dispute that yes, civilian casualties *have* been inflicted by Indian forces. Of course they have.

Yet the explicit metanarrative being pushed by these commenters, and which I rather strongly suspect to have a far broader salience out here in the Anglosphere than many would like to admit, is that the terrorists - the Pakistani-backed, based, and bolstered insurgency in J&K and elsewhere further afield - are somehow "the good guys".

That what they are doing, in these conflict-zones, is "fighting the good fight". Working together, with huddled, oppressed masses, to cast off the shackles of some "Evil Empire" that's occupying the place {never mind that said Evil Empire left just over seventy years ago; tearing out stents in a wedge as it went, almost as a parting "favour" to its local vanquishers).

Funny, come to think of it, that's pretty much *exactly* the same treatment that was given to *another* set of ISI created and Saudi funded Sunni extremists "fighting an 'Evil Empire'", who've turned out to be the villains - the Taliban in Afghanistan, throughout the 1980s. "The moral equivalent of America's Founding Fathers", said President Reagan (and I do not necessarily disagree - but that is another story, for another time).

But while official figures on this sort of thing have not yet been released, I would be inordinately surprised if the twenty eight casualties of this latest atrocity did *not* contain a rather large number of Muslims. The demography of the area supports it.

So what does this mean?

Well, you put it together with the various other outrages of these 'insurgency' groups - the JeM and their ilk - and it quite rapidly becomes abundantly clear that while some organizations (media, certain-governmental, and otherwise) would very much like you to believe that the situation around these incidences is one of "Muslim vs Hindu" ...

... that is not, as it happens, at all the case.

Even if we leave aside the manifest series of facts that these ISI-incepted Sunni extremist groups seem to have a rather nasty habit of attacking Pakistani citizens who just so happen to be Shi'ite or Sufi; or, as we saw just a day before the February 14th attack, daring to take on the might of Iran for their Saudi paymasters ...

... it has become abundantly clear, time and time again, that the would-be "liberators" of Kashmir, have no compunctions whatsoever about killing their fellow Muslims (*whatever* their sect-ional persuasion) in order to strike at the generalized concept of India. (An India which, it must be remembered, for all its problems, has never been anything like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia in terms of its treatment nor relegation of religious minorities. Why, even the RSS has a Muslim wing) [Gosh, no wonder at least one Pakistani state was not so long ago talking about the possibility of coming back to India]

So what am I saying?

It is simple.

You are being asked to believe, by all sorts of voices around the mediasphere and elsewhere, that this is some sort of conflict - perhaps even an 'existential' one - between Hindu and Muslim.

Some Muslim extremists are, themselves, very, *very* keen upon this idea. And for obvious reasons. They want all the tools they can have access to to try and bolster their flagging cause.

But that is not what it is. Not in reality.

On one level, sure, it is Pakistan versus India. I do not seek to deny that. I do not seek to dispute that. In fact, on the contrary - highlighting the *direct* and *deliberate* role which Pakistan and its occasionally 'possibly' "rogue" intelligence service have played in these and other similar flame-fanned flashpoints, as active inceptors, is a big part of what I write.

Yet it is not "Hindu versus Muslim".

As the ongoing callous disregard for their co-religionists' lives more than amply demonstrates ... what it *actually* is, is a conflict of "the abominable" (and their occasionally ignorant, occasionally deliberate prospective supporters), versus pretty much everybody else.

These terrorists hurling grenades at bus-stations or police stations ... they do not care how many Muslims they kill in the process.

In fact, according to some approaches of political-warfare, a higher number is probably a *better* number, from their deranged perspective. Much more likely to contribute to general feelings of unease, unrest, and "India can't protect us.

They only really care that they are killing, wounding, or maiming, some Indians - of whatever religion - in the process.

This matters.

Because while it is easier for the world at large to turn its eyes away from the facts and realities of the situation, if it is thought that this is just some 'religious conflict' [an almost stultifyingly reductionist perspective upon the issues in J&K, and yet an unedifyingly common one outside of the Subcontinent] ...

When considered in its true light, it becomes utterly inarguable that the world at large , who profess to abhor atrocity and iniquity, terrorism and torment, *must* stand on India's side against these ongoing outrages.

And that means *also* lending voice to the clarion calling out of those who facilitate them, issue their perpetrators' orders, and otherwise work fiendishly overtime to endeavour to bring them about.

You know, without me having to say it, which states , and their 'softer' backers and wilful (or, perhaps, at best 'wilfully blind') partners, I am indicating here.

It is said, by some, that these insurgents are come across the border from Pakistan as "liberators" of Kashmiris.

And yet, it is a curious thing - the only "liberation" that they ever seem to bring, is Death.

Well, in that case, "charity starts at home", as the ancient maxim states.

"Full Freedom" to them, then.

जय हिन्द

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Why Raymond Huo Wants Prof Brady Blocked From Speaking To His Select Committee

So I'm just going to put a few quotes from articles next to each other ...

"Labour MPs on the justice select committee have voted against allowing China politics expert Anne-Marie Brady to make a submission on foreign interference in elections.
[...]
"Justice committee chairman Labour MP Raymond Huo said the decision to decline Brady's late request was purely procedural."
- source, the NZ Herald, 07/03/19

[I'd further note that, as made clear in the Herald article, the Select Committee was written to by Justice Minister Andrew Little to request a broadening of its scope in this inquiry to cover foreign electoral interference ... *after* the September cutoff date for submissions that Huo's citing - thus bringing it only directly into Brady's area of expertise after she would have been able to apply to submit, as an ordinary citizen, although still not vitiating the select committee's ability to hear from her anyway, at their discretion - but read on ...]

"Recall that on TVNZ a few weeks ago, veteran diplomat (and now lobbyist) Charles Finny, who has been keen to stick up for both men and celebrate their membership in our Parliament, explicitly stated that he was always very careful what he said in front of either man, as he knew – and given his diplomatic/trade background he would know – that they were both close to the Chinese Embassy. If Finny always takes care what he – just a private citizen lobbyist now – says in front of Yang or Huo, how should ministers or senior opposition MPs react?"
- source, a writeup by economist Michael Reddell, 28/11/17

"Raymond Huo霍建强 works very publicly with China’s united front organizations in New Zealand and promotes their policies in English and Chinese. Huo was a Member of Parliament from 2008 to 2014, then returned to Parliament again in 2017 when a list position became vacant. In 2009, at a meeting organized by the Peaceful Reunification of China Association of New Zealand to celebrate Tibetan Serf Liberation Day, Huo said that as a “person from China” (中国人) he would promote China’s Tibet policies to the New Zealand Parliament.

It was Huo who made the decision to translate Labour’s 2017 election campaign slogan “Let’s do it” into a quote from Xi Jinping (撸起袖子加油干, which literally means “roll up your sleeves and work hard”). Huo told journalists at the Labour campaign launch that the Chinese translation “auspiciously equates to a New Year’s message from President Xi Jinping encouraging China to ‘roll its sleeves up’.” …… Xi’s catchphrase has been widely satirized in Chinese social media. Nonetheless, the phrase is now the politically correct slogan for promoting OBOR, both in China and abroad. ……. In 2014, when asked about the issue of Chinese political influence in New Zealand, Huo told RNZ National, “Generally the Chinese community is excited about the prospect of China having more influence in New Zealand” and added, “many Chinese community members told him a powerful China meant a backer, either psychologically or in the real sense.”"
- source, 'Magic Weapons' - aka the Brady Report , September 2017.

Or, phrased more bluntly: I suspect there is a rather obvious reason that Huo moved to have Brady's testimony blocked.

Placing Huo in charge of what has turned into the effort to track, monitor, and where possible, to *counter* PRC malfeasance within our polity - is not entirely unakin to asking a mosquito to go off and find the cure for malaria.

Also, lest this be misinterpreted as some kind of hit on Labour ... I have absolutely no doubt that were National still in the driving seat, they'd have MPs acting *exactly* the same way.

After all, the National-led previous Government consistently moved to block investigation or scrutiny of Dr. Jian Yang, despite numerous 'red flags' being actively waved by our security services.

There are good people inside Labour, and our Parliament more generally. I see no reason why Andrew Little,when broadening the scope of the inquiry to specifically include potential foreign interference in our election, would have done so with an intent to have Professor Brady, our foremost expert in exactly this field, excluded. Indeed, quite the active contrary.

The fact that events have played out in the manner that they have - suggests that Fate is in ample possession of a flair for the dramatic, and a keen sense of irony.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

India And Iran - United In Struggle 'Gainst Perfidious Pakistan?



For some time now, I have been writing upon the strong viability of Indian-Iranian geopolitical co-operation; particularly in light of shared security concerns, and a most unfavourable 'short schrift' from the Americans meted out towards both on matters economic.

This concept has, perhaps understandably (although invariably infuriatingly) received much push-back from voices that would identify as being on the "right wing", who almost seem to *prefer* the idea of being opposed by a monolithic "all Muslims together, all the time" than to concede they share a fundamental interest with many non-Sunni groups; and who are wilfully blind to the actual realities of both politics and religion in the broader Middle East.

But I digress. The point is, that recent events would appear to be vindicating my earlier perspective; and in a manner that should now have Pakistan *seriously* worried.

So for context on what's going on here ... literally a day before the attack on Indian forces in Kashmir, Pakistani-backed and based Sunni extremist irregulars (seeing a pattern here?) carried out a *very similar* aggression against an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps convoy travelling in Sistan/Balochistan, very near the Pakistani border.

Iran has wasted no time in identifying the culprits - with the Iranian military directly stating that it believes the Pakistani Government and ISI (and, for good measure, Saudi Arabia) to be ultimately responsible.

[Interestingly, they have also suggested an American/Israeli enthusiasm and involvement in the long-running campaign against Iran waged by these militants; and while this might sound like characteristic 'conspiratorial thinking', it is worth noting that a) Israel has over the last few years been at pains also to improve its relationship with Pakistan, particularly within the military sphere; and b) that Israel has had no issue working with other Al-Qaeda affiliates in the very recent past, where this has been seen to oppose Iran - such as Al-Nusra, in Syria. American involvement with Sunni extremists did not end with the Mujahideen of Afghanistan, either - with recent efforts in Yemen, again against perceived Iranian interests, showing the U.S. to be fully capable of co-operation with localized Al-Qaida And Friends 'when it suits'. It is also worth noting that the Americans have had an officially authorized policy of CIA-directed operations against the IRGC to be carried out cross-border from neighbouring countries, since at least the Presidential directive on the matter in 2008]

However, my purpose in writing is not simply to show that there is an abundant and fundamental pattern of Pakistan seemingly actively cultivating instability and iniquity in the borders of seemingly all of its *non-China* neighbours. That has been abundantly clear, and for some time now. Indeed, certified memetic man-of-myth Major-General Qassem Soleimani has directly pointed this out in the context of issuing the Pakistanis a "friendly warning" that continued "test[ing] of Iran" shall lead to "revenge" being taken against the perpetrators and facilitators of such attacks.

His colleague, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi (also a former IRGC commander), the military advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei, did not put it so cheerfully - stating Iranian intent for a "crushing and proper response". Sentiments echoed by current IRGC commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jajari: "Pakistan should also know that it should pay the cost for the Pakistani intelligence organization's support for [these militants] from now on and this price will not doubt be very heavy for them."

The considerable anger of the Iranians on this front is eminently understandable. After all, they have been waging a long-running effort against these Pakistani-enabled insurgencies for some decades now; and despite periodic assurances from Islamabad that "something is being done" about the militants, they nevertheless keep turning up again - and with mysteriously advanced abilities to infiltrate through the Pakistani border in considerable numbers, with the strength and arms to directly attack Iranian military installations.

Indeed, Maj.Gen. Soleimani himself spent much of the 1990s operating in the 'convection zone' that runs along the bounds between the Iranian and Pakistani spheres of influence, actively interdicting and combating the activities of that decade's crop of Pakistani/Saudi/Americani supported insurgencies.

Given the recent Iranian uncovering of a swathe of 'potentially' Pakistani-facilitated terroristic plots targeted at this year's celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, which appears also to have underpinned this recent stepping up in Iranian rhetoric against Pakistan, it would seem fair to say that their patience with the Pariah State has run very low indeed.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard do not mess around. With deference to their records in Iraq, in Syria, and in Lebanon, they have abundantly demonstrated their ability to significantly reshape the flow of events - and even entire states - according to their design (indeed, it has been reported that Soleimani played an instrumental role in securing direct Russian intervention in the Syrian conflict).

Admittedly, such craftings can take a number of years to come to even partial fruition; but for those whose hobbies include the cultivation and moving of mountains, this is only to be expected.

Particularly given the IRGC's habitual preference for measures that enable such dramatic outcomes to be achieved *without* the necessity of a full-scale state-level invasion by the armed forces of Iran. A characteristic considerably informed by the latter course of the Iran-Iraq War, and a long-running observation of the follies of others in this specific regard.

Pakistan is already counting the cost and weighing up the strenuous risks inherent in further escalation of its conflict against India, in conventional terms.

Yet especially with the potential for a 'stepping back' to perhaps occur on that front in the near future; it may very well prove that the 'subtle knife' of the IRGC shall be what keeps the Pakistani generals up at night for the next half decade.

Soleimani's simple statement to Islamabad reminds one of the message which Tito sent to Stalin following the latter's series of attempts upon his life:

"Stop sending people to kill me. We've already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle... If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send one to Moscow, and I won't have to send a second."

Still, if the Pakistanis have proven anything over the past half-century or so, it is that they have an extreme ability for acting in what is ultimately the antithesis of their own self-interest.

In the case of recent developments, this is perhaps partially explicated by their preference for acting in the interests of other states - the Saudi Arabians and others, as identified by the Iranians; and the Chinese et co, as everybody knows.

No doubt, this is why the PRC alone seems to be able to avoid the unique 'beneficence' besetting those with Pakistan as a neighbour - of cross-border extremist exigencies at the day-in day-out drop of a hat.

It is regrettable in the extreme - although not, I suppose, un-understandable - that some states continue to throw in their lot with perfidious Pakistan.

But while the situation in, say, 1971 (wherein the Pakistanis were able to call upon the potent potential services of the United States' nuclear arsenal and the ravening hordes of the ironically titled People's Liberation Army; and would have been in a position to benefit from same had they not collapsed in rather short order on both the Eastern and Western Fronts against the might of the Indian forces, before these 'interventions' could be brought to bear on their behalf), provided Pakistan with a series of 'backstops' in the form of powerful international friends fully prepared to overlook the moral turpitude of their colleague's deplorable conduct ...

... today they are looking increasingly isolated.

It is true that Russia has engaged in something of a rapprochement with Islamabad. Yet this is worth little when compared to the strongly enduring Indo-Russian diplomatic and most especially military relationship.

It is true that billions of dollars of Saudi cash swash the coffers of their state, and pad out the payrolls of perhaps half a hundred Pakistani-based and backed "insurgencies" the world over. Just as has been the case for some decades now, at least ever since the US decided to 'sup with the devil' in order to ouster the Soviets from Afghanistan.

But how has this flailed - utterly *flailed* - against the opponents they have sought in Syria, and in Yemen, and in India and Iran more currently.

It is also true, although many stubbornly refuse to believe it, that Israel - the so-called "friend" of India - has put serious efforts, perhaps hand-in-glove with their sand-strewn partner in crime to the east, into improving their own relationship with Pakistan. Including by engaging in illicit and illegal military technology transfer of a sort that may even have played a role in Pakistan's downing of an IAF plane late last month.

Yet while one should never rule out the ability of the Americans to do something stupid and unprincipled, and ultimately against their own best interest in the longer term ; especially given the recent deterioration of relations between India and the United States which is something of a presently-occurring Exhibit A for this phenomenon ; we can be hopeful that the ongoing trajectory of relations between the Hegemonic Hyperpower and the Harappan-situated Pariah state shall continue to work downward and in India's overt favour.

[We are also strongly supportive of Congresswoman and current Presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's strident stance of pointing out exactly what has happened here, with each of America's so-called "Friends" being the exact opposite in practice. Long may it continue, and much may it catch on!]

The steeling of Iran's stance towards Islamabad, then, is vitally important, in a geopolitical sense; for the ongoing isolation and weakening of Pakistan - and the severe curtailment of its ability to carry out these sorts of cross-border outrages with apparent heedless lack of regard for the Damoclean blade of Consequence.

Just as Iran has taken the inarguable lead in combatting Sunni militancy extremists, in the forms of ISIS or other vectors of atrocity across the Arabian peninsula and further afield, its declaration that the patience of Persia is running out for toleration of Pakistan's excuse-making and sundry further shenanigans should be likewise welcomed, and for exactly the same reason.

"Airyans" to the West of them, "Aryas" to the East - not even the water-hoarding serpent which lies to the north shall be able to save them then!

जय हिन्द !!!