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Feedback: Think Tanks, Columnists and Journalism

Scoop Feedback: Think Tanks, Columnists and Journalism

The following is a selction of feedback and other unsolicited email received by Scoop recently.

They do not appear in any precise order.

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I’ve just noticed the piece ‘Ad bans don’t work’:

Although I work in advertising, I’m curious to know where those figures about Sweden come from.

According to a very recent Datamonitor report, Sweden is at the bottom of the Western European binge drinking league:

Also, the Christine Guittard referred to in the bulletin is not an EU representative - she is a lobbyist for Monsanto France.

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[Re: Robson-on-Politics July 5 2006]

Dear Scoop,

Robinson expressed contempt for ACT's Mr. Brown's concern over immigration artificially boosting the economy. Robinson sighted examples such as America where immigration was good for economic development.

Immigration gives you more people which means you get more new ideas, more competition and superior economies-of-scale for certain products. To a large degree, free trade can give us the same thing because it is, in effect, the same thing (directly integrating a larger number of people). With efficient trade especially, there will also be a saturation point with economies-of-scale where size won't matter so much - e.g. Switzerland.

However, you CAN artificially boost the economy with greater immigration by creating excessive immediate demand; this is great for incumbent businesses but not necessarily economic wealth per capita. It especially over-inflates the economy when it helps to drive up property prices, as we all know (and market-price increase is not necessarily real wealth increase).

I like the idea of more immigration, but you can do it too much too soon and "artificially" screw with wages and prices more than you should. Robinson should sight America again - their crappy boarder control is one of the key reasons why they have minimum wages even worse than our own.


Andrew Atkin

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I wonder how these figures tie in with the actuall statistics from the website OK we have official unemployment at 3.9% from the Stats homepage But from reading the commentary on the statistics it is clear that the official rate has been massaged to remove all those people who are unemployed "but not actively looking for work". Who knows what criteria are applied to classify people in this category.

The commentary url is at
and the real unemployment figure is:

* Unemployment – seasonally adjusted Unemployment increased by 8,000 (9.9 percent), to 86,000 in the March 2006 quarter.

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this gdn article first a week after craig murray put his docs on the net.

this is another downing street memos.

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Dear Editor Scoop Independent News:

In the opinion column, “Senor Blank-o wins in Mexico,” which ran on 7/10/06, writer Greg Palast questions the work of the International Republican Institute (IRI) in Mexico, implying it is doing something illegitimate or worse illegal. With respect to IRI’s activities in Mexico he states, “Shouldn’t someone ask? Shouldn’t someone investigate?”

Mr. Palast never asked nor does it appear did he investigate. A cursory glance at our website shows, IRI is providing training to the National Action Party (PAN) and the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Roberto Madrazo. Either Mr. Palast failed to do the most rudimentary research, or he omitted facts.

Our website shows, IRI’s training consists of helping members of the Mexican congress improve constituent services, assisting Mexican political parties with internal party democratization initiatives, and encouraging women and young people to become involved in the country’s political processes. None of the Mexican political parties that have requested and received this assistance consider the topics subversive or questioned IRI programming. One wonders why Mr. Palast has.

I trust you will provide your readers with these basic facts that Mr. Palast neglected to mention in his column.

Lorne W. Craner
International Republican Institute

A nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide

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[Re: Kennedy's Challenge: Salon, Mother Jones & the Tortured Dialogue On Election Fraud 2004]

I would like to thank you for your expose of Salon and Mother Jones in your recent article, “Kennedy’s Challenge: Salon, Mother Jones & the Tortured Dialogue on Election Fraud 2004.” You manage to root out many violations of the basic tenets of argument made by highly regarded progressive voices such as Mike Hersgaard and Farhad Manjoo. Bravo for taking them on. Much was said by those particular critics of the stolen’04 election about the power that “fringe” people have upon Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and John Conyers. The Fitrakis effect was especially intriguing and I appreciate your directing attention to the false dilemma created by Hersgaard and the irrelevant authority postured by Manjoo. You were admirably correct in pointing out the fallacy of the Fitrakis (Free Press) power-over voodooish hold that has been put forth as credible evidence of the alleged Conyers/RFK hypnosis but, there are three more points that I would like to make that were not in your rebuttal: 1)Dr. Robert Fitrakis is a highly credentialed lawyer and PhD whose forte is research 2) Fitrakis has been continually frustrated in his efforts for a legitimate recount in Ohio and 3) desperate tactics were used by the right to subvert voter turn out by such ridiculous methods as declaring a terrorist alert in Warren County on the night of the elections - a ploy that is but a holographic image of numerous fear-based attempts to circumvent the democratic process and one that should smack us in the face.

That said, after reading your article, I was left with some simple questions that all began with “why”? Why do progressives feel it necessary to attack rather than consider what other progressives are saying? As serious thinkers, I believe we owe that to each other to listen (not just hear) one another and consider. Let’s consider, for example, the reaction by the right to investigations of the election here in Ohio. Don’t they seem at the very least questionable reactions, a bit out of proportion in relation to exercising a democratic right? Some examples that come to mind are the information blackouts, the restrictions upon investigations, the reactionary attacks by Kenneth Blackwell and Jim Petro against such lawyers as Dr. Fitrakis that were eventually thrown out of our judicial system. These facts alone should pique the interest of any forward looking human being. At this critical time when so much voice is being suffocated by the right, why would we want to do diminish cries for help that are backed by credible evidence from serious progressives, patriotic activists? Why? This is the operative question. If some do not believe that the Bush government could possibly steal the election, then withdraw support but why detract, what’s the point? After all that has come to pass in these Bush years isn’t it at all worth considering that political guerilla warfare on the elections was waged by Rovian strategists? After knowing that all the evidence used to convince the public that an occupation of Iraq was necessary turned out to be complete lies, why would subverting the elections seems so absurd?

I am not an intellectual. I am a middle school teacher who lives near Youngstown Ohio. I happen to have several friends whose votes for Kerry were replaced on the touch screen to votes for Bush in the last election with no final proof to whom, their precious and well thought out vote was given. These are honest hard-working people who live in the most impoverished section of Youngstown, who happen to be Black and who happen to work more than one job just to stay at poverty level. They are also smart, sincere people who try, in between working and keeping their children alive, to stay informed and participate in democracy. They are also afraid to come forward and testify about their vote being switched and I can’t help but assume that they instinctively feel the danger, not just of a vicious government that plays dirty, but of a lack of support from those of us who should be there for them. What is Hersgaard and Manjoo doing for them? Offering red herrings, circular argument, false analogies, and hasty generalizations? We would be wrong to do this to enemies let alone allies and, how does this help my friends to know that their voice counts.

Undisputed is the fact that there have been consistent refusals and blocks put before anyone who tries to investigate the ’04 election, the refusal, as you stated, to widely release raw data. Thorough investigations, Manjoo declares, have not been done but, thorough investigations require access to what is supposed to be public information.

It is my belief, that enough evidence has been uncovered by the active and relentless work of Fitrakis, Miller, Palast, Conyers, et. al. to prove that we should throw our energy into supporting the campaign to expose the truth of 2004. And this will be the focus of many many active progressives in the months to come. Progressive activist politicians, lawyers, writers, poor people, even middle school teachers who historically and presently get bashed and silenced enough and, we are willing to put a stop to the exhausting planned chaos of our present government. My mother used to offer, “If you don’t have anything helpful to say, say nothing”. May I suggest that if progressives don’t have anything but innuendo and disconnected discourse to offer, do the rest of us a favor and find another topic or better yet, come to Ohio and help us convince Blackwell that registering voters should not be a felony!

Thank you again, Mike, for being a truth seeker and for taking on our “allies”.

Christine Rizkallah

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Shame on Scoop! you misrepresent the facts and truth. Read the enclosed article so you could talk truth for a change.

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Re: Once in a While the True Victims Strike Back
By Dr. Mary Ethridge

I can't believe that you chosen to print this idiotic filth. I have never read anything so stupid and biased in my lifetime.

This woman must have brain damage. She easily forgets, as do most Palestinian apologists, that several days prior to the kidnapping of a soldier, another Israeli was kidnapped.

His name was Eliyahu Asheri. He was a civilian, not a soldier (which the writier justifies as a legit target. So be it.) Eliyahu was an innocent tenager.

Your author conveniently forgets this attrocity. Eliyahu was murdered by Palestinian Arabs just after the kidnapping.

All of the doctor's justifications go out the window on this one. There was no Palestinian victim. The victim was Jewish.

When you pick and choose what to report and it doesn't speak equally of both sides, your writing has NO VALUE.

This article wreaks of pure Antisemitism. Do not try and sweep it under the rug.

Jeffrey Levine

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Dear Editor

When posting the NZ Climate Science Coalition's media releases could you please categorise them in politics of business sections. They very rarely say anything about climate science.


Doug Clover


Tim Barclay on kiwiblog today:

"The Kahui case is the best thing for ages for us righties"

Link here (66th comment)


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