Scoop Feedback: No Spin
The following is a selection of feedback and other unsolicited email received by Scoop recently. The opinions they contain do not necessarily reflect those of Scoop.
They do not appear in any precise order.
I just read your article on NM voting and thought you would be interested in what just happened to a neighbor of mine in Toledo, OH. He went to vote on a new Diebold touch screen machine on Nov. 8th and while looking at the list of judges on the screen a poll worker came over and touched the screen to cast a vote for a republican judge. My neighbor said no, I want to vote for a woman and erased the man's vote. He then went to the next list of judges for another court and the same man came back and pointed at a republican judge without touching the screen and said that man is a good judge. My neighbor pushed his hand away and said I can vote without your help. Unfortunately, my neighbor refuses to lodge a complaint with the board of elections or the police.
In response to Ross Wilsons open letter, (and l am sure to the New Zealand public's attitudes in general) l would like to say thank you for your support.
It is a sad time when everything that we have fought for in preceeding generations to improve quality of life is put to risk under the guise of making things better. Unfortunately the Howard government do not look to others to learn from their mistakes and are too busy bulldozing their changes through to listen to what the Australian public really want.
The only thing that we (the public) could do to truely improve this situation is to remove John Howard and the Liberal government from power - unfortunately that opportunity will not come for a while yet, and l shudder to think of the damage he will do in the meantime.
It is good to know that someone else in the world sees sense in what we are trying to do with these protests!
Responding to the 'Mapp report" on PC.
I was surprised to hear that schools shelter their kids from the "crushing" impact of realising that you lost in a sporting game. But the interesting thing is why do we think that kids will take it to heart anyway?
Maybe the subconsious message from adults is 'The difference between winning and losing means a heck of lot -in reflects on who you are'. Maybe we would be better off telling kids when they haven't performed too well, but at the same time tell them to not take is so seriously.
Sometimes winners win because they have far too much to prove, and basically "sell their soles" to the game - and that's not necessarily all that impressive. Speaking for myself, the All Blacks, for example, take the difference bewtween winning and losing so deathly seriously that they kill the natural fun of the game and just bloody embarrass themselves.
TeKapuamatotoro (Native Maori Royal House)
The colonialisation process is still active in New Zealand.
The current Treaty Of Waitangi Settlement process are under 3 per cent redress of what is actually owed to Native Maori. The fiscal cap ensured native Maori would not receive the approximate 97 per cent out standing.
The theft of the Foreshore and Seabed are recent events of colonialism in its frontier push, using loyal Maori who are paid off. The majority of Native Maori have stood against the New Zealand Government breach of its own law, thus creating new laws to suit themselves as an out come favouring colonialisation.
Since 1840 the colonialist have created their own social systems seizing Native Maori lands in a pro-eurocentric view.
Native Maori have to prove the land are theirs before a colonialist Court or law, it should be the other way around where colonialist need Native Maori agreement on any land issue.
In the year 2002 MP for Napier city passed a private members bill to privatise Napier city Harbour lands into colonialist ownership, this was contested by Prince.Huriana Lawrence at a hearing at the War Memorial Conference Centre. The entire hearing was orchestrated including the questioning.
The land passed into colnialist hands.
Greatgrandson TeKapuaMatotoro-(last Ngati Kahungunu King).
Whether or not TVNZ is regretting their decision not to broadcast Rod Donald's funeral, I thought it was disgraceful that ONE news deigned the funeral of a sitting MP, renown activist, and leader of a major political party less newsworthy than someone being ripped of $30 grand at a lotto shop.
While this was no doubt terrible for the person involved, surely it has less national interest? Did Rod make it to second item on the news? No that was a millionaire who faked their death in an insurance scam.
Perhaps salaries aren't the only area where TVNZ has become obsessed by money? Perhaps if Mr Donald was famous due to wealth rather than public service he may have rated a higher billing in TVNZ's priority list.
[Re: Journalism PNG Style]
I was taught journalism at the University of Papua New Guinea by a great New Zealander and what he and an Englishman from Leeds taught me was nothing of the sort portrayed in the article by Julian King on Nov 8. Kevin’s Pamba’s alleged conduct, if true, is shameful. I believe his employer, the Divine Word University, is looking into this, and so is the PNG Media Council. There is no journalism PNG style, but we do discourage armchair critics.
Mrs. Ces Drilon is an ANC Philippines TV interviewer. Of recent date, I have seen her in action. Absolutely superb. Bet she has to earn her living.
No spin you say?
Your "About Us" page indicates you seek editorial and opinion that will be posted without spin. But the rant by Evelyn Pringle (Bin Laden Sitting In A Cave Laughing) is fact-free and ALL "spin". It contains previously debunked lies about Iraq intelligence and parrots long-disproven spins by extremely uninformed no-minds. You'd do better to ask for at least a hint of sourcing, or a tad of accuracy, don't you think?
Comments sent to Pringle appear below. Do with them whatever you wish... although I know they are too truthful for you to post. They lack the spin you happen to support.
Your outrageously delusional and fact-free rant pegs its thoroughly debunked "Bush lied" propaganda on the lie that all top-ranking Democrat leaders and Senators -- who concluded correctly that Saddam must be toppled -- got their intel from the White House. But back here in reality, all those leading Democrats got their intelligence from regular briefings directly from the CIA and from military intelligence -- sorry, not from Bush or the GOP or the White House or anyone who worked there -- as members of the Armed Services Committee and especially, of the Intelligence Committee. There was no information received by the WH that was not also received by these top Democratic leaders, including Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller and many others. The intel was not "lies" and -- more relevantly for the brainwashed anti-Bushites -- did not originate with the White House.
Also, several bipartisan US government investigations made up equally of Democrats and Republicans have since been tabled and concluded UNANIMOUSLY that, despite the oft-repeated irrational ravings such as yours about manipulated intelligence, no manipulation nor distortion of intelligence on Iraq took place. And before you even try, there was no implied preference for a certain type of answer either. The irrefutable conclusions of these bipartisan committee reports can be found below. There are many lies being spread about Iraq... but not by the US president or anyone else against whom you are predisposed to hate. The lies are being spread by those who like you, pontificate based on rehashed, proof-absent, fifth-hand distortions of the truth overheard from friends who spoke to others who picked it up at a "peace" rally. And such lies play right into the hands of bin Laden and other enemies of peace. So yes, bin Laden is in a cave somewhere laughing... at the weakness and gullibility of his Western "fellow travellers."
One of those lies is that WMD or some mystical "imminent threat" was the sole, or even the major, rationale for invading Iraq in the first place. If you want "moral justification," you can look simply to the 300,000 Iraqis murdered at Saddam's hands (and that's without counting the hundreds of thousands he murdered in neighbouring countries). But this war was founded on more than moral justification, which would also justify war against North Korea and others. War against Saddam was absolutely required more urgently because he repeatedly financed terrorist bombings in Israel with hefty rewards; repeatedly invaded neighbouring countries, raping and killing the citizens; and repeatedly stated his intention to attack and as soon as possible, nuke Israel and America. He was a monster on the scale of Hitler and only the extreme leftwing puppets would try to sell the outrageous lie that he was a misunderstood and benevolent leader of a "sovereign state" whom we should topple only if we locate a particular type of weapon in his arsenal. Anything else and the war was "unjustified," right? Give me a break. He probably had an ongoing nuclear program with the stated intention of frying his neighbours; he was trying to buy yellowcake and would have succeeded. At that point, with his missiles aimed at Israel, Saudi Arabia and even the US, would you finally agree it was a threat "imminent" enough to act on... and wouldn't an invasion be a little late and likely impossible at that point?
As with Hitler, most uninformed people want to avoid war with terror-supporting, genocide-practising and neighbour-invading murderers at all cost -- allowing their enemies a free ride and more time to build up weapons and torture and kill more people -- and ultimately have to take action when the costs have become unnecessarily high. You are typical of the puppets of that line of thinking and you rank among the true "manipulators" of the intelligence. You rail against the truth with lies of your own, all the while championing the most brutal dictators and slamming any leader willing to stand up for your rights and your freedom.
Bottom line: The world is safer without Saddam; terrorism has lost a key financier and coordinator; and the vast majority of the people of Iraq are grateful. Leftwing "manipulations" of the facts notwithstanding.
PS: See the speech below for a touch of sanity on the "Bush lied" nonsense with which you've been brainwashed.
Senator Cornyn Comments
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, Chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, made the following statement on the Senate floor Monday afternoon in response to allegations of misleading pre-war intelligence:
Madam President, I thank the chairman and distinguished ranking member of the Armed Services Committee. It is more with sadness than in anger that I rise to respond to recent allegations made by some Democrats that the Bush administration “manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq.” War is serious business. I don't need to remind my colleagues that more than 2,000 Americans have sacrificed their lives fighting to liberate the Iraqi people, and many brave Texans are among them.
Today, Iraq represents the central front in the global war on terror. Yet we have even seen the sad occasion of having sustained 2,000 deaths of America's fighting men and women in Iraq spark an ill-advised and premature call for withdrawal of our troops by the angry antiwar left.
That call has been picked up, in part, if not in whole, by some politicians seeking to capitalize on that anger. But merely venting anger without proposing alternative solutions is not the work of serious people. It is a sad commentary on our public discourse when politicians seek to use the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform to advance a political agenda.
While the critics focused on 2,000 Americans killed in action in Iraq, another important number to remember is 3,000 -- the number of innocent Americans killed on September 11. Is there any doubt that if we pulled out of Iraq prematurely without stabilizing security, without building the necessary infrastructure, and without allowing Iraqis to build successful democratic institutions as they are doing, that 9/11 would be repeated over and over and over again by an enemy that would continue to target innocent civilians in pursuit of their perverse ideology?
If Iraq descends into civil war or is overrun by terrorists, if Iraq becomes a place where terrorists recruit, train, and export terror with impunity, how long do the critics believe it would take until we would be hit again on our own soil?
The war on terrorism is a war we must win. The stakes are too high to use the war on terror as a political football. If there is any doubt about the enemy and their goals, all one needs to do is read the letter from Osama bin Laden's chief deputy, Zawahiri, his chief lieutenant in Iraq. Zawahiri clearly describes al-Qaida's vision of establishing an Islamic caliphate that would rule the Middle East and eventually the world. It would also, not incidentally, include the destruction of our best ally in the Middle East, the state of Israel.
Although we are making progress in Iraq, as we saw most recently during the successful referendum on the constitution, there is obviously more work that needs to be done. We know that our troops have the will to win. I am concerned that there are some here at home and even in the Senate who do not share this same resolve because they stubbornly refuse to learn the lessons of 9/11.
The latest accusation by some in the Democratic leadership, that the administration has manipulated intelligence and has exaggerated the threat, is nothing more than an effort to use the war in Iraq for political gain. That is shameful. It devalues the sacrifice our men and women are making on the battlefield every day. It places at risk everything that Americans have sacrificed on behalf of the cause of liberty here and abroad. Do the critics need to be reminded that it was a few years ago when Democrats joined Republicans in a bipartisan acknowledgment that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the world?
In fact, it was the Senate, in 1998, that unanimously passed the Iraq Liberation Act that called for the United States to support efforts to overthrow that terrible dictator. It was President Clinton who so eloquently described the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and the consequences of inaction when he said:
“The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of the region, the security of the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with the new Iraqi government, a government ready to live at peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people.”
President Clinton went on to say:
“Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war against his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.”
President Clinton was correct in that assessment made in 1998. We are fortunate that today Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to the region or to the world due to the bipartisan vote of the Congress to authorize the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein in October of 2002. It was a bipartisan vote of the Senate that authorized that use of force.
Today, the political dynamics have changed. For their own cynical reasons, some Democrats have charged that the Bush administration has somehow manipulated intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. These same individuals are calling for yet another investigation to somehow justify their patently false claims. I remind my colleagues that this issue has been investigated not only by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence but the bipartisan Silberman-Robb Commission. Of course, the results of both investigations do not support the charges of manipulation, so we hear yet another call for another investigation. Wishing that the results were different cannot make it so. What do they propose? To initiate investigation after investigation until somehow they manage to will into existence the results they have been hoping for, I imagine.
I wish to ask my colleagues, did President Clinton lie when he discussed the intelligence that led him to support the forced ouster of Saddam Hussein? Did he manipulate intelligence to justify his bombing in Iraq? Or did he rely upon the same intelligence that this administration and this Congress and our allies did when they came to the same conclusion that Saddam was a threat to the region and to the world? Are there Senators who today would renounce their vote to remove Saddam by force in October of 2002? Out of the bipartisan 77 who voted to authorize the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein, I have only learned of two who have said they regret that vote and would renounce it.
Before the war, a leading Democrat -- in fact, the Democratic leader -- clearly stated his position in Iraq. As of this morning, his quotation was still on his Senate Web site. It says:
What is my position on Iraq? Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator who presents a serious threat to international peace and security. Under Saddam's rule, Iraq has engaged in far-reaching human rights abuses, been a state sponsor of terrorism, and has long sought to obtain and develop weapons of mass destruction.
I agree with this statement on the Web site of Senator Reid of today, November 7, 2005. But today we are told by the same Democratic leader that somehow this administration was responsible for manipulating intelligence to authorize the war in Iraq when, in fact, he took the same position at the time that force was used. At least his Web site takes that same position today.
For the record, I would like to read the conclusions of the Intelligence Committee investigation and the Silberman-Robb investigation so there will be no doubt that the Bush administration did not manipulate intelligence to justify this war. The Intelligence Committee report, which was supported by both Democrats and Republicans, states the following:
"The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence, or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities."
Likewise, the Silberman-Robb Commission, a bipartisan commission appointed to look into our intelligence failures, concluded:
“The Intelligence Community did not make or change any analytic judgments in response to political pressure to reach a particular conclusion, but the pervasive conventional wisdom that Saddam retained WMD affected the analytic process.”
Madam President, this much is clear. No one attempted to manipulate intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq -- not President Clinton, not Members of the Senate, not this administration, all of whom, based upon the same intelligence, concluded that Saddam represented an imminent threat to the national security of the United States. Instead, we found that while some of our intelligence was wrong on Hussein, it was obvious, and it is obvious today, that he was a threat to the civilized world.
I believe all of this crystallizes into a question about how doubts are resolved in a dangerous and uncertain world. Do we resolve doubts in favor of a tyrant who has used weapons of mass destruction on his own people, who demonstrated an interest in acquiring nuclear weapons, who refused to cooperate with weapons inspectors after 17 Security Council resolutions ordered him to do so, and who at last count murdered at least 400,000 of his own people who are lying in mass graves?
Giving Saddam Hussein the benefit of the doubt would have been a crazy and irresponsible thing to do. Of course, the 78 Senators who voted for the use of force against Saddam in October 2002 weren't buying that Saddam was some harmless individual then.
So why now? Sure, we need better intelligence and we have undertaken substantial and meaningful intelligence reform to remedy the defects. Intelligence by its very nature is never certain, but we are restructuring our intelligence community to ensure the President of our country, whether he be Democrat or Republican, gets the most accurate intelligence available.
Meanwhile, I hope the Members of this body who have politicized this issue by making false allegations of manipulation of intelligence would realize that their allegations only serve to divide the American people and to dishonor the sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform and undermine critical American resolve to finish the important work that we are about in Iraq.
I yield the floor.
Sen. Cornyn is a member of the following key Senate Committees: Armed Services; Judiciary; Budget; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and Joint Economic.