International Cat Speculators Since 2006

A few items of “low hanging fruit

In 2003, Khaled el-Masri, a German car-salesman, was kidnapped by the CIA in Macedonia. He was rendered to a CIA’s secret CIA prison in Afghanistan for interrogation, during which he was beaten, tortured, and raped. Why? Because the CIA couldn’t spell; they thought he was Khalid al-Masri, al-Qaeda mastermind.

Well, I grant you that they got the wrong guy, and treated him barbarically, but I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on their spelling “mistake”. 

The difficulty in Romanizing Arabic was illustrated in the 1980s by the multiple spellings for Libyan strongman Moammar/Muammar Gadaffi/Gaddafi/Gathafi/Kadafi/Kaddafi/Khadafy/Qadhafi/Qathafi/ etc. The official Library of Congress transliteration would be “Qadhdhafi,” but the library opted for “Quaddafi” instead, because the “dhdh” looked so strange in English. In 1986, most publications, including the AP, adopted “Gadhafi” as the new standard. 

Next, our democracy is collapsing!?!

This is important. The credibility of Parliament is at stake. Either these rules mean something, or they don’t. And if MPs fail to enforce them, then they will confirm the public’s perception of a culture of corruption and a conspiracy of silence around it.

There’s a conspiracy of silence around MPs inability to value gift baskets!!!  This could bring down our entire democracy!!!

It’s almost like we only expect them to run the country or something. Perhaps we could instead elect our politicians by a The Price is Right championship?

On this one, what DPF said. Sometimes, it helps to actually know what you’re talking about before you start calling something a rort.

This one is a jaw dropper:

The Budget will be delivered next week, and the government is well into the usual pre-announcements, dribbling out Budget programmes to distract from the ongoing John Banks scandal.

It’s rumored that last year’s budget was almost cancelled because John Banks wasn’t in Parliament.

Yesterday’s “good news” announcement was >more money for elective (meaning unnecessary) surgery and cancer treatment. Yesterday’s bad news was that they are paying for this by raising prescription charges from $3 to $5.

Apparently, if it’s not a dire emergency, you don’t need surgery. He should probably take up a discussion with this guy, who understood what elective  actually means and seemed to consider that National should spend more money on such procedures:

That said, they do make a few suggestions. Unfortunately, they’re not exactly encouraging. On waiting lists for elective (non-urgent) surgery, they talk up a storm about how waiting lists are too long and this is unacceptable. But their “solution” – paying surgical teams a bonus for every operation completed – fundamentally misses the point. Elective surgery waiting lists are not caused by lazy surgeons or inefficient DHBs in need of “incentives” – they are caused by central government not funding enough operations to meet the demand. But National explicitly disavows any solution involving more money, saying that this would simply lead to “cost inflation” and that any gains would only be temporary. The real reason, of course, is that it is money that could be spent on tax cuts.

As for the claim that a $5 charge is too much for some people to afford, one can only wonder in utter disgust at how people value their health so cheaply, and at those who enable such deplorable behaviour by excusing it.


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