Sunday, November 26, 2006

Motorsports: Aussie V8's in Bahrain; MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden to Have Shoulder Surgery

Photo: Getty Images

The Australian V8 Supercar series, featuring highly modified Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons, is production-based road racing Aussie style. In an effort to expand the international appeal of the series, they have moved into the Middle East with the inaugural race having taken place in Bahrain this weekend. Singapore, Malyasia, Thailand, and South Africa are possibly in the series' future as well.

Go here for news and results of all three races of the Bahrain round.

Here's a little background on Aussie V8 Supercars I wrote at the old blog:
V8 Supercar racing is all about factory wars, just like in the US (except here they turn left and right), and it is the classic Ford vs. GM contest- with a twist. While Ford has chosen to remain "Ford" all over the world, GM does business in Australia and NZ as Holden, after having acquired the Aussie brand and bringing it further into the GM fold. These cars are amazing performers. Weighing around 2800 lbs, developing 600-650 hp with fuel injected 5.0 liter V8's (rev limited to 7500 RPM), and 6-speed gear boxes, they hit zero-to-60 in just under 4 seconds and can hit top speeds of 185 mph, depending on the track. At Pukekohe they were hitting about 175-180 MPH on the back straight. And they stop and turn pretty well, too.
In other V8 Supercar news, the New Zealand round will see the last of its races held at Pukekohe Raceway south of Auckland next year, with the city of Hamilton, about 60 miles south, replacing it in 2008 with a street course.
The successful bid by the Hamilton City Council to construct a 3.4km track that borders the city's CBD has effectively saved New Zealand's future in the Australian series.

V8 officials have become increasingly frustrated with the inadequate facilities at Pukekohe raceway just outside of Auckland, this year's race marred by a high-speed crash which broke a photographer's leg and a section of spectators in the main grandstand almost crushed by a support series car.

Hamilton event promoter Dean Calvert, who also chairs the Pukekohe race, said winning the rights for a street race had saved the event for the country.

"We knew that had this not been successful, then the V8 Supercar Championship, which is being courted by countries around the world, would not return to our country," Calvert said.
Just one more race from the awesome Phillip Island circuit in Melbourne remains on this year's calendar.
Photo: MotoGP

In case you don't follow MotoGP, the Formula One for motorcycle racing, American Nicky Hayden won the championship this year in one of the most exciting and closest seasons in a long time. After a brilliant start early in the season with a few podium finishes, it looked like Nicky would, as the late 7-time NASCAR champion, Dale Earnhart, once put it, "second and third 'em to death." But a mid-season slump saw others, including Italy's Valentino Rossi, multi-time champion and uber-god, close the gap. As a result of being taken-out by his own Repsol Honda team mate, Dani Pedrosa, on the fourth lap of the panultimate round in Estoril, Portugal, Nicky actually trailed Rossi going into the final round at Valencia, Spain. Rossi crashed out early in the race, and Hayden clinched the title.

But due to a previous injury, Nicky will need surgery on his right collarbone:
MOTOGP champion Nicky Hayden is set to have an operation on his right collarbone in San Francisco in the coming days.

Hayden broke his right collarbone during a practice session in 2004, and his accident during the penultimate grand prix of the season, at Estoril in Portugal on October 15 this year, saw him re-injure the bone.
I hope the surgery is successful and Nicky comes back next year stronger than ever to defend his title when the bikes change from the current 990cc engine displacement to 800cc's.

Go the All Blacks!!!

Jonathan Thomas tackles Sitiveni Sivivatu. Picture / Reuters

Earlier today, New Zealand's international rugby team, the All Blacks, decimated Wales at their home stadium in Cardiff, 45 to 10. Now, I am a bit biased, but the refs, no matter who the AB's play, seem to let the other team get away with a lot of rule breaking like being off-side, hands in the ruck, and not rolling away, while they hold the AB's to the very same rules. AB's captain, Richie McCaw, was "sin binned" for 10 minutes, leaving the AB's with only 14 players on the field, and that was when Wales scored their only try - only to have the AB's respond by scoring another try within about 10 seconds afterward. Yet, no matter, the AB's still manage to kick ass!

A bit more controversy occurred prior to the game today. It is an All Black tradition to perform the Haka after the national anthems are sung. The Haka is a Maori "war dance" of sort wherein they challenge their opponents, informing them of what they will do and call upon the various spirits to give them strength in their quest for victory. It is quite spiritual and moving to watch, and most opposing players and fans (except the Aussies, for one, who sing the insipid "Waltzing Matilda" over the Haka) enjoy it and respect it. The Welsh Rugby Union protested that it gives the AB's an advantage and wanted the Welsh anthem sung after the Haka. The AB's disagreed and did not perform it, opting instead to do it in their locker room.

I love rugby, and I have been impressed since day one with the fact that New Zealand, having a population of roughly 4 million people, has produced the most dominant international team in the history of the game. Rugby players are among the last bastion of real men in an otherwise pussified, PC world.

Go the All Blacks!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New Feature Added!

Kia Ora! (pronounced "Kee-ora" with a slight rolling of the "r", it's a Maori greeting of "hello"). This site is best viewed using the Mozilla Firefox browser which has many cool standard features and add-ons as well. We just added "Cool Iris." Move your cursor over any hyperlink on the page, and a blue/green box should appear to the right of the link. Move your cursor over that box, and..."VOILA!" - the link to the page will appear as an overlay, so you never have to click away from the page! Go ahead, try it....Pretty "cool," huh? (pun totally intended!)

We'll add new upgrades and features to make your blogging experience here at "the Yank" a bit easier and more enjoyable!


Tell Me Google Is A-Political...

...and then piss on me and tell me it's raining while you're at it.

Click on Google, type in the word "failure" in the search bar, click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button, and see what comes up.

Go ahead - I dare ya'...

Beyond Slippery, This Slope is Slicker Than Owl Shit

There are many things I love about New Zealand - the clean air, picturesque scenery, the native flora and fauna, and, for the most part, the people who are some of the kindest and friendliest I've met anywhere, especially the Maoris and Pacific Islanders. The government, well...that's a differnet kettle of tarakihi altogether, but, to be honest, I'm not real fond of the current state of government back in the U.S., either. New Zealand has a history of being a "social petri dish" (I'll discuss this in detail in a future post), and now under PM Helen Clark's Labour (read: LIBERAL) government, further social engineering and political correctness is never too far off the agenda.

The latest in social experimentation legislation being considered in Parliament is the repeal of Section 59 of the Crimes Act, which, if passed, will prohibit parents from smacking their children and make it a criminal offense:
A fresh attempt to ban parents from smacking their children has left many confused.

MPs have proposed law changes which would ban smacking but still allow parents use what is termed reasonable force against their children.

But both sides of the smacking debate don't think it will work.

Currently New Zealand parents may use reasonable force to discipline their children and that includes smacking.
This is all in an effort to prevent child abuse, of which one recent horrific case comes to mind, but it leaves way too much open to interpretation. So now compromises are being proposed, but I submit this will only further cloud the issue. What is "reasonable force?" Is "this" acceptable...or "this"...or "that"...? Parents will be scratching their heads as they consider whatever laundry list of circumstances and "reasonable force" the government may deem acceptable or not:
Now a Parliamentary Select Committee has come up with a compromise on the contentious legislation.

It is recommending Section 59 of the Crimes Act be repealed, but at the same time allowing reasonable force to be used in some instances. They include protecting a child from harm, preventing a child from harming others, committing a criminal offence or engaging in offensive and disruptive behaviour.

Parents can also use reasonable force to perform the normal daily tasks involved in good care and parenting.
To be fair, though, the push for this legislation is not coming from Labour, but from one of Labour's coalition partners, specifically, Sue Bradford of the Green Party:
But Green MP Sue Bradford says the repeal of Section 59 abolishes the defence of reasonable force which some parents hide behind to physically abuse their children in the name of discipline.


Bradford says under the recommended changes, a parent is technically assaulting a child if he or she smacks them, whether its in private or public.
I have a novel idea: How about severe punishment for those who commit acts of abuse against their children, and stay out of people's lives? But (and I'll detail this, also, in another post) severe punishment for serious offences like murder and rape do not really exist in this country; it's pathetic, some of the ridiculously lenient sentences people get.

Kia Ora, and Welcome - Our Manifesto

Kia Ora, and welcome to the new blog! For those who don't know me, as the title suggests, I am an American living in New Zealand with my fiance of several years and soon-to-be wife, Mae. For more of my details you can check-out my profile. Here's a little bit about what I stand for and what I believe:
  • I am right of center but not an extremist - I believe that extremism on either the Right or the Left leads to fascist totalitarianism which I reject completely.
  • I am an independent libertarian and belong to no political party. I look at the issues first, personalities second.
  • I am vociferously anti-Left, anti-Communist/Marxist, anti-Socialist and reject all tenets of same. The money I make is mine, and I owe nothing to you or anybody else. I value individualism and reject collectivism of any sort.
  • I do not demonize the rich nor glorify the poor. I am neither. If you are rich, congratulations - just don't be a dick about it. If you are poor, it is because you are lazy and/or stupid. How to solve lazy: Get a job! How to solve stupid: Live within your means! There. If you happen to fall into either of those categories, I just gave you some free therapy that could have easily cost hundreds or thousands of dollars for some shrink...who would have fed you with a lot of victimologist bullshit; given you some "positive thinking" and "self-image-" or "self esteeeeem-" building exercises, and never gotten right to it and told you exactly what you need to be told...which is...what I...just...told you...for free.... Now.......Back away from the TV, playstation, whatever. Put down the fried chicken, the McDonalds, the beer, the whiskey, the weed, coke, smack, P, X, glue, paint, whippets...whatever ails you...STOP IT!!! GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASS!!! GO GET A JOB!!! Spend LESS money than you make!!!...but I digress...the rest of you, please, continue reading...
  • I believe in:
1.) small federal government whose primary job is to maintain a system of public policies that benefit ALL citizens, as individuals of freewill; not to divide people into groups and pander to those who see themselves as disenfranchised, in need of special rights and privileges.
2.) lower taxes;
3.) and a very limited social welfare program to mainly assist the severely mentally or physically handicapped - those who really need our help because they are not able to care for themselves solely of their own devices - not the lazy and shiftless.
  • I am anti-illegal immigration. If you want to come to (your nation here), then go through the proper procedures, prove your loyalty, and assimilate into our culture - do NOT expect us to bend to your ways. If you don't like it in (your nation here), go back to where you came from. Michael Savage wrote, "Borders, Language, Culture are what defines a nation." They are the pillars on which nations are built. Those three pillars must be protected and preserved. If the people fail to maintain one of those pillars, the nation begins to fall. If they fail to maintain all three, the nation collapses.
  • I am a former Marine who saw combat in Somalia, and I am VERY pro-military. Semper Fi!
  • I am pro-private gun ownership. I believe that gun control is being able to hit your target - one shot, one kill.
  • I believe in good stewardship of our environment ("conserve" is the operative word in "conservative"), but I reject Greenpeace and other eco-terrorist organizations who promote an alarmist eco-agenda to promote an otherwise quasi-Marxist political agenda. Anthropogenic climate change is a theory, not proven fact.
  • I am an agnostic, but I believe that the basic teachings of the Bible are the best blueprint yet for civilized behavior, regardless of how people and institutions have abused and exploited those principles for their own personal gain.
  • I am anti-Muslim and reject Islam as nothing more than a bastard religion borne of vengeance against Christendom and Judaeism that preceeded it. Islamic culture and its sharia laws are medieval and have no place in modern, Western society.
  • I am a student of history and will reference it often. Those who do not know history or reject it as irrelevant are fools and are destined to repeat past mistakes unless they learn from them.
  • I often see things as "black and white" but sometimes see the "grey in the middle." It has been often said by liberals that "black and white" is simplistic, but I argue the opposite. Seeing things as "grey" is a lazy way out, showing an inability or unwillingness to take a position or make a decision. That equates to weakness from a leadership standpoint, and weakness is not a recipe for effective decision making. I do not abide, indulge, or respect weakness. Life is often about having to make the hard choices, "this" or "that," one or the other. You very rarely get to have "it" both ways.
  • I believe that everybody is entitled to their opinion, and the caveat to that is that I am also entitled to challenge those opinions. Challenging, rejecting, or disagreeing with those opinions does not constitute censorship; it's called debate. Opinions based on erroneous information, questionable sources, or feeeeelings are not valid and will be rejected as such. If your opinions cannot be supported by facts, they are invalid and count for nothing except the space they occupy in a vacuous mind. I seek clarity, not agreement. If you cannot articulate your opinions logically, I will dismiss you as a mental midget or a nutter.
  • These are the basic tenets - a manifesto, if you will - of my beliefs. If you don't agree, that's OK; stick around. This blog is not solely political. I'll write about New Zealand (and elsewhere "down-under"), U.S., and world news and culture from the perspective of "a Yank in Kiwi-land" as well as sports (I'm an avid motorsports, rugby, and combat sports fan), movies, books, TV, and music - and display lots of pictures. Mae will also write and provide her invaluable research and insight as a New Zealander of Maori descent. One of the things I would like to do is present my US readers with news and issues from and affecting New Zealand. While the US is, as a nation, involved in many places around the globe, individual citizens aren't very aware of what is happening in places other than what is shown to them by the MSM. Thanks to the internet, we now have more access than ever to news from all over the world.

Jihadis and Whores

One of my weekly rituals is to read the latest from an author writing under the nom de plum, Spengler, of Asia Times Online. As you can see from the title of his latest post, his writings tend to be thought provoking.
Wars are won by destroying the enemy's will to fight. A nation is never really beaten until it sells its women.

NZ Sends Troops to Riot-Torn Tonga

There was an uprising and riots in the island kingdom of Tonga this past weekend. Tonga is ruled by a monarchy that owns most (if not all) of the infrastrucutre there and allows a certain number of parliamentary seats to be held and voted on soley by the "noble" class. There has been a groundswell of democratic reform opposition, and it finally erupted. I am operating on the hunch that while the majority of those pushing for democratic reform are, in fact, "pro-democracy," the violence that saw businesses destroyed and 6 people killed was a result of youth thugs and socialist, anarchist agitators that saw the rallies as an excuse to do what they do best: create chaos.

The NZ government has sent troops to restore order, but many here see that as a bad idea because it amounts to nothing more than propping-up the monarchy. Each year NZ sends millions of dollars in different forms of aid to Tonga, and many Kiwis see this as hypocritical: If we want to push for reform in that country, then that aid should be used as the "carrot" to encourage said reforms; otherwise, let the king take it in the pocket, since not much of that aid actually is realized by the common Tongan, which is why many of them come here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Anarchists and Marxists in Violent Protests

The G20 summit is in Melbourne, Australia this weekend, and just like in every other place they and the WTO meet, the unwashed, Leftist demonstrators got violent quickly:
RIOT police armed with batons and shields clashed with anti-globalisation protesters trying to disrupt the G20 summit that began amid intense security in Melbourne yesterday.

Mounted police forced back waves of protesters trying to pull apart barricades at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where finance ministers and central bankers from 19 countries and the European Union were meeting...

Almost 3000 people from an alliance of left-wing groups, anti-war activists, environmentalists and religious organisations took part in the protest after a march.

Several police were injured in clashes outside the venue, including one officer who was taken to hospital with a suspected broken wrist.
Here's what they say they are all about and who they are:
The world currently produces enough food to feed the world. The decisions made in meetings like this mean people starve to maintain higher profit margins...

Why are people Protesting?

It is important to show these decision makers and the rest of the world that we, the people strongly oppose their greed and that they shall not do it in our name.

Who are the Protestors?

People from all walks of life attend these protests. Some groups include Make Poverty History, Oxfam, World Vision, Friends of the Earth, Jubilee Australia, Oaktree Foundation, church groups, unions, environmental groups, human rights groups, student groups, anti war groups, families and individuals.
Many of these "peaceful" demonstrators railing against globalization are animal rights activists and environmentalists, but:
Police officers on horses were forced to move away from protesters after some kicked the legs of the animals.

The crowd rushed after the horses but were stopped at a barricade blocking streets to the G20 summit, which is being held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Some even threw urine-filled balloons:
Protesters at the G20 forum in Melbourne have thrown balloons filled with urine at police according to Federal Treasurer Peter Costello.
Being the brave folks they are:
A television journalist was reportedly set upon by 20 people and kicked and punched.
And one of our New Zealand moonbats got a bit of a hiding, poor baby:
Dan Rae, from Christchurch, New Zealand, sustained a cut to the head above his right eye when he was struck by a policeman’s baton.

Mr Rae, said he was trying to push a barrier forward toward the lines of police blocking Collins Street, when one officer lent over the barricade and hit him on the head with his baton.

"He took a full swing at me as hard as he could… I wasn’t expecting it," Mr Rae, told
What did he expect? Fuckwit.

As far as I'm concerned, the cops should be beating these left-wing radicals without mercy. John Howard should publicly announce that peaceful protests are fine, but destruction of public and private property and aggressive behavior toward police will not be tolerated and will be met with overwhelming, disproportionate, violent and deadly force.

Word of the Day

Possibly one of the most important words related to what many, including myself, see as "what is wrong in the world" is the word "nihilism:"
The term nihilism (from the Latin nihil, meaning "not anything") was popularized by the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev in his novel Fathers and Sons (1861), to describe the views of an emerging radical Russian intelligentsia. These consisted primarily of upper-class students who had grown disillusioned with the slow pace of reformism. The primary spokesman for this new philosophy was D. I. Pisarev (1840-1868) who articulated a program of Revolutionary Utilitarianism and advocated violence as a tool for social change. Pisarev was cast as Bazarov in Fathers and Sons much to his own delight; he proudly embraced his new status as a fictional hero and villain.

The word quickly became a catch-all term of derision for younger, more radical generations, and continues in this vein to modern times. It is often used to indicate a group or philosophy the speaker intends to characterize as having no moral sensibility, no belief in truth, beauty, love, or whatever else the speaker and his presumed audience values, and no regard for the current social conventions.
Since then, the meaning of the word has undergone countless "twists" and has been associated with (in the form of reinterpretation, misinterpretation, and refutation) numerous political and philosophical movements such as anarchism and Marxism:
As a Russian political philosophy, marked by the questioning of the validity of all forms of authority and a penchant for destruction as the primary tool for political change, nihilism finds its roots in 1817 with the foundation of the first Russian secret political society under Pavel Pestel. Partly as a reaction against the coronation of Tsar Nicholas I who was seen as an absolutist, especially after the comparatively open reign of Tsar Alexander I, it culminated in the Decembrist Revolt of 1825. Later, anarchist and freemason Mikhail Bakunin developed nihilist thought in opposition to Karl Marx's political philosophy, which Bakunin saw as inevitably leading to a totalitarian state.

Nihilist political philosophy rejected all religious and political authority, social traditions and traditional morality as standing in opposition to freedom, the ultimate ideal. In this sense, it can be seen as an extreme form of anarchism. The state thus became the enemy, and the enemy was ferociously attacked. After gaining much momentum in Russia, the movement degenerated into what were essentially terrorist cells, barren of any real unifying philosophy beyond the call for destruction.
Nietzsche's concept of the Ubermensch:
Many high-ranking Nazis, including Alfred Baeumler, admired parts of Nietzsche's philosophy and sought to adapt it to fit their own visions of super-human beings and an Aryan "master race" (Herrenvolk). The biologicalisation of the concept of Übermensch was criticized by Martin Heidegger's Nietzsche,[3] because this biological interpretation significantly departed from Nietzsche's original ideas. Perhaps most importantly, Nietzsche believed that a human being of any race could become an Übermensch. Thus, while Nietzsche did believe in superior and inferior people, there is no evidence to suggest that he believed superiority and inferiority were determined by race. In The Case of Wagner and Nietzsche Contra Wagner, he bitterly criticized the German artist, partly because of Wagner's pan-Germanism and antisemitism. It is widely thought that Nietzsche's sister, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, who was an avowed anti-semite, and Peter Gast contributed greatly to this misconception by deliberately misrepresenting his work. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari proved this in the 1960s when editing, for the first time ever, Nietzsche's complete posthumous fragments. The Nazis themselves reinterpreted and appropriated elements of many philosophical and religious texts, including Nietzsche's.
Post-modernism and De-construction:
Postmodern thought is colored by the perception of a degeneration of systems of epistemology and ethics into extreme relativism, especially evident in the writings of Jean-Francois Lyotard and Jacques Derrida. These philosophers tend to deny the very grounds on which we base our truths: absolute knowledge and meaning, the accumulation of positive knowledge, historical progress, and the ideals of humanism and the Enlightenment. As it is often described as a fundamentally nihilist philosophy, it may be important to briefly examine postmodernism here.

Lyotard and meta-narratives

Lyotard argues that, rather than relying on an objective truth or method to prove their claim (logic, empiricism, etc.), philosophies legitimize their truths by reference to a story about the world which is inseparable from the age and system the stories belong to. Lyotard calls them meta-narratives (similar to language games in Wittgensteinean terminology). He then goes on to define the postmodern condition as one characterized by a rejection both of these meta-narratives and of the process of legitimization by meta-narratives.

In lieu of meta-narratives we have created new language-games in order to legitimize our claims which rely on changing relationships and mutable truths, none of which is privileged over the other to speak to ultimate truth. It is this unstable concept of truth and meaning that leads one close to nihilism, though in the same move that plunges toward meaninglessness, Lyotard suspends his philosophy just above its surface.

Derrida and deconstruction

1. Rejection of the law of the excluded middle
2. Perfect communication is impossible – meaning is not absolute.
3. non-self-identity: author’s intentions don’t match meaning in works
4. complexity: excluded middle forces model of simplicity onto a complex world
and in today's world, moral relativism:
* Our sense of the moral status of a person's actions, especially in Western society, seems to depend to a great deal on the economic status of the person in question. While it may be argued that this is its self immoral and should be changed, if morality in practice cannot meet its own standards or is to some degree unattainable, it would seem to lack adequate foundation.
* Without a standard base on which to build a system of morality (God, law, ideals of freedom, justice, etc.), what is right and wrong is to some extent arbitrary.
* As our knowledge of other cultures increases, it becomes more and more apparent that there is little ground for claims that human beings have some innate tendency toward specific concepts of good and evil.
* The ideal of democracy taken to its logical extreme suggests that, insofar as society is concerned, right and wrong are defined by majority rule, not by absolute, eternal and unchanging laws of right and wrong. This leaves only one moral standard: "do what everyone else wants you to".
* The supposed primacy of the individual and individual freedom in Western societies, especially America, when taken to its logical extreme leaves only one moral standard: "do what you think is right". Since what some people believe to be right varies in the extreme with what others may think is right, this leaves morality not only relative but undiscussable.
So what are we to take away from all of this? Regardless of the classical meaning of the word nihilism, "belief in nothing" (based on its etymologic origin in Latin), many, from Nazis to Marxists to anarchists to anti-establishmentarians have confused it and misinterpreted it to suit their particular agendas, which in recent history has been put into play by those who desire to destroy the West in general and the United States in particular (perhaps the only notable exception being the islamofascists who certainly believe in "something"). This is especially true with anarchists who originally were at odds with nihilism but now are perhaps the loudest advocates of "believe in nothing" as they seek to "bring it all down, man." This shows that they don't really know what they believe which identifies the paradox of nihilism: A "belief in nothing" is a belief in something.

Thoughts? Comments?
ADDENDUM: While the connection between nihilism and Nietszche's Ubermensch was made, the relationship between nihilism and Nietszche himself may not be that clear. If you're curious about that, this link should help. Go here for more analysis of the historical background on moral relativism.