Miscellany – October

adThe ends (oops… no pun intended!) that marketers will go to promote that wonder drug, Viagra.

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One_Tree_Hill,_Auckland,_March_2015Just when we had got used to calling the landmark One Tree Hill, None Tree Hill, we hear that nine trees, not just one, will finally be planted on the volcanic cone.

Officials and Maoridom have been ever so PC about trees which will succeed the one cut down 25 – yes – 25 years ago. Right now a veritable forest of about 50-80 trees-in-waiting are in what one local paper described as a ‘secret location’. Goodness – GSCB plants…!

We know though that three young Totara and six teenage Pohutukawa will be planted within a shelter belt of native shrubs. The old hill will soon look as if it’s grown a beard. Doesn’t really matter how many trees they plant there though. Old Aucklanders will always remember that one windblown tree that gave its name to the maunga f0r 125 years.

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Did we hear that right? That our PM John Key would have forthright discussions with his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull on Kiwi detainees on Christmas Island? He may have but in the end it was a case of Teflon meeting Teflon. Key should have demanded an apology for the way Kiwis have been treated in our special relationship with Oz. Key should have recognised all this for what it is – a long version of the underarm – though Kiwis are at the other end while Key watches from the grandstand.

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Electioneering ushers in all sorts of discomfiting issues for candidates. The latest to find himself in the hot seat in the United States is Republican contender Jeb Bush after 9/11 allegations from rival Donald Trump that his brother George bears responsibility for the attacks.

Fuelling the debate is a New York Times column and book “500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars,” both written by Kurt Eichenwald a former reporter for the Times. Read more at : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11

He found:

  • On May 1 the CIA said that a terrorist group in the U.S. was planning an attack.
  • On June 22 it warned that this attack was “imminent.”
  • On June 29 the brief warned of near-term attacks with “dramatic consequences” including major casualties.
  • On July 1, the briefing said that the terrorist attack had been delayed but “will occur soon.”
  • On July 24, the president was told again that the attack had been delayed but would occur within months.

Administration officials insisted that the threat was intended to distract attention from Saddam Hussein, according to Eichenwald who wrote that at the time some in the intelligence community were ‘apoplectic’ about this response.

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😉   I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.   😉

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.