Bovine Free State Times

The BFST is a centrist arena for the slaughtering of sacred cows. Its purpose is to use satire to make clear the absurdity of many facets of the world that we live in. It exists to spread the memes of cheerful nihilism, which Lucky Strike believes is the only rational way to approach life on Earth. Email us abuse and/or suggestions at: bfstblog@gmail.com

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Location: New Zealand

A bipedal primate whose cognitive capacities are insuffient to answer the questions that are generated by life on Earth.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Europe Descends into Chaos as Constitution Rejected

BERLIN, PARIS, LONDON - Once more, Europe has fallen into a catastrophe of their own making. For various reasons, Europe had found itself in a situation where only ratification by French voters of the proposed EU constitution could save them. Yesterday's referendum results showed that they failed to do this, the "No" side winning the vote 55% to 45%.

Soon after the final results were announced to an anxious public, the fabric of society was torn asunder. In Paris, looters sacked the commercial areas, packs of rabid dogs were roaming the streets, and mothers hurled their children from high-rise apartment windows.

A cataclysmic fissure, stretching from Marseille to Warsaw, opened up an hour after the results were announced, spewing magma and lava into fields and cities throughout the continent. Recovery work has been impeded by the collapse of central government in many of the affected countries.

Reports from the Italian Weather Bureau say that a plague of locusts has crossed the Mediterranean from Northern Africa and is destroying cropland throughout Southern Europe.

The Swedish Government reports that in the southern city of Farjestad, two horses had eaten each other during the night, and cemeteries had apparently been vandalised, with the corpses being exhumed and the remains strewn over a wide area. It was also reported that four suns were visible in the sky yesterday afternoon.

In Southern Germany, Lake Konstanz transmuted instantly to human blood. The Government in Berlin says that it has lost all contact with the entire state of Baden-Wuerttemburg. Mobs sacked the seat of state government in Munich, and so far the police have been unable to restore order.

Gunfire has been heard along the German-Polish border, and unconfirmed reports suggest that the German Army is making inroads into Polish territory. Sporadic gunfire and artillery shelling has also been reported in the Basque area of Spain as well as parts of Northern France.

A mental asylum in Amsterdam was apparently taken over by its own patients. The head of the director was impaled upon a stick and paraded around the grounds of the hospital. The inmates then broke into the streets.

So far, Britain and Eastern Europe seem to have been spared the worst effects of the French public's unwillingness to blindly follow the vague plans of their politicians.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Kofi Annan says "Wait until 500,000"

NEW YORK - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said today that he considers 500,000 deaths to be a reasonable benchmark for a criterion for defining genocide.

The statement was made in the context of a discussion about the genocide in Sudan. Pressured to act over the ongoing mass slaughter of African animists by the Arab government in Khartoum, sources say that Annan was sent scrambling for an excuse to delay action.

"The current situation, in which 100,000 men, women and children have been slaughtered and raped, isn't all that bad." Kofi told a meeting of UN delegates in New York. "I mean, it's not nice, but in the grand scheme of things it's just a drop in the ocean, really."

Annan was flustered and had clear difficulty keeping a straight face during the mid-afternoon speech.

The most controversial moment of the 20-minute speech was when Annan told the delegates that half a million deaths would be a more appropriate figure for a definition of genocide, and that "until this figure is reached, it's probably best not to worry about it too much."

Analysts fear that if the number of deaths rises to 500,000, Annan will simply find another reason to excuse the UN from taking action. Likely excuses are expected to be respect for Sudanese sovereignty, finding a technical loophole, and using support of the fledgling African Union as an excuse to dump responsibility on to them.

Sources close to Annan say that he is still mentally exhausted from his furious opposition to the US-led war in Iraq, which ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, who is believed to be responsible for the deaths of over a million people.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Coaching Snub Riles Indian Student

CHRISTCHURCH - Canterbury University Economics student Rahul Mandrekar today expressed his disappointment at the selection process used by the Indian Cricket Board to select a new coach for the national side.

Mandrekar, 24, had applied for the role of head coach, which was recently vacated by the New Zealander John Wright. His application was apparently rejected without receiving a reply.

Mandrekar says the process is "incomprehensibly biased" towards coaches that have real world experience, something that he claims is "short-sighted and naive."

He says that India would be better served if it looked at "unorthodox" qualifications such as his success in Cricinfo Cricket Manager (CCM), a popular online game where players manage their own village cricket teams against other human players. "I took my team, INDIA ROOLZ!!11!1, from the bottom division to the very top, winning a number of trophies along the way.

"My players were a bunch of injury-prone losers when I took over the team. I defy Greg Chappell to replicate the success I have had. In fact, if he wants to prove himself worthy of the job, he must challenge my team. If he can't even manage an online cricket side, how could anyone think he has what it takes to manage India?

"I can beat anybody anytime. Rain or shine, fast or sticky wickets - it's all the same. I will humiliate all comers!"

Outgoing coach Wright says that Mandrekar may have underestimated the magnitude of the task. "The difference is, the real Indian team has one billion fans whereas his team has none. If he likes, he can challenge me - my team is currently second in a very, very tough division."

Chappell told the BFST that since taking the job as India's head coach he has been forced to retire his CCM team. "But if this fella wants to, I'm sure Sourav will give him a friendly. He's good like that."

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Defender of the Nation's Footpaths" Meets Violent End

CHRISTCHURCH - Canterbury police have yet another homicide inquiry on their hands with the discovery of the body of Terrence Hill, 52, in the central city early this morning.

Hill, also known as "The Defender of the Nation's Footpaths", was an unemployed vagrant who frequented the central city north of the square, harassing those who he considered undesirable. Cyclists were the main target of his frustrated wrath, although school-age children came in for frequent abuse. His badly beaten body was discovered by a passing motorist shortly after midnight.

Hill was arrested in 2003 when the parents of one 13-year old boy made a complaint after Hill allegedly abused their child in Victoria Square, and threatened to 'frogmarch' him back to school. The boy was on school holiday at the time.

Although he escaped charges for that incident in exchange for a promise to not talk to school-age children in public, Hill soon was back in the streets harassing adults. Proprietors of local tourism stores considered him a menace.

"We called him 'The Nutter'," says Jimmy Wang, owner of Stuff! OK!, a gift shop and long-term storage agency in central Christchurch. "He'd always be out here, telling tourists that they were dressed inappropriately, or that they shouldn't be spending money on crap, and things like that.

"I don't like to speak ill of the dead, but I'm happy we got rid of the bastard."

In his last few weeks, Hill had taken to loitering on the edge of Victoria Square, on the other side of Colombo Street from the Copthorne Hotel. Here he could harangue and lecture cyclists that cycled on the footpath after exiting from the Square. Sources say that he enjoyed reminding cyclists that they were breaking the law by cycling on the footpath, and sometimes he would stand in their path until they dismounted.

Police say that this obstructive behaviour may have led to his brutal murder, and would like to speak to anyone that may have witnessed a confrontation involving Hill.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Aliens Believed To Be Holding Bill Gates Ransom

WASHINGTON - The United States Department of Homeland Security is investigating reports that an alien race may have captured software mogul Bill Gates and is holding him ransom at an off-planet location.

A memo leaked to the New York Times suggests that aliens may have taken Gates from his home in California, perhaps by means of a technology unknown to mankind. At no point in the past week has Gates been seen at his office in Redwood, nor has he fulfilled any of his speaking engagements during this time.

The memo says that if the aliens' demands are not met, they will "Randomly remove words, at the rate of one word per Earth week, from all Microsoft Word documents, the size of the words being at our discretion."

The BFST extra-terrestrial life forms expert Dr. Leanne Smith says that the aliens probably observed Earth for a number of months in order to determine which Earthling was the supreme leader, and would have chosen Gates due to his superior wealth. "Alien life forms have a habit of overvaluing wealth at the expense of other, more human things such as personal contacts and friendships."

"They would have chosen Gates over Bush or Greenspan because for them it's hard to understand the nature of the power that Bush and Greenspan command. Theirs is more in the fields of laws and regulations and friends."

As of yet it is unclear if the aliens have made any demands. Dr. Smith says that alien kidnapping incidents tend to involve medical experimentation rather than ransom, as aliens have little or no use for the physical items which mankind tends to value.

The BFST will update the story as soon as news reaches us.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Loserdom Increases 17%; Health Experts Alarmed

WELLINGTON - Some sectors of the Government were sent scrambling today by news that loserdom in New Zealand has increased 17% since the same time last year.

A report commissioned by the Ministry of Health said that factors such as social retardation, obesity, chronically bad luck, lack of willpower, poor hand-eye coordination, getting dressed by ones parents, and having little or no chance of creating a better life for oneself were on the rise. 60% of the increase could be explained by these factors, among others, worsening since 2004, whereas the other 40% was due to an increase in the absolute number of people classed as losers.

Tourism Minister Mark Burton said the results were worrying. "Our tourism receipts depend partly on our image as a 'cool' country, full of adventurous outdoorsy people. This latest survey could have a damaging effect on that self-image if it were to become widely known."

The Ministry of Health report said that a number of possible reasons had been suggested to explain the alarming rise in loserdom, such as massive increase in Internet usage and videogaming, 'pussification' of the education system due to an appalling lack of male teachers, and general excessive concern for physical well-being at the expense of meaningful experience. The major factor, however, was believed to be the 'force and meaninglessness' of contemporary Western pop culture. "It is not hard to imagine," the report states in its conclusion, "how malleable minds exposed to this excrement will begin to show characteristics commonly associated with loserdom."

The report highlighted recent trends, such as the continual lowering of the maximum height allowed on childrens playground equipment, as contributing to the development.

Labour MP John Tamihere said that he wasn't surprised by the findings, saying that "A wave of PC has been decending upon this land for 20 years, turning everything it touches into a vegetable-eating, soccer-playing, bunch of homosexuals."

Prime Minister Helen Clark declined to comment to the BFST, but sources close to her say that upon recieving news of the report she emitted a crazed, mad-scientist cackle, and mumbled "Excellent..."

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Government Congratulates Itself on Skinning Victory

WELLINGTON - Justice Minister Phil Goff today hailed news that no cases of human skinning had been reported in New Zealand this year.

The report, from the New Zealand police, said that human skinning was a practice common in some parts of Africa, where it was believed that the skins can be made into charms or potions that make their users rich. This practice is especially common in southern Tanzania, which is renowned as a center for traditional sorcery. Goff said that the absence of human skinning cases in New Zealand highlighted the effectiveness of the Labour Government's "hard line on crime".

National Party leader Don Brash said that the Labour Government should not take too much credit from the results, saying that "The very low incidence of human skinning in New Zealand is a result of the policies that we put in place in the early nineties, policies whose effects are now being seen despite the stonewalling of the Labour party. The Honourable Phil Goff failed to mention this, naturally."

Green Party co-Leader Rod Donald told the BFST that the results were a little misleading, as "the conditions that lead to deplorable crimes such as this are still present in New Zealand society. Human skinning in New Zealand is a matter of when, not if."

ACT MP Deborah Coddington saw a conspiracy behind the reporting. "This is a cynical attempt by the Government to paint themselves as hard on crime in an election year. The major cause of human skinning is high taxation, which causes workers to find some other desperate means of income. If taxes were lowered, such atrocities would be even less frequent."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Nelson Man Dismayed To Find Brain Removed

NELSON - Nelson resident William McGibbert received some shocking news last week when he went for a checkup with his local GP.

McGibbert, 67, says that he had recently been having trouble remembering appointments and other important dates. His wife Eileen, who says that William "had always been so good at remembering things", says that at first she began to suspect that he was suffering from Alzheimers disease.

"I felt that the worst was upon us." she says.

Eileen took William to their GP, who referred him to a specialist, who discovered via X-ray that William's skull was almost completely empty. "The specialist didn't believe it at first," Eileen recalls, "he thought there must have been some kind of mistake. So we took another X-ray, which confirmed the terrible news."

The McGibberts reported the apparent theft to the Nelson police, who say that they are stumped by the brain's absence. Senior Sargeant Michael Wilson told the BFST "We haven't had any reports of a missing brain before, but if one turns up we'll be on the phone to Mr. McGibbert straight away.

"We are, however, having a lot of difficulty trying to find either the means or a motive in this case. No ransom note has been received although I've been told the brain has been missing for six weeks now."

Nelson Hospital Director Mark Bradford told the BFST that such cases were extremely unusual. "You'd think that things like this happen fairly often, but you'd be wrong. This is the first case I know of in Nelson."

Eileen McGibbert says that the discovery that William's brain had apparently been stolen actually came as a relief, because it raised the hope that the organ may one day be returned and replaced. "If he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I would have been forced to shoot him. I even had taken the shotty out of the garden shed." William McGibbert says that "hopefully whoever took it will return the thing soon - it's hard enough to remember things at my age without someone making everything harder for you."

New Method of Reducing Alcohol Consumption Discovered

CHRISTCHURCH - A group of researchers at the University of Canterbury have discovered what they claim to be a remarkable method of reducing alcohol consumption while club-hopping in the city.

The group, comprised mostly of researchers within the University's Psychology Department, believe they have discovered evidence that suggests drinking six to ten beers before hitting town is the most effective way to reduce alcohol over-consumption while out partying.

The leader of the group, Dr. Ron Ahlfeldt, says that the technique has a number of advantages over the range of drink-suppressing drugs on the market. "Firstly, you don't have to worry about getting yourself down to the chemist to buy some drugs. Secondly, the treatment is cheap - our participants consumed an average of ten dollars worth of medicine. And most importantly, the side effects of the treatment are remarkably similar to the effects of going to town and drinking alcohol, so the participants don't feel like they're missing out on anything."

One of the participants in the study, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the treatment was so effective that "after a couple of drinks in the city I felt absolutely blitzed."

Dr. Ahlfeldt cautions, however, that the research is inconclusive at this early stage. "We will have to do a lot more research before we can present any concrete results."

Nihilist Society Welcomes Reports of 'Iron Law of Failure'

CHRISTCHURCH - Canterbury University Students Club The Nihilists Society has issued a statement welcoming discovery of what is being called the 'Iron Law of Failure'.

The Iron Law of Failure was a theory, recently promoted to law by the researcher Paul Ormerod, who found that "no amount of planning or calculation can escape the iron law of failure that governs human endeavour." Success or failure is more due to luck than anything else. Our ignorance about the future and the difficulty of predicting other people's behaviour mean that careful planning is futile.

Vince Murphy, Captain of the university Nihilist's Club, says the news is welcome.

"We're happy that some academics are starting to realise what we in the Nihilists Society have known for a long time - namely that life is meaningless. Your happiness and your actions are only barely connected. You might as well just do whatever you feel like."

When asked if that kind of attitude caused him to be swallowed by a cosmic sense of despair, Murphy replied "Not at all. In fact, the more people that understand the futility of intensively planning one's every move, the more people that can just sit back and enjoy this absurd existence into which we have been thrust."

Murphy says that 'a few dozen' people have shown interest in joining the Nihilists Society since news of the discovery of the Iron Law of Failure became known. "That is cool. But man, I've seen four suicides in the week since the big news - I was almost hit by a falling body on Tuesday. Not that I would have cared if I too had been killed, but it's an interesting event nonetheless."

The revelation has come as a shock to various governmental agencies, as well as many business groups, especially those which are concerned with long-term planning.

Sources close to Business Roundtable chairman Roger Kerr say that he was initially dismayed by the news, but now seems to have recovered his morale and now intends to start a commune in the Coromandel along with Michael Cullen and Jeanette Fitzsimmons.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

HAPPINESS: OFTEN IMPLIED, SELDOM UNDERSTOOD

Try telling a computer how to be happy. It will fail to succeed in this task: even if it understood what you were asking it to do, it would have no idea how to actually do it. This situation is quite similar to the one we humans find ourselves in: we want to be happy, but have very little idea about how to achieve this. We're given an almost incomprehensible task and have to discover for ourselves how to complete it.

Our condition is not endured without some obvious clues. Everyone with greater intelligence than a mildly retarded vegetable understands that not eating or sleeping will result in seriously decreased happiness, as will massive physical injury. For the 99.99% of the population who don't find themselves in this pitiful position, the way upward is much murkier.

Psychology can act as a very dim candle in this very thick fog. An investigation of the research into what creates human happiness will find two items scoring at or near the top of the lists of the most important factors: good relations with friends and family. Increased wealth is an important factor for the poor, but amongst those in the middle class or higher, the correlation between increased wealth and increased happiness is almost insignificant. People seem to be dimly aware of this fact: everyone seems to know someone who is rich but not particularly happy. I'd be willing to bet that most of these wealthy unfortunates had poor relations with their friends and family.

Western (but not only Western) society puts a high emphasis on material wealth, but not an especially high value on good relations with your nearest and dearest. Economists and politicans battle and debate in the public arena, figuring out ways to squeeze as much productivity as possible out of the workers and the infrastructure, but seldom is happiness mentioned. Economic data is tabulated, analysed, crunched and processed, but who keeps track of how many times you went to the cinema with friends in the past year? Or how many times you called your parents? And why is this data uncollected?

Or more practically, why do we continue to work 40-hour weeks, when we could produce as much in 35 hours now as we could in 40 hours back in 1995? Were we not wealthy enough then? How wealthy do we have to be before we decide that these five extra hours a week with friends and family are worth more than the money earned from spending them at the office or the factory?

I don't believe that the citizens of New Zealand in the parallel universe where they work 35 hours a week might lie on their deathbeds thinking "Damn. I wish I'd spent five more hours a week at work instead of with the people I love."

I believe the answer lies with the nature of government. Governments understand economics, but they don't really understand happiness. Happiness is very hard to measure and quantify, unlike economics. Therefore, their action and new ideas are generally in the area of economics, not happiness. The politicians would have to watch New Zealand look worse and worse in the area of Easily Measurable Information, as our GDP per capita shrank by around 12.5%. They would have to endure the humiliation of representing a bunch of lazy buggers. Foreign politicians would turn their noses up at these Antipodeans, as our power and influence in the world, based as these things are on economic output, declined. And if there's one thing politicians can't abide, it's a decline in influence and power. And I think that's where the answer to why we work so damn much can be found.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Educators Decry 'Insufficient' Pace of Evolution

WELLINGTON - A team of the nation's top educators has pinpointed the clumsly and inefficient workings of natural and sexual selection as one of the major challenges confronting New Zealand's hopes to build a knowledge-based economy.

In a report entitled Evolution: Its Inefficiencies and Insufficiencies, the team writes that evolution, with its tendency to destroy the stupid and benefit the intelligent, is a critical factor in forming an intelligent populace, and that its slow pace is hindering this process.

"The slow pace of evolution is one of the major threats to New Zealand's international competitiveness." says Dick Oram, an economist who worked with the team on its report. "The key to building a successful Information Age economy is a high average IQ. Hastening the pace of evolution, whether by natural or sexual selection, would increase our average IQ and make us all wealthier and happier. Except of course for the people who would be eliminated."

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said that the Labour party had reviewed a number of ways of increasing the natural speed of evolution. "Three major, realistic and feasible" methods had been suggested: elimination of individuals believed to be carrying genes that increased the likelihood of stupidity, active state encouragement of breeding (including financial incentives) for those carrying intelligent genes, and a massive research program intended to isolate intelligent genes and hopefully find a way to transfer them to less intelligent people.

National Party leader Don Brash said that the National party had nothing against the elimination of societal undesirables "in principle", but was undecided on the question of the state having an influence in choice of breeding partner, as "it may be argued that this constitutes a breach of personal freedoms."

Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard told the BFST that if the average IQ of New Zealanders could be raised to 130, it would likely add around 2-3% to New Zealand's yearly GDP growth.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Tension Escalates In Nelson East

NELSON - The BFST has recieved alarming reports of an outbreak of civil war in the eastern Nelson suburb of Nelson East.

The violence is assumed to be a result of the series of misunderstandings and confrontations that have occured between the Gibson and McGrath families, both residents of Nelson East.

The confrontations began last Friday, when a vehicle driven by the father of the family, Darren McGrath, narrowly avoided running over the Gibson family dog, a chihuahua named Chuffles. Sources close to the Gibsons say that the father and Commander of the McGraths, Darren McGrath acted with "indifference" upon hearing from the Gibson's 14 year old son, Jeremy, who stood nearby, that the dog had narrowly escaped death as Mr. McGrath pulled into the driveway of their suburban home.

On Saturday, tension escalated further when a rugby ball belonging to the McGraths was kicked over the dividing fence into Gibson family territory. Pleas for aid from the McGrath's 15 year old son, Michael, were initially ignored by Sandra Gibson, mother and Prime Female of the Gibson family. After a short period during which a raiding party consisting of Michael McGrath seemed likely to intrude into Gibsonian territory, the impasse was resolved when Sandra Gibson hurled the ball back over the fence, followed by a few obscenities and jeerings from Jeremy Gibson.

It is thought that this paved the way for the violent outbreak of Monday evening, when Michael McGrath and Jeremy Gibson met at Branford Park, an open section of grassland not far from their family territories. The events leading up to the violence are unclear, but it appears that the advanced age and greater size of Michael McGrath enabled the McGrath family to win what appears to have been a short-lived fistfight. Casualities on the Gibson side are thought to be minor, although the victory will be an important psychological one for the McGraths.

Observers believe that the McGrath victory will not lead to any territorial expansion, as the Battle of Branford Park involved only a small fraction of both sides' total forces and took place far from either side's home territory.

The prospects for future violence between the two sides are uncertain, but the engagement between Michael McGrath and Jeremy Gibson is far from the 'Total War' scenario that would spell disaster for Nelson East.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Stephen Fleming Retires To Become Farmer

WELLINGTON - A brace of sudden retirements have befallen the Black Caps, promising to worsen the personnel problems suffered throughout most of last season.

The first bombshell was Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming announcing that he had purchased a lease on an undisclosed high country farm in Central Otago, where he intended to become a dairy farmer upon his immediate retirement from all forms of cricket.

Speaking to reporters outside his home in Wellington he said "I woke up this morning and suddenly couldn't understand why on Earth anybody would play cricket.

"It takes five days to play a whole game. I could read War and Peace in five days, or tramp the Milford Track in that time. Why should I prefer to stand in a field chasing a leather ball, watching something happen once per minute, for five days instead? You'd be insane. I don't know who has the time to watch this sort of thing."

Black Caps spin wizard Daniel Vettori has also retired from all forms of the game, effective immediately. "I was talking to Stephen last night, and I started wondering why I bother with this crazy game. I mean, five days of hanging out in my pyjamas. I could have been a doctor, you know. So I've decided to devote my life to helping the poor. On Saturday I will be flying to India to join up with the Doctors Without Borders project that's running there. Just think, I could set around 50 broken limbs, or remove 30 or so appendices, or even do a couple of heart transplants, all in the time it previously took me to play a Test match."

Both Vettori and Fleming say that they hope their former teammates will see the error of their ways, although Fleming says he will not attempt to influence them, rather he will try and live a life completely out of the public eye on his new dairy farm.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Darfuri Refugee Buys Anti-Genocide Pledge

LONDON - Darfuri refugee Amir Sohail has won an auction for an original certified copy of the UN Genocide Convention of 1948.

The copy of the pledge, auctioned by Christie's for GBP 14,000, contains long-forgotten phrases such as "Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide" and "The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish."

Mr. Sohail says that he bought the copy, believed to be the copy given to Cuba upon their signature of the original in 1949, mostly for ironic reasons. "There is a certain humorous element in owning a copy of the Genocide Convention, when I come from a country where genocide is happening right now.

"I'm going to frame it and put it on the wall in my games room, right next to my Kofi Annan dartboard and my 'Worthless Papers of the United Nations' novelty toilet paper."

Mr. Sohail is dismayed by the fact that little has been done to stop the slaughter, even though the US Congress has described what is happening as 'genocide'. "I only hope that there are some of us left by the time the UN gets around to doing something about the slaughter." he said.

The genocide in Sudan, sanctioned by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum and committed against black villagers in the south, has been estimated by a British parliamentary report to have caused 300, 000 deaths and up to 2, 400, 000 refugees.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Car Thief Says Policeman Put Life in Danger.

AUCKLAND - A man whose attempt at car theft was foiled by policeman Grant McCullough says that the policeman's actions put his life in danger.

Fili Hoffmann, 36, whose rap sheet includes 143 previous convictions including car theft and fraud, was arrested by Constable McCullough yesterday while attempting to break into a Hilux parked in central Auckland.

McCullough says that when he first apprehended the thief, Hoffmann dropped the bag of KFC he was holding and ran into the traffic, forcing vehicles to brake suddenly to avoid hitting him. McCullough followed Hoffmann as he ran through a nearby park and arrested him when he slipped in a muddy puddle and fell into some bushes.

But Hoffmann claims that McCullough's actions put his life in danger.

"When he put his hand on my shoulder it gave me such a fright that I dropped my KFC. It made me run straight into the traffic. I could have been hurt or even killed."

Hoffmann's lawyer, Eddie Firth, said that his client would enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. "Mr. Hoffmann would not have run into the traffic, nor dropped his KFC, causing it to become spoiled upon contact with the ground, if not for Constable McCullough's deliberate and sadistic attempt to scare him. Therefore my client is innocent, as Constable McCullough was reponsible for my client's panic."

Firth is considering making a complaint to the Police on behalf of Hoffmann, claiming that "McCullough's over-eager actions, probably carried out with the intent of scoring Brownie points towards an possible promotion, risked the life of my client. McCullough should have stepped back and asked himself which was more important: his looking good in the eyes of his superiors or the life of an innocent KFC enthusiast."

But McCullough says he can't see the relevance of Hoffmann's claim, considering the attempted car theft was in progress by the time the suspect was apprehended.

The case is due to come before Justice Hammerford on June 12.

EUROPEANS - WIMPS OR PSYCHOPATHS?

The sterotype of the European is a tall, effeminate man, able to discuss politics, art and music in any one of several languages, who considers war to be something avoided at any cost, soccer to be a violent and interesting sport and who will protest with vigour for the right of Muslims to take over his country.

The sterotype colonialist is a tall, stocky man, frequently overweight, who thinks a jug cord is an acceptable instrument of child discipline, who owns several firearms, and who plays (or rather, watches) violent sports such as rugby and ice hockey and considers soccer to be a game for 'faggots', who he hates with a passion.

I've spent a while in Europe, and a while in the colonies, and the observations I have made suggest these stereotypes to pretty much be on the button. The violent jokes I frequently make with my English-speaking friends create not mirth but embarrassing uncomprehension on the faces of my European friends. Being in Europe when the Iraq war shitstorm went down, I discovered that the European psyche seemed to consist of a unthinkingly war-averse hive mind that shouted the same slogans and used exactly the same arguments (albeit in 20 different languages). All these slogans and arguments seemed to be based upon the idea that violence was the absolute worst thing in the world.

A series of observations caused me to question this otherwise rather solid and justified stereotype: the frequency with with public gatherings in Europe lead to uncontrolled rioting and violence. That the English soccer hooligan is violent and stupid is well-known. What is less known is that such hooligans seem to exist in all European countries, and in prodigious numbers. What's more, hooliganism is not confined to soccer, but in fact seems to arise in many other places.

Take the recent May Day 'celebrations' in Europe. In Berlin, 1,500 anarchists marched on the headquarters of the Axel Springer publishing company, requiring squads of riot police to stop them. In Liepzig, 1,000 right-wing demonstrators battled 1,200 left-wing protestors, with the riot police joining in. Liepzig isn't a large city - it has a population of around 500,000, not greatly larger than Christchurch. Imagine 1,000 National Front members going up against 1,200 members of the Anti-Capitalist Alliance in Cathedral Square. The thought appears like something from a bizarre dream - that sort of thing just doesn't happen here. I bet we don't even have riot police trained to deal with such things.

This quote from the New Zealand Herald sums it up: "Kreuzberg ... has been the scene of May Day violence for the past 18 years despite extensive prevention efforts by police". The past 18 years? Imagine there being an annual riot somewhere in New Zealand. The closest we have is the Boxing Day sales. A police spokesman even said that their predictions of a quieter riot this year came true. If the thought of 1,000 Nazis fighting 1,200 Communists in Cathedral Square seems unlikely to you, imagine if the police, after neutralising the violence, then said, "Awfully quiet this year, innit?"

One of my lasting impressions from my time in Sweden was the frequency with which anti-globalisation demonstrations would spiral into vandalism, and how often extreme-right wing groups and extreme-left wing groups would confront each other, massed and armed and in public. Since I had assumed that Sweden was a very peaceful country (which it is in virtually every other respect) I was shocked that what I saw to be clear signs of social disintegration had arisen at the same time as my arrival. My shock soon turned to consternation and finally cynicism as one demonstration after another corkscrewed into low-level violence.

Given Europe's poor record in preventing breakouts of mob violence, I decided to do some research to see if this kind of rioting takes place often in the Anglosphere. With an exception for the L.A. riots of 1992, there was little recent street violence to be found. I did find reports of rioting at a soccer match in Sydney on May 2nd. Imagine how surprised I wasn't when I discovered that the rioters weren't actually Australians but European immigrants - the rioting was caused by a bunch of Croatians fighting a bunch of Serbs. Apparently soccer violence has spread to Melbourne too, although there it takes the form of Greeks versus Macedonians. Perhaps supporting such a limp-wristed sport doesn't pacify a person's more aggressive emotions in the same way that supporting rugby or cricket does?

Why are the people of the Anglosphere less inclined towards mob anarchy than the Europeans? I can't believe that we are less violent as a people, in fact I think that generally we are considerably more aggressive and prone to savagery. I suspect that the answer may have to do with our laid-back attitude to group identity. One of the advantages with multiculturalism, it seems, is that the less you have in common with each other the harder it is to spontaneously start hating random groups of other people. It's almost as if solidarity and community facilitates the natural human urge to murder "them" and take their resources. Europeans seem to think much more along 'tribal' lines than we do - and the reasons for this are quite obvious. A German (for example) is a member of the German race, and speaks the German language. Who he is, and more importantly, who he isn't, is quite clear. I am a Kiwi, my race is anybody's guess but (as far as I know) mostly Scottish and Scandinavian with a fair dollop of Maori, and I speak English, the language of a faraway people. It's not so easy for me to define "them". My situation is shared by most of the rest of the Anglosphere.

The conclusion from these observations, and from reading history books, is that much like how concentrating certain chemical compounds leads to an explosion, concentrating Europeans seems to lead to mob violence. It may be no coincidence that Germany, the most heavily populated major country in Europe, has also been its most violent. But that's another question.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bogans Unite in New Party

LEVIN - They make up 14% of the population of New Zealand, are far poorer than the New Zealand population as a whole, and consider themselves underrepresented in parliament, although they are overrepresented in crime statistics. Now they are uniting to form a single party. Maoris? Nah, son - bogans.

The ANZAC equivalent of the North American redneck, bogans are the socio-economic class that arose from mass immigration of the British working classes to New Zealand and Australia in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Mr. Dwayne Sayer, Leader of the new Bogan Party, spoke briefly to the BFST about some of the values and policies of his fledgling party.

"First, stop the ban on pit bulls," Mr. Sayer said when asked to give a brief outline of the Bogan Party's major policy issues. "Second, get rid of the gooks. Third, no more fuckin' Jap imports. Shit, we've got more, it'll be on our website, as soon as Corey gets the computer back from the Cashies."

The BFST asked Mr. Sayer if he had considered the legal ramifications of having one of their major policies being something as xenophobic as "get rid of the gooks."

"They shouldn't fuckin' be here. There's too fuckin' many of them. Simple as that, really."

On the subject of potential coalition partners, Mr. Sayer ruled out Labour and the Greens, claiming they were "a bunch of poofters." Don Brash was unacceptable because "he's married to that Chink.", and the Bogan Party had not considered ACT because "we've never heard of them."

BFST's New Zealand political correspondent Mr. James Speight said that the Bogan Party was expected to poll at around 6%, "if they can keep it together until the election, and if there's nothing much on TV that day."

The BFST asked Winston Peters about the possibility of entering into coalition government with the Bogan Party, perhaps alongside National or Labour. His response was "What the fuck are you talking about? I shouldn't have to put up with this rubbish every day."

Friday, May 06, 2005

Bookies bear baited breath on Brit ballot

LONDON - Bookmakers around the world, and especially in Britain, are holding their breath tonight over the impending British general election.

A few months after the start of the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, many bookies began to offer a "Iraqi leader trifecta", a bet that would pay out if leaders of the USA, the UK and Australia won re-election. Given the massive unpopularity of the Iraq War amongst Britons and Australians, and given the series of economic blunders being committed by George W. Bush, most bookies offered long odds for the trifecta.

Mark Rhodes, CEO and owner of sirbetalot.com, an online bookmaking service based in Scotland, said that many factors spoke for his decision to offer odds of nine to one on the trifecta. “Bush has run up one of the largest deficits ever seen. He cuts taxes during a war. The British public is getting quite sick of Blair, as they have been for a while. The health system is a shambles. Howard was running for his fourth consecutive election. The usual rule is, people get sick of politicians the longer they’re in power. It seemed reasonable to think that one of Howard, Blair or Bush would lose. The populations of these countries would either have to have a sudden attack of total, utter, nation-spanning madness, or without warning or precedent become the most forgiving people in history.”

Mr. Rhodes declined to say how much money he stands to lose if Labour wins the election.

Brad McDougall, Chief Odds Analyst at sportsbettingmania.com, said that not even technicalities could save them now. “We offered ten to one on the trifecta, longer odds than people might think, because of the chances that a leadership challenge might displace either Blair or Howard. This seemed quite possible two years ago.

“The worst thing is, thousands of people, fueled by hate and anger for the war, went and put money on the [Iraqi leader] trifecta, as a symbol of their opposition. Now we’ll have to pay through the arse for them.”

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Six meter pile of garbage "fault of previous tenant"

NELSON - A six meter high mound of rotting garbage is infuriating residents of the Nelson suburb of East Nelson, but the tenant of the property at which it is situated refuses to accept responsibility for it.

Luke Bell, 24, says that the garbage mound already existed when he moved into the property six years ago. "The blame for the existence of this trash heap falls squarely on the shoulders of the previous tenant. Their maintenance was appallingly substandard, and I have only now been able to make inroads into correcting the deplorable state that they left the property in."

The previous tenant, who asked that their name not be published, said that Bell was "nuts".

"I mean, he's has six bloody years to fix up the place, which was a scumhole when I moved in there anyway.

"Six years is a completely reasonable amount of time to clean up a back yard."

Bell rejects the previous tenant's claims. "It's just not that simple. Since moving in here, I've had other things I've had to take care of. The drains were blocked, the gutters needed clearing, the security of the back yard was compromised by a series of unauthorised visits by stray cats, and there was a stack of city council survey forms a foot high that had to be filled out. The general state of disrepair of the property prevented me from getting around to solving the problem of the rubbish heap."

Bell's arguments anger the previous tenant, who says that the reason why Bell got to take over the tenancy in the first place was because he convinced the landlord that he would take better care of it. "He [Bell] spun the biggest crock of shit I have ever heard. He said he'd do everything better, and that it wouldn't lose the landlord any money. I couldn't believe the audacity of the man. Well, I guess the landlord is feeling like a bit of a sucker right now.

"However, if the landlord wants to put me back in, I'll change everything, and what's more, I'll increase my own rent."

The landlord of the property, who also declined to be named, said a decision was due in September.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Labour denies poll influence

WELLINGTON - Helen Clark emphatically denied today accusations that her Labour party was excessively poll oriented when it came to making policy decisions.

Speaking from her personal makeup studio on the ninth floor of the Beehive, Clark said these accusations were "part of a whole body of rumours that seek to portray the Labour party as shallow, concerned mostly with appearances and a little too media savvy."

The denial comes hot on the heels of a Colmar-Brunton poll taken last week that suggested that the New Zealand public has a dim view of politicians who construct policy according to polls instead of ideology. 75% of respondents said that they would be less likely to vote for a party if they believed that that party altered their policy to adapt to polling. 18% said it would make no difference.

'Toxic' star shaken by Christchurch provincialist vibe

CHRISTCHURCH - Britney Spears, famous pop star and loose-moraled icon to tens of millions of teenage girls, has spoken out against the 'provincialist vibe' she felt in Christchurch while watching the Crusaders play the Blues in the third round of this year's Super 12.

Spears, from Louisiana, told the BFST that she felt a definite wariness and unease amongst people while walking through Cathedral Square earlier in the day.

"When I got to Christchurch a lot of people did not know who Britney Spears was" she recalls. "I was a woman who was dressed tastefully and obviously not wearing gumboots or a rugby jersey so I think people automatically assumed I was an Aucklander."

"There was a definite vibe...I wouldn't say it was blind hatred, but a definite disgust and unease."

Spears' comments struck a chord with rugby personality Carlos Spencer. Spencer said in a telephone interview that he had regularly visited Christchurch over the last ten or so years.

"It's a peculiar situation in the South Island, but one thing that has always been is that shallow, vapid personalities with very limited mental capacity who rely on physical attributes such as looks or strength to get by don't fit into the culture that Southerners feel themselves comfortable in."

Spencer said that South Islanders were "living in the past" with their stubborn refusal to slavishly follow artificial cultural trends concocted by the Auckland-based media.

Provincialist attitudes were extolled from the top down, Spencer added, with the Crusaders franchise's obstinate refusal to hire an Aucklander as head coach.

Monday, May 02, 2005

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