Sunday, October 29, 2006

Trivial pursuit

A government is set to crack down on NGOs engaged in politics, and environmental watchdog Greenpeace is worried. Before anyone circulates a petition to impeach President George W. Bush, the menace to NGOs is from the New Zealand Government. (Hat tip: Russia Blog) TV.NZ reports:

A new law could strip charities of their tax-free status if they get too involved in politics. The move has led to fears that charities such as Greenpeace and the Sensible Sentencing Trust may be less inclined to speak out. Charities are often driven by people with a burning desire to fight for a cause. Having a cause can be difficult to separate from being political, but that is what the Charities Commission may soon be asked to do. ...

From next February, the commission will have new powers to strip charities of their tax-free status if they become too heavily involved in politics. "If there is any hint of political taint in this, New Zealanders will stand up in droves and change it," says Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust. Labour is already moving to strip the Exclusive Brethren church of its rights to deny union officials entry into their work places on religious grounds. The government denies it is an attack on civil liberties.

Belmont Club quiz. Has an NGO ever sunk or crippled a United States warship; if so which and where? Bonus question. Has a government ever sunk an NGO ship? If so, which and where?

23 Comments:

Blogger NahnCee said...

France sank the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior in 1985 ... in New Zealand.

Wouldn't it make more sense to ban the French from New Zealand?

10/29/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

USS Cole. 10/12/2000. The Aden port in Yemen.

In a whimsical little operation, the French DGSE sunk the Greenpeace ship the "Rainbow Warrior". 7/10/85 outside of Auckland, New Zealand.

What color piece of pie did I win?

10/29/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/29/2006 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Seven seconds you beat me by, nahncee. . . . though I did get the first part of the question. Maybe we can have a rematch of literature or "sports and leisure".
Best,
RC
PS Hmmm, maybe I got the questions reversed. First Greenpeace and then the Cole would be the correct progression.

10/29/2006 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger possumDieter said...

You know, I guess the answer hinges on how one defines "United States warship" and if we expand the definition - as in broaden it - we can begin to include more interesting cases and better ensnare in our conceptual nets the menagerie of memetic dwarves, gnomes and lilliputs.

For instance, many times a square NGO may seek to sink or cripple the efforts of stoner "ship" - as in a car.

Frequently crippling is done through fifth generation warfare by never allowing the keys to exchange hands or by keeping gas prohibitively low such that any venture will run the risk of running out of gas, which is waaaaay uncool. Thus access is either managed through power or deterrence is arranged.

If stoners do have a car, i.e. a "United States warship," there have been occassions when flammable solvents result in spontaneous uncool combustion and so cripple the aimless adventure embarked upon: be it grocery store wandering or programming class. Whether the causality present in this situation is sufficient to be called an "NGO" remains to be seen. I think it doesnt meet the classical definition, but if we, again, broaden our definition sufficiently, we can see that eventually we can encapsulate an NGO and flaming/exploding paraphernelia in the same type.

wait, what?

10/29/2006 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

I'd say UFOs abducted the USS Cyclops in the Bermuda Triangle, but it wasn't a warship.

Aliens are an NGO, right?

j/k

10/30/2006 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger Causal said...

Do-It-Yourself Impeachment, no joke.
The Citizens' movement!

The day the nation demands impeachment is almost upon us. On Jan 3rd, sacks and sacks of mail will be sent to congress demanding impeachment via the House of Representative's own rules. This legal document is as binding as if a State or if the House itself passed the impeachment resolution (H.R. 635).

There's a little known and rarely used clause of the "Jefferson Manual" in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.

That's where we come in. In addition to the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial. ImpeachforPeace.org, part of the movement to impeach the president, has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.

STOP WAITING FOR YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO ACT FOR YOU.

You can initiate the impeachment process yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in. Be a part of history.

http://ImpeachForPeace.org/ImpeachNow.html

10/30/2006 02:49:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

While I applaud anybody’s efforts to muzzle Greenpeace, the Libertarian in me views this in the larger context of an increasing governmental tendency to limit free speech.

First the execrable McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law unconstitutionally penalized political speech, the exact speech the Constitution sought to protect.
http://www.theinternetparty.org/commentary/c_s.php?section_type=com&td=20010323

Next laws in Canada and Europe imposed severe constraints on anybody who criticizes Islamofacists.
http://www.overlawyered.com/archives/01/dec1.html#1205c

Then Churches began having their tax-exempt status challenged for engaging in politics.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/religion/jan-june06/taxing_4-14.html

Now this. George Orwell’s “Memory Hole” is not forgotten. Big Brother is alive and well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_hole

10/30/2006 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Go ahead: TRY not to smile!

10/30/2006 03:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

RWE:
Game Called on account of Plane

10/30/2006 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

I smiled.

10/30/2006 04:52:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

When Greenpeace tried to stop Trident missile launches off of Cape Canaveral in thc 80's, the USN ran at least one operation with SEAL teams trying to hook on steel cables to the Greenpeace Zodiac inflatable boats to tow them away - backwards.

But I don't think they sank any.

10/30/2006 05:08:00 AM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

Prohibiting tax-subsidies to highly politicized --an invariably leftwing--
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is not "muzzling" them, merely ensuring that taxpayers need not accommodate partisan agendas with which they substantively disagree.

One analogy would be radically skewed contribution of Union Members' forced dues to extremist causes favored by their malfeasant officers.

Indisputably in the same vein, why not invoke "Establishment of Religion" clauses, which prohibit Government subsidies to maintain or promote sectarian ends of any Church? What justifies taxpayer contributions to the Church of Global Warming, the Church of PETA, the Church of Unitied Feminists? What, you say, these are mere "secular faiths", lacking dogma, hierarchies, true believers ready to excommunicate adherents with whom Orthodoxy disagrees? Puh-lease...
if radical activists respond, "It's only words", intending to claim public support for private ends as usual, then of course "mere words" will be sufficient to deny them that very privilege.

"NGOs" indeed! Call yourself a Human Rights or Animal Rights or Rights Rights organization, spew vile anti-Semtic, racist, Islamofascist and totalitarian propaganda, slandering and vilifying your opponents-- but don't act surprised when rational citizens cut off your subsidies, seeing you quite plain for who and what you are.

10/30/2006 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Wait a minute: What About the USS Cole?

Isn't Al Queda an NGO?

Maybe we need a new designation.

NGOs are organizations like the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army, and the National Rifle Association.

Supra Government Organizations (SGO's) are like Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, Earth First, and Al Queda, - and probably the BBC, Reuters, and CNN as well.

Not sure where I would put the Red Cross. They are more of an SGO but I would hate to lump them in with those others... but if the Foo defecates...

10/30/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Is the ACLU an NGO? Whether it is or not, it deserves have something explosive happen to it, too.

Is something weird being added to the Kool Aid in New Zealand, since they seem to keep coming up with new laws that no one else even thought of, let alone thought was necessary?

10/30/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/30/2006 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger The Crusader said...

Strangely enough, French commandoes sank the Greenpeace ship, "Rainbow Warrior", in New Zealand back in '85

Would you consider Al Qaeda an NGO? They nearly sank the USS Cole in Yemen.

10/30/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

NZ and the rest of us should also urge NGOs and activist corporate groups to get out of their comfort zones (where they shake us down and live well) and wholly relocate their operations to regions where they're actually needed.

For a start, all global warming alarmists should go to China (to include mandarin Gore), PETA to Africa, feminist groups to Iran and Pakistan, the ACLU to the Sudan, Amnesty International to North Korea, the BBC to Russia and Syria, the NYT to Brussels, and the PCUSA to Gaza.

They would, of course, be welcome to try for mandated funding and donations from the people who really need their higher consciousness.

10/30/2006 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Catherine,
I like your NGO redistribution program... put 'em where they're need most. Great.

10/30/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Griswel said...

It's perfectly legitimate to remove tax-exempt status from organizations which engage in politics. Tax exempt status is meant to reward philanthropic deeds. People are free to engage in politics, they just don't get a write-off for doing so.

WalMart isn't tax-exempt, Exxon isn't tax-exempt, how many (war)ships have they sunk?

FWIW - France should have simply gone ahead with one of their nuke tests when the Greenpeace ship was nearby, they had plenty of warning. It would have been the perfect time to use the phrase "sucks to be you".

10/30/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Griswell,
I applaud your suggestion for the French nuclear testing in the vicinity of the Rainbow Warrior.

The world doesn't need more nukes, it needs to make better use of the nukes it has!

10/30/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/31/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

Y'know, all the sympathy that I have for the US following 9/11 evaporates as soon as I read the comments here.

It does return some short while later after I leave.

Oh, and BTW get your facts right - Rainbow Warrior was tied up at wharf in Auckland Harbour. Not "outside". So reocon has no cigar either.

And yes, if you come closer I can still smell the uranium on your breath.

10/31/2006 03:02:00 PM  

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