More on Dotcom and hacking

Kim Dotcom has deliberately kept his hacking history in the news so he (and Pam Corkery) shouldn’t be surprised when the media pay it attention and wonder if Dotcom could be linked to the hacking currently in the news.

Neither should Dotcom’s supporters be surprised.

Russell Brown @publicaddress

Righto. So we’re going to have at least a day of obsessing about a theory (Dotcom is Whaledump) that is quite unlikely for various reasons.

Dotcom is almost certainly not @Whaledump – but that doesn’t rule out some much more likely possibilities.

Dotcom has a motive and a history that makes linking him in some way to @Whaledump believable, especially after his speech yesterday where he said:

“I hacked our German credit rating system and put our Prime Minister’s credit rating to zero because I didn’t like the guy. You have all figured by now there’s another Prime Minister I don’t like.”

But remember that there appears to be more than one hacker. David Fisher claims to be sourced from a separate hacker. Fisher has an established relationship with Dotcom.

There’s more than one way Dotcom could be linked to the hacking.

UPDATE: On Radio NZ Dotcom has admitted to being “very unwise” for making the connection between his hacking history and not liking the current Prime Minister. He said he is on his “final final warning”.

That’s another curious connection. There are widespread calls for Judith Collins to resign for being unwise.

“Not as bad as Whale Oil”

Since the release of Nicky Hager’s book ‘Dirty Politics’ there has been much discussion and condemnation of what has been revealed – even though much of the dirtiness of Cameron Slater was already well known. He has boasted about his political uncleanliness.

Last year after the Len Brown revelations just after the local body elections Slater said on The Nation:

Mr Slater argued that Auckland politics was “a dirty disgusting despicable game”.

“It involves dirty disgusting despicable people at all levels,” he said.

“And to have this high and mighty belief that New Zealand politics is clean, it isn’t.”

(Frontpage)

He repeated this on his Whale Oil blog recently. He often quotes ” Never wrestle with pigs, two things are for certain if you do. You will get dirty and the pig will enjoy it”, along others from his list of ‘rules’.

Whaleoil’s Rules of Politics

1. If you are explaining, you are losing

2. Utu is good, even necessary

3. Never hug a corpse – it smells and you end up smelling like the corpse too

4. Always know where the bodies are buried

5. Don’t let mongrels get away with being mongrels

6. Don’t mess with The Whale or Cactus Kate

7. Never wrestle with pigs, two things are for certain if you do. You will get dirty and the pig will enjoy it.

8. Never ask a question if you don’t already know the answer

9. Speak plain, Speak Simple

10. Remember, I’m telling this story

11. Never trust a politician if you aren’t close enough to them to hit them in the back of the head with a bit of 4×2

12. Never trust a politician with a moustache or a hyphenated name

There might be a lot of people, especially politicians, giving serious consideration to rule 3 right now.

Slater’s personal attacks and vindictiveness are well known. There’s no one who comes close to his media prominence and dirtiness in New Zealand politics.

So all other bloggers can comfortably claim they are “not as bad as Whale Oil”. But that sets the bar very low and should not excuse lesser levels of dirtiness.

One of the more long serving and respected bloggers Russell Brown posted  We can do better than this at Public Address and concluded:

In one of the early reports that annoyed me, Radio New Zealand’s political editor Brent Edwards, talked about smears being unleashed to “blogs” and “the blogosphere”.

Actually, we’re not all like that. The multitude of bloggers, political bloggers included, have no part in this. And while the cynical side of politics is not new, I do believe that the scope, scale and nature of what is described in Hager’s book is unprecedented.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can, all of us, do better than this.

Russell is right, we’re “not all like that”. No one else is as bad as Whale Oil. I agree that “the scope, scale and nature of what is described in Hager’s book is unprecedented” – although it shouldn’t really have been a surprise to Russell if he was aware of what Whale Oil has been doing for years.

But in comments Russell seems to think that the ‘all of us” in “We can, all of us, do better than this” doesn’t apply equally to all of us.

It’s over to you, Pete, to identify a left-leaning blogger with even a tenth of the venality and vindictiveness of WhaleOil.

I feel kind of icky agreeing with Pete (sorry, Mr. George) but if our baseline is “not as bad as Whaleoil” that’s a depressingly low bar you can clear without lifting your feet.

Which is really just a morally elevated way of saying “everyone does it”. It’s simply not true. What has happened in and around Whaleoil these past few years is actually of a different nature.

He seems to be claiming it’s not true that everyone doesn’t do it, despite calling for “all od us” to do better.

Some of what Whale Oil has done has been of a different nature” and of a more extreme nature, but there are many examples of dirt mongering across the blogosphere. Russell moderates Public Address fairly well but even his own blog shouldn’t be exempt from criticism. There’s dirt at different levels but there’s dirt – there were even mild attempts to attack me personally to divert from the issues being discussed on that thread (eg ScottY and Kracklite).

Public Address is relatively mild but still allows personal political attacks and dirty comments. The other major left wing blogs The Standard and The Daily Blog allow and promote a lot of abuse and attempts to emulate some of Whale Oil’s “success”.

Lynn Prentice (lprent) at The Standard often boasts about his nastiness:

That is because in my sysop role I’m deliberately a nasty vindictive mean old man with abuse of power issues, whose only redeeming quality is that he is too lazy to be bothered exercising those traits, but who often and almost randomly goes totally over the top when roused.

And as chief moderator that sets the tone for blog with support of a one sided attack culture.

And Martyn Bradbury is well know for over the top rants and abuse, as well as doing party promotional blog posting without revealing he is being paid by or seeking payment for his work, one of the things Slater is correctly criticised for.

Josie Pagan is very familiar with how nasty the left wing blogs can get, they have blasted her a number of times. She recently posted The politics of vilification.

Nicky Hager’s book exposes both the politics of demonisation and the National Government’s role in facilitating it. The right wing blogs have been more extreme, more violent and more coordinated with the parliamentary party and so the book is their comeuppance. 

I agree with that. Whale Oil is obviously the main culprit but Kiwiblog can be very nasty in it’s comments and I think the generally and widely respected David Farrar would admit to overstepping lines of decency at times (as most if not all bloggers do to varying degrees).

But imagine how much harder would it be for the government to deflect some of the disgusting stuff they’ve been involved in if some on the left blogs had not spent so much energy vilifying and demonising people they disagree with.

I’ve been suggesting to left wing blogs for a long time thatthey would be fdar more credible and effective if they cut down on the crap – I’ve been banned from The Standard for giving them advice along those lines.

At least Farrar recognises problems and has pledged ttake measures to try to improve Kiwiblog – Some changes for Kiwiblog.

Josie concluded:

But there is also a wider lesson to everyone about the way politics is conducted. 

As I wrote back in December, “The fundamental principle of the left is our compassion…. Ours is the politics of redemption, forgiveness and humanity.” 

Or, as Nicky Hager elegantly stated on The Nation this morning, “if anyone is doing it, they should stop.

It’s hard to see Whale Oil changing it’s degree of nastiness but if we are to improve political discourse in New Zealand it’s up to all of the rest of us to do what we can to improve – bloggers and politicians.

Directing all the blame at the other lot and demanding action from them ignores those shitting in our own nests.

Yes Russell, we can, all of us, do better than this. ‘All of us’ means not opting out because we’re are not as bad as Whale Oil.

UPDATE: Russell has responded via Twitter:

Thanks for another droning restatement of what you’ve already said. I’m at a loss as to what I’m supposed to do about it.

I replied: Try using your stature showing some leadership in the blogosphere in raising standards perhaps?

UMR poll on Jones not Labour

Yesterday  Whale Oil and today Kiwiblog have had posts claiming a poll asking a question on Shane Jones was done by Labour, speculating it was with an aim of attacking  Jones.

Whale Oil: Labour getting ready to shaft Shane Jones?

Kiwiblog:  Are Labour planning smear campaign on Shane Jones?

The poll question:

Which of the following is closer to your own view even if not quite right?

o Shane Jones delivered amusing one liners but his political career was accident prone and did not amount to much. The most attention he got was for using his parliamentary credit card to pay for pornographic movies.
o Shane Jones was one of the few politicians who tells it like it is and with his attacks on Countdown has been the most effective Labour politician this year. He will be a huge loss to Labour especially amongst Maori and blue collar voters.

Russell Brown says that it definitely wasn’t Labour who commissioned the poll.

The “UMR polling commissioned by Labour” being touted by Whaleoil is nothing of the kind. Not commissioned, received or paid for by Labour.

Not that I’d be hanging out for a correction. Just saying he’s firmly holding the wrong end of the stick.

And no, I didn’t get that information from Labour either. I’m surprised they haven’t made it clear though.

I asked him if he knew who.

No, but definitely not Labour. I would naturally *like* to know :-)

Not the first time whoever-it-is has been mistaken for internal labour polling, I gather.

More tweets on this as David Farrar checks it out:

What is your source? Will update if it is someone on the record.

Considering the same poll was testing potential policies for Labour, I’d be sceptical short of an on the reecord denial.

And Russell responded:

Or you could offer some evidence that it is what you say it is. It usually works that way.

Fair call. Then @publicaddress

But no, sorry, it’s a confidential source, but one I’m very confident is correct.

@dpfdpf

I think one can use common sense. Who would want to poll on Shane Jones except media and Labour?

Considering the same poll was testing potential policies for Labour, I’d be sceptical short of an on the reecord denial.

All it takes is for Labour to say on the record “Not us”.

Well whoever it is, is presumably the same person or party polling on a $3 billion a year carbon tax.

So who would have the inclination and the money to do apparently multiple polls that look like they are Labour orientated?

I wonder if NZ First commission polls. The Conservative and Internet parties are both known to commission polling.

Blog snobbery

New Zealand has a very diverse blogosphere, with a wide variety of bloggers. There can be a lot of crossover, co-operation – and also a lot of competitiveness.

A topic that is often discussed is the popularity and ranking of blogs. It often displays bragging and jealousy.

Russell Brown has been around for a while and also does a bit in more old fashioned media. He seems to sneer down his fingers at riff raff blogs (and riff raff Twitterers).

In How a thing happens he posts:

Martyn Bradbury wrote a blog post yesterday about why the campaign to invite major Radio Live advertisers to consider their position in light of Willie and JT’s abysmal on-air conduct was a success. In theorising that the advertisers mistook Giovanni Tiso for Whaleoil, Bradbury gets it spectacularly, but tellingly, wrong.

It’s not uncommon for Bradbury to get things wrong. Tiso’s RadioLive advertiser campaign had little if anything to do with Whale Oil. Or blogging – he did it by direct contact via email, and publicised it in Twitter.

Tiso showed that one person can quietly and politely campaign on an issue and get very significant results.

Bradbury is also chalk to Tiso’s cheese – or more like LOOKATMECHALK!!! He not only talks (shouts) himself up, he also sneers down his keyboard at lesser bloggers.

I doubt however many of the advertisers contacted by blogger Giovanni Tiso had heard of his unranked blog or had read it much, I imagine what most Coms people heard when contacted was ‘Blogger’ and that immediately sparked a horror set of flashing visions of Cameron Slater slowly torturing their brand for months on end.

Bradbury tortures the left-wing brand all the time, but that’s beside the point here. He also massively dissed Tiso’s ‘unranked blog’ and implied it wasn’t read much.

Robyn Gallagher commented on this:

An unranked blog! This sounds so cool, like Giovanni is living outside the law. I knew that this blog ranking site existed, but I had no inkling that being a “ranked blog” was a thing.

I can’t work out what significance being a ranked blog has. Even my blog would, er, outrank about half the others on the list. All it would indicate is that I’ve put some naff visitor tracking code on my site.

Brown discussed the blog rankers.

In defence of Open Parachute’s blog table, it is what it is. Ken Perrott compiles two basic stats – number of visits and number of pages – from people who have their sitemeters set to public, and who have generally let him know they’re doing so.

I’d far rather have a simple, consistent measure than place my faith in something like the Tumeke blog rankings, which take a bunch of Alexa woo and combine it with some made-up criteria. 

There are other ways of measuring the way blogs engage and influence their readers, but I don’t think they invalidate the simple measures.

He concludes:

The thing is for me: why would I want to be in a league table that implied Whale and I had common cause or were doing the same thing? Our current traffic would put us in fourth place on page impressions, but I don’t want to be in a table with Whaleoil, Kiwiblog, The Standard and The Daily Blog.

Who would want to be listed alongside the riff raff blogs? Quite a lot of people, there’s hundreds who choose to be ranked.

But Russell seems to see himself as in a different league altogether. I wonder if there’s a table that ranks blog snobs?

Brown/male good, Chuang/female bad?

The Len Brown affair has highlighted political double standards, and it has also raised issues of sexuality double standards. Many have claimed that Brown’s sexual life has nothing to do with his political job as mayor – but some have pointed out that Bevan Chuang has become a political untouchable.

This has as much to do with the fact that Chuang revealed the affair in sordid detail, but it raises the point that rooting around by men is excused far more readily than the women who are involved.

Comments at Kiwiblog in Campbell v Brown (largely critical of Brown) have referred to two posts at Public Address (largely supportive of Brown) – Everybody’s Machiavelli by Russell Brown and The Missing Stair Part Two: The Creeper and the Excuser by Emma Hart.

‘unuha-closp':

If you want to witness a bit of irony, there is a delightfully descriptive post on Public Address written by Emma Hart called “The Creeper and The Excuser” – 2 September 2013 – get it quick before it is purged.

Emma Hart describes the Creeper as a man who uses Len Browns pick up moves. Emma Hart explains how society keeps this quiet and thus allows the Creeper to form unequitable relationships with his victims. Emma Hart advocates strongly that the behaviour of Creepers should be exposed at every opportunity.

But Emma Hart then goes on to describe the other villian of the piece – the Excuser. The Excuser slut shames the victim, makes light of the abuse of power society affords the Creeper.

Bevan Chuang has come out and made a public statement that she felt used by Mayor Len Brown, who induced a one sided relationship exploiting his position of power. Exactly what Emma Hart was advocating just a month ago.

Russell Brown has written a marvellous example of slut shaming portraying Bevan Chuang as weak willed, easily manipulated fool – in fact hardly worth listening to.

Len “The Creeper” Brown is being Excused in the most delightful way.

And Emma Hart – she is talking a good deal of STFU to anyone who disagrees with Russell Brown. Good team player that she is.

‘davidp':

I followed DPF’s link to Russell Brown’s Public Address post and came away feeling a bit dirty after reading the post and the comments. It was like I’d popped out of a time warp in the 1950s and all the people around me were members of the Misogyny Club.

Cheung may be naive and a bit eccentric. But Len Brown was the creepy old guy in a position of power who groomed and exploited her, initially using the pretext that he was interested in her work. He is entirely to blame for the situation, but the Public Address commenters think she is at fault, and she should feel shame for talking about what Brown has done rather than keeping his sleazy behaviour a secret.

Several commenters remarked that her political career is over. But not his!

He exploits a vulnerable council worker and has a few uncomfortable days and looks contrite for some weak questioning on Campbell Live. But she is the one who is apparently untouchable now, personally and professionally.

The Public Address crowd don’t have double standards… they have negative standards regarding women.

The other Brown (Russell) closes his post:

Slater has responded to the statements by declaring that Chuang must be having a breakdown. Classy.

Unfortunately for her, this scandal has also brought to light her criminal conviction for a gross breach of trust as an employee of Auckland Museum. I’ve actually been following Chuang on Twitter for a year or two, as an interesting oddball. The truth turns out to be odder than I could have imagined.

But really: these are pivotal times for the governance of Auckland. Big, important decisions about the city’s future are being made. Brown’s resignation – which, whatever good oil you heard from Duncan Garner, never seemed all that likely – would have thrown that process into disarray.

I don’t think it’s at all controversial to observe that Aucklanders deserve better than the kind of shit we’ve seen revealed in the past two days – or, indeed, the past 10 years.

Chuang was only a minor political player and Len Brown’s job as mayor is important for Auckland, no question about that, but there are hints here that male power and sexual prowess rule.

Brown/male good, Chuang/female bad?

John Tamihere versus journalists

An attack by John Tamihere on a Herald journalists is getting significant criticism from other journalists, for example Russel Brown @publicaddress::

 Despicable conduct by John Tamihere and his mates. Really, really creepy

@waateanews What the hell are you doing enabling the intimidation of a fellow journalist? #Tamihere

Toby Manhire just added “Thug”.

Of course journos will be a bit disturbed by an attack on a journo’s family. From NZ Herald:

Tamihere’s media challenge

Journalist and family became target in paparazzi-style photos.

roadcaster and Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere has not taken kindly to investigations made by a Fairfax journalist into his personal business dealings, and his retaliation this week has caught the ire of his MediaWorks bosses.

Tamihere was embroiled in legal action in the Auckland High Court last month involving dealings with property developer Brent Ivil and a $500,000 personal loan on his West Auckland home. Justice Pamela Andrews has reserved her decision on the case.

However, the Labour Party hopeful took to RadioLive’s airwaves and website this week to turn the tables on business journalist Matt Nippert.

In a personal statement issued on the MediaWorks website, Tamihere accused Nippert of “spin” and invited him to go head-to-head on his RadioLive show.

“I don’t have a problem being put under scrutiny, but I’d like to know whose agenda is being pushed. I’ve had photographers jump out of the bushes to get shots of me and my family,” Tamihere wrote.

However, any sympathy Tamihere may have courted was quashed when Nippert and his family became his target of attention in paparazzi-style photos.

Three pics were uploaded to the RadioLive website, alongside Tamihere’s statement. They included a secret snap of Nippert, the street he lives on and the house he shares with his wife and young baby.

Tamihere says Nippert has an “infatuation with Waipareira and its business”.

But what business is it of RadioLive, and parent company MediaWorks, to allow one of its radio jocks to use its website and airwaves as his own personal platform?

Nippert didn’t want to comment about Tamihere’s online statement, nor the paparazzi photos, but he told The Diary Tamihere had an opportunity to comment in “the two stories I wrote, but he refused to answer questions”.

Tamihere did not return calls, but a rep for MediaWorks told The Diary the offending material was removed immediately when RadioLive bosses became aware of it.

“The online statement and photos came down as soon as management became aware of them. We don’t condone our hosts settling disputes of a personal nature on air or on our website,” said Rachel Lorimer. New processes ensuring it does not happen again were being examined.

However, Tamihere’s statement and the paparazzi pics remain on the Waipareira Trust’s home page.

That report is by another journo (Rachel Glucina in The Diary) , but it doesn’t sound good from Tamihere. Personal attacks on Journalists and their families is bad enough, but it is also an intimidation on freedom of speech.

There are already suggestions this will quash (or should quash) any chance of Tamihere standing for Labour next election, including from Labour supporters:

Alex Coleman@ShakingStick
Some calls are tough to make, whether Labour should select Tamihere to stand for them again as a candidate is not one of those calls.

@ImperatorFish
On the bright side that should put an end to the John Tamihere Labour Party candidate selection bid.

Tamihere’s return as a Labour Party member was already highly controversial. This won’t help his chances of getting preferential ranking for the next election – or if he does get a good list ranking it will rankle in an already cranky party.

Cannabis deserves a decent debate

Don Brash has raised the decriminalisation of cannabis as an election issue, but it’s far more complex, and more important, than to rush policy in the heat of a campaign. Various issues around cannabis use – social, legal and medical – deserve decent public exposure and debate.

It would be a mistake to simply decriminalise cannabis and hope that the change will make things better. If the inevitable problems turn out to be greater than any benefits of giving people more free choice on use of drugs it would be difficult to undo.

The Act Party is deeply divided over Brash’s thoughts. The Green Party gives low-key support to relaxing drug laws. The rest of parliament does not support decriminalisation of cannabis and has no plans to change the status quo. The best way to test if this is the best stance or not is to examine it with informed debate.

There’s much more to the cannabis issue than giving a few recreational users the legal right to smoke as they please.

Kate K, who has just published a book called “Matters To A Head: Cannabis, mental illness & recovery” suggests on Dim-Post that “the decriminalisation argument is far less important to NZ than the real issue of providing and resourcing appropriate treatment and services to those who become unstuck by the drug.”

Russell Brown agrees and asks “this is actually the debate we should be having: how do we prevent early use of cannabis?”

Young people are much more susceptible to the adverse effects of drug use – it is unlikely there would be widespread support for unlimited use of cannabis for all ages. We need a process were we can debate and decide as a society what we want, and put that to the politicians.

I’m going to initiate more debate on cannabis. There are too many distractions for the rest of the year, so I propose planning this for next March, once the University year has restarted. In the meantime I will find what organisations and interest groups want to contribute information and want to participate in debate.

I will promote this debate on two levels, online and based publicly in Dunedin:

  • publish an initial discussion document
  • public meeting involving any interested legal, medical and social inputs, and local and national politicians
  • debate in local media
  • a possible organised public debate
  • utilise online media extensively for discussion and debate – this can extend nationally
  • close the debate period with a public meeting
  • poll or referendum on what the people of Dunedin prefer to be done, if anything

Other regions would be welcome to link in with this process.

Politicians will be involved as much as possible with the results. Ultinmately any action will be up to parliament, but this will provide a good indication of public preferences.

This will be a good test for establishing better ongoing community involvement in the social/political process.

Notes:

I am the UnitedFuture candidate for Dunedin North. These plans for cannabis debate will proceed regardless of the outcome in the electorate or via the list.

Current UnitedFuture policy includes “Oppose the decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational use.”

UnitedFuture party leader Peter Dunne has “no problem at all” with this debate proposal – the party encourages debate on issues as is open to alternate opinions.

My personal position is to support the status quo unless good evidence and informed public opinion supports change. I have never smoked cannabis, but I have inhaled party bong pong.

I don’t have a strong stance either way, I’m interested in helping determine what people want and supporting the popular view.

If anyone wants to join the planning of this debate please contact me at petedgeorge@gmail.com

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