Standard blog banning spree

The Standard (mainly lprent) weeded out quite a few voices leading up to and during the election campaign. Assumptions that the bans would subside after the election may prove to be false.

Since the election:

sockpuppet

[deleted]

[lprent: 2 week ban as a gentle warning. ]

Richard McGrath

Deserved carnage. Great to see the odious Harawira get his come-uppance after selling his soul to a [deleted].

[lprent: You made an assertion of a probable defamatory fact and certainly the statement as a whole is defamatory as it carries no public interest. It is not worth us trying to defend. Banned for 6 weeks. ]

Beasely petes

15% this site was saying.

[lprent: No it wasn't. Banned for 2 weeks for the stupidity of saying that a computer has an opinion. Read the policy. ]

Ants

To be fair, the Labour Party own this blog, given the $$$ they put into it. It is a mouthpiece.

LP is the administrator.

[lprent: To be fair you are a lazy pig-ignorant dickhead who hasn't read the about. (BTW: Has anyone else noticed that people who use that phrase "To be fair" are usually about to lie by omission and innuendo?)

The Labour party have never put a cent into this site in 7 years (not that I'd want them to do so). If you read the about you will find that I largely paid for it myself where required (with slowly increasing donations from readers and authors) until early 2010. The costs of growing traffic and server costs started to exceed my ability to easily keep paying for it while I was dealing with a leaky home. Since then the adverts have mostly paid for it as the costs kept rising.

Right now the site owes my bank account something like $800 (I haven't had time to calc for it fully in the last month). That is due to very late arriving advertising revenue and a couple of UFBs that I brought to maintain the power supply.

However I have also managed to drop its $600-$700 per month running cost to $330 last month. That was despite a a near doubling of traffic and was due to spending a sizeable chunk of my 6 weeks holiday paid time between jobs in dropping the data transfer from about 1TB/month to about 400GB/mo (despite rising traffic) by pruning everything that was increasing the transfer.

This month the traffic has jumped by 50%, but further site improvements mean that the cost for the month will drop to roughly $270. The downside is that that site's main server is now running on my personal home development box because that was what I had available (with 8 fast watercooled cores, 24GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD) when I finally got fibre into my home.

It is a hell of a lot of work, and something that no political party could really afford my time (or interest) to do.

Quite simply the Labour party wouldn't know what in the hell to do with something like this site. Their best attempt was Red Alert which was destroyed by newbies (MPs) not understanding the social trust relationship required for a blog site.

It'd also have cost them an order of magnitude more to run at a technical level than this does. The party is made up (by my standards) of technophobes. So they'd have had to have paid for the expertise. After all I don't charge for my very expensive time.

The reason I do it, and why most if not all of its authors do it, is because it is a tool that the left needs to have. It needs to be pretty independent of all of the political parties, unions, rather strange MPs, their supporters, and their media people. The bad habits of building silo complexes to protect themselves from each other and their mutual interdependencies requires it.

There needs to be an avenue for people of the overall labour and green movements to talk to each other that bypasses all of those in a reasonably non-real-life manner. The Standard trust and I provide that. Many in Labour, Greens, unions, and the media find it disconcerting because authors and commenters aren't exactly nice to anyone and it is a communications device that bypasses everyones control systems.

And you are banned permanently for being a pig-ignorant dickhead who doesn't read the about or policy on a site, and who instead lies about the operator of the site because you are too much of a lazy fuckwit to look it up. ]

Disturbed

AW I voted for Robert Muldoon when he was a true National politician but my standards are way beyond choosing this simple yes-man Currency trader.

Why has Key been at meetings with the controversial Bilderberg group black ops world one order agenda group?

[deleted]

[lprent: Banned for 4 weeks for using stupid conspiracy theories that appear to have no basis in fact in a post that has nothing to do with them. If you want to write comments here then please don't be a dumbarse fuckwit. It just displays that you can't argue or have problems moving the rust in your brain. I really don't like seeing the other commenters (and me) bored shitless for a nincompoop who can't leave nutty conspiracy theories in OpenMike. That is what it is there for. ]

Jimmie

Yeah ok so the evil Jew John Key is actually a neo nazi, one worlder secretly plotting to rule the whole world. (maybe from his secret bunker in Wellington?)

Plenty of tinfoil hat material in that statement – big picture though if leftie folk keep thinking that the evil John Key is the reason why they’ve been left in the dust then 2017 is gona go the same as last night.

[lprent: Banned for 4 weeks for using stupid goodwin and wingnut stereotypes. If you want to write comments here then please don't be a dumbarse fuckwit. It just display that you can't argue or have problems moving the rust in your brain. I really don't like seeing the other commenters (and me) bored shitless for a nincompoop who has to resort to a godwin. ]

Doug Stuart

[deleted]

[lprent: You appear to be astroturfing, and I have already warned you. 4 week ban for being a astroturfing dumbarse. Indeed. Watch this space because you can't write here. ]

chris73

National on track for four terms
And the Labour caucus has more important things to discuss…..

[lprent: and you are astroturfing. I'm tired of it. 4 weeks ban. ]

Ron 9.1.1

Its a bit immaterial now since DC is contesting but you did not answer my question which was wondering If DC was not standing in New Lyn what sort of support would another Labour MP get. Looking at the Party vote for that electorate which from memory had National in lead

[lprent: Ok I am detecting a troll meme here. There were exactly 5 electorates that had Labour party majorities. They were Dunedin North with 24 ahead before the specials and 4 south Auckland electorates. No electorate candidate standing for this leadership did well in the party vote.

What relevance it has this this discussion is miniscule. So you don't get to participate any further in this debate here. 16 weeks should achieve that. And a mandatory 16 week ban for every fool who I find raising this astroturf in this and subsequent moderation sweeps.

Astroturfing is something that I really dislike and a primary tool to use to mark trolls. I suggest that you learn to use your brains and give your own thoughts rather than some lines someone has given you.

Banned 16 weeks. Adjusted to 1 week after an explanation.. ]

left for dead

nothing good about losing the party vote yet again,in Dunedin South.Have another look at those stat’s.By the way MickeySavage,will you not release that list you are compiling on the Labour caucus misfits/cretins.If we have to spill blood,lets have all the facts,for a cleaner fight.

[lprent: So get off your lazy arse and do it yourself. From memory, the specials still have to be counted and should be through at the end of the week. We're all short of time to do anything.

Demanding things of authors is bloody stupid. Read the policy.

Banned 1 week. That should give you time to do your own analysis. ]

JeffRo

Even gives an opinion and you go straight to attacking him personally.

Maybe get a job, it will enhance you with perspective.

[lprent: Her comment was valid, sarcastic, picked a profession where the practice does happen, and well within the robust rule.

Your comment was not. It was a classic troll comment. Play the victim and then abuse the person you are replying to. With overtones about how others should act (which is our purview).

Banned 2 weeks as a warning not to try troll tactics here ]

Ronnie Chow

The Labour party is no longer a party of the working man, but one for beneficiaries and social engineers. The battle for a 40 hour week has been won, and lost again by choice as people chase the consumer society dream. Weekend trading means more hours of work available to more people and from the looks of the crowds at Mitre 10, Pak n Save and the Warehouse on the weekend, the consumers are enthusiastically looking to consume.

[lprent: Off topic and not for the first time now I look at it. Banned 16 weeks because you look like a stupid troll and I find you need a robust warning. Moved to OpenMike. I suggest you read the policy if you want to avoid my personal attention. ]

Fats 30

Picking holes in National’s selections should be the least of your priorities.

How about choosing a leader who actually represents NZ workers? Labour hasn’t had a leader like that in decades (although Helen Clark made a good job of faking it).

How about policies that put ordinary NZers first instead of your union paymasters?

For example, why can’t we experiment more in education? Oh, that’s right – it might upset two of our biggest unions.

Why can’t you have a united caucus?

Why is the Labour party so desperately and tragically out of touch.

I remember when everyone knew our local Labour MP by name. He was part of the community, but too many Labour MPs (thankfully, not all) parachute in for surgery and to drum up votes during elections.

Get your house in order and I might even think about supporting you and even making a donation – but pull your head out of the sand, use this election defeat as an opportunity to make serious reforms.

[lprent: 16 week ban for deliberately going off topic. ]

steve

good lord, you guys are living on another planet, newsflash! Charter schools have worked just fine in USA,Sweden,and other countries.
translation! we dont want to even look at the possibility charter schools might work because that threatens our union, forget the kids its all about our control right??
Why can’t we defend children against people who experiment on them? what a tosser.

[lprent: Talking about tossers. Where are your links to back your assertions? One week ban for being a lying pillock. If you don't provide backing link(s) to asserted facts then you are by definition lying. ]

Gosman

I’m just telling you what’s happening in the right wing circles I participate in. We would all love if Cunliffe got re-elected. It would provide acres of fun for us.

[lprent: You are starting to read like a troll with a nah-nah fetish left over from when you were a child. You aren't adding anything to the debate apart from demonstrating one of your bouts of being a dickhead. Goodbye for 2 weeks. ]

That’s fifteen bans in ten days. It’s possible it is more banning than usual due to people coming off bans after the election but it’s a higher than normal ban rate.

Blogs ban however they like. The Standard is unusual in that they are very open about their bans with accompanying lectures so it simply may be more obvious.

Of the other major blogs:

  • Whale Oil and The Daily Standard seem to ban frequently but far less obviously.
  • Kiwiblog is open but bans rarely (but is currently reviewing moderation policies).
  • Dim-Post bans secretly so it’s not possible to know how much.
  • Public Address and Pundit seem to ban infrequently but don’t seem to have open moderation policies.

Casual blog readers can never be sure how open or controlled the discussion is on any blog. Message control and manipulation is more complex than banning certain political leanings or opinions.

For example Kiwiblog has very light moderation so discussions aren’t controlled by David Farrar but as harassment, bullying, personal attacks and lying have been uncontrolled participating individuals or groups can at least attempt to drive away opinions they don’t want or agree with. However Kiwiblog is more likely to be dominated by the most determined or persistent rather than any particular political agenda.

With the other major blogs it’s difficult to know how much of the discussion is manipulated by moderation and how much is people with similar leanings congregation.

It’s safe to assume that no blog is representative of any particular public opinion as there are many potential limiting factors.

Blog rules on election day

The Electoral Commission has a blanket ban on influencing voters on election day:

On election day (from midnight on 19 September until 7pm on 20 September) there is a general prohibition of the publication of any statement that is likely to influence which candidate or party a person should, or should not, vote for. 

See Gagging social media on election day

The major political blogs are taking this seriously.

Kiwiblog:

It’s election day

September 20th, 2014 at 12:01 am by David Farrar

It’s now election day so no discussion of NZ politics until 7 pm please. This especially includes preferred outcomes, how people should vote or how you voted.

And if you haven’t already voted, make sure you get out there and vote.

The Standard:

Have a happy and legal election day

Written By: Date published: 8:05 pm, September 19th, 2014

At 12pm tonight, the comments section on this site will (largely) stop accepting comments. The reason for this is that the electoral law and the electoral commission are quite clear. On  election day you may not urge others to vote or not vote a particular way.

This means that we won’t accept comments on this site as a simple way to ensure that no-one may use this site to violate the law or to get this site into trouble. Besides you all should be out working for parties to turn the vote out.

The Daily Blog:

The Daily Blog will be closed for Election day as this should be a day of celebration, not ongoing debate. Harsh words and anger have separated and divided us as a country for the last month of campaigning, let us put aside our bitter arguments and rejoice that we are blessed to live in a country where the transfer of power can occur without violence, without intimidation, without the gun. Few places on earth are so lucky.

Whoever has the privilege of leading our country  has a great responsibility to seriously tackle the many complex issues we face, not as individuals, but as a whanau.

Kia kaha Aoteara. Vote now.

Whale Oil:

Participating (commenting) on Whaleoil today – EXTRA RULES
by Pete on September 20, 2014 at 5:00am

Even though any breach of the Electoral Act on Whaleoil today will probably be met with a caution at worst, we would like to run a decent show.  None of our articles will breach the rules.  But people that comment are also required to change what they would normally do to fall within the requirements of the Act.

Failure to adhere to the rules set out here today (until the polls close at 7 pm) will result in having your commenting access permanently withdrawn.  Even if you did it out of ignorance.

Summary

Whaleoil is under constant scrutiny by those that want to trip us up or want to cause financial, legal or reputational harm.  Anyone who places Whaleoil in a position to be complained about will lose their access.  In simple terms, avoid talking about politics!   Whaleoil will be quite different on election day as we will also need to run articles that fall within the guidelines.

It will be extremely difficult not to trip up if you want to talk about New Zealand politics.  Simply do not comment on any political issue directly or obliquely, until 7 pm.   If you can’t restrain yourself, you’re in a lottery where you may ‘win’ a permanent ban.

Whaleoil will help you by posting articles that have nothing to do with New Zealand politics.

 

Final note:  I fully expect the usual trolls to sign up and leave offending comments in an attempt to get Whaleoil in trouble.  If you see such comments, simply flag them.  Do nothing else.  Do NOT respond.  (Do not feed the trolls).

 

Thanks.

Public Address is by far the least active on this, with a minor paragraph at the end of a post Time to Vote.

I’d appreciate if the discussion for this post was not rancorous – and, of course, please don’t upset the Electoral Commission tomorrow by appearing to persuade any other reader to vote in a particular way. But apart from that, rock on everyone. See you at the polls.

“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?

I’ve also been hacked

A major part of the Nicky Hager ‘Dirty Politics’ book revelations is who hacked Cameron Slater and apparently illegally obtained emails and Facebook conversation data.

It would be an even bigger issue if the hacking was more widespread.

  • my Xtra email was hacked last year (Xtra were having major problems with email security)
  • at the end of last year one of my gmail accounts was hacked (the account I use for political correspondence only)
  • early this year my Facebook was at least flagged as under attack

I have no idea if this is related or not but one does wonder.

I have a fairly minor voice in the blogosphere and in especially politics in New Zealand, but I have been labeled by some as right wing alongside Cameron Slater and David Farrar, by people like Lynn Prentice at The Standard and Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog (in fact Prentice’s debut post at The Daily Blog did just that – Pete George – an example of right wing blogging falsehoods)

I’ve exchange a small number of emails with Cameron Slater of the years – and also with David Farrar of Kiwiblog, Prentice and other authors at The Standard, Bradbury and other authors at The Daily Blog, and other bloggers across the spectrum.

I’m not exactly on good terms with Slater (and never have been):

  • I’ve had a number of confrontations and debates with Slater on Whale Oil and in Twitter
  • I was banned from Whale Oil about a month ago with a trumped up excuse (I was arguing contrary to Slater’s views on issues around rape and cultures).
  • A few weeks ago Slater posted ‘Breaking News’ that tried to dump me in legal trouble over breaking name suppression.

While Slater has been ground breaking with his blogging/on line media and has had unprecedented levels of success – and I applaud him for that, to an extent – I have always been opposed to his dirty approach to doing politics and have argued against him on that.

But as stated some saw me as linked to the right wing conspiracy.

I would be flattered if I was the target of political hacking – but would also view it with extreme concern.

Data being stolen from Slater is a serious issue. If political hacking has been more widespread then it would be even more serious.

The hacking aspect of Hager’s revelations should get as much scrutiny as the dirty politics Hager claims to have revealed.

 

Contrasting reactions to Campbell Live on GCSB

Last night Campbell Live re-ran an examination of John Key, the GCSB, US intelligence, Ian Fletcher. More revelations were claimed.

Key’s meeting with GCSB boss revealed

On December 16, 2011, the GCSB began its illegal surveillance of Kim Dotcom.

Neither the Prime Minister, nor the incoming GCSB head Ian Fletcher, were told about it.

But tonight Campbell Live can reveal that Mr Fletcher had taken leave from his job in Queensland, Australia, to be in Wellington that week, and that he and the Prime Minister met the GCSB that same week.

Mr Key and Mr Fletcher had a secret meeting that has never previously been revealed, despite all the requests for details of when the pair had met during the year of Mr Fletcher’s somewhat controversial appointment to the job.

Reaction on Twitter was very mixed (mostly along partisan lines) but the impression I got is that much of what was shown was a repeat of what had already been aired, with the addition of a little more information. Not a smoking gun, and a lot of coincidental meetings and events rather than solid evidence.

Blog reaction was also very mixed, also along partisan lines in both posts and comments.

Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog: Campbell Live Review: Extraordinary new GCSB revelations

What’s the difference between John Key and a Predator Drone? Trick question, there is no difference, both are controlled by Washington. Last nights astonishing revelations on Campbell Live prove how true that joke really is.

This country owe John Campbell and the Campbell Live team a standing ovation for the courage they have shown in pursuing this story. This is true journalism at its finest, not the National Party broadcast that is Seven Sharp. John and Campbell Live are revealing the true story of Power that John Key is desperate to hide.

There was once a time NZ would stand as one in disgust at this spineless subservience to America, we need to remind ourselves that we are not Obama’s South Pacific golf caddy and need that reminder this election.

Karol at The Standard: Campbell Live: Fletcher, Key, Clapper et al

Campbell Live is in the middle of showing a special on the GCSB. It is presenting information never before made public. It includes the US head of intelligence coming to NZ just before Key set up Ian Fletcher for the head of GCSB job.

Campbell is showing has shown how there was a major shift going on in NZ and 5 Eyes’ approach to intelligence.

3 News obviously think it’s pretty important.

Commenters thought it was pretty important too.

In contrast David Farrar at Kiwiblog: The Campbell Live Dotcom conspiracy episode

You have to all go and watch Campbell Live tonight and try and stop laughing.

It’s classic conspiracy theory stuff. You especially have to like the spooky sinister music they played. They say they’ve been working on the story for three years. Seriously? They even make it sounds sinister that a civilian instead of military was made GCSB Head and an outsider was made MFAT Head. Yes Allan and Fletcher were both plants by John Key, so that they could all conspire with the US to spy on Kim Dotcom!!

Also part of the conspiracy is that Fletcher had worked for the UK Government (also in Five Eyes) in the Intellectual Property Office (which ties in to Dotcom!).

This is the funniest episode ever. Please please watch it, so you can laugh.

Comments are more open and varied than the Daily Blog and Standard which have more restrictive moderation.

Campbell Live’s timeline:

March 8th 2011 – Jerry Mateparae is stepped down as head of the GCSB.

March 15th 2011 – Top NSA spook, James Clapper, flies to NZ to meet with Key to discuss ‘synchronicity’ between the NSA and GCSB.

June 17th 2011 – Key meets with Ian Fletcher for breakfast at Stamford Plaza.

July 22nd 2011 – Key is invited to Washington as pay back for this new ‘synchronicity’.

July 26th 2011 – Key side steps normal protocols and appoints his old school friend Ian Fletcher to take over at the GCSB.

December 8th 2011 – A letter states that Key is going to meet Ian Fletcher on 12th December

December 12th 2011 – Key meets with Ian Fletcher.

December 14th 2011 – The Police boss responsible for spying on Dotcom meets John Key with other intelligence agencies present.

December 16th 2011 – Kim Dotcom starts to be illegally spied upon.

January 2012 – Raid on Kim Dotcom.

UPDATE: A more measured post from Russell Brown at Public Address: Circumstance and coincidence

…certainly, the report was principally a re-stating of previously-aired facts. But its new claims were not immaterial.

It also seems unusual that the Prime Minister, the minister responsible for the GCSB, would not even have known who Dotcom was until January 19, the day before the raid on the Dotcom mansion. But no one can prove otherwise. There is only circumstance and coincidence.

There are misleading statements, unfortunate failures of memory, and the fact that almost everything we know about the whole mess has had to be dug out by journalists. Campbell Live may turn out to have grossly over-reached, as its critics insist. But there seems every reason to keep digging.

Congratulations to The Daily Blog

The Daily Blog congratulate themselves – Happy 1st Birthday The Daily Blog - and congratulations from me too for a successful launch into the political blogosphere.

With a long line-up of left leaning authors The Daily Blog can be a useful source of views, and found (or made) a sizeable gap in the New Zealand political discourse.

TDB has chosen to promote as many controlled messages as possible and open debate is limited due to their heave moderation (selection of what comments are published). That’s not how I like to see things done but it’s their blog, their choice.

And their approach to politics is quite different too. The close their celebratory post with:

Our goal here is to change the Government and have the issues of social and economic justice addressed. We look forward to the election and the debate.

So TDB is openly a very left leaning activist site on a mission to change the government.

In contrast my main mission is quite different, to promote more honesty, transparency and better behaviour in politics right across the spectrum.

Each to their own. But congratulations again to The Daily Blog for achieving one of their goals, to become established as a significant voice of the political left.

UPDATE: I submitted a short comment congratulating TDB on their birthday post:

Congratulations on a successful first year. TDB is a useful insight into many opinions on the political left.

After about an hour in moderation (an impediment to thread discussions) my comment disappeared into the TDB trash.

UPDATE: Oddly it has now appeared.

Some on the left have their eyes open

Some prominent players on the left have rushed into supporting and promoting Kim Dotcom’s political toying.

Others have their eyes open. A commenter (a different Peter) on Christ Trotter’s very enthusiastic  Showtime! Thinking About Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party  makes a point about some of the realities.

Why would any intelligent and self-respecting left wing activist join a political venture with this obese poser, with his net worth of $200million gained from dubious sources, his outrageously ostentatious lifestyle including palatial property complete with pet giraffes, the pink Cadillacs, Lamborghinis etc and for when he’s really in a hurry the helicopter (which is also handy when he blows half a million on a fireworks display), and his convictions back home for 11 counts of computer fraud, 10 counts of data espionage, insider trading and embezzlement among other offences, and whose first political action in this country was to donate $50,000 to John Banks???

(I don’t lay any claim to the accuracy of those allegations).

A number on the left are looking aghast at the rush to sell political souls to the Dotcom devil.

Pagani on abuse on the left

Josie Pagani has posted on an elephant in the leftie room -

It’s time for the tolerant, open and compassionate left to stand up to vilification and abuse when it is practised by sections of the left.

The left should not be defined by political aggression, intolerance and bullying; it should be defined by decency, inclusion, ideas and respect for people.

Unless abuse is confronted it begins to define others on the left.

Political aggression, intolerance and bullying are certainly defining factors in New Zealand’s prominent leftie blogosphere.

I agree that “the left” should stand up to abuse. It’s sad (and counter-productive to their causses) that the two major leftish blogs actively support cultures of abuse – with Martin Bradbury and Lynn Prentice leading it by example.

Both have been even more abusive than usual over the past week. See:

Bradbury:

Prentice:

Fortunately they don’t represent the whole of the left. By design, by abuse, by censorship and by banning (commonly practised by both The Daily Blog and The Standard) they narrow their demographic mostly to the bitter and nasty activist left of the left.

Unfortunately they are more widely seen as representing ‘the left’ (in a negative way) so they are shitting in their own nest. And it’s unlikely to change – if you try suggesting that The Standard would far better serve the left by improving behaviour lprent’s likely to ban you for trying to tell him how to run his blog. As as happened to me. And Bradbury bans and censors anyone deemed to be from the right, and anyone deemed to be a traitor of his left. That is, anyobe who disagrees with him on anything.

Josie will just get more abuse from the left for her post. As Bradbury strongly implied yesterday she’s not seen as a proper leftie by those who think that political aggression, intolerance and bullying will win the left power.

It’s not confined to the left, the same “political aggression, intolerance and bullying” are practiced often at Kiwiblog and yes, it’s mainly a male thing, one frustrated muppet has labeled me a feminist and a man-hater (again yesterday) for standing up to it.

The same aggresive abusive bullying behaviours are also often highlighted in Parliament.The quest for power seems to often bring the nasty side of people out. People who can’t win their debates any other way usually.

It’s no wonder it’s difficult to attract more talented people to stand for Parliament. And it’s no wonder most of the voting public are disillusioned and angry with politics and politicians.

If David Cunliffe is serious about picking up the votes of the 800,000 non-voters a lot of attitude and behaviour will have to demonstrably change. Starting from the top.

Bombing climate change debate

There has been a threat of more censorship at The Daily Blog. This time it may be anyone questioning a simplistic global warming mantra who is banned. It may already be happening, it’s impossible to know how much comment manipulation is going on there as it is done in secret.

This came up after Martyn Bradbury made some predictions for 2014 at The Daily Blog. One vague prediction is on climate change.

Global warming:
Despite the howling of deniers, the planet continues to warm due to human made pollution and that continues to impact on the climate. We can expect more weather extremes and more denial of the science in 2014.

He can’t be wrong about expecting more weather extremes and denials “of the science”, but there is a lot more doubt about continued warming, as pointed out by ‘Simon':

…how you can say “the planet continues to warm” when the global temperature datasets (accepted by people on all sides of the issue) show there has been no global warming for almost the last twenty years?

Do the HadCrut4, NasaGiss and NOAA surface temperature datasets and the UAH and RSS satellite lower atmosphere observations all show global warming continuing over the last 18 years? Or do they show no global warming at all?

I think you will find that they all show no warming…

…the poles aren’t melting. The Arctic is below average, the Antarctic is well above average. There’s a ship stuck in the middle of all that extra ice now. So, when you look at total sea ice extent, not just one of them, you don’t see anything out of the ordinary.

We’ve been told for years that settled science shows that co2 is a primary climate driver, an increase of which will result in increased global temperatures (to the degree that we should be extremely concerned). Co2 has increased. Temperatures have not. It’s reasonable to ask why this is.

Bradbury responds:

What seems more farcical to me is that people expect to pump massive amounts of pollution into the atmosphere since the Industrial revolution and expect that to have no impact whatsoever on the environment. The oceans have been sucking up the heat transfer, the misinformation campaign to discredit global warming by pointing to more cold weather seems either ignorant or churlish.

Global warming will increase extreme weather events like more intense blizzards and more intense cold while also creating more intense droughts and rain, and heat etc etc.

Where we are now in terms of debate is the same place smoking and cancer was in the 1970s with the tobacco companies telling everyone ‘the science isn’t conclusive that there is a link’.

Man made pollution is causing global warming, the longer we allow deniers to muddy the science, the longer it will be before we do something about it.

There’s a big difference between misinformation – and there’s a fair bit of that – and questioning the science and questioning any claims on all sides of the arguments.

Science must be subject to continual scrutiny, especially on something as complex as climate plus all the factors associated with temperatures on Earth, the Sun being an obvious major factor.

Simon goes on:

Martyn, surely you are not suggesting that curiosity about the discrepancy between global temperatures as anticipated by the climate models, and temperatures as measured and recorded in the global temperature datasets is on the same level as some loon who claims that one localised instance of weather says anything significant about global climate? One is farcical, the other is not.

We have been told for years that if atmospheric co2 levels continue to increase, global temperatures will increase. The science on that has been “settled” for decades. And that warming was fully expected to show up in these global temperature datasets. Only, it didn’t. Suddenly there was a “pause” to explain. That’s the very reason the hypothesis you mentioned was even generated.

No matter what we eventually discover, we can say one thing. The science, up to this point, was not settled.

The science relating to our climate will never be settled.

The real world did not behave as the settled science expected.

The scepticism of people who were not convinced the real world would behave as portrayed by ‘settled science” has been entirely justified. Apparently the real world is more complex than was thought. Those who insisted the science was settled, we now know, were overly confident. I wonder if any of those who hurled insults at people, or created hate ads, have ever apologised, now that we know the scepticism was justified? Somehow I doubt it.

We may eventually find evidence that gives us confidence one of those explanatory hypotheses is correct. Or we may discover that human emissions of co2 are dwarfed by more powerful natural processes that have been warming and cooling the planet for a long time before we came on the scene. I’m not convinced that anyone has found such evidence yet.

The warming trend that has stalled for the last couple of decades might start up again, might continue to plateau, might turn into a cooling trend. No one knows with any certainty, do they? And even if it does start warming again, that in itself does not establish that our co2 emissions are such a major driver that we could arrest that warming trend by reducing them.

After all, the natural forces that produced that warming trend, well before human emissions could have any global impact, haven’t all disappeared just because we’ve turned up on the scene.

No, other natural forces remain an influence. But Bradbury maintains a simplistic view:

I disagree with most of what you have written here. We are well aware of the dynamics that heat and cool the planet, man made pollution is currently generating the present heating. Your words read like the tobacco industry double talk trying to convince us that smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

It’s nonsensical likening climate science to smoking. Climate and everything that’s associated with it is vastly more complex.

Simon politely queries this.

I would be fascinated to know which bits you disagree with, as most of the things I’ve stated are, to my mind, indisputable.

But I also want to stay on friendly, or at least polite, terms with you, since I respect your political/human rights perspectives so much. And it doesn’t look like that’s got much of a chance if we continue this discussion. So it’s probably best we agree to disagree.

There is no argument from Bradbury, just a threat.

Reddit banned climate deniers on their site. If the uber geek geniuses of Reddit can make a call like that, I’m more than comfortable doing it here.

Bradbury doesn’t need an excuse to ban opinions or questions he doesn’t like, there have been many claims of him blocking comments he doesn’t want aired on The Daily Blog (and he’s blocked comments of mine).

If you don’t accept Bradbury’s simplistic bombast you are branded a “denier”.

Simon made some reasonable points and asked questions that should be able to be examined. But being reasonable (and right) doesn’t avoid Bradbury’s censorship.

There’s still much doubt about the degree of human caused climate change, whether greater natural forces make or influence insignificant, and whether we can do anything about it.

Climate science will be ongoing and always questionable.

But don’t expect questions to be allowed at The Daily Blog. For all we know they are already being censored out of the discussion.

Len Brown from the left

Predictably Len brown is being strongly criticised on the right of the blogosphere:

In contrast on the left The Standard has been very quiet on it with no posts yet and some muted comment from here.

Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog plays it down with Why I don’t care about Len Brown’s audit.

Yawn, listen to the right wing squeal about Len Brown needing to resign.

Here are my thoughts.

Auckland’s issues: underfunded public transport, urban poverty, affordable housing

Shit that doesn’t matter: Texts & phone calls to girlfriends.

Len shared his perks with his mistress, that’s barely graft, that’s barely corruption, that’s barely news.

That’s barely surprising from a very partisan commentator. Bradbury would treat someone like John Key or John Banks quite differently with a bt of perk using, graft and corruption.

But interestingly in the comments it’s a more mixed response.

MARKE says:

Hi in my opinion Mr Brown has fallen well below the ethical standards that a Mayor must maintain at all times in a Mayors professional or private life.

He has failed in this ethical responsibilities in many ways. [1] He has effectively lied about his private live to the public, and this is the most serious issue. [2] He has used his Council resources for his private interests, in a way that would not be acceptable to any other staff member of Auckland City Council; [3] He has not satisfactorily disclosed gifts of a significant nature to the Council probity register; and finally [4] he has lost the respect of his staff and the rate payers of Auckland.

FRANK MACSKASY says:

If the new “gold standard” for resignation is that politicians lie to the media – perhaps Farrar should look a bit closer to home. John Key’s countless acts of mendacity spring to mind.

And having affairs isn’t a hanging offence either (well, maybe in Iran – but only for women). If it were, Muldoon and Brash should’ve been dumped by their own Party, early on in their careers.

I don’t particularly care who politicians are rooting. Not my business.

What I do care about is this country’s chronic economic problems, high unemployment, growing social inequality, etc. Those are the things that really affect us all.

Not surprising to see Frank diverting and making excuses. He’s another who would see a left leftish transgressor in a very different light.

COUNTRYBOY says:

@ Bomber , I understand your position on the slavering , sniveling , self righteous hypocrisy of the Neoliberal Darksiders ( I don’t believe NZ politics has Wings anymore . )

However , what len did was seedy . When one lies about where one pokes around with ones penis , that’s seedy . When a partner cheats and lies about what/who they did ? That’s seedy . When a mayor lies and spends public money/ time and pokes about with his little woody , that’s seedy .

Does Auckland need a seedy mayor ? I don’t think it does . The reason for that may be that , len in this case , might have become compromised . For all we know , he might well be compromised as I write . If these ghastly revelations had not come out but had instead went on to become a means of manipulating the horny little rooter for say a favourable nod to Sky City Casino and a ‘ Yes Please ‘ to a stupid ‘ convention center ‘ AND that had come out until later , after the money was spent and during at risk people spending their mortgage money on the pokies , what would we have said then about len ?

len should have followed the good and strident advice of others and stuck to fucking himself , then none of this would have happened .
Now that len’s been outed , shamed and in dire need of a holiday , he should resign . The fact that he hasn’t is telling in my view and reminds me of Rob Ford . Mayor of Toronto . Len and Rob dragged public respect and trust to a cliff and pushed it over . Len has to go . While it is true to say that it’s no ones business who he shags , he still has to go . That’s the price you pay for being in Public Office .

Speaking of compromise …
Perhaps that’s why the Darksiders want him gone . With everybody watching Lens every move now , he’s redundant . Sprung . Of no further use . That is after all the nature of politics .

Brown’s mayoralty is certainly severely compromised. So is the Auckland not-so-super city.

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