On Slater and dirty politics and “Dirty Politics”

Since taking an interest in politics a few years ago I’ve spoken against dirty politics and abuse in social media. This has meant I’ve clashed a number of times with Cameron Slater, on Whale Oil and Twitter. I disagree with his approach to politics where he promotes and brags about it being nasty. I think political debate and campaigning should be robust but civil so we have totally different approaches.

On the other hand some of what Slater has done in social media has been ground breaking, innovative and successful. Whale Oil is now probably the most read blog in New Zealand and has grown markedly over the last couple of years. That takes a lot of effort so good on him for that.

I’ve had occasional direct contact with Slater on issues of common interest via email, that always seemed amicable.  But presumably due to me confronting him a number of times on approaches and things we disagree Slater has turned on me, and he has tried to do the dirty on me at least twice. When he decides to be vindictive and nasty he just is, that’s how he operates and he brags about it.

But while I don’t like his trademark style and I don’t always agree with what he promotes I agree with him on some things. Unlike what is common amongst political activists I don’t see people as enemies if they’re not friends.

I’ve disagreed strongly with his dirty approach to politics and having seen how he operates and behaves so when Nicky Hager’s book “Dirty Politics” was launched most of the content didn’t really surprise me. While there was some new specifics in general it was illustrating what I already knew about Slater.

There were a few things in the book that deserved greater scrutiny. I think the inquiry into things Judith Collins may or may not have done is justified. I await the outcome with interest having not taken either side. Unlike Slater I think John Key was justified taking action and removing Collins from her portfolios pending the outcome, as much due to an accumulation of issues involving Collins.

I should point out here that I’ve had contact with Collins several times via email and unlike most MPs she has taken the time to respond to queries and has willingly provided with information I have asked for.

Having said I disagree with Slater on dirty politics I want to differentiate between that and “Dirty Politics”. There are aspects of the book and associated issues that I find potentially disturbing and in this I agree with Slater. “Dirty Politics” would appear to involve some dirty politics.

To me Nicky Hager seems to have started with a premise that John Key and the National Government have had an abnormal approach to black ops and playing dirty, and he used a raft of emails to build a case for this. However I don’t think he has proven much apart from the already known facts that Slater and associates can be nasty and play dirty and that they have had some contact with Key and people who have worked in Keys office.

Confronting a claim on Public Address that Hager had never been proven wrong in any of his books – and proving him wrong or refuted on a number of things in “Dirty Politics” – led to a familiar style of campaigning against me that resulted in me being banned from there. Left wing blogs don’t like alternate views and especially don’t like being proven wrong, and a common reaction is to shut out voices they don’t like.

I share particular concerns with Slater on what has happened with the illegal hacking of his private information and how this has been used to not only attack Slater – he was always a big target for counter black ops – but was used by Hager to try and bring down the Key government, as it turned out unsuccessfully.

Hager’s credentials as a journalist are lauded by some by I question his methods with “Dirty Politics”. As has been claimed by others he has provided little hard evidence and instead has joined conversational dots to try and claim things I think are far from proven.

That the only specific outcomes so far are for the Key Government to be strongly supported to return for a third term and for an investigation to be instigated to determine if claims and insinuations can be backed by actual facts is indicative of the nature of “Dirty Politics” – in fact a common form of dirty politics is to smear opponents with vague or largely unsubstantiated assertions.

What is particularly concerning for me is what is really behind “Dirty Politics”. It is mostly based on private information being illegally hacked.

Was it a reactive attack on Slater by one individual that happened to uncover information that happened to make it’s way into Hager’s possession that was a useful coincidence as it supported an ongoing issue of interest to Hager?

Or was it a black ops campaign by political operators to discredit Slater and bring down the Key Government?

This is 1 of a series of 3 posts on this issue.

A Whale of a mess compared

This was how Whale Oil looked after the first post this morning.

Whale of a mess

Amongst that the Daily Proverb says “If you fail under pressure your strength is too small.”

It reminds me of a Superstar quote:

“My temple should be a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves. Get out! Get Out”

That’s what appears to be six advertisements plus a “donate” promotion. There is more advertising further down the page.

Cameron Slater may claim to have the most popular blog in New Zealand – he certainly built it to an impressive level – but as the advertising and banning increases the popularity seems to be waning, going by the number of comments and the tone of comments both on and off the blog.

Kiwiblog is a contrast:

Kiwiblog home page

I’ve always liked Kiwiblog’s clean simple layout and it’s functionality. It’s one of the easiest blogs to keep up with comments on.

The Standard is clean and informative, allowing you to quickly assess blog content.:

Standard home page

They have some advertising further down the page and sometimes have an advertising banner but this is much cleaner and more informative.

The Daily Blog is more like Whale Oil with a lot of advertising and clutter.

DailyBlog front page

I’ve never much liked the Daily Blog look nor it’s functionality. Like Whale Oil it seems to be designed more to harvest clicks and advertising revenue. Both seem to be trying to emulate (and compete with) the old media model online.

Public Address has some relatively discrete advertising but is overall a much cleaner and informative look.

PublicAddress front pageThe “new kid on the block is On The Left:

OnTheLeft front page

That’s more magazine style with a lot of graphics but no advertising clutter and flash so is easier on the eye.

Back to Whale Oil – it’s not always that messy but the example at the top is common. Here is a screen shot of the Daily Roundup from yesterday.

Whale Daily RoundupThat’s another massive mess making it very hard to know what the post or the blog are about.

To be fair when a post at Whale Oil has more text content it doesn’t look as cluttered. For example:

Whale Oil home page

Like The Daily Blog revenue and click harvesting (which can be used to sell advertising) seem more of a priority at Whale Oil, while Kiwiblog, The Standard, Public Address and On The Left are designed more as functional blogs designed Oto invite readership and participation.

More digging in a dirty hole

Cameron Slater has often boasted about playing dirty, and he continues to live down to his standards making insulting and nasty comments about Jacinda Ardern.

On Whale Oil yesterday:

Yeah, here’s the gay man going: “look!  this barren woman cares about kids, even though neither of us are in a family situation that anyone would recognise as mainstream New Zealand”.

And on Newstalk ZB’s The Huddle yesterday afternoon:

Susan Wood: Let’s talk about this Labour Party leadership and Jock, Gracinda is what I see the social media is calling Grant and Jacinda, the only I guess leader who has declared who would be his preferred running mate. Do you think they’ve got what it takes?

Jock Anderson: Well they obviously do, um bearing in mind that some of the constituents they are clearly hoping to attract, um when i say some of the photographs I just wondered if they’ve sort of entered into some kind of a civil union or something…

Cameron Slater: It was like New Idea type stuff wasn’t it John…

Anderson:Yes, and…

Slater: The wedding of the year…

Anderson: Maybe it is…

Slater: …the gay man and the barren women…

Slater remains barren of decency, further isolating himself from anyone in politics wanting to avoid association with someone who has dug a dirty hole and keeps on digging.

It’s not a good look for Newstalk ZB to be still giving airtime to this sort of nastiness.

Backlash against Whale Oil continues

Two things significantly affected Whale Oil over the last couple of months.

One is obviously Nicky Hager’s “Dirty Politics – for all it’s flaws the book seems to have initiated major reassessments on the risks of being associated with Cameron Slater, especially by media and journalists, and also apparently by the National Party.

Another is the prolific banning of commenters at Whale Oil, often for seemingly very trivial reasons.

Slater keeps repeating that “Dirty Politics” was just a plot to silence him. He tweeted about it yesterday:

it’s a slogan designed to try to shut up opponents, and its not working

A slogan like “Politics is mean, it is dirty, it is often like wrestling with pigs and more importantly nice guys finish last”? (from Why the saying “play the ball not the man” is gay)

that isn’t a slogan, it is the truth

Apart from the obvious irony about trying to shut up opponents Slater also contradicts himself. He plays mean, he plays dirty, but if someone tries anything similar against him it’s unfair.

There’s another garbled post by Slater today – In times of trouble you find out who your real friends are, often they are the ‘enemy’.

What was most interesting about ‘Dirty Politics’ was most of my calls for support and checking on my health and well beings while under the cosh from a politically motivated criminal conspiracy were from members of the opposition.

The ones who have previously curried favour, sucked up and generally used my acquaintance were nowhere to be seen and still aren’t.

More interesting was the lack of support from those who had built their careers off the back of my tips, sources and accurate information. Watching them scuttle and lie to defend themselves has been amusing. Unfortunately for them one must tell the truth to inquiries and more importantly provide evidence, there really is no hiding from the evidence.

That said I have been very and pleasantly surprised by those who rallied for support, often despite being political foes, and those who cut and run.

I will remember that support in coming years.

He seems to be wallowing and floundering.

Reading between the lines it sounds like MPs may have been warned that continued relationships with Slater may have a negative impact on political prospects, and some of his business has subsequently dried up. Vague threats are unlikely to reverse that.

And comments on Whale Oil indicate that Slater is losing the support of those who remain able to post there. This in General Debate today from ‘la la land':

I have mulled over the latest posts etc this weekend and have come to the decision that I don’t want to stick around to watch Cameron go after John Key like he did Dotcom. John Key is our Prime Minister not some German crook and I for one still rate him. If it goes badly for him further down the track well that’s that but I don’t want to be a part of bringing him down. I have really enjoyed reading this blog and all your comments. Thanks and goodbye.

It is significant that this has so far received 30 positive ticks. It was responded to by yet another lengthy defence by moderator Pete Belt which received some replies:

The decision to put Key under some scrutiny was taken before the election. As a blog, we wouldn’t be honest with ourselves and our audience if we continued to artificially suppress what we want to talk about. We did so to get past an election. That’s pragmatic enough. But we’re not a National Party mouthpiece. In spite of many rumours to the contrary, we neither receive money nor do we work for them. At times the National Party and Whaleoil’s aims align. At that point, it looks like we’re working together. Funny that.

To Jason Ede’s eternal frustration, he couldn’t control a bloody thing about Whaleoil. All he could do was make us aware of certain stories in the media or perhaps a poll that was coming up – that sort of thing – and we would pick and choose what we were interested in.

(Now there is a shocking revelation!)

The alternative is to end up at a point where it all comes out anyway (as it will), and people will look to us and go “well, you kept THAT quiet, haven’t you?”

If you’re scared of the truth, then perhaps it’s better to go hide. John Key isn’t a saint. He’s a good bloke, but he can do with a bit of scrutiny. I honestly don’t see why we should pretend he poops diamonds to keep people like you in your comfort zone.

Nobody cringed when we get stuck into Hekia Parata or Murray McCulley, but somehow John Key is untouchable?

No way. Not on this blog.

kiwibattler:

As long as any questioning of John Key is done in a manner that doesn’t appear just plain vindictive then I think most readers of the blog welcome some insight into the inner workings/ possible issues within the National party. No one is exempt from informed criticism.
With Cam’s connection to Judith Collins it all comes down to how this criticism of Key is delivered.

Mrs_R

Criticism of Parata and McCulley didn’t raise eyebrows because it was justified based on their performance. I would expect very few here would complain if negative revelations concerning JK were brought to light if they were factual and truthful. The real concern is that if it is only a smear campaign without substance, then many will see it for what it is and make a decision accordingly.

Pete Belt:

How can they not be factual and truthful? This is the same problem the left have with this concept.

Factual and truthful = things you agree with
Smears = things you don’t agree with, yet still factual and truthful

This was all triggered by a post on Saturday – Beware the cult of personality, and the legacy they leave – addressing criticism of John Key.

Apparently my audience will be affected negatively by criticising John Key. He also is the saviour of the National party and without him National would be stuffed.

Ignore the fact that he shamelessly used one of my private emails to conduct a personal hit on a friend, and ignore the fact that he thinks I should just accept it as “mo hard hard feelings”. I say ignore those because they have absolutely no bearing on my criticism of John Key.

I criticise him because I am alarmed that National is falling into the same traps that Helen Clark fell into.

The trap of creating a cult of personality.

A number of vague claims were made:

Caucus meetings have become tedious and one way traffic. I know this because many caucus members are whining about it and if they are whining about it in the open then there is a problem. Caucus meetings are a forum to debate issues but have actually become a lecture from the throne with Steven Joyce or Bill English deputising. Many members of caucus wonder why they even bother turning up now.

Anyone who speaks against the utterings of John Key or even offers a slightly contrarian opinion is usually sent a message…from someone senior…and told how their career could be in jeopardy if they continue.

“Many caucus members”, “anyone who speaks against” – all vague and unsubstantiated.

Some caucus members have received calls from Bill English and told to get new friends. These are all the hallmarks of a caucus under the thumb of a dictator, one who will brook no nonsense and has his stasi member enforcing discipline when none is needed.

Again the irony considering Slater’s approach to quashing disagreeable voices at Whale Oil along with the help of his helpers “enforcing discipline”.

Caucus members shouldn’t need to be advised by Bill English to “get new friends”. They should have already figured out that being too closely involved with Slater is not good for their political future.

And if it hasn’t dawned on them yet it will when he does the dirty on them if he thinks he’s being hung out to dry. Vindictness and utu are just more strings to Slater’s “”Politics is mean, it is dirty” bow.

Slater has been innovative, ground breaking and in some ways very successful with his political campaigning and his blogging.

But he has stomped on too many toes. For someone who claims to be so politically astute it’s surprising to see him sound so bewildered now he is getting the boot.

As he inevitably continues to lash out it is likely the backlash against his brand of dirty politics continues.

O’Sullivan on Whale Oil versus SFO

I agree and disagree with Fran O’Sullivan in We need to know who tried to fit up SFO boss.

The issue is too big to be swept under the carpet by mere politics and a focus on chasing whistleblowers instead of the real issues.

She’s right that the SFO/Feeley issue is too big to be swept under the carpet, but I think she’s wrong explaining the Rawshark hacking as “mere politics and a focus on chasing whistleblowers” – if political hacking is given tacit approval by police as well as journalists then “dirty politics” could get much dirtier.

And even on the Feeley/SFO issue she may be getting ahead of proceedings.

But while the police have been busy poking about in Hager’s affairs – hacking is, after all, a crime – they do not appear to have actively followed up on Acting Opposition Leader David Parker’s pre-election complaint over various actions disclosed in the Dirty Politics affair, including the alleged “SFO/Hanover Sting”.

This suggests to me a failure of prioritisation on the part of police chief Mike Bush and his team.

I believe he could start by requiring Odgers, Graham and Slater to say just who paid them for apparently trying to fit up Feeley.

Fran may be too close to this issue, having been included in the emails revolving around Rawshark. She wants journalists left alone but others “required to say”.

She is not happy with the Police “poking about in Hager’s affairs“, and may not be happy if the Police saw fit to poke around in her affairs and ‘require’ her to say things.

Fran also details a current inquiry into the SFO/Feeley issue.

Key’s response to the email was to announce an inquiry, which is headed by respected High Court judge Justice Lester Chisholm.

The Chisholm Inquiry’s terms of reference are to the point. It will investigate whether:

  • There is any evidence Ms Collins acted inconsistently with the conduct expected of a minister by undermining or attempting to undermine Mr Feeley’s tenure as director of the Serious Fraud Office.
  • Ms Collins provided information about Mr Feeley during his tenure as director of the Serious Fraud Office to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater or any other party not entitled to it.
  • Ms Collins inappropriately sought or received information about Mr Feeley from Slater or any other party.

It would also identify and report on any other relevant issues.

I think it makes sense for police to largely wait and see what the outcome of this inquiry is.It’s not as if there is urgency, Judith Collins is parked up on the back benches.

Justice Chisholm may or may not go far enough with his inquiry, but it should at least be a substantial starting point should a Police investigation prove justified.

Left troll good, right troll bad

In contrast to Kiwiblog’s tentative steps to clamp down on abusive behaviour The Standard continues to hand out bans almost left, right and centre – the left of the left continue to abuse with impunity while unwelcome contributors are excluded with bans, often accompanied by a tone setting abusive lecture from Lyn Prentice.

Here are examples of abuse and bans on a single thread at The Standard yesterday.

Hard left regulars can be abusive and make unsupported assertions while relatively innocuous responses can cop a harsh ban:

infused

cry me a river.

Another regular abuser makes an unproven assertion – “Prime Minsiter’s Office stealing”…

One Anonymous Bloke6.

Prime Minsiter’s Office stealing NZLP membership data and credit card details. Perpetrators admitted emails boasting of the crime are genuine. Prime Minister’s Office confessing crime to NZLP.

Open and shut case: a theft from the opposition by the government.

Your position: to cheer and wave a little Quisling flag.

  • Del Griffith

    I’m not sure why you saw fit to say I was waving a Quisling flag when I asked a genuine question. I don’t think people should be able to hack into other peoples computers and write books based on the stuff they find in there and profit from it.

    [lprent: That is an assertion that is defamatory, not supported by any facts, and recklessly puts this site into danger. Plus you look like a simple troll with your brains in a tiny deformed dick that you obsessively pump as you comment. Banned permanently. Don't come back ]

..and a relatively reasonable response cops a permanent ban, plus some typical abuse from the ‘moderator’. Yeah, his blog etc etc but he sets the tone and gives favoured lefties a free shot at anyone and typically if the target reacts he bans them.

It can’t be defamatory when it is a general comment and not directed at anyone in particular.

framu 

“He published stolen emails.”

ok – real slowly now – everyone clap along so infused can keep track

He published stolen emails. – AS…. A…. JOURNALIST. – not as an MP sneaking about someones computer system or as a hate blogger

Granted 

Oh, so are journalists entitled to steal emails?

[lprent: Asserting a crime that never happened - which is defamatory. Banned for simple trolling and simply being too stupid to be bothered with as well. ]

Being “too stupid” is Lynspeak for making the wrong arguments so the excising of unwelcome opinions continues although in this case it’s unclear how long the ban is.

Naki man

“they raid journalists over the tea cup tapes…

what is your definition of a journalist?’

This so called journalists hid a microphone at the table,
the smart arse little prick should have lost his job.

[lprent: You mean hidden like this?

See that wee bag in the foreground - that is it being "hidden"

Take 2 weeks off for bullshitting just a tad too much. If you want to make myths up, then do them on your own time. Stop wasting mine looking up an image for you. ]

A response to the ‘Infused’ ban:

greywarbler

Infused is hardly a worthy RW commenter is he. Just a twisted, sneering little twerp. If we want anyone to argue with, we actually can do that amongst ourselves without providing him with his perverse pleasure.

[lprent: I came to that conclusion after reading a series of his comments today. He needed time to refresh himself away from this site. So I gave him that time. ]

One Anonymous Bloke and Weka both abuse with impunity and both have been involved in actions aimed at driving away or prompting bans of commenters they don’t like.

On just the one thread One Anonymous Bloke continues a string of abusive comments and highly questionable claims with no moderator demands to provide evidence.

  • PS: Oh look everyone: a National Party representative advocating that the Police use powers of search and seizure to punish witnesses.
    No wonder the National Party are trash with that attitude.
  • Didn’t take you long to expose your true character, did it, Wormtongue.
  • Keep denying reality, you already look like a complete idiot.
  • They’ll be raiding Slater and the Prime Minister’s Office to ascertain exactly who in that office hacked the New Zealand Labour Party’s computers, stealing membership and credit card details, any day now.
    Unless they’re enemies of society, operating under double standards, that is.
  • So Slater is either a thief or a perjurer, just to bring you up to speed.
  • Are you witless as well as ignorant? You’ve already been informed of the Police complaint.
    We need better wingnuts.
  • Please try and get up to speed Mike: Slater gave evidence in the High Court that the emails are genuine. In the emails he boasts about stealing credit card and membership details from the NZLP with as-yet un-named accomplices from the Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Please stop exposing your cretinous ignorance in public. You’re a joke.
  • It seems to you, and no-one else. Evidence that the Prime Minsiter’s Office has admitted to be true: they stole from the NZLP, doesn’t seem to concern you.
    That’s because you’re either mendacious or ignorant or twisted by bias. Which is it?
  • No murder has taken place. The theft, on the other hand, has already been acknowledged by the perpetrators, although the Prime Minister’s Office (which has also acknowledged its part in the crime) is harbouring one of the accused.

That’s a common tone day after day. One Anonymous Bloke has an undisclosed connection with Labour (lprent discloses a long time connection) and this image is quite damaging to the Labour Party.

It’s also quite ironic on a blog with frequent claims that ‘dirty politics’ only comes from National.

It’s not about reasonable or balanced discussion, it’s about ‘fun':

Once Was Tim 

Back to Hobbitville – the trolls there are just funny rather than frustrating me with their UTTER stupidity despite lprent’s valiant efforts.

[lprent: I don't try to eliminate them. I just try to keep the rabbits down to an acceptable level. Why would I spoil the fun. ]

Another regular from the left gets far more lenient treatment for making a far more blatant assertion, this accusation against a Labour MP and leadership contender:

Colonial Viper

Grant has solid left wing values, and stood up for the membership’s right to be heard and involved in that process, while still being a respectful chair and a loyal deputy leader.

I’m sure that is the case. However, a large number of notable MPs voted against the inclusive, democratic leadership selection process that the NZLP now uses. Grant Robertson was one of them.

[lprent: Offhand I can't think of anyway to prove this one way or another unless you were watching him in the 2012 conference. There are no records of the hand or card votes there down to branches or people. If you want to assert that, then you should also say how you know otherwise I will satrt getting finicky. KL below is completely correct in their objection. ]

If someone deemed from the right (which means moderate left to right) made an assertion like that (or probably if it was a similar claim against Cunliffe) proof would be demanded to avoid a ban. This accusation was strongly refuted…

  • Keir Leslie

    That is a bare faced lie. Robertson voted for, organised for, fought for, helped win us the inclusive, democratic process we use now.

    I don’t know how or if he voted on Cunliffe’s divisive and self-interested attempt to make it easier to roll a leader chosen by that inclusive and democratic process by giving a minority in caucus the ability to depose them. That was a different fight, and one the membership at conference was pretty closely divided on.

    But Robertson was a staunch driver of the party democratisation process, while making sure that the leader of the party wasn’t undermined.

  • Roztoz

    I was next to GR at that vote. He voted for democratisation.

    And that was only after a year of pushing the changes through caucus and keeping NZ Council and caucus talking on it.

…but no action was taken despite two witness accounts.

And on another recent thread an ominous response that hints that moderator mood could play a part in behaviour.

  • Don’t the Nat$i party supporters wish fisi !, why are they so afraid of DC?(why are you going so RED prime mincer?)

    [lprent: sigh, still auto-spamming. I will be back later so will look then if I am sober enough.. ]

Political blogs like The Standard and Whale Oil (which also bans prolifically) continue to do a disservice to political discussion. They seem to be vehicles for the egos of bloggers and little consideration is given to bettering democratic debate. That’s their choice.

Kiwiblog has it’s problems but at least the discussions are not politically biased by bans of unwanted opinions.

At The Standard it’s very much left troll good, right troll bad.

The term “troll” refers to someone who deliberately incites or disrupts a social media discussion but it is more often used as a pejorative meaning little more than “I don’t want you or your opinion here”.

On blogs irony is very common, rationality far less so. Noting that Kiwiblog and Whale Oil seem to carry significantly larger audiences than The Standard and acknowledging that Prentice likes to have the last word (often enforced with a ban) I’ll end with this “more rational” comment:

Many blogs won’t carry much of an audience because of what people write. The arseholes of the net will choose to hang off the self-destructive like Slater or dive into the older sewer at Kiwiblog. The more rational will come here or to Public Address or Transport Blog where the conversations may be robust but their comments can be heard.

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.

Collins and Slater appear to have lied about Facebook

On Monday Judith Collins and Cameron Slater denied having any Facebook communications and suggested they could have been forgeries.

@JudithCollinsMP

I have no record of any FB conversations with Whaleoil. Cam Slater has advised that he had no FB conversations with me. Forgeries?

@Whaleoil

Latest smear is false, I have never had FB conversations with @judithcollinsmp. Hackers break the law, media ignoring crime

However @Whaledump has tweeted and dumped:

.@JudithCollinsMP and @WhaleOil think there’s no evidence because they deleted the account that JC was using.

The content of the messages identify them as @JudithCollinsMP’s, clear as day.
http://pastebin.com/URchZJyJ

This includes:

————————-
July 31, 2011
————————-
Facebook User, 7/31, 2:44am

Yes, saw it! She will too as will the others. AB was helping young Nats distribute my Collins Courier newspaper yesterday. I was surprised.
————————-
Cameron Slater, 7/31, 2:45am

as am i

maybe he is looking for some young blood

This is a strong suggestion Collins and Slater may have lied about not using Facebook.

That would make the hole Collins is in even deeper.

Key on bloggers

For the first time that I’m aware John Key has condemned Cameron Slater for his apparent involvement in a smear campaign against the Serious Fraud Office as revealed by the email that precipitated the resignation of Judith Collins.

NZ Herald reports PM condemns Slater as Cunliffe slams inquiry:

When questioned, he condemned Mr Slater for his role in what appeared to be a smear campaign on the Serious Fraud Office.

Key also took a swipe at Labour’s use of bloggers:

And he took a swipe at Labour’s failed attempts to dig dirt on him, and at the “three or four” staffers in Mr Cunliffe’s office that wrote in the left-wing blogosphere.

“It’s a known fact that Jason Ede in my office talked to a blogger. There are people in your office who have written on blogs.

“It happens on your side and you know it … and I can name them if you want me to.”

To an extent at least that’s factually correct. For example Clint Smith currently works in Cunliffe’s office (and has worked for the Greens) and has been a Standard author in the past. Mike Smith is a trustee and author at The Standard and last year worked in David Shearer’s office.

The other Standard trustee Lynn Prentice reacted to Key on Twitter:

@thestandard – so far I have heard @johnkeypm impune our site a number of times. Sleazy dirty arsehole – just like @Whaleoil

I asked “You wouldn’t impune another site at all, would you Lynn?”

Nope. I impune people. Particularly those obsessing on ours. Looks at your tags.

He had just referred to @Whaleoil as a “Sleazy dirty arsehole” – while that Twitter handle is used by Cameron Slater ‘Whale Oil’ is a blog site.

And Prentice frequently criticises blogs. Like in The desperation of the National’s sockpuppets:

Then lo and behold within a week, it turns up on one of the Nationally funded blogs like Kiwiblog or Whaleoil. Still unverified. Still without proof. Still not a story that any journalist would touch because it would violate the press council rules.

And on Wakeup call for the media – has Slater done us all a favour?

Like a laser, a non-story would pumped back and forth between Whaleoil and Kiwiblog, each remarking on what the other had said, until journos started to write stories about “allegations” raised by the blogs.

The arseholes of the net will choose to hang off the self-destructive like Slater or dive into the older sewer at Kiwiblog. The more rational will come here or to Public Address or Transport Blog where the conversations may be robust but their comments can be heard.

Prentice raises some valid points especially in his post The desperation of the National’s sockpuppets but also makes unsubstantiated assertions about blogs, especially regarding the funding of them.

Prentice has a history of denying links between Labour and The Standard but they don’t stack up – see:

It was significant that Key finally publicly condemned Slater in last night’s debate, albeit on one specific issue and not for Whale Oil’s wider efforts to undermine opponents, democracy and political debate. Key has failed to condemn enough, but at least this is a start.

Expect Slater to react today.

Key also poked a stick at Labour’s connection with blogs that provoked a typical reaction of denial from Prentice. At least Key has made a start in acknowledging condemning dirty blogger politics.

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