Alternative blog with free speech principles

If anyone who has enjoyed the free speech principles and encouragement of a wide range of views here is looking for alternative, this one may be of interest – they (some of them) have expressed a welcome of sorts:

YOU STUPID BOY

You Stupid Boy

It’s the first time I have seen YSB, and there seems to be some of the boors who actively work against free speech that they don’t agree with at Kiwiblog, but the Forum Rules show some promise:

Be polite. Everyone likes to be treated with respect, so inappropriate language, harsh criticism, or disrespect of others’ opinions are not allowed. Constructive criticism of blog posts is encouraged.

It depends on how they run things there in practice but if anyone is looking for somewhere else to comment they could be worth checking out.

(For the record I have had and have no intention of commenting there, “if he plays nice and doesn’t do anything to piss me off” is  bit like a threat to toe a particular line or else for my liking. And I’m not looking for a blog to comment on, especially not one with the ironic tone of “So is he going to infest other peoples blogs” Sooty (presumably the same one from Kiwiblog), and “Quality not quantity, please.” howitis – comment, upticked:

Oh, Jesus, god, no!
as per Dustin Hoffman in ‘the Graduate’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahFARm2j38c
The Graduate (finale)
at 1.37

Presumably this pest will go back to KB to get down ticked regularly.
We don’t want him here.
I’m pretty sure our esteemed host a few weeks ago said he would not let this silly old coot onto YSB.

Pete George pan-fries himself in his own sanctimony.
Sheriff Pete of Dunedin can ride in on his WordPress horse and keep us all in line..NOT!

Hilarious.

Quality like that is not exactly inviting quantity, but it’s easy to laugh at people like that, and do your own thing.

There seems to be a bit of an invitation there if anyone is interested.

Alternately there’s always Kiwiblog, there’s quite a few worthwhile commenters there amongst the noise and nastiness that is still prevalent despite the attempt at more effective moderation.

And I think The Standard – a bit light on posts these days but some are worthwhile, but the comments seem to have improved with less of the intolerant mob mentality that used to plague it.

But, this is funny and I can’t resist:

Robert Guyton 2.1.1

Perhaps not as bad as he’s painted (beige) and has an eye for the political, but lacks self-awareness, somewhat. I reckon. I’m glad he’s stopping; his readers were subtly polluting his soul smiley

Robert suggesting “lacks self-awareness”. The word of an expert.

 

Announcement – a major change

As of now there will be a major change here. In short, Your NZ will no longer be operating as a daily news and views forum.

The site and content will remain available, as there are important records of public interest here.

I will no longer post multiple times a day. I may post occasionally, one or twice every day or two or week or two or whatever I decide to do. This means Your NZ will no longer operate as an active day to day forum for the foreseeable future – things could change, but this is my current intention.

I have been contemplating this change for some time, but have decided the time is right to change my focus. I have several projects I want to work on, and I may enjoy more free time in my private life.

One thing that kept me going doing this for as long as this is you, the loyal contributors to the community here. I am pleased to have been able to provide something for others to get something out of, but I have now decided to put my own wider interests first.

Another thing that extended the life of Your NZ is in defiance of that gang of online thugs who tried to trash the place, and when they failed at that tried to shut us down through the courts. Most of this is now history, but there are still some things to come out of this. Holding them to account, exposing some of what they did, and providing a public record of their actions has been a major motivation to keep things going here. I may still have some things to say about this.

I have decided a sort of semi-retirement from blogging now, under my own terms. (I am not, as some have claimed, retired. I continue to work in a full time day job.)

I started Your NZ in June 2011 to supplement my commenting on the other blog, with a few aims and some experimentation. It was a very quiet corner of the local blogosphere and political scene for the first few of years but gradually built up a bit of a presence.

It has been been quite time consuming. Especially over the last five years I have worked on this just about every day of every year, on average 2-4 hours per day. I continued to tick things over when on holiday, in hospital and public holidays. It has been a major part of my life.

Posting on a daily basis takes time. More relentless is the need to monitor comments, to maintain a reasonable level of decency.

I have done it because I wanted to. I am happy that there have been modest achievements, as well as some major hassles and challenges.

Site stats show that in eight years I have posted 17,262 times. That’s over two thousand posts per year. Quite a few of those have been the regular daily posts, but there has been a lot of typing, research and thought involved.

There has been about 320,00 comments posted, That’s on average 40,000 a year, and more than 100 per day (although in the first three years the numbers were much lower). That’s a big contribution from all of you.

I have added a little bit to political discussion and debate. That’s better than doing nothing.

I think I have proven one of my aims – that you can have a forum that allows views from across the political spectrum to be discussed and debated with minimal personal attacks and without shutting down views that you may not agree with. It would be hugely challenging to manage this on a larger scale.

It was sad to find that politics can such a dirty, disrespectful, dishonest game to some, and unfortunately those some are amongst the more active in political circles. While the most prominent leader in online political dirt, Whale Oil, is now fairly ineffective and sidelined, there is still a considerable amount of political nastiness in action, on Twitter and Facebook, and it is still prevalent at Kiwiblog despite attempts to moderate there more effectively.

Unfortunately a poor example continues to be set from the top, Parliament, MPs and parties. Some attempts have recently been made to address some of this but out politicians (some individually and all collectively) have a long way to go to provide us with a decent sort of democracy. I have ideas on how to try to address that.

But in general I want to withdraw from the political fight. I have better things to do with my time . I’m aware of claims that there it is a deliberate aim of some to drive decency away from politics so the dirt mongers can operate unimpeded. I think there is some truth to this, but I think I have confronted that enough, for long enough. I’m moving on to other priorities.

I’m not ruling out anything in the future but for now at least Your NZ is ceasing to operate as a daily news and views political forum.

Thanks to all of you who have contributed positively to make this what it has been. Without you it would have been far less.

It has been a passion, often fun, and I think a worthwhile project. But as of now it is no longer what it was.

It’s going to be a big change to get up in the morning and instead of my primary thoughts being ‘what will I post on today’, I can think ‘what will I do today’. I’m looking forward to seeing how that works out.

Cheers

Pete George

Poll – political affiliation and trust

A poll by Victoria University/Colmar Brunton shows a spread of political affiliations or leanings. Asked:

Most political parties in New Zealand lean to the ‘left’ or the ‘right’ with their policies.

Parties to the left are liberal and believe governments should support the less fortunate people in society.

Parties to the right are more conservative and believe in individual responsibility.

Some parties position themselves in the centre. How would you please your political views using the scale below?

  • 30% – Left-centre left (0-4)
  • 29% – Centre (5)
  • 35% – Centre right-right (6-10)
  • 5% – Don’t know

Alternately grouping 4 and 6 as close to centre:

  • 21% – Left-centre left (0-3)
  • 51% – Centre (4-6)
  • 24%- Centre right-right 7-10
  • 5% – Don’t know

I am really not sure where I would place myself, as I have a range of leanings depending on the issue or policy. Most likely I would go 5 as a rough average.

The poll also gauged trust per political affiliation.

Victoria University: Latest trust survey explores link to political leanings

The results show the centre-left have the highest trust of any political grouping in 13 of the 23 institutions or groups they were asked about.

The least trusting group is those immediately to the left of the centre-left, the left, who have the lowest trust of any political grouping in 17 of 23 institutions they were asked about, including big and small businesses, the church and the police.

The left also have the lowest level of inter-personal trust.

However I have some doubts about the results. In almost all results the ‘Left’ (presumably 0-3) result was zero trust, with the only question registering any response from the left being on saying Yes to corruption being widespread in new Zealand Government.

If you want to see all the questions and esults (PPTX, 4MB).

Poll – trust in institutions, politicians, media and bloggers

A third “Who do we trust?” survey, taken in March 2019 by the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies in association with Colmar Brunton, surveyed 1000 New Zealanders on various issues of trust and life satisfaction.

New Zealanders who trust the government to do what is right for New Zealand:

  • 2016 – 48%
  • 2018 – 65%
  • 2019 – 63%

People satisfied with life in general (10=completely, 0=not at all):

  • 10 – 6%
  • 9 – 12%
  • 8 – 25%
  • 7 – 25%

Total ‘satisfied’ (7-10): 68%

  • 6 – 13%
  • 5 – 11%
  • 4 – 4%

Total ‘neither nor’ (4-6): 28%

  • 3 – 2%
  • 2 – 1%
  • 1 – 1%

Total ‘dissatisfied’ (0-3): 3%

Total who comment on blogs and social media who are dissatisfied? Not asked, but I suspect that is disproportionately high going by the tone of many comments.

The most distrusted groups are Bloggers/online commentators, followed by Members of Parliament and Media.

But it may not be as bad as it appears at a glance. At the bottom of the pile are ‘Bloggers/online commentators’:

  • I have complete trust – 0%
  • I have lots of trust – 3%
  • I have some trust – 30%
  • I have little trust – 43%
  • I have no trust at all – 24%

So a third of people have either some or lots of trust. That may seem low, but many if not most people will have little to no idea about ‘Bloggers/online commentators’ apart from a smattering of negative headlines, if that.

I don’t trust some but I do generally trust many.

There would be few if any bloggers with a public profile (as a blogger) other than Cameron Slater, David Farrar, Dermot Nottingham and Martyn Bradbury.

New Zealanders perceptions that citizens’ interests are equally and fairly considered by government

People who live in Auckland, who were born outside of New Zealand are more likely to say citizens’ interests are considered a great deal.

People who are dissatisfied with life, distrustful of people and who have political leanings to the right are more likely to say citizens’ interests are considered very little or not at all

Victoria University: Latest trust survey explores link to political leanings

 

Two oil tankers attacked in Gulf of Oman

Attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman risk escalating conflict in the Middle East. It has already resulted in an increase in the price of oil.

Reuters: Tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman stoke fears over conflict and oil

Two oil tankers were attacked on Thursday and left adrift in the Gulf of Oman, driving up oil prices and stoking fears of a new confrontation between Iran and the United States.

The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed and that the U.S. government would continue to assess the situation. Washington accused Tehran of being behind a similar attack on May 12 on four tankers in the same area, a vital shipping route through which much of the world’s oil passes.

Tensions between Iran and the United States, along with its allies including Saudi Arabia, have risen since Washington pulled out of a deal last year between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz, near where the attacks happened, if it cannot sell its oil due to U.S. sanctions.

No one has claimed Thursday’s attacks and no one has specifically blamed them on any party.

Reuters:  U.S. calls attacks on commercial shipping ‘unacceptable’

The United States on Thursday called attacks on commercial shipping “unacceptable” and told the U.N. Security Council that the latest assaults on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that left one ablaze and both adrift “raise very serious concerns.”

That’s stating the obvious.

“It’s unacceptable for any party to attack commercial shipping and today’s attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman raise very serious concerns,” acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Jonathan Cohen told a council meeting on U.N. and Arab League cooperation on Thursday morning.

“The U.S. government is providing assistance and will continue to assess the situation,” he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned at the meeting that the world cannot afford “a major confrontation in the Gulf region.”

Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah described the tanker attacks as a threat to international peace and security.

“This is the most recent event in a series of acts of sabotage that are threatening the security of maritime corridors as well as threatening energy security of the world,” he said.

Maybe some tariff threats will sort this out.

Last August: The US has reimposed sanctions on Iran. 

When President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in May, he also said the US would reimpose strict sanctions on Tehran.

Starting at 12:01 am on Tuesday, financial penalties that former President Barack Obama removed from Iran as part of the nuclear agreement snap back into place.

On November 4, even more sanctions that Obama lifted will kick back in. Those will hit Iran’s oil exports and energy sector, a key industry for the country; financial institutions working with the Central Bank of Iran; port operators and shipbuilding sectors; and the provisions of insurance and financial messaging services.

Or not.

The goal of the sanctions, according to the senior administration officials, is to cripple the Iranian economy to the point that the regime must end its support for terrorism and negotiate an end to its nuclear program with the US.

Another possibility was an escalation in tensions and unintended consequences.

Reuters:  Latest on tanker attacks south of Strait of Hormuz

Here is the latest from Reuters on attacks on two tankers on Thursday south of the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a fifth of the world’s oil is shipped:

* Panama-listed tanker Kokuka Courageous was damaged in a “suspected attack” that breached the hull above the water line, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said

* The ship was attacked twice in three hours before all the crew were evacuated, the president of Japanese owner Kokuka Sangyo told reporters

* There had been an engine room fire on the tanker, which was carrying a cargo of methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore

* A second ship, the Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair, was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo” at around 0400 GMT, said Taiwanese refiner CPC Corp, which had chartered the vessel

* The Aframax-class tanker loaded with 75,000 tonnes of naphtha was on fire, said Norwegian owner Frontline

* Frontline said the Front Altair was afloat, denying a report by Iran’s IRNA news agency that it had sunk

Oil and the Middle east have long been problems that have been short on effective solutions.

Trump preparing for re-election campaign launch

Donald Trump is set to officially launch his re-election campaign next Tuesday – well over a year before the election in November 2020 but this is the US – although he has run campaign style public events for some time, including this week.

It’s hard to know whether this was deliberate or ignorant, or whether it will help or hurt his re-election chances – Trump: I Would Accept Information On My Opponent From Foreign Governments, “It’s Called Oppo Research”

President Donald Trump said he would accept information from a foreign government or foreign nationals that would help him in the 2020 presidential election and not notify the FBI in an Oval Office interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Your son, Don Jr., is up before the Senate Intelligence Committee today. And again, he was not charged with anything. In retrospect though-

PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: By the way, not only wasn’t he charged, if you read it, with all of the horrible fake news- I mean, I was reading that my son was going to go too jail — this is a good young man — that he was going to go to jail. And then the report comes out, and they didn’t even say, they hardly even talked about him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Should he have gone to the FBI when he got that email?

TRUMP: OK. Let’s put yourself in a position. You’re a congressman, somebody comes up and says, “Hey, I have information on your opponent. Do you call the FBI? I don’t think-

STEPHANOPOULOS: If it’s coming from Russia, you do.

TRUMP: I’ll tell you what, I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do-

STEPHANOPOULOS: Al Gore got a stolen briefing book. He called the FBI.

TRUMP: Well, that’s different, a stolen briefing book. This isn’t a stolen- This is somebody that said, “We have information on your opponent.” Oh, let me call the FBI. Give me a break. Life doesn’t work that way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The FBI director says that’s what should happen.

TRUMP: The FBI director is wrong.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?

TRUMP: I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. I don’t- There’s nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country — Norway — “We have information on your opponent.” Oh. I think I’d want to hear it.

A country like Norway is unlikely to try to interfere in a US election by helping one candidate with dirt on their opponent.

I doubt that China would try to help trump.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You want that kind of interference in our elections?

TRUMP: It’s not interference. They have information. I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI, if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research. “Oh, let’s call the FBI.” The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressmen, they all do it. They always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.

So collusion is now renamed ‘oppo research’.

Axios: Trump’s re-election crisis

The state of play: His internal polls show it, national polls show it and even a poll in reliably conservative Texas shows it — all as Trump should be crushing it. Unemployment is at a near-historic low. The economy is growing. Peace and prosperity abound. But his numbers are sagging.

The warning signs:

  • The N.Y. Times reported“After being briefed on a devastating 17-state poll conducted by his campaign pollster, Tony Fabrizio, Mr. Trump told aides to deny that his internal polling showed him trailing Mr. Biden in many of the states he needs to win. … Trump instructed aides to say publicly that other data showed him doing well.”
  • National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar writes that Trump is “in the weakest political shape of any sitting president since George H.W Bush”: “Trump hits 50 percent disapproval … in North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Iowa — all states he carried in 2016.”
  • Pay little attention to national polls in a race where states are what matters. But as a sign of voter mood, six Democrats (Biden, Sanders, Harris, Warren, Buttigieg and Booker) each beat Trump in the first 2o2o Quinnipiac University National Poll, released yesterday.

The other side … A Trump ally familiar with the campaign’s strategy said: “Trump has always under-polled. Until it’s actually a binary contest, though, these polls really don’t matter.”

  • “Educating voters on what Green New Deal and Medicare for All actually mean = an absolute disaster for Democrats.”
  • “When Trump gets a shot at defining someone one-on-one, they’re no longer going to be what they are now, which is for the most part a ‘generic Democrat.'”
  • “Historical data says that with the economy roaring like it is, the incumbent always wins.”

Be smart: Trump is betting polls will swing when it’s a choice between him and someone he can lampoon as a dumb socialist.

  • But, but, but: Even the self-avowed socialists are beating him — Bernie Sanders is up 12 in Michigan.

The bottom line: The 2018 elections were a wake-up call for Trump. Democrats had record turnout; his Midwest presidency-makers of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania reverted to their Democratic form; and conservative states, including Texas, showed the demographic dangers for the GOP.

Some will say that Trump defied and confounded the polls and pundits last tome and could do so again. He could do so.

But it will be different this time. Voters won’t be judging trump on his potential, they will be judging him on his actual performance this term. Some say he has been the best president since 1776 and that Trump’s declaration of his greatness is more historic than the Declaration of Independence, and others see him as a self obsessed narcissist boorish overrated buffoon.

Still, there’s a lot that can happen. The US economy is strong but if that trips up between now and the election it may work against Trump. Any number of international crises could strike.

And a key factor will be who the Democrats choose to stand. They stuffed up last time with Hillary Clinton. Picking someone who is leader-like and credible would be a good contrast to Trump and a good start. Trump is certain to ridicule and name call, but the novelty factor of his derogatory lying attack modus operandi has long worn off.

It will be a long campaign as usual, and could be ugly.

Media watch

14 June 2019

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

Open Forum – Friday

14 June 2019

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you, or you think may interest others.. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts. Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts. Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.

FIRST TIME COMMENTERS: Due to abuse by a few, first comments under any ID will park in moderation until released (as soon as possible but it can sometimes take a while).

Sometimes comments will go into moderation or spam automatically due to mistyped ID, too many links (>4), or trigger text or other at risk criteria. If they pass muster they will be released as soon as possible (it can sometimes take hours).

First vote on UK Conservative Party leadership

Missy reporting from the UK:


On Monday the Conservative Party leadership campaign officially began. Ten MPs officially entered the race, they were:

Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Rory Stewart, Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom, Matt Hancock, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, Mark Harper.

This morning was the first round of voting by the Parliamentary Party, after a change of rules a couple of weeks ago candidates must get more than 16 votes from fellow MPs in order to progress with the candidates with the lowest number of votes being eliminated if all are over 16 votes, as opposed to previous rules which stated that only the candidate with the lowest number of votes was to be eliminated at each round regardless of number of votes of second lowest. The new rules mean that multiple candidates can be eliminated at once.

In today’s voting Boris Johnson received a higher number of votes than originally expected, this could be due to some polling this week which shows that Boris is the candidate most likely able to win a General Election.

The results from today’s vote is:
Johnson: 114
Hunt: 43
Gove: 37
Raab: 27
Javid: 23
Hancock 20
Stewart: 19
Leadsom: 11
Harper: 10
McVey: 9

The odds for Johnson winning have been slashed to 1/5.

Gove’s campaign suffered a bit earlier this week after he admitted over the weekend to using cocaine about 20 years ago. The admission came ahead of an unauthorised biography due to be released that details his drug use.

World view

Thursday GMT

WorldWatch2

For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.