General chat

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Media watch – Friday

18 August 2017

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

18 August 2017

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. 

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.

Free speech is an important principle here but some people who might pose a risk to the site will have to keep going through moderation due to abuses by a small number of malicious people.

A wide variety of topics and views are encouraged and welcomed, but some topics and some extremes may not be appropriate nor allowed.

World watch – Friday

Thursday GMT

WorldWatch

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

1 News/Colmar Brunton – Greens 4%

The latest 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll:

  • National 44% (down from 47)
  • Labour 37% (up from 24)
  • Greens 4% (down from 15)
  • NZ First 10% (down from 11)
  • Opportunities Party  2% (no change)
  • Maori Party 2% (up from 1)

So National sort of hanging on, Labour way up and Greens way way down into threshold territory.

This poll was conducted 12-16 August so after the Green crisis,

The last poll was taken 22-27 July 2017, before Ardern took over and before Turei stepped down.

  • Don’t know 9%
  • Refused 4% (down from 11)

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Bill English 30% (up from 28)
  • Jacinda Ardern 30% (up from 6)
  • Winston Peters 5% (down from 10)
  • Andrew who?

These are rounded results, full results usually take a few days to become available.

 

Climate change – the biggest story of our time?

Climate change may end up being the biggest story of our time, or at least of the 21st century, if mad mad leaders don’t destroy us all first.

Climate change is the biggest story on any editor’s newslist right now. Legendary environmentalist David Suzuki wants journalists to drop covering things like the Dow Jones, and focus all their attention on climate change.

But it’s one of the hardest stories to tell. It’s a scientific slow burn, wrapped in politics and vested interests, surrounded by visions of a firey apocalypse. It’s full of numbers and data and uncertainty. Journalism has never had a more important or difficult task.

The Spinoff caught up with five Kiwi journalists dedicated to climate change, about the challenges and rewards of covering this massive story. They discussed why it’s such an important moment for climate coverage, how to tell the story, and what they hope their journalism will achieve.

One of them, Veronika Meduna:

Even though climate change is one of the biggest issues that will affect all aspects of our lives, it is a slow-burning emergency. It’s a long-term issue, it’s complicated, it’s threatening, there are a lot of vested interests, and it’s calling for a significant change in behaviour. None of this makes it an easy story to tell.

Climate change stories are up against human psychology, which makes us resist change and care less about less imminent dangers. They are also up against intentional smokescreens and cherry-picking of data, intense lobbying and straight denial.

 

 

On advocating and apologising for racism, bigotry, hatred, violence…

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Charlottesville:

“In no way can we accept, apologize for, racism, bigotry, hatred, violence, and those kind of things that too often arise in our country.”

That’s the crux of what has just blown up in the US. Most people get it, including Sessions.

In no way can I accept… racism, bigotry, hatred, violence, and those kind of things that too often arise in comments and are excused and supported on this blog.

Those who continue to run agendas in support of racism, bigotry, hatred, violence, misogyny, racial intolerance, or any other divisive or provocative agendas beyond reasonable debate on political and social issues may have responsibilities imposed on them if they can’t take hints and act responsibly themselves.

Parliament’s winners and losers

Audrey Young on This term’s winners and losers as Parliament winds up for the election

Winners

Chris Finlayson…

…has been a highly productive minister, getting 16 treaty settlement bills passed in the Parliament this term, out of 287 passed altogether.

Judith Collins…

…can be classed a winner…she has been on her best behaviour, showing no outward signs of ambition (other than a faux challenge of English for the leadership) and has applied her bent for populism to tax issues.

Julie Anne Genter…

…has enhanced her reputation, needling away daily at Simon Bridges on transport, which earned a promotion from No 8 on the party list to No 3

Marama Fox…

…began the term as a new MP and with huge shoes to fill as co-leader, replacing Tariana Turia. She has well and truly been noticed, with a larger than life personality, and her willingness to work with Opposition parties.

Chris Bishop…

…has been one of the outstanding backbenchers.

Michael Wood…

…has been an impressive figure in Labour’s backbench after winning the Mt Roskill byelection in December.

Losers

The failures this term, especially in the past few weeks, have been pronounced with the resignation of two party leaders, Andrew Little as Labour leader and Metiria Turei as Green co-leader.

Andrew Little’s…

…failure to connect with voters had such as impact on support that he stood to lose his own list seat.

Todd Barclay…

…trashed his own career…

Chris Hipkins…

…has damaged his credibility by claiming to have asked questions about New Zealand citizenship to minister Peter Dunne (one of the 42, 239 written questions) without knowing anything about Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Winners and Losers

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman…

…did a great job in getting the Cabinet to support the historic $2 billion pay equity settlement for aged-care and support workers.

But health has started to become a problem area for the Government this year and Coleman’s combative style has been a hindrance, not a help.

Nick Smith…

…has a grasp for detail but no longer for politics. He has trashed his reputation on a series of housing and environmental issues this term.

Sue Moroney…

…made a big impact as a Labour backbencher, particularly in paid parental leave, but failed to build sufficient relationships in her own party to retain a winnable list position.

Bill English…

…originally claiming he didn’t know who had told him that Barclay had recorded his electorate agent.

Young didn’t mention it but English won the top prize, Prime Minister.

Trump’s ugliness – Charlottesville and after

What happened in Charlottesville last weekend looked ugly. Protesters congregated from around the country, many of them representing ugly and extreme views. Ugliness and extremes were on display. Counter protesters stood up against this, and there was no doubt some ugliness from some of them too, but the focus was rightly on the ugly right.

Many looked to President Trump for some appropriate condemnation. He disappointed for two days. This may have been in part because the ugly right have championed Trump, and in Charlottesville they cheered Trump.

Eventually Trump read a statement condemning the ugly right. It sounded like a carefully constructed statement, delivered without conviction.

The next day Trump reverted to type in an impromptu media conference. He swung back to defending his adoring ugly supporters and spreading the blame. He disappointed many people across the political spectrum. He was cheered by David Duke, ex leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

One disturbing aspect was Trump’s use of terminology repeated often online by those promoting white ‘supremacy’ and trashing anyone deemed different in race or religion.

Trump stirred up an ugliness that has long been in America. This ugliness has voted for him and applauded him, and he has effectively applauded this ugliness back.

RCP: A Defiant Trump’s Combative Homecoming

Donald Trump returned to his famed Fifth Avenue home this week, outwardly unchanged by the past seven months at the White House or the weight of the presidency.

Appearing at Trump Tower for the first time since taking the oath of office, the president rejected calls from within his own party and administration to reset his tone in the wake of a violent white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., and instead dug in his heels in vintage fashion.

During an impromptu press conference in the marbled lobby of his Manhattan property, flanked by members of his Cabinet, Trump defended his original statement on the protests—re-reading it from a paper he pulled from his blazer pocket–and criticized the “alt-left” and “very, very violent” groups that ran counter-demonstrations in Virginia. The president condemned neo-Nazis who organized the weekend protest, but argued there were some “very fine people” who came to the rally simply to protest the city’s planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The president’s frustration with the bipartisan political pressure he faced on his response to Charlottesville was palpable. Earlier in the day, Trump lambasted chief executives who resigned from his manufacturing council in protest of the president’s handling of the weekend’s events. The previous evening, he blamed the media for the way in which his more pointed Monday comments were received. And so, the president dismissed the advice and counsel of his staff who aimed to refocus the nation’s attention on the agenda, and instead embraced his comfort with combat and impulse. New chief of staff John Kelly stood nearby, arms folded and head down.

Trump blasted the press for not covering the counter-protesters, a minority of whom represented the anti-fascist “Antifa” group that has engaged in violence and vandalism, in the same way as the white nationalist organizers. “I only tell you this, there are two sides to a story,” Trump told reporters. “I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment. But there are two sides.”

And with that, the president erased any goodwill he established with both liberal and conservative critics with his statement from the White House the previous day, in which he singled out the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists after coming under fire for initially arguing there were “many sides” of violence in Charlottesville.

Concerns about Trump’s pandering to the ugly right have been expressed from elsewhere on the right.

While the president had previously echoed some of the grievances of the GOP base, his unplanned press conference garnered little support. Several Republican lawmakers quickly came out to out to counter Trump’s remarks. “White supremacyis repulsive,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “There can be no moral ambiguity.”

Kansas’ Jerry Moran, a red state senator who once chaired the party committee focused on getting Republicans elected to the Senate, called out the president specifically. “No one — especially POTUS — should ever tolerate” white supremacy, bigotry and racism.

In a series of tweets, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio raised concerns the president’s statements would further fuel hate groups. “Mr. President, you can’t allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame,” he wrote. “The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win.”

But pointedly…

David Duke, former KKK grand wizard, applauded the president’s remarks.

The ugly right may be all Trump has left to applaud him.

NY Daily News: Both Bush Presidents, McConnell horrified by Trump’s Charlottesville response: ‘There are no good neo-Nazis’ 

The only two living Republican ex-Presidents joined a growing chorus of conservatives criticizing President Trump’s Charlottesville response and denouncing extremism.

“America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred in all forms,” former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush said in a joint statement Wednesday.

In offering prayers for the Virginia city, the politicians invoked its most “prominent citizen,” Thomas Jefferson, quoting his words in the Declaration of Independence: “We are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — responding to Trump defending Charlottesville white nationalist protesters as “fine people” — emphasized “there are no good neo-Nazis.”

NY Post: Trump’s horrifying ‘take three’ on Charlottesville

On Tuesday afternoon, we learned yet again that the president of the United States is against neo-Nazis, which is nice. They’re “very rough,” he said at an impromptu Trump Tower press conference — by which he likely meant some of the people he saw on TV in Charlottesville this past Saturday had beards and leather jackets and swastika tattoos and were overweight.

The night before, by contrast, Trump said there had been some “very good people” rallying with “a permit” by a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville. Maybe he thought so because the photographs we all saw showed clean-cut young men in Polo shirts and Dockers.

The rest of us also saw them engaging in Nazi salutes and carrying torches.

Those images seem to have eluded the president.

Trump did not note that they were not locals with aesthetic concerns but rather had been summoned from all over the country under the slogan “Unite the Right.”

The ad promoting the “Unite the Right” rally, which ran on far-right websites all week, did not even mention the statue. It was designed to evoke a fascist poster with birds similar to the Nazi eagle in the sky over the marchers and Confederate flags taking the place of swastikas.

It invited people to join speakers like Mike Enoch, who hosts a podcast called “The Daily Shoah.” And Augustus Invictus, an alt-right figure who once said, “I have prophesied for years that I was born for a Great War; that if I did not witness the coming of the Second American Civil War I would begin it myself.” And Christopher Cantwell, who calls himself a “fascist,” along with Johnny Monoxide, who just labels himself “fashy.” And Michael Hill, an ex-professor who said, in 2015, “Never underestimate the perfidy of the organized Jew.” And Matt Heimbach, who says only 27,000 Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

The march’s own organizer, Jason Kessler, described the view of those who wanted to move the statue thus: “You don’t give a damn about white people. You people are implementing policies which are displacing us in our home countries, and we will not be allowed to survive.”

As David French writes, “When Trump carves [the alt-right] away from the Nazis and distinguishes them from the neo-Confederates, he’s doing exactly what they want. He’s making them respectable. He’s making them different.”

This has been ugly from America’s right, and it has been ugly from Trump.

Even Fox sees this.

WSJ:  Trump Loses Corporate America

There is no point in taking brickbats for a president who does not deliver.

Mr. Trump’s administration is turning out not to be the administration they were hoping for, though probably the one they realistically expected.

Especially he has not made headway on corporate taxes—the issue that bought him whatever benefit of the doubt America’s CEO class was willing to give him.

Now a handful are fleeing his advisory council because he didn’t say the right words over Charlottesville, or didn’t say them quickly enough. This is big news because the media can’t get enough Trump. He insists on making himself the lightning rod. That’s one problem.

If the president or a scraggly someone close to him in the West Wing is soft on white supremacists because he thinks these groups are a vital bloc, this would be the miscalculation of the century. Their adherents couldn’t swing a race for dogcatcher. It is precisely the left’s fantasy of the right that these people constitute a useful electoral base.

None of the departing CEOs likely believe Mr. Trump is a white supremacist or Nazi sympathizer. They just see no upside to being associated with him.

The Charlottesville protests, which included an attack by vehicle that killed one person and injured many others (similar looking attacks in Europe have been called terrorism), has looked ugly, and Trump’s response has been uneven and increasingly ugly.

It looks like Trump is becoming toxic to Republicans, and toxic to corporate America.

And with Trump remaining defiant it is likely to get uglier.

General chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Try it here. Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.