Media continue pressure on National but they are scrutinised as well

Media continue to pile pressure on the National Party over their handling of emails leaked by Michelle Boag.

Boag has already resigned from the party and withdrawn from being involved in Nikki Kaye’s electorate campaign, and MP Hamish Walker has pulled the plug on his political career after admitting forwarding private information about Covid cases to media.

But the weekend is full on trying to find something else to dump on National.

Kaye fronted up on Q+A – 1 News chose an uncomplimentary photo.

This is a common way media try to convey something about politicians.

Jack Tame also said that while Kaye looked genuine in denying knowing about the leaks from Boag ‘it still looked very suspicious she didn’t know’.  Why? Either they take her word for it, or find evidence she wasn’t being truthful. Politicians have enough problems when they don’t look genuine, but saying ‘she looked genuine but…’ is bordering on dirty politics.

In contrast, the Spinoff was more kind with it’s photo selection:

Political leaks are frequently used by media. In this case they are distancing themselves, but questions are also being asked about the media involvement.

Mediawatch (RNZ): Walkergate revives Dirty Politics vibes (audio):

A universally-condemned leak of Covid-19 patients’ personal data for political purposes prompted the media to ask if ‘Dirty Politics’ was back – or had ever gone away in the first place.  But just like Nicky Hager’s book in 2014, this episode also raised questions about the media’s handling of the leak itself.

Dirty politics worked and works because the media amplified political attacks, often from leaks.

Winston Peters “we took the photos” used in ‘dirty politics’ post at The BFD

It’s seemed obvious since before the last election that there were some sort of arrangements between NZ First and Whale Oil.  The replacement The BFD has been increasingly being used as a shill and dirty politics attack medium for Peters and NZ First.

Winston Peters now seems to have admitted “we took the photos” used in a recent post at The BFD that tried to discredit RNZ after the revealed details of NZ First Foundation donations.

RNZ – Winston Peters on photos of reporters: ‘We took the photographs’

NZ First Leader Winston Peters says he was involved in having photographs taken of RNZ journalist Guyon Espiner, Stuff reporter Matt Shand and former NZ First president Lester Gray.

The photographs, and a video, were posted on The BFD, a Whale Oil-linked website which has been running stories defending New Zealand First and trying to belittle reporting about the NZ First Foundation donations.

The photos ran with an article criticising the reporting, which Espiner and Shand have both been involved in.

The deputy prime minister has said two reporters were photographed going to a meeting with Gray “to prove that was the sort of behaviour going on”.

When the photographs were raised with him by Magic Talk Radio, Peters said “we took the photographs”.

The photographs were shown on this post – REVEALED: Source Behind RNZ Hit Job by Guyon Espiner

Which states:

The BFD. Lester Gray and Guyon Espiner. Photo supplied.

We have even obtained video of it: Lester Gray and Guyon Espiner from The BFD on Vimeo.

It would be good if the media now investigate who is operating as Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary at The BFD, and whether any business or financial arrangements are involved. And whether there is any association with the NZ First Foundation.


UPDATE

One News:  ‘No interest’ – Winston Peters backtracks on photos taken of journalists investigating NZ First Foundation

During an interview with Magic Talk Radio this week, Mr Peters discussed the photographs.

When it was raised to him, he responded: “We took the photograph just to prove that that’s the kind of behaviour going on.”

But tonight, after the RNZ story was published online, Mr Peters distanced the party from the photographs.

“In response to media inquiries, I can confirm that NZF has no interest in following Guyon Espiner or any other journalists. In fact, the very reverse applies,” he told 1 NEWS.

“No private investigators have been engaged to follow Mr Espiner or anyone else.

“A supporter did think it odd when they saw ex-president Lester Grey with Mr Espiner so took a photo. Simple as that.”

But it isn’t that simple. There was also a video taken.

And then the “supporter” seems to have passed the photos and video on – to the party ending up at The BFD in a dirty politics style post.

 

Trash and trashing – #turnardern and nasty politics

Since Jacinda Ardern became Prime Minister there has been ongoing petty and nasty attacks against her, from calling her names she had once been reported to not like to making derogatory animal references and running campaigns against her ability to be a PM and mother at the same time.

This has been prevalent in social media like  Twitter and Facebook, and is also very evident on right leaning blogs like Kiwiblog and The BFD.

This isn’t new in politics. John Key was subjected to a barrage of similar type attacks and snarkiness, except for being a father and PM, also in social media and blogs like The Standard.

I have seen a sustained petty and nasty campaign against Ardern by a bunch of numpties on Twitter. This reflected poorly on right wing politics, because that is what this group were seen to be a part of.

Recently and somewhat ironically this group started a relatively lame ‘protest’ that moved off Twitter and into real life. They started to turn magazines and books that featured Ardern in bookshops to hide her and the cover. It just seemed like more silly antics, until NZ Herald took it mainstream, revealing both the campaign and the identity of the ‘team leader’ to a much wider audience (albeit in the quiet Christmas period).

NZH (21 December):  The mystery man leading the bizarre online #turnardern campaign against Jacinda Ardern

The numpties seemed to enjoy the publicity, thinking it added some sort of weight and credibility to their antics.

Their right to conduct a harmless protest was supported by some – that’s something I agree with. I doubt they harmed book and magazine sales, in fact they were more likely to more draw attention to publications featuring Ardern.

But their petty nasty campaign provoked a nastier reaction, which has reflected very poorly on the left of politics, with doxxing and death threats being the worst of it.

Ani O’Brien (Stuff): Turn down the hysterics on #TurnArdern, or risk alienating many on the Left

In the last few weeks, a small group of Kiwis led by a 66-year-old Christchurch man has been quietly turning around books and magazines featuring our Prime Minister in stores around the country.

They contend that she spends for too much time on photoshoots and fluff pieces and not enough time working on the eradication of child poverty, homelessness, and the housing crisis.

Fair enough, right? We don’t necessarily have to agree with this, but good on them for peacefully demonstrating their political discontent with our Prime Minister and her Government.

The book turning campaign itself wasn’t a big deal but this group have a sustained record of nastiness on Twitter, so #turnardern shouldn’t be judged in isolation.

What should have been a flash-in-the-pan, barely noticed protest has now made not only national headlines but it has also been featured in international press.

This is thanks to the characteristically hysterical response of the increasingly militant and intolerant section of the Left who are determined to attribute the most horrendous of social crimes to anyone who holds opinions contrary to theirs.

The founder of the #TurnArdern movement has had his private and business information published online, been threatened, and – along with all who have participated – been labelled a misogynist, racist, white supremacist extremist.

Now, I do not know the people involved with the protest, but as far as I can tell turning books around is about as benign as political objection can get.

On it’s own it was benign, but because it was associated with years of snarkiness and nastiness it should be seen in a wider context.

It is also reminiscent of those who hid books about John Key when he was Prime Minister and if I recall they were not labelled anything other than ‘petty’ by their political opponents.

Again, this gutter level of politics isn’t new, it has been hap;ping for a long time – Helen Clark was also subjected to many nasty attacks (and still is).

The intolerant Leftists call the action a dog-whistle to more sinister motives. But it is their hyperbolic response that is a dog whistle to an increasing determination by the chattering classes to police political opinion, speech, and even thought.

Evident in the way angry tweets and reports about #TurnArdern almost always reference its founder’s working class job, the New Zealand hard-Left seem determined to uncritically follow the road to opposition that their counterparts took in Australia, the US, and – most recently – the UK.

The Left – of which I reluctantly remain a part – must reflect on to what extent the new values and rhetoric they’re espousing are no longer compatible with those who have been their core voters.

Politicians on the Left must be aware that parroting the neo-academic liberalism of their pals on Twitter will inevitably alienate those for whom economic stability and traditional values are most important.

If we learn one thing from our international counterparts it should be that you cannot spend election year insulting the working class and calling them bigots and then expect them to turn around and vote for you.

Intolerant leftists – here in Aotearoa that is largely Labour and Green supporters – are causing problems for the parties they are trying to boost by booing at the other side of politics. It looks ugly and it is ugly.

Intolerant righties cause similar problems for right leaning parties, here mainly National. It may be worse at the moment with Simon Bridges seemingly intent on dog whistling to the right, and moving National to the right (perceptively at least).

While there is little new in political animosity, intolerance and nastiness biggest loser here is democracy. This sort of bad behaviour excites those who are active in politics, both positively and negatively, but it tends to turn off ordinary voters who tend to see political nastiness as a whole dirty stain rather than one colour or another.

Political trash trashing others is a very poor reflection on politics and wider society.


Unfortunately at this time in politics nastiness and lying is getting a lot of an airing via the Political Trasher in Chief, Donald Trump, who sets a very poor example for a supposed world leader – he is probably the most divisive force in politics,

‘Dirty politics’ and NZ First financial issues

It looks like ‘dirty politics’ is back, with Winston Peters repeating insinuations made a number of times on Whale Oil 2.0 (The BFD) that look like trying to discredit an ex-NZ First official who has become a whistleblower.

On Wednesday at The BFD: Lester Gray & Nick Smith Playing Games with Parliamentary Processes

Lester Gray is using National MP Nick Smith to continue his wonky jihad against NZ First and now they are wanting to use parliamentary processes to try and destroy the party that Gray used to be the president of. Nick Smith seems intent on provoking the substantial lawsuit that is hanging over his head by continuing his own jihad against NZ First.

Smith went public revealing multi million dollar legal threat made against him by NZ First lawyer Brian Henry – see Brian Henry threatens Nick Smith and Guyon Espiner damages claim “as high as $30,000,000.00”.

‘Cameron Slater’/Whale Oil used too throw around legal threats (which turned out badly for Slater), but the Slater influence seems to have crept in to The BFD, which appears to have been set up to avoid court and liquidator actions.

Word has it that NZ First are relishing Lester Gray and Colin Forster trying this on.

We have it on good authority that some of the likely questions the select committee may ask will be as follows:

1. Why did Gray resign rather than go through the judicial process over his bullying of other party members?
2. Why is Forster complaining now? Is it because he was voted out of his position by the party?
3. What has NZ First done to support those bullied by Gray?
4. Why won’t Gray & Forster face NZ First MPs in a select committee?
5. What is Gray’s mental health condition and why did he request NZ First not comment on it, and does he believe that he should be questioned about it now he has demonstrated he is fit to appear before the select committee?

They don’t seem to have thought this through. Labour and the Greens will hammer hell out of them at the select committee even if NZ First does not have any MPs present. Those questions may prove rather detrimental to any barrow they are trying to push.

That is posted under the author ‘SB’ (Spanish Bride/Juana Atkins) but looks to me like same old ‘Cameron Slater’/Whale Oil style dirty politics.

This is part bullshit. From “Word has it that NZ First” it looks like The BFD is straight out shilling for NZ First – are they being paid for this?

“We have it on good authority that some of the likely questions the select committee may ask” sounds like bull, unless NZ First were going to tell Labour MPs on the select committee what dirty ‘attack the messenger’ questions to ask.  That’s unlikely – the Labour MPs blocked Gray and Forster from appearing before the committee anyway.

This isn’t the first time The BFD has raised “Gray’s mental health condition”.

This hardly seems a coincidence: Winston Peters lashes out at ex-NZ First party officials for request to give evidence

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has accused his former party president Lester Gray of having “mental health problems” – a claim strongly denied by Gray, who has previously raised questions about the party’s finances.

The accusation emerged after National’s electoral law spokesman Nick Smith told Parliament that Labour MPs on the justice select committee refused a request for Gray and former treasurer Colin Forster to appear before it in a private session during their inquiry into the 2017 election.

Peters then suggested outside the House that Gray had mental health issues and it would not have been appropriate for him to give evidence to a select committee.

Ironic that Peters is using ‘mental health’ to try to discredit someone, when it looks to me like NZ First or one of their agents is using Slater’s dirty politics tactics at The BFD.

Smith said it was “appalling the lengths to which the Deputy Prime Minister is going to silence anybody that raises questions”.

Smith may have stepped over a select committee line (but claims not to have):

Labour is thought to be considering a privileges complaint against Smith to the Speaker for revealing closed business of a select committee – although MPs have absolute privilege in the House.

Gray and Forster made their request to appear in the wake of revelations about large donations to the New Zealand First Foundation, which funds party activities from donations that don’t have to be declared.

The pair wrote to the committee last week asking to be heard in its inquiry.

Specifically they cited “the recent serious revelations over the failure to disclose major donations, the significant expenditure on unauthorised campaign activities and the inappropriate running of a separate foundation without proper oversight of elected party officials.”

“The inquiry is a safe place for us to disclose our knowledge of what has taken place.”

Gray resigned in October two weeks before the party convention and according to Stuff, his resignation letter said he was unable to sign off the party accounts.

“I refuse to sign off the 2019 Financial Reports with the information I have been provided,” he wrote.

“As president, the limited exposure I have had to party donations and expenditure leaves me in a vulnerable position.

“This type of operation does not align with my moral and business practice values, and I am therefore not able to support the Party any longer.”

Peters outside the House questioned why Smith wanted to hear Forster and Gray.

“The reality is he wants to hear evidence from somebody who is no longer treasurer of the party and knew nothing about anything because he wasn’t there at the time so why would he be an expert witness on something he could not possibly know anything about?”

Asked about what would be wrong with Lester Gray giving evidence to the justice committee, Peters said: “Lester Gray’s lawyer wrote to me and my board and asked if we would have regard to his current then mental health problems and I have respected that letter and never said a thing about it but we are not going to sit here and take that sort of behavior hereon in.

“In short, if his lawyer pleads with us to give some understanding on his mental health problems, then perhaps the corollary should be that she should not try and think that some select committee because of his present state of mind is the proper place for him to make submissions.”

Someone seems to have provided The BFD with this mental health information some time ago. A post from 21 November: Brian Henry puts Bridges & Smith on Notice

Brian Henry has smacked Simon Bridges and Nick Smith hard, threatening to sue the cowards for smearing him in parliament.

So, Nick Smith is a coward and won’t repeat his allegations outside of parliament. The amount talked about are the direct provable losses that Simon Bridges and Nick Smith have caused Brian Henry because of their false accusations in the house.

That was posted under ‘SB’ but it doesn’t look like normal SB style to me.

Nick Smith also, rather stupidly, continued the attack with Question 9, despite having been informed of the action and then even more stupidly tabled his legal letter in parliament, though with some redactions regarding Lester Gray and the real reasons why he left NZ First.

The BFD has obtained copies of the letters and they are outlined below…

So, now we are starting to find out the real reasons behind the rather sudden departure of Lester Gray from NZ First.

Sources tell us…

There is also the rumour that …

Sounds very much like Slater/WO dirty politics (although the style hints that it may not have been written by Slater either).

…when this was discovered by people close to Lester Gray he suddenly had his “mental health” episode.

It looks to me like someone with close links to NZ First is providing information to if not writing posts for The BFD.

So Dirty Politics appears to be back, this time via NZ First/The BFD but with a lot of similar tactics used by Slater/Whale Oil.

Bridges claims ‘deceit and dirty politics’ – but who did the dirty?

Simon Bridges and National continue to go hard out on the leak of budget information two days before Budget day.

But who is playing dirty here?

RNZ Week in politics: National set the trap and Robertson walked into it

National used the information it found on Treasury’s website to set a trap – and it worked far more effectively than Simon Bridges could have imagined after Gabriel Makhlouf made his “we have been hacked” announcement.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson walked into a trap set by National when he linked the Budget “leak” to illegal hacking.

It was no such thing, and National had known it all along. A simple website search had given the Opposition details of some of the spending in yesterday’s Budget.

At the same time, Mr Bridges was giving a hand-on-heart assurance that National had acted “entirely appropriately” while refusing to say how it had obtained the information.

At that point, National had probably expected the usual response to a leak – condemnation of such behaviour and the announcement of an inquiry.

What it could not have expected was Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf dramatically announcing that his department’s website had been systematically hacked, and that he had called in the police on the advice of the GCSB.

That was a game-changer, and Mr Robertson seized it. “We have contacted the National Party tonight to request that they do not release any further material, given that the Treasury said they have sufficient evidence that indicates the material is a result of a systematic hack and is now subject to a police investigation,” he said.

The implication was obvious – National had either hacked the website or received the information from someone who had. Whoever did it, their actions were illegal.

It turns out what National did wasn’t illegal – but I still think it was highly questionable. They were trying to do a dirty on the Government to grandstand prior to the budget going public.

Mr Bridges raged about unjust smears on his party and accused Mr Makhlouf and Mr Robertson of lying. The Treasury secretary’s position was untenable and Mr Robertson should resign.

He claimed Treasury had quickly discovered the huge chink in its security and had “sat on a lie” while his party was being accused of criminal behaviour.

This leaves some very big questions which have not yet been answered. If Treasury’s IT people knew what had happened, why did Mr Makhlouf go public with his hacking announcement?

Was he misled by his own department, by someone who didn’t want it known that a blunder had been made with the uploading? That’s hard to believe, because it must have been realised that National was going to blow the whistle on the website search.

Did Mr Makhlouf make the decision to call in the police on his own? Mr Robertson says he didn’t know until after the fact, but Mr Bridges rejects that. It’s unthinkable, he says, that a department head would make a call like that without first informing his minister.

The way Mr Bridges sees it, the hacking was a cooked up story to smear National and take the heat off the government and the Treasury.

But the whole thing was cooked up by National in the first place.

Bridges acted offended when accused of hacking, but he hasn’t hesitated accusing Robertson, without any evidence. And he is also accusing Treasury.

RNZ:  Treasury knew there had been no hack on Budget information – National Party leader

The National Party is confident the investigation into Treasury’s claim Budget information had been hacked will prove that Treasury “sat on a lie”.

National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett, who asked the SSC to investigate, said her party would let the inquiry play out but stands by its assertion that Mr Makhlouf mislead New Zealanders.

It has previously said Mr Makhlouf should resign.

Mr Makhlouf says he acted in good faith.

National Party leader Simon Bridges told Morning Report today there were two possible scenarios, and the situation was likely a bit of both.

“You’ve either got bungling incompetence, and I think we can all believe that could well be the situation, or you have some broad form of deceit and … dirty politics.

“And we need to see what’s going on here.”

He said the GCSB told Treasury and the Minister of Finance that there had been no systematic hack, but Treasury came out after this and said there had been.

“The reality of this situation is it’s pretty black and white isn’t it.

So as a result of a deliberate and concerted effort by National to exploit a data vulnerability at Treasury in an attempt to embarrass the Government we now have two inquiries, and National have called on the Minister of Finance and the head of Treasury to resign. It has also jeopardised Makhlouf’s new job in Ireland.

MSN:  Gabriel Makhlouf’s next job at Ireland’s top bank under threat

Irish politicians say they’re concerned New Zealand Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf will become the country’s next Central Bank governor amid the Budget “hack” scandal.

Pearse Doherty, finance spokesperson for left-wing Irish republican party Sinn Féin, told The Irish Times Maklouf should not start his role with the Central Bank until the investigation has concluded.

Doherty said it “wasn’t a small issue”.

“We need to make sure that someone in the highest position in the Central Bank has proper judgement,” he told The Irish Times.

Ireland’s Fianna Fáil party member Michael McGrath has also reportedly sent a letter to the Irish Finance Minister.

“The governor of the Central Bank is one of the most sensitive and important roles in our States,” the letter says.

“It is vital we have full confidence in the holder of the office.”

So National may succeed in ruining Makhlouf’s career. Robertson is unlikely to resign – and I think it would be a disturbing result if he is forced to.

Sure Makhlouf and the Government may not have handled the budget leak well. But this was a dirty politics style hit job by National, serving no positive purpose, and highly questionable as ‘holding the Government to account’.

They would have hoped to cause some embarrassment, and got lucky when it precipitated a shemozzle, leading to two inquiries and careers in jeopardy – not because of the initial problem, but because of how it was mishandled. This is classic negative politics.

For what? Some budget information was publicised two days before it was going to be made public anyway. National well know that budgets are kept secret until announced in Parliament, and there’s good reasons for this.

This sort of thing really puts me off politics – especially off politicians who try to engineer scandals that really has nothing to do with holding to account.

If there wasn’t other things keeping me going here I think I could happily pack up and go and do something else as far from politics as I can get.

This political debacle sets a very poor example. It is a form of bullying – political bullying, where dirty means are employed to cause problems that needn’t happen. Shouldn’t happen.

Another thing that may keep me involved is looking at ways of getting our politicians to set positive examples, and save the hard ball holding to account to when it really matters.

Is there any chance of that? I’m probably wasting my time here.

Treasury refer claimed hacking to police following budget leak

The budget leak publicised by National yesterday has got a lot murkier, with Treasury now saying they have been hacked. The matter has been referred to the police, but Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges is unrepentant for trying to hijack Thursday’s budget announcement.

The leak looks embarrassing for the Government, and also for Treasury, but I think the leak stunt also reflects very poorly on Bridges and National. Bridges has demanded that Minister of Finance Grant Robertson resign over the leak.

1 News: Budget 2019 leaks by National came after Treasury was ‘deliberately and systematically hacked’

Earlier today the National Party leaked what it claimed were highly secretive details of the Government’s wellbeing Budget, due to be delivered on Thursday.

Treasury has confirmed in a statement it was the source of National’s Budget 2019 leaks today after its “systems were deliberately and systematically hacked”.

Confirming the hack this evening Treasury released the following statement:

“Following this morning’s media reports of a potential leak of Budget information, the Treasury has gathered sufficient evidence to indicate that its systems have been deliberately and systematically hacked.

“The Treasury has referred the matter to the Police on the advice of the National Cyber Security Centre.

“The Treasury takes the security of all the information it holds extremely seriously. It has taken immediate steps today to increase the security of all Budget-related information and will be undertaking a full review of information security processes.

“There is no evidence that any personal information held by the Treasury has been subject to this hacking.”

Responding to confirmation of the the hack, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said is a statement:

“This is extremely serious and is now a matter for the Police. We have contacted the National Party tonight to request that they do not release any further material, given that the Treasury said they have sufficient evidence that indicates the material is a result of a systematic hack and is now subject to a Police investigation.”

But Bridges continued on the attack:

If it turns out that budget documents were hacked from Treasury will Bridges resign for using hacked material to try to undermine the Government?

 

Escalating ‘hate speech’ and fake speech concerns

Claimed hate speech continues to feature in political news in New Zealand, while in the US the growing threat of fake speech – or more accurately, falsifying the appearance of speech, raises concerns about what can be believed from video.

It was always contentious trying to define ‘hate speech’, and differentiate it from acceptable speech someone might hate to hear.  It becomes a real problem when people claim that criticism is some form of hate speech to distract from the criticism and try to turn it into a counter attack.

Stuff: ‘Hate speech’ politics row in Rotorua referred to police

A Mayoral candidate has been accused of age, gender and race-based “hate speech”, prompting a confidential council committee to recommended police involvement.

The political race hate stoush is brewing in Rotorua, with councillor Tania Tapsell branding online comments made by Mayoral candidate Reynold​ Macpherson as “totally unacceptable”.

The row centres on an online post made by Macpherson on the Facebook page of the Rotorua District Residents & Ratepayers’ (RDRR) lobby group on May 14.

The post, a response to a video in which Tapsell encourages more young people to stand for council, is entitled “Beware the charismatic pitch of the Pied Piper”.

“He has referenced me as a Pied Piper who lures away vermin and children and this level of hate speech is totally unacceptable,” Tapsell said.

She said the decision to refer the post to police was made by a confidential council committee, and while not at her request, she believes that “given the risk of harm to myself and others that was the right decision”.

“Charismatic pitch of the Pied Piper” doesn’t sound anywhere near close to hate speech to me. It could even be seen as a compliment. ‘Charismatic’ is a positive term.

I’m surprised Tapsell has belayed it as hate speech.

I’m astounded ‘a confidential council committee’ has referred it to the police, unless there is more to this that I am not seeing.

Tapsell, of Te Arawa and Tainui ancestry, also cited “verbal and physical threats” from members of the RDRR, and their opposition to Māori participation in council decision making through the now established Te Tatau o Te Arawa board.

“This post was just one example of his many age,gender and race-based attacks on council members,” she said.

“His rants have gone too far so I’m standing up for all the people who have been offended by his hate speech.”

A Rotorua Lakes Council spokesperson confirmed to Stuff that a complaint had been forwarded to police, “and it is now in their hands”

I don”t see anything age, gender or race-based in the Pied Piper comment. If this comes to anything with the police then our democracy is at risk.

Fake speech

A real concern for the present and future is fake speech – concocted video or audio misrepresenting what was said or how something was said. An example has flared up in the US.

Here yesterday David showed that people have been successfully fooled:

Listen to Pelosi live she literally sounds like she has had a brain injury at worst but certainly well past her use by date. Just as well she is a Democrat so the media dont say anything.

Donald Trump had given authenticity (to those who believe anything he promotes) to a video clip of Nancy Pelosi.

But this is dirty politics. Fox News: Manipulated videos of Nancy Pelosi edited to falsely depict her as drunk spread on social media

Numerous doctored video clips of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, are spreading on social media, deceptively portraying her as if she were intoxicated.

A three-minute clip of Pelosi speaking event with the Center for American Progress from Wednesday was uploaded on Facebook by a group called “Politics WatchDog” was viewed over 1.8 million times with nearly 40,000 shares. The video shows her frequently slurring her words and her voice sounding garbled. Copies of the clip had also been found on Twitter and YouTube, which the latter had removed.

According to a report from The Washington Post, experts believed the original video was slowed down to 75 percent from the original speed and that her pitch was also manipulated in order to present her under the influence.

Computer science and digital forensics expert Berkeley Hany Farid said there was “no question” the video had been tampered with.

“It is striking that such a simple manipulation can be so effective and believable to some,” he told the Washington Post.

Both Speaker Pelosi and President Trump have exchanged brutal insults at each other on Thursday. Pelosi expressed that she was “concerned” about the president’s “well-being.” Trump shot back, calling her a “mess” and claimed she was “disintegrating.”

Was the video created to attack Pelosi specifically in this stoush?

These days a deceit travels around the world very rapidly, and while it can eventually be debunked the damage can’t easily be undone. Snopes:

On 24 May 2019, a manipulated video that supposedly showed U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drunkenly slurring her speech was widely shared on social media. One version of the post that the Facebook page “Politics Watchdog” shared was viewed millions of times.

It will still be circulating, and is likely to still be promoted even though it has been proven to be fake video.

This doctored video was shared by thousands of users on social media, including by Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s counsel, with the caption: “What is wrong with Nancy Pelosi? Her speech pattern is bizarre.” (Giuliani’s tweet has since been deleted.)

Actually Trump’s tweet referred to a second doctored video.

This second video was not doctored in the same overt manner as the slurred-speech footage. Rather, this clip was created by selectively picking a few brief moments in which Pelosi paused or stumbled (totaling about 30 seconds) while answering questions from reporters, and then cobbled them together to give the impression that Pelosi was “stammering” through her news conference.

And Trump’s tweet has not been deleted.

Misrepresenting opponents via doctored video is not new, it has been happening for a long time. But improved video and animation technology, and the speed with which fake speech can be circulated, raises the risks of dirty politics of this type being used more.

So we have contrasting situations where some relatively benign speech is claimed to be far worse than it is. The ‘hate speech’ label has become a form of counter attack, and is itself a threat to free speech when it is used to try to discredit or deter free and open speech communications.

On the other hand there are real risks from doctored speech being used more as it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate it from the authentic and real speech.

That this thing has been done before is no excuse for it being done on an increasingly sophisticated and rapid manner.

Slater threatens to continue Ross attacks on National

A hope that Cameroon Slater gets a chance to step back and reflect on what has been a tumultuous week for Jami-Lee Ross, whose attacks on Simon Bridges and National led to him being sectioned into mental health care.

In the heat of the moment yesterday Slater threatened to continue attacks on National this week. This could put his own situation under further stress.

Slater:

Not after developments today, where it will come out that he ignored medical advice and hounded a man to make an attempt on his life. He’s done, and I will make sure he never leads anything ever again,Paula Bennett is toast too.

Stop being heartless. It is very serious, i have been working on this since the early hours of the morning. I am rather humourless after finding out what I have found out about how National ignored medical warnings. So by all means joke about mental health but you won’t stay long.

They are. They are callous. They will do whatever it takes to stop him revealing all their rooting

It was never ‘rooting’ that was the problem. It was alleged harassment.

That disgusted me utterly knowing a few more details than what they are letting on.

Bridges and Bennett were well aware of the issues and implications and yet both decided to throw Ross under the bus. Moreover they lied about what they knew when and in fact orchestrated the Newsroom story with at least on of the first four being inveigled by Bennett more than a week before the hit job ran.

They very nearly had blood on their hands.

Watch what comes out over coming days.

It got very ugly when Ross was under extreme pressure. Slater could continue that ugliness in attempted retribution.

The part he has played in the attacks on Bridges, Bennett, Goodfellow and National is unknown, but now he has shown he is closely involved with Ross in the weekend at least there is a risk he will replicate the self destruction.

People who have been supporters and associates of Slater in the past appear aghast at what unfolded over the last week. Slater could isolate himself even more.

Slater has made it clear since ‘Dirty Politics’ broke in 2014 that he holds a major grudge against National, against John Key, Bill English, Paula Bennett and since he became leader, Simon Bridges.

He has given indications over the last few days that he wants them and National trashed. He risks further trashing what reputation he may have remaining, and potentially, like Ross, his own health.

I hope Slater is getting good support, and also good advice. Whether he can heed good advice is another matter.


Update: in a new post this morning Slater has confirmed what I think he had denied – that he has been working “to help Jami-Lee Ross” – National’s hit job puts JLR into care

Yesterday was a rather stressful day for me. I and a good friend have been working constantly over the last few days to help Jami-Lee Ross, who was to us clearly in distress. On Saturday night things took a turn for the worse and we received a text message at 0400 that indicated he was in care and not by choice.

National has zero concerns, they were told what might happen and they went ahead anyway. They had the hit locked and loaded.

The truth will come out. There are too many moving parts for it not to come out and people are going to be appalled. Not all those stories are true, they just used the #MeToo smearbook to get Jami-Lee Ross.

Slater then makes some allegations and insinuations.

That doesn’t pass the sniff test. What we have witnessed here is a continuation of the nasty way in which National rinses someone that is a risk to the leadership. It goes back years.

Right now I am more concerned about my friend who is hurting.

Other media are following the trail of destruction that the leadership of the National party has overseen. Let’s hope that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant. I’m just picking up the information from what they are saying and asking me. It seems they are asking the right questions.

Answers from Slater have proven to be unreliable in the past. He has clear destructive motives when it comes to National – much like Ross.

Slater in comments:

I’m also not blaming National for Jami-Lee Ross’s actions. He has to own those. But I do blame National and their leadership for creating the monster. Someone had to reward him for his work, promote him for his work and enable him. Those people were the senior National party leadership from John Key, to Bill English, to Paula Bennett, to Steve Joyce, to Simon Bridges.

He didn’t get to where is is today without enablers.

And:

Nice sentiment, but he didn’t learn his behaviour all by himself. Yes he is responsible for his own actions but his enablers over the years need to also be held to account.

You realise you’ve fallen into the position National want you to. JLR is scum because he did these awful things…nothing to see here…JLR is scum.

They want you to believe this so they can continue sailing on wrecking peoples lives.

This seems highly hypocritical given that Slater and Simon Lusk enabled Ross to win selection for a safe National seat.  And it’s unlikely that’s where their ‘enabling’ ended.

And given both Slater and Lusk being on record as saying they enjoy the thrill of wrecking people’s lives.

Again:

You know not which you speak of. Just wait and watch what happens this week.

Slater seems intent on continue the Ross train wrecking attempt of National.

I wonder how much of Slater’s emotion is due to the failure of the Ross (and possibly Lusk) plan to set bridges up and oust him.

 

Vindictive destructive politics

I’m not going to get into where Simon Bridges or the National Party stands on the issue of donations at this stage – there is still a lack of solid evidence, and the police are looking into it after a visit from Jami-Lee Ross today.

But the overriding sense I get from what Ross has done today is how vindictive, despicable and destructive he appears to be already, with more promised.

‘Dirty Politics’ haas been mentioned, and alongside the apparent involvement of Simon Lusk and the actions of Ross that’s how this looks – an orchestrated assault on Bridges and the National Party.

Ross seems to be trying to claim some moral high ground (after having been involved in what he alleges against Bridges), but his methods and his breach of trust seems to be substantial.

And he seems intent on continuing to keep destroying the party that gave him a political career.

If there genuinely has been corruption and illegal practices in the party then I have no problem with it being exposed, but the way Ross is doing it looks to be as damaging as he can possibly make it.

Does he realise exactly what he is doing? Is he being used by Lusk to split the National party apart? That seems to be the aim.

 

Hager recap on ‘Dirty Politics’

Nicky Hager has recapped what his 2014 Dirty Politics book was about at Newsroom.

Most controversial, the book revealed that prime minister John Key had a full-time dirty tricks person in his office researching and writing nasty attacks on opposing politicians, quietly sent through to Slater to publish as if they were his own.

Slater was genuinely powerful at that time because the media, to which he fed many stories, knew he was friends with Key and justice minister Judith Collins.

Key survived as prime Minister as long as he wanted to, but Collins copped a setback as a result of what Slater called embellishment and has probably had her leadership ambitions severely hobbled by it (Slater keeps promoting her on Whale Oil, reminding people of it to Collins’ detriment).

The book’s subtitle was “How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment.” Does anyone think these aren’t issues deserving sunlight?

This certainly deserved sunlight, and good on Hager for doing that. I have serious concerns about illegal hacking (if that is what actually happened), especially in a political environment, but this was a serious abuse of political and media power that deserved exposure.

‘A boil that needed lancing’

When I decided to research and write about Slater and his associates, I knew I was taking a personal risk. They were well known for personal attacks and smears. They have hurt many people. I expected retaliation.  But I knew what I was taking on and felt strongly that this boil needed lancing.

While Dirty Politics lanced a political boil (in the Prime Minister’s office) and exposed Slater and Whale Oil, rendering them far less effective, it hasn’t stopped them from continuing with attacks and personal smears. Like many others I have been the target of dirty smears and legal attacks since Dirty Politics broke.

That they have been reduced from being a festering boil to being more like cry baby pimples that hasn’t stopped them resorting to dirty attacks. And it ‘is ‘they’ – Slater is aided and abetted on Whale Oil by others, in particular Juana Atkins and Nige who also seem to fucking people over is fair game, for click bait and seemingly for fun. I’m not sure how they sleep easy.

Dirty Politics hasn’t eliminated attack politics, but by exposing some of the worst of it the poisoning New Zealand’s political environment has been reduced. It needs more exposing and more reducing – as well as involving dirty personal attacks dirty politics is an attack on decent democracy.