Turei telling the truth as she saw it

Audrey Young writes that their can be harsh political lessons in telling the truth, and she thinks that Metiria Turei has been taught one, in Harsh lessons about telling truth in politics

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei was telling the truth as she saw it, that in order to improve affordability of housing, house prices needed to fall by up to 50 per cent. She didn’t say they needed to fall fast. In fact she said they needed to fall gradually to prevent a crash.

But she didn’t think it through and Labour was smeared with it, less than two months into the memorandum of understanding between the two parties.

Disregarding the political carelessness of her comments, they also breached the agreement because Labour was not warned in advance that Turei was going to posit such a controversial policy. Andrew Little and John Key seized on them.

You can hear it already: A Green-Labour Government says house values must fall. It is a gift that National will return to no matter what qualification the Greens put around it and no matter how much Labour seeks to distance itself from it.

Little needed to distance himself quickly from the Green policy. The only thing scarier than the prospect of falling house values for a home-owner is a politician with a plan for falling house values – and Labour cannot be associated with that plan.

But it appears to have been a carefully planned announcement by Turei.

The Greens promote themselves as a party of principle and courage.

Turei was attempting to meet the challenge of former National leader Don Brash who told me three weeks ago that politicians of the left and right were terrified of saying house prices had to fall.

She later described her own comments in terms of political courage.

Somebody has to be “brave enough” to talk about cutting house prices so a rational conversation about how to do it could begin.

But…

Turei may have told the truth as she saw it but for someone who has been a party leader for seven years, it was careless and damaging to her party and to Labour.

Stacey Kirk: Labour and the Greens fall out over whether house prices should be cut in half

Just two months later the Greens have thrown a grenade at their cosy little home.

More precisely, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei announced (debatably on the hoof) that her party supported slashing house prices in half to fix the crisis.

Labour leader Andrew Little was never going to agree to this – he’s spent the last however many months repeating the word “stabilisation” like it’s going out of fashion.

To add salt to the wound, the first Little heard of the Greens’ plan to drop house prices to about three or four times the average household income, was when media started calling him asking for his thoughts.

Turei’s random announcement is a serious breach of the MOU – there’s no two ways about it.

What possessed the Greens to put a wedge between the two just as the Opposition was making some headway is anyone’s guess.

LabourGreenSplit

How ‘on-the-hoof’ was Turei’s announcement?

At Dim-Post, on the Notes towards a Red Queen hypothesis of New Zealand politics thread, a claim was repeated that everything the greens decide on has to be agreed to by the membership:

RJL:

The Greens are driven by their membership, so for the Greens to move to the right, their membership would need to utterly change. That is, not going to happen.

But Ximenes responded:

Strange that none of the Greens I know knew anything about the latest policy on driving down house prices. Did that ever go before the Policy section or was it just made up on the hoof? At the latest branch meeting not a single person was aware of the policy.

Turei made it sound like it was a party proposal – Greens want 50% house price drop:

“The Green Party is putting together a plan for how to reduce house prices responsibly and gradually, and that will include making sure people who’ve recently taken out big mortgages to buy a home are safe and secure.

“Nobody, including the Green Party, wants to see the housing market crash and equally nobody thinks the current situation can go on like this.

“Our plan for more affordable housing will include building more houses, a capital gains tax (excluding the family home), and restricting non-resident foreign buyers,” Mrs Turei said.

But she went further on RNZ, clearly saying that Auckland house prices should be deliberately reduced by up to 50 percent over a period of time to make the market affordable again.

Andrew Little and Labour weren’t aware of this Green target, and Little strongly reiterated opposition to any drop in house values.

It appears some of the Green membership was unaware.

Was James Shaw in the Turei loop, or did she decide to go it alone?

She may have been telling the truth as she saw it, but perhaps it wasn’t the Green truth, and it certainly wasn’t the whole truth in respect of the Labour/Green MoU.

The truth is Turei made it look like a Misunderstanding of Unity.

 

The truth, the whole truth

The truth is something a lot of politicians seem to have some difficulty with, especially the whole truth (except for a few politicians who seem to have no difficulty promoting mistruths).

Trade Minister Todd McClay learnt a lesson this week about what can happen about not being up front with the truth.

Audrey Young: Harsh lessons about telling truth in politics

Two politicians found themselves in trouble this week, one for not telling the truth, and the other for telling the truth.

Both were damaging.

Todd McClay’s failure to tell the truth reflects badly on him as Trade Negotiations Minister rather than his party. He has held that job for only six months but he has been a minister for three years.

He mishandled a media story that floated the notion of a trade war by the Chinese Government with New Zealand in retaliation against a possible inquiry into Chinese steel imports. It turns out that he and his officials had had enough information since the end of May to cast doubt on it. But he gave the story legs by denials about the Government then two different admissions as to what he knew and when.

McClay gave answers to questions that may have been technically correct in terms of a Chinese Government trade war but were misleading in terms of what he actually knew about comments made by a Chinese importer.

The Opposition tried to paint the political failings of the minister into a story about the failure of the Government to take threats of a trade war seriously. But the facts did not support the claim. Key himself had been kept in the dark by McClay.

Being publicly castigated by the Prime Minister and forced to apologise will be a lasting blight on his career. If in doubt, tell the truth, the whole truth.

It certainly reflected poorly on McClay, and it also added some taint to National.

I don’t expect we will ever get many politicians prepared to tell the whole truth unless it benefits them, but telling a decent chunk of the truth, and not misleading or telling lies, should be an essential.

The truth is important, even though we can’t expect to always get the whole truth. Nothing but the truth should be a basic minimum of elected representatives.

The biggest left wing blog?

A few days ago The Daily Blog posted a fund raising drive – July Contributions drive – last days

Brothers and Sisters, if you think The Daily Blog is an important voice in the NZ media landscape, then we need your contribution.

The Daily Blog is the largest left wing blog in NZ and you know how dire the mainstream media has become so these few platforms left to fight back at the Government and corporate power are more essential than ever before.

Asking for pocket money from brothers and sisters aside, the largest left wing blog in New Zealand?

Yesterday The Standard made a slightly different claim in Offer to NZLP candidates:

As the most widely read left blog in New Zealand, the Standard is a regular stop for most Labour Party members who spend time online.

Whether the largest or most widely read blog doesn’t really matter, a lot of political discussion happens on other types of forums anyway, especially Facebook.But the two posts highlight the different niches that the blogs are trying to cater for.

The Daily Blog:

Putting together a 5 night a week 7pm current affairs show and co-ordinating 40 of the best left wing progressive voices each month don’t come cheap.

A lot of Bradbury’s and The Daily Blog’s focus is now on Waatea Fifth Estate streamed talk show. It is quite a commitment and a big task rounding up participants for that every week day. It can sometimes be interesting but I doubt whether it makes impact beyond a fairly small audience.

Meanwhile The Standard and Labour have both moved in new directions – more openly campaigning for local body elections.

We think that offers candidates for Labour Party positions a great platform to get their ideas out to members and to debate them. Which is why, with nominations for various significant party positions closing soon, we’re offering candidates the opportunity to provide guest posts ahead of the conference in Auckland this year.

Democracy works best when people know who they’re voting for and the Standard is about democracy. So if you’re planning to stand for a Labour role and you want to speak to thousands of Labour members, contact us via thestandard@gmail.com

We’ll make sure that your post is at the top of the site for at least half a day and will moderate comments.

In the past The Standard has been adamant it represents the ‘labour left’ and not the ‘Labour Party’. Despite this they have dabbled in party politics at times, but is the most hard out Labour campaign approach I have seen there. This looks to be a significant change for both the party and the blog.

Will The Standard offer similar campaign support for Green candidates, especially now that Labour and Greens are promoting themselves as a joint election deal? Or are Greens not labour left enough for them?

There’s an opportunity for attracting more Green blog discussion now that Frog Blog has shut down comments.

Clinton’s acceptance speech

Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination acceptance speech:

Transcript:

Thank you! Thank you for that amazing welcome.

And Chelsea, thank you.

I’m so proud to be your mother and so proud of the woman you’ve become.

Thanks for bringing Marc into our family, and Charlotte and Aidan into the world.

And Bill, that conversation we started in the law library 45 years ago is still going strong. It’s lasted through good times that filled us with joy, and hard times that tested us.

And I’ve even gotten a few words in along the way.

On Tuesday night, I was so happy to see that my Explainer-in-Chief is still on the job.

I’m also grateful to the rest of my family and the friends of a lifetime.

To all of you whose hard work brought us here tonight…

And to those of you who joined our campaign this week.

And what a remarkable week it’s been.

We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton.

And the man of Hope, Barack Obama.

America is stronger because of President Obama’s leadership, and I’m better because of his friendship.

We heard from our terrific vice president, the one-and-only Joe Biden, who spoke from his big heart about our party’s commitment to working people.

First Lady Michelle Obama reminded us that our children are watching, and the president we elect is going to be their president, too.

And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine – you’re soon going to understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him: from city council and mayor, to Governor, and now Senator.

He’ll make the whole country proud as our Vice President.

And… I want to thank Bernie Sanders.

Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.

You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.

And to all of your supporters here and around the country:

I want you to know, I’ve heard you.

Your cause is our cause.

Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion.

That’s the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America.

We wrote it together – now let’s go out there and make it happen together.

My friends, we’ve come to Philadelphia – the birthplace of our nation – because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today.

We all know the story.

But we usually focus on how it turned out – and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all.

When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the King.

Some wanted to stick it to the king, and go their own way.

The revolution hung in the balance.

Then somehow they began listening to each other … compromising … finding common purpose.

And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation. That’s what made it possible to stand up to a King.

That took courage.

They had courage.

Our Founders embraced the enduring truth that we are stronger together.

America is once again at a moment of reckoning.

Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart.

Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.

And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees.

It truly is up to us.

We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.

Our country’s motto is e pluribus unum: out of many, we are one.

Will we stay true to that motto?

Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention.

He wants to divide us – from the rest of the world, and from each other.

He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise.

He’s taken the Republican Party a long way…

from “Morning in America” to “Midnight in America.”

He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.

Well, a great Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than eighty years ago, during a much more perilous time.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against.

But we are not afraid.

We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.

We will not build a wall.

Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one.

And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy!

We will not ban a religion.

We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight terrorism.

There’s a lot of work to do.

Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash.

There’s too much inequality.

Too little social mobility.

Too much paralysis in Washington.

Too many threats at home and abroad.

But just look at the strengths we bring to meet these challenges.

We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world.

We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had.

We have the most powerful military.

The most innovative entrepreneurs.

The most enduring values.Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity.

We should be so proud that these words are associated with us. That when people
hear them – they hear… America.

So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak.

We’re not.

Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes.

We do.

And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says: “I alone can fix it.”

Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland.

And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.

Really?

I alone can fix it?

Isn’t he forgetting?

Troops on the front lines.

Police officers and fire fighters who run toward danger.

Doctors and nurses who care for us.

Teachers who change lives.

Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem.

Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe.

He’s forgetting every last one of us.

Americans don’t say: “I alone can fix it.”

We say: “We’ll fix it together.”

Remember: Our Founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power.

Two hundred and forty years later, we still put our faith in each other.

Look at what happened in Dallas after the assassinations of five brave police officers.

Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them.

And you know how the community responded?

Nearly 500 people applied in just 12 days.

That’s how Americans answer when the call for help goes out.

20 years ago I wrote a book called “It Takes a Village.” A lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that?

This is what I mean.

None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone.

America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger.

I believe that with all my heart.

That’s why “Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history.

It’s not just a slogan for our campaign.

It’s a guiding principle for the country we’ve always been and the future we’re going to build.

A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.

Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter what zip code you live in.

A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach.

Where families are strong… communities are safe…

And yes, love trumps hate.

That’s the country we’re fighting for.

That’s the future we’re working toward…

And so it is with humility. . . determination . . . and boundless confidence in America’s promise… that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!

Now, sometimes the people at this podium are new to the national stage.

As you know, I’m not one of those people.

I’ve been your First Lady. Served 8 years as a Senator from the great State of New York.

I ran for President and lost.

Then I represented all of you as Secretary of State.

But my job titles only tell you what I’ve done.

They don’t tell you why.

The truth is, through all these years of public service, the “service” part has always come easier to me than the “public” part.

I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me.

So let me tell you.

The family I’m from . . . well, no one had their name on big buildings.

My family were builders of a different kind.

Builders in the way most American families are.

They used whatever tools they had – whatever God gave them – and whatever life in America provided – and built better lives and better futures for their kids.

My grandfather worked in the same Scranton lace mill for 50 years.

Because he believed that if he gave everything he had, his children would have a better life than he did.

And he was right.

My dad, Hugh, made it to college. He played football at Penn State and enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor.

When the war was over he started his own small business, printing fabric for draperies.

I remember watching him stand for hours over silk screens.

He wanted to give my brothers and me opportunities he never had.

And he did. My mother, Dorothy, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl. She ended up on her own at 14, working as a house maid.

She was saved by the kindness of others.

Her first grade teacher saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and brought extra food to share.

The lesson she passed on to me years later stuck with me:

No one gets through life alone.

We have to look out for each other and lift each other up.

She made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith:

“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”

I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to-door in New Bedford, Massachusetts on behalf of children with disabilities who were denied the chance
to go to school.

I remember meeting a young girl in a wheelchair on the small back porch of her house.

She told me how badly she wanted to go to school – it just didn’t seem possible.

And I couldn’t stop thinking of my mother and what she went through as a child.

It became clear to me that simply caring is not enough.

To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws.

You need both understanding and action.

So we gathered facts. We built a coalition. And our work helped convince Congress to ensure access to education for all students with disabilities.

It’s a big idea, isn’t it?

Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school.

But how do you make an idea like that real? You do it step-by-step, year-by-year… sometimes even door-by-door.

And my heart just swelled when I saw Anastasia Somoza on this stage, representing millions of young people who – because of those changes to our laws – are able to get an education.

It’s true… I sweat the details of policy – whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs.

Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid – if it’s your family.

It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president.

Over the last three days, you’ve seen some of the people who’ve inspired me.

People who let me into their lives, and became a part of mine.

People like Ryan Moore and Lauren Manning.

They told their stories Tuesday night.

I first met Ryan as a seven-year old.

He was wearing a full body brace that must have weighed forty pounds.

Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed…and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers 8 million kids every year.

Lauren was gravely injured on 9/11.

It was the thought of her, and Debbie St. John, and John Dolan and Joe Sweeney, and all the victims and survivors, that kept me working as hard as I could in the Senate on behalf of 9/11 families, and our first responders who got sick from their time at Ground Zero.

I was still thinking of Lauren, Debbie and all the others ten years later in the White House Situation Room when President Obama made the courageous decision that finally brought Osama bin Laden to justice.

In this campaign, I’ve met so many people who motivate me to keep fighting for change.

And, with your help, I will carry all of your voices and stories with me to the White House.

I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

For the struggling, the striving and the successful.

For those who vote for me and those who don’t.

For all Americans.

Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union:

the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for President.

Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come.

Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between.

Happy for boys and men, too – because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone. When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.

So let’s keep going, until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves.

Because even more important than the history we make tonight, is the history we will write together in the years ahead.

Let’s begin with what we’re going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead.

Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.

Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs. Twenty million more Americans with health insurance. And an auto industry that just had its best year ever. That’s real progress.

But none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. Not by a long shot.

We’re still facing deep-seated problems that developed long before the recession and have stayed with us through the recovery.

I’ve gone around our country talking to working families. And I’ve heard from so many of you who feel like the economy just isn’t working.

Some of you are frustrated – even furious.

And you know what??? You’re right.

It’s not yet working the way it should.

Americans are willing to work – and work hard.

But right now, an awful lot of people feel there is less and less respect for the work they do.

And less respect for them, period.

Democrats are the party of working people.

But we haven’t done a good enough job showing that we get what you’re going through,
and that we’re going to do something about it.

So I want to tell you tonight how we will empower Americans to live better lives.

My primary mission as President will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States…

From my first day in office to my last!

Especially in places that for too long have been left out and left behind.

From our inner cities to our small towns, from Indian Country to Coal Country.

From communities ravaged by addiction to regions hollowed out by plant closures.

And here’s what I believe.

I believe America thrives when the middle class thrives.

I believe that our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should.

That’s why we need to appoint Supreme Court justices who will get money out of politics and expand voting rights, not restrict them. And we’ll pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!

I believe American corporations that have gotten so much from our country should be just as patriotic in return.

Many of them are. But too many aren’t.

It’s wrong to take tax breaks with one hand and give out pink slips with the other.

And I believe Wall Street can never, ever be allowed to wreck Main Street again.

I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.

I believe that when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to kick them out.

Comprehensive immigration reform will grow our economy and keep families together – and it’s the right thing to do.

Whatever party you belong to, or if you belong to no party at all, if you share these beliefs, this is your campaign.

If you believe that companies should share profits with their workers, not pad executive bonuses, join us.

If you believe the minimum wage should be a living wage… and no one working full time should have to raise their children in poverty… join us.

If you believe that every man, woman, and child in America has the right to affordable health care…join us.

If you believe that we should say “no” to unfair trade deals… that we should stand up to China… that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers…join us.

If you believe we should expand Social Security and protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions… join us.

And yes, if you believe that your working mother, wife, sister, or daughter deserves equal pay… join us…

Let’s make sure this economy works for everyone, not just those at the top.

Now, you didn’t hear any of this from Donald Trump at his convention.

He spoke for 70-odd minutes – and I do mean odd.

And he offered zero solutions. But we already know he doesn’t believe these things.

No wonder he doesn’t like talking about his plans.

You might have noticed, I love talking about mine.

In my first 100 days, we will work with both parties to pass the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II.

Jobs in manufacturing, clean energy, technology and innovation, small business, and infrastructure.

If we invest in infrastructure now, we’ll not only create jobs today, but lay the foundation for the jobs of the future.

And we will transform the way we prepare our young people for those jobs.

Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all!

We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.

It’s just not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts, but students and families can’t refinance theirs.

And here’s something we don’t say often enough: College is crucial, but a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job.

We’re going to help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it.

We’re going to give small businesses a boost. Make it easier to get credit. Way too many dreams die in the parking lots of banks.

In America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it.

We’re going to help you balance family and work. And you know what, if fighting for affordable child care and paid family leave is playing the “woman card,” then Deal Me In! (Oh, you’ve heard that one?)

Now, here’s the thing, we’re not only going to make all these investments, we’re going to pay for every single one of them.

And here’s how: Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes.

Not because we resent success. Because when more than 90% of the gains have gone to the top 1%, that’s where the money is.

And if companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we’ll make them pay us back. And we’ll put that money to work where it belongs … creating jobs here at home!

Now I know some of you are sitting at home thinking, well that all sounds pretty good.

But how are you going to get it done? How are you going to break through the gridlock in Washington? Look at my record. I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people. And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President.

But Trump, he’s a businessman. He must know something about the economy.

Well, let’s take a closer look.

In Atlantic City, 60 miles from here, you’ll find contractors and small businesses who lost everything because Donald Trump refused to pay his bills.

People who did the work and needed the money, and didn’t get it – not because he couldn’t pay them, but because he wouldn’t pay them.

That sales pitch he’s making to be your president? Put your faith in him – and you’ll win big? That’s the same sales pitch he made to all those small businesses. Then Trump walked away, and left working people holding the bag.

He also talks a big game about putting America First. Please explain to me what part of America First leads him to make Trump ties in China, not Colorado.

Trump suits in Mexico, not Michigan. Trump furniture in Turkey, not Ohio. Trump picture frames in India, not Wisconsin.

Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again – well, he could start by actually making things in America again.

The choice we face is just as stark when it comes to our national security.

Anyone reading the news can see the threats and turbulence we face.

From Baghdad and Kabul, to Nice and Paris and Brussels, to San Bernardino and Orlando, we’re dealing with determined enemies that must be defeated.

No wonder people are anxious and looking for reassurance. Looking for steady leadership.

You want a leader who understands we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world and care for our veterans here at home. Keeping our nation safe and honoring the people who do it will be my highest priority.

I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.

I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.

I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.

I’ve laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS.

We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen.

We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country.

It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake – we will prevail.

Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do….”

No, Donald, you don’t.

He thinks that he knows more than our military because he claimed our armed forces are “a disaster.”

Well, I’ve had the privilege to work closely with our troops and our veterans for many years, including as a Senator on the Armed Services Committee.

I know how wrong he is. Our military is a national treasure.

We entrust our commander-in-chief to make the hardest decisions our nation faces. Decisions about war and peace. Life and death.

A president should respect the men and women who risk their lives to serve our country – including the sons of Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, both Marines.

Ask yourself: Does Donald Trump have the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief?

Donald Trump can’t even handle the rough-and-tumble of a presidential campaign.

He loses his cool at the slightest provocation. When he’s gotten a tough question from a reporter. When he’s challenged in a debate. When he sees a protestor at a rally.

Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.

I can’t put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men – the ones moved by fear and pride.

America’s strength doesn’t come from lashing out.

Strength relies on smarts, judgment, cool resolve, and the precise and strategic application of power.

That’s the kind of Commander-in-Chief I pledge to be.

And if we’re serious about keeping our country safe, we also can’t afford to have a President who’s in the pocket of the gun lobby.

I’m not here to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

I’m not here to take away your guns.

I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.

We should be working with responsible gun owners to pass common-sense reforms and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and all others who would do us harm.

For decades, people have said this issue was too hard to solve and the politics were too hot to touch.

But I ask you: how can we just stand by and do nothing?

You heard, you saw, family members of people killed by gun violence.

You heard, you saw, family members of police officers killed in the line of duty because they were outgunned by criminals.

I refuse to believe we can’t find common ground here.

We have to heal the divides in our country.

Not just on guns. But on race. Immigration. And more.

That starts with listening to each other. Hearing each other. Trying, as best we can, to walk in each other’s shoes.

So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous and necessary job.

We will reform our criminal justice system from end-to-end, and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

We will defend all our rights – civil rights, human rights and voting rights… women’s rights and workers’ rights… LGBT rights and the rights of people with disabilities!

And we will stand up against mean and divisive rhetoric wherever it comes from.

For the past year, many people made the mistake of laughing off Donald Trump’s comments – excusing him as an entertainer just putting on a show.

They think he couldn’t possibly mean all the horrible things he says – like when he called women “pigs.” Or said that an American judge couldn’t be fair because of his Mexican heritage. Or when he mocks and mimics a reporter with a disability.

Or insults prisoners of war like John McCain -a true hero and patriot who deserves our respect.

At first, I admit, I couldn’t believe he meant it either.

It was just too hard to fathom – that someone who wants to lead our nation could say those things. Could be like that.

But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump…This is it.

And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great – because America is good.

So enough with the bigotry and bombast. Donald Trump’s not offering real change.

He’s offering empty promises. What are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country – to keep you safe, to get you good jobs, and to give your kids the opportunities they deserve.

The choice is clear.

Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger.

None of us can do it alone.

I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we’ll ever pull together again.

But I’m here to tell you tonight – progress is possible.

I know because I’ve seen it in the lives of people across America who get knocked down and get right back up.

And I know it from my own life. More than a few times, I’ve had to pick myself up and get back in the game.

Like so much else, I got this from my mother. She never let me back down from any challenge. When I tried to hide from a neighborhood bully, she literally blocked the door. “Go back out there,” she said.

And she was right. You have to stand up to bullies. You have to keep working to make things better, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.

We lost my mother a few years ago. I miss her every day. And I still hear her voice urging me to keep working, keep fighting for right, no matter what.

That’s what we need to do together as a nation.

Though “we may not live to see the glory,” as the song from the musical Hamilton goes, “let us gladly join the fight.”

Let our legacy be about “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”

That’s why we’re here…not just in this hall, but on this Earth.

The Founders showed us that.

And so have many others since.

They were drawn together by love of country, and the selfless passion to build something better for all who follow.

That is the story of America. And we begin a new chapter tonight.

Yes, the world is watching what we do.

Yes, America’s destiny is ours to choose.

Cosgrove to work for Mayor Goff

Duncan Garner tweeted this morning:

Hat tip; Clayton Cosgrove to work for Phil Goff when he becomes Mayor of Akld. 

I heard that somewhere a while ago too, so maybe this is a thing.

In April Cosgrove announced he wouldn’t stand again at the next election. He lost the Waimakariri electoratein 2011 and has been a list MP since.

RNZ in April: Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove to leave politics

He said he wanted to take on new challenges and opportunities and was looking for opportunities in the business sector. He did not rule out resigning his seat before the election.

Working for a mayor is not in the business sector. Working for an ex-fellow MP sounds like jobs for mates.

I’m not aware of Cosgrove having much of a connection with Auckland.

Lining Cosgrove up alongside Goff makes it look less like the independent bid for the mayoralty that Goff has tried to portray, and more like an attempted Labour Party takeover.

Goff is probably still hot favourite to win the Auckland mayoralty but Goff + Cosgrove gives his opponents more of a shot.

Obama’s pessimistic convention speech

There has been some raving about the greatness of Barack Obama’s speech at the Democrat’s convention.

Like “That was incredible.”

I haven’t seen or heard any of it but haven’t been a fan of much of his speaking in the past.

I’ll watch some of it when I get a chance:

CNN: Barack Obama slams Trump, makes appeal for Hillary Clinton

President Barack Obama made a fervent plea for Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, casting the Democratic nominee as a custodian of his legacy while rejecting Republicans’ message as fostering anger and hate.

In remarks that demonstrated Obama’s lasting appeal to wide swaths of the Democratic Party, the President sought to describe country headed firmly in the right direction, despite the loud protestations otherwise by Donald Trump.

Obama said his former secretary of state is a better qualified candidate than even he or her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had been when they sought office.

“I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America,” Obama said to a roaring crowd — and a belly-laughing Bill Clinton — at the Democratic National Convention.

Even as a pessimistic attitude pervades the presidential campaign, Obama attempted to harness the optimism that propelled him into office eight years ago.

“America is already great,” Obama insisted, rejecting Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” “America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.”

In remarks that defended his own record as a progressive leader as much as they boosted the candidate who could maintain them, Obama argued that two terms of a Democrat weren’t enough to finish the work he started.

“I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands,” Obama said to scattered sighs among the delegates. “My time in this office hasn’t fixed everything; as much as we’ve done, there’s still so much I want to do.”

An army of writers should at least make to content passable.

But Vox: Comparing Obama’s 2004 convention speech and his 2016 convention speech is depressing

 In 2004, a much-younger Barack Obama stepped onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention and gave a speech that literally changed the course of American history.

“There are those who are preparing to divide us,” he said, “the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.”

 

That was the Obama who thrilled an unsuspecting nation. He didn’t have a plan to heal the country. He had an argument that it wasn’t really sick. The impression of division, he said, was the work of “spin masters.” It was “the pundits” who liked “to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states.”

Then there was the Obama of 2008. In four short years, he had shot from state senator to presidential nominee. He had served in Washington. He knew the divisions were real. He had stopped blaming the pundits and spin masters.

Now he sought to convince both sides that the gaps, though real, could be bridged with new thinking, with a spirit of compromise. He warned that “Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past.” He said that what is “lost is our sense of common purpose, and that’s what we have to restore.”

The Obama of 2016 wrapped his speech in the language of hope. “While this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge,” he said, “I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your president, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America.”

But it was not a hopeful speech. Obama no longer suggests our divisions are illusory; he no longer proposes new thinking as a salve for old battles. Tonight, the choice wasn’t merely between red and blue, but between democracy and authoritarianism, between a public servant and a would-be autocrat.

The Obama of 2004 did not think it necessary to say Americans don’t look to be ruled. The Obama of 2008 was happy to say, “I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.” The Obama of 2016 was reduced to warning of “homegrown demagogues” and a “self-declared savior.”

“This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me,” Obama said tonight, “to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s best in us.” Implicit in that cry was that 12 years after Obama gave his inspiring speech in Boston, our politics courses with more cynicism and more fear than ever. Donald Trump is campaigning for president — as of this moment, he is even leading in the polls — by summoning the worst in us.

Obama says he is more optimistic than ever about America’s future, and he may well be. But this was a speech that revealed a deep pessimism about America’s present, and correctly so.

Pessimistic about the present, and pessimistic about future possibilities.

Trump encourages Russian political hacking

The big news in the US campaign is Donald Trump’s encouraging of Russian hackers to further interfere in the US election.

BuzzFeed: Trump Expressly Asks Russia To Hack Clinton’s Emails

Trump denied there was any evidence that Russia was behind the attack, but also said the hacking showed a lack of respect of the US.

“But if it is Russia, it’s really bad for a different reason, because it shows how little respect they have for our country when they would hack into a major party and get everything,” he said, before immediately asking Russia to hack Clinton’s emails.

Just after denying he had colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin to leak Democratic National Committee emails, Donald Trump on Wednesday expressly asked Russia to find “missing” emails belonging to Hillary Clinton.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he told reporters in Doral, Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That will be next.”

That has caused quite a stir.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has responded:

JakeResponsetoTrump

Can this campaign get any more bizarre and outlandish? Probably.

Greens want 50% house price drop

On RNZ this morning Metiria Turei said she supported up to a 50% drop in house prices.

Auckland house prices need to drop 50 percent – Greens

Auckland house prices should be deliberately reduced by up to 50 percent over a period of time to make the market affordable again, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says.

Ms Turei said the only way to reverse that was to slowly bring prices back down to three or four times the median household income.

She told Morning Report the Green Party was considering what timeframe would work without crashing the market and hurting people who already owned homes.

“The only way to prevent a bust, and to protect families in the short and long term is to lay out a comprehensive plan, which means using every comprehensive tool that we’ve got so that we can slowly bring down house prices so that they’re reasonable.”

She backed this up (without the numbers) with this:

Responsible house price reduction needed to avoid bubble bursting

Auckland housing is unaffordable and a responsible Government would have a sensible plan to reduce house prices over time, while protecting families with mortgages, the Green Party said today.

“The simple fact is that housing in Auckland is totally unaffordable and if we don’t take action to bring house prices down, we will have a whole generation of people locked out of ever owning their own home,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“In around 10 to 15 years’ time, we’d like to see families on the median household income buying their first home for about three to four times that income – not 10 times like it costs now.

“I want to be very clear that we are talking about a responsible, carefully managed reduction in house prices over a period of time like 10 to 15 years.

“The Green Party is putting together a plan for how to reduce house prices responsibly and gradually, and that will include making sure people who’ve recently taken out big mortgages to buy a home are safe and secure.

“We know housing isn’t affordable for families now, so the only way to protect people from market instability is to lay out a plan using every tool we’ve got to slowly bring down house prices to a reasonable level.

“Nobody, including the Green Party, wants to see the housing market crash and equally nobody thinks the current situation can go on like this.

“It’s a fundamental part of Kiwi values that people who work hard should be able to afford their own home.

“Our plan for more affordable housing will include building more houses, a capital gains tax (excluding the family home), and restricting non-resident foreign buyers,” Mrs Turei said.

Back to RNZ with Labour’s reaction:

The Auckland Council’s chief economist had suggested bringing prices down to five times the median household income by 2030, she said.

Labour leader Andrew Little said Ms Turei’s declaration that Auckland house prices should be deliberately reduced was irresponsible.

There was no way a Labour-led government would consider the idea, he said.

“We have a very clear plan. It’s not about crashing house prices. It’s about stabilising prices.

“We don’t want to cause undue economic harm to those who – in good faith – have bought homes, entered into mortgages. That’s not a responsible approach.”

Labour and the Greens recently struck a co-operation agreement, including a no-surprises policy.

This seems like a planned announcement by the Greens, and they are likely to have known it would be a bit of a surprise to Labour.

So who is right?

I don’t think a 50% reduction in values is a sound target. Too many risks.

For a start it’s probably impossible to plan house prices over the short term let alone over a decade or two. There are too many factors that are hard to control, and major ones of those are international.

I think if house prices drop by more than  20% it  starts to put recent purchasers at risk of going into negative equity, so dropping much more than that must be highly questionable.

Perhaps there needs to be some middle ground – some drop in values, limiting increases in values by ensuring adequate land supply, and and working more towards raising wages to meet somewhere in the middle.

Ideally. If that were at all possible.

 

Clinton accepts nomination

Unsurprisingly Hillary Clinton has been nominated as the presidential candidate for the Democrats and she has accepted at their convention.

They keep rolling out big guns to talk her up, including husband Bill.

It’s hard to get enthusiastic about her. A majority of Americans don’t trust her.

But she’s got a shot at the big job.

And we only have three months and a bit to go before the US election. Not much can happen in that time.

US politics seems as full of substance as the billion or so balloons they use at their conventions.

North Korea: Trump a wise choice

Reuters reports that a North Korea website praises Donald Trump as “a prescient presidential candidate.

North Korea says Trump isn’t screwy at all, a wise choice for president

North Korea has backed presumptive U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump, with a propaganda website praising him as “a prescient presidential candidate” who can liberate Americans living under daily fear of nuclear attack by the North.

A column carried on Tuesday by DPRK Today, one of the reclusive and dynastic state’s mouthpieces, described Trump as a “wise politician” and the right choice for U.S. voters in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

DPRK Today also said Trump’s suggestion that the United States should pull its troops from South Korea until Seoul pays more was the way to achieve Korean unification.

“It turns out that Trump is not the rough-talking, screwy, ignorant candidate they say he is, but is actually a wise politician and a prescient presidential candidate,” said the column, written by a China-based Korean scholar identified as Han Yong Muk.

I double checked – this is from Reuters, not the Onion.

In the crazy world of modern politics North Korea is not so keen on Hillary Clinton.

It described his most likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, as “thick-headed Hillary” over her proposal to apply the Iran model of wide sanctions to resolve the nuclear weapons issue on the Korean peninsula.

With North Korea and ISIS appearing to be keen on a Trump success and praise of Russia’s Putin from Trump there could be some interesting international relations should Trump become President.

How will Trump see New Zealand? He is totally against the Trans Pacific Partnership so the Kiwi far left may applaud him for that. I wonder what he thinks of us allowing US Navy ship visits on our terms.

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