Philip Lyth versus Key, Slater and Farrar

I see Philip Lyth on Twitter quite often, he seems to be a prolific tweeter. He describes himself there as “Husband, politics junkie, psephologist. Standing Orders.”

Last night he retweeted to a John Key tweet and responded:

Philip Lyth retweeted John Key
Wow John. You lead the party which includes David Farrar & Cameron Slater who dogwhistle Muslims at every chance?

That’s a silly shot at Key, he can’t be held responsible for what all party members do – and I don’t think Slater is even a member of the National Party.

On the accusation Lyth made – it’s certainly easy to get the impression that Slater is a Muslim dogwhistler although his wife ‘Spanish Bride seems to have been doing more anti-Muslim posts lately.

But I’ve been a close observer of Kiwiblog for years and I don’t recall much if any Muslim dog-whsitling from David Farrar (DPF). A quick search shows that DPF doesn’t post very often about Muslim topics.

His last post was in March: Why are so many Australian muslims radicalised?

Stuff reports:

A nightclub bouncer who reportedly became a terror group leader. A man who tweeted a photo of his young son clutching a severed head. A teenager who is believed to have turned suicide bomber, and others suspected of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State movement. All of them, Australian.

The London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence reports that between 100 and 250 Australians have joined Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria. Given Australia’s vast distance from the region and its population of just 24 million, it is a remarkable number. The center estimates that about 100 fighters came from the United States, which has more than 13 times as many people as Australia.

That’s a huge number.

Experts disagree about why the Islamic State group has been so effective recruiting in Australia, which is widely regarded as a multicultural success story, with an economy in an enviable 24th year of continuous growth.

Possible explanations include that some Australian Muslims are poorly integrated with the rest of the country, and that Islamic State recruiters have given Australia particular attention. In addition, the Australian government failed to keep tabs on some citizens who had been radicalized, and moderate Muslims have been put off by some of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments about their community.

It’s pathetic to even suggest that Tony Abbott is the reason. I’m not Abbott’s biggest fan, but the hatred and bias from many sections of the Australian media towards him is appalling.

I think the first explanation is the strongest. For well over a decade there has been a significant radical element who have not integrated. Many senior Muslim clerics in Australia have said appalling things, and use incendiary speech. We’re very fortunate that in NZ we’ve never had this problem. That doesn’t mean that there are not some extreme radicals – just that the senior leadership in NZ is not radical, and in fact very well focused on integration.

That seems like realistic comment and not dog whistling.

Sure the comments at Kiwiblog are often thick with anti-Muslim sentiment, as was the case on this post, starting with:

Odakyu-sen

Duuuh!

Don’t allow people into your country who despise your culture and don’t want to integrate.

wreck1080

Just ban muslims from coming to NZ.

The ones already here will eventually outbreed us all anyway so lets delay the inevitable .

It is too bad we cannot eject the more troublesome ones already here — or can we?

David Garrett:

DPF: How on earth can you say we are very fortunate not have this problem here ? How do you know what is being preached in the several mosques around the country? The little that does leak out is far from reassuring…just yesterday there was a report of some radical being trespassed from the mosque in Avondale, and that person going to the head sharing’s house and telling him “Jihad will start here”…

All that can safely be said is we have seen little outward manifestations of Islamic radicalism here…so far. I’m afraid it’s just a matter of time.

But I think it’s unfair to blame DPF for dog whistling, this is more a result of his very liberal moderation and the fact that a number of extreme right leaning commenters have made Kiwiblog their pulpit.

Muslim bashing occurs on Kiwiblog far more frequently than DPF posts anything related to Islam. There’s virtually a daily dose from Manolo, like yesterday where he posted the first comment on General Debate:

Manolo (16,656 comments) says: 

The daily dose of Islamic love and peace: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/at-least-28-dead-in-suspected-isis-suicide-attack-on-turkish-border-town-live-10401885.html

Manolo started calling me the Mullah of Dunedin a while ago because I didn’t agree with his extreme views.

But this isn’t due to DPF dog whistling, it is due to the principle of free speech exercised at Kiwiblog.

John Drinnan had responded to Lyth’s tweet:

John Drinnan retweeted Philip Lyth

“wogs” is the term du jour.

That’s correct for Whale Oil, try a search their on ‘wog’ and there’s ample evidence.

But Drinnan is not correct regarding Farrar, his last ‘Wog’ post was in 2013 – Wogistan – that was comment on Richard Proctor’s bizarre comments. And that’s it from Kiwiblog.

So I challenged Lyth on his accusation.

Philip Lyth ‏@philiplyth 11h11 hours ago

Philip Lyth retweeted Pete George

Where’s your evidence Pete George is not a troll?

That’s a lame way of avoiding responsibility for a serious accusation against Farrar and directed at Key and National by association.

It looks like Lyth is the dog whistler here.

Philip – if you can make a case that Farrar is a Muslim dog whistler I’ll post it. Otherwise I think a retraction is in order.

Kiwiblog troll

Posted on Kiwiblog:

Quite funny, but not so funny was what prompted it, a series of deliberately provocative and abusive posts over the last few days. This resulted in:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Lucy scares all decent and intelligent people. Her type is behind every religious inspired war, genocide, torture and horror in the world today.

She longs for a past time where she could have tortured mutilated and killed non Catholics with impunity. She is more dark and evil than most people could fathom, but some of us see straight through to her rotten hateful heart.

[DPF: This comment, and many others are unacceptable. This is your seventh strike and a three month suspension. The 10th strike is permanent inclusion. You need to change your style if you want to remain here]

DPF would have meant “The 10th strike is permanent exclusion”, his policy details Strike 10 – permanent ban.

Seems fair enough. Kiwiblog can get quite abusive at times but this is at the extreme end, and it was after repeated abuse by a recidivist – in fact this person was on the receiving end of DPF’s first strike:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:
And that Scott Chris shows you are fundamentally unsuited to make that choice. You are a coward and intellectually dishonest. Your own contributions are worthless dross for those reasons.

But I would allow you to share your brain-farts in total freedom. They make other contributors look good and fill the diversity quota [for the handicapped] at the same time.

[DPF: Thanks for the perfect example of an unacceptable comment. You’re the first person to get a strike under the new regime]

Looking through the strike list shows someone out of control – these are just a handful of the worst examples.

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Scott Chris has pushed the “Report abusive comment” button FIFTY TIMES. What a cowardly wanker.

DPF gives me a strike but sees none of the abuse thrown at me by this, and other, abusive bigots on a daily basis. DPF has form for this sort of thing and his bullshit claims about lack of bias further erode his remaining credibility. The primary reason he demerits me is for my views.

I am out of here folks for good and are closing my account. Though I will pop in to watch KB continue its decline into a fanatical Christian anti-Muslim hate site.

[DPF: And that was strike two. You’re not yet suspended if you change your mind]

Abusing the blog owner is not a good idea, especially when they are trying a new system of trying to tone down the abuse.

Note the statement that they were ‘out of here folks for good ‘. Twelve days later:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

stupidboy, it is you an Lucy supporting the annexation of he Crimea made under the USSR. Not me, not Andre and not Putin.

[DPF: Warning – use his proper monicker]

A day later:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Lucy, I know exactly what you are talking about and I told you exactly that I did not report you. I told you I was kidding.

Are you on the Sherry or something ?

You are not normally this retarded unless you have your god-goggles on.

[DPF: 2nd warning – unacceptable]

Five days later:

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

Padriv Ustoev, in CATHOLIC South America, be-headings are so common they are not even news. Nor are mutilations and torture. All the words most dangerous cities are in CATHOLIC South America.

And sorry folks, impotently down voting and typing troll on your spittle soaked keypad will not change the reality.

[DPF: And that is strike three and a one week suspension]

That toned things down, until a month later.

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Kowtow reaches a new low in race hate baiting.

The attacks on Hindu folk in Auckland is proof that Christian immigration is not compatible with New Zealand values and should be stopped now.

If the Jew does not like it here it can crawl back to its nest in Israel kowtow, surrounded by Muslims ! :lol: (they are Arabs themselves of course)

[DPF: And that is strike 4. Two weeks holiday]

That lesson was more quickly forgotten or ignored.

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

For the newbies, Lucia is a radical Catholic and Nazi apologist. Her view of the churches involvement in the Croatian (and German) Holocaust contradicts the findings of respected holocaust research organisations, eyewitnesses, scholars and the people who admitted what they did. That makes her a holocaust denier.

She will lie and deny facts, refusing to answer questions, to protect her precious church. She runs to DPF to try and get people who expose her banned.

[DPF: And calling someone a Nazi apologist is a good way to get banned. This is Strike 5 and a one month ban.]

A pattern of behaviour and defiance.

Kea (13,924 comments) says:

Yes, I think it is. Right now, I’m not in the mood for calling DPF’s attention to Kea’s comments. However, I’m sure as the days unfold, how I feel will change.

There you go, Kea. Annoy me enough and your own words will condemn you.

What a raging narcissist.

I have wiped better things off the sole of my shoe than a hate filled harpy like you. You are filth. Go fuck yourself.

[DPF: And that is Strike 6, just a day after you are back from Strike 5. That is a two month suspension]

And two and a bit months later was yesterdays ban, which won’t have been a surprise considering the whole day leading up to it in General Debate 19 April 2015.

Kiwiblog steps up

David Farrar has stepped up to a major challenge and is promising improvements at Kiwiblog – see Some changes for Kiwiblog.

Farrar has always been one of the most open bloggers on disclosure, and he is are taking that even further. 

I receive up to a dozen unsolicited e-mails a day, suggesting stories to me. Most are from people who are not politicians or staff – just ordinary readers. Some are just links to stories, some make some points on a topical issue. I sometimes quote these e-mails in posts. I have always been very careful to distinguish between content I write, and content people may send me (which I quote as coming from a reader). But I’m going to go a further step and if any content substantially comes from a parliamentary, or political party staffer, source I will state so when using it. I will not name individuals, but if I quote someone I will include information on their affiliations, when relevant. You will find this is very infrequently.

The comments and commenters at Kiwiblog have a reputation for being many things, usually negative. There’s no doubt it can be a very abusive and insenstitive forum at times. Amongst the noise there are also many very worthwhile and interesting comments and commenters, but reputation focuses mainly on the worst.

After the election (ie when I have more time) I am going to consult on a tougher moderation policy for the comments. I want them to be robust and forceful, but focused more on issues than people. I have very limited time to read them myself, so probably will ask for some readers to step forward as moderators. We’ll have that discussion in October.

Moderation can be very time consuming, a difficult beast to confront. It’s a REAL SHAME that more responsibility and respect isn’t shown by commenters who are guests on Kiwiblog. This will be a challenge but it’s worth doing.

Farrar is setting a higher standard for himself – now it will be interesting to see if the blogs to the left who have been busy claiming they are not as bad as those on the right step up and follow your example.

As Bunji has just posted at The Standard – Left wing blogs aren’t “the same”.

No, they are not the same. Are they willing to up their standards too? What about it lprent? 

UPDATE: Already The Standard has indicated where they stand on this, showing their hypocrisy in claiming the moral high ground – No Changes for Kiwiblog.

Whoever wrote and posted that didn’t even have the guts to disclose their name or pseudonym.

DPF’s Himalayan adventure

David Farrar runs one of the most widely read and respected (and hated) political forums – Kiwiblog. He doesn’t stick to politics, he often posts about what he does, he reviews arts and he reports on his frequent travels. He gets some friendly criticism for this but they can be a good diversion from hard core politics.

He is currently trekking in the Himalayas and has posted a series of accounts with numerous photos. It’s a very interesting look at something very different to New Zealand politics.

A lot of the trekking is at 4,000-5,000 meters, with a peak of 5360 metres going over the Chola Pass. Mt Aoraki/Cook is 3,724 metres.

DPF described this as “Just to prove I was here” but he’s been known to use Photoshop.

The region of the trek (from Google Maps)

Sagarmatha

The trek went was past the Gyoko lakes that can be seen just above and below the text “Sagarmatha National Park” beside the glacier.

On the eleventh day…

A view of Everest.

The Kiwiblog candidate

MP for Dunedin North and Kiwiblog?

My number one focus as a candidate in this election is building a better way of representing Dunedin. This is proceeding well, cross party and multi-MP support has been assured for establishing a strong Dunedin democratic voice. At candidate meetings the best response I have received has been for promoting people of Dunedin combining to have a much stronger city voice.

This will change the way Dunedin does democracy, and with interest from elsewhere in the country it has the potential to change the way we do democracy in New Zealand, with a much better online and in-person communication between the electorate and the elected.

My involvement after the election will continue as an activist politician or a political activist – that’s when my campaign steps up a notch.

But I don’t and I won’t forget where much of this has developed – on Kiwiblog.

I have been the most prolific commenter on Kiwiblog over the past few years, and have often been criticised for that. I’ve been using Kiwiblog as a tool for my aims. I’ve been involved in sometimes protracted and heated ‘debate’, ironically having often been called a fence sitter by those I have battled with the most.

I acknowledge I sometimes haven’t taken a strong position on issues, that’s because I’ve been promoting discussions and learning from responses, unlike some commenters who start with an opiniion and won’t budge from that.

Skills (and knowledge) I have learnt on Kiwiblog will help substantially in my political quest. Many of the ideas and opinions – and encouragement and support – have helped me get to where I am now.

I don’t agree with everyone on Kiwiblog and everyone on Kiwiblog don’t agree with or like or support me – but that’s how it should be. We need to understand that we can only move forward accepting there will always be differences, and compromise, pragamatism – and democratic process – are all essentials. None of us can rule the world exactly as we might wish.

I’ve been blasted and abused often – sometimes fairly and sometimes nastily. This can be useful as a reality check but it has also helped me to develop a thick skin, an essential if you are to survive in the political arena. One of the biggest challenges to being successful in politics is to be able to deal with or deflect criticism but to maintain an open mind and open ears.

Earlier this year I started to firm up on what action I would take, after realising that going round and round in blog circles moaning about everything that was wrong was going to achieve nothing. The only way of changing things is to actually do things to encourage or force change.

So I’ve made some decisions and taken steps towards doing something. I’m already very pleased with what I have been able to achieve, whatever the election result I am succeeding.

There’s still an outside chance of me becoming an MP, and I’ll work through until election day looking at ways of achieving that – if I become an MP it would not only rock the political world, it would add impetus to what I’m doing. Some might see these most of these as lotto dreams but look at the possibilities:

  • United Future gets 6.2% and I get in on the list (matching the UF 2002 result so not out of the question)
  • United Future gets a few MPs in (quite possible) and I win Dunedin North
  • Dunne wins Ohariu and I win Dunedin North
  • Dunne loses Ohariu and I win Dunedin North

The last few are unlikely but they are possible, just like it’s possible for Susan Boyle to become world famous, just like it’s possible for a penguin to be the biggest news for a month, just like it’s possible for Nek Minute to spread around the world web wide.

In our  democracy any of those are possible if enough voters decide to ditch the same old and make a real difference. We just need to believe we have the power to make a difference, at least once every three years.

I’m going to keep exploring possibilities and keep pushing for change. Much of this will have to be done person to person, but social media and blogs are becoming a powerful force – waiting to be harnessed more effectively.

Kiwiblog has played a major part in me getting to where I am now. It (and other online communities) will play an important part for me as I keep pushing the boundaries of politics for ordinary people with an interest.

My main goal is to build a better democracy in Dunedin and spread it from there. Kiwiblog (as long as DPF allows) will continue to be an integral part of this campaign.

I’ve come a long way in six months, it’s now starting to come together and gather momentum. I’d love to become MP for Dunedin North and Kiwiblog, but whatever happens in the election this is just a step along the way to changing from grass roots up – and from silicon roots up.