Lawyer lied to Congress to protect Trump and political message

Former White House lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the US Congress to protect Donald Trump and his political message.

Fox News: Ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress in Russia probe

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney who once famously claimed he would “take a bullet” for his boss, pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Russia in the latest development in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

He pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017 about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, was not present in court on Thursday. Instead, he was represented by attorneys Guy Petrillo and Amy Lusker.

Thursday marked the first time Mueller’s team charged Cohen as part of its investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.

“Cohen made the false statements to minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1 [Trump] and give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended before ‘the Iowa caucus … the very first primary,’ in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations,” Mueller wrote Thursday.

“Cohen did recall that in or around January 2016, Cohen received a response from the office of Russian Official 1, the Press Secretary for the President of Russia, and spoke to a member of that office about the Moscow Project,” Mueller added.

After entering his plea, Cohen addressed the court for several minutes.

“Prior to the 2016 elections, I was a counsel and advisor to Donald Trump Organization. By 2016, I no longer did that work, but I continued to work for Donald Trump who became President of the United States, referenced as Individual 1 in the agreement,” Cohen said in court Thursday. “I continued to follow the political messaging of Individual 1 and his advisors. I was aware that Individual 1 said he was not tied to Russia, attacks were politically motivated, and all interactions were terminated by the time of the Iowa Caucuses.”

Cohen added that in 2017 when he appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee, he gave a “false” description of the Moscow Project.

“I asserted all efforts ceased in January 2016 when they kept going until June 2016,” he said. “There were more extensive communications. I said I never contemplated travel or spoke to Individual 1 regarding travel, but I did.”

He added: “I would like to add that I never did travel to Russia and I have never been to Moscow. I made the statement to keep up with political messaging and out of loyalty.”

So he has admitted lying to Congress to protect trump and his political messaging.

Fox (opinion) – Dershowitz: New Cohen Guilty Plea Another Example of Mueller Probe ‘Creating’ Crimes

Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Thursday that Michael Cohen’s new guilty plea is another example of crimes being created as a result of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

That’s bullshit. Congressional investigations are an essential part of the US democratic system. Lying to Congress is a very serious issue. Cohen created the crime by lying.

Fox (opinion) – Judge Nap: Cohen Plea Is ‘Tip of the Iceberg,’ and Rest of Iceberg Is at Mueller’s Office

Trump’s rapid response in attacking Cohen suggests he is concerned about this development. And it is not the only thing piling pressure on Trump.

CNBC: Trump suggests he has inside information on the Russia probe, hours after Mueller said former campaign chief Manafort violated plea deal

Hours after former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was accused of lying to federal investigators in violation of his plea deal, President Donald Trump fumed against special counsel Robert Mueller, claiming his probe is “ruining lives” and suggesting that he had inside information about the investigation.

As he pilloried the special counsel, Trump echoed the salvos against the investigation recently launched by right-wing conspiracy monger Jerome Corsi, who claimed Monday that he rejected a plea dealoffered by Mueller. Corsi had said that he would “rather sit in prison and rot” than say he lied to Mueller.

“Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other.”

This all looks to be far from over.

 

Post truth politics

Everyone knows, or at least thinks, that politicians tell lies, or at least state things that aren’t fully truthful, and promise things that they know they can’t deliver on.

Misleading and false claims were a prominent feature of Britian’s Brexit referendum success.

The US election brought politics and lies to a whole new level.

Hillary Clinton wasn’t truthful about things, and she admitted duplicity – telling one thing to those with power and money, and another thing to the plebs. The plebs have rebelled, or at least enough plebs didn’t vote for Clinton or voted against her to deny her the presidency.

Donald Trump took lying to a .new level. He seemed to simply not care about telling lies, untruths, making up accusations and repeating them despite them having been proven wrong. And he got elected, to the surprise of many and the horror of some.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Silvio Berlusconi  apparently played a similar game – @gtiso: “Berlusconi’s secret weapon leading into the 1994 elections was he worked out he could just lie all the time. The whopper the better.” – (and Berlusconi had a media background and may have been much sleazier than Trump) see Clinton v Trump, round 1.

New York Times wrote about post-truth on August – The Age of Post-Truth Politics

Facts hold a sacred place in Western liberal democracies. Whenever democracy seems to be going awry, when voters are manipulated or politicians are ducking questions, we turn to facts for salvation.

But they seem to be losing their ability to support consensus.

For the Brexit referendum, Leave argued that European Union membership costs Britain 350 million pounds a week, but failed to account for the money received in return.

If the British government had spent more time trying to track public sentiment toward the European Union and less time repeating the facts of how the British economy benefited from membership in the union, it might have fought the Brexit referendum campaign differently and more successfully.

PolitiFact has found that about 70 percent of Donald Trump’s “factual” statements actually fall into the categories of “mostly false,” “false” and “pants on fire” untruth.

The sense is widespread: We have entered an age of post-truth politics.

Nicholas Reed Smith writes about this at The Spinoff: The Trump phenomenon proves that electoral politics has failed. Time to try something new

(Brexit and the US election) demonstrate that we are entering a new age of politics in the West, a post-truth age. Coined by the blogger David Roberts in 2010, post-truth politics denotes “a political culture in which politics (public opinion and media narratives) have become almost entirely disconnected from policy (the substance of legislation)”

The main catalyst for the emergence of post-truth politics has been the incursion of social media into the centre of our everyday lives. Originally, the internet was seen as a tool to liberate us, giving everyone access to information free from the hierarchies of everyday life. However, it has seemingly done the opposite, leading to the rise of misinformation and with it, the demise of expertise.

Social media is particularly key to the emergence of the post-truth age because thanks to the advanced algorithms at the heart of these platforms our lives online have gradually become echo chambers that echo our inherent biases back to us. The echo chamber effect means that our while our ideological convictions strengthen, our openness to critique and revision of these ideas is reduced.

This explains why so many of us have been shocked by Brexit and the election of Trump. We were told in both cases that neither outcome had any real chance of happening. The experts, the pollsters and the ordinary people we saw on our social media platforms all gave us an impression that these phenomena were fringe movements which would be soundly beaten by the masses.

A silver lining of Brexit and Trump is that our echo chambers are collectively shattering. Realising that we have become detached from reality is an important step to correcting the ills of post-truth politics.

The first lesson is that conventional campaign strategies do not succeed in a post-truth world. The Trump and Brexit campaigns found fertile ground because they embraced the idea of non-linear campaigning. In a nutshell, a non-linear campaign aims to make its movement undefinable through a never-ending shapeshifting of contradictory statements and actions. The idea is that if something is undefinable, then it is also uncriticisable.

This non-linear idea was created in Russia, the brainchild of one of Vladimir Putin’s more flamboyant advisers, Vladislav Surkov. Putin has used this non-linear approach for some time domestically and also used it in his intervention in Ukraine. The Ukraine example shows how the Kremlin has used misinformation to try and achieve their goal of destabilising the country, a strategy which has had some success.

While many are pointing the finger at Putin for directly interfering in the US elections, his greatest influence, in my mind, has been as an inspiration for Trump’s campaign. While few people are prepared to give Trump any credit, with many chastising him as a buffoon, Trump has played this non-linear role to perfection. Trump has continually contradicted himself while ignoring refutations, all of which created a bewildering and undefinable movement.

These tactics have proven to be both dishonest and successful.

Post-truth (political lying) has been around for a long time in New Zealand. Winston Peters is even openly claiming the ‘Trump’ tactics and successes as his.

There have been claims of dishonesty and Trump-like tactics in the Mt Roskill by-election – see Fight over Roskill which centred around accusations of attacks on the wife of Labour candidate Michael Wood.

Are we know going to see a rush to lie and abuse in the style of Trump?

If so this is likely to alienate the public further from the dirt of politics, given that the two combatants in the Mt Roskill incident were from long established parties rather than offering a break from the establishment.

Anthony Robins’ mistruth about Key lying

Grant Robertson’s breach of privilege complaint against John Key has quickly descended into inaccurate counter claims about inaccurate claims.

Anthony Robins descends into farce in his post Key descends into farce. He accuses Key of lying:

So Key has been caught out in another lie to Parliament, how does he respond?

A spokesman for Key said he stood by his statement.

But Robins appears to be caught up in some mistruthing himself.

What the IRD said was:

it would lead to “lower numbers of KiwiSaver members (particularly among the self-employed and children)”.

I haven’t seen any evidence of Inland Revenue saying anything directly on this, and no evidence of them saying anything to Key.

Robins quotes what was stated in a Treasury report (who consulted Inland Revenue). It is not a quote from Inland Revenue.

Conservative accusations of Craig lying

A number of Conservative Party members, including two current or ex Board members have accused (or strongly implied) Colin Craig of lying.

In Holier than thou? (Stuff) Garth McVicar, who was a high profile candidate for the Conservatives in last year’s election, refers to a ‘forked tongue’:

McVicar unsuccessfully stood for the Conservatives in Napier and while it’s been rumoured that he’s the preferred new Conservative leader he has no desire to return to politics.

Politicians promise the earth over election time but over the next three years do bugger-all. That’s not my style. It’s incredibly disheartening… I was probably a dreamer thinking that I could do any better than the 120 politicians we’ve got.”

Craig’s behaviour hasn’t done anything to assuage his concerns. “You put yourself out there as a leader, so ultimately it’s hypocrisy when you’re found to be speaking with a forked tongue.”

Another high profile recruit was Christine Rankin, who became Party CEO before resigning recently.

She wanted to resign after the election. “We haven’t been allowed to talk about what the issues were during the election campaign…he blocked it every time we got near.”

She confronted him four weeks ago when she got solid evidence. “I heard Colin say ‘I’ve never been approached by board members.’

“He convinced me, he convinced everyone, he was like ‘no, I’m Christian, I wouldn’t do that.’ He’s very charming.”

Until the past couple of weeks Craig has denied being approached by the board over his behaviour related to Rachel MacGregor.

John Stringer, who claims to have formed a new Board (but Craig claims has been thrown out of the Party) would only go as far as calling Craig’s claims ‘untruths’ when he first went public on The Nation. Here is part of the transcript of the interview:

Okay. Because I’m just wanting now play you a clip of Colin Craig addressing that question about whether anyone on the board raised questions about the nature of the relationship. Let’s have a listen.

Paul Henry: Are there members on the board who feel that you have not been honest with them about any dealings that you’ve had with Rachel MacGregor or indeed there was an inappropriate relationship that you haven’t been honest with them about?

Colin Crag: No board member has ever raised that concern with me. I have not ever been accused of being dishonest.

That’s a clear statement denying it had been raised with him.

Lisa Owen: That was Friday morning. So what’s your response to that? Because he’s saying nobody brought it up.

John Stringer: That is completely untrue. Because the board has discussed this almost monthly perhaps for a year. Even before this matter came up we had concerns, and this has been discussed at length and comes up all the time. When we had the briefing of the regional chairman, the very first question that was asked of Colin by the regional chairman was this matter. So Colin cannot say this has not been raised.

So Colin Craig’s lying, that’s what you’re saying.

What he’s just said is untrue.

Well, that’s a lie, isn’t it? This is a man who’s campaigned on high moral standards and bringing different kind of politics. Are you telling me that he’s telling untruths?

Well, it’s certainly not the experience that I’ve had around the board table, and it’s been discussed many times when I’ve been there, and I’ve discussed it myself with Colin. So I don’t know what he means.

Now Stringer is more forthright.

“The lies, the deceit, the false information,” Stringer said. “The guy’s lying through his teeth and it’s just shocking.”

That seems to be backed up by Rankin and McVicar.

It certainly looks like Craig has not been truthful with some aspects of this issue. This must put into doubt any of his claims that aren’t backed by evidence or independent corroboration.

Lies and the Dunedin mayoralty

In a televised mayoral forum current mayor Dave Cull accused me or councillors of lying about claims of Greater Dunedin councillors working together.

I believe the evidence shows that Cull is trying to blatantly mislead the public about his Greater Dunedin ‘group’, about their motives and what they have done during the current term – in other words, he appears to be the one who is lying.

Dave Gooselink asked the forum:

To Dave Cull firstly, you’re leading the Greater Dunedin team in council and also standing in this election, do you think it would be good for council to be under the majority control of one political grouping?

Dave Cull:

I need to make it clear that Greater Dunedin’s only purpose is to get good people on to council, we don’t have a role the rest of the time, we don’t exercise a role the rest of the time, this term I’ve run a united collegial council inclusive of everyone, and the ticket we run on is for the election and not for the term.

This term, after one term as councillor, Cull was elected mayor standing for Greater Dunedin. That’s democracy. But it’s worth noting that his Greater Dunedin colleague Chris Staynes was appointed deputy mayor after one term as councillor, ahead of councillors with far more experience.

The Greater Dunedin website home page contradicts itself and Cull.

Greater Dunedin is not a political party and our elected councillors are not bound to vote together.  They are free to vote according to their own best judgement on each Council issue.  They do, however, work cooperatively to make the best decisions for the future of the city.

That clearly states they work cooperatively.

Our candidates see six key priorities for the city as we head into the next trienniun.

And that spells out common policies. Ironically their first priority is contradicted by their

We’re focused on engaging with residents proactively, openly and transparent.

Dave Cull has blogged on the ODT election page: Dave Cull: Only the best is good enough

In the 2007 elections I came onto Council with fellow Greater Dunedin candidates Kate Wilson and Chris Staynes.

We three were the only new Councillors elected. In the 2010 elections, when I became Mayor, Jinty MacTavish and Richard Thomson, again Greater Dunedin candidates, were the only new faces.

During this term, all five of us have delivered on the promises we made in 2010: financial prudence, more transparency, constrained rate rises, controlled debt, accountability, a vision of a sustainable city: the list goes on.

We have led the Council in turning around the way it operates.

The collective ‘we’ being prominent. ‘If it quacks like a party it’s a party.’

Back to the Dunedin Television forum. Hilary Calvert said:

I think it’s sort of an oxymoron to say that we’re standing on a ticket but once we get we will no longer have a ticket connecting is.

Either you’re a group, or you’re not a group, and if you support independent good people, who ever’s standing you want good people, they don’t support any of the rest of the people that are standing, they only support their ticket.

Cull:

They weren’t good enough.

Cull doesn’t think the rest of the candidates were good enough to be considered for his group. His blog post again:

It’s imperative that the current Greater Dunedin Councillors are all re-elected to maintain continuity of positive effort.

It is also critically important for the city, that the new faces around the table are the very best quality candidates available.

For the sake of Dunedin, please support Greater Dunedin candidates and our belief that only the best Councillors and candidates are good enough to guide our city forward.

If he is returned as mayor does that mean he will think no other councillors but his Greater Dunedin Councillors are good enough to be considered for the top jobs and most important committees?

Greater Dunedin’s sole purpose is to identify, promote and support good candidates onto Council.Greater Dunedin is promoting four new candidates for Council at this election: Mike Lord in the Mosgiel-Taieri Ward, and Irene Mosley, Letisha Nicholas and Ali Copeman in the Central Ward.

Each of them has carefully and thoughtfully signed up to Greater Dunedin’s principles of transparency, respect and a future-focused vision.

Each of them supports the progress made in this past term and the need to maintain the positive momentum.

Signed up to Greater Dunedin’s principles. Cull’s claim that ‘They are free to vote according to their own best judgement on each Council issue’ is totally at odds with published joint principles.

More from Cull at the forum:

I endorse these people because they’re good, it’s very difficult , It’s Greater Dunedin’s ambition to promote good people. It’s very difficult for people to get onto council. It is Greater Dunedin’s ambition to promote good people, to give them some profile, to give them a leg up into council.

After that, they’re independent.

Of course we consult with each other around the council table, decisions have to be made by a majority and you want to do it on the right grounds…

According to Greater Dunedin principles and policies?

…but that’s the end of it.

This all sounds duplicitous to me. They’re supposedly independent but they have common principles and they work together, and they owe their place in council to the ‘group’ that selected them and promoted them.

Why can’t they just be honest about what looks obvious? Why do they try claim something in one breath and deny it in the next?

I said next:

An outgoing councillor told me he’d seen Greater Dunedin caucusing in the current council..

Cull interjected:

That’s a lie in that case, because we don’t and never have.

Someone else closely involved with council confirmed with me that “confirm on number cases GD members  appear to frequent locations together that look like caucusing/meeting”. And yesterday yet another person said the same thing.

At the second of the televised forums candidate Andrew Whiley:

It was interesting at Opoho Church the other night [a council candidate forum] where one of the Greater Dunedin councillors turned around and said he looks forward to working with like minded people.

Cr Lee Vandervis:

They claim independence. They operate basically how the mayor wants them to, mostly in terms of voting.

They do vote individually on some items, especially some of them. There are several councillors, the deputy mayor would be a classic example, who I can’t ever remember voting against whatever the mayor said even if he was arguing the opposite the minute before.

Who is lying?

Should Dunedin have a mayor that accuses councillors of lying but is the one who seems to be deliberately misleading the public?

It’s worth repeating…

In the 2007 elections I came onto Council with fellow Greater Dunedin candidates Kate Wilson and Chris Staynes.

We three were the only new Councillors elected. In the 2010 elections, when I became Mayor, Jinty MacTavish and Richard Thomson, again Greater Dunedin candidates, were the only new faces.

This election Greater Dunedin is standing nine candidates. A majority in council is eight, with the mayor having the casting vote.

It should be noted that next term new rules take effect that give the mayor greater power:

(APNZ) Mayors throughout the country will become more powerful under new law changes set to come into action after October’s local elections. The changes will allow mayors to appoint their own deputies, set the structure of committees and appoint committee chairpeople.

I have asked on Dave Cull’s Facebook page:

Dave, can you pledge that if re-elected mayor that you will select a deputy mayor and committee chairs purely on merit without favour for your own group of councillors?

And please explain how this would work considering you have said:
“For the sake of Dunedin, please support Greater Dunedin candidates and our belief that only the best Councillors and candidates are good enough to guide our city forward.”

I await his openness and transparency.

Peters: “I live and die by what I say on this matter”

Winston Peters said “Well the same proof that’s behind my making the statement on day one, and I live and die by what I say on this matter“. He has already substantially changed his claims since day one. And he again showed fairly obviously that he has no proof.

Last night in a farcical interview John Campbell  took Winston Peters to task on implied email evidence. Peters avoided, evaded and blustered, and failed to provide a straight answer. He has done this every day since Friday – see Winston Peters evades questions on evidence.

Peters has changed his story on evidence of Peter Dunne leaking. He originally claimed that “all the evidence is in those phone records”:

5. Government Communications Security Bureau—Investigation into Review of Compliance Leak
[Sitting date: 30 May 2013. Volume:690;Page:10577. Text is subject to correction.]

Rt Hon Winston Peters: If the Deputy Prime Minister is going to keep drawing me into the inquiry, then I am going to short-circuit things by saying all the evidence is in those phone records, and your Minister is gone.

Since the Henry report revealed no phone evidence and pointed at the emails that Dunne refused to hand over Peters has changed his implied claims to emails and “electronic records”. There has been no sign of anything other than email evidence so “electronic records” looks to be simply covering himself in case different evidence surfaces.

Last night on Campbell live Peters’ evasion reached farcical levels – Video and transcript:

Campbell: What has Peter Dunne done wrong, what exactly has he done wrong as you see it?

Peters: Well, he breached National security, not just once, but more than once, and the Prime Minister knows it, and so should you.

Campbell: How did he breach national security?

Peters: Well he leaked information on a very important report, to do with the malfunction of the GCSB, that’s the Kitteridge report, and then there’s the matter of moral within the GCSB, a separate matter, no no no, let me finish, you want to know how I’m going to give you a snapshot, just three, not all of them, just three. And the third one was he made reference to someone he should not have made reference to on the question of the GCSB appointments.

Campbell: Ok, let’s go through these things one at a time. The Kitteridge report, it was going to be made public.

Peters: I know what you’re trying to say, and some of your colleagues are doing the same, they’re saying…

Campbell: No wait a minute, I’m not trying to say anything, it’s a statement of fact

Peters: …over the last twenty four hour, a repetitive argument he just broke the embargo…

Campbell: You’re hearing fact, you’re hearing fact…

Peters: …let me tell you why it’s not fact, and I’m sure you’re interested in that, the ah Fairfax outlet said it was a secret report, and it was, the second thing is it was described in the State Services and parliamentary record of being such a document in it’s past precedence. Then you’ve got the fact an investigator appointed by the National Party, said as well it was classified and highly sensitive…

Campbell: Mr Peters, look, I can’t sit here and let you spout nonsense to me, absolutely, I’m going to read what David Henry said, verbatim quote. 

“On the afternoon of 27th March Mr Dunne was given a numbered copy of the Kitteridge report” – which was going to be made public – “but not the classified appendices”.

In other words he didn’t have classified material. No, you know that. Why are you sitting here tonight saying that he did?

Peters: Because you haven’t asked any questions about what happened by way of conversation within five MPs, including the Prime Minister who sat on the Intelligence and Security committee, you don’t know that, and I don’t think Mr Henry bothered to ask as well which is why I raised questions about the way he was conducting this inquiry.

I’ve been on that committee, I know something about what I’m talking about and I know what international ramifications are, and I’m not going to stand by while cynical people who said from day one there was nothing in this, now repeat that he merely broke an embargo. I’m sorry, this is out number one security agency, it interrelates with international agencies and our respect and integrity is on the line, and it’s important.

Campbell: Ok, what evidence do you have that Mr Dunne is responsible for leaking anything other than a report that was about to be made public anyway?

Peters: The same evidence I gave from day one.

(Peters has given no evidence from day one)

Campbell: Ok, what evidence is that?

Peters: That’s the evidence that backs up what I’m saying, and every day it unfolds, you will find that out.

Campbell: What evidence is that?

Peters: Well it’s evidence of, ah, improperly liaison meetings with disclosure of secret, confidential, private information, not just in one area but in a number of areas.

Campbell: Do you have the emails?

Peters: I’ve told you from day one that I have the evidence sufficient to make allegations, both to you, inside parliament because you wouldn’t publish it otherwise, and outside parliament…

Campbell: Yes or no, do you have the emails?

Peters: Well of course I’ve got information I need to back up my…

Campbell: Yes or no, do you have the emails?

Peters: No no no, you’re not going to know, what I want you to tell me is why you aren’t asking the Prime Minister, Prime Minister, why can’t we see the information that you won’t show the public.

Campbell: What would you have done then? In other words, what would satisfy you now?

Peters: Well look, what would satisfy me, first of all I’m not saying that it was not just one leak, it’s not just the Kitteridge report, it’s other issues to do with the GCSB and wider as well.

Campbell: What proof do you have of that?

Peters: Well the same proof that’s behind my making the statement on day one, and I live and die by what I say on this matter, and every day you’re hearing more. Look, I knew what was breaking tonight in the media outlets, I knew that from day one.

Campbell: Who’s your source?

Peters: Well, am I going to disclose my source? I’m not required to. Look if that person had behaved legally, and they did, then you’ve got no reason to ask my source any more than I would ask you.

Campbell: Why are you asking who Peter Dunne, who the source of this leak is?

Peters: Because it was illegal. It was totally improper. And that is spanned through a very soft report by David Henry. Why are you asking questions when the investigator said these things were all wrong, outside of criteria, outside of the propriety of the events, categorises the fact that this was serious enough for him to come to just one person.

My question I’m asking you is, and John Key is why did he stop from not getting the powers to disclose to you how wide this was?

Campbell: Have you seen the emails between Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance?

Peters: You can sit here and ask me until the kingdom come, I’m asking you, go and ask the Prime Minister…

Campbell: Wait wait, hold on a sec..

Peters: Can I ask you a question…

Campbell: I’m not interviewing the Prime Minister tonight, I’m not interviewing the Prime Minister tonight…

Peters: I’m giving you a few guidelines the next time you do…

Campbell: …Thanks so much Mr Peters..

Peters: The GCSB is the prime Minister’s department, now if you ask the Prime Minister, have you seen those emails, he’s going to say no, isn’t he.

Campbell: Yeah, I’m asking you, I’m not asking the Prime Minister…

Peters: Well I’m going to tell you what you should do because it’s his job to disclose them…

Campbell: Thank you very much, I’ll make a note of that immediately this interview’s over, I promise you when I interview the Prime Minister if he’s seen the emails, now I’m asking you…

Peters: …for the first time that you’re doing that, let me tell you this…

Campbell: …I’m doing the interview, and I am asking you, have you seen the emails…

Peters: It’s no use being repetitive, I’m not going to disclose, I am not going to disclose who my source is, I am not bound to tell you anything other than I’m utterly confident in what I’m saying, that I have the electronic records sufficient to come to some conclusions far wider than yours and far wider than the Prime Minister’s trying to sell to you, and far wider than the David Henry report. Is that enough for you?

Campbell: Let’s accept all of that then. What would you like to see happen to Mr Dunne?

Peters: Well first of all I want a full scale inquiry to realise and find out what is the level of damage to my country in this, and the second thing is, I do not think it’s acceptable to say to the civil service, if you leak a document you’re gone, it’s not just just demotion, it’s dismissal, but in the case of a minister, it’s just demotion, this is two standards here.

This is an issue of national security, I’m staying focussed there, and I’m not going to answer questions which take to focus off that to the demise of Mr Dunne. Mr Dunne is gone. Now I want to know what the Prime Minister’s doing about it.

It’s fairly obvious from that, Peters doesn’t have and hasn’t seen the Dunne-Vance emails. He is bluffing and lying about it.

Key has said he doesn’t believe Peters and has called him to release the emails if he has them.

And it’s a widening perception:

Kirsty Johnston@kirsty_johnston
So can we assume Winston hasn’t got the emails? Or what? Slippery bugger @CampbellLiveNZ

Andrea Vance@avancenz
@kirsty_johnston
@CampbellLiveNZ he no more has them than he had the teapot tapes.

Peters said “I live and die by what I say on this matter“.  If he is lying should that mean the demise of his political career?

Once were tree huggers

The Greens were once widely respected as principled environmentalists with a few quaint ideas on wider policies. Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald were respected. They were seen as having an important message on saving the planet. And they were nice, and they were honest.

But Greens never made it into a Government coalition.

After the untimely death of Donald and the retirement of Fitzsimons the Greens made a successful transition to new leadership under Russel Norman and Metiria Turei.

And the Greens are evolving.  Environmental issues have faded into the background. Norman has converted himself into a new age wannabe financial guru, and Turei has become a leader in promoting social policy with a strong emphasis on socialism.

In fact the Greens haven’t just evolved. They have morphed.

Nice is now out. Norman seems to have put his ambitions and quest for financial and political power before those quaint Green ideals of the past. He is becoming a ruthless, no holds barred anything goes political operator. He has become one of them.

The morphing of Norman (and the Greens) became more apparent yesterday in Normans speech at the Green Party annual conference.

Green leader tears into ‘smiling’ Key

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has made a sharp personal attack on Prime Minister John Key, all but shutting the door on working with National after the next election.

Key described Labour and the Greens as the “devil-beast”; Norman hit back at his party’s annual conference yesterday by labelling Key “corrosive” and “extremely divisive”, repeatedly comparing him to former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.

“Next time you see John Key smiling, remember he’s not smiling because he likes you, he’s smiling because he’s giving favours to his mates while undermining your democracy,” he told an audience of around 120 people in Christchurch.

The Greens have previously avoided personality politics. Asked whether his speech signalled a new approach, Norman said: “It’s important to put a line in the sand about what’s happening to our constitution and our democracy.”

In doing this Norman has ignored stated values.

6. Engage respectfully, without personal attacks

Respect is out, personal attacks are in.

So is hypocrisy. From Norman’s speech:

Fair treatment. To be equal before the law. To fight our fights on an even playing field. This is democracy. And today I want to talk to you about our democracy.

Kiwis don’t agree on everything. We argue around the dinner table, at the pub, in the media, in the courts and in parliament.

Some of us love it and some don’t but we all agree that everyone should get their day in court; we all agree that people should be equal before the law; we all agree that the courts and the government should be blind to the size of our wallets; we all agree that there should be an even playing field on which the contest of ideas takes place.

That’s directly contrary to the Greens use of parliamentary funds and staff to promote an anti asset sales campaign in the guise of a Citizen Initiated Referendum. Ordinary citizens don’t have those resources available to petition Parliament. Greens have created a new playing field that gives them a distinct democratic advantage.

And honesty is also out. Blatant lying is also a new Green value.

Stopping free speech at sea

John Key has now banned protest at sea.

To ensure nothing stands in the way of the oil profits of other big foreign multinationals, the Government has passed new laws under urgency to ensure those who stand up to defend our oceans and beaches from a devastating oil spill will go to jail or face a heavy fine.

Overnight, National took away our constitutional right to freedom of speech.

As blogged in More on Norman’s ‘protest at sea’ lie this is a blatant misrepresentation of what happened. Free speech is still allowed, but the legislation was changed to ensure safety in protest situations and enforce the right of the legal right of passage at sea.

Russel Norman had some valid points to make in his speech, but his credibility was severely marred by the un-Greenness of his approach.

Greens have morphed into old school politicians where any dirty tactic can be used – any means is seen as acceptable to achieve the end result they want.

Green is fading, and socialist red had become much more prominent. It is also now being dominated by a dirty brown.

Once were tree huggers. The Greens have morphed into just another version of political warriors, where no holds are barred in their quest for power.