“The NZDF will never clear its name”

Another ‘NZDF bad, Hager & Stephenson impeccable’ post from Anthony Robins at The Standard in The NZDF will never clear its name – and neither will Bill English, plus another attempt to land all the responsibility on Bill English in election year.

The odds of Hager and Stephenson being wrong on the substance of Hit and Run are low, and if they were wrong the NZDF would be in a hurry to prove it. They aren’t.

That’s nonsense.

How can the NZDF possibly “clear its name” if Hit and Run is correct? By fronting up to any mistakes that were made, by apologising and taking whatever action is possible to acknowledge and compensate the villagers. That would be the decent thing to do, and the force would be strengthened by it, not weakened.

Why not run a campaign of NZDF bashing if it can help taint the Government? Like this:

… when Bill English ignores it and announces “no enquiry” he will have missed an important opportunity. Instead he will have forever tied himself to the perception of a shabby coverup.

Some will no doubt see this as shabby politicisation of a military event more than two elections ago.

I got involved in the following discussions, where personal attacks from the usual suspect OAB are allowed when their arguments and claims and assertions get challenged, but someone else speaking against the tone of the post gets slammed with a 3 month ban because they didn’t “prove that last assertion”, a demand that lprent knew couldn’t be met.

This not only cuts ‘Sam C’ out of the conversation but it also serves as a warning to others not to challenge the party/blog lines without risk of being silenced, while the resident troll can break their rules with impunity.

 

More on Maori and Labour

A generally good post at The Standard by ‘weka’ on Marama Fox on working with a Labour/Green government

This refers to comments made by Maori party list MP Fox:

You know what, they’re all trying to get to the power seat too, and if Labour and Greens are successful then we’ll be looking to do a deal with them, because it’s obvious to me that under Labour Māori are tossed aside all the time and you can have a look at the Point England development to see that.”

“I think it is better to be at the table making decisions or at last being the social conscience of a government who may be disconnected from its community or don’t know how to address those things. And Labour want the same thing, that’s why they’re trying to win the seats of government. So if they are successful, then we’ll happily work with them. And yes, It is better to be at the table at the decision-making end, and have as much influence as we’re able to ensure that we can correct the disparities that currently exist.

Weka comments:

What will happen if Labour needs the Māori Party to form government? Some on the left see the Māori Party’s relationship with National as a betrayal that can never be forgiven, and speak in the most scathing terms despite National being able to govern irrespective of where the Māori Party stands.

Myself, I think Māori are entitled to their own politics, and it behooves the rest of us to pay more attention to what those mean on Māori terms.

I certainly don’t like everything the Māori Party has done, but I think we need to look more deeply here, especially as the left may end up needing this alliance to form government. But more than that, the Māori Party have many policies that align well with both Labour and the Greens, including in critical areas like climate change and water.

We should be building relationships here for that alone not just because of the vagaries of MMP.

It does seem odd that Labour seems intent on trashing any relationship with the Maori and Mana parties.

The Maori Party have always made it clear they are prepared to work with any government to further their aims. This is a sensible approach to MMP politics.

So this is a good post from Weka, until  this plonked on the bottom:

Moderator Note – Considered and respectful commentary and critique are welcome here. If you want to make claims of fact about any NZ political party here please back them up as you comment. If you want to gratuitously bash any party other than National, go somewhere else to do it.

This is an illustration of the Standard moderation that damages their credibility.

Weka is inviting “considered and respectful commentary and critique” and warns not to “gratuitously bash any party” – fair enough – but then makes a mockery of her imposed standards by adding “other than National”.

Strict moderation might be fine if it was evenly applied, but Weka warns off any bashing of her views or preferred parties while effectively encourages gratuitous bashing of National.

In practice this is often how Standard moderation works, coming down hard on any perceived attack or criticism of their views or parties but encouraging open slather against parties they dislike and commenters they deem to be right wing or right wing party supporters.

The left is sadly lacking a blog that allows fair debate and discussion.

A Labour BLiP at The Standard

‘BLiP’ is well known at The Standard  for his list of alleged lies told by John Key. A lot of the items on that list were quite questionable, but that didn’t stop The Standard re-displaying the list from time to time.

BLiP was not required to provide evidence in support of his claims – anyone attacking Key and National in particular and also other parties at The Standard can say virtually what they like without being moderated.

Some of the moderators (BLiP is one) are much more touchy about any criticism of Labour in particular, and also criticism of their allies, the Greens.

In a recent exchange:

red-blooded 1.2.3

Peters has always said that he’d deal with the largest party first. This does suggest problems, as L/G are not one party (plus his antipathy towards the Greens is well-known and longstanding). I hope I’m wrong, but I do think we should be concerned about the idea of Winston choosing who forms the next government.

  • weka1.2.3.1

    So either that means he would first deal with National. Or, he’s going with the intent of MMP and he would deal with L/G first if they had higher numbers. But given Peters has monkeywrenched MMP I also don’t have much hope. More likely is he will imply something and then just do whatever afterwards.

    This stuff really needs to be clarified by the MSM during the election campaign.

Several claims about Winston Peters that were left unsubstantiated, as is normal.

I responded:

Pete George 1.2.3.1.2

But L/G ends on election day. It is a campaign arrangement with an end date before coalition wrangling begins.

Labour obviously want to keep their coalition options open. Particularly if NZ First gets more votes than Greens (a distinct possibility, if voters dump National they are more likely to vote NZF than Greens).

The MSM can’t clarify what Peters will do before the election. I doubt Labour will clarify what their strategy is either.

Remember that Labour has shat all over the Maori and Mana Parties and has ruled out dealing with them. That leaves either NZF or Greens.

Unless Labour+Greens can for a majority on their own the Greens are in a weak bargaining position.

[BLiP: Provide evidence of Labour having “ruled out dealing with [maori and Mana parties]” in your very next comment or do not post here again for one week. Up to you.]

Touchy, and a typical double standard.

I responded three times with different justifications for my claim. BLiP has not even acknowledged my replies, instead leaving the impression that I didn’t comply with his demand. I presume that is deliberate.

Andrew Little and Labour have made it clear they don’t want to deal with the Maori and Mana parties. They have made it clear they want to deal to them – to wipe them out of Parliament.

NZ Herald reported on Little at Ratana in January:

Labour leader Andrew Little has further distanced Labour from the Maori Party while also dismissing Hone Harawira’s Mana Movement as “irrelevant”.

Speaking at Ratana Pa near Wanganui this morning, Little all but ruled out forming a post-election coalition with the Maori Party or Mana Movement, which have agreed to work together to win back Maori seats.

Little said Labour would work with parties which had “a practical set of ideas of what can be done” for Maori.

The Maori Party had been “shackled” to the National Party for nine years, and National had failed Maori, he said.

“Why the Mana Party would want to now shackle itself to the Maori Party is entirely up to them, but they are totally irrelevant.”

Last month also from the Herald:

But it takes two to tango and Labour leader Andrew Little was putting on dancing shoes with sprigs.

He was not interested in the tango.

He was interested in the danse macabre; he wanted to kill off the Maori Party completely.

Little went into a lengthy, full-blown tirade against the Maori Party on RNZ.

He downgraded the Maori Party as a future support partner from “far from the first cab on the rank” to “simply not in my contemplation.”

He then declared the Maori Party was “not kaupapa Maori” [based on Maori values].

From Stuff in early March: Little signals Greens will be ‘first cab off the rank’ in post-election talks

“There are two other Opposition parties, apart from Labour, that we work closely together with and I contemplate both being candidates for partners or support partners to form a government.”

In an interview on The Nation earlier this month:

But do voters deserve to know that? You know, he’s a potential coalition partner. Would you countenance him as Deputy Prime Minister?Little: Voters want to know what are the parties that we have good relations with and who are likely to be part of a coalition arrange – a set of coalition arrangements. We have a good relationship with the Green Party. We have a good relationship with New Zealand First.

Okay, so you’re not ruling it out. You’re not ruling it out.

Little: If I have the privilege after the 23rd of September to form a Government, my first phone call will go to the Greens and New Zealand First will be not far behind.

Noticeably excluded are the Maori and Mana parties from Little’s contemplations and ruling in.

Why is BLiP so intent on suppressing an impression that Little has repeatedly made obvious?

I note that BLiP made no attempt to argue against Labour’s impression, he just banned and censored what he didn’t want posted.

Posted under Little’s name on the Labour Party website:

“If Māori want to see progress on the problems they face in housing, health and education, then they should back their Labour candidate.

“We have a plan to turn the position of Māori around and we’ll be running a campaign to show how Māori will be better served by a strong Labour Māori voice around the Cabinet table.”

He seems to think that Labour alone can properly serve Māori.

I’ll leave this post with this impression from Andrew Little: Maori King is ‘abusing his office’ by endorsing Rahui Papa for the Maori Party:

As to the plan to restore a relationship between Labour and Kingitanga, the Maori King movement?

“We’re going to campaign and win and we’ll beat the Maori Party,” he said.

“The problem with the King is that for whatever reason he’s allowed himself to become a mouthpiece for a single political party in a way that no previous head of Kingitanga has done.

That’s rather ironic given that Little is the mouthpiece for a single political party that  wants to be the sole representative of Maori voters.

Blogs respond to ‘Hit & Run’

Blogs have been abuzz on the Hager and Stephenson book “Hit & Run”.

At Kiwiblog David Farrar plays it down saying *if* and comparing 6 civilian deaths to total civilian deaths in Afghanistan (26,000) – TLDR: Hager book summary

So far at The Standard it has been left to comments with no posts other than Nicky Hager’s book launch but that does include some politically aimed tweets including:

And:

The Daily Blog had live stream coverage of the book launch but that was apparently quite unreliable. Martyn Bradbury has since had a major rant in a post targeting John Key – you have to tell NZ if you committed a war crime:

If we as a country are going to cheer when our troops go to war to fight ‘da terrorists’ then we have to demand accountability when they kill civilians! We deserve to know the truth before John Key steps down – did he or did he not order a poorly planned strike that killed 6 civilians?

Jesus wept this disgusts and angers me so deeply – if you send troops to a foreign land you are fucking responsible for what they do!

Brothers & sisters, we fund the NZ SAS – when they pull a trigger, we help pay for that trigger – Key has made us all killers here.

The Prime Minister has blood on his hands and we must demand some answers before he steps down.

In Bombers eyes know inquiry is needed, he has already tried and convicted the whole country. He seems to have missed the fact that Key stepped down from being Prime Minister last year. Key is due to give his valedictory speech in Parliament today and then leave. I’m not sure if he will have time to consider Bradbury’s demands.

Tim Watkin at Pundit – The O’Donnell raid in Afghanistan: The seeds of the new Hager book

The 2010 raid in Afghanistan detailed in Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson’s new book, Hit and Run, was first revealed on a TV interview I produced in 2011. It’s time for some official answers

Andrew Geddis at Pundit: Killing in the name of?

Nicky Hager and John Stephenson’s book, Hit & Run, presents compelling evidence that our SAS was responsible for killing at least six Afghani civilians, wounding at least another fifteen, and handing over a man to be tortured for information. And then we were systematically lied to about what was being done in our name.

He concludes:

I say that again now. If our SAS must dissemble and lie by omission or commission to those for whom they fight, then it should not be fighting. If military leaders and their political masters are complicit in those lies, then we should follow the German example and require their resignations.

For at a time when our defence forces are asking us to give them some $20 billion from the public purse to upgrade their equipment, it is incumbent on them to prove to us that they deserve it. And the first step they must take in doing so is showing that we can trust them to tell us just what it is that they do in our name.

I thought that a law professor might have listened to the other side of the arguments before coming to strong conclusions.

To date Whale Oil has no posts on the book. Perhaps they are disappointed it isn’t about them again. Apparently Slater has been otherwise occupied and no one else has stepped up. There have been some comments on it in Whaleoil Backchat.

Arguing against climate change banned

Arguing against climate change has been banned by ‘weka’ at The Standard. She has moderated out dissenting views to her posts before, but has taken it to a new level of intolerance of differences to her opinion.

She posted Climate change – beyond the politics and the maths and the fear

In the winter of 2014 Russel Norman, as co-leader of the NZ Green Party, said that climate change was the not just the most important issue of our time, it was the most important issue of all time.

It seemed radical then, and appeared to go largely un-commented on. James Shaw said a similar thing last year, and then again, twice, in a speech this year. I remember feeling a surge of excitement and relief to hear this expressed by Norman, not only because we definitely need the suits to be thinking in this way (so all power to Norman and Shaw for taking that message to those communities), but also because hearing the deep truth from people in power brings hope and change.

In the past year I have noticed that the idea of climate change being the most important issue we face is popping up all the time. Many people are now saying it, and this my friends is change happening. People weren’t doing this even a few years ago.

We need to be ready for what happens next, and we need to make sure that as more and more people wake up, that we (collectively) follow the path of change, not the path of denial or rearranging the deck chairs or going down in a ball of flames.

She seems to be referring to just one path of denial, any questioning of her ‘path of change’.

So I don’t mean that everyone has to quit their job and join the front lines. Although that would certainly change things very fast, I don’t think it’s a realistic expectation and I do think more of us than currently are could start to make such radical changes.

But what I really mean is that we all now need to be on a war footing, all of us. Not because CC is a war, but because the recognition within communities during the Great Wars was of the need to put normal life in the context the greater cause. People understood the need to work together for the common good and this was largely a shared cultural value.

No-one is coming to save us. It’s up to us. All of us. While we certainly need high level change, we don’t have to wait for government or everyone else in order to act. We can change now, not because we are sure of what to do or what will happen, but because it’s the right thing to do any way you look at it other than neoliberally.

That’s an odd ideological approach. She is not sure what to do about it, or what may happen, but is sure that anything other than a ‘neoliberal’ approach is good.

We don’t all have to live radical lives, but we do need a radical change in how we are thinking. We need to find the way that best uses each of our skills and situations and resources to put all hands to the pump. We all need to be climate changers.

Her post gets support and congratulations. But not from everyone.

Kelly-Ned 8

Are you all really sure?
Have you actually seen the temp graphs going up? (They aren’t)
Are you actually sure that CO2 which is such a small and very necessary gas is causing the issue (if there really is an issue)?
Are you really sure? Actually read the data yourselves?
Not being manipulated by vested interests? (on either side)
I have yet to see convincing argument that gets beyond ‘we all believe it’ or ‘They all said so’
But please do send me a link as I’ve seen lots of stuff that says it is all natural causes, but I am open to persuasion.

That’s fairly general (and lame) dissent. But any alternative to the collective ideology is not allowed.

[I usually don’t let climate change deniers comment under my posts. The only reason I’m not moderating you out of here is because of the usefulness of replies below. But if you try and run any kind of further denialist lines in this thread not only will I move your comments, but I will ban you from commenting site wide for wasting my time and creating diversion from the post. – weka]

Wasting a moderator’s time is a ban-able offence at The Standard, meaning that if a moderator chooses to spend time shutting down views that don’t fit with their narrative the can self justify banning. It is used as a cute excuse.

Kelly-Ned 8.4

So you edit out all genuine debate? Justifying it by labelling a questioner as a denialist?
Well that is sure to get an unbalanced debate going.

[yes, that’s right. The internet is big place, go somewhere else if you want to debate the reality of CC. You are now banned from this thread – weka]

The reality is that weka has an aversion to anyone debating her posts (and often her comments). She doesn’t want debate, she wants people to agree with her and to congratulate her insight.

Kelly-Ned ran some typical generalised anti-climate change lines, but they are common and they are not going to go away.

Banning any alternate views is going to please the converted at The Standard, but it is a poor way of dealing with the many questions that still should be asked about the complex issues involved with climate change.

Those like weka who try to shut down debate are not helping address the issues.

(There are various ways people on both extremes of climate change views try to shut down debate).

Dirty politics?

Anne at The Standard:

I hear tell Cameron Slater and co. are advertising through the appropriate channels for prospective right wing trolls to attend an urgently arranged training session. It has yet to be confirmed whether a payment for their services will be made, but assurances (in writing) to the successful candidates that they will receive preferential treatment by the parental political body is definitely forthcoming. (satire)

Who is playing dirty here?

Changing Standard

 

There has been noticeable changes at The Standard over the last few months. More rigid moderation has resulted in long time regulars being banned, and there has been a marked change in volume and nature of comments.

One of The Standard’s most prolific commenters, Colonial Viper, caused some controversy and last year was banned for several months. He returned to commenting yesterday, but didn’t survive for long.

Colonial Viper3.5.1.1.1

Hey always happy to argue my points hard out over a beer, but last time I was banned for a month for referring to what official exit polls said about demographics voting Trump.

So why bother.

[That’s not why you were banned. You were banned for making assertions as fact and not backing them up, and that specifically being a pattern of behaviour considered trolling. Here you are misleading about why you were banned. I can’t see any point waiting for yet another series of demonstrations of the patterns of behaviour that have led to multiple bans in the past, so I will just do it now. Banned until a month after the election. – weka]

That’s removed another dissenting voice for the election campaign. CV is wacky agt times, but he is prepared to challenge group think, something the new Standard seems to want to avoid. Ironically this happened on the 1984 post.

There were mixed reactions:

adam

I’m liking the new hard nosed weka.

To many people have spun shit about her point of view, they deserve what they get for misrepresenting her.

As we all should cop, if we tell porkies about the authors.

The authors offer enough reminders not to do it. Yet, people still do it.

Galeandra

Well you can carry on liking her on your own. I’m off again.

Weka banned me when she didn’t like her arguments challenged recently.

She was busy yesterday – also:

Peter Swift

Of course you are my bro, I’m inclusive. We’re all in this together, man, and like it or not, we are the BROtherhood of man.

Best stick that faux race outrage, I’ve lost the argument so will play a race card, back in it’s very naughty box where it truly belongs. :tut tut: 🙄

[ok, you’re out until Monday. Pattern of behaviour that is flaming, and you’ve been warned 10 mins ago and you still do it, so wasting mod time too – weka]

[just seen your response in the backend. You still don’t understand why you were moderated, so here it is again. You were banned for flaming, ignoring moderation, and wasting moderator time. If you don’t understand what flaming is, ask. That ban is now extended out to 1 month for ignoring moderation, wasting moderator time, and attacking an author. Expect moderations from now on to at least double but some will just go to past the election if you do something really stupid – weka]

Tim

The most reasonable commentator gets suspended because someone said the word ‘bigotry’… Your position is truly weak, weka.

[Peter got a short ban for blatantly ignoring moderation, and for flaming. Flaming is about behaviour. In moderation we are looking at patterns of behaviour that cause trouble for the site and increase work for the moderators. It rarely has anything to do with the content. Peter already has a history of this, which you are probably unaware of but the moderators are. Marty and adam were both warned as well and chose to tone down the flaming. I would have banned either of them similarly if they hadn’t.

Speaking of patterns of behaviour, and looking at your comments in general, I’ll let you know a couple of things. One is that I personally have a low tolerance for having my views misrepresented. People can disagree with me and they can go hard against my arguments, but when they start misusing my beliefs either against me or to further their own argument, then I will moderate. One of the reasons is that it’s hard enough being an author here without being attacked. The other is that I write to generate discussion, and if people choose to abuse or attack rather than debate then they need to go somewhere else.

You can count this as a warning. We obviously disagree politically, which is fine. But in addition to that you are stepping over a line that will result in a ban if you keep it up. Don’t make shit up about moderation (wasting moderator time is one of the quicker ways to get a ban), don’t attack authors, don’t misrepresent the views of authors. Pretty simple. – weka]

Weka does write to generate discussion, her Kaupapa Pākehā was good, but she also often puts strict boundaries on what can be discussed, and tends to ban when losing an argument (claiming things like ‘misrepresentation’, something she has done herself).

She is easier on some regulars, like:

bwaghorn14

”It looks like Labour are willing to bash those they see as being in their way politically”
it would appear you as a card carrying greeny are willing to bash labour when it suits weka

[ok, I’m torn between giving you a warning over stupid shit that’s against the rules (having a go at an author over perceived party politics), and asking you wtf you are on about. I’ll go with the latter. Please do explain what me being a GP member has to do with the post or what I said in it. I’m really curious what possible motivation I could have as GP member for apparently bashing Labour. – weka]

She uses her role as moderator to wield a stick in discussions:

Nope14.3.1.2

You can’t pretend your Green Party allegiance doesn’t influence your frequent attacks on Labour and Little.

Everyone has a political bias, and party membership and allegiance is a huge contributor.

I had hoped the MOU would give greenies a sense that there was one way to change the govt, and that was backing Labour and the Greens. Support for any other party that won’t commit to changing the govt just makes it less likely this will happen.

[“You can’t pretend your Green Party allegiance doesn’t influence your frequent attacks on Labour and Little.”

So much on one little sentence. I don’t have an allegiance to the GP. I vote for them and I am a member and I support many but not all of their policies, but if they had done what Little did I would be criticising them too. I don’t have to pretend anything. I like Little (that’s on record), I want Labour to do well, I want the Greens to do better, I want the govt to change. You and I disagree on how that might happen and what the best strategy is, that’s fine, make those arguments, but stop making shit up about me.

You will now provide 5 examples of my writing posts that attack Labour and Little in the past 3 months, or some other reasonable example of ‘frequent’ and ‘attack’. If you can’t/won’t do that, you have two choices. You can withdraw that comment and apologise, or you can have a ban. I’m putting you into premod until you answer. If I don’t see anything I will eventually ban just to tidy this up. I suggest you read the Policy and About and that you start paying attention to what is being said in moderation bold across threads so that you learn where the boundaries are.

You seem new here and look like you are bringing good commentary, so I’m cutting you some slack, but you need to understand that commenters are expendable and authors aren’t. Stop attacking authors, and debate the politics and points instead. If you don’t understand anything I’ve just said, ask for clarification. – weka]

These changes in moderation have generated quite a bit of comment. Violet:

Violet 2.1.1.1.1

We all know, that in little NZ, blogs like TS are often referred to. We also know that one of the biggest arguments against the left in NZ is that they fight amongst themselves constantly, and therefore are not capable of governing the country. The constant criticism of Labour here over the last few months, feeds directly into that view. And yes, I know this not a Labour blog, that is really not the point.

And as a reader for many years, I am sure this has been a relatively recent change. In the past, I have come to this blog to read a practical opposition to the government from a practical left wing perspective. Of late, it seems to be more often a fanciful view of what politics could be if everyone behaved in a way that is so far from practical reality.

I am so disappointed that this blog has turned this way over the last few months. What we need now, is strong support for a change in government at the next elections. And no, that doesn’t mean no criticism of Labour. But the reality is, like it or not, Labour doing well in the upcoming election is crucial for a change in government.

There is discussion on that, mainly from Weka, who continues here:

.weka 10

Violet, from here https://thestandard.org.nz/kaupapa-pakeha/#comment-1302361

A couple of points. One is that the Labour-bashing was going on for most of last year. I spoke against it quite a few times. I’ve even written a post about that that I haven’t published yet. It’s been delayed because of the US election mess here last year, and then more recently because of all the hooha over WJ (I had it loaded and just about ready to go). So whatever changes have happened in the past few months that you are seeing, Labour-bashing is not new here.

A large part of that was the fact that an author and prolific commenter had a lot of leeway here last year to Labour-bash. He’s not here now as an author and hasn’t been here as a commenter for much of the past few months either.

I”ve just had a look through the posts tagged Labour, and apart from the Kaupapa Pākehā one and the Poto Williams one, there aren’t really any ones that are that critical of Labour. Back in early Dec there were some but they weren’t critical of Labour so much as responding to criticism.

I”m not saying your perceptions are wrong, but that unless you can be specific they’re not that helpful in understanding what you mean or looking at what needs to change. I really like it when people talk about what works here and what doesn’t, so have it. I’d just ask that you give examples so we can know what you are referring to.

Long time commenter Anne:

Anne11

I am so disappointed that this blog has turned this way over the last few months. What we need now, is strong support for a change in government at the next elections. And no, that doesn’t mean no criticism of Labour. But the reality is, like it or not, Labour doing well in the upcoming election is crucial for a change in government.

My sentiments too Violet. Thank-you for expressing them so well. I have yet to figure out what exactly has happened to TS over the past few months, but there is a sense of intolerance and a lack of respect towards points of view that don’t always fit nicely with what the majority are saying on this site. I say that with some reservation because it only applies to a relatively few number of commenters who happen to be more prolific contributors, and by no means are all of them are at fault. However if it continues, it will start to turn people off coming here.

[TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

Weka herself posted several comments that were “off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in”. This double standard is effectively a warning to be careful what ones says, and where they say it.

Moderating is a difficult and thankless task. Every site has a right to do things as they want to. There’s no doubt that Weka’s interventions are having a marked effect at The Standard, for better and worse.

I’ve always had differences with the Standard on their moderation, but the bans and the need to tip toe knowing a moderator is hovering changes the nature and the value of discussions. It looks like this will become more of a thing as election year progresses.

Colonial Viper has been a Labour candidate (Clutha-Southland, 2011) and has since clashed in the party (in particular with Claire Curran in Dunedin South). He added a lot to The Standard (not to everyone’s liking) so his absence makes a difference.

The biggest difference is that even Labour supporters and members are now not necessarily safe to comment as they please there. Or at all. Earlier this week:

trpthestandard

So TRP can author posts but not comment on them?

That continued with CV joining in, click on this to see the thread:

 

Something missing here

‘Mickysavage’ has an odd post at The Standard: John Key – Mr 2%

One of the more interesting aspects of last night’s Colmar Brunton poll was the decline of support for John Key as preferred Prime Minister to 2%.  Jacinda Ardern is polling at twice that level.

Support for Bill English has surged.  But National strategists should be worried about this.  English is no Key.  In real life he is rather non descript and not very exciting.  He will not dominate the media in the way that John Key has.

I didn’t even think about what Key might have got because he has stepped down as Prime Minister and will be leaving Parliament soon. Why would even 2% who voted for him as ‘preferred Prime Minister’ when he prefers to be out of politics?

But there are not one but two interesting omissions from the post – Andrew Little and Winston Peters.

As nondescript and unexciting as Bill English may be he went from 0% in the last two polls up to 31%, most of what Key got in the last poll.

And Little dropped from 8% to 7%, with Peters staying on 8%.

While Labourites may be relishing the chance, at last, to savage Key on a poll result it is of no consequence.

How Andrew Little shapes up against Bill English will largely determine the outcome of this year’s election.

I asked an ex-pat Kiwi in Australia last week (someone who keeps an eye on news here and votes in NZ elections) what they thought of Andrew Little. They hadn’t heard if him.

There’s not just something missing from the poll post at The Standard, there is something missing from Labour.

On promoting and excusing political violence

Kevin posted this comment: “Usually I’m just taking the mickey with these things but in this case there’s serious underling themes of what is violence, is it ever justified and when, etc, so could make a good thread. And to be honest I find the thread a little bit on the scary side.”

Referring to this post be ‘weka’ at The Standard: Punching Nazis, and practicing resistance

I’ve been sitting for a few days trying to figure out what I think about punching Nazis and applauding punching Nazis, as a form of resistance. The act spoke for itself in obvious ways, and yet the glee with which the anti-fascists danced around the internet putting the video to song left me discomforted, as did the inevitable stand-off between liberals and radicals about what’s ok.

In comments Marty Mars:

If you don’t punch them they think they are allowed to do what they want including punching others.

because of all that I say punch a nazi every time

Weka:

I agree with much of that, and I can’t say I have too much of a problem with the original punch.

That some people accept, excuse  and promote physical violence against people with different political views is a concern in the New Zealand context.

McFlock:

I tend to follow the rule of thumb that sometimes, some people need to be punched – but it is never a good thing.

This is why I try to avoid socialising with tories: they might be all amiable and good company, then they tend to say or do something that makes my fists itch.

Nazis are easy to justify punching, like paedophiles. I won’t be overly sad if Rolf Harris gets thumped in prison, for example.

The trouble is that if you don’t have a pretty firm line about where and when and on whom thumping is justifiable, you end up on a slippery slope.

The interesting argument is the dividing line between “someone who disagrees with you politically” and “oh hell, no, thump that guy”. In the case of nazis it’s important to not normalise their existence. So yeah, disrupt their interviews. If that doesn’t work, hit them. And the more political power they gain despite those actions, escalate it again. Because as they’ve shown, as soon as they get a legitimate toehold they’ll expand their campaign of hate.

Yes, that’s me advocating intolerance to the point of violence. The difference is that I’m intolerant to nazi-style organisations, because they’re intolerant of every other group in society. Not one or two groups that are particularly vile, everyone. That’s pretty much what makes them nazis. They glory in violence against inferiors, and see themselves as superior to everyone else (well, overcompensate much, anyway).

Weka:

Spot on McFlock. I love it when someone else does all the thinking and then encapsulates it so I don’t have to. Thanks for that 😎

I would probably separate out paedophiles from Nazis, although that’s a different conversation I think.

But as McFlock pointed out, if you start trying to decide which political views or social behaviour esxcuses violence or not it becomes a slippery slope.

Phil makes an important point:

My concern with this matter is a little more practical: what is the measurement standard for determining if one is or is not a Nazi?

Someone like Richard Spencer, with his truly vile and hateful views of race and ethnicity, would seem to exceed any reasonable metric of judging Nazi-ness and my initial gut reaction is that he deserves to be punched, repeatedly.

But, each of us is going to have a different standard for measuring Nazi-ness. Your own post hints at it by linking John Key and proto-facist. I’ve seen plenty of people on here, and other blogs, suggest everyone from John Key and Helen Clark, to George Bush and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Tony Blair and Nigel Farage are Nazi’s.

I have serious concerns that some deluded individual is going to think “I think Politician X is a Nazi, therefore it’s acceptable for me to punch, or shoot, or kill them” and that’s not a political opposition/resistance we should be encouraging in any way at all.

And then in comes Sanctuary:

Waaaaaaayyyy to much over-analysis going on here. The neo-fascist got clocked on camera. Good job.

And:

Jesus, what a bunch of namby pambies! You all sound like the giddy heights of resistance for you is pointedly refusing a second biscuit from a conservative vicar.

Now look here. Right wing violence in the form of cruel infliction of poverty or the humiliation of having to grovel for a dime happens all the time. These right wing neo-fascist types are not playing at politics, unlike the completely useless bunch of pearl clutching pacifists here. Those assholes wouldn’t think twice about stomach punching your granny, or slashing her pension to nothing. I would happily scone any one of them on the noggin with a baseball bat. Assholes deserve it.

Weka responded:

What are you on about? There’s 2 people in this thread who I would consider leftish, that have said it’s wrong to punch people, and 3 RWers. Everyone else is saying there’s a context and are talking about that. Hardly a bunch of namby pamby pacifists. I wonder if you are bothering to even read what people write, or the pos, let alone think about it.

Her response is a bit bizarre, and notably doesn’t oppose the violent suggestions.

I guess it’s ok to raise discussions about whether political violence is acceptable or ever justifiable, but I would have liked to see condemnation of it from a blog moderator who warns and bans people for very trivial things.

I find  labeling people left or right or Nazi or fascist in the context of making reasons and excuses for violence, especially in a politically benign New Zealand context, more than a bit disturbing.

Violence on political or religious or ethnic or just about any grounds, especially initiating it, should simply be condemned.

Blogger of the year

Political blogs in New Zealand serve as a useful enough niche in discussions on democratic matters but are waning in influence and newsworthiness.This is largely due to the growing dominance of Facebook as a forum for just about everything, but is also an effect of ‘Dirty Politics’ on the two largest blogs.

Twitter has it’s uses in monitoring news, and views of the news writers, but as a forum it is also diminishing in importance. It has been tainted by misguided and often bitter social crusaders with too much bashing of anyone with different views.

Kiwiblog still chugs along as one of the biggest and most worthwhile blogs to watch. David Farrar was rocked by ‘Dirty Politics’ but kept going and is still a knowledgeable and very well informed political commentator. He is trashed by some on the left because he is closely associated with National but gives some good insights into the Government without being a yes man, he is prepared to criticise his own side and praise opponents albeit with an obvious preference overall.

Amongst the daily noise there are some good comments and a number of commenters are worth watching out for.

The Standard has had a difficult year, with internal divisions causing more than a few problems, and a couple of long serving and prominent authors/commenters being banned over differences. While it there are still strong Labour connections there is a growing influence – often negative – of Green supporters, active in effectively censoring The Standard by shutting out and driving away views and people deemed unwelcome.

There are some commenters worth watching out for but there is a lot of repeat bleating and unrealistic idealism.

The Daily Blog has waned. A lot of effort and resource went into Waatea Fifth Estate which was designed as a great alternative to the struggling traditional media, but failed to get repeat funding for next year -it was interesting at times but didn’t build an audience. Some posts are good but the messy site design and too many rants and ridiculously slanted assertions from Martyn Bradbury detract from overall credibility.

Commenters have been heavily filtered since the beginning a The Daily Blog, with Bradbury’s  lack of confidence in his arguments resulting in him protecting them from examination, so the comments threads are rarely of much value.

Whale Oil is still the biggest blog stats-wise, mainly due to having by far the most daily posts (25 yesterday), by many of these are fillers and click bait. Slater sometimes has some fresh and breaking content but not much these days, and tends to bang on about a few topics repeatedly. Insider sources have diminished markedly. He also now relies a lot on other media content, ironically heavily criticising that same media for being past it and irrelevant.

The commenting community is still very active despite major purges in 2014 in particular but you have search for good content, which can be tedious with the often very slow Discus system.

On blog comments – while Whale Oil keeps conquering the click stats their number of comments gives a better idea of comparative interest, with most posts getting few if any comments. There are often as many comments per day at Kiwiblog, and The Standard usually isn’t far off in comment numbers either (but not the last few days).

Public Address sometimes has some very good posts – Legal Beagle is always worth looking out for and  Russell Brown’s posts on drugs are worthwhile – but they are barely daily so it’s more of a magazine style blog. Comment numbers are spasmodic.

The Pundit is still there but only has the occasional post. Andrew Geddis is always worth checking out but otherwise, from a 16 strong line up of authors there isn’t much content, with only 9 posts this month.

No Right Turn is worth keeping an eye on but with no commenting allowed it lacks community and variety.

Blogger of the Year

For me there has been a stand out political blogger in New Zealand this year – Danyl at Dim-Post.

Dim-Post evolved from a semi-satirical site with an interest in literature into political activism to an extent in 2015. Danyl helped James Shaw in his campaign to take over Russel Norman’s co-leadership of the Green Party, and became a part of the Green campaign committee.

But this year, especially in the second half, Danyl has done something unusual for a political blogger – he has been prepared to examine his own political views and critique his own side, the left, with some very good insights and challenges. He has also been prepared to look across the political spectrum and mix criticism with praise and acknowledge positives with the current Government.

It’s rarely refreshing to see someone involved in politics prepared to break out of the bubble and look at the bigger pictures, even when they are not painting what they prefer to see.

Comments are also often worth skimming through as there are some good contributions there.

For a sort of a lefty Danyl is notably different to the idealists with entrenched views and no tolerance for alternative views.

Some of Danyl’s thought provoking recent posts – if you have spare time over the holidays it could be interesting to revisit these posts and comments.

I think Key’s tendency to blow with the wind has more to do with political expediency than intellectual honesty, and I said so. But I agree that the ability to change your mind is an important trait, and since then I’ve been trying to think of recent instances in which I’ve changed my mind on political issues, and I couldn’t really think of any, which worried me a bit.

I guess I know what twitter and all of the Green and Labour Party MPs have been talking about today. This poll conducted by a Feminist charity in the UK is a pretty typical example of the various surveys about public attitudes to feminism (I’m not aware of any similar work in NZ). Most people will say they believe in gender equality but very few people will self-describe themselves as feminist.

I’m not a fancy media strategist etc but when you’re twenty points behind in the polls and there’s a huge, unpredicted political change, probably not that smart to go around saying ‘nothing has changed.’

One of Key’s strengths was an apparent indifference towards his government’s policy agenda. There were no bottom lines, no hills to die on. With the exception of major natural and financial disasters, everything else in the country was pretty much fine as it was but could be changed, preferably slightly, if the public mood seemed to call for it. ‘We think we’ve got the mix about right,’ was Key’s first response to any problem. It gave him enormous flexibility, and he’s leaving his office with popularity and political capital unmatched by any other Prime Minister.

A series on Marxism:

The Standard has one of those ‘Maybe Marx was right‘ posts you see a lot on the left nowadays, linking to a column in the Guardian suggesting the same thing. Reading the Trotsky biography I’ve mentioned on here before has lead me to a lot of secondary reading about Marx and Marxism, and my half-informed take is that Marx was right about some things but very wrong about other, very major things, and his total wrongness on those major things hasn’t yet sunk in for the radical left, which is a source of a lot of their failure and irrelevance. I want to talk about one of the wrong things.

One of Marx’s big ideas was that history operates according to scientific laws. This was a much more sophisticated way to think about history than people back then were used to. A lot of intellectuals thought that history was shaped by a ‘world spirit’, viz Hegel. Most normal people – In Europe, at least – thought the Judeo-Christian God made everything happen. Most historians thought that ‘great men’ shaped history. The idea that technological and economic change and other materialist factors drove history was, well, revolutionary.

Yesterday a few people asked me why on earth I wrote a long confused rant about Marxism. Like, what does that even have to do with anything that’s happening in the real world? Possibly nothing, increasingly so, but I think it’s relevant to some of what’s happening on the left. The post is a culmination of stuff I’ve been thinking about for a while.

When I wrote my screed about Marxism one of my fears was that Scott Hamilton would show up and tear it to pieces. Happily he has not done this, instead he directed me to this post he wrote a few months ago also critiquing the base-superstructure model.

Giovanni Tiso has written a post about Why he is a Marxist.

I like forums that challenge norms, that provoke thought and encourage discussion. It’s lacking in the big blogs. I think that Danyl has done this better than anyone this year.