Mass shooting, but so what?

Five dead at a shooting in Mexico in a tourist town, at least one Kiwi present at the night club.

RNZ: Mexico shooting: Five dead in Playa del Carmen music festival nightclub shooting

At least five people have been killed, three of them foreigners, when a gunman opened fire outside the Blue Parrot nightclub in the Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen during the BPM electronic music festival, police say.

More than 2000 people were said to be in the club at the time of the attack, many of them Australians. The festival is popular with foreign tourists.

In contrast to some shootings there doesn’t seem to have been any jumping to conclusions. Whale Oil hasn’t posted on it and there doesn’t seem to be any mention in comments – they mustn’t care about Mexicans and non-Israeli tourists.

When should NZ speak out against terrorism?

Yesterday SB posted at Whale Oil: We need to talk about our government’s attitude towards terrorism

The Bill English led National government I am very sad to say, does not speak out against terrorism if it is terrorism against Jews.

SB refers to a single attack that occurred when most of the Government was on holiday at it’s quietest time of year.

She quotes a blog post from Shalom Kiwi – New Zealand has an issue with terrorism

When an Islamist drove his truck into a crowd in Nice last July, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key spoke out against the terror attack. When an Islamist drove his truck into a crowd in Berlin last December, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English spoke out against the terror attack. An Islamist has just driven a truck into a crowd in Jerusalem and the New Zealand government is silent.

While Kiwi politicians are yet to make comment on the terror attack, there was condemnation from around the rest of the Western world following the tragedy that claimed 4 young lives and injured 16 others.

Has the New Zealand government been deliberately selective in which terrorist attacks they condemn, and in particular do they not denounce terrorism if it’s against Jews?

Perhaps it’s a matter of scale – the Nice attack killed 86 people and injured 434, the Berlin attack killed 12 people and injured 56.

But it’s not just the one terrorist attack in Jerusalem that the Government has not denounced.

Terrorist attacks so far this year that have resulted in multiple deaths:

  • Shooting in Istanbul, Turkey – 39 dead, 70 injured
  • Bombing in Najaf, Iraq – 7 dead, 17 injured
  • Car bombing in Baghdad, Iraq – 56 dead, 122 injured
  • Car bombing in Magadishu, Somalia – 7 dead, 17 injured
  • Suicide bombing in Samarra, Iraq – 7 dead
  • Shooting in Abyan, Yemen – 3 dead, 10 injured
  • Shooting in Badhakshan, Afghanistan – 4 dead
  • Shooting in Bria, Central African Republic – 2 dead (UN peacekeepers), 2 injured
  • Shooting in Quetta, Pakistan – 2 dead
  • Shooting in Kunduz, Afghanistan – 2 dead (US service members)
  • Car bombings in Baghdad, Iraq – 28 dead, 57 injured
  • Car bombing in Jableh, Syria – 16+ dead, 30 injured
  • Car bombing in Izmir, Turkey – 2 dead, 10 injured
  • Car bombing in Ad-Dawr, Iraq – 4 dead, 12 injured
  • Shooting in Tala wa Barfak, Afghanistan – 9+ dead, 3 injured
  • Suicide bombing in Abyan, Yemen – 6 dead (British soldiers), 20 injured
  • Car bombing in Azaz, Syria – 60+ dead, 50 injured
  • Attack in Yobe State, Nigeria – 5 dead
  • Car bombing in Baghdad, Iraq – 20 dead, 50+ injured
  • Vehicular attack in Jerusalem – 4 dead, 17 injured
  • Shooting in Jourian, India – 3 dead
  • Car bombing in Arish, Egypt – 8 dead, 15 injured
  • Car bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan – 38 dead, 70+ injured
  • Bombing in Kandahar, Afghanistan – 11 dead, dozens injured

There were also 18 terrorist attacks with 1 or 0 deaths.

I understand that Shalom Kiwi would have a focus on Israel, but why is SB and Whale Oil, which sometimes promotes itself as much better media, ignoring all these other terrorist attacks?  They could pad out a lot of posts with various terrorist attacks if they wanted to be balanced.

What should our Government’s attitude be to terrorism? Denouncing every terrorist attack is obviously impractical.

Should terrorism denouncements be based on the number of attacks? If so what would be a practical and reasonable threshold be?

Should we only care about terrorism in certain countries, or regions of the world? There’s obviously a lot of terrorism in the Middle East – but if we ruled out there that would also rule out Israel.

I’m fairly sure our Government would denounce all terrorism generally. In fact our Foreign Minister Murray McCully says that UN resolution 2334, voted on just before Christmas, does just that:

Resolution 2334 condemns the obstacles to a negotiated two state solution: incitement and acts of violence and terror against civilians of all sides, and the ongoing settlements programme which carves ever more deeply into the land available for a Palestinian state on the West Bank.

It would be impractical to denounce every terrorist act.

From New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade:  Counter terrorism

New Zealand is committed to regional and international counter-terrorism cooperation.

Ongoing upheaval in the Middle East and the rapid rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) have changed the international security landscape, where terrorism is now a significant threat. While the risk of a terror attack here is thought to be low, we need to be vigilant, and play a part in countering terrorism abroad.

MFAT’s role

We build networks with other countries and international organisations so we can keep informed of terrorist threats, share information, and improve our capacity to respond.MFAT represents New Zealand at international forums that deal with terrorism.

What we’re doing globally

New Zealand works with several international partners to improve global counter-terrorism capability. We do this through policy, legislation and practical initiatives that help prevent terrorist financing, violent extremism, radicalisation and recruitment.

We support the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (external link). We’ve co-sponsored a number of terrorist designations and follow a national process to make sure New Zealand complies with the UN Security Council’s terrorist sanctions against these entities.

Read more about our list of designated terrorist entities and our UN obligations (external link) (which includes the military wing of Hamas)

More on UN Security Council sanctions

Groups and initiatives New Zealand works with include:

  • UN al Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committees – UN committees that impose measures to limit the capabilities of these specific terrorist groups. This committee also deals with ISIL and its affiliates.
  • International Coalition to Counter ISIL – New Zealand has deployed a military training mission to Iraq as part of our overall contribution to the international coalition against ISIL. This is a non-combat mission, aimed at building the capability and capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces to counter ISIL and promote peace and security.
  • UN Alliance of Civilisations – works to address the root causes of extremism through improving cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among countries, peoples and communities.
  • Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) – a group of around 30 countries that work together to find ways to prevent, combat and prosecute terrorist acts, and to promote the UN’s Counter Terrorism Strategy.
  • Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) – an initiative of the GCTF that supports local efforts to prevent violent extremism.
  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – helps countries put in place laws and regulations that prevent the financing of terrorist organisations.

Whale ill

Cameron Slater has posted at Whale Oil that he is suffering from a debilitating illness – Quick update on my health – it turned out to be not very quick as he responded with details a number of times in comments through the day, and has also commented on it on Facebook.

He says that it is stress related, after a tough year last year.

The stresses of 2016 have come home to roost, and it is something else I can thank Colin Craig and others for.  I’ll make sure I’ll bring this up as one of the outcomes of what happens when a rich angry man uses the courts for personal leverage without any merit to the case.   His last court room encounter with me was thrown out as vexatious before it even went to trial.  So I’m somewhat annoyed my left brain has decided to go all sookie on me and chuck it all in for a bit.

Jokes aside, I’m not in great shape.  I can barely work.  I’m on morphine to keep the worst of the pain at bay.  But you know me, I can still take and make phone calls, and I have a great team I can dictate, direct and delegate to so it is business as usual.

The others at Whale Oil say they are doing more to keep things ticking over on the blog but some are still appearing under the authorship of Slater.

When Slater recovers enough to think things through clearly he should do more than just blame others – it would be an opportune time for him to re-evaluate his approach to blogging.

Many of his old sources seem to have dried up since the ‘Dirty Politics revelations, so continuing to promote himself as a dirty political activist, and promising to get dirtier this year, doesn’t seem a very smart approach.

Slater could be incisive and hard hitting without resorting to murkier dirtier tactics – if he actually tried to be a well informed new media journalist rather than trying to be dirtier and click batier than the old media he keeps criticising he may be able to reinvent Whale Oil as an effective and credible media site.

One problem with Whale Oil is their commitment to half hour posts . This often results in repeats on the same topics, many times on some topics, which either look like fillers, or like promoting an agenda. There are too many petty repeats of whine-posts.

An emphasis on quality rather than quantity would declutter the daily post lists and would probably attract more interest. When skimming 20-30 post titles it’s easy to miss worthwhile posts.

Slater would do well to reassess his approach to blogging. He may not only improve Whale Oil, potentially substantially, but also reduce his stress levels. The latter may be essential if he wants to recover properly and avoid any recurrence of stress induced illness.

A tighter, better focussed and less dirty Whale Oil would be more effective as a media site and also as a political activist site. And it may mean the difference between blog and blogger surviving online or not.

More Breitbart ‘fake news’

The Breitbart news site has been accused of spreading ‘fake news’ about an alleged Muslim attack on a church in Germany. This has been debunked by multiple sources.

This raises concerns for a number of reasons:

  • The ex CEO of Bretibart, Steve Barron, will soon become Trump’s chief strategist in the White House.
  • Breitbart plans to set up a German language site (and also a French site).
  • Germany is having elections this year.
  • Whale Oil wants to imitate Breitbart  in New Zealand.

Guardian: German police quash Breitbart story of mob setting fire to Dortmund church

German media and politicians have warned against an election-year spike in fake news after the rightwing website Breitbart claimed a mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” had set fire to a church in the city of Dortmund on New Year’s Eve.

After the report by the US site was widely shared on social media, the city’s police clarified that no “extraordinary or spectacular” incidents had marred the festivities.

The local newspaper, Ruhr Nachrichten, said elements of its online reporting on New Year’s Eve had been distorted by Breitbart to produce “fake news, hate and propaganda”.

The justice minister of Hesse state, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, said that “the danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own”.

Tens of thousands clicked and shared the story with the headline “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve”.

It said the men had “chanted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), launched fireworks at police and set fire to a historic church”, while also massing “around the flag of al-Qaida and Islamic State collaborators the Free Syrian Army.”

The local newspaper said Breitbart had combined and exaggerated unconnected incidents to create a picture of chaos and of foreigners promoting terrorism.

Dortmund police on Thursday said its officers had handled 185 missions that night, sharply down from 421 the previous year. The force’s leader judged the night as “rather average to quiet”, in part thanks to a large police presence.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily said Breitbart had used exaggerations and factual errors to create “an image of chaotic civil war-like conditions in Germany, caused by Islamist aggressors”.

Breitbart is unlikely to be deterred by belated debunking of their slanted and misleading campaigns.

Bild, Germany’s top-selling daily, also predicted trouble ahead – pointing to the fact that Breitbart’s former editor Steve Bannon had been appointed as US president-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

It warned that Breitbart – which plans to launch German and French language sites – could seek to “aggravate the tense political climate in Germany”.

Meanwhile in New Zealand Whale Oil is trying to revive it’s imitation of Breitbart – and already has a history of anti-Muslim posts.

How Whaleoil can become New Zealand’s Breitbart

Whaleoil can become New Zealand’s Breitbart if the subscription numbers continue to grow. We will use the extra income to hire more staff and we will train interns. Given the appropriate resources, we will expand services which may possibly include news aggregation from sources you can trust.

When you subscribe to Whaleoil you become part of our plan to once again imitate what works overseas and to replicate its success here in New Zealand.

Sources you can trust? Breitbartising Whale Oil might appeal to those who want to be told what they believe, but the trust levels here are already very low.

Because of this Whale Oil rarely gets traction in social and mainstream media for any of the campaigns they try to run – they have been complaining about the lack of media interest in their daily barrage of pro-Israel anti-NZ Government posts.

Any ‘news’ posted by Whale Oil should be viewed with a healthy degree of skepticism, whether it is from their own ‘tip line’ or unnamed sources, or from ‘trusted sources’ like Breitbart. Both have records of political skulduggery and dirt – and Whale Oil has been promising to get dirtier this year.

Tits for authors

I guess it’s not surprising that blogs that try to keep churning out the same number of posts as usual during a slow news period will wither keep repeating themselves or will resort to cheap hit jobs on people they have been grizzling about for yonks.

The UN vote on Israel was before Christmas but Whale Oil still managed several ‘Israel perfect, everyone else enemies’ posts yesterday. The only topics competing with that topic are collectively anti Michelle Boag posts, anti-National posts, anti-Murray McCully posts and anti Bill English posts.

A post yesterday – Kumara Bill – has amateurish and cringeworthy graphics playing a lame name game, which says more about the authors at Whale Oil than anything – in this case Spanish Bride.

Whale Oil has silly tits for authors. They’re starting 2017 offside with just about everyone in politics in New Zealand – the prospects for political consultancy aren’t looking good. Perhaps they might move to Israel.

The comments on the post quickly summed up the WO summer – as well as disparaging English they also became anti-McCully and anti-National and pro Israel.

Tits for clicks.

An eye opener for the WO bubble

Followers of Whale Oil over the the past two weeks will have seen a daily diet of pro-Israel and anti-Security Council resolution, anti-Murray McCully and anti-National government posts.

There has been no attempt at balance, and little attempt at accuracy – support of the Security Council vote (14-0) has been labelled as anti-Israel, but obviously countries like the United States and United Kingdom (and New Zealand) are not anti-Israel overall, they have just become exasperated by Israel’s ongoing provocative settlements.

The activist campaign on WO continues today. Already there has been Is the Maori Party a friend of Israel? which promised much (teasers were posted yesterday) and delivered little.

And  Face of the Day  featured another cherry picked article (also posted on here ‘One Nation’ wants to kick New Zealand). Comments are more interesting:


I am interested in just what the rest of New Zealand outside of W/O actually think. Stuff accepted just 4 comments on this story, one person wrote “that Israel violated international law with their ILLEGAL settlements, therefore it’s only logical they be reprimanded for that.” This has received 395 up votes. I am really surprised at that. It would appear that Israel are not overly supported in this Country – perhaps the ripple in the polls may actually be very small by the simple tactic of ignoring it.


Yep, majority of comments and votes on other news sites/blogs are all very anti-Israeli. While it is probably no more than the screaming skull’s rent-a-crowd, it is an eye opener.

No, not anti-Israel, most are simply pro the Security Council resolution.

Rick H:

As I have been saying all along – – -the vast majority of NZ people (and probably most in the rest of the western world as well) know very little to nothing at all about the facts of the middle east. They believe what they have seen on the TV over the years, that Israel is the evil one.

No amount of trying to show them the real truth makes a difference.
They turn off and simply don’t want to be told.
They aren’t interested.

I’m not surprised that these two Oilers are ‘very surprised’ and find it ‘an eye opener’ what reality outside the WO bubble is.

The ‘truth’ and gospel according to Whale Oil is not what the vast majority of New Zealanders see preached.

Typical of online bubbles they portray any sort of disagreement as totally anti their way of thinking, you are either friend or enemy, similarly of WO and of Israel.

With such a persistent one-sided diet that’s what often happens.

And those who venture out of the bubble are shocked that the real world is more mixed and nuanced, and see this as totally opposite to the lines they have been fed.


Apart from articles on WO, I have seen and heard very little about it, and have had no discussions about it at all.

I’ve seen quite a bit in a variety of places – it’s there if you look for it beyond your self reinforcing zone.

It’s funny that different opinions are seen as an eye opener.

Postscript: “This is a 2000-year-old struggle that the Māori Party is not about to wade into. Both sides claim tangata whenua status. However, we note that the current sanctions imposed against Pallestine are inhumane and cause great suffering of innocent women and children.”

I’m not surprised that the Maori Party didn’t want to ‘wade into’ the frenzy at Whale Oil, but they have probably fed it by suggesting that “innocent (Palestinian) women and children”  are suffering.

Update: while I was writing this post pro-Israel post #3 so far today at WO – Guest Post: Our world: The PLO’s zero-sum game – another cherry picked article from the Jerusalem Post.

Disgraceful Whale Oil comments

Whale Oil has claimed for some time that they have cleaned up their comments and that they don’t allow anything nasty.

From their usually strictly enforced ‘commenting and moderation’ rules:

  • Do not threaten to kill, harm or otherwise injure anyone, even in jest. Don’t think that you can get away with clever language like “I propose a lead injection”, or similar.
  • If you see someone else troll DO NOT REPLY. If you reply, you risk being seen as part of the problem (no, we don’t care “who started it”).

From their General Debate comments today:


That’s three blog owners and moderators making despicable comments about someone who clearly has severe mental health problems.

Whale Oil claim they have cleaned up their comments but this makes it clear that doesn’t apply to the site censors.

It is very unlikely the target of these disgraceful comments will read them, but this sends a clear signal to Whale Oil readers and commenters that nasty is back, big time.

SB, you are welcome to explain here. It wasn’t you making the comments but you have claimed your comments are clean and criticised other blog comments for being disgraceful in the past.

Slater’s suggestions he would get dirtier this year seems to be already evident. Back to the worst of Whale Oil?

Hijacker still a risk

Convicted hijacker Asha Abdille has almost finished her sentence but is still seen as a risk – not surprising given that she has threatened to do it again.

Stuff: NZ plane hijacker threatens repeat action

The country’s only convicted plane hijacker has almost completed her prison sentence and is threatening to hijack another aircraft if she gets the chance.

Asha Abdille stabbed both pilots on an Air New Zealand flight from Blenheim to Christchurch in February 2008. One passenger was injured in the incident.

The Somali refugee took knives onto the 19-seater plane, which was forced to make an emergency landing.

Abdille was sentenced to nine years in prison, and her sentence expires on 7 February.

She is currently held in a psychiatric unit in the Wellington region, but refused to attend her final Parole Board hearing in early December. A written summary of the hearing, obtained by RNZ, said Abdille was still classified as high risk and has “said that she will attempt to hijack another plane and has threatened to set herself on fire”.

She is unlikely to get anywhere near an aircraft, especially not any commercial flights, but she is an obvious risk to herself.

Not surprisingly:

It is understood Abdille, who is currently regarded as a special patient, will transfer into the mental health system on a compulsory treatment order (CTO) when her sentence ends next month.

It sounds like that is appropriate. Serious mental health problems are difficult for those suffering from them and can be very hard to deal with safely.

Something that’s very inappropriate is this reaction:


For someone how claims to know about mental health issues from experience, and someone who has claimed there were attempts to coerce him to suicide, this is disgraceful from Slater, as are the added comments from his Whale Oil off siders. All three of them are very off side on this.

Whale wail for attention

Cameron Slater kicks off 2017 with another wail about being ignored.

Failed 2016 strategy: If we ignore Whaleoil, will it cease to exist?

What better post for the very first of 2017 than this one?

We’re used to it now.  The strategy since Dirty Politics is to treat Whaleoil as if it never existed.

I’m not sure who’s strategy, all media make their own decisions on who they publicise.

Such is the social pressure behind the scenes not to mention…

…people know the rules.  Promote Whaleoil or Slater in any way and you’ll be ostracised.

That’s very funny – Cam and SB ostracise me for posting about them.

What do they want? To be ignored, or to be written about? (I’m aware that the amount of publicity I can given them is negligible but they should be grateful for any they get).

And another self-deceiving “win” for the usual dozen Social Justice Bullies who think that’s made any difference.  Some of them are deeply ensconced in academia themselves.  Preaching through a thin veil of impartiality.  But their continued refusal to record or report on all data gives them away.

What they are really scared of is a direct face-to-face debate.

Who’s scared? I’ve tried direct debate Whale Oil, and was banned (like many others). And on Twitter…


Mr ‘Dirty Politics’   doesn’t seem to like pesky challenges or debates unless they are on his own terms – which seems to mean he dishes it out and avoids any return fire.

He regularly slams media for being crap and says they are failing, and also slams them for failing to publicise his crap. Cam seems to be confused about what he really wants.

The past success of Whale Oil relied on media giving legs to stories they started. Now those legs have been cut off and it has become more Wail Oil.

Going by his continued promotion of doing politics the dirty way he likes dishing out dirt, and wants his dirt repeated by the media he appears to despise, but ducks for cover if challenged.

Which reminds me:  Nicky, any time, any place.  Live, no editing.   You and me.  Moot:  Dirty Politics is Dirty.  I know you’re up to it.  You have had a good education, and you know more about my emails than I do.  It would be the fairest debate ever.

…do you have the stones to debate me?

I suspect Nicky knows about Whale Oil rule 7:

Whaleoil’s Rules of Politics

1. If you are explaining, you are losing

2. Utu is good, even necessary

3. Never hug a corpse – it smells and you end up smelling like the corpse too

4. Always know where the bodies are buried

5. Don’t let mongrels get away with being mongrels

6. Don’t mess with The Whale or Cactus Kate

7. Never wrestle with pigs, two things are for certain if you do. You will get dirty and the pig will enjoy it.

8. Never ask a question if you don’t already know the answer

9. Speak plain, Speak Simple

10. Remember, I’m telling this story

11. Never trust a politician if you aren’t close enough to them to hit them in the back of the head with a bit of 4×2

12. Never trust a politician with a moustache or a hyphenated name

Perhaps there’s something to rule 3 – and that’s why politicians and media tend to avoid being associated with them now.

But Whale Oil isn’t a corpse, it’s still a thriving blog, as they keep saying – Slater quoted Karl du Fresne:

Last time I checked, Cameron Slater’s right-wing blog was the most widely read in New Zealand.

He’s sort of correct. Whale Oil is the most clicked blog in New Zealand. But it’s not publicly known how many of those clicks are on interesting posts compared to the click bait, dross and self promotions.

More traditional media such as the Herald, Stuff, TVNZ and Mediaworks are increasingly criticised for moving more towards populist trivia, something seen as necessary to attract advertising revenue.

Perhaps repeating WO dirty politics isn’t populist enough for them. Or perhaps the threats Slater keeps making about revealing dirt on them encourages them to keep well away.

And comparing Whale Oil to other blogs is a bit apples and oranges, WO is trying to compete with the Herald et al, not with the blogs – they hardly mention blogs excepting when wailing.

Despite that Kiwiblog and The Standard have commenting communities that often have similar comment numbers to Whale Oil, suggesting that the higher click rates at WO are not so much due to engagement.

Talking of commenting at WO, their second post of 2017 was an email from someone they had banned – Sunday mailbag: “Dear moderators”. In that the have a poll on whether that person (if they are real) should be able to comment again. It includes this option:

That’s some epic grovelling – let him back in

If you are one of the many banned from WO grovelling may be a way back in, but this attitude may in part explain the levels of sycophancy there.

I wish Whale Oil well for 2017, if and when they contribute to decent political discourse.

But if they persist in beating the dirty politics dead horse, repeating the same mistakes, then they may be left barking about their stats while lamenting their lack of bite.


It’s easier to ignore wails than wrestle with them.

An obvious way to stop being ignored is to do something worthwhile this year rather than trying to fight old battles long lost.

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.