Posts by Rob Stowell

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  • Hard News: The fake news problem,

    The 'fake news' issue is scary. I went through the process of following links and unpicking sources a few times - almost always ending with some tiny morsel of opinion that ballooned into (usually) the most ridiculous attacks on Hillary.
    But pointing it out - even meticulously, piece by piece - just meant I was one of the brainwashed.
    A couple of people must have blocked me on facebook, because the worst offender just disappeared. To be fair, I'd contemplated doing the same to him, but I was genuinely intrigued at what he was believing and promulgating.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Russell Brown,

    regarding polls taken when the only information about him was positive as a guarantee is pretty perilous.

    For sure. Might have been is funny territory. Sanders did remarkably and unexpectedly well in Michigan, though - it's possible he'd have done well up there. Not an election where any predictions seem cast iron.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The fake news problem, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But mostly:

    Here are a few tastes of what was in store for Sanders, straight out of the Republican playbook:

    This is probably all true, but ... who can know? Sanders had a genuine palpable anger about where the US is, and a prescription to change things. This wasn't the year facts and old scandals and 'baggage' necessarily destroyed a candidate - however likely that was on past experience.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: No, there isn’t a popular…,

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Long, Strange Trip, in reply to tussock,

    This is a very bad thing.

    We seem to be watching (in slow motion, because history isn't a racing car - until it hits the powerpole) the end of the US dominated world. The constitution, the electoral system, the tiers of government, many of the institutions were set up in the 18th century. There have been times they served well, but they seem broken now. The politicisation of the supreme court, the filibuster in the senate, partisan gridlock. The electoral college, the senate which are barely democratic. The 2nd amendment, designed (hahaha) to prevent ever having a 'standing army'.
    There have been times when the united states were united- at least enough to change some of these things. Now an amendment to the constitution is impossible, because there isn't the unity. Gotta wonder if it will ever come back.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: No, there isn’t a popular…,

    I've seen too many leftists signing up to hate Hillary. Lies and mud and unsubstantiated innuendo from left right and centre (that's you, New York Times.) It's hard to explain but she pisses a lot of people off.
    More than that: I don't think she ever really "got it" about the big changes needed to create an economy that worked for most people rahter than the people with the most.
    So enthusiasm gap yeah.
    The most cogent analysis I've seen was from before the election - an article someone posted about how Trump's lies felt as if they came from true emotions. Hillary can feel emotionally inauthentic. (I suspect part of it is feeling self conscious.)
    Another factor that seems to come up is how in this "post media" world people can find all sorts of confirmation of just about anything. We feel an emotion and then we find stuff to confirm that emotion and we believe it - because it feels emotionally true.
    I think this helps to explain the remarkable variety and persistence of conspiracy theories out there right now. People feel powerless. A conspiracy - it's all rigged - is a way to explain and confirm that feeling. You don't like Hillary. You explain by insisting she's a criminal who can't be trusted because the emails.
    What we don't have on either side of politics right now are compelling stories that explain where we're at and how we can get somewhere better. So we get revanchist dreaming and scapegoating - its the Mexicans or the 1%; both sides turn on "the mainstream media".

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: From Zero: New Zealand and drugs,

    It feels an odd time to mention it with the looming trumpocalypse and all, but seeing more US states vote to legalise marijuana for medical and personal use, and looking at the polling here, the timing might be good to get a citizen's initiated 'reeferendum' on the ballot next year.
    National will probably pooh pooh it. Labour might too - but that could cost them dearly with the option to vote Green on the table. It would bring the issue into the forefront, where politicians don't want it - and that also might have a good effect. Whadda ya reckon?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Be careful what you wish for, in reply to Aidan,

    Krugman’s article has the important caveat that we’re in a period of substantial excess savings.

    I’m curious where these savings are coming from. Is it mostly the ‘1%’ looking for places to park their loot? Oil barons? Russian oligarchs? Baby-boomer pension funds?
    Because most western governments are borrowing, and most people around the world don’t seem awash in money (or there’d be far more spending and economic growth) and a lot of countries (like us – and the US) have negative trade balances.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Long, Strange Trip, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    it’s pretty clear the public are not informed and really don’t care.

    I think it's instructive to flip from seeing this in terms of knowledge and information, to seeing it in terms of emotion and emotional satisfaction. We like to see ourselves as rational animals, but we are experts at rationalising our emotions after we've behaved on them.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Long, Strange Trip,

    The prong of Trump and the GOP's game that may fade from memory as the Clintons leave the spotlight is the decades long strategy of demonising Hillary. Mountains of mud were thrown, and thrown again, and stuck, even as investigation showed them to be completely unfounded.
    She wasn't a great candidate for a range of reasons. But she was a terrific lightning rod for hate and fear and conspiracy. You can be a weak candidate and not hated. She was widely hated, and not just by GOP misogynists.
    I'm still astonished how many people avowedly sympathetic to 'the left' despised her so deeply. This has to be a major factor - ensuring lowered voter turn-out and twisting white male voting.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1962 posts Report Reply

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