Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Burning down the house to feel better

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  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Guardian has given...

    The Guardian has been repeatedly doing this type of thing recently. They seem to have some sort of recently-implemented, ill-thought-out, half-baked limp-wristed kumbaya editoral thought process about bursting the liberal bubble, meeting-in-the-middle, or whatever. It's starting to get extremely annoying.

    Had to vent.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    As I’ve noted previously, the Gallup and Pew studies of Trump voters leading up to the election found that they were, by and large, economically secure – and that their considerable unease with immigrants was cultural rather than economic.

    I’m one of those experiencing genuine economic anxiety – as opposed to “economic anxiety” as an excuse for borderline neo-Fascism – and yet I’m fully aware that Brexit and Trump will likely make things worse by raising the drawbridges instead of putting a “New New Deal” on the table. The Fortress USA/UK approach refuses to acknowledge that if/when the jobs do come back, the jobs will probably be done by robots. Even in China it’s happening.

    NZ Labour is making all the right noises about the “Future of Work”, now if they actually do manage to get their shit together and not pander to the lowest common denominator, I may have a chance to escape the dead end rut. Because the status quo is more of the same inspiration porn and motivational snake oil.

    PS. US voters who are actually economically anxious still voted Hillary over Donald, though with a thinner margin than Obama in 2008/12. Much of the Rust Belt stayed home in disillusionment.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    I've been giving some thought recently to Trump's promised Mexican wall, and I have come to the conclusion that it has nothing to do with border security and everything to do with trade. If you have a friendly border, it is in the interests of both sides to control it and maintain its integrity. If you think the other side of the border is your enemy, you fortify it. The narrative around 'bad hombres' seems to be more about setting up Mexico as the outsider and enemy in the forthcoming trade war. Or am I missing something?

    There is a huge amount of trade across the border through various more-or-less open nodes. In 2011, 287,000 trucks passed through the
    Nogala-Mariposa Port of Entry, for example. That's one of the biggest, but there are dozens (full list here). Very, very few are fully checked in terms of customs inspection or similar. In addition to that, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens legally cross the border to work in the US every day, and return home to Mexico at the end of the work day. As an example, the 'border zone' in Arizona is currently set at 75 miles from the border, inside the US (if you have a border crossing card, you are currently allowed 75 miles into Arizona. There are plans to extend that to the entire state).

    Huge lengths of the border are already fenced, sensored and patrolled by drone, helicopter and truck.

    It's really, really hard for me to understand, just on a practical level, what exactly a 'wall' would achieve. Firstly, that the fence isn't already doing (the border is 2,000+ miles long - it's impossible to fortify the entire length), and secondly, unless you close the Ports of Entry and stop the day workers coming across, a wall is going to be little more an expensive ornament. Not entirely sure what closing the PoEs would do to the economy, but I suspect nothing good.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin, in reply to Zach Bagnall,

    NZ has reasonably generous rules by some measure - in that a citizen can keep voting if they return at least once every three years. The UK's 15 year rule seems to only reset if you move back and re-register. So long term expats from NZ can quite easily keep voting for ever, if they so wished (I imagine they probably don't) but UK expats won't be able to even if they want to.

    Of course NZ's rules are only generous if you can afford to come back every three years and that could be unjust.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Interestingly for UK situation there is an estimated 5 million or so UK citizens living away from UK of which about 100,000 were registered to voted in 2015. Which seems low, but that is apparently about 4x the rate prior to 2015. The government thinks that online registration has made this massive increase possible. Suspect numbers even higher due to EU Ref, as it became a massive issue within EU at least.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Ewan Morris,

    Before Trump's election, there was support for Trump from sections of the right within the US, but outside the US people across the political spectrum (with the exception of the Farages, Le Pens etc) were pretty much united in saying that Trump's election would be a disaster.

    One thing that's disappointed me since Trump was elected, however, is that many on the right are now trying to normalise Trump's behaviour and to say the left is being hysterical and should get over itself. This despite all the evidence that a Trump Presidency will be at least as bad in reality as it was in prospect. I know people, whether on the right or the left, are often inclined to excuse the behaviour of 'their side', but it's the suddenness of the change of tone on the supposedly respectable right that I find somewhat depressing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Rich Lock,

    In addition to that, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens legally cross the border to work in the US every day, and return home to Mexico at the end of the work day.

    Yes, I've spent a lot of time in San Diego. A huge workforce of cash labour with no income or sales taxes paid. I think the cash economy is a big part of Trump's push with respect to dealing to "sanctuary cities". I can't imagine how the California economy/society would adapt without that.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    NZ Labour is making all the right noises about the “Future of Work”

    I agree - it's the right focus.

    And when Gareth Morgan launched TOP, I was hoping for the tax and welfare reform put forward in the Big Kahuna - which included a UBI and a glorious end to WINZ altogether. Sadly disappointed though - they brought in the comprehensive capital tax proposal and left out the welfare reform/UBI. Useless.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp, in reply to Nick Russell,

    The fatigue is part of the tactic. ’Normalisatio’n and we should resist this. It is much harder to meaningfully do this outside of the U.S but somehow we must.

    This from a longer piece Against Normalization: The Lesson of the “Munich Post” By Ron Rosenbaum

    Democracy destroying itself democratically. By November 1932, his party had become the largest faction in the Reichstag, though not a majority. After that election though, it looked as if he’d passed his peak: his total vote had gone down. It looked like the right-wing parties had been savvy in bringing him in and “normalizing” him, making him a figurehead for their own advancement.
    Instead, it was truly the stupidest move made in world politics within the memory of mankind. It took only a few months for the hopes of normalization to be crushed.

    What is interesting is that the repeal of the Obamacare / ACA act has pretty much stopped because there is no actual replacement. Throwing out all of the previous admins policies is easy to say – when campaigning but much harder to achieve when in power.

    We need some more moments of truth when the voters realise the emperor has no clothes ( T has no bathrobe) and they need a real plan.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 364 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ewan Morris,

    but it’s the suddenness of the change of tone on the supposedly respectable right that I find somewhat depressing.

    Yes. I feel exactly the same way.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall, in reply to Ben Austin,

    Of course NZ's rules are only generous if you can afford to come back every three years

    Yep, that's me. I'll move back eventually, but I can't afford a $,$$$ trip every 3 years. Interestingly the May govt have been making noises about scrapping the UK 15 year rule and allowing expats to vote for life.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Very interesting, thanks.

    ...Mexican citizens legally cross the border to work in the US every day

    I'm guessing they are busy taking jobs that by rights should be filled by Americans, right?

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 109 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    My friends experience was not so much “jobs” in that without a green card (or without a fake green card) the day trippers can’t be legally employed by a legit business. More the problem was that citizens/residents who wanted to be self-employed in their own small businesses could not compete because they had to charge sales tax on certain transactions as well as pay income tax on their earnings (after deductions). So even if they were prepared to work for same/similar hourly rates – the need for their transactions to be legal/accounted for disadvantaged them where unlawful ‘cash’ jobs by illegal migrant workers were concerned.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Lynn Yum, in reply to Rich Lock,

    They seem to have some sort of recently-implemented, ill-thought-out, half-baked limp-wristed kumbaya editoral thought process about bursting the liberal bubble, meeting-in-the-middle, or whatever.

    Wait, isn't that a good thing? It is a self-awareness that acknowledges in the very recent past, they were not receptive to the full spectrum of opinions in UK and US. The more agreeable bits of what John Daniel Davidson said, that the election of Trump is an America revolt against globalisation/business-as-usual, has been said by e.g. Thomas Frank on the Guardian as well. But still this issue, that globalisation isn't working for everyone, deserves even more attention IMO. This is the same force behind Brexit.

    In the current online political climate, anything said by the other side is automatically dismissed. No wonder Paul Mason got savaged in the same paper for advocating some form of Brexit from the left wing democratic perspective. The polarisation is at the point where everything Trump does is ceaselessly and automatically mocked and opposed (e.g. bathrobe. Seriously?).

    So I applaud the Guardian for being more contrarian, and trying to see the argument from the other side.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2016 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Lynn Yum,

    They ran the bathrobe piece in the Herald here;

    Based on anonymous accounts from government officials, congressional aides and other insiders, the Times reveals that the Trump administration is reconsidering its strategies in the wake of a tough couple of weeks.

    And then proceeded to explain:

    Here are five of the things we learned about the workings of Trump and his new administration from the New York Times expose.

    Under the following headings:

    THE WHITE HOUSE IS IN THE DARK

    Literally, that is, as there are so many new people no one knows where the light switches are.

    TRUMP IS IMAGE CONSCIOUS

    lol. And so this relates to reconsideration of strategies, how?

    TRUMP’S TEAM IS SMALL AND CHAOTIC

    Yep, and on top of that they can’t find the light switches.

    THE PRESIDENT LOVES CABLE TV

    And he watches it in his bathrobe. And so this relates to reconsideration of strategies, how?

    TRUMP THINKS HE IS DOING GREAT

    And so this relates to reconsideration of his strategies, how?

    TRUMP’S TWITTER TIRADE AGAINST MEDIA

    Yeah, well when they print this sort of inconsequential fluff from anonymous sources, and headline it as equating to changes in strategy – you can kind of get it why he goes on and on about fake news. Even if it’s not ‘fake’ – it’s not news.

    Wonder if an anonymous source will get around to telling us that he pees in the shower, has an odd affection for his cat named Moonbeam and has had a vasectomy which might be made unlawful in future under anti-planned parenthood initiatives.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Johnson, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Trump makes news about terrorism by saying the news didn't cover terrorism, he gets to put these attacks back in the news. He has made fake news because what he asserted was fake but he gets to put a spotlight on old attacks , its creepy, its a plan to subvert the news cycle and it works wonderfully for him.

    hamilton • Since Mar 2016 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Lynn Yum,

    anything said by the other side is automatically dismissed.

    That's putting it mildly. The invective is stepping up, more than a notch:-


    http://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2017/02/06/the-left-hates-you-act-accordingly-n2281602?utm_source=TopBreakingNewsCarousel&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=BreakingNewsCarousel

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Tom Johnson,

    Yep, despicable tactics on all sides.

    As an aside, I was watching the Prime 'Beatles' history of rock doco last night. I actually was at the 1965 Shea Stadium appearance by them (you can't say concert, cause you couldn't hear anything). But it reminded me of the John Lennon 'Jesus' controversy ... and it was the first time I realised that he'd actually made that statement some four months earlier in a British interview. Very interesting point about the US, it's very Christian-ness and the media interest to make a news story of it (i.e., create controversy).

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This from Josh Marshall is right on the money, I think:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/on-trump-keep-it-simple-in-5-points

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Johnson,

    Adam Curtis has been calling these tactics for along time, most swing voters are very headline emotive, so much to be so confused by policy and alternative facts that they take a delight in a “man of action.”

    Also so many weekend political pundits over the years have called on the virtues of a corporate style guy who does corporate style management fast and direct. Here he is folks.

    hamilton • Since Mar 2016 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Farmer Green,

    That’s putting it mildly. The invective is stepping up, more than a notch:-

    To be fair, Schlicter seems to truck in little but this sort of polemic. Recent titles over his work:

    Can Creepy Leftist Weirdos Create A Progressive Tea Party?

    America To The Liberal Elite: “New Phone – Who Dis?”

    And Now The Left’s War On Normal Americans Truly Begins

    Sorry, But Our Fight Against Liberal Fascism Has Only Just Begun

    Some Christmas Presents For Our Liberal Friends

    What A Stupid Time To Be Alive For Liberals

    Laughing At Liberals As They Lose Their Minds

    Trollmaster Trump Is Driving Liberals to New Heights of Fussy Fury

    And yet, he writes, liberals are the real haters:

    They hate you.

    Leftists don’t merely disagree with you. They don’t merely feel you are misguided. They don’t think you are merely wrong. They hate you. They want you enslaved and obedient, if not dead. Once you get that, everything that is happening now will make sense. And you will understand what you need to be ready to do.

    You are normal, and therefore a heretic. You refuse to bow to their idols, to subscribe to their twisted catechisms, to praise their false gods. This is unforgivable. You must burn.

    And then:

    They are fanatics, and by not surrendering, by not kneeling, and by not obeying, you have committed an unpardonable sin. You have defied the Left, and you must be broken. They will take your job, slander your name, even beat or kill you – whatever it takes to break you and terrify others by making you an example. Your defiance cannot stand; they cannot allow this whole Trump/GOP majority thing to get out of control. They must crush this rebellion of the normal, and absolutely nothing is off the table.

    And the first comment under the column:

    Liberalism has many affinities with Islam. One is that both are engaged in a jihad against us.

    I really don’t think there’s any engaging with that. You just have to let them get on with whatever it is they’re doing and hope no one gets hurt.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This is the blurb for Schlicter’s novel. Wowee.

    America’s growing political and cultural divisions have finally split the United States apart. Now, as the former blue states begin to collapse under the dead weight of their politically correct tyranny, a lethal operative haunted by his violent past undertakes one last mission to infiltrate and take out his target in the nightmarish city of Los Angeles, deep in the heart of the People’s Republic of North America.

    National Review’s Jim Geraghty calls Kurt Schlichter’s “People’s Republic” “a surreal, fast-paced journey through a dramatically different America but less than a generation away. … Violent, imaginative, full of mordant humor and dark, gritty details, you won’t want to live in this People’s Republic…but you’ll feel a chill as you wonder how different our real future will be.”

    EDIT: Oh my god: he also wrote a short story about US forces defeating Isis by destroying the entire city of Raqqa and everyone in it. It’s genocide porn.

    This man is not well. And yet, he writes for “respected” conservative websites and blogs (including The Federalist). In New Zealand, he would be regarded as a dangerous loon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Amusingly, in 2015 Schlicter wrote a column titled 'You are a fool if you're supporting Donald Trump and you're being exploited':

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

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