Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The next four years

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    And yet still I am not prepared for the idea that..

    Lump'n Dotard is an anagram of Donald Trump
    but even spookier:
    Vladimir Putin = Trump I invalid

    In the beginning was the word....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    Above: Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen in March 2008.

    Six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady recently talked about the contribution wife Gisele Bundchen has made to his success.

    From the CBS Boston article:

    Brady said Bundchen “always makes a little altar for me at the game because she just wills it so much,” complete with pictures of his children.

    “And I have these little special stones and healing stones and protection stones and she has me wear a necklace and take these drops she makes, I say all these mantras,” Brady said. “And I stopped questioning her a long time ago. I just shut up and listen.”

    Brady said at first he thought “this is kind of crazy,” but it worked.

    “About four years ago we were playing the Seahawks and she said ‘you better listen to me, this is your year, but this is all the things you’re going to have to do to win,’ and I did all those things and by God, you know, it worked,” Brady said.

    Bundchen also predicted that 2015 would not be Brady’s year, he remembered, and sure enough that season for the Patriots ended disappointingly in the AFC Championship game.

    But early this year, Brady asked if he had a chance to win it all and he got the answer he was seeking.

    “She said, ‘yeah, but you’re going to have to do a lot of work and you’re really going to have to listen to me. So man, I listen to her,” Brady said.

    Bundchen was right, of course. Again.

    “She said you’re lucky you married a witch – I’m just a good witch,” Brady said.

    There aren't many people in this world more successful than Tom Brady, but this kind of assistance comes at a price. Don't get involved in the occult.

    Since Nov 2006 • 783 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to WH,

    What do you imagine binging that topic here will do?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19685 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Sacha,

    It's the Witchfinder General!

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 486 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    The internet didn’t turn out to be all that amazing in the end

    NZ Parliament

    Due to today’s global Facebook outages, select committee meetings will not be live streamed this morning. Public meetings will be recorded and uploaded to committees’ Facebook pages later today. #nzpol

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    Many of you will know the work of Edward Bernays and Walter Lippmann, pioneers in public relations and modern journalism respectively. Lippmann’s 1922 book Public Opinion argued for the management of public attitudes by elites in a process he called “the manufacture of consent”. In his 1928 book, Propaganda, Bernays stated:

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

    While these ideas were attenuated by a series of infamous failures, they still organise and inform efforts to determine public opinion today.

    Observers of New Zealand politics may have noticed a pattern of favourable media coverage of John Key and Jacinda Ardern, the succession of allegedly “weak” Labour leaders during Key’s time in office (Cunliffe, Shearer and Goff), and the mainly negative coverage of Simon Bridges.

    In the United States, the ’Beers with Bush’ media phenomenon culminated in the Supreme Court’s extraordinary decision to halt the Florida recount during the 2000 presidential election.* President Obama rose to power on a tide of favourable coverage set against the unfolding chaos of the 2008 financial crisis. And as the Gallup chart shows, Donald Trump was gifted millions of dollars in free campaign messaging and advertising by a complicit media establishment. He was nudged to the narrowest of victories by another extraordinary intervention – this one from FBI Director James Comey – one week before the vote.

    Contrary to what you probably suspect, these aren’t coincidences. The big players don’t write the stories, they own the newspapers. And if all of that isn’t improbable enough, there’s something else they haven’t told you. Something really important:

    Hot on the heels of mindfulness, crystals and reiki, is our growing obsession with witchcraft just a natural progression? Or is the reality darker? Could witchcraft – a space arguably inhabited by women alone – be offering us a way to vent our frustration at the status quo, and even seek revenge?

    The people who convinced your grandmother to try smoking are hawking an even older kind of poison. Lies have been told, and people have been hurt.

    * Bush v Gore is one of the most indefensible and regrettable judicial interventions in American democracy you’ll ever read about.

    Since Nov 2006 • 783 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to WH,

    our growing obsession with witchcraft

    Only one person here meets that description. Who hurt you?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19685 posts Report Reply

  • WH, in reply to Sacha,

    The quote from Marie Claire UK relates in part to the #witchesofinstagram. There's about 2,725,000 posts there as of this morning. You can see the hallmarks of Bernays' ideas about the power of symbolism and the subconscious - as they were expressed in his torches of freedom campaign - throughout.

    Since Nov 2006 • 783 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    Above: John Dee presents to Elizabeth I, Henry Gillard Glindoni

    Distrust of the occult is an important part of many traditional spiritual systems. It’s in the warnings about spirits, demons and jinn given in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, in stories of poltergeists and taniwha, in the trickster legends of Loki and Māui, in the striving of the Greeks against the cruel fates and capricious gods.

    In 1587, John Dee, mathematician, alchemist, conjurer and adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, believed himself to be participating in a dialogue with the angels. During a series of ‘spiritual conferences’ he conducted in Bohemia, angelic beings allegedly invited him and a colleague to pool their personal property and swap their wives as part of an agreement by which Dee would be given the secrets of the universe.

    Incredibly, this is something Dee proceeded to try out.

    The obvious lesson is that you shouldn’t let a real occult experience dim a healthy heightened scepticism of occult sources. As the point is put in Paul’s epistle to the Romans:

    Because they believed they [were students of special knowledge], they were [able to be deceived].

    In a swing away from the enthusiasms of the Elizabethan era, King James VI and I’s experiences of witchcraft led him to write Daemonologie, a denouncement of the occult, in 1597. Like Newes from Scotland, the 1591 account of the North Berwick witch trials, Daemonologie tends to assume what it means to prove and poses difficulties for modern readers. Having said that, modern authors generally assume that witchcraft is an imaginary relic of the medieval mind, which it absolutely isn’t.

    Unsurprisingly, the combination of high intelligence, illicit curiosity and naïveté comes in for repeated criticism from King James I, who emphasised that you shouldn’t imagine that you’re being let in on a secret for your own edification.

    Just as a pay-off in a confidence trick is a win that facilitates a bigger loss, knowing that partial truths are often deployed for dishonest reasons can help to keep you safe. Don’t get involved in the occult.

    Since Nov 2006 • 783 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to WH,

    Bonnet, meet bees.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 486 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to John Farrell,

    Tricksy bees, not to be trusted.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19685 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    The Trump Administration is in the news for revoking California’s right to set its own tailpipe emissions standards under the Clean Air Act.

    The Guardian reports that Trump will be skipping an upcoming UN climate summit to attend a conference on religious freedom. While religious freedom is important it’s not easy to believe it’s Trump's real priority.

    The alliance between fossil fuel companies and the Republican Party has the potential to do US Christianity a lot of harm in the medium term.

    You can learn a little more about the decline in arctic sea ice and the albedo effect here.

    Since Nov 2006 • 783 posts Report Reply

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