OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance

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  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    I teach ethics

    As we all should.

    John Key’s ethical approach/worldview

    is that of a person that his spent his life in international banking and traded in the exact same stock that caused the GFC and we just gave him a mandate to continue his RAID™.
    At which point all us fleas 'n flies run and hide, just like on the ads.
    We are an inconvenience... us that don't want to play the silly greed game.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    What are the salient facts that mean that Keith is not a hacker?

    Well. First you have to determine the accepted meaning of the term.
    The common definition is that of a person that can make a thing do what it was not designed to do, whether it be a system or a device.....
    So. Keith a hacker because their secrets was supposed to be hidden from people on the dole that knew nothing about computers an shit and Keith found it an' so he's some smart assed hacker, eh?
    Or was it LEAKED!!!

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson, in reply to SHG,

    JK said it was a secret in his speech, from his colleagues.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    And...

    "It appeared to us there was a person taking positions in the New Zealand dollar, probably with a view to collapsing the currency at some point, or at least making it drop sharply," he said.

    What happened next is the stuff of forex lore. Traders around the world still delight in retelling the story of the trader who frightened a government of a New Zealand politician ringing Krieger's bosses in New York to yell, "get the f--- off our currency, you little f---er!" This is seen as the worst thing a government could have done. A government must never show fear it only convinces traders they are on to a sure bet.

    A phone call was made, but it may not have been quite as colourful as the legend. The finance minister of the day, Sir Roger Douglas, says he never made a call. But the Reserve Bank official clearly remembers staff taking the unusual step of ringing New York, asking why Bankers Trust "seemed hellbent on creating instability in New Zealand by the activities of this dealer".

    The plot was always there.
    Apparently, forgetting a polite letter requesting a time frame on a wealthy immigrant's residency application is far worse, which is quite ironic considering those that openly supported the same individual for a visa.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Creon Upton,

    Interesting discussion. I’ve read through it all before commenting, so I’ve just got some general two-cents’-worth on a few of the points raised…. (Sorry in advance: Too long; don’t bother to read….)

    The problem I think is not so much that the media is entertainment and no longer The Fourth Estate </gravitas>, but rather that it’s both, all the time. Kathryn Ryan (random example) can be a pretty astute interviewer on some subjects, and a complete plonker on others. And sometimes it’s all just so much space-filler.

    Yet it all carries (when it wants to) that air of authority reserved for “serious news”, meaning any garbage can come across as profound. It’s all in the presentation.

    For me, false equivalence has been the theme of the year, and it’s been distressing at times listening to Guyon and Susie chasing stuff that really just isn’t very important – and seeming kind of oblivious to that.

    In this environment, it’s very difficult for your average worn-out punter to discern what they should and shouldn’t care about. And in that regard, it’s quite possible that in recent weeks the left’s message has been hampered by an over-abundance of information.

    If we’re talking wish-lists for media re-birthings, then, I’d like to see more emphasis on careful attention to the question of which issues are really worth digging into. Eg, alliances among National politicians/strategists and some sleazy blogger creeps can be left to the gossips or simply to fester in the public’s imagination because that stuff is, I’m afraid, a bit meh ultimately. However, within all that there are some real stories, but time and care and communicative skill have to be employed to bring out their import. I got the impression too often during the Dirty Politics days that the media was lurching from one story to the next, encountering the same brick walls, and suffering from not having had the time to reflect on what actually made something a story worth hearing about.

    Also: if political journalism can decide (as it clearly has) that its primary focus should be on the spectacle – ie, on analysis of political outcomes (Eg: How will the public read it? What will the impact be? What does this mean for Winston? etc), then it could just as easily decide that its focus should be on something less facile, eg, Are we getting satisfactory answers? What do these contradictions suggest? What are the possible explanations for the data as they appear to be?

    Keith is saying the media should be capable of alerting the public to the important stuff. Andrew Geddis is saying, well, maybe the public know what’s important to them; stop patronising everyone; and if democracy’s really in trouble, well, wouldn’t we all be out in the streets?

    Well, no, we probably wouldn’t. We’d probably love and revere our rightful masters and stay that way for 500 generations.

    You know, for the last twenty years or so we’ve had outraged puritans, from, I don’t know, Kim Hill to John Banks, reviling this “postmodernism” thing that’s been taught in the universities because it says that everything’s relative and uncertain and up might just as well be down and good might just as well be evil, and there’s nothing to say for certain that any one thing is better than anything else.

    What these idiots have never seemed to grasp is that “postmodernism” has been about describing and analysing the social and intellectual and cultural conditions whereby those kinds of equivalences become possible in the shared consciousness of a people. It’s not about promoting them; it’s about helping people to see them.

    You know, it’s not those evil “postmodernists” saying there’s no difference between the ethical behaviour of a sports team and that of the governing party of a country. It’s not those academics arguing that pretty much anything that might get in the way of a business plan is expendable for efficiency’s sake. It’s not them treating a pro-forma electoral office letter from eleven years ago as equivalent to, well, to anything bad the other side may have done.

    What I always want to say (and sometimes do say) to neolib and libertarian types who are just so quick to deride anything that has the audacity to complicate anything is, “Look, if your default setting is to dismiss any analysis beyond your immediate functional imperative, you’re basically saying that all human endeavour is just a big old waste of time. Bugger religion, screw philosophy, damn the sciences and social sciences, the arts and humanities, and a pox on the houses of sentiment and compassion. Hmm, doesn’t it strike you that that’s a somewhat unsustainable position, long term?”

    Part of me agrees with the arguments Andrew Geddis has made up-thread, but there again I see this great equivocating and I have to say, no, democracy takes enormous energy to be sustained; it requires work; and the greatest work is in making power answer to powerlessness – because that goes against all our deepest, most basic settings.

    The answer to the media question doesn’t lie in a return to honorable public broadcasting and increased regulation around the Official Information Act.

    I think Jon Stewart is a better model.

    </rant over>

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 68 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Creon Upton,

    The answer to the media question doesn't lie in a return to honorable public broadcasting and increased regulation around the Official Information Act.

    Bring back Havoc & Newsboy!

    Still, a replacement for TVNZ7 is still a partial solution. If the Leveson & Finkelstein Inquiries are anything to go by, a super-regulator like the Scandinavians have is worth looking at. And they remain among the top ranked in press freedom.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5428 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Bring back Havoc & Newsboy!

    But then there is.....

    Politics, doncha just luv it guvna?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to WH,

    The difficulty is that these sorts of problems regularly arise in situations where the right answer is known or where the weight of evidence clearly favours the rejected view.

    It's at least worth talking about the possibility that public understanding is being impeded by the ineffective presentation of evidence and countervailing low information commentary.

    As one of us commented previously, it's like the mirror image of the Big Lie - the truth is so big that the public refuse to believe it, especially if they perceive it to be an obstruction to their picket-fence way of life. There are various terms for it - fiddling while Rome burns, the inconvenient truth, Cassandra-ism, the Martha Mitchell effect...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5428 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Thank god we arn'in Grate Briant... Berate Gratan ... UK OK?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • WH, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    As one of us commented previously, it's like the mirror image of the Big Lie - the truth is so big that the public refuse to believe it, especially if they perceive it to be an obstruction to their picket-fence way of life.

    It's always worth talking about the way the media has explained important issues to the public. I'm sure everyone involved in the election (be they journalists or politicians) will evaluate the quality of their contribution in due course.

    I'm not sure that challenging the outcome of political debates in terms of media coverage will help the progressive parties, though. If you set up an argument (whether it be about warrantless surveillance or the integrity of public officials) that has undesirable implications (such as voting for an unpopular or controversial figure), there's a risk that people will reject the premises in order to avoid the conclusion.

    So yeah, the quality of media coverage is important but progressives need to build support on the back of public trust and work to ensure people have positive experiences of the left over time.

    Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers, in reply to Creon Upton,

    I think Jon Stewart is a better model.

    I think it's interesting in retrospect that one of the first consequences of reduced TVNZ funding under the new National government in 2008 was the permanent cancellation of Eating Media Lunch. It was almost like the Key administration and actually incisive political satire couldn't co-exist.

    What I think we're seeing here in the public's apparent refusal to take allegations of corruption seriously is a taste for authoritarianism. (Which may well be the same thing as the postmodern condition of the NZ voter Creon Upton diagnoses above.) Certain Left commentators initially didn't want to believe the indications that #MoT and #DirtyPolitics actually increased support for the governing party, but I think it's clear now that they did. Some have interpreted that as a cack-handed symptom of New Zealanders' inherent taste for fairness -- a desire to defend a beloved political brand that voters believed was being attacked unfairly. I don't think it's that, exactly. I'm reminded of the kinds of conversations that used to unfurl around back porches in the '90s when staying at certain family members' houses and the drink had been flowing all night. At some point, these family members (now to a man/woman all staunch Key supporters) would start talking about Maori and how they had too many rights and the poor and how they had too much money. But the complaints wouldn't stop there. Eventually -- and this would happen every time -- someone would opine that it was a pity Maori were still around. And criminals -- why can't we just shoot them? Much cheaper than building prisons, surely. Lots of New Zealanders talk like that when they think no one else is listening. They want a firm hand. An authoritarian leader who will hurt people. (The right people, people weaker and more powerless than them.) So the revelations that the government is actually prepared to bully and shut people down, well -- they like a bit of that. Finally, they say, someone's prepared to walk the walk.

    What a large proportion of New Zealanders want, in other words, isn't 'fairness', it's a war against the weak.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Creon Upton,

    if political journalism can decide (as it clearly has) that its primary focus should be on the spectacle – ie, on analysis of political outcomes (Eg: How will the public read it? What will the impact be? What does this mean for Winston? etc), then it could just as easily decide that its focus should be on something less facile, eg, Are we getting satisfactory answers? What do these contradictions suggest? What are the possible explanations for the data as they appear to be?

    The former takes less skill, resources and effort than the latter.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19699 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    What a large proportion of New Zealanders want, in other words, isn't 'fairness', it's a war against the weak.

    Quite. We hate feeling guilty at allowing poverty so we kick the poor.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19699 posts Report Reply

  • Fran O'Sullivan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Context - Hardly an attack on Snowden - just pointing out some hypocrisy.

    "Bizarrely, it is somehow seen as perfectly all right for Dotcom and his associates to use stolen National Security Agency files to try to prove the Prime Minister a liar on how his Government has administered national security, but not for Key to declassify New Zealand's own files to prove he isn't a liar."

    Wellington • Since Sep 2007 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers, in reply to Fran O'Sullivan,

    I think it’s a matter of who is doing the releasing of official documents and why, Fran. Snowden released files that governments didn’t want released. That in itself says something about their content – that there’s something there they didn’t want the public to see. There’s a different power dynamic at work when governments themselves do the releasing, however.

    I can't help thinking that the arguments about the causes of the First World War made in the conflict’s immediate aftermath provide an analogy here. Now, all the belligerent powers were extremely anxious to avoid being tarnished with war guilt, so in the years after 1918 they released huge tranches of their previously secret official documents to prove that other states were at fault. But it’s pretty clear that those publications weren’t neutral events: what was released was carefully edited to provide evidence for one side of the story only. The words of a German historian are apposite here: “whenever contemporary documents are being published, one does well to suspect political ends” (quoted in Wilson, ed., Forging the Collective Memory: Government and International Historians through Two World Wars, Providence, RI, 1996, p. 11).

    As the historian Keith Wilson puts it (op. cit., p. 2): “governments are well aware of the fact that both the withholding and the releasing of archive material gives them scope for ‘historical engineering’”. Releases like those Key made are political and we should be intensely suspicious of governments’ underlying motives when they perform such acts. So I would say, no: no hypocrisy. Snowden has his own politics, yes, but Key’s declassification is no less politically motivated and almost certainly hides much more of the truth than it reveals.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    With ferns like this...

    I felt Key’s use of the All Blacks behaviour to legitimate Jason Ede’s dirty work – just appalling

    That, and his 'txt from Richie McCaw scam' - when opening the National Party conference this year he announced with great jubilation that he'd just had a txt from Richie MCCaw which said "Yes you can" `- which was greeted with mass adulation - only trouble is no one knows what that was in response to...!!!
    Or even if it was a wrong number...

    Games, eh.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • NSA, in reply to Fran O'Sullivan,

    Regardless of context, the declassification of information related to Project CORTEX in no way contends to allegations that New Zealand’s GCSB is using Project SPEARGUN. These technologies are neither connected nor analogous. The NSA appreciates your concern.

    Fort Meade, MD • Since Sep 2014 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to John Armstrong,

    multiple manifestations...

    ....not that John Armstrong

    There used to be four (4) 'Ian Dalziels' in Canterbury, we all thought we were the 'Ian Dalziel' of course, I'm sure...
    I ran into an old acquaintance recently who I hadn't seen for many years, who told me he went to my funeral, but was late, and didn't realise till half way thru, when he saw someone else's service sheet, that it wasn't me... how we laughed.
    Its a tontine with no prize to be the last one!

    :- )


    Ps: to repeat Wilde's apposite epithet:
    "Be yourself, everyone else is taken!"

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    I teach ethics to environmental science students at tertiary level. It’s amazing how few have been exposed to the subject.

    I'm wondering how much it would cost to send everyone in New Zealand (or even just the ones who voted for Key (the "Trouble Clef') or his ilk, a copy of David Suzuki's brilliant The Sacred Balance
    Every school kid should read it...
    or at least watch..

    One of the quotes he uses that encapsulates the problem is:

    We live in an age of unprecedented uncertainty. Life on Earth is perilously poised at the precipice of extinction. Never before has man possessed the destructive resources to commit global suicide.
    ...
    We must convince each generation that they are transient passengers on this planet Earth. It does not belong to them. They are not free to doom generations yet unborn. They are not at liberty to erase humanity's past nor dim its future.
    - Bernard Lown & Evjuenui Chasov

    and

    To become human, one must make room in
    oneself for the wonders of the universe.
    - South American Indian saying

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    There used to be four (4) 'Ian Dalziels' in Canterbury, we all thought we were the 'Ian Dalziel' of course, I'm sure...... Its a tontine with no prize to be the last one!

    Yeah I get that too - problem is they keep making more, I was bullied in high school when a 4yr old me got their picture in the paper, earlier this week some high faluting me was in the news for some reason speaking on behalf of some business organisation

    Oh for the good old days when I was the only me on the internet, now there are thousands of me - we gave our kids both our surnames, they're still unique

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2615 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Fran O'Sullivan,

    Context – Hardly an attack on Snowden – just pointing out some hypocrisy.

    “Bizarrely, it is somehow seen as perfectly all right for Dotcom and his associates to use stolen National Security Agency files to try to prove the Prime Minister a liar on how his Government has administered national security, but not for Key to declassify New Zealand’s own files to prove he isn’t a liar.”

    I can’t make head nor tail of this comment. Is it an in house joke?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4356 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Fran O'Sullivan,

    but not for Key to declassify New Zealand’s own files to prove he isn’t a liar

    If he’d actually declassified files which had any relevance to the allegations then it might be worth at least arguing about that point in hindsight. He didn't. Now all he’s done is to bring into question why they were classified to begin with if he can so casually declassify secrets of the state for no other reason than to apparently obfuscate and distract from allegations against him personally and his government.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Creon Upton,

    It’s all in the presentation.

    Well kind of..
    More the narrative that we can think/believe is “true” or has “truthiness”
    There has been times when a collective narrative held it all together overriding our personal narratives. The collective narrative is in serious trouble tho'. Perhaps we still hanker after that and what journalist’s (whatever they like to call themselves) hope to provide. But all we get is a lowdown on the personal narratives often conflicting, because when we create a personal narrative we all like to present the prettiest of ourselves. And in the narratives of others we can present as a villain sort of. Funny that!
    Maybe we can learn from baboons. Yes I’ve posted it before, but …..

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1888 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to steven crawford,

    I can’t make head nor tail of this comment. Is it an in house joke?

    No just an attempt to reframe her appalling column prior to the election as merely highlighting that both parties were carrying out illegal activities.

    Of course it was an utterly false equivalence but rewriting history is par for the course.

    In a column about the media and their effect on the election it is almost perfect irony.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4452 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Equivocation
    - is that a job?

    It looks easy,
    I could do that...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

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