Posts by Tom Semmens

  • Hard News: Trump 2018, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Now the thought was that because many of the Senate and Congress seats up for election were safe as houses Republican seats then there was no way there could be a change of the balance in Congress or Senate … and then there was Alabama.

    The GOP Gerrymander and the Tea party base was meant to entrench the Republicans basically forever. But Trump has mobilised the opposition like nothing else. Even a top 10 Gerrymandered state like Arkansas can't resist a motivated turnout that has segments voting up to 98% against you.

    The racist revanchists who rallied around Trump got lucky with the Democrat's selection of Clinton. As Stephen Colbert so memorably put it, they were the only two possible candidates who could lose to the other.

    The Dems should rout the Republicans, but the Goldman Sach's Democrats like Clinton who dominate the party are as corrupt and out of touch as any GOP member. There is a high chance they'll shoot themselves in to foot by picking another member of the liberal establishment elite to run.

    Personally, I favour a Clooney/Winfrey ticket. Cover all the bases, them two. Actually, I might not even be joking.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Trump 2018, in reply to Russell Brown,

    White House comms staff urged everyone to grant access to Wolff because they thought “this was going to be a positive book for the President.”

    These people are spectacularly stupid.

    "Fire and Fury" sold out within minutes of going on sale at midnight, this story isn't going away anytime soon. Henry Holt and Co. presumably made sure the book was run past every lawyer they could find before publication, so I doubt legal action has any legs.

    I have been watching some of the fallout gleefully described by Cenk Uygur -

    The right is going to swing behind Trump, after all he is in the White House.

    The response of the right never ceases to fascinate me. When Trump twitter trolled last week about climate change (for Christ's sake, the president of the USA trolling on twitter, WTF is wrong with these people??) I watched some infowars videos to try and understand. The politics of it - beginning, middle and end - was as shallow as a puddle. It consisted of jeuvenile gloating that the "snowflakes" had been "triggered" and the "SJWs" were whining HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Thats it. That is their agenda. They drill because it upsets environmentalists. They deregulate because it punishes minorities. That it all plays into the hands of corporations is tangential, excepting that it gives them the billionaire donors they need to survive.

    They don't actually have a policy agenda, beyond vindictively dismantling anything their (extensive) 'enemies" have created. It is a very scary form of in-group nihilism.

    Then there is this piece from Wolff's book, also from TYT:

    Watching it I felt physically sick. What a guy that Trump is. He transcends norms of decency.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The hard road to a…, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Kiwis (and this is a broad generalisation) love their cars in the same way.

    I know it isn’t fashionable to say so, but I LOVE driving. Driving is a pleasure – it is why we go and Sunday drives and the like. The hipster car haters (you’ll find plenty of them over at the greater Auckland blog) will burst an overdeveloped calf blood vessel at the merest hint of one taking pleasure in the freedoms bestowed by cars, but I really like driving. To many people confuse the hell of the commute with driving in general. Cars are freedom to go where you want when you want or take you places where you can’t drive anymore and then you can walk.

    I know that these days interfering helicopter parents have imprisoned their kids, but for me the first taste of freedom was my bike. We roamed near and far in our little gang on our bikes. But I learned to drive when i was 14 and I got my license the day I turned 15, and I already had my first car. It was REALLY freedom. I got a job largely to buy petrol.

    I use trains to commute and I use my bike for leisure. But I still enjoy driving for pleasure. Cars are a powerful cultural and ideological expression of western individualism and the freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want.

    The provision of adequate safe infrastructure for all modes of transport is common sense. People should not die on inherently unsafe routes just because they want to cycle to work. We shouldn’t let the need for multi-modal commuting links to be hijacked by the dreary car haters like Greater Auckland crowd,many of whom seem rather bitter that they forced to live in Auckland and they are not in Amsterdam or some trendy Scandinavian capital.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the…,

    Jacindamania of course!

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How journalism looks now, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    …when the alpha predator scavengers can’t make a go of it round the ‘print waterhole’ ya know it really is drying up and blowing away,

    I watch this streamer on twitch. His streams are entirely free, as he plays he interacts with the chat and you can get a computer generated voice to say something to the gamer and the stream if you pay a little money. You can subscribe to indicate your support for money, and you can tip the gamer. He also runs the odd ad and he has a youtube channel where aspects of the game are discussed and analysed.

    I hear tell he makes around 300K NZ a year, mostly from entirely voluntary contributions from his engaged community. He’s being doing this for the last six years, since he was 23.

    The question I pose the news media is how come some dude can make 1.8 million in donations playing a game and interacting with people and someone like Jonathan Pie can get 300k subscribers and 150k views per video, how come they can’t make a dime selling their product?

    No one wants to pay for the shameful, gutter scraping rubbish in the NZ Herald. Who wants to pay for something that clearly has no respect for itself, let alone it’s readers?

    No one is interested in smug, biased and out of touch publications where propaganda is dissembled as news by out of touch “journalists” who more often than not are old men and who are in symbiotic relationships with the subjects of their stories, and on whom they rely for a steady flow of “news.” I mean, modern news sites which re-package PR for uncritical release can hardly bleat about the debasement of truth and facts by fake news when they’ve doing nothing but spread propaganda, selective truths and fake news themselves for years to serve their masters!

    The future of news is I think internet sites like the TYT network. They are biased, but the admit it and they are honest. Which beats the pack of lies and self-serving bullshit we get from the like of the Trans-Tasman and the Herald…

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How journalism looks now, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    The Trans Tasman was barely disguised apologia for establishment neoliberalism. The irony of seeing it hoist by it’s own petard is delicious. Another right wing publication for the pompous stuffed shirts of business, MSM political "journalists" and politicised senior public servants has gone west, sorry for not caring.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Melting pot: A cuisine of immigrants,

    It is interesting that most of the discussion here has centred around what we eat when we go out in trying to seek a definition of NZ cuisine and talking about the impact ofAsian cuisine.

    When he was in NZ recently Jonathan Gold said that New Zealand food "reminds him of British comfort cooking circa 1968". Significantly, the writer of the piece I read that in took that as a mild insult thus showing our insecure cultural cringe dies hard.

    But when you think about it what we eat at home or for lunch at work, every day, the meals put in front of families (still largely) by Mums is still pretty much that. We still like our puddings. Many workers grab a pie and a donut from a bakery at lunchtime. NZ is just about the last bastion of domestic baking of cakes and scones and biscuits in the world. Our diet is still built around meat and three vege, pies, roasts, casseroles and the BBQ in the summer. And that isn't bad - we cook things a lot better than they did in 1968 Britain (or 1968 NZ for that matter).

    The range of pies (for example) has got wider. Now you can get butter chciken and chilli Thai pies. Casseroles might come in a tangine and be served with couscous but it will still be a kiwi casserole at heart.

    NZ cuisine is still basically British modified for our climate and ingredients at its core. I can't see that changing for a long, long time yet. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This is your government on drugs,

    The state house evictions program has got nothing to do with drugs or drug policy. The whole filthy process has been dreamed up so as to provide the flimsiest of fig leafs for helping to implement Bill English’s pet project of dismantling the state provision of housing and flogging off the state housing stock to the private sector at give away prices so the government can get out of housing.

    This catastrophe in housing has been deliberately engineered by Bill English (and incompetently overseen by his best mate, that glorious nincompoop Nick Smith) and as a monument to ideological fanaticism in the face of suffering and facts it gives lie to the corporate media’s love affair with the image of Bill English as “pragmatic” Bill, a “moderate” (oxymoron alert) “compassionate conservative” with innovative new ideas for the welfare state.

    The harsh reality is Bill English remains a neoliberal fanatic who only learnt one thing from the Douglas/Richardson/Birch era – that it was the process behind the imposition of ideologically driven extremist policy that needed modification, not that the whole fucking insane neoliberal project itself was bonkers and only suited for inflicting mass misery on the most vulnerable.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Melting pot: A cuisine of immigrants, in reply to Paul Brown,

    We will have to agree to disagree about the seafood, our kai moana is a million miles better than the stuff I got around the Med. My views are slightly coloured by disgust at the small size of a lot of what is served, and my knowledge that the Spanish fishing industry is right up there with the Chinese when it comes to raping the sea. NZ seafood at least is sustainable-ish, and if it wasn’t for the crony capitalism and semi-corruption (i.e. it isn’t corrupt only because the government is happy to do what the industry wants without the need for bribes) that typifies so much of our primary production sector it would be totally sustainable.

    My mother was taught to cook on coal ranges by her grandmother, so she was an outstanding Edwardian cook – which is to say her cooking was of that splendid high Anglo-Indian (the classic sausage curry is Anglo-Indian, it is a much older dish than the 1950s) influenced colonial style that typified British cuisine up to WW1, and she missed out on the dramatic collapse in the quality, cooking and presentation of British ingredients and food brought about war and economic privation from 1914-54 and whose baleful influence lingered into the 1990s.

    I had forgotten about Spanish tomatoes, they do indeed knock our tasteless and watery offerings out of the park! Big, rich, and tasty – they could (and often were) be a meal in themselves with some salt and bread.

    One of the big shames of food in NZ is indeed the very poor quality of our supermarket fruit and vegetables. I know for example that supermarkets prefer to put out old fruit from storage than fresh as it comes in (growing up in Hawkes Bay I know my pip fruit and getting a decent apple is near impossible from an NZ supermarket, an extraordinary state of affairs if you think about it). Another problem is the centralisation of purchase of fruit and vege – when I was a youngster I used to go with my dad to the very early morning local fruit and vege auctions which was the central buying point for Hawkes Bay. Now, it is all trucked to Palmerston North for auction and distribution by the big chains, then sent back to Napier. A local lettuce grown within 10km of the local Countdown can easily spent 4 days and 500km in travel since cutting before appearing in said supermarket. Such is the logic and casual lunacy of modern capitalism.

    So upon reflection, when I talk about the superiority of local produce I guess what I am really talking about is how in NZ we still have the ability to source a lot of our food direct from the supplier or harvest it ourselves from the wild. One neighbour has an apple and avocado orchard which we can help ourselves to in return for half a sheep at Xmas. We get unpasteurised full cream milk from another neighbour who keeps a half dozen girls,all with real names! We get our cheese direct from the artisan manufacturer in Clive. We grow and slaughter our own beef, lamb, and pork. Our industrious bees give us delicious honey, our eggs are from our flock of free range hens, we have a very large and productive vege garden and we catch our own fish.

    Now I am hungry.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Melting pot: A cuisine of immigrants,

    As expats in Spain we NZers used to discuss food all the time. We knew our food was different and we really rather missed it, holding the local ingredients inferior in every way (except for the ham) but we couldn’t quite put our finger on what our food was. After all, missing dumplings or a properly fiery Thai chilli dish (the Spanish have the most boring spice palate in this arm of the galaxy) wasn’t NZ cuisine.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2158 posts Report Reply

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