Posts by Tom Semmens

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious…,

    The chances of getting any serious buy in from the National party for decent drug law reform seems to diminish by the day. For the right, the power of the culture wars seems just to much. Simon Bridges was at it again today, when asked attacking the Greens (in relation to the creation of an astroturf Green party) for supporting drug reform.

    All in all, the focus groups and polling must be telling National their are votes in provincial and suburban NZ in scare mongering up a culture war on drugs. As long as National remain committed to political expediency on this issue, the chances of meaningful and sensible reform our drugs laws are not good.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious…,

    The growing adoption (everyone from the screamingly loony Stephen Franks to the insecure Simon Bridges) by right wing radicals (I won't call them conservatives, the real conservatives these days are the centrists who run Labour) in NZ of Breitbart style talking points Trumpian culture war rhetoric shows how the US environment of a toxic right wing media that brainwashes it's audience has consequences beyond the borders of the USA itself.

    The danger these people pose to social order is ominous.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Midterms,

    All those "tight" races going to the Republicans? Vote suppression and Gerrymanders work.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Midterms,

    How well entrenched though is our democracy from the sort of voter suppression shenanagins we are seeing in the USA?

    What would stop a National government led by a candidate selected from their Auckland Tea Party faction (Judith, anyone?) and infected by hard right GOP inspired radicals hell bent on trashing our democracy simply stacking the electoral commission with cronies, introducing onerous voter ID rules, then (on the advice of it's said cronies on the electoral commission, of course) almost completely de-funding the electoral commission, making the running of elections entirely up to volunteers? Remove a cheeky 100,000-200,000 of your your oppnents voters and suppressing the turn out would mightily help National to rule alone forever...

    National MPs would simply be so delighted at the idea of permanent rule that they'd look the other way, like so many GOP congressmen and women have done.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: An epic day at the park,

    The crowd size and response was interesting given John Kirwan's recent comments about the need to revamp the season in NZ. I have no idea as to the financial viability of Kirwan's plan but I do know that Super Rugby is killing the game. Super Rugby has been around for over twenty years and despite every effort of the NZRFU to kill off grass-roots provincial tribalism and convince the punters that watching a disassociated genetic freak show of players selected from a "production line" (a widely used term that assumes human beings are treated the same way farmers treat their prime cattle) that values money and results over participation and identification is the best thing since the man said "why don't we slice the bread?" people STILL clearly love their provinces. They like teams made up of at least some locals who have played local club rugby and who you can see around town. I guess boils down to a philosophical battle about the role of rugby and sport that was long ago won by the almighty dollar.

    But the NZRFU has to be aware that it's single minded pursuit of centralised elite rugby and revenue maximisation contains the seeds of the games downfall. Rugby in NZ is desperately over-exposed with far, far to much rugby on TV from February to November, and it's audience has been confined to an increasingly aging and narrow band of people who bother with Sky for far, far to long. The enthusiasm of the Tongan's who came out for the Rugby League should be a huge red flag to the the NZRFU as to how much is losing the hearts and minds of communities that should provide it's heartland. Instead, those communites are treated like a colony to be mined for recruits who in turn are increasingly behaving like a sporting Condottieri who will decamp offshore the minute they decide the offer is better.

    I miss the days when a big Ranfurly shield game was the talk of the land, and where even a Hawkes Bay vs. Waikato game was a big deal for the respective provinces with All Blacks on display, selectors in attendance and a sold-out park of fevered supporters, and players put it all on the line for nothing more than their jersey.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The better place,

    and Tze Ming Mok explain what’s wrong better than I could

    A nice article, but it is hard to call something excellent when it contains a basic error of fact, viz:

    "...Putting aside whether Mr Zhang (MNZM, gonged by Labour)..."

    Zhang was "gonged" by National. The timing of the release of the honours list meant it was published under the new government.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Dirty Politics, in reply to Rob S,

    Dirty politics in the context of the Nats hasn’t gone away.
    Jason Ede, Whaleoil, Lusk, all those other bottom feeders are still out there and with this bandage ripped off we can see how they operate all bankrolled on a nod and a wink donations with a pat on the back in the honours list.

    What frightens me is how much the Nats are completely for sale to the highest bidder. If the money from China is good enough, they’d turn Quislings and sell us all down the river then retire to a mansion somewhere without the slightest qualm.

    Someone once said the National MPs primarily saw NZ as a place to make money, as opposed to primarily a place where they lived.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: NZ On Air and the bill that…,

    I am astonished anyone takes Mike Hosking seriously enough to make a post about anything he says.

    Mad Mike's Minute is aimed at a radio audience whose average age would be well north of 60 (much the same demographic range as the ill informed idiots who watch Fox News, whose average audience age is 65). No one takes him seriously except a bunch of angry pensioners and right wing trolls.

    His splenetic outbursts these days amount to little more than an extended sulk at the election result and a a never ending paean to privilege, all presented with a cringe worthy lack of self-awareness.

    He is a joke.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Last call on the Electoral…,

    If you want to read a thought-provoking defence of the bill, Chris Trotter published one here.

    I think anything that provides constitutional precedent for regulating the largely unregulated powers of political parties in the MMP environment is probably a good thing, so the amendments suggested above seem reasonable, especially as the waka jumping law reinforces the role political parties already play in our constitutional setup.

    I can guarantee the next example of what Mr. Trotter is talking about will be when, post a Labour win the next UK general election, the sixteen to twenty or so Labour Blairites declare that they cannot, in “good conscience”, be part of Corbyn’s radical agenda, that the “interests of the nation” and “stability” demand they leave and form a “centre” party that will “moderate” Labour’s agenda.

    The fact that they are a bunch of lying asshats who don’t have the courage of their convictions to resign and hold by-elections but instead cynically rode their party brand back into parliament for another five years of fat salaries, perks and thwarting the will of the voters will be obscured by a farrago of self-righteous indignation whenever they are challenged and accompanied a load of value free analysis, outright twaddle and hypocritical pearl clutching about voter cynicism and political disengagement from their supporters in the MSM.

    The above scenario is grimly recognisable to any voter, which is why I suspect if you did a survey the waka jumping bill would be as broadly popular with the general voter as it is hated by the back sliders of the political elites and the political circles of the liberal bourgeois.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On joining the international…, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    And I’ve just come back from seeing ”Our New President” at the NZIFF, it pretty much confirms my worst suspicions about weaponised disinfo carried out by RT and the Internet Research Agency at the behest of the Putin Regime.

    It is one thing to say the Russians try to use aysemmetric warfare and disinformation to influence elections – notably Trump’s victory (and Brexit, if you believe the UK’s chattering classes). That contention is probably indisputable. But it is quite another to contend they succeeded, or even had any sort of impact beyond the trivial. The idea that “Russia” was the primary actor behind a black swan event (Trump’s victory) is arrant nonsense, a stab in the back myth that conveniently serves to deflect from the need for the US establishment Democrats to examine their own disasterous choice of Clinton as a candidate, their complete sellout to big money, their corruption and the utter tin ear they’ve displayed towards their supposed base in the US Electorate for decades.

    Like Trump, Southern and Molyneux don’t come from nowhere and they didn’t just make up their constituency. In a dysfunctional and hyper-normalised US political and economic system that makes fakes news a feature of the system they pretend to be the voices of a lower middle class and working class that grew increasingly prosperous in the post WW2 era and whose cultural voice “broke through” to the mainstream consciousness during the Reagan and Thatcher eras, and now finds itself the most affected by the devastating effects of globalisation, neoliberalism and the corrupt co-option of their previous political vehicles into the neoliberal establishment.

    IMHO, Southern and Molyneux are a pair of twits, intellectual lightweights who are cunning enough to know their fawning audience and carve a living from pandering to it. But they have an audience. They didn’t succeed in NZ not because we are a harmonious society with peachy race relations, but because the conditions of economic deprivation, illegal immigration and elite political ossification endemic in the post GFC Anglosphere are not as pronounced or even present here. We must never forget we escaped the GFC practically untouched, which completely alters our political landscape, and we an isolated island nation that doesn’t have to contemplate mass illegal immigration.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2204 posts Report Reply

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