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Asking the second question

Written By: - Date published: 11:24 am, May 24th, 2008 - 62 comments
Categories: john key, Media, slippery, spin - Tags: , , , , , ,

Key’s best trick is to answer questions with impressive or technical sounding assertions that stop the line of questioning but don’t actually tell us anything. When he does that, interviewers need to push him to explain himself. Here’s a few paraphrased examples from the last couple of week:

Q. ‘What don’t you like about the Labour tax cuts?’

A.’The size and structure’

Now, ‘structure’, is meant to sound terrible impressive and technical, but all it really means is Key would rather the tax cuts were distributed differently, ie. more for the rich, less for the poor. The second question ought to be ‘what would you change about the structure?

Q. ‘Where will you find the money for more tax cuts?’

A. ‘National will be able to improve efficiency, cut public sector waste.’

So, we’re meant to believe that some guy with no experience at all of running a large organisation, who hasn’t even been a minister before, will be able to identify and cut waste where Labour hasn’t been able to. And, at the same time, we’re meant to believe that Labour loves wasting money that they could be using for vote-winning public service improvements or tax-cuts. The second question should be ‘why should we believe you are better able to cut waste than Labour’s experienced ministers?’

Q. ‘What would Key have done instead of buy back rail?’

A. ‘Negotiate a rail access agreement with Toll, which Labour failed to do.’

OK, first there was a rail access agreement, Toll just didn’t want to abide by it, but why should we believe that Key would be able to do that? The second question is ‘ How do we know would you be better able to negotiate a rail access agreement than Labour?’

Every time he speaks, Key makes some kind of bland assertion that National will do the same but better. We are starting to see this challenged, Guyon Espiner’s interview of English and Campbell’s interview of Key were good, but the public deserve to have a prospective Prime Minister’s claims questioned more often. Here’s a challenge for the media: next time you’re interviewing Key and he fobs you off with an impressive sounding but hollow answer, ask the second question.

62 comments on “Asking the second question ”

  1. Steve, You’re expecting our journalists to start asking hard questions when there are stories like Goff’s admission that Labour could lose the election just begging for a good beat up?

  2. randal 2

    I keep saying the meedia in NZ are pinhead manques but no-one will believe me. they are like keys…all style and no substance.

  3. bill brown 3

    I see that the Goff beat up is the subject, today, of the DomPost editorial (as is the cartoon)

    It’s a shame that the person who wrote it didn’t sign their name.

  4. mike 4

    Helen Clark is the master of not answering questions, Key is learning the art but still a bit green.

    When he is the PM I’m sure he will have it down pat.

  5. Anita 5

    I reckon the rule of thumb for a journalist should be “if someone asked me ‘what did s/he actually mean when s/he said that?’ I should know the answer, as should anyone who watched/heard the whole interview”. The first two both fail that test, while they appear to be an answer it’s impossible to know what they actually mean.[1]

    One of the things I find most interesting about Key’s answers is that he leaves heaps of room for people to take whatever interpretation they want – if you’re well disposed toward National you can hear Key’s answer and know he agrees with you, no matter what it is you believe.

    Anita

    [1] Well except that we all know that the first means increased tax cuts for the rich, the second means significant public sector cuts and the third means rail should have been left in private hands 🙂

  6. Anita 6

    mike,

    Clark is very good at providing full answers to almost all questions. Which is part of the reason she can get away with not answering the ones she really wants to avoid.

    Key doesn’t ever (? very often?) provide full answers.

    Clark is an expert at the fact loaded, detail enhanced overwhelming answer where the omissions are hidden in the flood of detail.

    Key appears to have chosen platitudes made up from a string of impressive but vague words.

    Journalists need a really quick mind and doggedness with Clark; figure out which bit of her answer was a sidestep, don’t get beguiled by the detail she did provide, pose a new question which focuses on the sidestep.

    With Key they just need doggedness “yes, but what does that actually mean in practice?” or “ok, so can you give me an example of that?”

  7. randal 7

    the meedia support consumption and consumerism and they will turn a trick for anyone. but in this case they are mistaken as to their desires and the economic consequences. they should have a re think about their priorities.

  8. Lew 8

    randal: “the meedia support consumption and consumerism and they will turn a trick for anyone.”

    I see you’ve read the first chapter (or at least the blurb on the back) of Herman and Chomsky’s `Manufacturing Consent’. It’s a pity you apparently haven’t read any other political or economic media theory, because …

    “but in this case they are mistaken as to their desires and the economic consequences. they should have a re think about their priorities.”

    … if you had, you’d know that this is complete bollocks. The business model doesn’t change depending on who is in power, and doesn’t change significantly as response to prevailing economic conditions.

    If that’s not what you mean (that the media are mistaken and will somehow pay) then I’d love you to explain it.

    L

  9. higherstandard 9

    Yes Randal the evil and biased media I suppose if people don’t like it they can always tune into the posts at The Standard or Kiwiblog for a non partisan view of the world.

    Ps Even if you are Conan like you are still a turd !

  10. Ari 10

    Lew- the media have a systemic bias against running unconventional stories. (which is bloody hilarious for a profession that is supposed to hold other professions accountable) Rather than do original research there’s a tendency to just mob on a particular story along with every other journalist and just have a unique “take”. While it’s nice to not miss one-shot stories because you read the wrong newspaper, it’s also frustrating when the news constantly runs a non-story into the ground, for example “here is the outside of the McCahon’s house while we wait for them to come out.”

    And at this point, the systemic is favouring National heavily- Key’s weak leadership of a fractured party goes unquestioned because of fairweather polling, as strong parties simply don’t have leadership challenges. (Which is rubbish, they just perform the coup after the election) Meanwhile goff is beaten up as a leadership challenge for saying that he’d perhaps go for the leadership once Helen is done with it. (and for apparently being able to read a pie chart and realise Labour is a little behind)

    Add to that the obsession with hyping tax cuts to unrealistic levels where blowing out the remainder of our surplus and commiting to no further raise of expenditures over the next term is seriously referred two as “two blocks of cheese”… and well, I think there has to be someone in the media that’s questioning whether they’re doing a little too much of National’s work for them. At least the smarter operators are beginning to challenge National’s talking points.

  11. Lew 11

    Anita: I apologise if it’s old hat, but I think you might enjoy Steven Price’s A politician’s guide to ducking awkward questions.

    L

  12. Lew 12

    Ari: “the media have a systemic bias against running unconventional stories.”

    That’s because the public has a systemic bias against consuming such matter. There is a clear chicken-and-egg situation here.

    “Rather than do original research there’s a tendency to just mob on a particular story along with every other journalist and just have a unique “take’.”

    This is simple economics: cost premium against value premium. Original work and investigative journalism is hard and expensive. If the added value from doing that hard work is less than the added cost to do the work over ordinary journalism, it doesn’t get done. In rare cases a media outlet will use investigative work as a loss-leader to reap a reputation or some other non-revenue reward, but this isn’t always practical either.

    The way you can influence this is to demand more from your chosen media outlets, and try to motivate others to do the same.

    “While it’s nice to not miss one-shot stories because you read the wrong newspaper”

    This is the point: all major media outlets in NZ have the same target audience: everyone. We simply don’t have a big enough population to support the kind of media ecologies you see elsewhere. If One News leaves out a vapid story everyone cares about in favour of an important story nobody cares about, they lose and 3 News wins.

    “And at this point, the systemic is favouring National heavily”

    I disagree. To argue that it’s systemic implies that there are no circumstantial factors in play, whereas the favour John Key seems to have been shown recently is entirely circumstantial. Partly it’s cyclical (journalists are bored, etc.) and partly it’s the school-of-fish thing: when everyone’s swimming the same way there has to be a damned good reason to swim the other. It’s the government’s job to provide that damned good reason, and they’ve so far not been able to do so.

    The task of doing so could get easier, however. Currently Key’s popularity stems from intangibles, which are very difficult to get a firm grip on, and therefore very hard to campaign against. As he begins to make things more tangible the government should find more opportunities open to it. On the other hand, as he makes things more tangible the electorate might simply find all their intuitions fulfilled and he might romp home.

    L

  13. Anita 13

    Lew,

    Yep – Steven Price’s piece is perfect, except that it doesn’t include Key’s technique 🙂 I think perhaps we could call it The Mirage – in that it appears to be an answer, in fact from a distance it is a pretty convincing answer, but up close it vanishes.

  14. randal 14

    lew the meedia here in new zealand are fools. none of them have any education except four years at college and one year at j school and the rest they learn on the job. and they are fools and not very good. of course they push the compny line but what company and what is the line? no body seems to know and the is vision is weak and they are fools. hehehehehehe…and i never read chomsky. he is a foolish complicator and devoid of logic. basiclly a horrible little weasel. the left version of right wing weasel popper. ok wif you?

  15. Lew 15

    Randal: The line I quoted from you is essentially Herman & Chomsky’s `propaganda model’ of how the media drive consumer culture. You might despise him, but you’re singing the same tune.

    As for your witterings about journalists – bullshit. I spend all my days listening to TV and radio journalists, and some are among the very smartest people you’d ever hope to meet. If you know anyone who’s ever tried to get a job as even the lowliest reporter in a full-scale news crew, you’ll have some idea of how stringent the requirements are.

    But then, reviewing your comments, it seems you’re interested only in vapid generalisations and unsubstantiated, half-formed pseudo-opinion. Then there’s the irony of someone who can’t use capital letters or spell `basically’ `with’ or `media’ saying journos aren’t educated. I can’t argue with that.

    L

  16. Dan 16

    One question not yet addressed by Key: What did Nicky Hagar get wrong? As I watch Key slip and slide like a used car salesman, I see Brash in the last weeks, haunted by his father’s ghost, trying to be the politician and stuck with putting up a facade. Hollow Men gave the background which rings very true. Key’s role was significant but he has never answered his role in the underhand shambles.
    Mr Key, what did Nicky Hagar get wrong?

  17. burt 17

    Key hasn’t got a Margaret Wilson to say “the question has been answered” each time he does this otherwise I guess it would be OK. He’s just got to learn to say Move on and he’ll all over this PM’s job like a rash.

  18. r0b 18

    You keep citing “move on” Burt, I’m sure you’ll love the site: http://moveon.org/

  19. To expect journalists in New Zealand to ask real questions means you ask them to risk their jobs. Remember what happened when a journalist dared to publish a quote from the “Smiling Assassin” about how he wanted our wages lower and us working harder to earn more?

    All it took was one telephone call and bingo instant retraction.

  20. HIGHERSTANDARD 20

    Yes Eve

    Clearly more evidence of the global conspiracy – I s’pose Key was flying one of the planes that went into the twin towers as well ?

  21. Key power blew the towers? Oh I forgot, this is the standard agenda pattern on this blog!

  22. r0b 22

    HS – very funny hah hah make fun of Eve. Are you done now? Very mature.

    Here’s a suggestion, if you want to engage the point, do so. And if you don’t want to engage the point, resist the urge for schoolboy taunts.

  23. “schoolboy taunts.”

    Hi r0b – Do you mean words like “cancerous” – “feral inbreds” and “diddums”???

  24. alex 24

    I like the way HS dismisses the freedom of press in this country by glibly chalking it up to global conspiracy.

  25. HIGHERSTANDARD 25

    The press is completely free in this country Alex – that the posters on this site don’t like what the press has to say unless it is praising the current government and critical of Key and National is laughable.

    http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=251&country=7241&year=2007

    Alex the global conspiracy theorist on this site is Eve – I’m sure she’s a lovely person but some of her assertions are really quite odd.

    r0b it’s some years since I was a schoolboy unlike yourself and Clinton. Perhaps you might both become less absolutely convinced that Labour is the font of all goodness and light and National the Evil Empire after a term or two of a National government.

  26. erikter 26

    I have no doubt that Travellerv believes she has also been abducted by aliens, the moon landings are a hoax, crop circles are for real, Hitler escaped to South America, and finally, the Earth is flat.

    Way to go, girl!

  27. bill brown 27

    Perhaps you might both become less absolutely convinced that Labour is the font of all goodness and light and National the Evil Empire after a term or two of a National government.

    Having lived through two lots of “a term or two of a National government” I think that I can attest to an attenuation and reversal of the quote above.

  28. Apart for commenters such as HS and dad4justice’s obvious ingnorance, what exactly was “Cospiracy theory” about this?

    This journalist placed and article and it was retracted, after there had been contact between National and Fairfax. Fact.

    This threat was not about 911, it was not about conspiracies, it was about why the press doesn’t seem inclined to ask serious questions of “the Smiling Assassin”. So I responded to that.
    John Key smiles a lot and says little. Smiling Assassin behaviour as far as I am concerned since it is his well known modus operandi.

    “Smiling Assassin’ is a well known nickname of John Key. He smiled when he fired 100s of people(“Sorry mate”,smile,”it’s just businesses”)for his bosses at Merrill Lynch and he was send in to deal with “Difficult” (read distrusting) clients by his employers.
    He used his NZ accent to make clients believe that he was just a hick from the sticks and got people to invest loads of money in bonds and derivatives and oh yeh, he took them “just for Business” to strip clubs. Again this is documented so no conspiracy there.

    Merrill Lynch had to write down billions of dollars in sub prime bonds and derivatives and John Key worked for the Bakers trust from 1987 were he was the account manager for Andrew Krieger who almost killed the NZ economy by speculating with billions of NZ dollars until 1995 when the bankers trust went belly up after scandals broke about its interesting financial products, Bonds and Derivatives and their ROF rip of factor, a term coined by the Bankers trust Bankers coined “the bad boys of banking” (Google it and find out)by a New York times article in 1997 when the bank dived in 1995 and the Smiling Assassin went on to work for Merrill Lynch as both a forex banker and as the head of the European department for Bonds and derivatives (This is from his own site. So no conspiracy theory needed there either)
    Since he ended up as the global head for forex for ML and one of only 4, upon invitation only, personal advisors to the privately owned Federal Reserve from 1999 until march 2001(To be found on the site of the federal reserve forex advisory committee)one can only assume he may have had something to do with the speculative attack on the currencies of Thailand, Mayanmar and other assorted Asian countries in which ML was heavily involved in 1997. You don’t get positions like that unless you’re good and in the case of destroying entire economies callous enough.

    Another interesting fact that shows how thoroughly corrupt the banking world is and how connected to the dark underbelly of Government and secret organisations such as the CIA shows up in the following few facts.

    A man by the name Buzzy Krongard was the CEO of a bank called Alex Brown bank. This bank was bought by the Bankers trust bank in 1997 in order to try to re-establish themselves again as a bank of good repute (this failed miserably). Buzzy Krongard was an ex-marine and is an allround colourful character. He was appointed by the than CIA chief Tenet as the Executive director of the CIA in March 2001.

    Coincidently the same month John Key left for NZ to be elected to become the representative for the National party for the brand spanking new constituency; Helens Ville. This is again all well documented so there is no need for a “conspiracy theory” there.

    The Alex Brown bank only catered to a very rich and very secretive clientele. In the weeks leading up to 911 some of these clients betted on a sudden devaluation of Air America and the other Airline company involved and on the devaluation of a series of banks all housed in the WTC. Among these banks was Merrill Lynch who had a building very close to the WTC. In fact John Key mentioned in a speech you can find on the National site that he made in 2007 on the 11th of September before the American/New Zealand’s friendship association, that he lost two employees of his in the attacks and his direct superior.

    Needless to say that all of these bets made loads of money. Some of which has never been collected.

    This is all documented on official sites so again there is no conspiracy theory needed there.

    If you want to learn more about what happened with the only three steel framed buildings that ever collapsed due to fires on 911, one of which was not hit by a plane and was not damaged enough nor had it fires hot enough to implode into itself in a free fall speed of 6.5 seconds into it’s own footprint feel free to Google: 911 mysteries second edition and educate yourself.

    And no dad4justice, this is not Standard fare on this blog.
    I am allowed by the moderators none of whom I know, to respond to comments such a yours that’s all. It seems very difficult for people such as HS and yourselves to come to terms that we are all individuals here. The Standard bloggers all do their own thing and they have nothing, I repeat nothing to do with my comments. They are strictly my own responsibility.

  29. alex 29

    HS,

    http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=251&country=7241&year=2007

    States the news media are “generally” free and vigorous.

    Also

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldwide_Press_Freedom_Index

    Ranks NZ as #15 on this list, so 14 countries above it are ranked as being “more free” than NZ

    Agreed Freedom of Press in NZ is very good, but I would not go as far as to say completely free.

    PS: was unaware of Travellerv’s status as conspiracy theorist, duly noted.

  30. Alex,

    No, I am not a conspiracy theorist. All I do is ask questions. HS and his assorted ignorant chumps don’t like the questions I ask, that’s all.

    I ask questions like why did the third building pulverise into its own footprint within 6.5 seconds while it was not hit by a plane and it had no sufficient fires burning in it to even come doen at slow speed on 911. How come the 911 rapport from the 911 commission doesn’t even mention WTC 7 and why have we not been given an official explanation by NIST until this day?

    I am not the only one who asks. Over 380 Architects and Engineers ask the same question.

    But rather then ask these questions themselves they do what scared ignorant people always do; they blame the messenger. The easiest way not to have to confront yourself with the unease of these unanswered questions is to call people like me a “conspiracy theorist”. I have no theory about what really happened but I do know that the official “conspiracy theory” is scientifically impossible. All we want is a new and independent investigation.

    Also; If you like me try to find out what the hell is really happening in Iraq and Afghanistan you come across so much news that does not seem to find it’s way to the mainstream press that you have to wonder how much else we are not told.

    Check my blog and judge for your self.

    Erikter:

    I find it very hard to stay patient and polite when people like you who instead of argumenting for the official theory attack me with childish ridicule. Proof me wrong, google away and give me convincing arguments. So far none of you has been able to do anything but marginalise me through ridicule. I have not seen any argument to support the official “Conspiracy”. Please don’t bring the level of this blog down by showing you ignorance through ridicule.

    For example check the facts in my last comments. Go on I dare you to find anything that refutes my previous comment.

    Only those who never ask questions can truly be called ignorant

  31. IrishBill 31

    If I may be so rude as to drag the thread back to the original topic, I would like to say that I am wary of blaming journalists for this sort of thing. Some senior journos are well resourced and have time to do proper work and they should know better but the vast majority face massive workloads and crappy pay so you can’t blame them for being under-researched. I’ve written about this here: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=971

    That said the people who get access to the big shots such as Key are generally the same ones who have time and resource. They should certainly be asking the second question.

  32. Lew 32

    Ev: The burden of proof is borne by those making allegations outside the currently-accepted record of mainstream history. Those cleaving to established and accepted historical information and analysis aren’t required to prove anything.

    You also cite as fact that your non-mainstream sources are the `truth’ or `what the hell is really happening’. As someone who studies propaganda I’m always very cagey of people who come bearing `truth’ or claiming to represent an authentic unvarnished perfect account of events.

    And as for your claims of `scientifically impossible’, then I look forward to the publication of peer-reviewed scientific research in reputable journals demonstrating this `fact’. Anecdotal evidence and personal unsworn, unreviewed testimony from architects and engineers (even 380 of them is a tiny fraction of the possible corpus of informed opinion) don’t count for a damned thing.

    Essentially you’re doing what the climate change deniers do: picking a side which suits your worldview, rather than the side supported by the preponderance of expert opinion. Then, when challenged on this point, you talk about how the `real’ story has been somehow marginalised or suppressed. That’s the conspiracy theory bit.

    L

  33. Lew 33

    IrishBill: Yeah, when I was a kid I wanted to be a combat-zone journalist. Then I found out what they had to do, what respect they got, and how much they were paid. Much of the same applies to mainstream media journos. Hey, that’s what the market demands – I demand more.

    L

  34. IrishBill,

    It is I who should apologise. I try to stay on topic but I find it hard to ignore it when people reveal their ignorance.

    Lew:

    Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behaviour to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.

    Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion

    It takes the possession of a huge corporate media apparatus to propagandise anything. The 911 truth movement has does not have that.

    During the 5 years of Hitler in power, the German people believed literally everything their corporately owned media told them. They lived in the Germans are superior over everybody else, the Jews are evil and we are winning the war paradigm. Dissent from that paradigm was punished by death. Even after the war was lost the majority of Germans still believed that Hitler was a true German hero.
    They did not want to be confronted with any evidence to the contrary. 911 was the biggest Propaganda stunt, False flag operation in recent history.
    You as a student of propaganda should Google False flag operation.
    Not a single war has ever started with out one. I’m surprised you did not know this.

    It took me a full two years of study and all out scepticism before I finally could accept that we were lied to. When you stop believing the accepted mainstream Propaganda, you stop believing period. All you can do is study, study and study some more. Until you take back your mind and start exercising your own critical mind again you find you cannot ever believe something just because somebody told you.
    I did not pick a side that fitted my world view. In fact the process of learning about 911 blew whatever world view I had out of the water. An extremely uncomfortable experience I can tell you.

    By the way it took awhile because nobody wants to loose their credibility and be called a “Conspiracy theorist” but here is the first peer reviewed publication research in a reputable journal:

    http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?TOCIEJ/2008/00000002/00000001/35TOCIEJ.SGM

    It is a beginning.

    Oh, by the way I was a total “believer” in the Global warming thing, but since the past three years temperatures have gone down( China worst winter in 100 years)I am sort of back on the fence on that one again. I live a sustainable lifestyle, but since belief has ceased I reserve the right to remain sceptic of both sides.

  35. r0b 35

    r0b it’s some years since I was a schoolboy unlike yourself and Clinton.

    HS, it is some decades since I was at school. I manage to act my age, perhaps you should try that – lay of the “turd” stuff and cheap shot insults.

    Perhaps you might both become less absolutely convinced that Labour is the font of all goodness and light and National the Evil Empire after a term or two of a National government.

    It’s possible that the next Nat government might be different to the last several in theory I guess. But I doubt it. The Hollow Men front bench is still in place. They just found a different front man for 08.

  36. Oh another nice one Lew,

    Remember Galileo Galilei. He was a scientist, he asked questions as scientists are wont to do.
    He doubted the time honoured dogma that the earth was flat and the centre of the Universe. That little didi had a history of accepted mainstream history of oh say a couple of thousand of years if I recall correctly.
    Because his theories based on observation and science were in direct opposition to the then ruling elite he was forced to recant his assertion that the sun was the centre of our solar system and he spend the last years of his live living under house arrest.

    It turns out that he was right of course and he is now considered the father of modern science. It took the church until 1992 to apologise for their handling of the Galilei case. So much for the accepted mainstream history being the correct one.

    Why don’t you read up on him:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

    The only thing we have to do is to disprove the official Conspiracy theory and ask for a new and independent investigation into the events of 911.

  37. Lew 37

    Ev: You don’t need to lecture me on propaganda.

    “Not a single war has ever started with out [a false flag operation]. I’m surprised you did not know this.”

    I do not `know’ this because it’s not demonstrably true. Allegations of false flag conduct have been attached to the start of most military conflicts, but I’m not credulous enough to accept these allegations at face value. I know of a number of occasions where it’s demonstrably the case (Hitler’s invasion of Poland being probably the most famous example), but a blanket statement about `not a single war ever’ is just complete bollocks.

    “When you stop believing the accepted mainstream Propaganda, you stop believing period.”

    This is ultimately the problem: when you refuse to accept that anything the `propaganda machine’ says could have a basis in fact, you eliminate the vast bulk of available evidence from your sight. Better to critically analyse all available information.

    ‘here is the first peer reviewed publication research in a reputable journal’

    Judging from the abstract, this doesn’t say a damned thing.

    L

  38. Oh another nice one Lew,

    Remember Galileo Galilei. He was a scientist, he asked questions as scientists are wont to do.
    He doubted the time honoured dogma that the earth was flat and the centre of the Universe. That little didi had a history of accepted mainstream history of oh say a couple of thousand of years if I recall correctly.
    Because his theories based on observation and science were in direct opposition to the then ruling elite he was forced to recant his assertion that the sun was the centre of our solar system and he spend the last years of his live living under house arrest.
    The inquisition demanded also that he as the attacker of the official mainstream version of history proof al his theses.

    It turns out that he was right of course and he is now considered the father of modern science. It took the church until 1992 to apologise for their handling of the Galilei case. So much for the accepted mainstream history being the correct one.

    Why don’t you read up on him:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

    The only thing we as the sceptics of the official version have to do is to disprove the official Conspiracy theory and ask for a new and independent investigation into the events of 911.

    We don’t claim to know the truth, but we have been able to establish that the Official Truth is not the truth at all.
    All I ask is that you and everybody who reads this do their own investigation, please don’t believe me, in fact stop believing period.

  39. higherstandard 39

    r0b

    Whether you act your age or not is irrelevant to me what you do appear to act at is a stooge for Labour party.

    The Hollow Men – honestly r0b get over it.

  40. higherstandard 40

    Dear Eve

    I have not stopped believing I firmly believe that a gang of fundamentalist lunatics flew planes into the twin towers and the pentagon you apparently do not.

  41. James Kearney 41

    Ev: 9/11 conspiracies are a dead-end that do nothing to help address the problems facing ordinary people. I suggest you turn your research skills somewhere more productive. Plus, you’re becoming a single-issue bore. When I see your (always incredibly verbose) comments I now skip them but unfortunately they seem to have a habit of dragging the whole thread down with them.

    Please stop.

  42. Lew 42

    Ev: “Remember Galileo Galilei.”

    You seem to think that just because people don’t agree with you, they’re not familiar with any of the background material. I find this a lot in True Believers: they think that their reading is the only legitimate one, that it’s self-evident.

    Citation of Galileo as proof for other political unorthodoxies is called `confirmation bias’: it was true once, therefore it’s true in every case. But it doesn’t hold. Just because he was right doesn’t mean you are; it barely means that you potentially could be, and I certainly wouldn’t be so bold as to rule that possibility out. But the onus on you is to prove it.

    A defining property of conspiracy theories is the logical fallacy that if a hypothetical can’t be disproven then it should be taken as fact. Absence of disproof is not the same as proof itself.

    Edit: James Kearney: Sorry, though my engagement with Ev I’m partly responsible.

    L

  43. here I am, folding my wash and another one pops up.

    Goebbels the propaganda Meister himself said: If you are going to lie to your people you better make it a bloody great big whopper because the bigger the lie the harder it is to disbelieve.

    And anotherone: You can get any country to go to war: Tell the people they’re under attack and tell them who the enemy is, it works every time and in every country.

    Lew, you are the one lecturing me, you patronising so and so.(Trying to stay polite here)

    I give up; you say you want a peer reviewed published article and when I give you one you don’t want to read it because the abstract is not to you liking.(For those of you who don’t know what the abstract is. It is a short description of the thesis you are going to discuss, it means F*&k all, and should not be a reason to not read it, especially since Lew challenged me about 911 truther being in a peer reviewed journal)

    You’re moving the goal posts buddy and hiding behind a whole lot of blustering crap and I think you’re full of it.

  44. bill brown 44

    Oi moderator, ‘ow ’bout some moderation ‘ere!

    Or better still, can you guys take your “discussion” over to:

    http://aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com/

    where, I suspect, they may give a hoot.

    Thanks.

  45. r0b 45

    Whether you act your age or not is irrelevant to me

    Well it’s not irrelevant to me, and you should lift your game HS.

    what you do appear to act at is a stooge for Labour party.

    I’m not a stooge for the Labour Party HS, I’m a proud and active member of the Labour Party. That doesn’t mean I think they’re perfect, but it does mean that I think they are significantly better for NZ than National.

    The Hollow Men – honestly r0b get over it.

    Actually HS, no I won’t. In 2005 the National Party conducted an election campaign so tawdry and so cynical that their own people, people within the party, leaked the details to an investigative journalist. When the details became known the public outcry ended the career of the then National leader, the late and unlamented Don Brash.

    But such is the shallow nature of the political discourse in this country that that is all it did. The Nats got away with sacrificing their “leader”, and they moved the next noddy in line up to the top job. The rest of the front bench, tawdry cynical people, the rest of the front bench remained. And they remain still. Behind Jon Key’s increasingly vapid smile, it is the same old Hollow Men National party.

    So no actually, I don’t think I’ll “get over it”, not until that crew are gone. But thanks for asking.

  46. James Kearney

    I started out on this threat perfectly on topic and would have been happy to stay on topic, being what the press should do when interviewing John Key. Additionally I shared some of the things I have been able to find out about him, mainly by doing what every journalist should be doing, reading up on him, go to the National website and any other website to find out what his career has been and sharing that with other people. That’s what a journalist ought to be doing before he/she interviews a politician who aims for the highest political position of the land.
    Armed with that knowledge he or she should be prepared to ask a lot of questions. Sounds all relevant to the topic to me. The big difference is I can go anywhere I like without fear of pressure from my bosses. the fact is; our journalists with the exception of perhaps Nicky Hager (who is equally disliked by Helen Clark by the way)don’t do this any more. Perhaps it’s incompetence or pressure from the top.
    Fact is; the newspaper who published the statement that John Key wanted to lower wages and make people work harder for their keep had to retract it after pressure from the top. Not very encouraging for journalists who would like to ask difficult questions.

    Maybe you should call of the dogs i.e. HS and his ignorant mates. They are the ones who try to marginalise me when they keep bringing up the “conspiracy nutter bit”. So that every thing that I write will be looked at in the same myopic way instead of what it is I’m actually saying. I refuse to let idiots like that marginalise me. You are perfectly free not to read my comments but I will not let you or anyone else tell me to lay down and play pretty for HS and his ilk.

    Good for you HS keep on believing.

  47. Dan 47

    Nice one Rob.

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

    Some of the bloggers of the right remind me of emptiness of what the National Party has become. Power at all costs; don’t debate the issues; attack the messenger.

    I would love to be able to talk through National’s policies, but can’t. There are none.

  48. higherstandard 48

    r0b

    My game is sorting out patient’s with their medical issues and it’s just fine thank you.

    The Labour party aren’t perfect .. Good Lord r0b surely not.

    Re. National rolling their Leader …… so what this is what politcians do it is exactly what will happen to the current Prime Minister after the election if you think the MPs in your beloved Labour party are any less power hungry than their opponents in National you are delusional.

  49. “Power at all costs; don’t debate the issues; attack the messenger.”

    Didn’t clever Trevor punch the lights out of a National MP, Dan the man?

  50. higherstandard 50

    Yes Dan power at all costs that would be the current Prime Minister then would it ?

  51. Lew,

    A defining property of conspiracy theories is the logical fallacy that if a hypothetical can’t be disproven then it should be taken as fact. Absence of disproof is not the same as proof itself.

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Hence the need for scientific analysis, for a proper criminal investigation (didn’t happen) and the collection of every bit of information before drawing educated conclusions. We were told while only the first tower stood aflame that it was 19 hijackers and and Osama bin Laden who had done it, sounds like a conspiracy theory to me.
    Till this day Osama bin Laden is not on the top most wanted list of the FBI for the atrocities of 911. Asked why not, the FBI answered because we don’t have proof that he is involved. Sounds fishy to me.

    When the Taliban leaders said that they would be happy to give Osama bin Laden up if the US could deliver “proofs” for his guild the US refused and bombarded their country back to the stone age. For 7 long years.

    Again we state that we don’t know who did it and that every bit of speculation would only be a conspiracy theory. We want an independent scientific and criminal investigation into what happened on that day.

    Should be something you should champion being a Propaganda buff and in favour of proper scientific proof.

    James Kearney
    I put it to you that if a new and independent investigation were to proof that 911 could not have been perpetrated by 19 hijackers and a mad man in a cave, than 1200 NZ soldiers have been exposed to dangers they should not have been exposed to and indeed still are. They and their families are just normal everyday people who want to get on with their lives. We should not be in Afghanistan and if it turns out that the US lied the world into war I would think that has a huge impact one the rest of the world. More then 1 million Iraqis dead, 4 million refugees 50.000 very normal first responders in New York sick and dying from the dust of the twin towers in their longs. The family members and friends of the 3000 people who died that day who are trying to find answers to the questions they have and which have never been addressed. Very normal people if you can imagine. I’d say the attacks are still the single most important issue of our time for those people. SO if you don’t mind it is therefore still a very important issue for me to.

    IrishBill says: Eve, this is a warning. If you continue to try to drag every single thread to arguments about 911 conspiracies I will ban you. It’s getting dull and it distracts from the topic of the posts.

  52. erikter 52

    I’m sorry Travellerev, but your absurd theories do not ring any true whatsoever.

    Fortunately, we live in a democracy and you’re free to peddle your harebrained ideas, but do not expect the rest of us to believe the Earth is flat.

    The onus is on you to prove the contrary!

  53. National disgrace 53

    Imagine if you will, next year, Key as PM reading 30 to 40 cabinet papers every weekend, fronting a post cabinet press conference every week, and being able to answer questions intelligenty on dozens of different topics, with no one holding his hand, or slipping him flash cards…. hmmm can’t really.

    My favourite line of his a while ago “there’ll be some paperwork on that somewhere” !!!

    I do sense a mood that there will be plenty of ‘second questions’ from now on. The penny does seem to have dropped ( even to poor John) that tax cuts are not the solution to everything from the oil price spike to disaster relief in Burma. Who needs local comedy when we have the squirming Key to look forward to for the next few months.

  54. bill brown 54

    Yes, reading the SST editorial today was like reading something from one of the contributors to the Standard, I half expected the rest of the page to be filled with invective from some of our friends from the right!

  55. Dan 55

    Dad4J, Tau said he deserved it! I don’t think the lights went out either. I expect to hear more of Tau as his disenchantment with Key, not Mallard, grows.

  56. burt 56

    rOb

    You clearly define the difference between the National party and the Labour party.

    When the details became known the public outcry ended the career of the then National leader, the late and unlamented Don Brash.

    But for Labour when the details became know the public outcry was ended with retrospective validation and the killing of the Darnton VS Clark court case.

    One takes the bitter pill and moves on, the other makes us take the bitter pill and tells us to move on.

  57. Lew 57

    burt: And if the public cares, Clark’s career will be ended at the coming election, and the retrospective legislation will have achieved nothing but delaying the inevitable for a year and a bit.

    What’s your point? That governments should be stripped of the ability to pass retrospective legislation? Careful what you wish for.

    L

  58. ak 58

    burt: re the Donster: how the heck do you retrospectively validate blatant lies, venal hypocrisy and serial adultery?

  59. IrishBill,

    As you may have noticed I stayed on topic, but HS and his juvenile mates keep pointing to the fact that I have my doubts about 911. I am happy to stay on topic. I even apologised to you. And even Lew stated he was partly to blame to draw this subject back into focus. I have a much wider range of subjects to touch upon, but clearly you think that I should allow HS and his cronies to marginalise someone with ridicule rather than allow me the chance to defend myself. You know what I’ll talk to you in a few years, I’ll let you get on with the juveniles. See you after the elections.

  60. burt 60

    ak

    You don’t you resign, as seen. Must have been the serial adultery bit that stuffed up his ability to simply move on.

  61. r0b 61

    But for Labour when the details became know the public outcry was ended with retrospective validation and the killing of the Darnton VS Clark court case.

    Burt my dear, you’re missing a rather basic point. What National did was corrupt, immoral and wrong, they lost a leader because they deserved to. What Labour did was not wrong (though it was messy). All the public required was that they paid some money back (along with National, NZF, United Future, The Greens, ACT and The Maori Party).

    No amount of retrospective validation can save a leader when the public know they have to go. The public did the math. Don Brash went. Helen Clark is leading her third successive government.

    Or do you know better than the public Burt? Only you know the truth that the rest of the public was too dumb to see? Is that it Burt?

    And you still, after however many times we’ve argued about this Burt, you still can’t tell me what is wrong with retrospective validation of government spending, a perfectly normal practice which has happened many times before.

  62. burt 62

    rOb

    How many times has a standing court case been ended by retrospective validation?

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