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Open Mike 05/02/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 5th, 2017 - 71 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

71 comments on “Open Mike 05/02/2017 ”

  1. “The whole towns talking about the jones boy”

    • Carolyn_nth 1.1

      Curwin Ares Rolinson, NZ First member, Daily Blog blogger, says NEVER; and claims many NZF members say the same.

      Says that boy does not have NZF values.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        I’d agree that he doesn’t. He has National Party values, i.e, none at all.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Damning indictment of Jones (well done).

          “We can but hope that Democracy in New Zealand First wins out.”

          Sorry Curwen, but if you have to petition the Board of Directors of your party not to stand a candidate in order to protect the party, you don’t have a democracy.

          • weka 1.1.1.1.1

            Anyone know why this is considered a watershed year for NZF?

          • greywarshark 1.1.1.1.2

            It seems to me that NZF has often enough hit the dart board in and then near the centre and that has been enough plus winsome, witty, doughty Winnie to keep NZF in the limelight and provide alternatives to the other options. He keeps on though getting older, to have appeal to many.

            It seems that Shane Jones will have an appeal also particularly to those who like to talk in everyday language not political fancy talk and exude manliness in a regular blokey way. He could take NZFirst on from Winnie where otherwise it would just collapse without him, like a worn-out balloon. And his values would stand up to scrutiny probably more than most other pollies.

            • weka 1.1.1.1.2.1

              “And his values would stand up to scrutiny probably more than most other pollies.”

              Did you read the linked post? Curwen Ares Rolinson, a NZF activist, is basically saying that not only are Jones’ values not compatible with NZF, but that he lacks the degree of integrity required to be an NZF MP (I disagree on that one, but only because Peters’ integrity fluctuates with the breeze. Hmm, maybe Jones is a good fit after all).

              (as an aside, I’ve been releasing your comments from Spam. Might be good to get that issue sorted before the book club).

              • greywarshark

                Okay I take your point but often values talk does not match reality. As you say Winston’s can alter. They can even take on a different light from morning to evening.

                Sorry about that, but may not succeed before the 12th and after that the task will be mainly off site till the discussion won’t it? I am hoping to get a new computer fairly soon. But I got some advice from you which I have put in my notes and I think one was to look at my cookies. But I have a matter coming up in the next few days that I must concentrate on. So thanks for your help at present and I’ll try to get improved sooner than later.

  2. Andre 2

    The argument to increase taxes on top income earners, and particularly to increase taxes on income from capital.

    http://www.salon.com/2017/02/04/it-is-time-to-take-americas-billionaire-class-head-on_partner/

    The article links a paper from the Congressional Research Service (non-partisan government body to provide factual information to Congress) that concludes that tax on capital gains income and dividends really needs to go up. Note that in New Zealand, income from capital gains is untaxed, and dividend income from company profit is only taxed once (often at a lower rate than earned income), whereas in the US the company pays tax on profit, then the recipient of dividends paid from that profit also pays income tax on it a second time.

    https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42043.pdf

    Both items are heavy going, but it’s worth chewing through them.

    • Carolyn_nth 2.1

      Haven’t time to read it, but would just like to reply to the notion of increasing taxes on income from capital. As a non-home owner, with a little savings in the bank, I pay tax every year on the interest gained.

      I think that savers probably have their/our “capital” taxed more than home owner’s get taxed on the rising value of their homes, and probably more than business profits.

      • Andre 2.1.1

        Yep. Regular people have interest from small bank deposits and get stung for taxes at their top rate on it. The really wealthy don’t much bother with bank deposits, and put their capital into other things that , surprise surprise, are taxed at lower rates or not at all.

        It’s those other things that need to be taxed more.

        • saveNZ 2.1.1.1

          On the flip side, people should have access to savings for when things go wrong. Savings should be encouraged. In Uk they have an ISA system so that people can save a certain amount per year tax free.

          This is especially important when people’s jobs are so transient now and it is so easy to lose your job, have a family or health emergency and in the age of self employment.

          https://www.gov.uk/individual-savings-accounts/overview

          • saveNZ 2.1.1.1.1

            One of the advantages of Clark was that even though she was a neoliberal she bought in Kiwisaver, working for families, interest free student loans, buying back state assets like Kiwirail, supported the arts more.

            Since she’s left, Labour’s policy appears to be lets charge the everyone (especially middle NZ) more to keep a lesser version of what we already have.

            There needs to actually be a policy to help the majority of people! Sometimes it feels like there is just an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff and there are more and more people needing that ambulance.

            Too much stick, zero carrot. It’s not popular.

            I think that Labour is changing though and will lead the next government.

            I’d like to see a referendum on UBI too. That is what could really change things in NZ away from the ambulance at bottom of cliff policy.

          • dv 2.1.1.1.2

            On the flip side, people should have access to savings for when things go wrong.

            EXCEPT that the bank can take 10%? when thing go bad. Thanks Nats.

            • Andre 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Gawd we need some sort of government guarantee for ordinary people’s simple savings accounts. Pretty much every other developed country has one.

              • Draco T Bastard

                We do have and we shouldn’t. If people want to take risks with their money then they should stand to lose when the risk calls due.

              • saveNZ

                @ Andre – +100 “Gawd we need some sort of government guarantee for ordinary people’s simple savings accounts. Pretty much every other developed country has one.”

                I think Greens have this as policy, does Labour???

                It is disgraceful that our money is not safe in banks.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.2.2

              EXCEPT that the bank can take 10%? when thing go bad.

              When you loan someone money you’re taking the risk that you’re not going to get it back.

              That applies when you put you money in a bank as well.

              The only time that it wouldn’t apply is a state bank that paid zero interest, didn’t charge fees and was supported through general taxation. That state bank would also be the sole owner and maintainer of the electronic payments system as well.

          • Andre 2.1.1.1.3

            I agree New Zealand is lacking incentives to save – Kiwisaver being the only program aimed at retirement. I’d like to see something added to help ordinary people build and hold some kind of emergency fund.

            The US has a whole zoo’s worth of different plans, 401k (a bit like Kiwisaver), Individual Retirement Accounts (money goes in pre-tax, grows tax-exempt, taxed on withdrawal after retirement), 529 (saving for your kids’ college), medical expenses accounts etc etc. I wouldn’t like to see NZ go down that path, it’s too much of a mess.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.3.1

              Retirement, education, health, accidents – none of these should need to be saved for as the state should support people through them.

              The only reasons I can think of for saving is to buy something or to replace something which really comes down to the same reason.

          • greywarshark 2.1.1.1.4

            Great point save nz. Whether inflation is low and therefore low interest, or higher and then higher interest, taxing interest on savings is robbing the saver of part of their capital which should remain intact to limit the erosion of its value and spending power by the inevitable rising prices in the market even when there is low inflation and which are caused by a variety of circumstances.

            In NZ the deterioration in value of savings is particularly affected at present by the mostly unmeasured inflation coming from the costs of owning or renting housing.

        • saveNZ 2.1.1.2

          Don’t worry John Key will provide for you Andre with his zero tax havens if you are non resident in NZ.

          • Andre 2.1.1.2.1

            As far as I can tell, the NZ tax haven laws don’t actually (legally) help US citizens or tax residents avoid US taxes. Anyone answerable to the US IRD that’s hiding income via NZ would be guilty of illegal evasion, not “legitimate avoidance”.

            It’s a different story for other countries though.

            • saveNZ 2.1.1.2.1.1

              But due to the lack of transparency – nobody would ever be able to find out if you were evading taxes, as the real directors do not need to be disclosed in JK’s NZ tax havens.

              • Andre

                Yeah, but then they’re tax evaders. Actual criminals risking jail time. That’s how they put away Al Capone in the end. The US IRS is a bit more enthusiastic about tossing big noters in the slammer for not coughing up than the paper tigers here.

                • saveNZ

                  Only here in NZ it seems if you know the right people everything is ok. That was one of the revolting things coming out of Panama papers – how many politicians and corporations felt they needed tax havens to hide their slushy funds.

    • mikesh 2.2

      Avoiding double taxation is generally both logical and sensible. I’m surprised it is not the case in US.

      • Andre 2.2.1

        That’s quite a philosophical debate in it’s own right.

        It could be argued that being able to receive passive income simply from owning a partial stake in a company is so strongly dependent on the laws and basic fairness of an orderly society that it’s totally fair that the company contributes a share and the individual contributes another share to maintaining that society.

        • saveNZ 2.2.1.1

          Only some companies are not fair and our and international laws don’t provide for companies having to maintain society. AKA Peter Thiel’s investment in NZ – did he have to pay 28% company tax and 33% income tax on his 10+ million ‘windfall’ from the tax payer – or did he pay zero/minimal tax and make a killing that should have been for the public purse?

          • Andre 2.2.1.1.1

            I don’t know the exact details of Thiel’s investment. So everything in this comment is guesswork or speculation. But it appears most of the investment was in Xero. Which hasn’t made a profit nor paid dividends, ever. Yet. So it won’t have paid any company tax.

            The increase in value that Thiel is enjoying seems to be purely capital gain. Which doesn’t get taxed in New Zealand (unless it’s in a short-term trading scenario). So as far as I can tell, the only benefit New Zealand’s VIF got from getting tied up with Valar was getting a small amount of effectively interest when Valar bought out VIF’s stake. So Valar really did manage to privatize the capital gain, but if there had been losses they would have been socialised.

            I’ve got no idea how Valar is structured with respect to US taxes. But I’ll take a guess that if it’s a US company it’s probably structured as some sort of partnership, in which case the company doesn’t pay tax because the profits are passed straight through to the partners. I’ll guess the transactions would also be structured so they are capital gains rather than trading income, since capital gains are taxed at a lower rate in the US.

            Note though that so far it all appears to be paper gains. No actual income or profit will happen until Valar sells some of it’s holdings.

    • reason 2.3

      Make the corporations pay their share ………….. and it’s approx $10 Billion in extra revenue for the Govt ……. every year.

      As a bonus if you can stop the corruption of the accountants, lawyers and banks in our ‘developed’ western societies …you will eliminate poverty …. stop wars …….. be able to do something about deforestation etc etc etc

      Its our own bent corrupt criminal s ……………. the Keys, Cameron s and other greed driven types who enable worldwide exploitation and inhumanity http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2016/10/offshore_shell_games_2016.php#.WJaVFleY7Mg

  3. worth thinking about

    “In January of 1962, Russell received a series of letters from an unlikely correspondent — Sir Oswald Mosley, who had founded the British Union of Fascists thirty years earlier. Mosley was inviting — or, rather, provoking — Russell to engage in a debate, in which he could persuade the moral philosopher of the merits of fascism. Russell’s considered and morally unflinching response, included in Ronald Clark’s excellent biography The Life of Bertrand Russell (public library), stands as a manifesto for the right not to engage in a debate with a counterpart so morally misaligned with oneself as to guarantee not only the self-defeating futility of such engagement but its detrimental cost to one’s own sanity.

    Shortly before his 90th birthday, Russell writes:

    Dear Sir Oswald,

    Thank you for your letter and for your enclosures. I have given some thought to our recent correspondence. It is always difficult to decide on how to respond to people whose ethos is so alien and, in fact, repellent to one’s own. It is not that I take exception to the general points made by you but that every ounce of my energy has been devoted to an active opposition to cruel bigotry, compulsive violence, and the sadistic persecution which has characterised the philosophy and practice of fascism.

    I feel obliged to say that the emotional universes we inhabit are so distinct, and in deepest ways opposed, that nothing fruitful or sincere could ever emerge from association between us.

    I should like you to understand the intensity of this conviction on my part. It is not out of any attempt to be rude that I say this but because of all that I value in human experience and human achievement.

    Yours sincerely,

    Bertrand Russell”

    https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/10/06/bertrand-russell-oswald-mosley/

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Wow marty mars Russell put his thoughts very cogently into words that resonate across the years being both memorable and entirely valid. Thanks for that.

  4. TAT Westie 4

    Labour Party MPs breakfast at Phil Twyford’s this morning. Michael Wood and others rock up at 07:00! What would you like them to be chatting about over their coffee? Electorate issues or wider ones?
    http://methodistnorth.org.nz/soup-soul-te-atatu-union/
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/87890357/Auckland-house-fire-reveals-suspected-clandestine-lab
    http://insights.nzherald.co.nz/article/new-zealand-burglary-map
    Some context – Alfred Ngaro, Tau Henare, Penny Hulse and numerous others live in Te Atatu – a once ordinary area that now seems plagued by crime, P and burglaries.
    Remember this?
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11794001

    • Paul 4.1

      What would you like them to be chatting about over their coffee?

      Offering an alternative to Neo-liberalism.

      • Penny Bright 4.1.1

        Do Labour support transparency in the spending of public monies on private consultants and contractors (at both local and central government level)?

        Do Labour agree that the following information on awarded contracts should be made available for public scrutiny?

        * The unique contract number.

        * The name of the consultant or contractor.

        * A brief description of the scope of the contract.

        * The contract start and finish dates.

        * The exact dollar value of every contract, including those sub-contracted.

        * How the contract was awarded – by direct appointment or public tender.

        If Labour do support such transparency in the spending of public monies on private sector consultants and contractors – what are they DOING about it?

        (I’ll be addressing the Board of Auckland Transport on 16 February 2017 on this matter.)

        ‘Activists – get things done.’

        Penny Bright

        ‘Anti-privatisation / anti-corruption campaigner.’

        2017 Independent candidate
        Mt Albert by-election.

    • Penny Bright 4.2

      Are Labour supporting directly-affected State tenant Niki Rauti in her fight against eviction and the privatisation of State housing in Glen Innes?

      I am.

      Penny Bright

      ‘Anti-privatisation / anti-corruption
      campaigner’.

      2017 Independent candidate
      Mt Albert by-election.

    • Penny Bright 4.3

      Does Labour have such an
      “ACTION PLAN TO ENSURE ‘OPEN, TRANSPARENT AND DEMOCRATICALLY ACCOUNTABLE’ NZ GOVERNMENT AND JUDICIARY”?

      1) Make ALL ‘facilitation payments’ illegal.

      2) Legislate to create an NZ independent anti-corruption body, tasked with educating the public and preventing corruption.

      3) Legislate for NZ Members of Parliament (who make the laws for everyone else) to have a legally enforceable ‘Code of Conduct’.

      4) Make it an offence under the Local Government Act 2002, for NZ local government elected representatives to breach their ‘Code of Conduct’.

      5) Make it a lawful, mandatory requirement for Local Government elected representatives to complete a ‘Register of Interests’ which is available for public scrutiny.

      6) Make it a lawful, mandatory requirement for Local Government staff, responsible for property or procurement, to complete a ‘Register of Interests’ which is available for public scrutiny.

      7) Make it a lawful, mandatory requirement for Local Government Council Controlled Organisation (CCO)) Directors and staff, staff, responsible for property or procurement, to complete a ‘Register of Interests’ which is available for public scrutiny.

      8) Fully implement and enforce the Public Records Act 2005, to ensure public records are available for public scrutiny.

      9) Make it a lawful requirement that that a ‘cost-benefit analysis’ of NZ Central Government and Local Government must be undertaken, to prove that private procurement of public services previously provided ‘in-house’ is cost-effective for the majority of taxpayers and ratepayers.

      10) Legislate for a legally enforceable ‘Code of Conduct’ for members of the NZ Judiciary, to ensure they are not ‘above the law’.

      11) Legislate to provide a publicly-available NZ Judicial ‘Register of Interests’, to help prevent ‘conflicts of interest’.

      12) Ensure ALL Court proceedings are recorded, with audio records available to parties who request them.

      13) Legislate for a publicly-available NZ ‘Register of Lobbyists’ and ‘Code of Conduct’ for lobbyists.

      14) Legislate for a ‘post-separation employment’ (‘revolving door’) quarantine period from the time public officials leave the public service, to take up a similar role in the private sector.

      15) Legislate to make it a lawful requirement that it is only a binding vote of the public majority that can determine whether public assets held at NZ central or local government are sold, or long-term leased via Public-Private-Partnerships.

      16) Legislate to make it unlawful for politicians to knowingly misrepresent their policies prior to central or local government elections.

      17. Legislate to protect individuals, NGOs, and community-based organisations, who are ‘whistle-blowing’ against ‘conflicts of interest’ and alleged corrupt practices at central and local government level and within the judiciary.

      18) Legislate to prevent ‘State Capture’ – where vested interests get what they want, at the ‘policy’ level, before laws are passed which serve their vested interests.
      ___________________________

      Does ANY other candidate in the Mt Albert by-election have such an ‘ACTION PLAN for transparency and democratic accountability’?

      If not – perhaps you should consider ‘being BOLD – vote BRIGHT’?

      🙂

      Penny Bright

      2017 Independent candidate
      Mt Albert by-election.

    • Bill 4.4

      Their imminent retirement from politics 👿

    • Incognito 4.5

      I would like to ask them whether they consider a coalition with National a possibility, sometime in the future, and what it would take. If the answer is negative, and assuming their answer is not similar to Bertrand Russell’s reply to Sir Oswald Mosley, which could be considered somewhat hypocritical under the current circumstances, I’d be very interested to find out why not. This is a genuine question BTW.

  5. saveNZ 5

    Be good to see more policy on food waste in NZ. I think things are happening but not on a large scale or with any consistancy.

    From the US

    “Garbage Food: Climate change may be a political hot button, but a big driver of it — food waste — is a bipartisan target

    Finally, an environmental initiative everyone agrees on — big business and tech startups, science and churches”

    http://www.salon.com/2017/02/04/garbage-food-climate-change-may-be-a-political-hot-button-but-a-big-driver-of-it-food-waste-is-a-bipartisan-target/

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 6

    Down she goes! Staff laid off, donations drying up.

    http://investmentwatchblog.com/clinton-foundation-on-the-brink-of-collapse/

    • saveNZ 6.1

      @AsleepWhileWalking – but where did the missing millions go?

    • McFlock 6.2

      Well, that seems like an evenhanded, well researched article. Indeed the only shortcoming it has is failing to note that the cgi began the winding up process three months before the election result that supposedly dried up donations. Other than that, it’s Pulitzer material /sarc

  7. Andre 8

    Heh. The best explanation yet of Kellyanne Conway.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/denis-leary-hilariously-admits-he-looks-like-kellyanne-conway_us_58947245e4b0c1284f255540

    (If you don’t know who Denis Leary is, the link below is a good sample)

    • Morrissey 8.1

      I see that Kellyanne Conway was once an “adjunct professor at George Washington University Law Center.”

      HOW?!???!? It’s more than obvious every time Conway comes on television that she is clueless. Perhaps she was appointed by the same corporate headhunting geniuses that led to Saatchi’s idiotic Grand Dragon Kevin Roberts being given a chair at Oxford University and ACT’s braindead ex-führer Jamie “Lock Up His Sisters” Whyte becoming a lecturer at Oxford.

      • Ethica 8.1.1

        “Adjunct’ can mean as little as doing an occasional guest lecture. They are not part of the organisation

        • Morrissey 8.1.1.1

          Even associating one’s name with such an airhead must be detrimental to its reputation, however.

    • joe90 8.2

      The best explanation yet of Kellyanne Conway.

      Better explanation of Kellyanne Conway.

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C3x-u6HXUAAfRy7.jpg

  8. halfcrown 9

    Another piece of corporate welfare that stands a good chance of turning to custard with the ratepayer being the loser ending up with the debt.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/73714349/high-risk-loan-to-irrigation-scheme-passes

  9. Nic the NZer 10

    Discussion about the UK welfare state, 1600 to 1840, and its impact on the UK macro economy. References historical research from the Lancet.

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=35284

  10. Andre 11

    Heh. Trump might actually be putting lobbyists out of work. Seems it might work better to buy ads on the TV shows he watches. So advertising rates are going up.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-tv-ad-rates-morning-joe-oreilly-234647

  11. adam 12

    WARNING!!! It’s a Syria post, and it’s from RT america.

    A interview with Elizabeth Kucinich https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Kucinich

    Talking about what she saw in Syria – I rather enjoyed it. 8.09 min. long. Except for her inability to talk about Islamic minority sects. And completely not talking about Rojava.

  12. Infused 13

    Congrats on willy. He will be a great asset

  13. Winston told -“to get off the grass”- in the herald a while ago.–

  14. weka 15

    Poto Williams sets out the issues regarding Jackson,

    Kia orana

    As the Labour Party Spokesperson for Family and Sexual Violence, I am concerned that Willie Jackson is becoming a Labour Party candidate with a prominent ranking on the list.

    White Ribbon encourages everyone to break the silence around domestic violence by challenging comments and actions that are abusive or condone abuse. I was a vocal opponent of Mr Jackson’s comments during the ‘Roast-Busters’ incident and I do not believe that his attitude towards victims of sexual abuse match what I expect of a member of the Labour Party. Especially a member of our caucus.

    I appreciate that Mr Jackson may regret his comments, but I am yet to hear that he understands his attitudes and views are highly offensive to many New Zealanswrs. I’m yet to hear that he wishes to work on putting that right and apologise for his behaviour.

    Violence is not just physical, but also covers emotional and verbal abuse. Not speaking out against abuse of any kind is condoning or tacitly endorsing that behaviour. The comments Mr Jackson made around the ‘Roast-Busters’ incident are never OK, but it is OK to ask for help.

    White Ribbon calls for us to support people who wish to change their abusive behaviour, so I welcome the opportunity to support Mr Jackson in apologising and making those changes.

    Until then, as someone who speaks for the victims of family and sexual violence, and as a survivor of such abuse, I can not in good conscience support him as my colleague.
    –ENDS–

    • Ad 15.1

      Poto could do well to protect his flank.

      If Willie doesn’t get the list placing he needs – which on current polling is top 5 – he will go after a Maori seat nomination.

      Poto would be one of those facing a major challenge.

  15. Morrissey 16

    The last show at Amona

    From Umm al-Hiran to Amona, the comparison shrieked to the skies: apartheid police. One police for whites and one police for natives.

    by GIDEON LEVY, Haaretz, Feb. 2, 2017

    Once, I moved house. It was sad. It was sad to part from the walls and the memories. The sorrow passed. I got over it. I am not alone: A lot of people have moved home, some because they wanted to, others not: because of a contract that expired, a relationship that fell apart or a new job.

    It’s always sad to leave home, though not every such departure features (ostensibly) heart-wrenching articles, phony assertions, utterly incredible cries for national compassion and scandalous compensation. It doesn’t always take eight Israeli army battalions and 3,000 policemen to move a person from what had been his home.

    On second thoughts, I never lived in a stolen home. Maybe leaving it is harder.

    On Wednesday the Amona Show arrived at its last act. More than anything else, the illegal outpost’s evacuation proved how racist the Israeli police are. It seems that people can be evacuated using bare hands, without need for rifles or helmets, without truncheons and mainly, without the discourtesy and penchant for violence that the police and border police have demonstrated when facing the weak, Arabs or Ethiopians. Suddenly the demonstrators are not shot with live fire. It was not the police who swept into Amona, but “Salvation Army” soldiers in blue jackets with an Israeli flag sewn to the sleeve.

    Why? Because the evacuees are white Jews, representatives of the most privileged, most powerful group in Israeli society. Because the chief of police hails from the same neighborhood. Because the government didn’t want heart-rending pictures to start making the rounds.

    From Umm al-Hiran to Amona, the comparison shrieked to the skies: apartheid police. One police for whites and one police for natives. It can no longer be denied.

    The evacuation of Amona proceeded after foreplay that dragged on and on, including the usual repertoire of schticks, featuring endless hearings in the High Court of Justice, sitting as an especially incongruous Purim-costumed version of a state with justice and equality before the law, including the justices playing dumb, the young girls in braids and tears, the young mothers with babies, the guitars, the prayers, candles and all that tired jazz. The cries of “wickedness” and “discrimination” and “Citizens type B,” the little girl asking her mother, in front of rolling cameras of course, “Mommy, will we have somewhere to live?” as though she didn’t know the answer.

    The army that cordons off the area but allows hundreds of youngsters to freely infiltrate, barricading themselves inside homes while vowing to eschew violence; the soldiers demonstrating their sensitivity as they prepare for action – any moment now they’ll be bursting into tears; the nauseating headlines – “This was my home,” “The final hours”; the Palestinian landowners for whose benefit this show has been put on, who will never be allowed to get anywhere near their land, now evacuated; the childish name chosen for this mission – “Locked kindergarten” [from the song based on Rachel’s poem, “It’s not nice to see the kindergarten locked”] – how very poetic and moving. And, of course, the appropriate Zionist reaction, without which no eviction could possibly proceed – build another 1,000 housing units, and counting.

    Read more

    http://normanfinkelstein.com/2017/02/02/reality-check-5/

  16. Incognito 17

    I’d like to thank both Bill and Carolyn_nth for drawing attention to Amusing Ourselves to Death.

    Open Mike 03/02/2017

    Open Mike 04/02/2017

    I look forward to the (?) post, which I don’t want to pre-empt in any way. However, I felt something was missing from the bits & pieces that I did read, which is why & how images, for example, can be so powerful, and if this understanding can help us harnessing this power as it were.

    My premise is that the brain is processing written or spoken (i.e. radio) text differently from visual content. The following article is quite light-weight but it covers this difference reasonably well – ironically it was written by somebody with a degree in journalism:

    https://www.eyeqinsights.com/power-visual-content-images-vs-text/

    It also has been said that body language and facial expressions, i.e. mostly but not limited to visual keys, plays a bigger part in our communication than the verbal part. It appears to be less precise than verbal communication but possibly more effective and efficient in conveying and inducing emotions.

    Art, particularly visual art, almost without exception invokes emotions in each and every normal (…) human being. It hits you between the eyes, literally, without the need to be first deconstructed and then deconstructed such as is the case with reading literature, for example – the latter takes time (and effort).

    As one saying goes, more or less: a picture speaks a thousand words.

    Art, like no other, stimulates the imagination and easily crosses boundaries between fact and fiction or fantasy.

    The Arts, therefore, must be an important part of children’s education so that they learn to ‘read’ their own but also others’ emotions and to integrate these, for want of a better word, with their more rational and critical thinking and discerning reality and truth.

    In my view, this does not necessarily mean that children should be taught to critically look at imagery or videos, or (forensically) analyse the medium, because this requires a lot of ‘back-tracking’ in and by the brain whilst the non-verbal ‘message’ has already long taken hold in and of our brain circuits. Apart from the fact-checking and all that I suggest that it would be good to ask how did it make you feel and how did it change your thinking about the topic or subject of the particular visual content. In other words, be aware of the effects on ourselves more than anything else. And then ask ourselves whether we’re happy with those effects on who we are and (have) become due to watching the material, absorbing it.

    Anyway, these are the kind of ideas that I’ve been toying with and applying to and on myself with a few interesting introspective results and I also wondered how I would have been in the here & now if I had learned some of these things as a kid – a silly question, I know.

  17. Sanctuary 18

    I am completely uninterested in your gender politics.

    from http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2016/11/john-moore-identity-politics-vs-class-politics-an-anti-establishment-class-analysis.html

    Philosopher Slavoj Zizek has critiqued the liberal culturalisation of politics in the form of identity politics. He argues that the culturalist concept of “tolerance” and “respect” is wholly inadequate in dealing with questions of oppression:

    “…I’m opposed to this notion [tolerance]. Of course I’m not for intolerance towards foreigners, for anti-feminism, and so on. What I am against is the perception, which is moralist-automatic, of racism as a problem of tolerance. For Martin Luther King one doesn’t fight racism with tolerance, but with emancipatory political struggle, even armed struggle. So, why are so many problems of today perceived as problems of intolerance, rather than problems of inequality, exploitation, injustice? Racism is a problem. But to perceive racism as a problem of tolerance, it’s not automatic. In this innocent shift of perspective, there is ideology. Why? I claim the reason is the liberal multiculturalist basic ideological operation, the, let’s call it, the culturalisation of politics….”

    Identity politics is yesterdays story, That style of politics has led the left to utter defeat everywhere. It is discredited and has been showed to have no electoral constituency. The primacy of class is again the organising bedrock of the left, not gender or identity.

    [“I am completely uninterested in your gender politics.” And I am completely uninterested in you derailing this post with anti-feminist politics. Stay out of this thread from now on – weka]

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • Carolyn_nth 18.1

      I don’t think that quote or link says exactly what you say it does.

      I’m opposed to this notion [tolerance].

      Actually many anti-racist and feminists say the same. To say a woman or brown person is “tolerated”, is not the same as saying they are respected by the society and treated as equals. It kind of says people put up with them.

      And then the quote goes on:

      For Martin Luther King one doesn’t fight racism with tolerance, but with emancipatory political struggle, even armed struggle. So, why are so many problems of today perceived as problems of intolerance, rather than problems of inequality, exploitation, injustice?

      Basically it’s saying that racism should be fought as part of an emancipatory political struggle

      The link says there is a place for anti-racism and feminism within class politics, but that class is the fundamental problem with capitalism:

      Socialists do not reduce questions of homophobia and gender inequality to questions of class. However, socialists do locate the source of various oppressions within the framework of capitalist class relations. For example, Marxists give a radical materialist explanation of women’s oppression and homophobia that goes a beyond simple liberal analysis. Such an analysis also leads to radical emancipatory solutions for the majority of people who suffer under our society.

      The continuation of gay, women and Maori oppression in New Zealand is very much related to questions of class and capitalism.

      In fact, your citations provide arguments AGAINST your stated views.

  18. emergency mike 19

    What to do on a Sunday after you’ve won an election on a promise to take govt away from the elites and give it back to the people? Headline a Versailles themed ball for European royalty of course! Photos.

    “The event “From Vienna to Versailles,” took place Saturday night at the Mar-a-Lago Club, which was done up in Old World 18th-century style, right down to the service staff in powdered wigs and satin knee breeches or Marie Antoinette dresses.

    “Yes,” said one server, when asked if the wig was hot. “And it weighs four pounds.”

    The night began with the diplomatic receiving line and cocktails around the balustraded pool, a fireworks display over the Intracoastal which gave the smattering of protesters the best views, and classical music by Hapzburg-costumed musicians.

    After cocktails, the crowd moved to the Grand Ballroom — conceived and constructed to look like Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, making it the perfect foil for the gold-rimmed china and snow-white table linens and mounds of all-white flowers…”

    Yes let’s all pretend we’re filthy rich aristocrats, re-enacting a scene that has come to epitomize out of touch elitism and obscene decadence, and having a merry time while throwing some bones or cake perhaps at the poor. Oh wait who’s pretending haha!

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