The United States mid term Elections

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, November 9th, 2014 - 85 comments
Categories: us politics - Tags: ,

The US mid term elections were held this week and the general consensus amongst the main stream media is that the Democrats and in particular Barack Obama were humiliated. In the senate the Republicans gained seven seats and two further seats are still in play. They have a clear majority. In Congress the Republicans reinforced an existing majority. Obama faces two years where he has no control over either house.

I feel a bit sorry for him because he has been blamed for the result. He is not the only left leader in the world (in the very broadest sense of the term) to be facing pressure. In the United Kingdom Ed Milliband is under some pressure and elsewhere in the western world progressives are also struggling. There is this tension between playing the political game and winning support by triangulating issues and keeping support with the base and energising ordinary people with the promise of real change. It is clearly difficult if not impossible to do both.

What happened in the US? The reports are that young and latinos did not vote. This problem also occurred in the 2010 mid term elections. Maybe the Democrats will always struggle if there is not a presidential election happening at the same time to energise turnout. And maybe leaders need to deliver on the hope and change that Obama promised.

The impression I have is that Obama has struggled at both edges of his support. The right were attacking him for Obamacare which I think is a wonderful policy. When senior Republicans suggest that he is responsible for the appearance of Ebola in the United States you realise that things have turned really weird. And the opposition to doing anything about climate change suggests to me a level of belligerence and stupidity that cannot be matched and that is deeply damaging to humanity’s future interests.

The news is not all bad. Five US states had votes on whether or not there should be an increase in the minimum wage. Each proposal passed convincingly. These were not necessarily liberal states either. The results were Alaska (69:31), Arkansas (66:34), Illinois (67:33), Nebraska (59:41), and South Dakota (55:45). Three of these states returned Republican senators. Those basic decent policies can win every time no matter what is happening at a political level.

Ad submitted a guest post that expressed things far more eloquently than I could. Here it is …

The scale of the recent defeat by the U.S. Democrats resonates with the pounding Labour and Labor took in NZ and Australian elections this year. It’s rare to see parallel scales of defeat, common failings, and common lessons. Reviews months ahead becomes mere exercises in nostalgia.
Neither Labour, Labor, nor Democrats had a coherent set of policies, none were sold well, and all three political leaders were competent but quick to compromise. Resultant NZ government, federal Australian government, and U.S. Senate and Representative houses are shaping up as far more conservative than we’ve seen for decades. Across the western world we’re shut out, and it’s cold out here.

This is despite core policies associated with the losers working well and being remarkably popular. Obamacare has performed well. As has Kiwisaver. Nor was there lack of support for policies to campaign on. New Zealand’s public resoundingly opposed asset sales, and supported the Capital Gains Tax. U.S. state by state support for minimum wage increases was massive, even in staunchly conservative states.

Obama has two months and two years to govern, but his track record of egregious compromise has damaged any future legacy he might have and damaged his party such that by 2016 Republicans could well run all three governmental layers. Labour’s incoherence to the public remains such that National could run both New Zealand and Auckland within a single party by 2016. Did I mention the cold?

Looking back on Gough Whitlam, LBJ, or Clark, we can see that truly pathbreaking strides in Australia, the U.S., or New Zealand are highly concentrated in a few brief windows of overwhelming progressive dominance. We now also know that lasting progress depends on building on those foundations, and protecting them from erosion until the next opportunity for advancement presents itself. Through bold and quickly enacted policy, millions of lives were changed for the better.

At some point the left (broadly) will win again. We need a coalition primed for an uncompromising agenda push. The legacy of that first successful term will ensure the left’s revival for years afterward, and will spur us on to form a further clearly communicated and uncompromising policy enacted within that first window after election. After that, fate’s doors close hard. Democrats, Labour and Labour are all of us dealing with the aftermath of corrosive and sustained compromise, and that’s right across most aspiring progressive/left/social democratic parties in the world.

Voters have told the Democrats, Labour and Labor that we need no more fantasies that compromise will win the public back to our causes. What commenters see as over-defined or prescriptive, the public will read as clear and principled. We need more of clear and principled. It will win the public and it will win the media, and it will win the next term after that. That does not need to be confused with radical. We simply need to be uncompromising and clear, both to gain electoral power, and to sustain it once more. We’ll all be learning that for a while, out here in the cold.

85 comments on “The United States mid term Elections”

  1. BM 1

    At some point the left (broadly) will win again. We need a coalition primed for an uncompromising agenda push. The legacy of that first successful term will ensure the left’s revival for years afterward, and will spur us on to form a further clearly communicated and uncompromising policy enacted within that first window after election.

    That paragraph is the reason the left won’t be elected for a very long time.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Thanks for your advice BM.

      I presume you would prefer Labour to go back to the good old days where Rogernomics reigned supreme.

      • BM 1.1.1

        No, but I certainly don’t want radical change when the left get elected, massive change is bad for the country.

        For me that’s one of the reason Key has been so successful, he came in after nine years of Helen Clark and was smart enough to realize that labour had been in government because the voters liked some of their policies.
        National was labour light and for a very good reason.

        What he’s done is gradually pull NZ from the left to a more right wing mindset and he’s done it in a way where people have barely noticed, so it’s now become the norm for most people.

        Any radical change you guys propose will flow directly against mainstream NZ and your new left wing government will be lucky to survive a term.

        • Ad

          There are plenty of times the New Zealand public have voted for a clear and strong change in policy direction. You know that if you passed Year 11 Social Studies. And they will again, if a good majority of them believe it is warranted.

          • BM

            Yes, when governments have basically destroyed themselves.

            Unless National implodes and Key goes mad I don’t think radical change is what the people will really want.

            I think this is one of the major hurdles that the left face, all the left parties are full to the brim with old activists who’s thinking is out there on the fringe and completely disconnected from the mainstream voter.

            • Ad

              Being in power for its own sake is the preserve of the conservative end of politics.

              Being in power to change things is the natural impulse of the Left.

              Clearly you missed some of the subtext of the post above:

              In politics it doesn’t matter if you get in for three terms, or one term.
              In politics, for the left, it matters if you can look back and show real progress.

              -Whitlam “exploded”. And did more for reforming Australia than 6 terms of the Liberals.
              – LBJ “exploded”. And did more for reforming the U.S. progressively than anyone before him since Roosevelt.
              – Clark’s best days, even, were over once the ideological propulsion of the Alliance “exploded”.
              – Big Norm “exploded” by dying. But he’s still the bellwether of NZ’s international idealism.
              etc. etc. Which is my point about third form social studies.

              Cunliffe forgot that lesson. Clark in her third term had forgotten it. Obama never understood it.

              It’s simply time the Left understood that bold policy with no compromise is the only way to get the voter public’s respect back.

              • chris73

                I really hope you’re advising Labour because that’s the surest way to get National re-elected

                • Ad

                  The evidence from many elections in both NZ’s past, in the US, and in Britain, proves you wrong.

                  • chris73

                    It was also believed governments lost popularity yet National got more votes this time round also it was believed a political party would never govern alone in MMP yet again National came within a smidgeon of making it happen

                    The people of NZ do not want bold policy with no compromise, NZ wants left of center or right of center

                    • Ad

                      National will remain dominant until there is a real and compelling political reason to put someone else in. There is no motivation from the public to replace one beige bunch with another.

                    • chris73

                      There is no motivation from the public to replace one beige bunch with another.

                      – If that were true National wouldn’t have gotten elected, all Labour has to do is show NZ they’re united, know their policies and will only pull NZ to left of center not NZ as it was in the 70s

                      They do that they’ll get elected

                    • felix

                      “it was believed a political party would never govern alone in MMP yet again National came within a smidgeon of making it happen”

                      Another way of saying that is that according to you guys, National won the best win ever like the massive winners they are, and yet they still can’t govern alone.

                    • National has probably lost popularity among the general public, but has massively motivated its base, and has the support of the soft vote as they do not perceive Labour as a united party, and therefore do not perceive them as a credible government.

            • Tom Jackson

              The problem with this is that the mainstream voter is now tending towards crazy idiocy.

              When senior Republicans suggest that he is responsible for the appearance of Ebola in the United States you realise that things have turned really weird. And the opposition to doing anything about climate change suggests to me a level of belligerence and stupidity that cannot be matched and that is deeply damaging to humanity’s future interests.

              If parties can get elected saying stuff like that, then we’re truly through the looking glass, and left wing parties could promise the most sober, reality-based policies imaginable and still not get elected.

              • Ad

                What I think you are heading towards is the trick of a Left populism.
                It’s a hard trick to pull off, and there’s plenty of US party films about it (e.g. Bob Roberts, Mr Smith Goes to Washington), but it has been done (e.g. the Chilean “No” campaign against Pinochet’s referendum).

                Bob Harvey’s bell jar illustrations nearly got there.

                I see theming and packing as a neglected Leftie skill, but quite different to the lessons of the current electoral year.

                • If it’s just going to be duping people through populism, then there’s no point keeping democracy other than to keep people feeling as if they are in control.

            • Murray Rawshark

              Key is already mad with power. He thinks he is above morality and law. We all have feet of clay, but I think in his case the clay goes up to the armpits. Once people turn, his fall will be rapid. They’ll be more bitter than a husband who finds his wife has been unfaithful with the boss who just fired him.

        • chris73

          +100 BM

    • The reason that the left doesn’t win in the US is the Koch Bros.
      And that is why the Democrats have to compete for big money to win.
      95% of successful elections spend the most money.
      The game is not only rigged, the game is entertainment.
      Note the interview with Robert Kennedy Jnr on the Keiser Report
      Like NZ the majority supports left of centre economics.
      Politics however is owned by the ruling class.
      Capitalist democracy is a myth.
      Workers democracy is the answer.

  2. Ad 2

    BM you need to demonstrate knowledge of why Left-type governments are almost always different to Right-type governments. It will help you when commenting on this site.

  3. Bill 3

    And again…(I mean, fuck, I’m almost boring myself with this constant repetition of the bleeding obvious)… Miliband’s Labour, that is not a million miles away from NZ Labour, struggles to compete with the Tories in a UK context, but is arguably about to disappear where it’s pitted against a genuine social democratic left (The SNP in Scotland).

    And…again. The SNP won an absolute majority in an MMP environment on a turnout of around 50% before any independence referendum was on the table and are presently the third largest party in the UK on membership numbers (80 000+ members from a population base similar to NZs ).

    The parliamentary left tanking has nothing to do with either a non-sympathetic media or low voter turnout; the parliamentary left is doing crap because it’s crap.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      Give them time and the SNP will be crap too !

      Wait till Salmond goes to Westminister and has to be Labours poodle in government.

      • Bill 3.1.1

        You’re aware of that poll taken after Lamont’s resignation that indicated 50+ SNP mps voted into Westminster from Scotland against 4 or 5 Labour mps? Now sure, that poll was a one off at a particular time. But regardless, how or why would SNP mps in Westminster be Labour poodles? That assertion makes no sense.

        And of course the SNP will be crap too. All parliamentary parties go through a cycle that includes a dull conservative phase where they betray their roots. The trick is in being resurgent as opposed to dead.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          But regardless, how or why would SNP mps in Westminster be Labour poodles? That assertion makes no sense.

          Because in traditional Labour’s way of thinking (both here and in the UK), all “minor” left wing parties have to be subservient to Labour, as it Labour the “natural home” of the political left. Or some such.

  4. hoom 4

    To categorise Obama as Left really does a disservice to the term Left.

    Similarly to categorise the Republicans as Conservative is a disservice to real Conservatives.
    Neo-con are not Conservatives, they are very radical which is the opposite of Conservative.

    The problem with Obama is that he was the big Hope for Change from the creeping further & further Corporate Right Neo-Con crap.
    Yet he either was really a Neo-Con in hiding or has been utterly captured by them.

    The Change that Obama has brought is a restart of the Cold War & a whole heap of new small wars rather than the peace he promised & won Nobel prize for.
    Domestically corporate neo-cons are even more powerful, the Billionaires far richer, the poor even more poor, freedoms eroded & the criminals who caused the GFC unpunished.

    And thats the ‘good guy’ so who are you going to vote for in protest?

    • Ad 4.1

      Agreed, but each country has a different sliding scale from left to right.

      Even taking that into account, there are common lessons to be drawn right at this historical moment.

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.1

        The “sliding scale” metaphor is good, but neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party is worth supporting with even a single dollar or minute of time. Supporting a less far right party to get in, in order to prevent a more far right party getting in, is a waste of time and energy.

        And either consciously or unconsciously knowing that, that’s why the commoners stay at home.

        • Ad

          You may feel differently if you lived there.
          There aren’t any easy choices – in fact they are getting narrower and harder.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            In the US there is the choice of supporting independent or Green Party candidates, but those options are rendered totally invisible and impotent by the corporate MSM. The Democratic Party will go so far as to attack and cut down truly progressive independent candidates like Ralph Nader, because they show up the Democratic Party for who they really are.

  5. Michael 5

    The US Democrats also have voter turnout and gerrymandering to deal with. For example, in the 2010 House elections, only 40.9% of people turned out. (A majority of the rich turn out and the poor don’t.) And the Democrats actually won the popular vote, however the Republicans took a majority in the House due to gerrymandering and FPTP.
    And let’s not forget that $3.7 billion was spent, with a lot of it by corporations, on the 2014 elections. (!) And guess who has the most money to spend? The right.

    • joe90 5.1

      Same old.

      Propane Jane ‏@docrocktex26

      This is what 2.8 million extremists making decisions for a state of 28 million ppl looks like. Fucking insane. #TXGov

    • Ad 5.2

      Other than further redistricting (which is now entrenched through recent Supreme Court decisions), what do you think would concisely increase voter turnout?

      • ghostwhowalksnz 5.2.1

        changing to a sat election date. A lot of people are at work on a Tuesday.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Nobody in power or with money wants to increase election turnouts. The aim is to decrease voter turnout. Ensuring large numbers of people were disenfranchised was a primary goal of the “Founding Fathers.”

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.3

      And guess who has the most money to spend? The right.

      The Democrats are also Right wing, and since Clinton gave in to banking and corporate interests, Democratic fund raising is often neck and neck with the Republicans.

      • Ad 5.3.1

        Every nations political spectrum shifts over time – ours sure has and is.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          I prefer the physics approach to spectra. If you’ve moved out of infra-red into the blue end of the spectrum, then you’re blue, and not infra-red any more.

      • Michael 5.3.2

        That’s true, although there are factions in the Democrats.

        There’s the “centrist” Democrats (which are on the right in actuality i.e. Clinton), and the “Progressive Caucus”, which are decent social democrats with an actual left agenda. (For example, Elizabeth Warren).

        Here’s a very good conversation between Elizabeth Warren and Thomas Pikkety: – Elizabeth is the de facto leader of the Progressive faction, and many Democrats want to see her run in 2016.

        There was another video (I forget where), where she addressed unions, and she had the union members standing on their seats clapping! There is a credible left faction in the Democratic party, but it only controls about 1/3 of the party which isn’t a lot.

  6. Ad 6

    There is no motivation from the public to replace one beige bunch with another.

    – If that were true National wouldn’t have gotten elected, all Labour has to do is show NZ they’re united, know their policies and will only pull NZ to left of center not NZ as it was in the 70s

    They do that they’ll get elected

    (sorry run out of Reply function)

    Unity is the political baby-steps to political success.
    Labour in NZ have to achieve, in order:
    – Unity, then
    – Bold Policy, then
    – Passion, then
    – Funding, then
    – New Candidates, then
    – Campaign Platform

    I am not trying in the post above to roll out the entire renewal platform for Labour here.
    What I am showing is a few common lessons to the Left right now, and right across many other democracies.

    • chris73 6.1

      You do know that what you’ve said is far more demoralizing to left wing supporters then anything I could come up with

      For Labour (especially) Unity is a herculean task by itself but add in funding and a campaign platform…

      • Ad 6.1.1

        As I point out above, this is about the worst electoral year the global left has had in multiple decades. The task is still the task.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          And what if both the organisation and the organisational culture is not fit for purpose? Those steps you have listed are merely the ABCs of winning (excuse the pun) but Labour struggles to even put two ticks on its election signs, let alone anything more complex.

          • Ad

            Refuse to learn lessons and retreat from political activism, realising that Labour will continue without us

            Start your own, knowing the risks are high and likely rewards v small

            Reform from within.

            Which comes closer for you?

  7. barry 7

    I think there is not much equivalence between what happened in America to whathappened in NZ/Australia. Obama is not really left he just looks like that compared to the crazies that captured the Republican party.

    It looks like the Republicans have tamed the tea party a little bit so that they are not so scary, but really the story of these midterms is the low turnout. Basically Democrat supporters couldn’t see any reason to bother voting this time.

  8. TheContrarian 8

    Say hello to one of the new GOP lawmakers:

    John Key is positively angelic by comparison. The USA is, by no small measure, fucked.

  9. Chooky 9

    From the American horses’ (commentators’) mouths on the mid term Elections

    “What is widely deemed as a resounding victory for the GOP and humiliating personal defeat for Barack Obama, this cycle of mid-term elections leave the Republicans in charge of legislative branch of government. Will this change anything in Washington?”

    CrossTalking with Don DeBar, Daniel Faraci and Stephen Yates.

  10. joe90 10

    Eisenhower called it.


    The voters who put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.

    But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.


    The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to “live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face.” “Living upon its principal,” in this case, means that the Deep State has been extracting value from the American people in vampire-like fashion.

  11. Murray Rawshark 11

    “Looking back on Gough Whitlam, LBJ, or Clark, we can see that truly pathbreaking strides in Australia, the U.S., or New Zealand are highly concentrated in a few brief windows of overwhelming progressive dominance.”

    WTF? The Clark government entrenched a lot of the main ideas of Rogernomics and made them respectable. It did very little to even roll back the absurdities of Douglas and Richardson. Goff closed schools. WFF meant that a line was drawn down the middle of the working class, with beneficiaries forever defined as somehow less worthy. WFF also meant that employers got to keep more of the profits, as the taxpayer topped up wages. Helen also ran such a tight ship with everything centred on her, that the remaining non-entities (with few exceptions) didn’t have a clue what to do once she’d gone.

    LBJ did a fair bit domestically, but will always suffer from what Kennedy leaving him with Vietnam. His influence on Latin America was also far from benign. I don’t think either of these two can be compared with Gough Whitlam.

    • DS 11.1

      Helen Clark was Labour’s Keith Holyoake: a long-serving pragmatist who basically governed within an overarching consensus (in Holyoake’s case it was the social-democratic consensus, in Clark’s case it was neoliberal). Certainly, both were electorally successful, but neither transformed (or even sought to transform) the country they governed.

      • Ad 11.1.1

        Note I specifically focussed on Clark’s first term and attributed its strength to the Alliance-Labour coalition agreement. Once the Alliance collapsed, so did the force and conviction of the government.

      • Murray Rawshark 11.1.2

        Yep. I spoke with her briefly in 1985 and she was of the view then that a government was powerless to change very much. She was hardly going to be a crusader with that attitude.

  12. boyonlaptop 12

    “New Zealand’s public resoundingly opposed asset sales, and supported the Capital Gains Tax.

    We need a coalition primed for an uncompromising agenda push.”

    So I am glad to hear you’ll be ranking Little last then? Considering he wants to scrap CGT and NZ Power?

    • Ad 12.1

      How do you draw the conclusion that this post favours any Labour leadership candidate?
      Or are you simply seeking to derail the post?

      • boyonlaptop 12.1.1

        Because the author is a staffer of David Cunliffe and has been supportive of Little on other posts on here? Plus I don’t see how this derails the post at all when the post explicitly mentions the NZLP.

        • Ad

          Neither writer has been a “staffer”.

          I don’t favour any candidate.

          The post isn’t about the leadership contest. There are other posts on that.

          It is about common lessons from common international movements.

    • bruhaha 12.2

      Scrap NZ Power? Really? Stop making stuff up. I’m amazed at how many of Grant Robertson’s supporters are now targeting Little with smears. I’ve heard it in the real world in the last few days as well as on social media.

      It has been a really clean race up until now. I’m starting to wonder if Robertson’s team is feeling like victory is slipping away and have decided to start playing dirty. I really hope not. We need unity after all of this.

      • boyonlaptop 12.2.1

        “Little signalled a major shift in direction if he won the leadership, including the likely ditching of unpopular policies such as raising the pension age.

        At a press conference today, the former union boss also signalled a rethink of a capital gains tax, power reforms and free doctor visits for over-65s.”

        Not making anything up, wish I was.

        Totally agree we need unity after this and will happily support Little for PM in 2017 should he win but lets not whitewash over some pretty nasty dog-whistle politics. Little himself has definitely presented himself well thus far but unfortunately the same can’t be said for a minority of his/Cunliffe supporters.

        • bruhaha

          Little has said he wants all the policy reviewed. You’re spinning. It’s unpleasant and I don’t believe you will support Little if he wins.

          With this claim and the false claim Mickey Savage is a Cunliffe staffer you’ve shown a distinct lack of good faith twice in one comment thread. That doesn’t engender any trust in you at all when it comes to unity.

          • boyonlaptop

            Oh that’s completely disingenuous to suggest he doesn’t want the CGT or NZ power scrapped. It’s exactly the same language Cunliffe used about reviewing the GST on fruit and vegetables as well as the tax free threshold when he ran. He’s used the same language in referring to NZ Power as he has to the CGT which he referred to yesterday “enough to stop people even considering what we have to say any more.” The CGT is a progressive well thought out concept and Little all but suggesting it is the reason Labour isn’t in government is narrow-minded and concerning.

            Sorry, he worked for Cunliffe in establishing a trust for the leadership election and was actively involved in Cunliffe’s campaign for the leadership. Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all but he has worked for Cunliffe and as I’ve said has frequently defended Little on here to suggest that the leadership race isn’t relevant to this piece is ludicrous.

  13. Sable 13

    Interesting article but I think you will find the real problem is Obama looks more like a Republican than a Democrat. Guantanamo Bay was to be closed, the Patriot Act given its marching orders and the general warmongering and cruelty of the Bush years abolished.

    This has not happened. Indeed drone strikes have increased and Obama has instigated more global conflict/antagonism (some of them-Russia and China potentially very serious) than his predecessor.

    Its the same issue we have in NZ and the same issue in the UK. The divide of philosophy between the so called left and right of politics has blurred leaving people disillusioned and disgusted with the whole process.

    • Ad 13.1

      It’s indeed pretty easy to confuse left-right spectrums from one country to the next.

      The job’s harder since almost all left parties worldwide post Berlin Wall have got softer, and with far less principle against which to evaluate them.

      But Labour, Labor and the Democrats remain the default option as dominant party against conservative parties. They remain united by what they are against.

      Of course, that’s a further part of the problem, but there’s only so much one can address in one post.

      For a more thorough exploration of the above, have a good go at Tony Judt, “Ill Fares the Land”. Pretty fantastic.

      • Colonial Rawshark 13.1.1

        But Labour, Labor and the Democrats remain the default option as dominant party against conservative parties. They remain united by what they are against.

        Whose default though? Ever shrinking numbers, by the sounds of it. Ed Milliband has got a bullseye on his forehead now; his senior caucus members want him gone, just months before a general election.

        In the final analysis it’s not our job to prop up dead political establishments who no longer represent the interests of the mass of people; it’s our job to torpedo them.

        • Ad

          From the poll out today by UMR, Labour is the default opposition.
          Not saying its socialism, just the default opposition to Natiobal.

  14. Brian Biggins 14

    Who do the voters get their political messages from? The MSM. The NZ MSM is confirmed as supporting right wing political parties/government. Witness the MSM attacks during Clarks reign for pathetic reasons such as signed paintings, eco-light bulbs, smacking (Nanny state), but complete silence or cheerleading on issues that will negatively influence NZ now, and in the future, such as asset sales, external deficit blowout, cooking the stats, dirty politics…the list goes on. If the messenger is allowed to continue with the propaganda, I believe the left have a big problem.

  15. Brutus Iscariot 15

    It’s laughable to suggest that the Democrats are a progressive party, or that Obama is a progressive President. Both major parties are controlled by business interests and beholden to the deep state.

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    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    1 day ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy
    1 day ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    2 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    2 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    3 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    7 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    7 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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