No Minister

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Desperation leads to loss of dignity

Two stories today illustrating the above concept in the context of Judith Collins’ attempts to prevent National’s poor polling turning into an electoral rout.

In the first, Collins makes an ostentatious display of praying in a church, looking for all the world like someone whose idea of praying comes from illustrated story books, in an attempt to stem the loss of voters to the religious loon party, NZ Conservative.

In the second, Collins warns voters against the “Marxist” threat posed by the Green Party, which resulted only in an opportunity for media to video James Shaw laughing out loud at her when he was told about it by (one imagines, gleeful) journos. That one was on one of the TV news this evening, but I’m not sure which story. The “Marxist” claim is mentioned in this Stuff column.

I can’t imagine the pressure that being this far down in the polls puts on a party leader, but given the way my fellow authors wrote about Goff, Shearer and Cunliffe not all that long ago I’m not going to let empathy keep me from shit-posting about Collins experiencing it.

Written by Psycho Milt

October 4, 2020 at 6:36 pm

Posted in New Zealand

How fitting

While everyone’s trying to pretend they’re nice enough to feel some sympathy for orange Mussolini experiencing the entirely predictable consequence of ignoring all public health advice during a pandemic, here’s an example of how the PoS himself responds in such a situation – exactly four years ago today, when Hillary Clinton fell ill during the 2016 campaign:

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Hat-tip @richardhills77 on Twitter

Written by Psycho Milt

October 3, 2020 at 9:09 am

Posted in USA

Admission of defeat

The tax policy National announced this week, which consists of temporary tax cuts after the party declared only recently that it wouldn’t offer tax cuts, is a clear indicator that it has accepted it will lose this election. Its priority now appears to be to try and prevent a truly crushing (no pun intended) defeat.

They’ll be aware as I am that cutting public spending and using borrowed money to provide hefty tax cuts to the wealthy during a recession would be a disaster for the economy, so the only logical conclusion is that they’re aware they won’t be in a position to have to do what they’ve promised. The proposals are an appeal to their base (also the dimmer bulbs among lower-income workers) and an attempt to get some of their voters back from ACT.

Good to know. My interest now will be on whether or not Labour gets to govern alone, the answer to which I of course hope is “No.”

Written by Psycho Milt

September 19, 2020 at 8:00 am

Posted in New Zealand

Start taking contact tracing seriously

If we don’t want to experience what Victoria’s going through right now, we need to take contact tracing seriously.

As of this morning, our ability to avoid Victoria’s fate depends on the ability of the four infected people to give the government’s contact tracing team accurate details of where they’ve been for the last two weeks, on what days, and at what times. Have a think about your own ability to do that if you had to, and whether it needs improving.

The government’s much maligned and disparaged contact tracing app is still the best way we have of telling a contact tracing team where we’ve been. You can download it here:  https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz/.

Written by Psycho Milt

August 12, 2020 at 7:10 am

Posted in New Zealand

Really just can’t help themselves

National have given us an incredibly rich pick list of “Seriously, what the fuck?” moments over the last few months, but this one just boggles the mind:

In which a senior National Party official pretends to be someone else so he can undermine a candidate of his own party, including a smear campaign against her in which a photo of her in a leotard is parlayed into a bullshit story about her being a stripper (an attack line which reveals the male leadership’s fucked-up attitudes to women in more ways than one). User @noFloatingVoter on Twitter sums it up nicely:

Tweet

You seriously could not make this shit up.  Clear these dinosaur fucktards out of your party if you want to regain some respectability in the electorate.

Written by Psycho Milt

August 10, 2020 at 9:01 pm

Posted in New Zealand

NZDF liars come off second-best in a dispute with Jon Stephenson for the second time, how about we stop paying for their lawyers?

The inquiry into Operation Burnham prompted by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson’s book Hit and Run has issued its report, Inquiry into Operation Burnham.  The report finds (unsurprisingly, given NZDF’s previous interactions with Jon Stephenson) that the NZDF misled Ministers of Defence about what happened.

That hasn’t prevented some of my fellow authors here from posting as though the report vindicated the NZDF.  It doesn’t.  It wouldn’t have been surprising if it had vindicated the military, mind you – as Nicky Hager points out:

“…the Inquiry process was highly unequal. NZDF and other government agencies spent millions of dollars of public money trying to deny any wrongdoing, while the authors and public were not allowed to analyse and contest the agencies’ secret submissions and evidence. Military officers were repeatedly given the benefit of the doubt; but not so the villagers.”

That comes from Hager’s response to the report. Here’s some more from it:

“The report confirms most key allegations in the book. It….

Confirms civilians were killed and injured (and did not reach a decision for most other deaths whether or not they were civilians)

Confirms a child was killed (Mr Hager and the Inquiry differ over whether there is “sufficient evidence” to be sure she was called Fatima) (5/93)

Confirms that reports of civilian casualties were denied and hidden by named SAS officers

Confirms NZDF did not give aid to the wounded (Mr Hager and Inquiry differ on whether it was legally obliged to do so (6/144)

Confirms the NZDF mission failed in its objective; the troops did not capture or kill either of the insurgent leaders they were seeking

Confirms NZDF failed to investigate civilian casualties (9/149)

Confirms no weapons were fired at the NZ-led forces at any stage of the operation (5/38)

Confirms that, contrary to NZDF claims, the raid occurred in the two villages named in the book, Naik and Khak Khuday Dad (3/4)

Confirms that both target houses were burned during the raid, and one of them was further damaged at a later date (however Mr Hager and the Inquiry disagree over whether this was deliberate)

Confirms the NZSAS breached the Geneva Conventions by handing over a prisoner to torture (11/144)

Confirms an NZSAS trooper assaulted a prisoner while bound and blindfolded, again breaching the Geneva Conventions (10/28)

Confirms Ministers were misled by NZDF (eg ch 1, clause 7.5.2)

Finds the NZDF response to reports of civilian casualties was “deeply troubling”, reflecting conduct and events over a number of years (9/1)

Finds a “surprising level of ineptitude and disorganisation within NZDF Headquarters” (9/165)

“This is an extremely serious list of findings.”

It sure is.  It’s also a sign of the low expectations we’ve come to have of our military leadership that a report that describes improper conduct by named officers can be treated by NZDF as being pretty much an endorsement of its conduct, without serious objection by journalists.

 

Written by Psycho Milt

August 4, 2020 at 8:38 pm

Posted in New Zealand

“The police have investigated and decided xxxxx was not a criminal act”

The National Party should use the slogan “No criminal charges were laid” on its billboards for this election.  I’ve literally lost count of how many times that phrase or a variant of it has appeared in news items about National MPs over the last three years, they might as well make it their motto.

This latest incident is as impressive as the Treasury data breach one, in that it sheds some light on the ethics of the party’s leader.  Stuff reports:

Stuff understands the [Labour] party was alerted to an alcohol-related incident involving [National MP Andrew] Falloon, which was “unbecoming of an MP”. The incident involved him sending at least one indecent picture, not of himself, to a school girl. The parents of the girl notified the prime minister’s office.

The Prime Minister had her staff check with the parents that they were OK for the complaint to be redirected to National leader Judith Collins’ office and required them to otherwise keep it to themselves. Collins then “dealt with it:”

In a statement, National Party leader Judith Collins said she had spoken to Falloon who had advised her he would not be standing for re-election.

“The National Party was advised of an issue relating to Andrew late on Friday afternoon, and we have dealt with it this morning.

“Andrew is suffering from significant mental health issues and his privacy, and that of his family, must be respected.”

Very clever, if also completely ethics-free, as to be expected from one of the lead characters in Dirty Politics.  Frame the resignation as a mental health issue and Falloon’s suddenly an object of sympathy and concern. Lefty commentators on Twitter spent the afternoon demanding that people not push Falloon to answer questions about what happened, out of concern for his mental health.  Expertly played for suckers.

At this rate, Maureen Pugh’s going to end up on the front bench.

 

Written by Psycho Milt

July 20, 2020 at 7:26 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Be careful what you wish for

I see plenty of people on Twitter posting about how we should be nice to Todd Muller when discussing his resignation, because it’s a very tough gig being Leader of the Opposition and it’s good he’s being honest about it being too tough for him.  Well, yes, that’s true, but I feel like pointing out two things:

First:  Muller must have known what a tough gig Leader of the Opposition is when he mounted a coup and rolled Simon Bridges, because he’d watched Bridges struggle with it for two years. So he must have had plenty of confidence he was up to the job. This over-estimation of one’s own capability seems to be common among politicians, especially the more ambitious ones (and Muller is one of those – he was a back-bencher when he mounted the coup, for fuck’s sake. His allies Adams and Kaye were far more experienced and better-qualified for the job than him).

Second:  Ardern’s much more self-aware approach to the job (had to be begged to take it on, expressed qualms about her ability to cope with it) has proved a far better basis for leadership than Muller’s over-confidence. And if you think Muller’s had a tough time of it and deserves some respect for being honest enough to admit it was too much for it, consider what Ardern’s had to deal with over the last three years and then have a think about how much strength of character that must take.

Written by Psycho Milt

July 14, 2020 at 1:10 pm

Posted in New Zealand

National MPs breaching people’s privacy? Surely not!

A good decade or so ago I think it was, around January this year, I posted this about the criminal fraud involving donations to the National Party:

As with the data theft incident last year, the ethical bar that Bridges feels candidates need to clear is “No criminal charges were laid.”  This latest incident elaborates on that, adding the feature “You can’t prove I was involved in those criminal acts.”

And blimey, here we are again only a decade – sorry, I mean six months – later, with yet another National MP falling back on “My lawyer says it wasn’t a criminal act.” Well, no disrespect to your lawyer, Hamish Walker, but let’s see what the Privacy Commissioner makes of your total disregard for the Privacy Act 1993 before we make the bold claim that you and Michelle Boag aren’t crims.

And just in case we were going to be left in any doubt about just how narcissistic these born-to-rule Tories are, Stuff helps us remove that doubt:

Stuff understands Walker’s lawyer argued that revealing the MP’s involvement would breach his privacy.

You seriously could not make this shit up, no-one would believe you.  I’m picking that “shambles” suddenly stops being the most common word in Todd Muller’s vocabulary.

Written by Psycho Milt

July 8, 2020 at 7:06 am

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with

Speaks for itself

So, uh, yeah, just going to leave this here, then:

Written by Psycho Milt

June 8, 2020 at 7:01 am

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with