Archive for the ‘Distractions’ Category

by Don Franks

Nibbling pavlova, warm fuzzies all over
Hasn’t it been a great honeymoon
But there’s still shit in the river – old pensioners shiver
And Auckland house prices aren’t coming down anytime soon

Wasting away in Jacindaville
Waiting for the baby’s arrival
Some people claim a new dawn’s in the frame
But I know it’s still – just about survival

They hosted Obama, without any drama
Went over and had a wee bow to the Queen (more…)

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Michael Wolff, Fire and fury: inside the Trump White House, Little, Brown 2018, pp336, retailing for $NZ34 at  The Warehouse and just over $2o from the Book Depository (free delivery); reviewed by Paul Demarty

The appearance of Michael Wolff’s extraordinary account of Donald Trump’s presidency has already become the pre-eminent succès de scandale of 21st century letters thus far.

The White House response has been trenchant and hysterical, with the president denouncing it as a complete fiction, and the latest in what the book reminds us is a long line of press secretaries reinforcing the condemnation. Legal action is threatened against Wolff, publisher Henry Holt and – not uninterestingly – Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. It is surely more than mere gratitude that led Wolff to thank in his acknowledgements, pointedly, the libel lawyer he hired to give Fire and fury a once-over. The truth is that Trump has blundered directly into what is now called the ‘Streisand effect’, whereby attempts to suppress some item cause it to spread more rapidly among outraged enemies.1 Even British readers, whose much trumpeted national veneration of liberty reaches no further than the door of the libel courtroom, will benefit from the samizdat PDFs circulating online once Trump’s legal team cast an eye over the Atlantic in pursuit of a cheap victory.

Peculiar

What we find, in whatever format, is a very peculiar book, albeit compulsively readable, droll and frankly horrifying. The sourcing of various anecdotes in here is a particular problem, to which we shall return; certainly, there is a great deal of eyebrow-raising material, which will be confirmed or refuted in the coming months and years. If even a third of it is true, however, Americans are living through some of the most preposterous events in modern political history. Certainly, those looking for evidence that Trump is not what he often appears to be in the presentation of his hated enemies in the media – a narcissistic, vindictive man-child, a demonic cross between King Joffrey of Game of Thrones and (more…)

by Phil Duncan

Tonight’s Newshub Reid Research poll contained yet more bad news for the ‘B’ team of the NZ ruling class.  Labour has slipped even further behind National, dropping to just 26.4% support three months out from the 2017 general election.  National, meanwhile, is sitting on 47.4% support.

Labour leader Andrew Little is on 7% support in the preferred prime minister stakes, less than a third of current National Party prime minister Bill English’s score.  Little has also fallen behind NZ First leader Winston Peters (9.7%).  He has, however, managed to overtake his deputy, Jacinda Ardern – but only because her support level fell even more than his!

It looks as if more of Labour’s support has drifted to the Greens (up 1.3 points to 12.5%) and NZ First (up 1.8 points to 9.4%).

Labour is in a real bind because (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

The Labour-Greens fiscal responsibility announcement delivered by two guys in grey suits is worthy of a great big yawn. That two capitalist parties have announced they’ll be implementing capitalist policies along similar lines to the current government is just not exciting to the average rational human.

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Grey-suited capitalist politicians

Less fortunate are the people who believe that any moment now Labour Will Turn Left.

Suffers of LWTL syndrome have had a rough ride for decades. Imagine how it is for them, each time Labour announces a policy they go through shock and dismay all over again. This is tough because there is never any closure. (more…)

Tame Iti and mate Jenny Shipley, the Tory prime minister of NZ at the time and a keen advocate of ‘respect for diversity’.

The article below first appeared in issue #14 of revolution magazine, dated Xmas 2000/March 2001.  The introduction to the article stated that it argued “Trendy liberal race relations nostrums are more about social control than emancipation”.  Footnotes have been added for this re-publication. 

by Philip Ferguson

From cultural safety in nursing training to the banning of vegetables from primary school play groups – use of vegetables to make, for example, potato stamps is now regarded as ‘culturally insensitive’ because ‘traditional’ Maori society didn’t use spuds for such frivolous activities – Maori culture appears to be increasingly important and respected.

Virtually everyone from the far left through to much of the National Party (with the exception of the minor-league redneck element typified by the now-retired John Banks)[1] appears to be in favour of cultural diversity and the ‘empowerment of Maori.

Yet, as has been noted in this magazine before, the cultural revival coincides with a worsening of the actual material conditions of the majority of Maori (see, in particular, revolution #7) and the collapse of old forms of collective class organisation.  It is in this situation that some Maori have retreated into idealised versions of the past.  This retreat coincides with an interest on the part of the ruling class in finding new forms through which to mediate conflicting interests and establish social control in the midst of the decay of society itself.

Changing ruling class ideology

The ruling class ideology today is clearly not the one which existed in the decades before 1984 and was reflected in commitment to the welfare state, monoculturalism and the kind of old-fashioned patriotism and nationalism epitomised by powerful right-wing groups like the Returned Servicemen’s Association (RSA).

Today’s ruling class, for instance, actively promotes multiculturalism, liberal pluralism and has no problem with homosexuality and other things that were taboo in the past.  A lot of formal legal inequality has been abolished as it was an obstacle to the needs of a new round of capital accumulation and the new style of managing an increasingly fragmented society.

For someone seen as right-wing economically, such as recent National Party prime minister Jenny Shipley, ‘respect for difference’ is a key principle, as she made clear when (more…)

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by Andrew Welch

Xmas.

Quite revolting really.

We really are well and truly sucked into a quite revolting and alienating dubious tradition.

What is draining is seeing a mall full of people desperately fulfilling the implicit expectations of an officially-dictated happy season when same system doesn’t give the steam off a turd about suffering for the rest of the year.

Our fake traditions are retail or war mongering or sycophantic celebrity worship.  This is all symptomatic of abdicating control elsewhere.

Our culture is sanitised of worthy traditions and drowned in mindless consumerism.

Fake politics and fake democracy wrapped up in Xmas cheer.

The stress and loneliness and awful expectations of a hollow retail existence made even worse by the end of a year with no other certainty for many than a (more…)

imagesby Phil Duncan

Whatever way the Mt Roskill by-election went, Labour was always going to spin it.  Of course, it would have been more interesting – and amusing – to see how they would have spun it had Labour lost.  Since the seat, and its predecessor constituencies, were historically safe Labour seats a loss wasn’t likely.  However, the trend in this seat has been for a steady drift of the party vote to National and while Labour veteran Phil Goff won it in 2014 with an 8,000 majority, the party vote actually went to National by about 2,000.

This time around Labour are crowing that they won by 6,500 and took 67% of the vote, as opposed to 55% of the vote taken by Goff two years ago.  But this is a crock.

The most salient points about the by-election are that the turnout was not simply down, as you might expect in a by-election, but especially dramatically down; that Woods, despite being given a free run by NZ First and the Greens, took about 7,000 fewer votes than Goff did just two years ago; and that, since National had no need to win, most National voters didn’t bother to vote.  There was no sign of any drift of votes from National to Labour.

What explains Woods’ 6,500 majority is that (more…)