Comment of the Day


One thing about the debate that is starting to come out. During the ad breaks, Cunliffe conferred with his entourage. Apparently he came in with 5 minders, who kept giving him talking points, information and the like, while Key only came with a press secretary, who he didn’t run to every ad break.

I have been listening to Tim Foulkes on ZB, who has said that when Cunliffe comes in for an interview, he is always with a minder who feeds him information and lines.

Cunliffe is a puppet. Get him away from his minders, and watch him flounder. One on One, he would be toast. He needs his posse with him.

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Giovanni Tiso’s Crystal Chin

Karl du Fresne continues to confront the shrill bullying of Giovanni Tiso.

Today I revisited Giovanni Tiso’s series of  tweets last week about Jane Clifton’s Listener column on Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics. Here are some of the words he used: “turgid”, “shit”, “supercilious”, “cynical”.

Clifton is a hugely experienced and well-informed observer of New Zealand politics. She’s also astute, even-handed, eloquent and funny, which explains why tens of thousands of Listener readers turn to her every week to make sense of events that would otherwise leave them scratching their heads. I thought her column on the Dirty Politics furore was one of her best. But such judgments are subjective and Tiso is entitled to disagree, even if his language is intemperate.

Could his manic attack on Clifton (I counted 35 tweets over a short period, which sounds dangerously close to obsessional) be upheld as fair comment, then? Well, perhaps it could have been, except for a couple of things.

One is that he implies she’s a sociopath. Tiso quotes a line from her column – “They are both advancing a political cause” (a reference to Hager and Cameron Slater) – and then adds: “And if you think that, you’re a sociopath”. I’ve read this several times and don’t see how it can be construed as meaning anything other than that Clifton is a sociopath, which my dictionary defines as “someone affected by any of various personality disorders characterised by asocial or antisocial behaviour”.

Okay, you could argue that in the Wild West of the twittersphere, even insults like “sociopath” are acceptable. I’m sure Tiso didn’t mean it literally; he was indulging in hyperbole for rhetorical impact.

But hang on. What happened when I took a poke at Tiso in this blog, using a similar rhetorical device against him? (I said he shouldn’t be allowed out in public without a minder, and suggested someone should adjust his medication.) He howled that I was being cruel – “vile” was his exact word - because he had a daughter with an intellectual disability, which he claimed (wrongly) I was aware of. Then he had the gall to whimper about people being unpleasant and indulging in ad hominem arguments.  Well, hello.

Let’s get this straight then: it’s okay for Tiso to call a respected columnist a sociopath because he doesn’t like her take on the Dirty Politics affair, but it’s mean and horrid to suggest that he might be a bit doolally himself. That’s taking unfair advantage.

There’s a term in boxing for people who love to throw punches but crumple when anyone hits back. They’re called crystal chins. Tiso is a crystal chin.

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Welcome to Whaleoil

Having gotten back, I’ve taken some time to look over the numbers, and I can’t stop smiling.  So many new readers have found us over the last few weeks, it’s blown our annual target out of the water for this year, and I may have to start pushing for a more aggressive one for 2015.

Things are settling down now that the tyre kickers, trolls and weirdo’s have lost interest.  There must be extreme frustration in the left Dark Ops department that Whaleoil isn’t still standing – it is standing stronger than ever.

We gave a journalist access to our Google Analytics yesterday.   Would you believe, it’s actually the first time anyone asked?  This, in spite of us offering access for a good year and a half.  I won’t pre-empt what will be done with that info, if anything, but the two major impressions were:  GA is independently arrived at (no tricks), and the numbers are intimidating… for a mere “blog”.

Radio New Zealand have turned their attention to the Internet – having realised they were seriously behind the 8-ball in catering for the audience shifting to digital platforms.  They are, justifiably, proud of their achievements to date.  Tweeting their excitement about their performance, they showed the world a snippet of their Google Analitics traffic:


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How a tainted journalist manipulates the news

David “Tainted” Fisher wrote an article this morning about his continued witch hunt against civil servants using stolen data taken by a gutless hacker from my website.

In it he quotes me.

Meanwhile, Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater says police will soon be obtaining data from Google, Facebook and Twitter as they investigate his complaint over the hacking of his computer which yielded the messages Hager based his book on.

Slater was yesterday with Counties Manukau Police formally laying a complaint he first lodged by email from Israel. Back in New Zealand he was “just providing all the details to the constabulary”.

“Once they’ve got a signed signature they can go to Google and Facebook and Twitter and go and obtain data. I’m completing the necessary paperwork to allow them to go and do it.”

Slater said he would be telling police he believed Kim Dotcom was involved in the hacking due to “the fact that he was gloating, the fact that he’s made comments prior to this happening, a whole lot of other stuff”.

Slater was expecting more of his messages to be made public by the hacker.

“[On Wednesday] night at that meeting Hager was talking about ‘there’s more stuff coming out’. Well, how does he know?

“He’s obviously got to be in contact with the hacker.”

Did I speak to him?

No, I did not.   Read more »


Karl du Fresne on Dirty Politics

No wonder Giovanni Tiso wants Karl du Fresne silenced.

Look at this analysis of dirty politics:

What makes me suspicious is that whoever hacked Slater’s emails subsequently began drip-feeding them on Twitter in a carefully phased operation obviously calculated to cause maximum political damage. As TV3 political editor Patrick Gower pointed out, that required a high degree of political and media savvy.

Suspicion has fallen on Kim Dotcom (hardly surprising, given that he boasted at the weekend about hacking the German chancellor’s credit rating), but both Dotcom and Hager strenuously deny his involvement.

Whoever’s responsible, it began to look less like the work of someone who had spontaneously attacked Slater’s email account out of anger at the “feral” headline, and more like an example of the political “black ops” that Hager supposedly despises.

Hager’s role in the affair has largely escaped critical scrutiny. He has been a trenchant critic of clandestine surveillance of private communications in the past – indeed, wrote a book about it. Yet here he is, using stolen emails to write a book whose publication is timed to derail a party he obviously opposes.

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Another poll with Nats over 50%, but media says they are failing

The latest Fairfax/Ipsos poll shows National with over 50% of the vote despite the best efforts of Nicky Hager, Kim Dotcom and the hacker, in league with their bought media activists, to manipulate an election result.

While National is still riding high at 50.8 per cent, the poll shows it taking a 4.3 per cent hit after the release of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics linking Key’s office to political attacks by Right-wing blogger Cameron Slater.

Uhm…no it shows the previous poll was probably a rogue with National too high and this one is more in line with others.

National would still be in pole position to form the next government but the party’s strategists will be alarmed that it has shed support in the opening weeks of the campaign.

National’s nightmare scenario is seeing its support slide to 45 per cent or below, which could see it tossed out of office, depending on which minor party holds the balance of power.

The rise of NZ First leader Winston Peters could see him as kingmaker, with today’s poll putting his party on 4 per cent. Peters, who is 70 next year, has the odds in his favour of crossing the 5 per cent threshold for winning seats in Parliament.

The poll follows a chaotic start to the campaign after Hager’s bombshell allegations that a senior staffer in Key’s office was a conduit to Slater’s WhaleOil blog, infamous for publishing salacious details of Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s extra-marital affair.

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What is David Cunliffe’s route to Victory?

The polls are still looking sick for David Cunliffe. He hasn’t managed to get Labour out of the twenties, let alone getting them back to the level that David Shearer had before the Labour caucus gave him the arse.

Cunliffe is holding onto the hope that he can cobble together a coalition of the Greens, New Zealand First, Internet Mana and the Maori Party. Maybe with Peter Dunne involved too as everyone knows Peter doesn’t really care who as long as he is minister.

Cunliffe’s route to victory is a hydra. 

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

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How Hager runs his own dirty hit jobs on NZ Business

Before there was Dirty Politics, there was… Nicky Hager.  This, just received from a yet to be published book.  In it, Nicky Hager’s antics are examined.  Here is a preview

Then there’s the media darling, Nicky Hager, self-professed holder of the moral high ground on anything that can be classified as a conspiracy orchestrated by western, and particularly right wing governments.

I had the very dubious pleasure of meeting Hager once. Quite enough. It was a long time ago, probably in the late 80s.

There [was] a very pretentiously self titled business grouping called “Top Tier’. It consisted of the CEO and one other officer holder of the major business groups: – Employers Federation, Manufacturers’ Federation, Retailers’ Association and Federated Farmers. (I think I have that right and apologies to anyone I have inadvertently omitted although I have a recollection that FF wasn’t there.). The grouping met every few months to discuss matters of mutual interest and possible co-operation, focussing mainly on employment matters.

Top Tier received a request from Hager for him to attend a meeting, but he gave no indication of what the topic would be.  As I was the only one with scientific knowledge and with an environmental brief within the groups, I was invited to attend (for that part only) to provide ‘expert’ help with any technical matters. I went along armed with thick files covering as many potential subjects as I thought might come up  – chemicals, pesticides, pollution, radiation etc.

The meeting started – Hager was first. We waited somewhat apprehensively,  I thought , but he was brief and to the point – his point that is. (One item of background information that I certainly hadn’t given any thought to was that the National party was apparently conducting a review to determine its nuclear policy with there being a possibility that it might decide to repeal NZ’s anti-nuclear legislation.)  Hager said if you can tell all your mates in the National Party that if they change their position on the anti-nuclear legislation then we will see to it that our sister organisations in Europe (I seem to remember he mentioned Germany in particular)  give NZ bad publicity and urge a boycott of NZ products.

I haven’t put that in quotes because after this length of time, I cannot be certain about every word. However I am certain that it’s pretty accurate and his meaning was absolutely clear.

We were all pretty much speechless (gob smacked might be the modern term). One chap (I think from the Manufacturers, but I could be wrong) asked about Hager’s anti-American attitude given that he knew a lot of nice Americans and was married to one. I honestly don’t remember what Hager said, and then he was gone.

That was also the end of my involvement in the meeting, as there was no further discussion necessary. Rational debate clearly isn’t his forte.

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