Politics

Photo Of The Day

Mobster Bugsy Siegel's mistress Virginia Hill. She was conveniently not at her home in Beverly Hills when Siegel was shot dead on June 20, 1947.

Mobster Bugsy Siegel’s mistress Virginia Hill. She was conveniently not at her home in Beverly Hills when Siegel was shot dead on June 20, 1947.

Bugsy & His Flamingo

The Testimony of Virginia Hill

‘QUEEN OF THE MOB’ WAS NO ONE’S PUSHOVER

 

SENATOR TOBEY: “But why would Joe Epstein give you all that money, Miss Hill?”

 

WITNESS: “You really want to know?”

 

SENATOR TOBEY: “Yes, I really want to know.”

 

WITNESS: “Then I’ll tell you why. Because I’m the best {expletive} sucker in town!”

 

SENATOR KEFAUVER: “Order! I demand order!”

–Excerpt from Virginia Hill’s testimony in front of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Gambling.

In the beginning of the 50’s, United States seeked to expose and bring into public attention the growing issue of organized crime at that time.

It started on April 1950, when a dead body of a gambling kingpin from Kansas City was found in a Democratic clubhouse. That assassination raised concerns about the growth of organized crime and its involvement with politics. The need for an investigation committee concerning this issue was discovered, and on May 3, 1950, the Senate created an investigation committee of 5 members, lead by a Democratic Senator from Tennessee, Estes Kefauver.

In its 15 months of hearings, the committee, investigating corruption, crime syndicates and illegal activities, visited several large cities, in which TV broadcasts were interrupted to bring the work of the committee to the attention of the public. The most notable hearing was when the committee reached Broadway, New York, to interview Frank Costello. An estimated number of 30 million watched or listened to the hearings.

In Illinois, the Committee helped to expose a Chicago Police scandal, which later brought down the Senate career of Scott Lucas, a Democratic Majority Leader.

The completion of the hearings signaled the Senate to implement some suggestions about how to better tighten the laws concerning the prevention of corruption and organized crime. It caused the FBI to stop denying the existence of the underworld.

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Guest Post – If you want to win you need to pay for competent advice

BY FRANCES DENZ

With local government elections nearing and national ones next year, we have all sorts of individuals coming out of the woodwork who want to run for office.  Reading your article about polling companies and how Facebook and Twitter are offering a service now as well makes me wonder again about the lack of common sense in our potential candidates.  Mind you, is it a bad thing to have the Darwinian theory in action?  Do we really want to help those who do not understand the very basics of fighting an election?

Every election round a friend of mine who has been elected to a number of boards is approached by those who want help getting themselves elected.  “You are successful, so please tell me how to do it.”  And they appear oblivious to the consideration that she may actually standing herself, and why should she train her competition!  And they want help for free.  Mentoring they call it, hopefully in the belief that with that label they wont have to pay.  And then of course they don’t do what you suggest anyway, so why bother.    Read more »

Print is dead

You know print is dead when politicians stop advertising their campaigns in it.

It’s been said a number of times from “Ghostbusters” in 1984 to a more recent Onion article where there was an obituary under the headline “Print, Dead At 1803.” Now, it’s true — at least for 95 percent of campaigns. Print is, in fact, dead.

Despite its passing, most campaigns from Senate through state House still spend a disproportionate amount of time strategizing about how to deal with newspaper editors and reporters. We would also argue that “earned media” campaign strategy focusing on all media outlets is about to be dead, too.

Before you start ticking off the exceptions, the main point we would submit is that campaigns and candidates have to reassess how much time they put into earned media strategy, versus social media strategy, versus fundraising versus direct-voter contact. We would argue in most races that aren’t for president, almost none of the candidate’s time should be spent dealing with the media.    Read more »

The demise of Europe’s left

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The left-wing is in disarray world-wide.

We are witnessing the demise of the once proud Labour party in New Zealand, and world-wide the left-wing seems in disarray. This is particularly obvious in Europe.

The Economist examines the demise of the left:

Early in this century you could drive from Inverness in Scotland to Vilnius in Lithuania without crossing a country governed by the right; the same would have been true if you had done the trip by ferry through Scandinavia. Social democrats ran the European Commission and vied for primacy in the European Parliament. But recently their share of the vote in domestic (and Europe-wide) elections has fallen by a third to lows not seen for 70 years (see chart 1). In the five European Union (EU) states that held national elections last year, social democrats lost power in Denmark, fell to their worst-ever results in Finland, Poland and Spain and came to within a hair’s-breadth of such a nadir in Britain.

Elsewhere, it is true, the centre left is in power: as an unloved and ideologically vague junior party of government in Germany and the Netherlands and at the helm of wobbly coalitions in Sweden, Portugal and Austria, all countries where it was once a natural party of government. In France, President François Hollande is plumbing new depths of unpopularity and may not make the run-off in next year’s presidential election. Matteo Renzi, Italy’s dynamic prime minister, is in better shape but his party is still losing support (and possibly, in May, Rome’s mayoralty) to the Five Star Movement (M5S), an anti-establishment party founded by a blogger. Former municipal and regional bastions like London and Amsterdam, Catalonia and Scotland have slipped from the traditional centre left’s grasp.

Where are all the votes going? Many have been hoovered up by populists, typically of the anti-market left in southern Europe and the anti-migrant right in the north. But alternative left parties (feminists, pirates and greens, for example), liberals and the centre-right have also benefited. And so has the Stay On The Sofa party.

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Comment of the Day

George nails it again:

We are witnessing the leader of the opposition becoming increasingly irrational through his own insecurity and desperation to destabilise the National Government. His comments that the death threats directed at Paula Bennett were the consequence of marginalising NZers, and therefore explained the mood for such behaviour. This is unacceptable.

Labour’s deliberate policy to marginalise Asians has fueled the underbelly of the missing million. At least eight Asian students, in four separate incidents were attacked, robbed and assaulted in Auckland this week. However by applying the same rational directed at Paula Bennet’s death threats, Andrew Little can only see this as a consequence of all those pesky Asians bying our homes therefore, again, explains the mood for such behaviour.

The truth is Andrew, you are fueling the fire of NZ’s low life and are responsible for the increasing insecurities of all NZers. For that you have to take liability. Back off before it is too late.

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Political stereotypes

Tracy Watkins looks at political stereotypes:

Sue who? A tweet by a relatively unknown MP might have gone unnoticed by most people if it was not for one thing. It ticked all the boxes on Labour stereotypes. Sue Moroney tweeted a picture of the losing flag design flying outside an expensive looking house and commented: “Just “is you’re a flash bach owner doesn’t mean you get to decide our flag”.

Moroney’s opponents labelled it mean-spirited and nasty. But that was not what did the real damage. It’s what it supposedly said about Labour that will hurt the most – Nanny State, telling people what to think, anti-rich, anti-success. Take your pick.

The Nanny State label stuck when Labour was last in power and introduced a raft of changes, like the anti-smacking law. Five leaders later and Labour still can’t shake it off. The likelihood of it doing so is slim, for the simple reason that it’s not unique to New Zealand. Worldwide the “Nanny State” label is shorthand for parties of the Left. National, in Opposition, was quick to exploit those stereotypes by tagging things Labour did as either too “politically correct”, or Nanny State gone mad. It even appointed a spokesman for political correctness, to police the excesses.

Stereotypes abound about National as well, of course – the party of the rich, friends of big business, environmentally unfriendly, socially uncaring. Again, take your pick.

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Loony left now hurling death threats at Bennett

The loony left are feral and out of control. They are now hurling death threats at Paula Bennett.

Paula Bennett says she will not be put off making public appearances despite an online threat which said someone should “shoot the b**** dead” at her next public outing.

The Social Housing Minister said this morning that she referred all violent threats to the police.

In a Facebook post two weeks ago, a user wrote: “People own guns out there I dare any[one] to shoot the b**** dead at [her] next public appearance.

The person added: “Gosh I hope keys is standing beside her, 2 birds 1 bullet.”

Speaking to reporters at Parliament this morning, Mrs Bennett said violent threats affected her family more than her.

“When you’ve got your own kids pointing out on social media that someone should shoot me at my next public event it’s pretty distressing…”

She did not think she was being targeted, despite a series of incidents in the last few weeks.

At a visit to Whanganui last week protesters had been “aggressive” and police had been called in as a result.

“They had sex toys with my name on them and that sort of thing. So the whole thing was a bit unsavoury, to be fair.”

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You know, it’s still BBQ season up here in Auckland

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The Labour party really must be wondering now why it is that Andrew Little and Annette King’s numbers from their internal polling don’t seem to ever match the public polls.

They’ve been touting for weeks that their opposition to the TPPA has seen them rise to 35+ in their own polls.

Well, they are either lying to caucus or their pollster is poos.

The latest One News/Colmar Brunton poll tells the truth…no one is listening to Labour or Andrew Little.

The first ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll of the year has National at 47 per cent, unchanged from the last poll in October 2015.   Read more »

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Photo Of The Day

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Meet the Man Who Got Congress Its Booze During Prohibition

One day in March 1925—five years into the absurd experiment called Prohibition—a dapper man named George Cassiday strolled into the office building of the U.S. House of Representatives, carrying a briefcase and wearing a spiffy light green hat. The cop at the door recognized Cassiday, which wasn’t surprising. Nearly everybody on Capitol Hill knew Cassiday. He was Congress’ favourite bootlegger, working out of the House Office Building, delivering booze to dozens of congressmen, who found a strong drink soothing after long days spent listening to tedious political blather.

On this day, however, the cop stopped Cassiday, inspected his briefcase, found liquor, and arrested him.

When reporters heard that a bootlegger was busted in Congress, they called the House sergeant-at-arms, who described the miscreant as “a man in a green hat.” The next morning, Cassiday became famous across America as “The Man in the Green Hat,” a living symbol of congressional hypocrisy and the follies of Prohibition.

Cassiday pleaded guilty and served 60 days in jail. When he got out, he learned that he’d been barred from the House Office Building. Obviously, he needed another place to work. So he moved to the Senate Office Building. He sold booze there for five years, until 1930, when he was arrested delivering gin to the Senate. This time Prohibition agents confiscated Cassiday’s “little black book,” containing the names of his illustrious customers.

In October 1930—two weeks before the congressional election—the Washington Post announced that it would publish a six-part series written by Cassiday, revealing the juicy details of his adventures as Congress’ “official bootlegger.”

“It will be,” the Post promised, “an astonishing story.”

And it was.

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INCITE: Politics Summer Edition released

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Our latest edition of INCITE: Politics has been released. It will be in subscribers’ inboxes as you read this.

In this month’s edition we have contributions from Chris Trotter, Don Brash, David Farrar and Jock Anderson, as well as the usual contributions from Simon Lusk and myself.

  • Chris Trotter asks a very hard question
  • David Farrar provides some long-term predictions
  • Don Brash investigates Auckland’s affordable housing issue
  • Jock Anderson discusses a very interesting case before the courts

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