Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire? – (What does it mean?)?


Aunty Helen’s talking parrot has flown home to perch, no doubt replete with some new and clever French phrases to show off, and happy with her strut upon the ‘World’ stage; À chaque fou plaît sa marotte. (Every fool is happy in their own folly).

Now that she’s landed we’d like to know the full intent of her mission abroad, because she’s not telling us the actual extent of her proposed anti-hate-speech claws reach, beyond assuring us of that which she wants banned, “we’ll know it when we see it”.

This is not good enough. Her obfuscation, her decided, deliberate lack of clarity is an ancient deceit, perfectly summed up in the very old and gruff Gallic phrase ‘A vrai dire peu de paroles’: Truth gives a short answer, only lies go round about it.

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Media Ethics 101

Political Roundup

Good morning; Class.

Welcome to Media Ethics.101, where today we will be discussing hate-speech which is a very important topic given nice Mr Little’s crusade to ensure publishing unkind things in the future will get people in a lot more trouble than before.

In today’s example we will look at the very excellent and super-ethical on-line magazine ‘Slate’ which is a reliably progressive resource with award-winning journalists and impeccable pedigree, having been owned by Msn, then Amazon and then the Washington Post. Gosh! Sorry, I got a little giddy mentioning all those liberal iconic’s in one sentence.

Now: I am going to ask you to look at the picture below which contains two screen-shots. One is an actual 100% real headline, actually published by Slate, the other is 100% phooey, it didn’t  happen and will never happen because it’s foul hate-speech and would not make it past the sub-ed’s desk. The contributor would probably be fired, at the stake.

So, take your time and think very carefully before you answer. Which of these is an ethical, gritty, hard-nosed, truth-telling, holding-feet-to-the-fire headline, and which is an unethical, repugnant, outright-prejudicial, offensive, inflammatory and never-published headline? The editors at Slate can tell; but can you?

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The left’s updated version of Fawlty Towers

Take equal parts “tolerance, respect and understanding”, throw in a bit of “illumination” and voila! You have created the left’s updated version of Fawlty Towers ‘Don’t mention the war’ episode.

Last week the luvvies have been conflicted, severely, and, not knowing what to do in fear of breaching one of the myriad self-imposed ideological boundaries, have chosen to keep low, whispering ‘don’t make a fuss’, ‘don’t say anything’, and definitely do not mention the war.

Under different circumstances, had roles been reversed, the reaction would have been red-hot but we’re talking, in one case, of the ‘religion of peace’ and in the other of a lefty cultural icon which are both ‘no-go’ areas.

So: the Sultanate of Brunei gets a soft ride in the Guardian article Brunei defends death by stoning for gay sex in letter to EU, insisting the medieval mindset has been thoroughly modernised but ignoring the fact that the four-page letter at the heart of the article is, in fact, a giant middle finger to the bloc. How utterly gutless. How very left of them.

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Modern day Witch-prickers

?Witchcraft at Salem Village,? illustration published in Pioneers in the Settlement of America, by William A. Crafts, circa 1876

James I of England was a gifted scholar and lover of knowledge, fluent in four languages. By the time he was fourteen, he encouraged learning and the advancement of science. Under his patronage William Harvey laid the foundations of modern anatomy with his revolutionary theory of blood circulation overturning 1500 years of ?established? anatomical knowledge, while Francis Bacon laid the foundation for all following science with his writings, compartmentalising the sciences and formulating the ?scientific? method.

Science, technology and medicine are deeply indebted to those individuals who thrived under James so how is it then, that such a thoroughly ?modern? and intelligent ruler feared such a backwards belief as the power of witchcraft?

James set in motion a bizarre series of persecutions that continued well after his death, culminating in the most dubious set of executions of innocent women in the 17th century, which occurred at Forfar, County Angus, Scotland. There fully nine lasses individually suffered the cruelty of being dragged to their deaths, out on the town?s public ?Playfield.? Their strangulation was followed by the disposal of their lifeless, or near lifeless bodies in burning barrels of tar, the excruciating deaths a macabre legacy to James? strange obsession.

Fittingly, the witches’ guilt had been proven scientifically by master witch-pricker John Kinkaid who, after a series of torturous and degrading interviews, was able to gain confessions of one and all women and girls. The science of ?pricking? the witch only occurred at the end of the process which began with isolation, disorientation, and fatigue.

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Fact Checks following the Mueller Report


Claim: Russians tried to influence the 2016 US election.
Finding: True.

From the report:

Russian election influence came principally from the Internet Research Agency, LLC (IRA), a Russian organization funded by Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin.

Claim: Russia exclusively promoted Trump.
Finding: False.
From the report:

Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clinton] and the rest (except Sanders and Trump – we support them).

Claim: Russians exclusively targeted conservative audiences and potential Republican voters.
Finding: False.

From the report:

IRA Facebook groups active during the 2016 campaign covered a range of political issues and included purported conservative groups (with names such as “Being Patriotic”, “Stop All Immigrants”, “Secured Borders”, and “Tea Party News”), purported Black social justice groups (“Black Matters”, “Blacktivist”, and “Don’t Shoot Us”), LGBTQ groups (“LGBT United”), and religious groups (“United Muslims of America”).

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Victoria University’s opinion-based ‘science survey’

Read all about it; Fake Science, brought to you by Victoria University and published in the Sunday (All the news that’s fit to fake) Star Times of April 7th.

Breathlessly beginning the fakery with “Almost half of respondents to a large-scale science survey believe toilet water spirals in different directions depending on the hemisphere of the country”, and continuing “[researcher] Kerr was surprised 48.5 per cent of the 1000 respondents said they believed the Coriolis effect extended to water travelling down drains” before getting to the subtle jab “The respondents so far were educated, slightly older, and mostly white.”

What I know about drainpipes is that they harbour rats, as does the shonky ‘survey’.

Let’s unravel the bull-dust on display shall we? It is not a ‘large-scale’ exercise: just about 1000 folk have completed it, that’s 0.0022% of our population. It is not at all a ‘science survey’, it is a questionnaire on opinions very heavily weighted to attitudes about global warming, social justice, and free-market economics along with a couple of pages consisting of quiz questions relating to urban myths, some more ridiculous than others, and difficult to take seriously. Don’t believe me? See it for yourself:

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‘White superiority? might be part of you; lady, it has no part in me

Dame Anne Salmond was the 2013 New Zealander of the Year.

Feel sorry for Anne ?White superiority is part of us? Salmond. Her vile ramble on Stuff was almost as unprofessional as her several books and tawdry history re-writes.

?White superiority? might be part of you; lady, it has no part in me.

She was uninterested, uninformed and ignorant of all things Maori until her ?road to Damascus? moment when visiting America in the sixties as a teenager.

Yes, the nineteen-sixties when hardly anybody from Aotearoa travelled State-side. The only passages to that place were within reach of just a select few, those that could afford to send their daughter both to expensive Solway College as a boarder and then to the northern hemisphere as passenger aboard an emission-rich ocean liner.

A passage was only procurable with possession of that rare commodity, well out-of-reach of the average New Zealander, ?overseas funds?. Oh, how she must have suffered.

Burdened with that legacy of hardship, the good dame obviously empathises with the down-trodden.

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Where conspiracy stories begin

Cartoon credit: SonovaMin

The MSM have attempted to assert their ‘authority’ over the news landscape in the wake of the grisly murders, desperate to muscle out alternative providers. They are competing in a war for page views that the mainstream has been slowly, steadily losing so far this century. They have been beaten, time and time again, by the guerilla forces of blogs, social media, small self-published entities and dedicated, well informed special-interest sites.

Possibly the threatened group of corporate entities view this dreadful opportunity, manufactured in the wrecked mind of the criminally and mercilessly insane, as the best opportunity to re-group and re-assert; perhaps their very own muster’s last stand.

The first casualty when war comes is truth

Hiram Johnson, 1917.
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The Privacy Commissioner: an oxymoron

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards Photo / John Stone.

Accepting that freedom and rights are temporarily suspended in times of emergency, global, national or local, either on an individual basis or collectively, is part of the social contract we must keep.

The reasons for such suspensions are as obvious as myriad.

Accepting that non-public bodies have domain over use of their products and services may be an irritant, but to disavow that right is to infringe on their rights as owners and operators to determine how their products and services are portrayed; provided they are not a monopoly supplier, users are free to use a competitor.

Thus when our major internet providers colluded within 48 hours of the dreadful massacre to suspend access to websites they deemed as ?actively hosting? video of the awful event, they were within their rights as owners of the mechanism to publish or access those shocking images. We may argue inconsistency or make claims of corporate censorship and bullying, but at the end of the day, they may exercise their proprietary rights this way, regardless of the argument that relatively inoffensive sites such as zerohedge may be caught in the ?ban?.

For the Privacy Commissioner, though, to encourage private providers to ?hand over? personal information to law enforcement for the purposes of prosecution of some of their users is a mockery of the man?s position, an abuse of his power, and a disgrace to his office.

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How big does my farce look?

Caption: It looks this big Phil.

Having never met Housing Minister Phil Twyford, I’ve simply assumed he’s a man. Nowadays we cannot be certain about these things, and the fact that he has never apologised for being one leaves the question somewhat open to conjecture. If he is a man he will probably have been blessed with a modicum of self-awareness and one day may have raised the rhetorical if slightly curly question above with his most trusted advisors, as most men eventually, if somewhat reluctantly, do.

Well, I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you Phil, there is no way to diplomatically put it; your farce is huge, and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Because you’re an idiot.

You and your lefty cohorts banged on and on about ‘housing problems’ and ‘homelessness’. You conflated real housing unaffordability with a mixture of sob-stories about extraneous and peripheral un-tenantable-types. These included the drug-addled, the anti-social and the unfortunate, but often of-their-own-making: the flotsam unable to either rent or own.

For fully a year before that lottery of vanities called the General Election you threw your press-releases at lazy media-types, who lapped up your fake hard-luck stories and called it a crisis and more: a double or plural crisis; a cluster-crisis of affordable accommodation.

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