The Jackal: January 2020

31 Jan 2020

Is Trump being blackmailed by Mossad?

We all know that Donald Trump, the so-called leader of the free world, is a bit unhinged at the best of times. If he’s not rage tweeting about people like Hillary Clinton he’s firing anybody he finds even slightly distasteful, even those who appear to be on the embattled President's side.

Perhaps it's just nerves from the numerous articles of impeachment he’s facing and the apparent complete lack of any reasonable defence from his lawyers, but Trump’s actions often appear to be entirely inconsistent with what a normal person would do in his situation.

There is however another reason for Trumps recently increased instability.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump

On January 27th, Trump held a press conference with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to launch a peace plan for Palestine. Of course it’s not really a plan for peace at all. Instead it grants Israel pretty much everything it wants while hindering the creation of a viable Palestinian state in return for no substantive concessions.

Trump and Netanyahu dictating the Palestinian’s surrender isn’t necessarily a good thing for Israel either. Although many have surmised that it will help Netanyahu’s prospects for re-election, the non-negotiated peace plan has already received some condemnation from other countries, with Israel set to become even further internationally alienated if it proceeds.

On Jan 29, the Guardian reported:

Doubts raised over workability of Trump's Middle East peace plan
For his part, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, issued a terse but polite rejection, that echoed the French statement pointing out that while he had “seen the announcement … the position of the United Nations on the two-state solution has been defined, throughout the years, by relevant security council and general assembly resolutions by which the secretariat is bound.” 
More heated language, was used by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who described the plan as “absolutely unacceptable” ignoring Palestinians’ rights while “legitimising Israel’s occupation”. “The plan outlined,” he added, “will not serve peace or bring about a solution.”

So why would Trump support such an unrealistic plan?

It could just be a coincidence that the Israeli Prime Minister met Trump on the same day he was also impeached after he withdrew his request for parliamentary immunity from prosecution for the bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges he’s facing. But it’s more likely that both leaders staged the announcement and were simply attempting to take the focus off their impeachment proceedings.

This isn’t the only inconsistency with the US Presidents decision-making process of course. Even though Trump, just like the fake peace plan, appears to be a tool of Netanyahu’s campaign for re-election, he’s also recently provided Israel with increased military funding, presumably to help facilitate the annexation process through warfare. Clearly this increased military spend has nothing to do with peace in the Middle East at all.

There are of course numerous examples of Trump supporting Israel's objectives disproportionate to what is required, but one in particular springs to mind. Trump often justifies the assassination of Iranian military leader, Qasim Suleimani, because he allegedly threatened American diplomats and soldiers in Iraq. But Suleimani was more likely killed, and Trump has confirmed this, because he also posed a threat to Israel.

 Iranian military leader, Qasim Suleimani

Israel was of course one of the only countries to have advance notice of the drone attack. In contrast Trump didn’t even inform most of the United States' traditional allies, or the US Congress for that matter, of the politically motivated assassination, which was obviously undertaken to distract from his own impending impeachment.

These diplomatic inconsistencies, to put it lightly, should be raising a very large red flag for the good people of America right now. Likewise, diplomats from around the world should be questioning such military actions that are clearly in breach of international law.

So how can we reasonably explain such inconsistencies in the Presidents' leadership? Along with his unhealthy relationship with Netanyahu, Trump also used to hang out with the now deceased sex trafficker, paedophile and blackmailer, Jeffrey Epstein.

Last Saturday, the NZ Herald reported:

'My Super Bowl trophy': Epstein 'boasted' about selling Prince Andrew's 'secrets' to Mossad spy
Jeffrey Epstein's former "mentor" has revealed how the disgraced paedophile would boast to his friends about how he was going to sell Prince Andrew's secrets to Israel's intelligence agency Mossad. 
Steven Hoffenberg also revealed Epstein called the Duke of York his "Super Bowl trophy" and that the pair's friendship began years earlier than the royal claims. 
Hoffenberg says Epstein's blackmail plots became more involved as time went on. 
He revealed Epstein's plane was known as the "Lolita Express" and there was a roster of underage girls for the parties Epstein threw for his friends, including Prince Andrew. 
Everything was recorded at those parties so that Epstein could then use it for some kind of financial gain, and also given to Mossad, which Maxwell was linked to, Hoffenberg said.

Jeffrey Epstein with Donald Trump
I don’t usually like conspiracy theories, but could the inconsistencies with Trump’s governance, particularly towards Israel, be explained by the Epstein Mossad blackmail connection?

Trump was known to have frequented Epstein’s parties that were attended by underage girls. Recently unsealed court documents also show that Trump was a guest on Epstein’s plane, a plane they called the Lolita Express for obvious reasons.

Trump is clearly compromised both by his actions and associations. He must not be allowed to destabilise the Middle East for his own political gain or be used as a tool by Israel to further their attempted conquest of Palestine.

29 Jan 2020

SFO should charge Beijing Bridges

It would be good if we could get through at least one election in New Zealand without some sort of scandal making our politicians look like a bunch of damn crooks. I mean we aren’t even a full day into the official 2020 campaign yet and National is already lowering the bar.

The news that the Serious Fraud Office has laid charges against four people involved in the National Party’s electoral fraud is a bittersweet pill to swallow. On one hand it provides voters with a clear indication that National isn’t trustworthy, but on the other hand it shows that the political donations system is corrupted.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Serious Fraud Office charges four people over National Party donations 
The Serious Fraud Office filed criminal charges today against four people in relation to donations paid into a National Party electorate bank account. 
But a spokesperson for National Leader Simon Bridges says no one in the National Party has been charged. 
The SFO's statement, which was released this afternoon, said defendants are scheduled to appear in the Auckland District Court on February 25.

If National's spokesperson is to be believed, Simon Bridges, the guy who said that the $100,000 donation should be split up in order to hide it from the Electoral Commission, isn’t being charged?

This apparent lack of any proper prosecution is highly questionable, being that Jami-Lee Ross was simply following instructions from the current leader of the National Party.

Bridges was also a key player in organising the secret donation from Chinese businessman, Zhang Yikun. He was obviously instrumental in how that money was handled to best avoid scrutiny from officials and voters alike, who would assuredly view such bribes with distaste.

“I believe Simon Bridges is a corrupt politician” Jami-Lee Ross said when he spilled the beans about the dodgy $100,000 donation. But instead of doing the right thing the National Party simply got rid of the whistle-blower.

I guess the temptation of large sums of untracked Yuan bolstering National's dishonest election campaigns is far more enticing than doing things like being an honest politician and upholding New Zealand law.

MP Jami-Lee Ross, who was kicked out of the National Party last year, lodged a complaint with police in October 2018. 
Bridges has always denied any wrongdoing. He said today the SFO's statement vindicated him.

The problem for Bridges is that Ross recorded him agreeing that they should split the donation up. In my opinion he is therefore complicit in the electoral fraud.

But if that wasn’t bad enough, in the recording Bridges also confirms that he had arranged the donation with Zhang Yikun understanding that he was purchasing a position for another Chinese MP within the National Party.

Here's a small excerpt from a taped conversation between Simon Bridges and Jami-Lee Ross discussing the $100,000 donation:

Ross: Yeah they’re good people. Now there’s no catch or anything to it. You may recall at the dinner they did discuss candidacy, and another Chinese candidate. 
Bridges: Two MPs, yeah. 
Ross: Colin Zheng, the younger one, he’s put his name in for candidates college and so I assume he’ll get through candidates college and we’ll just make some decisions as a party further down the track as to what we want to do with candidates.
Simon Bridges - Current leader of the National Party

There's already considerable controversy about National’s existing Chinese MP, Jian Yang, who was outed in 2017 as an officer in the Chinese military who had taught at Chinese military intelligence schools. Yang, who has largely gone to ground, also lied about his previous positions in his application to become a New Zealand citizen, an offence that would normally result in extradition.

But if all that wasn't bad enough, in September last year Simon Bridges also went to meet the head of China's secret Police, a meeting that we found out was secretly arranged by Jian Yang, which clearly indicates that the current leader of the National Party is in the pocket of the Chinese. No wonder people now call him Beijing Bridges.

Here's another brief excerpt of the taped conversation where Bridges confirms that he wanted the donation split up and hidden from the Electoral Commission so that National could, amongst other things, pay for “some more attack ads” on the Labour led Government.

Um look, I just think we want it for, uh, the advertisements and the like, you know? We want it for the things that we’re gonna need to do over the next year or so, sort of outside of the – not outside of the party but um, uh, you know, like I say we want to do some more attack ads – say we want to do another regional fuel one, say we want to do an industrial relations one. We just want to keep doing those things, right?

Being a key player in the arrangement to sell a political position for a $100,000 donation and conspiring to commit electoral fraud makes Simon Bridges unfit to pump gas, let alone lead the National Party into the 2020 election. He should therefore resign without further delay.

27 Jan 2020

National cries wolf over Coronavirus

Opposition MP Michael Woodhouse
Last week, the current National Party leader, Simon Bridges, claimed that the Minister of Health wasn’t leading on ‘significant issues that matter to New Zealanders within his Health portfolio’ when commenting about the Government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

This silly comment was made despite David Clark working closely with all concerned and providing daily updates to the public via the media about the Coronavirus pandemic.

The deluded Simon Bridges wasn’t the only one to unfairly criticise the Government's response however, with the former Minister of Health, Michael Woodhouse, also putting the boot in.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

Coronavirus: Michael Woodhouse blasts Julie Anne Genter, David Clark over preparations for outbreak 
National MP Michael Woodhouse has called for the Government to implement precautionary measures to manage the risk of the deadly Coronavirus, blasting David Clark and Julie Anne Genter in the process. 
"He's not dealing with it - the reality is we haven't heard from David Clark here. He needs to step up [and] reassure the public that the ministry and health authorities do have this in hand, and there are steps we can take to manage the risk. 

The really dumb thing here is that the Government had already implemented a Pandemic Response plan on the 23rd of January, making Woodhouse’s comments null and void. Clearly Winston Peters’ metaphor concerning Bridges barking at every passing car also applies to the ignorant Michael Woodhouse.

The problem with this type of attack politics is that people lose interest in what politicians are saying, which might suit the National Party’s agenda of misinformation, but it certainly isn’t good for politics in general.

National, the party that always cries wolf, is simply trying to fabricate controversy where there is none.  Here’s the timeline of the New Zealand Government’s reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic in China including some of the National Party’s criticism:

22 January
The first media reports that China has nearly 300 cases and 6 deaths because of the Coronavirus are made in New Zealand. 
The Ministry of Health’s Dr Caroline McElnay reports that information is being provided to travellers about what they should do if they develop Coronavirus like symptoms. 
Vaccinologist Helen Petousis Harris recommends that NZ should implement its pandemic preparedness plan.
Woodhouse says the Government must take proactive steps to ensure the coronavirus outbreak does not spread to New Zealand.

23 January
The reported number of deaths linked to the Coronavirus rises to 17 with more than 500 people being infected in China. 
The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and keeping health professionals around the country informed. 
The Government implements its pandemic preparedness plan.
Woodhouse criticises the Government, telling media that there's a national pandemic plan that can be activated.

24 January 
There are 830 cases of Coronavirus in China and 26 deaths confirmed. 
An expert advisory group meets to peer review advice and provide technical expertise to the Government. 
The Ministry also sets up an incident management team to monitor and respond to the situation and provide public advice and information for all other departments. 
A Border Working Group specifically in response to the new Coronavirus is in operation. 

25 January 
Some schools tell students coming from China not to attend. 
Bridges and Woodhouse again criticise the Government’s response and more specifically David Clark and Julie-Anne Genter, wrongly claiming that the PM doesn’t have confidence in the Associate Minister of Health.

26 January
There are 1,072 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in China and 41 deaths. 4 cases are confirmed in Australia.  
The MoH reports that public health staff will begin meeting flights from China today to test for the Coronavirus.

The National Party is grandstanding and taking the mainstream media’s focus off what they should be doing, keeping the public properly informed.

By all other accounts David Clark and Julie-Anne Genter have handled New Zealand’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak well, with nobody but National trying to politicise the devastating pandemic.

The problem is that if the National Party keeps crying wolf when nothing's actually wrong, nobody will pay them any attention if they do actually have a reason to sound the alarm.

Constantly trying to politicise everything the Government does or doesn’t do isn’t a sound plan at the best of times, let alone during a serious pandemic that has now claimed the lives of 56 people.

26 Jan 2020

Leave Neve alone

Neve Te Aroha Gayford at Ratana
I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice that the Ratana birthday celebrations this year were a well-attended event that went off without much of a hitch. This is in stark contrast to previous years, where some form of controversy has usually taken centre stage.

This year however it wasn’t a protest or political disagreement that gained the most attention. Instead the crowd seemed to be charmed by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford's young daughter, Neve Te Aroha Gayford. She stole the show with Kaumātua happy to keep an eye on the 19-month-old while also listening to often-lengthy speeches.

On Friday, the NZ Herald reported:

Baby Neve steals show at Rātana as new photos of Jacinda Ardern's daughter emerge 
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's baby daughter Neve has stolen the show at Rātana after making her first visit to the Pā near Whanganui. 
Wearing a pink bucket hat and blue dress, Neve was seen interacting with attendees while her mother attended with husband Clarke Gayford. 
Neve, the now energetic toddler, was seen racing about with two DPS keeping a close eye on her, as well as Speaker Trevor Mallard hobbling behind her trying to keep up. 
Fans took to social media to marvel over the adorable new images of Neve.

However not everybody was happy with the attention the young girl received. In fact much of New Zealand’s right wing Twitteratti, who aren’t particularly stable at the best of times, went a little bit batshit crazy with jealousy.

Here’s a small selection of their unhinged tweets:

Good god! It takes a particularly sick individual to be jealous of the attention a small child receives, but that’s exactly what the right wing’s twitter propagandists are, sick and malicious!

Not content with criticising the Prime Minister for the media attention she rightfully receives, these broken individuals are now attacking the children of politicians, who have historically been out of bounds when it comes to political criticism.

Simon Bridges might claim that he also wants a truthful and positive 2020 election campaign, but in reality the right wing cannot help themselves and will continue to be vindictive, even when their spite is directed at a child who should be allowed to enjoy a nice day out with their parents without ugly things being written about them.

23 Jan 2020

Will Turia ever forgive the Labour Party?

Dame Tariana Turia with former PM John Key

What is it about Tariana Turia’s grudge against the Labour Party? Not content with attacking the Government over Whānau Ora funding, which was increased by $80 million in 2019, she has now made it personal by saying that Jacinda Ardern is out of her depth as Prime Minister.

On Tuesday, The Otago Daily Times reported:

Whanau Ora: PM 'out of her depth' - Turia 

Turia, the founder of Whānau Ora, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is out of her depth. 
The five women wrote to Jacinda Ardern in November expressing concerns that Whānau Ora was being "destroyed by stealth", seeking a meeting and expressing no confidence in Henare, but have had no reply. 
They say the name Whānau Ora is being used for projects other than those commissioned by Whānau Ora agencies and the brand is being "misappropriated" by the Government.

Firstly, Whānau Ora isn't a brand. The Whānau Ora initiative was a part of the coalition between the National and Māori parties after the 2008 general election. It was essentially a concession to the Māori Party to gain support for National’s other policy changes, many of which negatively impacted Māori.

Whānau Ora is therefore Government policy that was adopted, even though the Māori Party failed to gain a seat in the 2017 election, by the Labour led Government. This is because Whānau Ora does in fact create positive change and is therefore worth supporting.

Secondly, everybody knows that the PM has performed her duties well and operates with the decorum befitting her position. In fact after the Christchurch mosque shootings and White Island disaster the PM performed her duties in an exemplary manner. Only those with a vested interest, like Tariana Turia, would claim otherwise.

Thirdly, the Government funds Whānau Ora organisations through Te Puni Kōkiri, who have a moral and legal obligation to choose what agencies are best to receive public money as suits the current Government's objectives. This is important because there was some misappropriation under the old scheme overseen by the former Minister, Tariana Turia.

It’s not as if the issues surrounding funding allocation weren’t known before the 2017 election either. In 2011, Turia openly criticised Te Puni Kōkiri’s monitoring of different government agencies, saying they struggled with value for money. She even pondered about whether the service was of any value to Māori at all.

Because of the obvious issues with the former model, the Labour led Government correctly organised a review of Te Puni Kōkiri’s funding of Whānau Ora (PDF) in 2018.

Now Turia is criticising the Government for acting on the reviews recommendations about how best to rectify the inherent issues with the Whānau Ora’s commissioning approach. She’s basically blaming Labour for trying to resolve problems that the previous Government created.

So what has the Labour led Government said to refute Turia's spurious claims.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Minister Peeni Henare 'refutes' Waitangi Tribunal claim over Whānau Ora funding 
Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare says a Waitangi Tribunal claim over his funding decisions is a misguided political gambit launched in the lead up to Waitangi Day. 
At the centre of the stoush is a promised $80 million in funding for Whānau Ora, which the group says is being snaffled by the Labour-led Government for state agencies. 
But Henare said the claimants "had their facts wrong", and other Government agencies were not managing Whānau Ora money or contracts. 
Henare said the claim surprised him as the matter was not raised at meetings with the claimants in recent weeks. 
But he confirmed he had read the letter to Ardern, and said he had been working on a response.  
"It's no secret that a number of the claimants are strongly aligned with the Māori Party ... I do think there are political motivations ... Waitangi is two and a half weeks away."

The attack on Jacinda Ardern and the Minister about how Whānau Ora money is being allocated including funding for new initiatives involving Corrections and the Ministry of Social Development is clearly politically motivated.

By attacking the Government over an increase in funding and how it’s being properly apportioned, the Māori Party simply confirms that they’re biased in favour of a National Party led Government, who have indicated that if elected in 2020 will continue implementing repressive policy that disproportionately affects Māori.

Until the Māori Party puts aside their unfounded and politically motivated attacks against the current Government they will unfortunately be largely unelectable through their own partisanship and preference for a right wing Government that has proven its willingness to undermine Māori interests on numerous occasions.

17 Jan 2020

About those biased Oscar Nominations

There’s been a lot written about the 2020 Oscar Nominations and their apparent lack of diversity. It’s true, there are in fact no women nominated for the Best Director and very few nominees of colour across the board. But is this a result of a biased process or a symptom of a sickness pervading many aspects of the Hollywood movie industry?

Of course this all blew up a few years ago, with the upshot being that the Oscars would work towards a more inclusive ceremony. But you apparently can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Numerous prominent people have criticised the selection process and those involved have felt compelled to defend their decisions.

On Wednesday, Stephen King tweeted:

Yesterday, The NZ Herald reported:

Stephen King criticized for comments on diversity 
Admirers of King, an outspoken liberal, were disheartened by his comments. Author Roxane Gay tweeted that "as a fan, this is painful to read. 
"It implies that diversity and quality cannot be synonymous," Gay wrote. "They are not separate things. Quality is everywhere but most industries only believe in quality from one demographic. And now, here you are." 
Director Ava DuVernay tweeted: "When you wake up, meditate, stretch, reach for your phone to check on the world and see a tweet from someone you admire that is so backward and ignorant you want to go back to bed."

So are the Oscars really to blame for a lack of diversity?

You only have to look at movies like Once Upon A Time In Hollywood to realise that their selection process is complicit in promoting association over substance. The shock value of Quentin Tarantino’s offering is prominent in this retelling of the Manson murders. However the chalk and cheese fictional take on historical events, although mostly well shot, adds very little to the art form with a stellar cast really being this films only redeeming feature.

It should be noted that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is the first Tarantino movie to not utilise the “services” of sexual predator/producer Harvey Weinstein. Tarantino even seems to contradict the perverse nature of Hollywood with a scene where a stunt double, played by Brad Pitt, doesn’t take advantage of an apparently underage girl, played by 26-year-old Margaret Qualley. It’s almost as if Tarantino is trying to absolve himself from years of guilt by association.

Actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt with Director Quentin Tarantino

The all white mostly male dominated cast works through their lines professionally and generally carries this movie, but at times even they seem annoyed with the script. Perhaps it’s the often unending and unrealistic dialogue or numerous retakes that make it slightly clunky, but there’s no question that 10 nominations is excessive for a movie that's simply going through the motions and appears to be signalling Tarantino’s retirement.

We must therefore conclude that the Oscars selection process is somewhat biased towards movies that are produced by, and mainly employ, white males. It should also be noted that Hollywood appears to have run out of stories to tell. They’re now relying on remaking movies selected from a past that was also dominated by white males.

In recognition of this, Kyle Buchanan for the New York Times writes:

The homogeneous group of gatekeepers that came before us still affects so much of what we consider worthy of canonization.

I couldn’t have put it better myself. However there is a flip side to the argument that nominations must be diversified simply to provide an appearance of equality.

Many of those arguing for increased inclusiveness are in praise of a movie called Hustlers, starring the seemingly ageless Jennifer Lopez. This is where Stephen King is right to say he selects on quality and not diversity. Overly reliant on sex appeal, Hustlers tediously goes over the same old ground twice and culminates in a lacklustre montage that confirms the directors derivative skill-set. Despite its obvious flaws, Hustlers was somewhat of a box office success, leading many to question why the B grade movie wasn't selected.

Here is a pretty generic tweet about the issue by writer E. Alex Jung:

It's amazing just how many commentators argue that a movie about striptease artists drugging businessmen to empty their bank accounts is somehow worthy of an award.

Hustlers basically tells a story we’ve all seen before but in an unimpressive way. To promote such a forgetful film simply because it stars females of varying ethnicities will do little if anything to increase equality within the film industry.

Likewise, gender role reversal in movies doesn’t really work if it’s simply being done to promote inclusivity instead of providing any real increase to a movies artistic value.

The problem of sexism and racism in Hollywood goes far deeper than just the Oscars. These issues are entrenched in the way movies are made but can mainly be attributed to screenplay selection by big name producers and film studios predominated by men.

The Oscars are just the last cab off the rank when it comes to a lack of diversity within filmmaking. Unfortunately a testosterone driven industry will always try to tell stories it identifies with and until the old-school male movie moguls are culled from their positions of power, nothing will ever really change.

14 Jan 2020

National's negative campaigning

Anybody who looked into the Dirty Politics saga knows all too well that honesty is often in short supply within the National Party. You would think that after the exposure the John Key government received over their untruthful attack politics, the National Party would learn from its "mistakes" and leave such underhanded campaigns in the past where they belong. However that unfortunately doesn’t appear to be the case.

Simon Bridges - Current Leader of the National Party

The National Party, now under the feckless leadership of Simon Bridges, is using the same old dirty political tactics, along with assistance from a largely biased mainstream media, to manipulate voters into believing that the current Government isn’t doing its job properly.

National aren't providing any actual evidence though. Instead they're undertaking an entirely dishonest and unconstructive campaign in the lead up to the 2020 election, which basically confirms that National are, as their propagandists like to phrase it, haters and wreckers!

Here’s a recent negative and untruthful tweet authorised by Simon Bridges:

Astounding disinformation indeed. So let’s address these false allegations.

1. Strong Economy

New Zealand’s economic growth is stronger than expected and better than most other major economies around the world. Even on a per person basis, New Zealand is doing better now than National’s last year in Government.

2. Reduced Child Poverty

In order to help achieve a significant and sustained reduction in child poverty, the Labour led Government passed the Child Poverty Reduction Act in 2018. Despite this legislation there hasn’t been a discernible reduction in the child poverty rate yet. In fact the latest statistics show that before housing costs are deducted, the child poverty rate has increased by around 1 per cent. 
However the most recent statistics account for only 9 months of the current administrations governance. For National to be arguing that 9 months is a long enough period of time to significantly reduce child poverty is dishonest! In the absence of available data, they’re simply trying to convince voters that they care more about impoverished children than Labour does, which is clearly a false narrative.
For National to be criticising the Government over Child Poverty, after 9 years of their neglect and significant cuts to social services, is simply ridiculous!

3. Light Rail

We all know that the National Party absolutely failed to do anything about Auckland’s congestion woes. That hasn’t stopped them attacking the Government over Auckland’s light rail though, which is still in the development stage. Cabinet is due to consider the two different proposals in February this year. Clearly the Labour Party never promised to build Auckland's light rail in 2019.

4. 1800 More Police

Once again the promise was to provide 1800 more Police within three years, not the year of delivery. Despite this, in September 2019, the Government announced that 1685 new Police constables had already been deployed and a further 220 aspiring Police officers were also training. That means the Government will exceed the Labour Party’s election promise.

5. Free Doctor Visits

This is another false claim by the National Party. 
The Labour led Government made GP visits free for under 14-year-olds in 2018. Also, the Government ensured that an adult with a Community Services Card won’t pay more than $19 to see the GP and young people aged 14 to 17 years, who have a parent or caregiver with a CSC, will be charged no more than $13.

6. More ECE Services

In the Labour led Government’s first Budget they increased funding for 100% qualified ECE centres by $276 million over four years. The promise was to boost ECE quality and the Government is in fact delivering on that promise.

7. One Billion Trees

Labour never promised to plant a billion trees in 2019. This is just more dishonest politicking from the National Party. The One Billion Trees Programme developed by the current Government has made significant progress and is on track to planting a billion trees by 2028.

8. Capital Gains Tax

The Government has failed to implement a Capital Gains Tax, likely because NZ First MPs are overly invested in property. The issue here is that Labour didn't campaign in 2017 on implementing a CGT. What they said is they would set up a Tax Working Group and then make a decision afterwards.
But why the National Party, who won’t implement a CGT either, is attacking the Government over this is nonsensical. The National Party clearly has no plan, or intention, of implementing policy that would make housing more affordable in New Zealand.

9. Kiwibuild

Labour’s plan was to build 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over 10 years. They now plan on building as many houses as they can, saying the initial figure was too ambitious. 
By October 2019, 726 houses had been built under the Kiwibuild scheme. However the Labour led Government has built 2837 houses since June 2018 when you include their community and state housing builds. Another 3563 Government housing programme houses (not including market supplied houses) are currently under construction. 
Contrast that with National’s plan to scrap Kiwibuild and replace it with nothing. In fact the previous right wing Government sold thousands of state houses to their developer mates at below market rates, which directly led to a prolonged housing crisis. There is no question that such corruption increased the number of homeless people in New Zealand.

We might not be seeing the amount of progress we want, but at least it’s progress.

The alternative to the Labour led Government's incrementalism on major things like Child Poverty and the Housing Crisis is a continuation of John Key's self-serving ideology and negativity from the National Party, which is obviously disappointing from a public and political perspective.

National aren't proposing any actual policy changes that are anywhere near researched or robust enough to even consider voting for. Instead they seem to be entrenched on the sidelines busily throwing stones, that with the truth getting in the way, are landing well clear of the mark.

7 Jan 2020

Donald Trump’s strategic gamble

There’s a meme going around the Internet at the moment claiming that Donald Trump is a bit of an idiot. To outside eyes it does seem as though the President of the United States thumbs his nose at his own countries laws and administration far too often to be taken seriously.

People should take him deadly seriously though. Trump understands that in a world of mass media and fake news, not being talked about is akin to political death.

To this effect he’s designed his entire media strategy around gaining attention. In fact he’s an expert at manipulating the mainstream media and the public alike to promote himself above all others. Trump is a reactionist in every sense of the word.

Much of the President’s success comes from a clever strategy of controlling the sound bite. Trump always has a memorable answer to any criticism that not only makes sense to his followers, but is also designed to annoy anybody who has the time to dig into the details.

Insulting smart people’s intelligence might seem like a bad idea politically, but Trump understands that politics is a numbers game and attention spans are now shorter than ever.

Very few people read past the headlines these days, something I’m sure Cambridge Analytica made abundantly clear to the President during his election campaign. There is no question that Trump has a plethora of propaganda tools at his fingertips even Hitler would be proud of, which combined with his style is perfectly suited to controlling the American masses.

Donald Trump prays in the Oval Office

The Don will clearly do anything to attain and retain power. If that means doing dirty deals with the Russians to destroy political opponents, criticising his detractors through disinformation campaigns or targeting and assassinating high profile people from other countries to take the focus off his impeachment, then that is what Trump will do.

Some may view his grandstanding as patriotism, but make no mistake his recent bravado concerning Iran is all about Trump trying to secure his Presidency for a second term.

You may think the leader of the so-called free world wouldn’t be so callous as to risk the lives of thousands if not millions of people just for his own political gain? Think again. Recent events have clearly shown that Trump will do anything, including threatening to destroy Iran’s cultural sites, to secure himself in a position most of the world now views with disdain.

Everybody with half a brain knows that the case for killing Qasem Soleimani in Iraq was razor thin, while the benefits for Trump, that his impeachment has been delayed indefinitely as congress deals with the fallout, are considerable.

Not only does Trump, a climate change denier, take some of the focus off of Australia’s PM Scott Morrison’s mishandling of their unprecedented bush fires, he also gets to flex his countries military muscle and once again cast himself as the saviour of the Middle East.

The flip side to wining votes domestically however is extensive international criticism for undertaking what most are calling an unprovoked and unnecessary assassination.

In an attempt to calm their critics, the United States Congress says they will vote on another law change that could halt Trump's planned re-invasion of the Middle East. What they don’t say is that a similar vote has already been vetoed by Trump and they’re voting to halt an invasion that has been many years in the planning and has in fact already began.

In effect the United States Congress has become an impotent tool of a dictator, scrambling to save face in a world that has lost all respect for a largely soulless America. A master manipulator is not only playing them, they’re complicit through their own political failure in the Presidents morally repugnant crusade to save his own questionable political career.

Trump saying the assassination was an act of peace, not an act of war, was a masterstroke in manipulating the narrative. Deluded followers thanked him profusely while labeling those who spoke out against another unjustified war crime as unpatriotic.

The false ‘weapons of mass destruction’ claim has been replaced with direct fear mongering about terrorism. Patriotism for America has in effect become a cancer to the rest of the world with fear, not loyalty, now binding western countries to the Red White and Blue.

Trump has blundered strategically in both a political and operational sense. As Middle Eastern countries unite against America, the President is not only undoing Barrack Obama’s legacy, but also George Bush’s compliance with the CIA’s directive to destabilise the Middle East. The nuance of such matters however will unfortunately likely be lost on America's voting public.

6 Jan 2020

Jeremy Clarkson - God is an arsonist

You've really got to wonder if Jeremy Clarkson is worshiping the right deity? I mean thinking that Australia is somehow deserving of the calamity that has befallen it in the form of unprecedented bush fires is one thing, but claiming God intentionally likes to cause people and animals immeasurable pain and misery is another.

Today, SBS News reported:

Jeremy Clarkson slammed for saying 'embarrassed' God has set fire to Australia

Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has attracted criticism for claiming that God "didn't want people to live in Australia" so has set fire to it.

In a column for UK newspaper The Sun, Clarkson tried to take a light-hearted approach to the ongoing bushfire crisis, which has so far claimed at least 23 lives.

What is it about Climate Change related disaster that brings out the worst in people who aren't being affected? Clearly Australia burning and people dying isn’t something for the privileged Englishman to joke about.

Clarkson said God created Australia "as a continent far, far away where he could house all his experiments that had gone wrong", before listing the saltwater crocodile, the redback spider and the nation's many snakes as examples.

"He even used this remote outpost to house some of his more ridiculous ideas. Stuff he came up with when he was drunk. Like those birds that can't fly and that otter with a beak.

Why would The Sun give column space to the ravings of a senile old fool? England is actually embarrassing itself internationally by publishing the dribbling inanities of someone obviously suffering from Narcissistic personality disorder. Instead of rushing to print such badly written clickbait they should do the right thing and get Jeremy Clarkson some help.

"And to make sure people didn't go there, he put a huge coral reef on the approaches ... For millions of years, this big, sandy cupboard under the stairs went unnoticed," he said, seemingly ignoring Australia's Indigenous history.

Seemingly ignoring Australia's Indigenous history? Maybe he actually means Aboriginal people as well? I mean it’s not the first time the idiot has been openly racist. This appears to be just another example of his unhinged bigotry!

"But then along came Captain Cook and now the world knows all about Oz and its stupid, dangerous creatures.

Nearly 500 Million wildlife creatures have died (not including insects, bats or frogs) in the Australian bush fires so far. Entire species have perished meaning Australia will never fully recover. Anybody making light of such a large disaster clearly needs a straightjacket.

"Plainly, God is embarrassed. Because he's decided to set fire to it."

What kind of entitled prat claims that God is an arsonist and that Australia somehow deserves to be punished right when they're hurting the most from these record-breaking fires? Clarkson is effectively trolling the entire nation of Australia. So let’s see what the Aussies say in response.