Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: The fake news problem

448 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 10 11 12 13 14 18 Newer→ Last

  • mark taslov, in reply to simon g,

    A foreign (second) language test is not a literacy test, or an intelligence test, or an education test. Who knows where voters get their information?

    I don’t disgree with this simon or your point, but following the instructions on a ballot does test one’s literacy in the relevant language.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4592 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    With a meritocracy, competence determines the outcome.

    Back here , it seemed to be the make-up of the governing body , or the group of those elected to represent or govern the people, that was to be determined on merit ; fitness for purpose, in modern parlance.
    The Chinese Civil Service example related to the bureaucracy that was to implement the decisions of the governors, and the role that merit played in selection and advancement. I believe that NZ had a similar system.
    The problem of assessing the " fitness for purpose" of those offering to govern us, has lead us , in turn, to consideration of the fitness of "we the people " to elect our governors.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I blame Moses for this .

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Moses

    Talk about fake news!

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to David Hood,

    I’m pretty sure Rich posted it as a joke

    I suspect it was to illustrate what happens once you start setting voter eligibility tests. These tests were from the 1960s.

    Correct. It's a 1960's voter registration test from the South (Louisiana), set by white people in power in the state with the specific intention of preventing black people from registering to vote during the civil rights era (can't pass the test? Can't register).

    My point is that while it might be superficially and in theory an extremely attractive proposition to set some sort of eligibility test for voting, and exclude those deemed incompetent by way of stupidity and/or ignorance, in practice it's hugely dubious.

    Who sets the test? How do we decide what the pass criteria are? If you were in the US right now, would you want a Trump administration setting this test? Here comes Steve Bannon with a draft for you to sign off, Mr President.

    Even if you get a first run that has full-spectrum consensus, we'd assume you'd want to update it at intervals, so what about if the government of the day decides to update it in a way you're not happy with - setting a minimum household income threshold, for example. Hey, it's not so unreasonable if you argue that national economic participation is a prereq for enfranchisement. And there's almost precendent! The UK at least takes away the right to vote if you've lived abroad for over a certain time period. We could exclude the unemployed that way as well. And what about people with learning difficulties or similar? I mean, they can't make an informed choice, right? So really, it's kinder if we exclude them altogether and don't confuse and scare them by asking them. Gay people? They're never going to contribute to the future of the country by having children, so maybe we should exclude them, too. And stay-at-home mums aren't contributing economically, either (and have enough on their plate without keeping up with the issues of the day), so let's exclude them, too. For their own good.

    And let's say you think a test in that form is a bit much, but your milder agreed version has been in place for a few years, people are used to it, part of the political landscape, unremarkable. Those who couldn't pass probably shrug it off. They weren't going to vote anyway. But things aren't moving as fast as wanted, and we still can't make changes and laws quick enough, so let's tighten those criteria! Lean Government! Nimble, manoeuvrable! Highly responsive! So let's limit this baby to only those with a degree! Still not quick enough! Only those with a politics and economics background! Still not quick enough! Only those with direct governmental/council experience!

    Et voila. One small step at a time, none of them seeming too unreasonable at the time, and we have an Oligarchy. Remain calm, subject-citizen, The Families are in control, for your own good.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    ....although it's quite funny that the first half-dozen or so posts after I put the test up are people trying to answer the questions.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Rich Lock,

    we have an Oligarchy.

    So your "Trump " steps up to the plate and offers to "drain the swamp". This is essentially about the de-selection process . . . . getting rid of the entrenched oligarchy without having to invoke the guillotine solution.
    If Trump succeeds in only one policy outcome during his tenure , a limit on politicians' terms- in- office would satisfy many people.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich Lock,

    My point is that while it might be superficially and in theory an extremely attractive proposition to set some sort of eligibility test for voting, and exclude those deemed incompetent by way of stupidity and/or ignorance, in practice it’s hugely dubious.

    It certainly is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Farmer Green,

    This is essentially about the de-selection process . . . . getting rid of the entrenched oligarchy without having to invoke the guillotine solution.
    If Trump succeeds in only one policy outcome during his tenure , a limit on politicians' terms- in- office would satisfy many people.

    There's plenty of other tweaks that could be made, which would probably improve the outcome, yes. Proportional Representation in some form or other (rather than the electoral college), term limits maybe (I don't know enough about that - the counter-argument is that you end up kicking people out of office just as they're learning how to do the job. There are many effective MPs in NZ and the UK, for example, who keep their seats for decades), effective caps on campaign funding and contributions, effectvie checks on professional lobbyists.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    I agree that the USA is operating as an oligarchy nowadays (as much as a democracy). I suspect Trump will join the club of oligarchs, after draining the swamp sufficiently to make it a hostile ecosystem for his competitors.

    The left, having recently tired of demonising Trump, are now busy demonising Barron, so in performing the necessary reality-check I found an excellent in-depth profile on the Bloomberg site, from over a year ago (https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2015-steve-bannon/) some of which is worth recycling.

    “When Clinton became secretary of state, the foundation signed an agreement with the White House to disclose all of its contributors. It didn’t follow through.” So top democrats can’t even honour the agreements they sign with each other. No wonder voters think they can’t be trusted to run the country.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    The left, having recently tired of demonising Trump

    I’m not seeing that abating much. Nor do I expect to. Demonization of the President Elect is pretty much normal in the USA, if you voted against them.

    ETA: Which clearly, is not a good thing if any actual demons do get the Presidency. But hey, that's how it always goes. I mean I read War and Peace recently, and they have serious discussions in their Soirees about whether Napolean is the Antichrist (a few years after having discussions about whether he is the Saviour of Europe and an all round top bloke).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    “When Clinton became secretary of state, the foundation signed an agreement with the White House to disclose all of its contributors. It didn’t follow through.” So top democrats can’t even honour the agreements they sign with each other. No wonder voters think they can’t be trusted to run the country.

    And this just in ...

    A Ukrainian steel magnate, Victor Pinchuk, paid $150,000 to Donald Trump’s charity to book the then-presidential candidate to speak via satellite at a conference held in Kiev in the early days of the presidential campaign.

    “Victor is a very, very special man. A special entrepreneur,” Trump told the gathering.

    In September 2015, when Pinchuk paid the money to Trump’s charitable foundation, the Ukrainian billionaire was also one of the largest donors to the Clinton Foundation. The payment to the Trump Foundation went undisclosed until this week, when it surfaced on newly-filed tax records for Donald Trump’s charitable foundation, raising alarms from some of the Clintons' most vocal critics.

    “I think it is troubling,” said Peter Schweizer, author of the book Clinton Cash, which documented the blending of the Clinton’s charitable and political interests. “He’s somebody that donated to the Clinton Foundation, and this is a problem…I think there's no other way to read it other than they are hoping to get some favor in return.”

    I think it's fair to say that the Clinton Foundation did at least save millions of lives and does now publish a donor list.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to BenWilson,

    Napoleon turned out to be quite benign, as dictators go, but I guess it was a refreshing change from the previous century (in which puritan ideology made depicting the pope as antichrist the prevalent norm).

    "Steve Bannon runs the new vast right-wing conspiracy—and he wants to take down both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. By Joshua Green | October 8, 2015" Bloomberg, as pr arm of the yankee capitalist establishment, perhaps tongue-in-cheek posing as conspiracy theorists. But it illuminates rightist identity politics as a confusion, eh?

    "Bannon is a kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde figure in the complicated ecosystem of the right—he's two things at once. ... “I come from a blue-collar, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats,” says Bannon, by way of explaining his politics." "Our vision was always to build a global, center-right, populist, anti-establishment news site." “The modern economics of the newsroom don’t support big investigative reporting staffs,” says Bannon. “You wouldn’t get a Watergate, a Pentagon Papers today, because nobody can afford to let a reporter spend seven months on a story. We can. We’re working as a support function.”

    I've been wondering why the Tea Party is no longer flavour of the month, despite their apparent victory. Rebranded as alt-right? If so,why? Anyone here adept at elucidating the psychology that drives political branding?

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Napoleon turned out to be quite benign, as dictators go

    Yes, only 3.5 - 7 million people died in the wars that resulted from his actions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to BenWilson,

    Hmm, #16 on the all-time greatest hits list, all of which are mere estimates not historical fact (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_by_death_toll). But I had in mind the lack of the usual overt cruelty (genocide, torture, concentration camps, etc) and he seems to have abandoned the guillotine as standard treatment for political opponents institutionalised by the prior (leftist) revolutionary government.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    ...he seems to have abandoned the guillotine as standard treatment for political opponents institutionalised by the prior (leftist) revolutionary government.

    The guillotine was introduced as a claimed humane method of execution. It remained in use until France abolished the death penalty in the early 1980s. The National Assembly of the Revolution abolished the death penalty in 1795. It was Napoleon who reinstated it.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4592 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to BenWilson,

    Demonization of the President Elect is pretty much normal in the USA, if you voted against them.

    Its an insane way of doing things. But its distant, still I read worrying things about him gutting NASA climate science, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Personally I find the whole thing troubling

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to andin,

    I'm less concerned about how cray democracy is than how cray Trump personally is. But except where it affects us outside of the USA, I do rather feel America deserves what they voted for. Sometimes the hard way is the only way to learn. I don't think deliberately disenfranchising the population even more than what it has voluntarily already done to itself is the way to improve matters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Yeah, I really don't think that "accurately reporting what Trump says and does - or tweets" is any kind of definition for "demonising".

    Or for that matter, redefining "leftist" as "diplomats, scientists, journalists, a bunch of Republicans, most American voters, etc, etc ...".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1328 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Hmm, #16 on the all-time greatest hits list, all of which are mere estimates not historical fact

    You do realise that most history is about estimates, right? They don't know precisely how many people were killed by Hitler, or Stalin, or the US in Iraq, but they can make estimates. It's the best tool they have, and criticising them for saying it's an estimate instead of pretending they know 100% seems a little unreasonable.

    I am reminded of a psych experiment where people who are certain about their eye-witness statements are less likely to be correct than people who are unsure, but more likely to be believed by juries. How fucked up is that?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Stephen R,

    Yeah, well put. I was responding to an assertion that was presented as if it were an historical fact. Also thanks to Joe Wylie for his correction: my impression from around 60 years of reading history probably derives from the lack of extensive use of the device in his empire. Just a guess, but reality checks are always helpful too.

    On the more substantial current concern, count me as someone else apprehensive about Trump's disbelief in climate change initiatives. All very well to see the UN as part of the problem rather than part of the solution - most perceptive observers adopted that opinion more than 30 years ago - but a true political leader must validate himself by showing a way forward suitable for all, which in this case means advocating a viable solution to the problem.

    A suitable international treaty drafted via multipolar negotiation need not be handicapped by UN bureaucrats. He could just ignore them totally and conduct the necessary liaison himself, using his proven skill as a deal-maker. Where there's a will, there's a way - but there's no sign yet of any such will.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    If what I read here is true

    http://www.interest.co.nz/news/84734/investigative-journalist-david-cay-johnston-donald-trump-he-talks-13-year-old-boy

    Trump's "skill as a deal maker" enriches him, and bankrupts his partners.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 496 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to John Farrell,

    If. Did you also read the comments below the interview? I liked this: "if a journalist said to me it is raining outside I would check for myself. So even if everything he said is right no one believes him, a la Cassandra."

    But yes, I myself made an online comment a few weeks ago re Trump's apparent immaturity. The spoilt brat syndrome could emerge to accompany the narcissism. The critical dimension to watch is how much or how long his team coheres. Bannon is who I'll watch - and whether team coherence persists through to the next mid-term elections.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    I read the comments - it surprises me how many are sucked in by his schtick.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 496 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 10 11 12 13 14 18 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.