Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The next four years

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    And yet still I am not prepared for the idea that..

    Lump'n Dotard is an anagram of Donald Trump
    but even spookier:
    Vladimir Putin = Trump I invalid

    In the beginning was the word....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7893 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    Above: Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen in March 2008.

    Six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady recently talked about the contribution wife Gisele Bundchen has made to his success.

    From the CBS Boston article:

    Brady said Bundchen “always makes a little altar for me at the game because she just wills it so much,” complete with pictures of his children.

    “And I have these little special stones and healing stones and protection stones and she has me wear a necklace and take these drops she makes, I say all these mantras,” Brady said. “And I stopped questioning her a long time ago. I just shut up and listen.”

    Brady said at first he thought “this is kind of crazy,” but it worked.

    “About four years ago we were playing the Seahawks and she said ‘you better listen to me, this is your year, but this is all the things you’re going to have to do to win,’ and I did all those things and by God, you know, it worked,” Brady said.

    Bundchen also predicted that 2015 would not be Brady’s year, he remembered, and sure enough that season for the Patriots ended disappointingly in the AFC Championship game.

    But early this year, Brady asked if he had a chance to win it all and he got the answer he was seeking.

    “She said, ‘yeah, but you’re going to have to do a lot of work and you’re really going to have to listen to me. So man, I listen to her,” Brady said.

    Bundchen was right, of course. Again.

    “She said you’re lucky you married a witch – I’m just a good witch,” Brady said.

    There aren't many people in this world more successful than Tom Brady, but this kind of assistance comes at a price. Don't get involved in the occult.

    Since Nov 2006 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to WH,

    What do you imagine binging that topic here will do?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19695 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Sacha,

    It's the Witchfinder General!

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 490 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    The internet didn’t turn out to be all that amazing in the end

    NZ Parliament

    Due to today’s global Facebook outages, select committee meetings will not be live streamed this morning. Public meetings will be recorded and uploaded to committees’ Facebook pages later today. #nzpol

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4337 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    Many of you will know the work of Edward Bernays and Walter Lippmann, pioneers in public relations and modern journalism respectively. Lippmann’s 1922 book Public Opinion argued for the management of public attitudes by elites in a process he called “the manufacture of consent”. In his 1928 book, Propaganda, Bernays stated:

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

    While these ideas were attenuated by a series of infamous failures, they still organise and inform efforts to determine public opinion today.

    Observers of New Zealand politics may have noticed a pattern of favourable media coverage of John Key and Jacinda Ardern, the succession of allegedly “weak” Labour leaders during Key’s time in office (Cunliffe, Shearer and Goff), and the mainly negative coverage of Simon Bridges.

    In the United States, the ’Beers with Bush’ media phenomenon culminated in the Supreme Court’s extraordinary decision to halt the Florida recount during the 2000 presidential election.* President Obama rose to power on a tide of favourable coverage set against the unfolding chaos of the 2008 financial crisis. And as the Gallup chart shows, Donald Trump was gifted millions of dollars in free campaign messaging and advertising by a complicit media establishment. He was nudged to the narrowest of victories by another extraordinary intervention – this one from FBI Director James Comey – one week before the vote.

    Contrary to what you probably suspect, these aren’t coincidences. The big players don’t write the stories, they own the newspapers. And if all of that isn’t improbable enough, there’s something else they haven’t told you. Something really important:

    Hot on the heels of mindfulness, crystals and reiki, is our growing obsession with witchcraft just a natural progression? Or is the reality darker? Could witchcraft – a space arguably inhabited by women alone – be offering us a way to vent our frustration at the status quo, and even seek revenge?

    The people who convinced your grandmother to try smoking are hawking an even older kind of poison. Lies have been told, and people have been hurt.

    * Bush v Gore is one of the most indefensible and regrettable judicial interventions in American democracy you’ll ever read about.

    Since Nov 2006 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to WH,

    our growing obsession with witchcraft

    Only one person here meets that description. Who hurt you?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19695 posts Report Reply

  • WH, in reply to Sacha,

    The quote from Marie Claire UK relates in part to the #witchesofinstagram. There's about 2,725,000 posts there as of this morning. You can see the hallmarks of Bernays' ideas about the power of symbolism and the subconscious - as they were expressed in his torches of freedom campaign - throughout.

    Since Nov 2006 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    Above: John Dee presents to Elizabeth I, Henry Gillard Glindoni

    Distrust of the occult is an important part of many traditional spiritual systems. It’s in the warnings about spirits, demons and jinn given in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, in stories of poltergeists and taniwha, in the trickster legends of Loki and Māui, in the striving of the Greeks against the cruel fates and capricious gods.

    In 1587, John Dee, mathematician, alchemist, conjurer and adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, believed himself to be participating in a dialogue with the angels. During a series of ‘spiritual conferences’ he conducted in Bohemia, angelic beings allegedly invited him and a colleague to pool their personal property and swap their wives as part of an agreement by which Dee would be given the secrets of the universe.

    Incredibly, this is something Dee proceeded to try out.

    The obvious lesson is that you shouldn’t let a real occult experience dim a healthy heightened scepticism of occult sources. As the point is put in Paul’s epistle to the Romans:

    Because they believed they [were students of special knowledge], they were [able to be deceived].

    In a swing away from the enthusiasms of the Elizabethan era, King James VI and I’s experiences of witchcraft led him to write Daemonologie, a denouncement of the occult, in 1597. Like Newes from Scotland, the 1591 account of the North Berwick witch trials, Daemonologie tends to assume what it means to prove and poses difficulties for modern readers. Having said that, modern authors generally assume that witchcraft is an imaginary relic of the medieval mind, which it absolutely isn’t.

    Unsurprisingly, the combination of high intelligence, illicit curiosity and naïveté comes in for repeated criticism from King James I, who emphasised that you shouldn’t imagine that you’re being let in on a secret for your own edification.

    Just as a pay-off in a confidence trick is a win that facilitates a bigger loss, knowing that partial truths are often deployed for dishonest reasons can help to keep you safe. Don’t get involved in the occult.

    Since Nov 2006 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to WH,

    Bonnet, meet bees.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 490 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to John Farrell,

    Tricksy bees, not to be trusted.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19695 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    The Trump Administration is in the news for revoking California’s right to set its own tailpipe emissions standards under the Clean Air Act.

    The Guardian reports that Trump will be skipping an upcoming UN climate summit to attend a conference on religious freedom. While religious freedom is important it’s not easy to believe it’s Trump's real priority.

    The alliance between fossil fuel companies and the Republican Party has the potential to do US Christianity a lot of harm in the medium term.

    You can learn a little more about the decline in arctic sea ice and the albedo effect here.

    Since Nov 2006 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    If witchcraft really is the future, it would be good to see proponents and commentators take its drawbacks more seriously.

    If there is such a thing as magic, it should be a criminal offence to use it on other people without their informed consent.

    Since Nov 2006 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    This photo of the Cybertruck - that mostly bulletproof challenge to the aesthetic of our times - is from Tesla's website. Elon Musk says Tesla had received 250,000 orders as of 26 November.

    Pricing starts at $39,900USD, or around $62,000NZD. The battery on the most expensive model is said to have around 750 kilometres of range.

    Since Nov 2006 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Who could have predicted it?

    The US House of Representatives has voted to impeach US President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The matter will now be referred to the US Senate for adjudication. In the unlikely event that two-thirds of the senators uphold the charges Trump will lose the presidency.

    Evangelical magazine Christianity Today has posted an editorial endorsing Trump’s removal. Editor Mark Galli writes:

    We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

    US evangelicals tend to vote Republican and are an important part of Trump’s electoral coalition. The editorial was important enough for Trump to announce that he has done more for religion than anybody ever. This seemed unlikely to be true.

    In related news, Boris Johnson led the Conservatives to an emphatic victory over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, a widely predicted reprise of the 1983 contest. As was as if some occult hand had moved the players like pawns upon some giant chessboard.

    In neither case are things what they seem to be. Behind a thinning veneer of managed chaos there is a deliberate profanity and a shocking cruelty, a kind of cold-eyed madness. I didn’t choose my visit to these cursed lands, but I invite those who know to push past the illusion that such efforts could be without lasting consequences.

    Merry Christmas.

    Since Nov 2006 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19695 posts Report Reply

  • WH,


    This is the temple on Little St James Island, the underage sex lair of notorious pedophile, underage sex trafficker and billionaire insider Jeffrey Epstein.

    Epstein’s apparent suicide in US federal custody sparked widespread speculation that he had been murdered by the famous and politically important people he associated with, such as Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Epstein’s little black book is a who’s who of the well connected.

    In 2002, current US President Donald J. Trump told New York Magazine:

    I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.

    This NYT article summarises their friendship. To state the obvious: Trump seems to have been aware that Epstein was associated with the abuse of minors and statutory rape.

    The flight logs of Epstein’s private 727 – the plane dubbed the Lolita Express because it was a venue for group sex with minors – show that former president Bill Clinton took more 20 flights with Epstein, including a trip through Asia without his Secret Service detail. Epstein’s activities were a kind of open secret in certain circles and were embraced even after his underage sex offences were made public.

    The case is reminiscent of the suspicious death of Imane Fadil, one of the witnesses in Silvio Berlusconi’s trial for child prostitution, the even uglier side of the Italian leader’s bunga bunga parties. Ms Fadil alleged that Mr Berlusconi was involved in occult sex rituals and was writing a book about her experiences called I Saw The Devil at the time of her death.

    A suspicious temple on a pedophile’s private sex island? Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and there’s more going on than they’re going to tell you about. The occult aspect of the problem is real.

    Francisco Nguema. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. General Manuel Noriega. Jimmy Savile. Roman Polanski. Gore Vidal.

    These people are monsters. Don’t get involved in the occult.

    Since Nov 2006 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to WH,

    How very odd....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 490 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to John Farrell,

    He is.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19695 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I miss this space. So many options out there, but nothing quite like what public address was.
    (Are we allowed to be nostalgic yet?! :) )

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    (Are we allowed to be nostalgic yet?! :) )

    I'm pretty sure it's going to spark up again soon.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4337 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    What, because of the coming election?
    Dunno if I’m exactly looking forward to that.
    Predictably, over at No Right Turn, I/S is arguing that our current political leaders are part of the environmental problem and

    if we want to survive – not just as a species, but as individuals – we need to vote them out on their arses and get better ones.

    But as usual, the big unanswered question is: so where are these better leaders going to come from?
    Labour have definitely proved themselves unimpressive and unambitious so far, but even the Greens have negotiated themselves into an unappealing position of appeasement. Yet (and I really wish I/S would remember this) the sad fact is that if the voters who care most about the environment abstain in disgust, that will only guarantee the election of the planet-raping Nats.
    So the current options all suck, and meanwhile the waka-jumping law has removed the best chance of getting any new political party into power.
    It's all too bloody frustrating.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1894 posts Report Reply

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