Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The sole party of government

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  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    So, I'd say many Western democracies are heading toward tyranny (by a minority) - a feudal sort of state.

    Or as Fareed Zakaria calls it, illiberal democracy like in Singapore and even Russia. And it seems the same is happening in the West, especially in the English-speaking world.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Or as Fareed Zakaria calls it, illiberal democracy like in Singapore and even Russia. And it seems the same is happening in the West, especially in the English-speaking world.

    Correct.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    illiberal democracy

    Thanks for this word, I noted today you conflated it with inverted totalitarianism, which I’d only heard recently too, but illiberal democracy is a better summation for now, and I’d think very carefully, as unpleasant as this thought may be that rather than this being something that is impending, it is something that is in full flight. The cicadas of corruption are making one hell of a racket in the treetops this evening. I can hear them from here.

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

  • Michael Meyers,

    Looking at these graphs in the comments of votes, there are two thoughts that struck me.

    People are complaining that a smaller percentage of the electorate voted for National yet apparently the voter turnout went up. This doesn't tally up for me and I wonder if maybe the special votes have been forgotten about.

    Also, those who didn't vote are irrelevant. Sure it'd be good if more of them voted but they didn't. And it's likely that a good portion would voted National anyway. So your missing million includes half a million National voters.

    I voted but as a general policy I don't vote in local body elections. I just don't care enough to be well informed about council elections . Is it really such a crime not to vote?

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Michael Meyers,

    Vote? LOL Dude, when you’ve got no less than 88 name suppressed individuals admittedly spied on, residents arrested at gunpoint without warrants on charges issued 12,000km away, and when that kind of shit is going on in a so-called democracy, look at the clock. There’s no freedom left, there’s no true equality, and there’s no safeguard from the authorities doing exactly whatever the hell they want, there’s no protection from the authorities taking your stuff, taking you, there’s no accountability, there’s no strength in mass, there’s no independent advocacy for what is right, there’s nothing there any more to vote for, no cohesion, no spirit, no integrity, no empathy, no resolve, no safety, no independence, no protections, and certainly no democracy. So vote? Like the Germans did? Yeah, Nah bro, it’s time to be busting out those swastika armbands and getting your goose on.

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

  • mark taslov, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    And of course the intent of a constitution under a liberal democracy was to protect individual rights by placing constraints on the exercise of the ‘will of the majority’ by our representatives.

    Sorry I missed this earlier, yes, it's a funny one, reading through all this you'd almost imagine the thread was written in relation to something of Democratic importance. Oh, there were two threads today, both for the most part making some effort attempting to impress this illusory perception that the democracy churns. Never be fooled by this, very few here care about Democracy, sure they'll lament the loss of their party, and cry foul at the antagonism of the perceived adversaries, but when nuts comes to bolts, this is the farce, so inextricably connected to why they have no good news to share with one another. Some are noble in intent but disintegrate at the prospect of anything more. Some are two-faced turncoats, some are rigid, and simply lack that necessary spark of humanity required for their ideals to be anything more. Others are none of these.

    It's not a happy story, obviously. It's most often just a collocation of phrases and idiom, colloquial loaners like "schadenfreude" or "shite" picked up along the tightrope, dragged through lean and rough for just such an eventuality. And dispensed with the due care of negilgent water carriers.

    Their epithets for the most part are hollow, their epitaphs won't flex or grasp as anything more than lives lived in the shadows of monsters. The ugliness is not in the effort itself but the insular fear and misguided sense of self-preservation that issues forth like the sound of a numbly silenced fart through the trousers of a preaching vicar, screwing them shut tight as jam jars in a reticent spring thaw.

    The object was never to win or prevail in any sense beyond a mere splattering of colour on a narled hunk of sandal wood. A grouping of pigment dressed in a skimpy lingerie of lofty motive and intellectualised opium. To them this day reveals their stash was rotten and seeded, sparking, still resolving to inhale nonplussed.

    One katamarine of pride for an instant hung between, its bows grouped, gripping the waves, intoxicating the larynx, the blunted pointed psyche drawn inwards towards a common destination.

    won't the wind shift the hazelnuts.
    Won't it.

    On the perspex canvas of mystified chaperones, reaction and impetus,once again sprayed the branch to wavelength 450–495 nm, frequency, 670–610 THz. The Ostrich tipped and quaked and shunted itself out to in, and dreamy damage flicked it's middle finger 'pon the tender filthy snout.

    denial reconvened and dusted off its arad bookshelf, feeble cursing cum stained fingers ripping gusting through the worn and shredded spine.

    Expected outcomes for all and shady hidden sketchy motives slipped again so swiftly, wetly, remorsefully inside the yellowed orifice of hankering and jonesed out pomp. The guilt of non-acceptance sharply piercing nipple through a tantamount to conspiracy. corruption. collusion. and offal.

    election cried they lost! but none now knew nor cared their numbers sparse and nimbly shrunk. For no great moment past just now despite the war cries and the roars issued from the last left colleseum. capitulate, conceded.

    Erect beneath a languid Kauri moonlight burned a fleeting grimace on that signpost reading 20, 20 what? 20 Jan, 2 0 1 2, the day this day no longer was. The coiled shafts of feacled shit they'd kicked astray as bravery ran for cover shepherding a storm.

    And yet still further still beyond the ranges and the sunset hung the plaque, it's numbers dimly lit by screams of red between the limbs of Tuakura. Twenty-O-Seven, Fifteen Ten the chant. Twenty-O-Seven, Fifteen Ten the bleet that lubricated apathetic dismal burning rape. Get with it hummed the chorus.

    Last still along the road, by now but ours by telescope, to lithe Pohutakawa's bark afixed by cellotape a worn and piss-stained photograph, a long forgotten refugee. beaten bruised and limping wanking to the rhthym of the SIS man's grin

    hocks a loogey. it meant something once, the fox in me, the pox repeat, the cox you see was nowhere near the scullers as they tamed the river's mouth. hypocricy, no no no, but like it, the rocks of me, still vacuumed closed and pervy. Botox police, red socks machine, despot the clean. then still at once:

    Democracy! democracy! the bleeding sceams of which burst through the cloud of misty beastiality. the member pounding in an out its gaping, chafing,
    buggered hole. it's horns we grip and wrench from side to side as burps and wails tumble past it's shawn and jagged lips, as penis cock impales its deepest dream and burns its wince upon our deafened ears.it's blinded munted cunt of sex rebounding to our thrusts. the milk which once sustained now puddled stinking on the gravel. And on. And through, and past we fuck the bile out its eyes the shit expunging through its nose the balls of indifference clanging on its hind, just pummeling the septic gash of freedom with our hunger wanton filthy gagging sheepish niggardly puffed up yesterday engorged of all but itself.

    and now we head to work, our sheepskins shine.
    Our adages but repugnant indignance culpable and running with the wolves.

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

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard, in reply to Michael Meyers,

    People are complaining that a smaller percentage of the electorate voted for National yet apparently the voter turnout went up.

    The turnout didn't go up, it went down. How much depends on how you count it, but as a proportion of all possible eligible voters, the turnout dropped from 68% to 62%.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to mark taslov,

    When the going gets weird…

    And dispensed with the due care of negligent water carriers.

    as a Monkey Aquarian,
    I actually resemble that statement…
    …with almost anthropomorphic accuracy!

    ;- )

    PS I can imagine an audio version of this visceral requiem for lost innocence and the new age – "a Howl out on Highway 1’ – having quite an impact…
    it builds a head of steam and drives forward, a little tuning, a welling drone – show time!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Meyers, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Election web site tells me here that there were 2405652 votes including specials yet to be counted. Your population estime for 2014 was 3378138. That’s 71.2%.

    In 2011, it was 2257336 votes and population of 3326842. This is 67.5%

    Even if you only include the known special votes and exclude the overseas specials you’ve still got 70.0% turnout. You can only get down to 62.5% by only counting the election night votes which isn’t comparing like for like.

    The known special votes are 254630 according to this page and overseas specials estimated at about 38000.

    I’m pretty sure that I’m correctly understanding how special votes work here so I’m still thinking that turnout on a population basis went up.

    Edit: I think I've got your population figures all wrong so YMMV. I can't find your 2014 population figure and I'm typing this on my iPad so it's a bit too hard to fix it up. Maybe 70.7% as a rough estimate?

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to CJM,

    On top of this shit sandwich of a result….
    Went out this morning, pissed down with lashing rain soon as I closed the door. Liverpool lost 3 fucking 1 to West Ham.

    Things weren't all bad then! :-)

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    So that makes you a Winstonite, then?

    Never ... ever :-)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    In any case it’s a slippery slope towards illiberal democracy/inverted totalitarianism.

    Arguably , it has been since the Greeks abandoned the practice of electing a government by random ballot of the citizenry - for one term only.

    The development of a political class , dedicated to retaining power, could only ever have the consequence that we witness. And there is no way back now.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Low voter turnout (apathy) is a very big worry in academic circles/literature that I've been associated with. Just goes to show how many adults of voting age are disenfranchised, and of course they are raising children who will be similarly disengaged and disenfranchised.

    The Online Voting Working Group released a report last month examining the feasibility of online voting and it's generally positive. Paul Matthews, CEO of the Institute of IT Professionals writes that he was initially skeptical but is now convinced that they can produce a workable system. They propose trialling the concept in the 2016 local body elections.

    NBR link

    I believe that online voting could massively increase voter turnout. After all, it's not really "turnout" if you can do it while you're sitting at home in your underpants.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1438 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Alfie,

    I understand that , in this election, ex-pats were able to do exactly that from the comfort of their beds.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Farmer Green,

    I understand that , in this election, ex-pats were able to do exactly that from the comfort of their beds.

    Only those of us who'd been back to NZ in the last three years.

    I strongly dislike any suggestion of any kind of electronic voting, be it machines in the booths or online. Seems to me the more technology is involved the more ways there are to game the system. Online, especially. Good old fashioned pen and paper works.

    And talking about how some fancy-arse new technology is magically going to increase voter turnout is massively missing the point re: disengagement. My classrooms have computers, screens and projectors as well as blackboard and chalk, but using the fancy newfangled stuff instead of blackboard and chalk makes not one blind bit of difference to how many or which students pay attention, and talking to other teachers suggests it's not just me that notices this. Technology is just tools. It should be used where appropriate, and the right technologies used for the right jobs, but it ain't going to get those non-voters voting.

    The current pen-and-paper system of voting works. The system can be gamed, yes, all systems can, but the opportunities to game the system are limited. Putting voting online where anybody can hack at it? No way.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    As Hager quoted Slater (spit) – sturm udn drang like Dirty Politics depresses turnout and the right benefits.

    Seems to me the left needs:

    - an ongoing enrollment process for their potential voters, starting today
    - up the pressure on the dirty politics thing – nail the Nats as the weasily slime they are far out from the next election so that it is in effect over by the time the next election has come around

    Remember Nixon got reelected after Watergate, it was after that his world fell in

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I think the "internet voting will raise turnout" idea assumes that all the people who are not voting have ready access to the internet (and the confidence to use it for something as important as voting)

    On the other hand those "rank 40 names" STV city council votes might be a great thing to do on line for those who do commonly vote

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Alfie,

    The Online Voting Working Group released a report last month examining the feasibility of online voting and it’s generally positive. Paul Matthews, CEO of the Institute of IT Professionals writes that he was initially skeptical but is now convinced that they can produce a workable system.

    That NBR link makes a case for replacing postal voting, and I can understand how online voting can provide a system that's at least equivalent as long as some technical issues like authentication and security are sorted. The Internet Party manifesto also has a big section on how awesome online voting is, and that these issues can be surmounted, but those issues are all that it addresses!

    Do online voting advocates have a clear answer to the social issues with online voting, though? Maybe it's worth a compromise if there's a definite improvement for voter turnout (I still think that's a big gamble), but I think there's also lots to be lost in the integrity of elections every time we do away with the security and privacy of a polling booth.

    Firstly, it's impossible by design to prove to anyone else how you voted. There's no way to take any kind of receipt away from the ballot box. This means you can tell your inlaws or your employer or spouse whatever you like to keep them happy because there's no way for them to know otherwise. More importantly they can't coerce you to do come back with a receipt, whether it's actively or passively. But online voting means people could be passing behind you, looking over your shoulder. Voters might print out copies of their vote for who-knows-what reason. Laptops or similar could be passed around the union meetings so that everyone can cast their vote for the "correct" candidate whom we all support, etc etc etc.

    Secondly, the ballot box system is very straightforward for 99% of the populace to understand, and trust. You mark some paper, secretly put it in a box, then real people in a secure place count the marks on the paper, with scrutineers watching. Scrutineers ensure that ballot papers are securely locked away, and if there's demand there can be a recount. Online voting is the opposite -- 99% of people immediately can't understand it, and need to rely on someone else telling them that it's reliable and trustworthy. Most probably won't care most of the time, but the scope's there for a big problem if people are ever given reason to think so.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I strongly dislike any suggestion of any kind of electronic voting, be it machines in the booths or online.

    I think I could happily accept electronic voting booths as long as they met strict criteria. They’d have to produce a voter-verified paper trail, not let the voter take away any evidence of their vote. Also in the case of any inconsistency between electronic and paper counts, the voter-verified paper version of the vote would have to be authoritative.

    There doesn't seem to be much point for it in NZ, though. Our current paper and pen system seems to work really well, and it’s not like it takes longer than a few hours for the result to be counted.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I think the “internet voting will raise turnout” idea assumes that all the people who are not voting have ready access to the internet (and the confidence to use it for something as important as voting)

    I think it also assumes that the reason people don't vote is because they can't be bothered to visit a polling booth, or can't reach it for some other reason. Even if vocal non-voters say that's the case, I'm not totally convinced it's the real reason. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Hey... Jason Ede has finally surfaced. Or not. Key confirmed this morning that Ede has 'resigned' from the National Party.

    ...He's given 11 long years to the party and loyal service to the party. There are some comments made in the book that I think we would all strongly disagree with. His primary role really started out as a media person for us and part of his role was talking to bloggers.

    "I think after 11 years he's decided, look, the time's come for him to leave."

    Mr Key said he didn't suggest Ede should leave his role with the National party.

    I'm sure Ede will already have a comfortable PR job lined up, possibly working with the same group of people he's already familiar with. After all, their main client can offer another three years of guaranteed work.

    A curse on our slack media who didn't track down Ede after the release of Hager's book.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1438 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Farmer Green,

    I believe that online voting could massively increase voter turnout. After all, it’s not really “turnout” if you can do it while you’re sitting at home in your underpants.

    If online voting is implemented, it would have to be backed up with a paper trail to minimise electoral fraud, if not eliminate it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to izogi,

    I think I could happily accept electronic voting booths as long as they met strict criteria. They’d have to produce a voter-verified paper trail, not let the voter take away any evidence of their vote. Also in the case of any inconsistency between electronic and paper counts, the voter-verified paper version of the vote would have to be authoritative.

    They're not talking about electronic machines in voting booths. It's already been proved in the US that they're easily gamed. The security issues are dealt with in the PDF (downloadable via the NBR article). Basically ElectionsNZ would post a unique code to every registered voter, in the same way they post out EasyVote cards now.

    Sure, someone could steal the code from your letterbox, in the same way they can steal your EasyVote card now. The proposed system is no less secure than the current one.

    There doesn't seem to be much point for it in NZ, though. Our current paper and pen system seems to work really well, and it’s not like it takes longer than a few hours for the result to be counted

    Horses also work perfectly well... we don't need those stinkin' automobiles. And as for those new-fangled computer thingies...

    I don't personally know anybody who didn't vote this time, but I'd wager that most of them will have computers or mobile phones and know how to use Facebook. We're talking a quarter of registered voters here. Anything we can do to help them engage in the democratic progress has to be a good thing.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1438 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    up the pressure on the dirty politics thing – nail the Nats as the weasily slime they are far out from the next election so that it is in effect over by the time the next election has come around

    David Parker's police complaint on perverting the course of justice charges is only the start.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    If online voting is implemented, it would have to be backed up with a paper trail to minimise electoral fraud, if not eliminate it.

    IP address and time recorded... possible login and authentication via the iGovt or RealMe sites.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1438 posts Report Reply

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