Posts Tagged ‘debate’

On disagreements among friends

Recently in another venue I had occasion to disagree, publicly but in a minor way, with an online friend who’d published an article that I agreed with – mostly, but not entirely. It’s not the first time that’s happened. Indeed, I’ve said before, in the context of my criticism of my beloved PropertyTalk discussion forum, […]

Being critical


Do opinion polls about whether climate change ‘exists’ matter a jot?

Maybe the question: What should we do about it? is the one worth asking. And answering. – P

Varying explanations

I had reason recently, in the context of discussion about a disingenuous lobby group peddling some of its “non-partisan” wares, to remember the quote: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.” —Upton Sinclair Here’s another twist on it from Russell Brand: Via @caffeine_addict on […]

“The more information partisans get, the deeper their disagreements become.”

From a must-read new article by Ezra Klein at Vox: How politics makes us stupid showing that often what conditions us to resist changing our minds in response to new information (i.e. learn) is partisanship … Imagine what would happen to, say, Sean Hannity if he decided tomorrow that climate change was the central threat […]

State surveillance as a tool against dissent. Lack of ‘patriotism’ as the easiest smear.

Earlier I linked to a NY Times video/upcoming book promotion revealing the source of leaks about the FBI’s sometimes illegal COINTELPRO activities against individuals and groups exercising their democratic right to express dissent with government policy. Reading about the state-sponsored surveillance of such ‘dissidents’ and ‘left-leaners’ put me in mind of the way the NZ […]

Speaking of comparisons to Stasi surveillance …

There’s been a wee fracas as Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen (of Netscape Navigator fame) popped a foot in his mouth with what looks like a thoughtless or uninformed defence of the NSA’s illegal spying activities with a suggestion that former East Germans would fail to see similarities between the NSA’s mass surveillance and […]

Be prepared to bleed

I spotted this line in an Esquire interview with Glenn Greenwald … If you’re gonna challenge people in power, you have to be ready to be attacked in effective ways. That’s the nature of power. If they couldn’t do that to you, they wouldn’t be powerful. Yeah, but I mean, of course it’s not easy. […]

One day in lobbyist land …

for Matthew Hooton and Carrick Graham. – P You may also be interested in: It’s only ‘propaganda’ if you’re talking about the other side, right, Carrick? and Smoke gets in your eyes, Carrick? Movie credit: My son.

Now, if Cunliffe had joked that Judith Collins was a ‘troll’ …

Actually, I read this introduction to a David Cunliffe blog post (apparently. I haven’t read it) as jovial, a play on words. “The original brief was to respond to a post by Judith Collins. My post was going to be about snapper, not trout. But considering that issue, along with Judith’s leadership aspirations, has floundered, […]

You’re an activist? That shows that you care about something

Returning briefly to the subject of ‘What sort of people are involved in politics?’ (Remember, hate-blogger Cameron Slater thinks they’re dirty, disgusting, despicable people playing a dirty, disgusting, despicable game) I saw this in my Twitter timeline recently: Yeah, I can see where Glenn Greenwald is coming from, if a little defensively. It’s so easy […]

Settlement of legal action as a ‘peace premium’

I was fascinated by the language New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman used yesterday to describe a settlement agreement between multiple US government agencies and JP Morgan Chase bank over its actions in the Global Financial Crisis, reported as: NEW YORK (TheStreet) — New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday announced a groundbreaking […]

Dumb headline apart, this exchange between Keller & Greenwald on journalism is a great read

A seriously good read. Go ahead: Is Glenn Greenwald the Future of News? — We come at journalism from different traditions. I’ve spent a life working at newspapers that put a premium on aggressive but impartial reporting, that expect reporters and editors to keep their opinions to themselves unless they relocate (as I have […]

Orchestrating smear campaigns against your rivals is seen as dodgy in business, so what about politics?

South Korean cellphone manufacturer Samsung has been censured and fined for organising a campaign to denigrate one of its competitors by paying for derogatory comments to be posted on the internet. According to a finding by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission Samsung paid contractors to pose as cellphone users and post comments which attacked rival HTC’s […]

The ‘values’ & ‘goals’ of immoral political deceivers

This, from a (typically) excellent politics column by Charles P. Pierce goes some way to explaining why I feel such disdain for the dishonest political ‘operators’ whose activities I observe and highlight here now and then, and whose reptilian coarsening of political ‘debate’ I have come to see as so irredeemably negative. The second basic […]