Tagged: leftwing douchebags

Recommended reading: Giovanni Tiso on Shearer’s speech

I admit I’m biased because Gio said lovely things to me on Twitter and refers to me as an “esteemed colleague”, but nevertheless:

And here’s the part where I get genuinely impatient with some of my friends in Labour when they suggest that the speech didn’t signal a shift to the right. Of course it did. When Shearer says that the party will be ‘thrifty’, he means that it will prioritise balancing the budget over social spending or stimulating the economy. When he says that he will reassess the fiscal proposals that Labour took into the last election according to whether they fit within his vision of a future-oriented New Zealand, he’s ruling out any redistributive reform of the tax system on the grounds that it would lack a strategic focus on growth.

Plus plenty more stuff including some musings on Kiwi Foo, and who is Shearer listening too?

If you insist: Shearer’s speech was a shambles

Okay, chaps, you’ve convinced me.  I may try to be even-handed, but at the end of the day, I expect more from the leader of the Labour Party, and Shearer’s speech was not bold, it was not courageous, it didn’t shake my antipathy towards the party one iota.

There are those who disagree.

There are those who, in fact, think Shearer signalling a move further to the right is in fact a good thing, and we peons who think it’s an abrogation of his duties and an abandonment of his party’s basic principles just don’t understand MMP.

In MMP, apparently, the major leftwing party should just screw the poor, jump on the bene-bashing bandwagon, and buy in to all of National/ACT’s rhetoric because hey, they can always just build coalitions with leftwing parties after the election!  That’ll go swimmingly!

Right up until people point out that using a more extreme party as a cover to pass an agenda you didn’t explicitly campaign on is (a) dishonest, (b) just fucks the minor party and leaves you all-but-bereft of options, and (c) kinda what we’ve been bagging National for for some time now.

Also that whole “betraying the electorate” is definitely a vote-winner and not something an already National-friendly media would just jump on.

But hey, clearly “whether I like it or not“, rightwing vocabulary and ideas and policies are just mainstream now, and we have to work within their framing on their homeground, on a playing field which is specifically designed to lead to their kinds of policies because the rules are written by them and for them.

I guess the only reason Shearer et al aren’t folding up the party and joining National wholesale is because, um, blue isn’t their colour?

So, without further ado and besides the aforementioned “let’s kill the art of oratory with stilted disconnected statements of boringness”, here’s the problems I have with Shearer’s speech.  You may note it covers basically the entire speech.

It starts with a pointless anecdote.  The reason it’s pointless is that someone got hooked on the whole lamb thing, so Shearer focuses too much on the line about lambs, instead of the far better point that our agriculture-based economy can be likened to the Barnum exhibit in that it’s a sham, it’s pretend, it’s unsustainable.

He talks about “anyone who can tell you we can make things better here without making big changes” – like that doesn’t open the door to the Right saying “you’re absolutely right, so bye-bye assets and progressive tax systems – hey, you should be on board with this!”

The honest truth is that a commodities boom, even if it keeps on rolling, isn’t enough on its own to pay for what we need.

But it won’t keep rolling! It can’t! Why would you even mention this as a possibility? Why not say, “the commodities boom cannot keep rolling, and it’s not even paying for itself now”?

Why the fuck make some stupid, out-of-nowhere comment about visions being like freaking Excalibur if you’re then going to launch straight into your vision … and yet not tell us what you’re doing with it because “oh, the policy hasn’t been formulated yet”?

Also, NO ONE TAPES “KICK ME” SIGNS TO THEIR OWN BACK. How long has it been since these guys were in high school?

Why buy into the notion that “people [should] know they can get ahead”? Why subscribe to the notion we can only be happy by accruing goods and wealth? Why not “New Zealand should be a place where people know they can live well, where we’re all secure and able to live good lives”?

Why the hell is anyone chuffed with the mention of Esko Aho and his amazing achievements, when the punctuation at the end is the phrase, “Though our prescription might differ, we could all take a lesson from that”? Because what Shearer just said there, people, is “the important thing is Aho didn’t focus on getting re-elected, but screw all that other stuff I just mentioned, we’ll probably do something different.”

After emphasising so freaking much that visions are meaningless without action, that big change is needed, bite the bullet seize the day reach for the brass ring, what do we get? “A completely new New Zealand. I can forgive you if you have your doubts.”

You’d better be in a forgiving mood, David, because my doubts could create a solar eclipse at this point. We’ll have a plan! Day One we’ll be raring to go! Oh, what that plan might be? No idea. Still in the developmental stages, a bit of focus grouping, maybe a scoping document in the works, but roughly, definitely, there’s a plan, and it’s, um … get re-elected. Just like Esko Aho.

And please, someone shoot whoever thought that it made any sense to say “We need a completely new New Zealand. We’ll have a plan, Day One, etc etc, but I don’t have the plan right now, but if I had to summarise, I’d say we need a new New Zealand.”

Because that just smells like self-referential meaningless bullshit to me.

Then it’s some “I love being back here in … WELLINGTON!” cheap pop, yes we’re all so clever and awesome and yay, and question our assumptions, etc etc. and then it’s straight back into rightwing bollocks:

I believe we can look after everyone better, not by cutting taxes, but by earning more as a country and making sure that everyone gets a real chance to earn their share.

I will bet anyone reading this right now a shiny dollar that originally, that sentence included the phrase grow the pie.

To education, which apparently is the first, and arguably the most important, part of the plan they don’t have yet which will contain policies which don’t exist. Quick: to the I Worked In International Aid anecdote mobile! How fortunate David has a story which roughly equates to “I taught a man to fish and fed him for a lifetime.”

David gets nicely on board with the Crosby Textor “bag our school system but praise the smart kids first so you look understanding and compassionate” meme. We need to value teachers! Yeah teachers! This is sounding positively Labourish! Oh, wait. Just a setup for “bad teachers are bad, naughty unions protecting bad teachers, Won’t Someone Think of the Children” routine #43. David’s a parent! He thinks about parents! God help us all.

Some more delicious shit sandwich is served up:

We all have an instinctive sense in New Zealand that everyone deserves a go, and that everyone needs to pull their weight and contribute.

Labour believes that. It always has.

Don’t let anyone tell you different.

Shorter Shearer: Everyone deserves a go! And some of you are filthy bludging scum. And don’t let anyone tell you different apparently means “National are wrong to say we love bludgers. We hate bludgers. And bad teachers!”

And with a shout-out to that pointless anecdote at the beginning, ’cause everyone loves lambs, we’re out.

Are you serious, people?  I’m meant to get excited about that?  I’m meant to lie back and think of England and say “oh well, the media are against us and the right control the framing of the discussion, so a single sentence on a capital gains tax means we’re back, baby!!!”

Well, you can just sod right off.

On “hurting the movement”

This post comes to your courtesy of thoughts provoked by this post at Shakesville [trigger warning for sexual assault].  But really, I’m surprised it hasn’t occurred to me previously given, well, the reaction to almost every guest post I’ve ever made at The Standard.

Stop being so angry.  You’re hurting the movement.

Stop talking about leftwing men committing sexual harassment/assault.  You’re hurting the movement.

Stop criticising Labour, you’re hurting the movement.

Let’s think about that phrase, hurting the movement.  What do [usually white straight middle-class cis men who happen to be leftwing] mean by “hurting the movement”?

Making the movement look bad?  Scaring people away from the movement?

To refer back to Melissa’s post at Shakesville, I would’ve thought that tolerating, excusing, and ignoring sexual assault hurts the movement in precisely those ways.  It certainly makes the movement look bad.  It certainly scares some people away from the movement.

Oh, wait.  I think I see the problem.

When people talk about making the movement look bad, or scaring people away from the movement, they don’t mean just any old people.

They mean other usually-white middle class hetero cis men who currently aren’t hip to the movement.  They mean outsiders who are just like them, so are people they presume will get on board when they realise how awesomely cool that board is.

They don’t, i.e., mean women.  They extra specifically don’t mean feminists.

And this is where another of my favourite issues comes up: the entitlement complex of the left.

Because the only way this makes sense to me is if those people who are telling feminists to shut up about fucking sexual assault are assuming that they’re safe in doing so.  It’s not like we can stand up and say “well screw you and your thinly-veiled sexism, I’m voting for a party that’s openly misogynist!  Haha!”  It’s not like we’re all going to flip them the bird and refuse to vote at all in their inherently patriarchal set-up-for-men’s-interests system, right?*

So they feel safe saying “shut up about your silly women’s issues”.  Because we have to be on their side.  And gods know that they do have a tiny point in that openness about any issues in the Occupy movement will be instantly leapt upon by the media machine as proof that these protesters are just silly/stupid/ignorant/evil/selfish/dysfunctional/doomed to failure.

But it coincidentally also allows them to go on pretending to be amazing revolutionaries sticking it to The Man without questioning their privilege or deep-seated impulse to defend rape culture.

Myself, I’m a fan of professional wrestling (and True Blood, and the occasional trashy romance novel, and South Park) and a ranty feminist blogger.  I can cope with the notion of actively critiquing the things I hold dear and admitting they’re not perfect. Dare you to give it a go, dudes.

~

*Some radfems probably will/do, but I assume the dudebros don’t tend to read their blogs.

Guest post: Phil Goff’s balls

Now up at The Standard and reproduced below for those who choose not to tread there.

Guts. Backbone. Chutzpah. Grit. Will. Vision. Courage.

The one thing all of these words have in common is that Phil Goff could quite easily have used them instead of “balls” when he said:

“It’s time to make a decision that will build a stronger future for New Zealand. We’ve got the balls to do that. John Key doesn’t.”

And I know that Phil knows that, because he’s quoted using at least two of them elsewhere in that story.

Normally you’d cue up a big ol’ Queen of Thorns rant complete with naughty cusswords and all-caps. But seriously? Phil, save us the trouble of firing up a whole two brain cells to figure out your subliminal messaging. We get it. You’re a Man’s Man and you speak like Common People and The Days Of That Nasty Bitch Helen Are Behind Us.

You’ve been listening to Chris Trotter and you wanted to make it very clear, to talkback land and those nasty white-anting progressives at the same time, that you’re A Safe Pair Of Manly Man Hands and Not A Pussy.

You’ve chosen to put yourself firmly, obviously, in the camp (ha) of Damien “gaggle of gays” O’Connor.

Or alternatively you’re a bit shit at figuring out the implications of your own words.

In either case, those of us clinging to a phantom hope of a Labour/Green/Mana-or-Maori coalition actually delivering good outcomes for women, non-whites, queers et al can surely, at this point, take it as read that your party gives not a shit for us if we’re in the way of taking power. (And somehow expects us to vote for you anyway.)

I mean, when Jordan Carter’s pre-emptively parroting the line on Twitter I think we can safely file this crap under “Labour election key message”.

Or I’m just vindictively destroying the Left from within. Again.

Several interesting things

1.  Jordan Carter and Scott Yorke both post about Trevor Mallard’s historic “Tinkerbell” comments, targeting Stephen Wittington, ACT candidate, and David Farrar, National pollster, for raising said comments following the announcement of Labour’s policy on same-sex adoption.

2. Apparently neither Jordan nor Scott read No Right Turn, which is a shame.  Or it might have just got in the way of the “this is a nasty rightwing plot against us” meme.

3.  Jordan thinks the big issue is that we must be very clear that Trevor Mallard isn’t a homophobe.  He just says homophobic things, which is … better, and also completely different.

4.  Scott thinks the big issue is that National are full of homophobes anyway so stop paying attention to Labour’s.  I am possibly coincidentally reminded of when a few of the secondary school teachers in my family pondered voting National in the early 00s, on the basis that “at least we expect to get fucked over under National”.

Moral of the story?  Firstly, as I said on Jordan’s blog, in a country with NZ’s suicide rate amongst queer youth, I have no time for “but just saying a homophobic thing doesn’t make a person A Homophobe” hair-splitting.

Secondly, when an outspoken, openly gay MP like Grant Robertson is reduced to saying of a senior MP, and of a homophobic attack against one of his colleagues, “It’s a silly statement“, when you’ve already had another MP’s homophobia defended because Oh Well Those West Coast Rednecks Will Like It, when it takes two fucking years for someone to admit calling a gay man “Tinkerbell” was “probably unfortunate” but oh, oh, he’s totally not homophobic?  I feel quite happy assuming Labour has a serious problem with homophobia.

Alternatively, I suppose one could argue that it’s just a context-free political ploy to unsettle Finlayson, they would’ve called him Four-Eyes if he weren’t gay … but if you’re seriously happy with your political party playing off other people’s homophobia and a culture of queer-bashing for their own gain and still want to defend them, hey, you go right ahead, I’ll be over here with the people who have basic ethics.

And yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees, Scott, National are probably 1,367 times as homophobic as Labour so why am I trying to destroy the Left again???????  But you know what, when it comes to the left, I expect more.

Clare Curran is the reason I will not vote Labour

ETA: Clare Curran has apologised, hat-tip to NRT.  Of course, interestingly it’s about her intentions, which are of course magical, doesn’t refute the idea that Labour does feel entitled to votes (only that she didn’t want to make that argument) and would prefer to bag the Greens than do something about it, and provides a nice platform for people to continue rolling out the “who cares about stupid armchair bloggers anyway???” barrel.  Oh, and no mention of referring to critics as “feral”.  But one supposes it’s a start.

~

… and that’s only slightly hyperbolic and somewhat metaphorical.

Sauce: NRT and matching wine: Dim-Post.

Recent polls have put Labour in the mid-20s.  Which is obviously bad.  It probably means you’re down to the absolute core of people whom you could wheel semi-comatose into a voting booth and they’d manage to tick the red box through sheer force of will.

And I totally understand that as a geeky politically-sarcastic blogger, I am by no means the “middle New Zealand” or the “swing” vote that Labour has lost along with the large proportion of lefties who would honestly rather risk a second NACT term than return the current pack to the Beehive.

But seriously.  How long has Labour, and some of its supporters in the blogosphere, been trying this fucking pathetic “OMG HDU VOTE 4 SUM 1 ELS????” line?  How has it not yet sunk in that you are not our dad, we don’t have to listen to you, and your entitled fucking attitude might just have the tiniest bit to do with our continued lack of interest?

It’s certainly not just Clare Curran, though she’s got the best online history of this, including awesome posts about how everyone should just shut up and pitch in, as though we’re still in a two-party FPP system where there are no alternatives for an angry leftie/progressive.  And it’s really awesome to see a party’s technology spokesperson, the one who’s meant to be all internet-savvy, resort to tired old cliches about how anyone who comments on a blog must by default be a reclusive shut-in with no life and no real friends who never does anything.

It’s also the awesome hypocrisy.  Attacking other members of the left for nicking your rightful votes, while releasing those parties’ decade-old policies as your own with a wide-eyed, “Oh look!  A completely original and earthshaking idea which surely shows how brilliant we are!”  Attacking Idiot/Savant (you know, that guy whose spreadsheets of currently-lodged, previously-lodged and to-be-lodged-in-future-depending-on-results-of-currently-lodged OIA requests could, I assume, save any Excel nerd from ever needing aphrodisiacs) for doing nothing while your own campaign manager has spent a hard day out-cycling a pondscum blogger whose irrelevancy would be a lot easier to throw in the media’s face if only you’d stop fucking dignifying him.

And as always, it’s the amazing ability I have to predict the future.  To know with absolute certainty that when Labour don’t roll Goff, don’t shake up their front bench, don’t make any effort to bring back the alienated left,* they will be on Red Alert the next day having a whinge because why don’t we stupid people realise that our votes are theirs out of manifest destiny.

The 2000 US election was a key part of my teenaged political development.  I could sympathise, a little, with Democrats’ anger at Ralph Nader’s temerity, “stealing” rightful D votes in an entrenched two-party system.  You don’t have that excuse, Labour.  This is New Zealand’s sixth MMP election.  We have options, and you really have to stop acting surprised when we use them.

ETA:  This just in:  I am part of National’s “cadre of attack bloggers”, apparently along with Lew, Danyl, and Russell Brown.

~

*I assume that unless John Key’s mansion is discovered to have a basement corpse collection rivalling that of John Wayne Gacy, the centre will quite happily remain National’s.

Prediction corner: election aftermath edition

This isn’t directed at anyone specific, but suffice it to say that if National forms the next government, I will swear off alcohol for a month if no one in the lefty Kiwi blogosphere makes a post about how it’s all Mana’s fault and Ralph Nader Epsom voters RAM Hone Harawira screwed everything up for Labour and if only everyone else on the left / in the social justice movement had stood aside and waited their turn, and at least half the National voters had woken up / paid attention / used their brains / not been so stupid, it would all have been all right.

See also: comments to this post, the classic post from Steve Pierson

Get your reading on

Helen at Cast Iron Balcony has posted a bumper edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival.

Further recommended reading from the starred items on my Google Reader:

Idiot/Savant on Richard Long’s ludicrous anti-MMP bollocks.

Get your write on for the April 7 World Health Day blogswarm, per The Hand Mirror.

Deborah slams fucking Rugby World Cup fucking merchandising in fucking classrooms.  (She doesn’t say “fuck” as much as me though.)

A Red No. 3 twofer:

Yeah, but fat is bad:

Indeed, many backers of fat shaming are so busy flattering their “good intentions”, that they just cannot process someone disturbing this moral superiority.

A radical idea:

I know that seems like an outrageous suggestion, even to some proported Fat Acceptance allies who still wring their hands at all these little fat kids they hear about, but maybe we can try just being okay with that. Maybe we can all try to give that a shot, because flipping out over fat children hasn’t exactly been a very productive strategy. So maybe we can “think of the children” and stop creating a culture that teaches them shame and self-loathing at earlier and earlier ages.

And a Shakesville twofer with strange US-flavo[u]red resonance to basically everything I’ve fucking said about the fucking left and fucking feminism:

Waffle watch: police complaints edition

Via Radio NZ:

Mr Goff has admitted he got it wrong when he pressured Prime Minister John Key to reveal details of a police investigation into a former National MP.

Mr Goff says he has a better understanding now of how these things work and regrets pressuring Mr Key at the time to discuss aspects of the police complaint.

I cede the floor to Mr McEnroe.

So let’s get this straight:

One of the only issues in this term where Goff has been able to largely control the story, stand up for a progressive principle in the face of horrific misogyny and victim-blaming and conspiracy-theory-spinning.  The scalp of a Minister and an eternal “so why was he fired, Mr Open Smile and Transparent Wave?”

… was all a fucking mistake because a former Minister of Justice, whose deputy is a former Minister of Police, didn’t know how sensitive-political-ramifications investigations went?

Let’s consider something far less Pythonesque.

Phil Goff doesn’t actually believe in the right of women not to be sexually harassed and doesn’t really think New Zealanders have the right to know why a Minister of the Crown was bundled out of a job.  Phil Goff sat on his fucking hands over whatever allegations have been levelled at Darren Hughes and hoped it would all go away and has no one in his staff who thought “maybe this could fucking backfire on us a tiny bit”.

And now that it has, now that those principled statements have been revealed as waffle, the only possible way to make this not about hypocrisy and cover-ups and double standards is to tell the public Phil Goff has no fucking idea what he’s doing.

That is their idea of “positive” spin.

We are just so fucked.

Dinosaur trips over own boner while tilting at self-constructed windmills

I’m sorry, everyone.

I’m sorry Chris Trotter likes to wax lyrical, pretending not to know what people are talking about when they’ve taken the time and energy to provide all the relevant links to his own previous sexist whinging.

I’m sorry Chris Trotter has so little respect for women he thinks we can’t concentrate on more than one issue at a time.

I’m sorry Chris Trotter is so defensive about being called on his and the “mainstream” Left’s misogyny that he has to ironically apply a “you’re either Nexus with us or against us” strawman on feminists.

I’m sorry if any of you sustained abdominal injuries while cackling* at Chris Trotter of all people calling someone else a “bully”.

I’m sorry if anyone had to waste 5 minutes on Google to reassure themselves that Chris Trotter has no idea what he’s talking about in regards to the US antichoice movement, which has been incremental and smouldering and very subtly engineered for the most part.

I’m sorry that my heretofore mild tone is about to be cast aside in favour of my usual “expletives-included” style.

Because fuck you, Chris Trotter.  Fuck you for using vulnerable solo mothers as a fucking weapon against a feminist who actually gives a fuck about helping women take charge of their bodies and doesn’t cast them aside once they’re no longer useful.  Fuck you for trying to turn NZ feminists against each other and using a woman public figure, very thinly veiled, as another weapon.  Fuck you for fucking implying with scare quotes that that woman was somehow being dishonest in describing herself as a mother.

And fuck you, you pathetic, outmoded hack, for trying to say “that’s politics” as though you have a single fucking clue how to get the left back into power in this country.  Let me know when that brilliant racebaiting manoeuvre from fucking 2009 starts paying off, mmkay?

But thank you, too, Chris.  Thank you for continuing to demonstrate your utter irrelevancy.  Thank you for proving for me (as though it needed to be proven) that feminists cannot assume the left are allies (hey Marty G, if you’re reading this, remind me why you were surprised my post was less than flattering of Labour?).

Thank you for the hilarity of the fact that you have no fucking sense of history, when you try to say that the people who stood up and made noise never achieved anything.  I’ll remind every civil rights activist ever, shall I?  Guess they should’ve just got up and asked quietly from the back of the bus if they could be treated like full, worthy human beings, etc.

You’re not scary, Chris.  You’re not intimidating.  You haven’t put me in my place.  You’ve just made my entire argument for me.  And I thank you for that.

~

*Like harpies!