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Tar and Feathers

Needless to say, I’m hopping mad about this.

blogged last month on an op ed by the Massey Vice-Chancellor, , which caused me concern over her views on . She backed the decision of Phil Goff to decide who can speak at an Auckland Council venue, and said that some of the Hobson’s Pledge campaign against special race based wards on local government comes dangerously close to hate speech.

She even went on to talk about free speech being a tool of colonialism that must be restricted.

We were right to be concerned. She has unilaterally banned Don Brash from speaking on the Massey campus. It is an appalling decision from a Vice-Chancellor as the Education Act states:

academic freedom, in relation to an institution, means the freedom of academic staff and students, within the law, to question and test received wisdom, to put forward new ideas and to state controversial or unpopular opinions

Her rationale for banning Brash is disingenuous:

The members later approached University management concerned about their ability to meet the agreement’s terms around security after becoming aware of social media posts suggesting the event could lead to violence.

The University considered providing additional security for the event, but decided the risk of harm to students, staff and members of the public was too great, particularly at  time of heightened tension over the issues around free speech and hate speech.

I don’t go on about my past, but I will say this: I spent several years around university academics. They love their academic freedom. Many of them are right pricks about it.

They’re not stupid people. They know all the reasons why they’re granted that freedom, and they’re always looking to widen it and protect it.

Then, they use it to follow the herd. Never actually dare speak against orthodoxy. Even when we have madness like people who decide they will be “gender fluid”, and change sex daily depending on mood. I mean, there’s a lot of soft targets out there.

Well, now a VC at a New Zealand university has used her power to not only discourage a talk by someone she disagrees with, but to actively ban him on spurious grounds. That’s not just wrong, but actually the polar opposite of what should be her bound duty.

It’s like a WWII general, set to land at Normandy, turning around and invading England instead. This is that big a betrayal to the university. And by extension, all NZ universities.

There are times in the past where this would have caused riots. She’d have been physically dragged from her offices and publicly humiliated by a huge angry mob of students.

But no one’s going to do that tomorrow.

You’d be lucky to get half a dozen people with a small sign sitting outside her office.

We’ve had our rights too long. Things have worked for too long. We’ve neglected to teach our children why things are the way they are, because that’s something conservative and boring. Thinking up new ideas and utopias is much more fun, and using those to break down the social order.

I literally saw someone on Facebook today say that a whale being put down was the worst thing that happened today. An animal died, in the least painful way those present could manage. And she thought it was worse than anything else she could think of.

The day before, dozens of people were upset because a farm cow was sent to the freezing works after it attacked a person (they claimed, without evidence, that that person caused the incident). Upset at a farm cow being slaughtered! In New Zealand!

How utterly infantile.

Well, things still stand, for now.

Blowed if I can see how the’re going to get better.

/rant.

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5 years since George Zimmerman

Legal Insurrection reminds us that it’s been 5 years since the George Zimmerman verdict.

They helpfully include a list of “myth buster” posts they did at the time. It’s dismaying and depressing how so many of these myths are still prevalent.

Zimmerman Trial Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman disobey police orders to stay in car? A: No. 

Zimmerman Trial Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman “Chase Down” a Fleeing Martin? A: No.

Zimmerman Trial Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman really “racially profile” Martin? A: No.

Zimmerman Prosp. Juror E7: “no conclusions,” but posted on pro-Trayvon, anti-Zimmerman site containing threat against Zimmerman

ZIMMERMAN TRIAL BLOCKBUSTER — TRANSCRIPT — Eyewitness Good: Black guy in black hoodie on top punching down Mixed Martial Arts style

Evidentiary Flashback: Investigator Serino Tells FBI He Was Pressured to Bring Charges

Investigator Chris Serino Demoted to Patrolman by Superiors

Implosion: Police Testify Trayvon’s Father Originally Denied Son Was Screaming

Breaking – Jury will not get to see Trayvon fighting texts

Mid-Day 4 — West’s Cross-Examination of Rachel Jeantel

The Zimmerman Files: Aggregated day-by-day live coverage & analysis

Lies About Zimmerman Trial Just Keep Coming

Of course, I summarised their coverage at the time, by creating an index of the witnesses and how Andrew Branca reported them.

Then there is, Patterico’s analysis of Zimmerman’s 911 calls and how the media tried to make these evidence of wrongdoing and the fact that Zimmerman’s then wife was actually prosecuted for perjury because she said “I don’t know how much money is in the paypal account I don’t control”. It’s astonishing how widespread the lies and dishonesty surrounding this case were – and still are. Why on earth would you prosecute someone for “lying to the court” like that? It’s astonishingly unjustified and totally vindictive, especially compared to the way the prosecution

  • “forgot” to hand over evidence
  • when discovered, fought requests for evidence to the appeal courts
  • created a black-and-white photo of Zimmerman’s injuries,
  • continually implied that the law required not just actual harm, but serious harm before self defense applies
  • tried to use emotional reactions to undermine forensic experts

I note my final paragraph on the latter post.

Indeed, at this point one is left wondering how the lawyers involved can continue this charade. Do they honestly think that this level of dishonesty won’t get them kicked out of the legal profession?

How naive of me.

In the last 5 years I’ve argued a few people on this case on Twitter. Two incidents stand out:

  1. Someone tried to tell me a “witness 26” testified to some blatant racism on Zimmerman’s part. There was no such witness, and of course all the witnesses were named. Assuming these were witnesses interviewed as part of the investigation, their testimony must have been utterly useless, as several witnesses that did make it into the trial were laughably un-credible.
  2. Someone tried to tell me that the forensic expert used by the defense, the late Dr Vincent Di Maio, had somehow been outed as a fraud. In reality, he was one one the foremost forensic experts in the world, near the end of his career.

What’s really sad is how this entire thing ruined Zimmerman. I keep getting told how he’s been arrested so many times now, has associated with people who are clearly racist.

My reply is always the same: if you have 2 death threats per minute, after being cleared in one of the most one-sided trials ever, how is that going to affect your life? If you get told by everyone that you’re a racist, who are you going to end up gravitating to?

Zimmerman and the people around him had their lives turned upside down, by people who didn’t care about the truth.

Well, I care. I hope that’s something.

Elon Musk should let results speak for themselves

Elon Musk does not appreciate criticism it seems.

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, the CEO of several high-profile American companies, broadcast to his 22 million social media followers on Sunday an unfounded and disparaging claim about an expert caver who criticized a miniature submarine he made.

Musk attacked Vernon Unsworth, who helped in the rescue mission that saved 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooding Thai cave.

He called Unsworth, a British caver, who lives in Thailand, a “pedo” or pedophile in a now-deleted tweet. The unfounded claim came after Unsworth called Musk’s miniature sub a “PR stunt.”

When I saw Musk launch a car(!!!!) into orbit atop his Falcon Heavy, I was blown away. We seemed to be entering a new era of space travel – maybe soon we will see regular manned flights to the moon.

But for all his impressive achievements, Musk has a lot of projects which aren’t quite so impressive. And his reaction here is going to make a lot of people take a second look at his achievements.

For example, the Hyperloop. Thunderf00t has several videos on the technology, and it turns out to be an incredibly bad idea. And of course, while his Tesla cars are great, his production problems don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

Maybe more engineering, and less ego is in order.

Yawn

104272744-waking_up_son-720x405

Hey, looks like the blog is still here. Didn’t even need remember my password.

Maybe I’ll start posting again.

I’ve had a rest and a break for a few years. Things that have happened while I’ve been gone:

  1. WordPress changed it’s interface a bit.
  2. National won an election on election night but lost in the negotiation… along with most of NZ by the looks
  3. People started talking about “safe spaces”, and “trigger warnings” have gone from being something you only saw on the most ridiculous feminist blogs to being fairly common (on University campuses anyway) to something mocked and derided.
  4. The number of “genders” has ballooned, and no one is actually prepared to say how many there might be.
  5. I attended a course on writing better. It didn’t take much.
  6. Trump decided to run for president and was elected.
  7. Hillary didn’t become president
  8. The world went crazy, we seem to be in the middle of the biggest mass-hysteria event in history, by several orders of magnitude.
  9. I became less partisan… sort of.
  10. Gateway Pundit, a blog I used as a source until I realised the guy didn’t care one whit about the truth, became rather large.
  11. A lot of the people I used to follow on twitter joined me in not liking Trump, then split into two camps – “better than Hillary” and “go away”. Like literally – two have blocked me in the last couple of days
  12. Jordan Peterson, and misrepresenting him, became a thing
  13. I did a big overseas trip to… not telling, but it was totally epic.
  14. Scott Adams become the best person in the world at predicting and explaining the actions of the US president, something no one else seems to grasp
  15. I became a big you-tube user. Not all politics either – everything from engineering and science to history and audio-books. Also, this guy. I mean, it was one of those phone apps which I threw into a big of stuff I never used… and then suddenly it became one of my most-used apps.
  16. I’ve followed hogewash pretty much, and the lawsuits that have happened there. Some interesting stuff, and at times you have to despair about the courts.
  17. I’ve commented from time-to-time on Kiwiblog. It’s not what it used to be, but I still find some good insights there now and then.

Well, we’ll see what happens from here.

Political Compass

A few years ago, I did a compilation of many NZ bloggers’ position on the political spectrum here. It’s been a while, so I think I should start out by updating it.

That survey used a odd-ball quiz, so this time, make sure you use Political Compass test.
Flick a comment on this post, and/or email me.

Looks like I’ve moved towards the center in the last 9 years.

Your Political Compass

Economic Left/Right: 3.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 2.41

personalised chart

 

I just don’t get some people

Here’s a few examples I’ve seen over the last few days of behaviour I simply don’t get.

Firstly, there’s this response (one example, there are thousands of others) to one obscure, self-appointed pastor of a house church telling a single gay man to go away and commit suicide:

hate1

One person who claims membership acts out? Kill the lot of them and steal their money (quick, before they use it to help the poor or something)!

Oh, there are a few more examples, and some good comments on the accountability of pastors to their denomination over at Glenn Peoples’ blog.

I imagine this conversation:

Non-Christian: I’m really upset at this abusive email, it’s not cChristian

Christian: I agree, and I don’t know any Christians who don’t.

Non-Christian: Oh, so I’m actually agreeing with the church here. Huh, ok. Well I guess we all agree then. Hm, maybe this is some sort of media beat-up? Hey, isn’t this guy trying to sell a book?

Christian: Yes, that does seem to be in the article.

Non-Christian: Oh, but what about Brian Tamaki? Did you hear he scattered money all over the place for some reason?

Christian: Yes. He’s a proponent of the prosperity gospel. It’s rejected by pretty much everyone too. Except of course those who use it to make money.

Non-Christian: Oh. I had no idea. So all these people condemning him are also agreeing with the mainstream Christian position.

Christian: Yes, and the funniest thing is that they’re claiming the moral high ground over christians because of it.

Anyway, moving on…

I saw the name Giovanni Tiso on Whale Oil, and decided to google it. Turns out he’s the writer beind a blog who hates Whale, because you know, Whale’s mean. Karl du Fresne weighs in:

One is that he implies she’s a sociopath. Tiso quotes a line from her column – “They are both advancing a political cause” (a reference to Hager and Cameron Slater) – and then adds: “And if you think that, you’re a sociopath”. I’ve read this several times and don’t see how it can be construed as meaning anything other than that Clifton is a sociopath, which my dictionary defines as “someone affected by any of various personality disorders characterised by asocial or antisocial behaviour”.


But hang on. What happened when I took a poke at Tiso in this blog, using a similar rhetorical device against him? (I said he shouldn’t be allowed out in public without a minder, and suggested someone should adjust his medication.) He howled that I was being cruel – “vile” was his exact word – because he had a daughter with an intellectual disability, which he claimed (wrongly) I was aware of. Then he had the gall to whimper about people being unpleasant and indulging in ad hominem arguments.  Well, hello.

Let’s get this straight then: it’s okay for Tiso to call a respected columnist a sociopath because he doesn’t like her take on the Dirty Politics affair, but it’s mean and horrid to suggest that he might be a bit doolally himself. That’s taking unfair advantage.

Thing is with Whale is, he’s not ashamed to be a drag-it-out-and-knock-it-down sort of guy. He knows what it is, and he knows that people disapprove (seriously, what’s with the people who think he doesn’t know that?). It’s the people who claim to be appalled at such behaviour, but can’t maintain their own standards that get to me.

Another thing that I don’t get is the people who are just outraged when people don’t lie down and agree to everything they say. Here’s an example today via Instapundit:

Assertions of injustice by young men are infuriating to some. Caroline Heldman, an associate professor of politics at Occidental College and co-founder of End Rape on Campus, said of the men who are turning to the courts, “These lawsuits are an incredible display of entitlement, the same entitlement that drove them to rape.”

Note, this is in the context of people who’ve been found by colleges to have raped, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

The article the quote is from is (as he says) very long, but well worth your time. There’s some seriously messed up stuff going on in US colleges. Like the guy who’s room-mate face-booked that he was sick of the noise, but the final report said the room-mate was asleep at the time.

Speaking of messed up colleges, check out these pretty flowers:

Columbia University has allowed law school students who feel they suffered trauma from two high-profile grand jury decisions to postpone taking their final exams, the school’s interim dean Robert Scott wrote in a message to students this weekend.

“The law school has a policy and set of procedures for students who experience trauma during exam period,” reads Scott’s message, according to the blog PowerLine.

“In accordance with these procedures and policy, students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events may petition Dean Alice Rigas to have an examination rescheduled,” Scott continued, citing a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown in August as well as a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for using a chokehold which killed 43-year-old Eric Garner in July.

While people may disagree with the decision, if you consider something that distant to you that upsetting, how on earth do you hope to be a competent lawyer? How are you going to cope when you lose in court?

Finally, check out this face:

2014-12-04_18-40-08-750x400

Apparently, that’s the fact a senior Democratic party official makes when the conservative she’s been slandering suddenly walks in the door and mildly asks for her to correct the record!

Me, I’d not have lied in the first place but hey, I’m pedantic like that. Seriously, I have a bad tendency to tell long stories about how exactly something happened rather than tell a much shorter, but less accurate version. But regardless of whether you’re like me or not, saying someone is a convicted felon when they’re not isn’t cool.

A good summary of Little

Saw this on Kiwiblog just now.

Too be fair, I think we under-estimate Andrew Little at our peril.

Sure, he’s a charisma free zone. And he can’t win his own electorate. And I don’t want a Prime Minister who’s a dour grump.

But he’s got a lot more backbone and determination than his last 3 predecessors. Goff is a conniving back-stabber who wasn’t trusted by his caucus. Shearer is a mumbler who didn’t have enough experience in the House to be leader. And Cunliffe is an out-and-out fantasist and egotist.

Little won’t be talked into holding up dead fish in the house. And he doesn’t have a big swelled head that will turn people off. He’s not smarmy.

What I expect he will do is smack heads together at Labour HQ, strong-arm the dead wood into leaving, and put some structure and consistency into areas like policy.

The writer goes on to suggest that he won’t be able to unite the factions. That, I disagree with. Little has made a solid start, and that’s going to attract support and unity. No one in Labour wants a repeat of the last two elections, and I strongly suspect that a few egos will be kept under control while the party gets back into power.

Another child hurt by poor parenting

This wee lad isn’t yet 5 but he’s spent “months” in pain.

A Christchurch dentist’s last-minute change of heart has spared a preschooler six months of “excruciating” tooth pain.

Zander Loper, 4, had been waking up at night screaming in pain …

He was facing a six-month wait for two fillings at Christchurch Hospital, where the procedure could be done with an anaesthetist.

However, after inquiries from Fairfax Media, he was admitted for treatment at Halswell Dental Centre.

“It’s so hard to see your child in pain,” Zander’s mother Ingrid Loper said.

“Why should you have to wait that long to get a simple procedure done?”

About a week ago, Zander was in “excruciating pain” and had to be admitted at the hospital for a night, Loper said.

The doctor prescribed ibuprofen and antibiotics three times a day and codeine for when the pain became unbearable.

“I’m not happy about giving my kid that amount of medication every day,” she said.

When Loper complained to the hospital dentist, she was told there were worse cases on the list, such as “kids with teeth falling out and children having to be on pain relief constantly”.

Halswell Dental Centre treated Zander earlier this year. They gave him a liquid sedative to extract one of his teeth.

Manager Andrea Campbell said Zander had spat out some of the liquid. He was still sedated enough for the procedure to go ahead but had been agitated.

Sounds all very well, but the real problem is that the kid is… well, a brat.

When he needed a filling, the dental centre tried to do an X-ray but he would not sit still.

The dentist said he would need an anaesthetist and referred Zander to the hospital.

The quality of parenting in this country is appalling, and getting worse at an alarming rate. It’s tempting to blame this on the anti-smacking law, but that only exacerbated an already bad situation.

In this case, we have a child that won’t sit still for the 3 minutes needed for a simple x-ray, leading to fairly serious consequences. A child should be able to sit still for considerably longer than that. It appears that the parent in this situation is more interested in decrying the behaviour of the adults involved – which is curious, because I’ll bet that anyone who could study through a dentist’s degree could sit still considerably longer than 3 minutes when they were 4 years old.

This is why people no longer trust “fact checking” websites

Can’t get much more ridiculous than this.

Politifact, the heavily left-leaning political fact-checking oufit, has truly outdone itself.  The organization crowned President Obama as the 2013 recipient of its annual “lie of the year” designation for his tireless efforts to mislead Americans about being able to keep their existing healthcare plans under Obamacare.  While richly deserved, the decision came as a bit of a surprise because Politifact had rated that exact claim as “half true” in 2012, and straight-up “true” in 2008 (apparently promises about non-existent bills can be deemed accurate).  When Republicans leveled accurate criticisms against Obamacare, they were slapped down by America’s most partisan alleged arbiter of “facts:”

Better to keep your mouth shut and have people think….

I spotted this comment at Frank Richie’s blog. Classic.

FRANKLY ITHINK THIS IS JUST ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE MINDED BLOG HERALDING THE INEVITABLE LIKEWHALEOIL.IFU DON’T HAVE A CONCISE PROPER SET OF POLICIES STAY OUT AND BUTT OUT.OH YES ALL GOVERNMENTS ALL HAVE SHADES OF THE HUMAN GENRE NOW SO GET USED TO IT THEY ARE HERE AND THEY WILL STAY ARE THEY ANY DIFFERENT HELL FLAMBOYANT BETTER THAN THOSE LAMBRAIN RIGHT WING ZEALOTS WHO WILL TAKE UR TAX AND USED 4 NOTHING ANOTHER YEAR OF HARDSHIP,STRIFE,MAYHEM,POVERTY,DEPRESSION STARTS NOW.BRINGONTHE TWO HEADED RED GREEN MONSTER AND TO HELL WITH THESE FASCISTS BXSTARDS.

Frankly, anyone who writes that badly, nor who calls others fascists, has no business looking down on Whale Oil!

Also curious how “continuing the policies of the previous Labour government” becomes “hardship, strife, mayhem, poverty, [and] depression”. Go figure.

(And of course, bonus points for the I’M A CRAZY PERSON all caps typing.)

Later on, there’s this gem.

Sorry, but promises to slash welfare, cut health and education budgets, shift school funding to unregulated schools, introduce prison labour, keep selling assets, endow multinational corporations with local legislative power – whether you are thinking socially or fiscally, none of these things are ‘centre left’. Keep smirking if you like, but your bubble is smaller than you think.

National has at no stage “promised” to slash welfare, health or education. That’s absurd.

They have supported charter schools, a program which allows the poor options that would otherwise only be available to the rich.

Prison labour has been around for years, they part-sold some assets after winning a mandate to do so, and have given no corporations legislative power.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the intelligent discourse that comes from Labour’s activist base.

Enjoy your years in opposition fellas.

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