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Yes We CAN? Labour launches its Community Action Network

By   /  May 9, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  23 Comments

PEOPLE ON THE LEFT bang on and on about “community”. It’s a nice safe word that allows Labour centrists to express ideas that are vaguely collective in nature, but without resorting to that awful, unspeakable word – class. That said, it is difficult to drive into an ageing state-house suburb like Otara, in Auckland, without the word “community” popping into your head.

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Inflicting Pain Without Flinching: Jenny Shipley Talks To Guyon Espiner

By   /  April 30, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  75 Comments

IT IS NEVER ADVISABLE, when writing political commentary, to get angry. Powerful emotions distort our judgements and make the already difficult job of political analysis even harder. Sometimes, however, giving vent to our anger is the right thing to do. Sometimes, maintaining a calm and dispassionate analytical posture serves only to give despicable behaviour a free pass. Some people are only deserving of the most forthright and unequivocal condemnation.

Jenny Shipley is one of those people.

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Not Dead Yet: A Response to Rachel Stewart’s Musings on Democracy

By   /  April 28, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  24 Comments

I’M A BIG FAN of Rachel Stewart’s writing. Her column in the NZ Herald has quickly become one of those “must-read” contributions to the national conversation. She’s to be admired for her courage, too. Anyone who takes on Big Dairy in this country knows exactly what to expect – and it usually arrives. This weeks contribution, however, on the subject of democracy, was not one of her best.

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Moving Beyond Good and Evil: Can Gerry Brownlee Get Past America’s Moral Absolutes?

By   /  April 25, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  25 Comments

Notorious among journalists for his tendency towards tetchiness, the words “Gerry Brownlee” and “diplomat” seem particularly ill-matched. The truly great foreign ministers of our history have all been thoughtful, measured and principled individuals.

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“Better late than never, Jim!” – Bolger on the State of the Unions

By   /  April 22, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  49 Comments

JIM BOLGER’S IMPLIED CRITICISM of his own government’s assault on organised labour is astonishing. The Employment Contracts Act 1991 ranks as one of the most extreme examples of anti-union legislation in post-war history. Certainly, the equivalent statutes enacted in the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia pale in comparison. From the legislation introduced by Jim Bolger’s close friend and ally, Bill Birch, even the word “union” was excluded.

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Jeremy Corbyn and the Magic That Failed

By   /  April 20, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  41 Comments

POOR OLD JEREMY CORBYN. He must know that the worse he does on 8 June the better most Labour MPs will like it. Indeed, an absolutely disastrous performance by Labour in the forthcoming UK general election is about the only outcome likely to convince the rank-and-file “Corbynistas” that their brave experiment has to end. They tried, and then tried again, to impose a left-wing leader on a right-wing caucus. Couldn’t be done.

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Battle For The Heartland: Understanding America’s Unrelenting Hostility Towards All Things Russian

By   /  April 13, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  47 Comments

WHAT THE HELL’S GOING ON?! As events in the Middle East spiral out of control, and the prospect of a shooting war between the United States and Russia moves from possible to probable, that’s the question more and more people are asking.

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Trump Attacks Syria: America’s President Demonstrates His Country’s Commitment to “Peace and Harmony”

By   /  April 8, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  35 Comments

What has also become clear, since the missile launch, is that the American congress was not consulted or advised before the order to attack Syria was given. President Trump decided to make war upon another sovereign state unilaterally – apparently unconcerned that his decision was in clear contravention of Article One, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution which states that “[The Congress shall have Power…] To declare War” – not the President.

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Gas Attack In Khan Sheikhoun! But why would Bashar al-Assad blow himself up?

By   /  April 5, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  96 Comments

JUST ONCE, it would be nice to encounter a Western journalist willing to challenge the “International Community’s” official line. Someone willing to acknowledge that the term “International Community” is, itself, a cynical misnomer intended to cloak the self-interested policies of the United States and its Nato allies in the highfalutin language of global solidarity.

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Not Worth The Effort: Decoding Bill English’s Response to “Operation Burnham”

By   /  April 4, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  23 Comments

What are we to draw from his willingness to turn his face from the inhabitants of the Tirgiran Valley who have spoken so movingly of the terror, pain and loss they experienced at the hands of SAS troopers and US helicopter gunships acting in our name? Doesn’t he want to make certain that New Zealand does not have blood on its hands? And if there are SAS personnel out there with grave misgivings about the orders they were obliged to follow on the night of 22 August 2010 – doesn’t he want them to be heard? Or are a handful of weather-beaten Afghan peasants, and their brats, not worth the effort?

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Four Rhymes Inspired By “Hit & Run”

By   /  April 1, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  7 Comments

Four Rhymes Inspired By “Hit & Run”

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Us and Them: The Fatal Divisions of Exploitative Culture

By   /  March 29, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  15 Comments

OURS IS NOT JUST A RAPE CULTURE: it’s a Kill Culture, a Rip-off Culture and a Lie Culture as well. But, rather than attempting to reconcile ourselves to living in a multiplicity of malign cultures, it is probably more helpful to think of ourselves as inhabiting a single Exploitative Culture. One in which human-beings are consistently treated as means to another’s end – not as ends in themselves.

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Nothing To Them. Tim Keating hits back at “Hit & Run”

By   /  March 27, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  23 Comments

In the words of Jon Stephenson: “Is [NZDF Chief] Tim Keating really saying there were two raids using identical aircraft, in identical places with identical commandos, that left behind identical munitions in that one village, then [in] a village two kilometres south? Seriously?”

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Not Being Venezuela: The Political Logic of the Labour/Green “Budget Responsibility Rules”.

By   /  March 25, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  34 Comments

FOR THOSE WHO THINK Labour and the Greens are being too cautious, economically-speaking, I have only one word: “Venezuela”. Andrew Little may not resemble Hugo Chavez in the slightest. Nor are Labour and the Greens, by any stretch of the imagination, Bolivarian revolutionaries. But, to hear the Right tell the story, New Zealanders are being courted by dangerously left-wing political parties.

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New Zealand’s First “Revenge Raid” – Surafend, Palestine, 1918

By   /  March 22, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  7 Comments

The shocking events described by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson in Hit and Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan and the Meaning of Honour are not without precedent in the history of New Zealand’s military engagements overseas. In the tiny Palestinian village of Surafend, in the final days of 1918, New Zealand troops participated in what was indisputably a serious war crime. The parallels with the SAS “Revenge Raid” of August 2010 are striking.

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“Once Was Enough, Gareth.” – Why I won’t be voting for TOP

By   /  March 21, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  58 Comments

Fuck it, I’ve seen enough. Morgan’s shown himself to be just another latter-day Procrustes*. If the TOP man has his way, New Zealand and New Zealanders will, once again, be “restructured” to fit the ideologically-determined dimensions of Morgan’s Procrustean bed.

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