Apocalypse Now

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For a brief moment, the nations of the world seemed united in a peaceful pursuit. The  World Cup finale in Brazil captured the imagination of a global TV audience. Within days, catastrophe exploded into the headlines, sending shards of outrage, shock and grief across the planet as, by bizarre and gruesome coincidence, two storylines of recent world history, civil unrest on Russia’s western border and a Malaysian Boeing 777 airliner collided over the skies of Ukraine.

The wreckage lies in a war zone, as yet unsecured, with most bodies yet to be retrieved.  Journalists and camera crews have freely roamed the carnage. With such unprecedented access to a disaster scene, their words and pictures are extraordinary, harrowing to view and horrific to read.

In the New York Times, Sabrina Tavernise’s account, ‘Fallen Bodies, Jet Parts and a Child’s Pink Book’ , is stark and sombre: “Incongruously, given that the plane fell from more than 30,000 feet, many of the bodies strewn about in the smoldering wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were largely intact. A woman in a black sweater lay on her back, blood streaming from her face, her left arm raised as if signaling someone. Another victim, naked except for a black bra, lay on the field, her gray hair mixing with the green grass, one leg broken and her body torn. Many of the victims were still wearing their seatbelts, attached to pieces of the plane. One man, still in his socks but without pants, lay in the field, his right arm placed on his stomach as if in repose. Others had personal belongings nearby. A young man in blue shorts, wearing red Nike sneakers but no pants, lay with his arms and legs splayed outward, an iPhone by his side.”

Brutal. Shocking. Tragic. Historic. But not in a good way.

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The extensive and graphic coverage of the disaster pushed all other stories, including Israel’s invasion of Gaza, off the front pages of the world. Same locally with political news. Which might be good thing. For Labour, the latest political poll is historic. But not in a good way.

In the NZ Herald, Audrey Young reports that ‘Labour slumps to 15-year low’. ‘National and John Key more favoured than ever for next government’ read the sub-headline. “Its 26.5 per cent support is a slide of four points since June. With just two months to the election, Labour could slip into the disastrous territory held by National in 2002, when it polled 20.93 per cent in the face of the highly popular Labour Government.”

So how is Labour taking the bad news? In the Sunday Star-Times, Steve Killigan claimed to have the inside story: ‘Skiing Holiday puts Cunliffe on slippery slope.’ The piece reads like a gossip column: “Labour MPS are disgusted by leader David Cunliffe’s skiing holiday just two months before the election and will question his work ethic at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, a senior party insider has told the Sunday Star-Times. As Labour hit a new polling low of just 23.5 per cent in the latest Stuff/Ipsos poll and data suggested those numbers would climb quickly if its leader quit, Cunliffe took a week’s leave to go skiing in Queenstown. That decision has infuriated a significant number of Labour MPs, the insider claimed. “A lot of MPs are really f….. off about it,” he said. “They are all working hard up and down the country, and f…… Cunliffe is on holiday. Guys like [Phil] Goff and [Annette] King and [David] Shearer, these guys really want it badly and they are working like their lives depend on it. And I think they are a little incredulous about what the guy is doing.” The insider said while Prime Minister John Key was also holidaying – in Hawaii – there was a “world of difference” between an incumbent prime minister enjoying 52 per cent support in the polls and an opposition leader trailing nearly 30 points behind. “It sounds a little treasonous, but the guy doesn’t want it badly enough. If he did, he would be working. I think it is disgraceful behaviour, and not the sort of behaviour becoming of a guy who wants to be prime minister.”

As I write, Labour is about to hold an emergency caucus meeting, so who knows? Is this election about to take another unforeseen twist? Stranger things have happened.

Doing his best to keep it a cliff -hanger, Kim Dotcom announced he would reveal all about the Prime Minister at a public meeting five days before the election. Some don’t appreciate his theatrical timing. In the NZ Herald, John Armstrong opined : “Memo Dotcom – Put up or shut up: The time has come for Kim Dotcom to put up or shut up, for this intelligent, canny but highly manipulative individual to front with his yet-to-be-made public disclosures which he boasts will blow John Key out of the water – and though Dotcom does not say it directly, presumably bring a rapid end to Key’s days as Prime Minister. Dotcom must now prove far beyond any reasonable doubt that Key has lied repeatedly when challenged as to when exactly he became aware or was made aware of the former Megaupload mogul’s existence. If Dotcom cannot or will not do that, he should zip it.”

In the same paper, Toby Manhire expressed a similar sentiment in “Dotcom’s delayed bombshell looks like a fizzer’ . “Five days before the election, we are to expect a bombshell. The brilliant, diabolical Mr Dotcom will stage an event at the Auckland Town Hall, at which he will produce evidence that his arch-nemesis, Mr John Key, did, after all, know about him before the eve of the famous testosterone-fuelled raid on chez Dotcom in January 2012. Dotcom will rise slowly to the stage through a smoke-filled trapdoor, wearing a purple velvet gown over a black zip-up top, gently stroking a Maui dolphin. The crowd will rise to its feet, gasping, as the Prime Minister is dragged into the spotlight by a bevy of burlesque dancers over a looped soundtrack of “why are you turning red, Prime Minister?”.

In Manhire’s view, “for all the theatrical appeal, it is unreasonable and wrong for Dotcom to withhold this supposed evidence for a climactic campaign spectacular. A big reveal in the final week of the campaign doesn’t only lend weight to perceptions the internet-Mana hydra is a Dotcom plaything, that the political party and the Dotcom defence are two sides of the same bitcoin. It also denies New Zealanders information they deserve to know. If Dotcom can prove that the Prime Minister has bare-faced lied, over and over, the democratic imperative is that he do so now. If Key is not fit for office on September 15, then he is not fit for office today. Dotcom should cut to the chase. Otherwise, the assumption has to be that the great Dotcom bombshell is an enormous political bluff.”

“If Key is not fit for office on September 15, then he is not fit for office today.” Few could argue with that.

 

 

 

 

44 COMMENTS

  1. I’d say start listening very carefully to soundbites from the PM about this, it’ll be interesting to note the escape clauses he uses throughout media moments building up to the event.
    Maybe a job for Frank and his awesome fact tracking?

    • Grumpys

      The best conjecture I’m read so far (I think on TS, but not sure by whom) is that Key will claim that he had only heard of; Kim Schmitz as opposed to Kim Dotcom.

      Although this on stuff is interesting:

      “He can’t do because I didn’t know about the guy and we weren’t actively involved, so the point is that in the end, he’s a guy that’s full of wild conspiracy theories,” [Key] said.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10290609/Key-calls-Dotcoms-bluff

      You have to wonder exactly what “actively involved” means – it sounds like an admission of involvement via a third (ACT?) party to me.

      • It does!

        And the words “elaborate conspiracy theory” is the other alarm bell. People doing ‘wrong’ always use these words as a scapegoat – to discredit the one who knows the truth. Along with I can’t remember, and deny deny deny, or not talking (no comment) and stomping out of the room saying “I don’t have to listen to this!”

        So lets see what truth is in store for John Key. This is very interesting.

        So Key thinks this kim.com fiasco is what is to be revealed. He must be very worried, because it will not be ‘just’ that for sure!

        What fun! Nothing like seeing an evil-doer get his come-uppance, and about time!

        What’s Judith Collins up to today? Why so quiet?

        Opinion.

        • Only the most senior of Nat MPs are allowed to talk in the leadup to an election – standard fare every time, it’s designed to stop any gaffs and red faces. That’s why Key’s the front man on everything. Where which hole is Bennett hiding in?

    • I heard him interviewed this morning and there was not a sniff of a ‘soundbite’. He once again rejected absolutely any notion he knew about KDC, or that KDC had anything on him.

      • I’d call Key’s claim that Dotcom is a narcissist and has a personality disorder a sound-bite (and so would you, if you were honest). Key drops those sound-bites several times, every time he’s interviewed on the subject.

        Good to hear Espiner hold his line on when Coleman knew when Key tried to dismiss that also.

        • “I’d call Key’s claim that Dotcom is a narcissist and has a personality disorder a sound-bite (and so would you, if you were honest). ”

          It’s just like the “Tricky” line, keep saying it and after a while those that don’t think for themselves believe it..

      • He also rejected absolutely that he owned so many Tranzrail shares until evidence of the figures was brought to light, followed by an embarrassing world record string of umms and ahhs. I wouldn’t be so quick to trust his denials, given his track record.

  2. 1. Everyone knows that a week is a long time in politics.

    2. Kim DotCom is not stupid.

    3. The mainstream media in NZ are no longer an honourable institution.

    And thats about it, really.

  3. I also read yesterday that David’s holiday was 3 days, not a week, that he was out campaigning in Queenstown at the time as well, borne out by my Face Book pages, and that those comments about unrest were made by a Labour MP – I see this has now changed to an “insider” at which point I would go out on a limb and say those quotes were all lies, made in the knowledge that they can’t be disproved. David Cunliffe’s campaigning work is recorded on my Face Book page, presumably as I am a member of the Labour Party , as is the work of Grant Robertson, our own MP Damian O’Connor, David Shearer, Trevor Mallard, Meta Whaitiri and a couple of others and believe me David Cunliffe is up there with the hardest working.

    • I too read those stupid articles about David Cunnliffe’s so called holiday. They are anti-Labour and a reminder that there’s an election soon. Who is the “insider” in the party who spread this particular muck? No doubt no one knows except some creative journalist or editor. Since it’s not a GCSB or SIS or even police matter it shouldn’t be hard to out the gossiper. No doubt Labour has some real problems in the lead up to election day and some may even be the leadership of Cunnliffe. However his rather short holiday has nothing to do with it. At least he had it in NZ/Aotearoa and NOT Hawaii/USA.

  4. Dotcom had to fit it when his guests could be available and also given how quickly MSM works to distract the public from every bit of corruption discovered, 5 days out means it would still be fresh in the minds of voters perhaps. Glenn Greenwald is no mug. I am excited.

    • “Glenn Greenwald is no mug. I am excited.”

      Will be very interesting if the wikileaks NZ cables are released 5-6 days before the election. Could be a bombshell or two there as well…

  5. If John Key is unconcerned about what Kim Dotcom might have to say about him on September 15, then why does he keep bringing the subject up at every opportunity?

    • He doesn’t bring it up, reporters ask him and he responds.

      Ultimately any rationale, sane person knows that if DotCom’s allegations is a dud, the left will be irrevocably damaged – not Key.

      Will Labour now anchored in the mid twenties, DotCom is the last desperate hope of the Left.

      • What a load of bullshit. When Key isn’t interested in answering questions, we get “I’m comfortable with that” or “I’ve talked enough about that already.” There’s also the fact that interview questions are often agreed on beforehand.

        Which cult are you going to join once your guru is gone?

  6. Dotcom signalled a reveal just before the election months ago. He has got advice from somewhere on the timing and the date is no accident. Whether or not it will be a killer blow to the prime minister and the current government remains to be seen but I think that is a just part of the motivation behind this meeting and the way it is being promoted.

    He’s a performer and an experienced strategist and he wants Internet Mana to be on everyone’s lips in the week leading up to the election. The meeting itself to promote Internet Mana, and the promise of dramatic revelations are part of that strategy and cannot be divorced from one another.

    Many, many people are undecided right up until the day, especially Internet’s target, the party vote by the youth.

    Those from the right like Armstrong calling put up or shut up are grasping.

  7. The fact that Glenn Greenwald will be at the September 15th Event may be part of the reason for the timing:

    Mr Greenwald will travel to New Zealand for an event at the Auckland Town Hall on September 15, when Dotcom says he will release information that is highly damaging for Mr Key and National.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11296486

    The fact that Key and the tories’ NZH minions want the information released piecemeal now; so they can work on damage control, rather than having to address a coordinated and coherant narrative in the week before the election, seems to me a good reason to keep the current schedule. Make the bastards sweat!

    [Key said] “If he seriously has some information, then he should feel free to put that in the public domain and I’ll be more than happy to put my side of events.”

    • However, on Fearfacts; there is this ominous suggestion of impeding the travel of a Pulitzer winning journalist if his reporting would be politically inconvenient to the Government:

      Dotcom has planned a full event around the release, and has confirmed journalist Glenn Greenwald – who first broke the Edward Snowden spying leaks – would speak at the event.

      That was provided Greenwald was allowed into the country.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10290609/Key-calls-Dotcoms-bluff

    • We all know that the 5 days won’t give John Keys spin doctors, legals, and MSM enough time to manufacture any spin, and this is what is so great about this nicely timed reveal.

      Opinion.

      • They’ll be working hard right now to predict Dotcoms plays and come up with different answers for each scenario, shonkey is pretty strong in the art of bullshit on demand.

  8. Try this exceptional series on Aljazeera .
    ‘ Meltdown ‘ . Global financial chaos . Guess who had his flat , greasy , pig trotters wedged firmly into this particular trough . You guessed it ! Johky-stien !
    Ever wonder how the lead vocalist of the Rock Star Economy got to number one ?
    When thinking Jonky-Stien , one must remember this . He is a conman . I don’t mean as a casual descriptive . He is in fact a con man . And I use the word ‘ man ‘ advisedly . Say that slowly , let it sink in . We are being swindled by a ‘ con man . ‘
    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/meltdown/2014/01/2014125111339594423.html

    … and another must-see to complete the picture .
    You may ask yourself ? What’s the connection between slaughtered Palestinian children , billionaire Wall Street bankers and New Zealand ?

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness/2014/05/lab-20145475423526313.html

    • Yes. He and his specialised band of select international cronies, are doing to NZ what they did to Ireland!

      Opinion.

  9. Well, if NZ Herald writers are throwing a fit over KDC then it means that KDC is doing something right.
    5 days out from the election will energise those who may become apathetic. It looks as though KDC will be controlling the political discourse in the final hours of campaigning. Those NZ Herald writers thought they’d be pre-empting another Key victory, but they won’t. I’m sure they’ll try, but who is going to read John Key puff-pieces then?
    Perhaps Toby Manhire and John Armstrong should book in some annual leave from the 15th-20th of Septermber, because nobody will be reading their boner-for-Key softporn drivel

  10. So John Armstrong demands that Dotcom must provide evidence now, or shut up? If only he’d felt to strongly about the NZH’s obligation to do so during the Donghua Liu story, we might not feel inclined to tell him where to stick his demands.

  11. Armstrong has no credibility like Hosking,Henry,Wood,Espiner,Gower etc but then they only doing what their paymaster’s are telling them

    • Well said Lionel they are all a pack of 2nd rate puppets who think they are journalists. It will be interesting to see them squirming after the 20th September. I don’t need to wait until the 15th of September to find out if Key is a liar – his body language shows all whenever he speaks.

  12. KDC is an intelligent man who can afford the best advice. He puts them all in his place when he stated, John Key doesn’t determine my timetable, enough said KDC. I do not care about personalities, KDC is, hopefully, going to prove to the nation what a rat bag liar JK is, once and for all. Ofcourse he is going to turn it into a circus. If he did anything else, the MSM would be working around the clock in feverish damage control, he has put them firmly in their place.

  13. “If Dotcom can prove that the Prime Minister has bare-faced lied, over and over…” (Toby Manhire). Dear oh dear. Where have you been, Toby? It’s common knowledge that Key lies about most things. It’s his default position.

  14. It might not really matter much what KDC says or doesn’t say on Sept 15. In a sense, he has already achieved what he wants – publicity. He knows that the media will be following him around for the next few weeks hanging on his every word, hoping to get an exclusive scoop on the anticipated revelations. More publicity for Internet/Mana equals less publicity for his political opponents, he reasons. Quite a good plan, it would seem. Winston Peters has done this many times in the past. It will be interesting to see if John Key starts getting annoyed at being questioned constantly about Kim Dotcom.

  15. SO is it just about JK is lying or is there something else. Really enjoying the theatrics of it and the wait. Like xmas.

  16. I responded on Stuff to the article on Cunliffe’s “holiday”, but didn’t pass the moderator. My gist was the DC had undergone a vicious and relentless character assassination and deserved a few days to recover his inner resources before the next wave; that any treacherous MP who was undermining his leader should resign and join TeamKey as that was where they belonged; that anyone interested in understanding what was really going on in the campaign should revisit Nicky Hager’s The Hollow Men, book or documentary thereon. I also mentioned that prior to the 2008 election, Don Brash took a holiday in Hawaii and wondered who he and Key meet there, away from NZ eyes

  17. The problem with KDC circus is that he is going to hurt the left and the protest votes more than impact on the Nats. The left parties including Winston might struggle for oxygen and their polling will suffer as a result. Meanwhile KDC antics will also annoy many people from all sides including the supporters Hone needs to get over the line. Kelvin without a secure list position will go all out to win.

    And national voters such as myself will vote right no matter what. The risk of the multiparty coalition led by labour is just too unstable and that is contributing to the continued strong showing by National.

    • Peter – why would you care? You’rte an ex-ACT candidate, so you’re hardly likely to be enamoured by the guy who just sank your Party leader.

      And yes, “national voters such as myself will vote right no matter what” – because you’re guided more by ideology and self-serving rather than looking at the wider evidence.

      As for “the risk of the multiparty coalition led by labour is just too unstable ” – oh puh-leese!! Do you really want to look at the track record of your own four-headed hydra-monster?

      1. ACT – party leader found guilty of submitting a false electoral return and dumped from Parliament.

      2. Peter Dunne – suspected of leaking the Kitteridge report and (temporarily) dumped from his ministerial positions.

      3. The Maori Party – leadership infighting between Flavell, Turia, and Sharples.

      And you have the cheek to whinge about the Left?! *pfffft!*

    • Peter – a circus? A circus like John Banks in Court for fraud? Like Collins and her corrupt activities over Oravida? Hey, what about Nick Smith writing letters on ministerial letterhead for his friends? Or Bill English using $1000 a week of taxpayers money to pay for his accomodation?

      There’s more but I just can’t be arsed.

  18. When one is not distracted by all the “trivia”
    One important fact remains-

    JOHN KEY IS A MAN OF DUBIOUS MORAL CHARACTER.

    UNFIT for office?
    – YES (if you expect sound moral character &demonstrating sound principles to be important criteria for choosing “leader” of a nation )

  19. “Within days, catastrophe exploded into the headlines, sending shards of outrage, shock and grief across the planet as, by bizarre and gruesome coincidence, two storylines of recent world history, civil unrest on Russia’s western border and a Malaysian Boeing 777 airliner collided over the skies of Ukraine.”

    Good grief, a plane merely “collided”, I read. It was damned well shot down, as more than sufficient evidence suggests.

    While I think that Russia and Putin can only be blamed for that to a degree, I see the responsible ones amongst the ethnic Russians that have declared the Donesck Region their “independent republic”, who have been getting quite some help from Russia. Ukraine is not “helpful” in resolving the crisis either, I note, but the at times bizarre explanations from certain posters or commenters here do not help. Name things as they are, please.

    Indeed the world is heading into new crisis, and we know all about strategic interests of the main powers, the bias of media and what else plays a role. But there are so many places now “exploding”, it is not funny.

    I really fear, that the obsession with the NZ mainstream media, to “celebrate” John Key as a “statesman”, and such a “great leader”, letting him off the hook with almost anything, while otherwise rubbishing Cunliffe, Labour and “the left”, will regrettably lead to Key being given heaps of airtime and space, and it will help him and the Nats to win a third term.

    I am very keen to hear what Kim Dotcom has to reveal, but I am sceptical that it will be a game changer. He could have revealed some a bit earlier, and he lost some credit with that one MP, he claimed was going to support the Internet Party, but who was never coming out as being that interested.

    It would be better if Labour get their crap together, stop the internal scheming in caucus, and deliver us policies and a campaign we need. And we also expect the Greens and NZ First to do so.

    I do not rule out IMP getting over 5 percent, but we should not rely on it.

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