Dr Liz Gordon: The state of the States

By   /   December 4, 2018  /   36 Comments

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Just back from a week’s holiday in Hawaii which, by virtue of colonisation and capitalism, became the 50th State of the USA in 1959. As a series of Pacific Islands, it sits quite uncomfortably within the union of States.  For example, the department stores were full of winter clothes, including coats, but Hawaii has no winter, the only ‘seasons’ being rainy and not-rainy.

Just back from a week’s holiday in Hawaii which, by virtue of colonisation and capitalism, became the 50th State of the USA in 1959. As a series of Pacific Islands, it sits quite uncomfortably within the union of States.  For example, the department stores were full of winter clothes, including coats, but Hawaii has no winter, the only ‘seasons’ being rainy and not-rainy.

I talked to some native Hawaiians about their plight.  They have little land (there is a land lease scheme but few qualify for it). They are heavily imprisoned, homeless and/or poor. They don’t protest much.  There are over 90 military bases on the Hawaiian Islands and, as one person noted, when you live beside Big Brother, it is hard to protest.

Having said that, hotel workers ended a very successful 10 week strike while I was there. Their tactic was to make as much noise as possible outside the targeted hotels.  Most of these people hold down two or more jobs to get by, being very poorly paid and yet living in the most expensive State. The pay rise, to over $20 per hour, should help a lot.

I spent a bit of time in the last few days watching TV news, and in particular CNN.  People in the USA choose which news shows to watch on the basis of their beliefs. Not only are events interpreted differently from channel to channel, but the very existence of any such events is challenged from one side to the other.  So, the media is no longer about political disagreements, such as we have here, but over the very nature of reality, truth and facts.

I saw one excellent example of this.  There is a bloke called Jerome Corsi who in linked to another bloke called Roger Stone and to the Mueller probe into Russian dealings.  He is described in the media as a conspiracy theorist, as if it were a job description. This made me wonder what a job description for the position of Conspiracy Theorist would look like.  I came up with the following:

Unique position to influence the course of world events

Conspiracy Theorist

Located in the office of the President/ Prime Minister /King/ Queen/Prince / Emir etc (pick your leader and country).

This is a top position for a self-starter.  You will have excellent connections, a good understanding of multiple truths and be a natural at developing compelling narratives to describe events.  Your qualifications may be in any field, but you will need to have a good understanding across many areas of public life, including the environment, public affairs, society and economy.  You will have strong and creative but extremely flexible views about what is right and wrong.

We are looking for someone who is ultimately authoritative, compelling in both the oral and written word and able to utterly believe every story as it is being told with passion.  You will also have the ability to switch seamlessly between conspiratorial narratives and have the essential arts of dissimulation, confusing the enemy and absolute loyalty to your employer.  A particular political ideology is not required and may hinder progress in this profession.

Salary: enormous.

Then I started thinking about how we would educate for this new profession.  A Bachelor of Conspiracy Theory would, of course, have as its textbook Machiavelli’s the Modern Prince.  There would be courses in psychology (Attribution Theory – how we come to attribute causes to effects), politics and, the media, communications and marketing.  Probably a bit of law as well, to ensure that the conspiracies dreamed up were lawful. It might include an internship with a politician.

There would be an in-depth study (which would be quite fun) of the world’s best conspiracy theories, how they developed, how they ran, and how (if at all) they faded away.

Reading the news, though, one might wonder if there are not already many quite skilled conspiracy theorists out there, including in Nigeria where the President felt forced to announce today that he was the real deal, not a clone! (I read it in the Guardian so it must be true).

It is great to be home, where the Prime Minister wants to promulgate kindness, not conspiracy and where things seem so normal.  Not perfect, but not filled with madness either.

 

 

Dr Liz Gordon began her working life as a university lecturer at Massey and the Canterbury universities. She spent six years as an Alliance MP, before starting her own research company, Pukeko Research.  Her work is in the fields of justice, law, education and sociology (poverty and inequality). She is the president of Pillars, a charity that works for the children of prisoners, a prison volunteer, and is on the board of several other organisations. Her mission is to see New Zealand freed from the shackles of neo-liberalism before she dies (hopefully well before!).

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36 Comments

  1. David Stone says:

    I think the job description above is of supplying the narrative for the MSM to run. A conspiracy theorists is anyone who questions this narrative.
    D J S

    • D'Esterre says:

      David Stone: “I think the job description above is of supplying the narrative for the MSM to run. A conspiracy theorists is anyone who questions this narrative.”

      Yup, you’ve nailed it.

    • G.A.P. says:

      Could not agree more DJS.

  2. Michal says:

    I must confess until a native Hawaian spoke at Unite some years ago in Auckland I knew absolutely nothing of the plight of these people. I supposed I shouldn’t have been shocked, I remember her talking about a supermarket carpark that had been built over sacred ground amongst other things.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Michal: “….I knew absolutely nothing of the plight of these people.”

      Yes, it’s a story not well-enough known. An ancestor of mine worked for the king of Hawai’i in the 19c, so I’ve taken a bit of an interest in that part of the world.

      Hawai’i was stolen by the US from the Hawai’ian people. If people here have concerns about great power hegemony, look at US activities in the Pacific over the last couple of centuries. China isn’t the problem in our neck of the woods. But you’d be justified in being scared of the US.

  3. Andy says:

    I think the term “conspiracy theorist” might have been coined by the CIA to discredit anyone who questioned the JFK single shooter narrative

    • Marc says:

      Have you applied for the job yet? It offers an enormous salary, going by your track record here, I think you would fit the job description almost perfectly.

      • David Stone says:

        Who pays this salary Marc?
        D J S

      • Andy says:

        What track record here? I rarely comment and I haven’t been promoting “conspiracy theories” as far as I know

        • Sam Sam says:

          You don’t matter. Unless there are pictures of you handing bags of money to people predisposed to braking the law- you don’t matter. Unless you’re here just to get what you want, then you’ve got nothing worth protecting.

        • Marc says:

          Andy, you fit the description of ‘conspiracy theorist’ perfectly, merely with your presence and at times bizarre comments. And if you are not such a theorist, you may at least be here to conspire against us.

          • Andy says:

            Can you give me an example? I am genuinely perplexed by the idea that I am “conspiring against you”

            It sounds like you are a paranoid conspiracy theorist if you claim that I am making bizarre comments that is part of a conspiracy against you, whoever “you” represents.

            • Sam Sam says:

              So you want MARC to validate you? I’ll ask you again. Do you even matter?

              • Andy says:

                Sam, your constant attempt to treat me as a subhuman isn’t working

                Try learning some actual debating skills

                • Sam Sam says:

                  Why bring up the level of you’re own intellect? I was asking if you’ve got anything worth hiding ie anything worth constructing a conspiracy around to protect the ones you love and you kind of loosened your lips and blab about our history.

                  Conspiracies only work when state secretes are held by one or two people. When a whole government department for example is constructed to mind manipulate the public then every one can see its effects and it’s no secrete any more.

                  The confusion is all in your own head, Andy.

  4. Andy says:

    NZ has plenty of conspiracy theories that the media promulgates.

    E.g Russian collusion in the US elections.

    • Really, Andy?

      Why would it be unlikely that the Russians interfered in the US elections? After all, our American cuzzies have been doing it for decades.

      • Andy says:

        I didn’t say it was unlikely. I said it is a conspiracy theory, because the media have been peddling this line for more than 2 years and failed to produce any evidence for it.

      • David Stone says:

        Why would they bother Frank?
        If what Trump had to say before election, and what the odd twitter outburst suggests he still believes was valid, then the elected president of the USA is irrelevant to what policies the USA pursues.
        I hate to think of Tulsi Gabbard’s in that invidious position.
        D J S

      • D'Esterre says:

        Frank: “After all, our American cuzzies have been doing it for decades.”

        Indeed. The CIA has been quite open about its meddling in the Russian electoral system, up to and including the rigging of the 1996 election, so that old lush Yeltsin would win the presidency. That meddling is still going on.

        The US sees nothing wrong with this, of course, believing it to be its right to stick its nose into the workings of other polities. US exceptionalism and all that: and not just Russia, of course, as the unfortunate citizens of other polities know to their cost.

        As to accusations that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential in particular, that was la Clinton’s claim, when she unexpectedly lost, because neither she nor her campaign team thought to pay attention to the critical EC votes. Of COURSE she couldn’t take responsibility for her humiliation: she had to blame someone, and Russia was the convenient fall guy.

        Before that election, Putin is reported as having observed that if Clinton won, at least she was a known quantity. The same could not be said for Trump. Though he also said that, regardless, Russia would work with the person the citizens elected.

        So: had there been Russian interference, it’s more likely to have been aimed at getting her, rather than Trump, over the line. I think Andy nails it: over 2 years’ worth of investigation, and nothing substantive yet. It wouldn’t take so long to find evidence: there is none, but the investigation will drag on for the whole of Trump’s term(s), because both Dems and old-school Repubs – and the msm – hate him. It’s designed to white-ant his presidency.

  5. Andy says:

    The other conspiracy theory that the MSM recently peddled was that the White House press dept released a “doctored” video of Jim Acosta from CNN manhandling a WH intern who tried to get the mike off him.

    The video had a format change due to upload to Twitter. It also had a zoomed in part to highlight the manhandling. This is not doctoring.

    All the MSM, including NZ’s garbage media, reported this as “doctored”

    • D'Esterre says:

      Andy: “The video had a format change due to upload to Twitter. It also had a zoomed in part to highlight the manhandling. This is not doctoring.”

      Exactly. I’d noticed this as well. The msm never gives up, does it. It’s apparently so in thrall to its own propaganda, that it doesn’t see what it’s done here.

      Or. Perhaps more realistic view. The msm knows exactly what it’s done, but is so contemptuous of us the viewers that it thinks we won’t notice. And it justifies doing this cos anti-Trump.

      • Nik says:

        With all due respect, Trump really really does completely suck.
        Even as anti-left pundits cry their ‘Anti-trump’ mantra do you/they even recognise that in doing so they’re doing EXACTLY what they imply the despicable liberals are doing?
        Trump is terrible. There is no need to make anything up to advance this narrative. Just listen to any number of things he’s said.
        WHAT precisely is this supposedly disingenuous self-serving agenda of the left alleged to be? I have no partisan agenda to speak of and am aware that all parties at the top end of politics are engaged in all manner of dubious dealings but, fuckin Trump?! Apart from anything else he wrote the fucking book on hideous ad-hominem gaslight trolling, that’s one of the most common things he is regular ad-hominem trolled for doing.

        • Andy says:

          Trump may be terrible, but a lot of people voted for him because they couldn’t face the thought of that evil psychopath Clinton in the White House

        • D'Esterre says:

          Nik: “With all due respect, Trump really really does completely suck.”

          With all due respect, that’s completely irrelevant to the issue that Andy’s raised.

          Contrary to what you appear to believe, this isn’t a defence of Trump: it’s a poke at the msm’s misrepresentation of a video, so as to fit its anti-Trump agenda.

          Well of COURSE Trump’s awful: that’s been true of every US president in my considerably long life. Including the previous incumbent. Judge them by what they do, not what they say. At least Trump hasn’t started another war. Yet.

          In any event, it wouldn’t matter if Trump were Jeanne D’Arc: the msm would still hate him cos he’s a Republican.

          The msm, being largely liberal, generally hates Republican presidents and gives them a very hard time, but loves the Democrats and generally gives them an easy ride. That pattern has pertained throughout my life, since the Eisenhower days.

    • Nik says:

      Doctored or not, it was not manhandling. It was an inadvertant entirely unremarkable extremely brief physical moment.
      I don’t blame the people who questioned the version in question’s authenticity given the degree of absurdity in the Whitehouse’s attempt to discredit Acosta over it. Complete and utter gaslighting nonsense; Emperor’s New Clothes incident of the year.

      • Andy says:

        I agree that the event was fairly unimportant, but the MSM even went to the point of stating that Acosta never touched the intern, after showing the footage showing him touching her. Remember it was the same MSM that went ballistic over Trump’s campaign manager allegedly assaulting a journalist based on half a dozen or so frames of a video.

        The reason that few trust the media (over 70% don’t trust the media in the USA) is because they so brazenly lie.

      • Marc says:

        NIK, you are right.

        • Andy says:

          So you are OK with Acosta shoving women around?

          • Sam Sam says:

            Are you sure it’s not because your worried about being irrelevant?

            • Andy says:

              It is largely irrelevant. But when the media state that Acosta didn’t touch the intern, after showing the original footage (pre-“doctored”) that clearly shows Acosta touching her, they have no credibility left whatsoever.

              Then crybaby Acosta claims to be the victim and prattles on about 1st amendment rights.

              CNN really are fake news

          • Marc says:

            NO, which he did not, he should rather shove people like you around.

      • Andy says:

        Acosta was rude and pushed a woman away to keep hold of his mike and keep asking questions, when it was clear that he was told to pass the mike onto other journalists.

        No one has claimed it was assault.