BLOGWATCH: TDB stands with The Standard – when The Democracy Project doesn’t care about Atlas Network


There’s little love lost between The Daily Blog and The Standard, but we stand with them in their criticism of The Democracy Project‘s NZ First Apologist Chris Trotter in his bizarre attempt to repudiate the influence of The ATLAS Network in NZ Politics…

A sad lament from the serial left

Attacking leftists attempts to expose the Atlas Network of right-wing think tanks, Chris Trotter offers this gem “Morally speaking, is taking money from oil companies really all that distinguishable from giving money to oil companies every time we fill up our petrol tank?”

He goes on: “Getting from A to B; winning the battle of ideas; the Devil clips our ticket either way.”

Trotter is not normally this fatuous. There is a colossal moral distinction. In the latter case the Devil is helping us get our bodies from A to B; in the former the oil companies’ money is aimed at perverting our minds, in the interest of the oil companies’ corporate profits. Think global warming.

Trotter is aware of some of the work of the billionaire right over the years, and of the metastasising influence of their billionaire-funded think tanks, co-ordinated in some case more recently by the Atlas Foundation, and now more evident than ever in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

It is however ironic that Trotter’s nothing-to-see-here defence of right-wing think tanks is written under the aegis of the Democracy Project. Citizens United, the US Supreme Court decision that held that corporations were the same as natural persons and were as free to donate to political causes unleashed a massive flood of right-wing money for political influence.

But his argument for equivalence that the left also has such think-tanks is bollocks. The money available to the right is light years in advance of what the left can access. When combined in the US with government money for propaganda purposes, we are talking trillions here.

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Sometime back in the last century a few of us met at our house in Mt Victoria to discuss the formation of a left-wing think tank in New Zealand. We very soon came to the conclusion that there was no money for such likely to be obtained here. The options available at the time were to go into the University, or to try one’s best on “the smell of an oily rag.”

Ian Shirley, sadly no longer with us, set up the Institute of Social Policy when he was at Massey University, the Institute for Public Policy at Auckland University of Technology and finally the Policy Observatory. They all had considerable influence, and Ian was well known internationally.

Our contribution was the oily rag option. With some friends we set up the fourth iteration of the New Zealand Fabian Society, first established in Christchurch with socialist objectives in the late nineteenth century. I describe it as a think group rather than a think tank, and with the voluntary contribution of so many good minds it has now established a considerable resource of valuable ideas, from Aotearoa and around the world.

Helen Clark and Peter Davis were also part of those discussions, and finally we now do have a proper think tank with the eponymous Helen Clark Foundation, which will attract significant contributions and has already made a major impact.

The sad thing is that Trotter wants to both denigrate the attempt here and in the Daily Blog to highlight the danger that the Atlas Network has for our minds and our policies, and also to use that as yet another attack on the left for losing an election because it did not form its own think tank. As the record for political donations shows, there just isn’t the money.

The Democracy Project is endlessly critiquing the Professional Managerial Class’s corrupt influence in Left wing politics because The Democracy Project was hounded with culture war criticism from many of those very same Woke Wellington Professional Managerial Class, so it’s personal, which is fine and dandy because I can’t stand those Woke Wellington Professional Managerial Class types either, but sweet Zombie Jesus, in comparison to what Right wing lobbyists are cooking up under this new Government, from Tobacco, from Big Fishing, from the Real Estate Pimps – AND NOW – The Atlas Network, the Woke Wellington Professional Managerial Class look fucking childlike in juxtaposition.

The crazy thing about conspiracy theories isn’t that they aren’t real, it’s that the most crazy and outlandish conspiracies like the anti-vaxxers, like the Qanonners, the Cookers and the Settler rednecks get all the attention when real and actual conspiracies are occurring right in front of our noses.

Why does all of this matter so much?

Well look at who is funding the Atlas Network! It’s all the worst industries with the worst records and with the money to ensure laws are written for them and not against them, that’s extraordinarily dangerous!

There is a fucking difference between a Left Wing Think Tank getting funding from Unions that wants to make workers rights stronger and Right Wing Think tanks funded by far right Billionaires, Tobacco, Oil and Coal using spite politics to ensure their interests and profit margins are expanded at the cost of the climate, the people and the entire fucking planet!

The Democracy Project’s total inability to see the difference between those two things is jaw dropping in its audacity!

How the fuck is this all presented as Leftwing critical analysis? This is only ‘leftwing’ if it was on The Platform!

Monbiot makes this point…

And who, in turn, are the junktanks? Many refuse to divulge who funds them, but as information has trickled out we have discovered that the Atlas Network itself and many of its members have taken money from funding networks set up by the Koch brothers and other rightwing billionaires, and from oil, coal and tobacco companiesand other life-defying interests. The junktanks are merely the intermediaries. They go into battle on behalf of their donors, in the class war waged by the rich against the poor. When a government responds to the demands of the network, it responds, in reality, to the money that funds it.

…Oil, coal, tobacco, right wing billionaires, the fucking Koch brothers, dark money influencing our political system so much so that we see the exact same agenda being rolled out here!

Look at this agenda:

A crash programme of massive cuts;

We are seeing this now

demolishing public services;

National, ACT and NZ First all collectively campaigned on demolishing public services!

privatising public assets;

ACT Party fantasy.

centralising political power;

When it came to the Māori Health Authority they couldn’t nationalise fast enough!

sacking civil servants;

They all promised this.

sweeping away constraints on corporations and oligarchs;

Watch their policy platform roll out that dismantles regulation, they are already lining up legislation to open mining up and give Shane Jones fast track powers.

destroying regulations that protect workers, vulnerable people and the living world;

They attacked worker and renter rights in the first week of power.

supporting landlords against tenants;

Handed Landlords right to evict and tax loopholes.

criminalising peaceful protest;

Have started this aimed at da gangs, watch how quickly those powers get re-interpreted for environmental protests.

restricting the right to strike.

Attacked Fair Pay Agreements on day one.

The Atlas (shrugged) Network is funded by petrol oligarchs and climate change polluters who find the social media pressure points the way the old Cambridge Analytics did. They can micro target and mine resentment better than anyone else in the game, and they pass those findings along allowing for local think tanks to plot legislative change welded to the culture war pressure points and allow hate algorithms to do the rest.

This is happening right as Gerry Brownlee cloaks these lobbyists in secrecy, right when legislation allowing mining on conservation land is being cooked up alongside fast track powers to push them through alongside an attempt to dismantle the Treaty Principles so that Māori don’t need to be consutled when these Trans National’s start up.

As the push for more privatisation, steeper austerity and race baiting policy collides with extreme weather events, destabilising geopolitics and increasingly desperate first time home buyers bled out from rising mortgage rates and beneficiaries and state tenants kicked off welfare and out of homes, the only winner will be private prisons and the bloody Atlas Network!

To shrug it off as The Democracy Project does via Trotter’s latest fig leaf offering to NZ First limits the narrative to one where this hard right racist climate denying Government are sold to us as ‘moderate’ by The Democracy Project so they can keep fighting the culture war grievances of the last 8 years.

There are bigger threats to our democracy than the Wellington woke, because the Wellington woke are far less competent than the Trans National Mining Interests and privatisation/de-regulation agenda quietly being rammed through under urgency right now.

Atlas ‘Shrugged’, The Democracy Project ‘Meh’d’.

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  1. “…the worst industries,with the worst records and with the money to ensure that laws are written for them and not against them….”
    Like the pharmaceutical industry, Bomber?

    Pfizer, Saviour of US All, boasts some of the very highest penalties for misleading marketing and poorly tested products in US history.

    Yet here we are.

    Left wing blowhard..sorry, blogger…repeatedly derides and denigrates those of us who who knew this and chose not to participate in the batshit crazy social and medical experiment of mandated Covid vaccines.

    And same Left Wing blowhard/blogger repeatedly censors any comment that provides evidence that despite the hype, the products forced on us by a government in the thrall of that most rapacious of Big Corporates cannot be accurately described as “safe and effective”. Not in the real world anyway.

    And same Left Wing Blowhard/Blogger also will censor comments that include references for published papers, written by actual reputable Public Health professionals, that express grave concern that mandating measures that contribute little towards controling a pandemic do more harm than good. That in fact, these Draconian policies could undermine the community’s trust in Public Health for generations.

    Your are a cowardly hypocrite Bomber.

    Why not be brave and allow a guest post that offers this information, and allow readers to make their own evaluations of evidence provided in such a post?

    • Because you are crazy batshit Love, and allowing you to comment amounts to self mutilation.

      Put down the razor blades and go have a walk on the beach Rosemary. It’s important for the rest of us to see how unhinged these antivaxx grievance martyrs are, so we will post them from time to time so you can see what cray cray really looks like.

    • Rosemary you remind me of that batshit crazy American Trump employee who stated “alternative facts”?

      Where is she now?

  2. Take note:

    There are in the USA ALONE OVER 350 plus right wing conservative / Republican aligned think tanks .
    All of them receive money via the two Koch brothers.

    These 350 groups meet ever year to discuss policy etc at a secretive location.

    The ATLAS Network is just THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

    All the bullshit we are facing originates from these 350 groups.

  3. Get this book from your local library.

    Christchurch library has a few copies as I requested them to get io in.

    It is frightening to see the USA bullshit now appearing here in NZ from the Racist crap to the economic dogma.


    Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right is a 2016 non-fiction book written by American investigative journalist Jane Mayer.

    Originally published: 19 January 2016
    Author: Jane Mayer
    ISBN: 978-0-385-53559-5
    Pages: 464
    Subject: Political science, Economics

  4. The Atlas network is a real and dangerous thing ,,, shining light on it’s nefarious activities is like exposing pick-pockets and con-men ,,,, which is why Seymor kept squeaking “conspiracy theory’s!'” when pressed on his/Acts deep alliance with them….

    The Atlas Network although bad, pertinent and in need of it’s wings clipping in AoNz,,,, it is just one project in a very rich and powerful Ideology which like rust never sleeps…..

    Which brings me to New Zealands Billionaire Chandler brothers ,,,, and their Legatum think tank/lobby group ,,, which played/plays a large role in the UK’s Brexit and politics.

    The reason I bring them up is that the most informative article that I know of about them was removed/disappeared from the Internet a few years back ,,, why this article disappeared I do not know,,, but I suspect Billionaires money coupled with legal threats could be a possible reason, a poor or average person telling the truth would be bankrupted trying to defend it ….

    Anyway the article about the Chandler brothers who have been described as ‘Vulture Capitalists’ (a very Atlas thing) has been archived,,,, and it’s worth a read for a few reasons.

    Their common Ideology is so obviously obnoxious and unpleasant that it always has to be disguised and hidden ,,, The Atlas Ideology, Legatum , and our Billionaire Chandler brothers

    • Do you have any evidence of this ‘deep alliance’? Do you have any evidence that Atlas is ‘dangerous’? Or is it just that they support opinions you disagree with?


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