The Onion is Serious Journalism

http://www.theonion.com/articles/bush-our-long-national-nightmare-of-peace-and-pros,464/

Old articles from The Onion are like fine wines – they just get better with age. The above piece is a 2001 vintage  – but featured the most salient assessment of the coming Bush terms I’ve read.

The Nation on Cunliffe

From TV3′s The Nation.

Farrar has eagerly blogged about the muzzling of Cunliffe

We now have a situation where Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson has been gagged from speaking publicly on economic development and related issues. This is not the sign of a happy camp, and indicates how tense things must be.

Tense? Maybe. But thankfully more disciplined than just two weeks ago. Labour’s caucus has been typified by a suicidal level of dysfunction since the electoral loss in 2009, and unless things improve it will remain unelectable. Shearer must impose himself if things are to improve. Goff’s greatest error was to avoid stepping forward – his more assertive performance during the election was a breath of fresh air.

Despite the muck-raking on Kiwiblog, I think Shearer will sleep a little sounder tonight.

New Cain

Despite pulling out of the race, Herman Cain is still speaking to the electorate.

This short from Cain is deadly serious, and is a useful indicator of the electoral processes at play in American right now: it is getting crazy in there. The dystopian nightmare of Cain is something to behold: David Lynch meets highschool film-making course. And he’s deadly serious.

Messages like this form a very real context for American voters – something to keep in mind when considering the policies and people Americans are casting their ballots for.

Holding a cricket bat

I dont like parliamentary debate in New Zealand. It doesn’t feel relevent, vital or interesting compared to more traditional modes politicians use to communicate with the public, such as appearing on Radio Sport or morning television.

So it’s nice to have my lazy cynicism of the House challenged by some rather good work by Julie Ann Genter.

I found this via James Henderson at the Standard, a man it seems who can’t help but vomit bile across his prose. Mocking the education of “Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, whose qualification for the job is that he used to teach kids to make wooden toys” just confirms my opinion that collectively The Standard brings too much bad karma into the world. Gerry has his his faults; I wish The Standard could usefully assess them.

The decision to build the Roads of National Significance is awful, but it was taken with full advice. It merely continues a long kept tradition established here in the time of Vogel: pork-barrel practices acquired an irresistable hold and wrought upon the parliamentary machine a design which it has never lost.

And Genter shows what a well asked question or two can do in the House. For a new MP it is interesting to hear her speak, and with her slow and careful pronounciation like someone using a second or third language. Like Obama holding a cricket bat.

Genter embarrassed the Government pretty well there. She illustrated pretty clearly how the decision behind Roads of National Significance was venal and gross. Her question in then house can be read as the some version of the “fresh talent takes on tired career politician” storyline.

He aint Muldoon, and she sure aint Lange, but the same generational shift is playing out.

ouch

Looking at the front page of Stuff I couldn’t help but notice that it is a negative looking news cycle out there right now.

 

Smiling yet?

John Key desperately needs good news right now. There’s a palpable absence of a “smart growth idea” in the National brand.

Last term it was all about the cycle way and home insulation. They were long term projects that let MPs all over the country get engaged with positive community based public investment. There are supposed to be happy Chch rebuilding stories happening about now – but continued shaking has delayed starting.

This term the best idea so far is the Sky city convention centre and pokie machine expansion, which will do little to impress the heternormative white middleclass electorate* who make up the swinging vote in this country.

*Key’s taken to calling them “kiwi mums and dads” – keep an eye out.

The Electoral Industrial Complex

This latest polemic from American Crossroads is fantastic telivision: dripping with production value and better writing than most domestic sitcoms.

It is incredible to think of the industry clustering around the American electoral process. And why not, there’s money to made. There are the candidate’s warchests of course, with Obama easily ahead – raising a casual $31.8M Us in the first quarter this year. It will be interesting to watch this year’s election to see how relevent candidate campaign money is in the face of unlimited superpac funds, and to discover how unlimited those funds really are.

Former Zaoui campaigner Gordon Campbell puts his mind to the salient question – just how credible a security threat is Huawei?

Put it this way: Huawei is the sort of tainted corporate player that – if it were an asylum seeker – we would be clapping it in solitary confinement and trying to deport it as quickly as possible. Unless if course, as in this case, it chose to offer us a lot of money. But sacrificing your country’s basic security for short term trade benefits rarely ends happily.