The vast rightwing conspiracy: REVEALED

Readers, I have earth-shattering received information which will blow the lid of one of the greatest scandals of our time.

An internal WhaleOil document, exclusively created by released to Boots Theory, show the innermost workings of a corrupt, depraved, unmitigated, cryptofascist conspiracy to control our media, our government, our daily lives and even our rare Pepes.

Nicky Hager ain’t got shit on this.

I’ve uploaded the documentation at full resolution so it can be available to all in the event of my sudden disappearance.

Click to view the full, horrific truth.

Click to view the full, horrific truth.

Now, this may at face value appear to be a really obvious two-minute job with the SmartArt functions in Microsoft Word and some Google image searches. The kind of “evidence” which shouldn’t even seem compelling to the people who really, really want to believe it’s true. Don’t worry, loyal Booters: I’m suspicious too.

But it’s so important to unveil the terrible depths that the rightwing will sink to – the secret Bitcoin payments, the hidden overseas blind look-through trust fund trusts, the pineapple on the pizza – that I am willing to pay hundreds, nay thousands of dollars to an elite super hacker who can’t even spell the names of my targets correctly and thinks screenshots of a Notepad file counts as “documentation”.

I’m doing it for you. I’m doing it for our country. And above all, I’m doing it for myself.

witness me

With absolutely no apologies nor credit to Cameron Slater or his self-important creep of a conman, Ben Rachinger.

10 things to spend your money on instead of INCITE

Cameron Slater has a premium monthly newsletter out. Apparently it’s … not good.

So why pay $35 a month for a collection of hackneyed rightwing thinkpieces? You could spend about that much – or less! on something like:

A Christmas piglet – $40

Oxfam will provide a family in Papua New Guinea with a piglet to raise for breeding and sale, providing their community with a good income.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on Steam – $23.99

After 224 hours of gameplay I’m still going back for more. For less than an additional month’s subscription to INCITE – you could get the Legendary Edition for $47.99. Or if postapocalyptic black humour is more your thing, the Fallout 3: Game of the Year edition is only $23.99 itself.

Six lunches for Kiwi kids in need – $30

Through Eat My Lunch’s “Give Two” programme.

This adorable sulky Harley Quinn plush – $19.99 plus shipping

Look at her little pouty face!

One social work or support session for a client at Wellington Rape Crisis – $25

Every bit makes a huge difference to survivors of sexual violence.

One kilogram of green apple flavoured jelly beans – $29.95 plus shipping

Nom.

A Trade Aid monkey toy box – $34.99

MONKEY!

This really pretty tui-patterned wallet – $35 plus shipping

From The Sewphist.

A Christchurch roadcone t-shirt – $40 plus shipping

Fair trade, organic cotton, etc.

A wooden toy coffee maker – $36 plus shipping

Brand recommended by Emily and the amazing Eddie – perfect for the budding Wellington Twitterati in your family.

Disclaimer: some of these items are produced by buddies of mine; I am involved in some of these organisations. Your money, do what you like with it – even if that means subscribing to INCITE.

We totally meant to do that: the WhaleOil story

There is no point engaging in argument with the WhaleOil crew, however many or few of them there are. This is taken as read by most people on the left, and was even before Nicky Hager exposed what a shallow, mercenary organisation “they” are.

A lot of our antipathy towards them has to be ideological. We’re talking about an extremely rightwing, vicious attack machine which actively seeks to destroy the lives of people who stand opposed to it.

But there’s no need to bring political opinions into this. The chief reason not to give even the slightest benefit of the doubt to WhaleOil is because nothing published there has any weight. It’s nonsensical and self-contradicting, and while I should really just not be writing this post and giving them oxygen, it may be helpful to have one canonical example of this as a warning to the next ten generations.

Holla if you get that reference

Shout out if you get that reference

So Cam Slater wrote a book about the terribleness of unions, and the first review posted on Amazon was a five-star paean, under a pseudonym, quickly discovered to belong to WhaleOil moderator Pete Belt. Immediately after publishing, free signed copies were sent, apparently to every Labour MP and other leftwingers who would presumably be outraged by its contents.

And yesterday this post [donotlink] went up praising the book for being #1 in Amazon’s Kindle/Kindle eBooks/Nonfiction/Politics & Social Sciences/Politics & Government/Specific Topics/Labor & Industrial Relations category. It is remarkable only for being a perfect example of Whaleoil doublespeak.

To accept the assertions of Pete’s post, you are asked to accept several ideas:

  • That seeing “many copies” at the CTU conference proves the book is popular among Slater’s enemies, while admitting dozens of copies have been sent for free … to Slater’s enemies
  • That “the media and the Left were very quiet” about the book (which may not ring true if you follow #nzpol on Twitter) and that this means there was a deliberate strategy of not talking about the book
  • That “the Left have outrage cornered”, but WhaleOil nevertheless had to “engineer” it because of our deliberate strategy of not talking about the book
  • That Pete Belt deliberately left a mild-sounding but favourable review with a “provocative” screen name in order to “engineer” outrage
  • That the Left then promptly forgot our strategy of not talking about the book and began talking about it
  • At which point Pete Belt immediately deleted the review, because its only purpose was to engineer outrage, not game the book’s rating
  • And this all proves that the Left are buying Slater’s book in droves – even though the Amazon figures are for the Kindle edition, not the hardcopy, which has been sent for free to many people.

It’s a classic case of someone saying whatever they need to in the moment to “refute” the arguments against them. It’s “I totally meant to do that” writ large. Of course it’s accepted without question by the WhaleOil commentariat, rejected out of hand by the Twitterati, and largely ignored by the rest of the country who have better things to do with their time.

By accounts from people who have read the book, there’s not a lot of new material. There’s not much material full stop. If you want to know why Cameron Slater hates unions, and what he thinks is wrong with them, he’s already told us, many times, for free.

Which is probably why no one had to create a “strategy” of not talking about the book. Though the cover is still pretty funny.

Damn right I’m angry

It’s funny (or depending on your point of view, completely predictable) how often feminist analysis and leftwing analysis overlap.

There’s a term: “tone argument”. It refers to the regular pleas directed at feminists, anti-racism activists, indigenous rights activists, trans activists, etc to stop being so aggressive and ask nicely for fundamental human rights and dignity instead of shouting so much. It’s a derailment, a troll move, a way to undermine and ignore the actual arguments being made. As summed up by the Geek Feminism wiki:

The tone argument is a form of derailment, or a red herring, because the tone of a statement is independent of the content of the statement in question, and calling attention to it distracts from the issue at hand. Drawing attention to the tone rather than content of a statement can allow other parties to avoid engaging with sound arguments presented in that statement, thus undermining the original party’s attempt to communicate and effectively shutting them down.

The irony is that these voices are already marginalized. Shouting is often the only way to get heard.

But it occurs in “normal” politics too. The idea that rational, reasonable, calmly-delivered arguments are inherently superior to loud, assertive, passionate – emotional – arguments is strongly ingrained.

And thus Cameron Slater and his little helpers jumped to label Andrew Little as “Angry Andy” from the moment it looked like he was going to put his name forward for the party leadership. Look, he’s so shouty, the meme goes. Voters don’t like shouty people. Shouting must mean you’re not very sensible.

We’re not mean to get angry, you know. But why wouldn’t we be?

We have a government which has shrugged its shoulders while families have been forced to live in cars and chronically-ill people have been driven off benefits. A government which has sat back and let the people of Christchurch wait five years – and longer – to get their homes repaired to liveable standards.

A government which removed the right to regular rest breaks at work and refuses to take a strong stand on health and safety. A government literally making it up as it goes along on dealing with the Auckland housing crisis – a crisis it barely acknowledges exists.

A government which refuses to properly fund sexual violence services and has done the absolute minimum to ensure the clients of Relationships Aotearoa are being properly cared for as they transition to new counsellors. Which let a diplomat accused of sexual assault flit off to his home country and bad-mouthed his victim for her political beliefs.

A government which is selling us down the river on the TPPA, paying off Saudi millionaires for vague promises of free trade, and sending Kiwi soldiers into harm’s way in Iraq to please our (former?) colonial masters.

We have a government which has consistently eroded our democracy, our work rights, our public services, and our social safety net – and expects us to go along with it for the promise of an illusory Budget surplus and maybe some small tax cuts after the next election.

A government which has cemented its power with a dirty tricks campaign run out of the 9th floor of the Beehive and paid for with your tax dollars.

If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

And when you’re angry, you can change the world. That’s why anger scares them so much.

(Note: Video NSFW, sweary awesomeness)

How the Dirty Politics machine continues to do its work

“There are a few basic propositions with negative campaigning that are worth knowing about. It lowers turnout, favours the right more than the left as the right continue to turn out, and drives away the independents.”

Simon Lusk, email to Nicky Hager reproduced in Dirty Politics (p18)

One of the many dispiriting things Nicky Hager described in Dirty Politics was how attack blogs like Whaleoil and two-dimensional shell organisations like the Taxpayers’ Union have been deliberately created by the right to push their narrative on New Zealand politics.

From page 103:

Like the blogs that ‘need not be associated (in name) with your party or campaign’, the NZTU is an example of a supposedly independent organisation designed to back up the work of a political party. Its launch press release described it as a ‘politically independent grassroots campaign’, but it is no more politically independent than the election finance and anti-MMP campaigns. In fact, it was like a rerun of the anti-MMP campaign, with Jordan Williams once again as frontperson and [David] Farrar as founder and main strategist.

The strategy works on a big or small scale. Sometimes it’s specific stories – like Len Brown’s affair, which was “broken” on Whaleoil – and sometimes it’s just general ideas and memes which benefit the right – all politicians are troughers, government spending is out of control, unions are evil.

The point isn’t to stir up the Whaleoil or Kiwiblog commentariat into ever grosser expressions of racism, misogyny and generalised hatred. It’s to make headlines in the mainstream, offline media. To get specifically-chosen language into the common vernacular.

And here we are today, with the Taxpayers’ Union pointing fingers at MPs’ travel expenses – always an easy target and one which literally everyone, besides the MPs themselves, are happy to throw shade at – and specifically, at the extension of those perks to partners. Or as they put it:

‘WAGs’ Should Stay at Home

WAGs is a very particularly British term, applied to the partners (“wives and girlfriends”) of professional football (soccer) players. It’s pretty obviously demeaning and dehumanizing – you’re not a person, you’re a vagina attached to a famous man – and feeds into any number of boring sexist tropes about women as pointless accessories whose “proper” place is in the home.

In this day and age, and when applied to the partners of New Zealand Members of Parliament, it’s also wildly inaccurate, since:

  • Not all MPs are men
  • Not all male MPs are heterosexual
  • Not all women partners of MPs fit into the categories of “wife” or “girlfriend”

But it is a snappy headline, precisely calculated to create indignation among one part of the population (containing me and my very best Killjoy Feminist buddies) and Daily Mail-esque class resentment in another.

And thus it was copy-pasted straight onto an article at Stuff:

MPs’ Europe trip: ‘WAGs should stay home’

And that’s how the machine keeps on ticking.

The irritating thing about it is that there is an important issue to explore here. The idea of partners (who yes, historically were assumed to all be wives) getting subsidised travel, even being automatically included, in work-related travel is a pretty archaic idea, still barely clinging on in some sectors and industries.

But that honestly doesn’t matter to the Taxpayer’s Union. They – and it feels somehow inappropriate to use a plural pronoun – weren’t created to fight issues of government spending on principle. They were created to sow National Party-favouring ideas into mainstream political discussion, and they’ll do that by any means necessary.

Specific reform of MPs’ expenses isn’t the goal. It’s about getting widespread acceptance of the idea that all politicians are troughing scum and all politics is dirty and why bother voting, it just encourages them.

Just like Simon Lusk said.