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NZ Election 2017

by snowman1989

September 24, 2017

Well, here's another opportunity to explain how Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) works in practice. I feel like every other time I've explained it, I keep leaving you with more questions than answers. Hopefully, I'll be more successful this time.

After five weeks of campaigning, it's almost over. The centre-right National Party has taken the most votes at 46% (58 seats), centre-left Labour has taken 35.8% (45 seats), populist NZ First got 7.5% (9 seats), left wing Greens took 5.8% (7 seats), right wing ACT got a pathetic 0.5% (1 seat), the left-leaning newcoming Opportunities Party got 2.2% (yet failed to win a seat), and the indigenous-rights focused Maori Party are facing extinction at 1.1% (no seats).

So what does all of this mean? In a country like the US or the UK, you'd think the answer would be obvious. National won, right? They did win the most votes. A lot of Kiwis feel the same way, with their minds still stuck in the days of first-past-the-post. But under MMP, it isn't that simple.

In most other democracies, this would be considered a hung parliament, meaning no single party has gained a majority of the vote. National has a lot of votes, but they still only have 46%, meaning the majority of Kiwis voted against them. And we haven't counted votes from overseas yet, or from late enrollments, which tend to favour the left, so we can probably expect National to lose a seat or two in the coming days. But even if National's vote percentage remains the same, you cannot legitimately make a new Parliament with less than 50% of the vote (60 seats).

In MMP-style democracies, hung parliaments are not unusual, they are the norm. The idea is to have the big parties bargain with the small parties to add their seats together into coalitions so that they can make a new Parliament in a way so that voters are more fairly represented by their MPs. For instance, in the previous election National made a deal with ACT, United Future (UF) and the Maori Party. But in the latest election the centrist UF was obliterated, and will probably never be seen again. The Maori Party has similarly been banished into the political wilderness, as its voter base considers the party tainted by its association with National - in its glory years, the party was aligned with Labour and has similar votes to what NZ First has now, and the base has never forgiven the party leadership's snub by turning to the right.

Right now, National's only real ally is ACT, probably the party that is the closest equivalent to US Republicans in NZ. And they have clung on by the skin of their teeth. They've won their traditional stronghold in Epsom, but that's only one measly seat, not enough for National to form a government. Were it not for Epsom, they too would have been lost in the wilderness like the rest of National's allies.

Looking at the left, National has more votes than all of them combined. Labour has rebouded after a last-minute leadership change under Jacinda Ardern, while the Greens slumped greatly after former co-leader Matiria Turei admitted to benefit fraud in the 1990s. The Opportunities Party, despite winning more than four times the vote than ACT, didn't gain a seat because it failed to win an electorate like ACT did in Epsom, and failed to win 5% of the vote, which is the threshold needed for a party without an electorate to win a seat in Parliament. It's a noticable flaw of our current system. :? Looking back, Jacinda had an uphill battle, since her predecessors ran the Labour Party into the ground before she took over just a couple of months ago. Back then, the party was polling at around 23%, so the fact she's managed to get back so high up in such a short amount of time is pretty amazing. Still, Labour and their traditional Green allies do not have enough votes on their own to challenge National.

Which leaves NZ First. On the political spectrum, they tend to be right-leaning, but their leader Winston Peters is famously unpredictable and has swung left and right and all over the place. In other words, he's a born opportunist looking for which leading party will give him the better deal. Both Labour and National desperately want his seats, because he has enough to either give National a comfortable 67 seat majority, or Labour-Green a slim majority of 61 seats. In either case, you'd have a legit government. In the last election Winston sided with Labour, but he's formed coalitions with National in the past. Right now, he has the role of Kingmaker, or Queenmaker in Labour's case. Winston reportedly hates that description of his role right now. :lol:

It could be days or even weeks before the rest of the votes are in and Winston's made up his mind. If you read what the media's saying about the election, you'd think National has won. Do NOT think that. New Zealand doesn't use first-past-the-post, we use MMP which focuses on building coalitions in order to gain a fairer representation of our population. It aint over 'till the fat lady sings. Or until Winston stops humming and hawing.

Obi-Wan Kenobi solo film confirmed!!!

by CWS

August 23, 2017

This has long been rumored, and now there is confirmation.

What has not yet been confirmed is whether or not Ewan McGregor will return to portray not-quite-Old Ben in a movie set between Episode III and IV. But that will justifiably be nearly every fan's expectation, especially in light of his voice-only cameo in Episode VII, and the fact that he's been telling everyone and their brother (possibly extending to random strangers on the street) how much he'd love to do another Star Wars movie, for years.

Finally, it's more than just my own opinion that seeing McGregor return as (not-quite) Old Ben would unquestionably be one of the absolute coolest things imaginable. I'm often inclined in many cases to downplay the impact the casting of a single actor is likely to have on a movie, but this is definitely an exception to that.

Antifa and the Alt-Right: America's Twin Cancers

by CWS

August 20, 2017

By now I'm sure everyone is aware of the political chaos currently engulfing the US, which exploded last weekend at a horrific event in Charlottesville, North Carolina, where "Antifa" activists clashed with neo-Nazi demonstrators and a white supremacist asshole ran over a bunch of people with his car, murdering a woman. Since then, President Trump's muddled, half-hearted response and his dubious ties to the so-called "alt-right" have been topics of continual media focus, and Antifa has gone on a spree of increasingly indiscriminate vandalism.

Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro has published an op-ed which I think is both even-handed and highly accurate, attempting to explain exactly what is happening and how we really got here.

Ben Shapiro @ National Review wrote:

Antifa and the Alt-Right, Growing in Opposition to One Another
There is a cancer in the body politic. We must cut it out, or be destroyed.
By Ben Shapiro — August 15, 2017

America has cancer.

On Saturday, a crowd of alt-right white supremacists, neo-confederates, and Nazi sympathizers marched in Charlottesville, Va.; they were confronted by a large group of protesters including members of the Marxist Antifa — a group that has time and again plunged volatile situations into violence, from Sacramento to Berkeley. There’s still no certain knowledge of who began the violence, but before long, the sides had broken into the sort of brutal scrum that used to characterize Weimer-era Germany. The two sides then carried the red banner and the swastika; so did the combatants on Saturday.

Then a Nazi-sympathizing alt-right 20-year-old Ohioan plowed his car into a crowd of protesters, killing one and injuring 19. The president of the United States promptly failed egregiously to condemn alt-right racism; instead, he opted for a milquetoast statement condemning “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.”

The Left leapt into action, declaring Trump’s statement utterly insufficient — which, of course, it was. But they then went further, declaring that Antifa was entirely innocent, despite Antifa’s launching into violence against pro-Trump marchers in Seattle over the weekend, as they have in Sacramento and Berkeley; berating New York Times journalist Sheryl Gay Stolberg for having the temerity to report that “the hard left seemed as hate-filled as the alt-right”; and suggesting that all conservatives were, at root, sympathizers with the Nazi-friendly alt-right.

And so here we stand: On the one side, a racist, identity-politics Left dedicated to the proposition that white people are innate beneficiaries of privilege and therefore must be excised from political power; on the other side, a reactionary, racist, identity-politics alt-right dedicated to the proposition that white people are innate victims of the social-justice class and therefore must regain political power through race-group solidarity.

None of this is new, of course. The Left has engaged in identity politics since the 1960s and engaged in heavy violence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The white-supremacist movement has been with us since the founding of the republic. But both movements had been steadily shrinking until the last few years.

Now they’re growing. And they’re largely growing in opposition to one another. In fact, the growth of each side reinforces the growth of the other: The mainstream Left, convinced that the enemies of social-justice warriors are all alt-right Nazis, winks and nods at left-wing violence; the right, convinced that its SJW enemies are focused on racial polarization, embraces the alt-right as a form of resistance. Antifa becomes merely a radical adjunct to traditional Democratic-party politics; the alt-right becomes merely a useful tool for scurrilous Republican politicians and media figures.

Three factors led to this self-reinforcing growth loop.

First, increasing political polarization.

President Obama allowed the politics of racial fragmentation to fester on his watch; he repeatedly trafficked in broad generalities about American racism. Obama focused incessantly on the specter of white bigotry: “the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives,” embedded in our collective DNA. In response, an identity politics began creepily infusing the Right, with some white people embracing the mold cast upon them by the Left, creating a soft racial solidarity in backlash. This, of course, only strengthened the Left’s views of white privilege, which in turn strengthened the Right’s views of white victimhood.

The second factor was media malfeasance.

Left-wing media — and “objective” media — saw an advantage in highlighting the antics of racists such as Richard Spencer and David Duke. Focusing on the racist alt-right allowed the media to draw the convenient conclusion that the alt-right was a growing force in Republican politics that had to be fought through support for Democrats. Meanwhile, the media cast a blind eye toward Antifa’s violent Weimer-style rioting in Sacramento and Berkeley.

In response, right-wing media began tut-tutting the alt-right as victims of Antifa and focused exclusively on Antifa as a nefarious force; they also responded to the Left’s disgusting attempts to lump in the Right with the alt-right by accepting a broader, false definition of the alt-right that could include traditional conservatism. They even bought into the shameful rebranding of the alt-right as defenders of Western civilization by shills such as Milo Yiannopoulos. That rebranding provided a convenient way of fighting the Left: “If the Left is calling us alt-right, that’s just because they hate that we stand for Western civilization!”

Finally, there’s political convenience.

Obama’s repeated references to American racism weren’t his only sin. He repeatedly shunned opportunities to tamp down leftist racial radicalism. He made excuses for riots in Ferguson and Baltimore. He used the shooting of Dallas police officers by a radical black activist as an opportunity to lecture Americans about the evils of racist policing. He knew that his political support came in large measure from SJWs, and he cultivated them.

Meanwhile, on the right, Trump did the same. During the campaign, he ignored opportunity after opportunity to break with the alt-right. He refused to condemn the KKK on national television; he refused to condemn his supporters’ sending anti-Semitic messages to journalists; he hired as his campaign strategist Steve Bannon, a man who openly celebrated turning Breitbart into a “platform for the alt-right.” Trump saw the alt-right as convenient allies, his meme-making “deplorable” friends on the Internet. They reveled in both his unwillingness to condemn them and his willingness to share their work.

And so here we are. The mainstream Left has been increasingly suckered into walking hand-in-hand with the SJWs while ignoring the most egregious activities of Antifa; the mainstream Right has been increasingly seduced into footsie with alt-right associates while feigning ignorance at the alt-right itself.

That’s why Charlottesville matters: not only because we saw destruction and terror, but because if all Americans of good conscience won’t do some soul-searching and move to excise the evil in their midst, that evil will metastasize. There is a cancer in the body politic. We must cut it out, or be destroyed.

—Ben Shapiro is the editor in chief of the Daily Wire.

Photobucket

by CWS

July 24, 2017

So Photobucket's abrupt policy reversal after allowing off-site hotlinking for over a decade has effectively destroyed every image-reliant topic on this forum. The prospect of trying to rebuild all of them using a different hosting service is both infuriating and profoundly discouraging, but apparently unavoidable.

Imageshack is nonfunctional from my end for some reason, so that's out too. Therefore this is me asking if anyone has any suggestions for alternate image hosts.

This really pisses me off.

RIP George Romero

by CWS

July 16, 2017

George A. Romero, legendary director of the original Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead (among others), and the man who literally invented the entire zombie apocalypse film genre, has died of cancer at age 77.

Independence Day 2017

by CWS

July 5, 2017

So, I'm late again. Seems like I've been neglecting my own forum and site for a while, trying to work on that...

So how, you may ask, have the first few months of "Trump's America" been? About as mortifying as expected, I think. From a conservative perspective, there have been a very small handful of extremely limited policy gains, which have been almost entirely negated by a continuing series of broken campaign promises and abrupt reversals of position. Turns out that habitual liars tend to make a lot of empty and/or insincere promises when they run for office (who knew?). You'd think we would have learned that from the last guy. And no matter what his cultists fervent supporters may claim, the Donald's incessant Tweeting is an ongoing source of national embarrassment, not to mention an ongoing source of self-inflicted political wounds.

To be honest, so far the reaction to Trump's election has been more alarming than anything his administration has actually done (which has honestly been very little of substance). The Obama years have evidently made the militant left much more intolerant, especially on college campuses and in the halls of academia. That would not be a terribly significant concern by itself, but they are also becoming increasingly violent, culminating (so far) in the recent attempted assassination of several Republican officials by a Bernie Sanders supporter. What's funny is that if these people could take off their partisan blinders for thirty seconds, they might realize that Trump is probably the best thing that's ever happened to their movement, being a "Republican" President who agrees with them much more often than he does with "his" own party's base.

On that note, the one net positive, for me, has been a strictly personal one. And that is that having been so forcibly ejected from the perpetual drama of party politics has proven quite liberating, if only in terms of my own mindset. I'm sure there will be plenty of frustration and anguish in the days, months, and years ahead, but for now I'm trying to focus on the ways in which it's been oddly refreshing.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

by CWS

June 15, 2017

Since the disappointing box office performance of Apocalypse, which was also the final X-movie in the contracts of stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence, it's been heavily rumored that Sony would "reboot" the X-Men movie franchise with a new cast. The studio has also talked about wanting to take another stab at adapting Chris Claremont's iconic Dark Phoenix Saga storyline from the comics, which was...depicted less than successfully (to put it mildly) in the infamously terrible X-Men III: The Last Stand.

Well, plans for the movie have now been formalized and, surprisingly, pretty much the entire cast from Apocalypse will be returning!
Deadline.com wrote:

Fox Formalizes Simon Kinberg To Helm ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’; Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy Back, Jessica Chastain In Talks
by Mike Fleming Jr
June 14, 2017 10:21am


EXCLUSIVE: Fox has formalized plans for Dark Phoenix, the next installment of the X-Men franchise. This all just happened, but they’ve set Simon Kinberg as director (long rumored), and the studio set a release date of November 2, 2018. Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Alexandra Shipp, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, and Kodi Smit-McPhee are all reprising when production begins in Montreal.

At the same time, Jessica Chastain is in talk to join the cast as the main villain, Shi’ar Empress Lilandra.

Kinberg is producing with Bryan Singer, Hutch Parker and Lauren Shuler Donner. This is a huge moment for Kinberg, who gets his turn behind the camera after serving as a creative backbone for the X-Men franchise films since writing 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand; he wrote and produced X-Men: Days Of Future Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse. He is making his directorial debut, but knows the mythology like the back of his hand. Kinberg has been a producer on the spinoff Deadpool and its currently shooting sequel, as well as X-Men: The New Mutants and X-Men: First Class.
The only thing about this that sounds a bit odd at this stage is the description of Lilandra as the film's "main villain". In the comics, she was not a villain at all; in fact, she and Charles Xavier were married at one point!

Wonder Woman

by CWS

June 11, 2017

So the new Wonder Woman movie is currently dominating the box office and drawing rave reviews.

I have yet to see it, but it's making a lot of waves so we really ought to have a thread for it.

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The trailers certainly have been impressive. If any of you have seen it, I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

After the consecutive critical disappointments of both Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, can Diana single-handedly rescue the DCEU?

Black Panther

by CWS

June 10, 2017

First trailer.

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Thoughts?

EDIT: Guess there's no reason not to share my own thoughts, is there...?

Okay then, I can say two things. One, I never read the comics and know virtually nothing about the character, apart from his introduction in Civil War. And two, the same was true of ALL the other Marvel movies; I knew almost nothing about the characters beforehand and have thoroughly enjoyed every single one of them.

How ISIS (And Other Jihadists) Celebrate Ramadan

by CWS

June 5, 2017

Only a week after a wannabe-ISIS terrorist blew up schoolgirls in Manchester, another group of jihadists went on a bloodthirsty rampage in London. ISIS later claimed credit for that one, too.

Today, only a few days later, another ISIS wannabe got his murder on in Australia. As in most other cases, it turns out this was not his first step on the path of jihad, either. In Spain and the Philippines, meanwhile, similarly motivated (but thankfully less bloody) antics have been playing out.

All of this, I would point out, has jumped off during the Islamic "holy month" of Ramadan, which many of these assholes apparently like to celebrate by trying to murder as many people as possible.

British and Irish Lions Tour 2017

by snowman1989

June 3, 2017

I've been pretty depressed for a while, so how about something completely different? One of rugby's great mega events has just started in NZ: The British and Irish Lions Tour! :rbg: They only visit us once every 12 years and alternate between Australia, NZ and South Africa, and they consist of the best rugby players the English, Scots, Welsh and Irish can muster. They come over to the host nation to play against our Super Rugby teams once each, and then play three test matches against the national team. In this case, the almighty All Blacks! :rbg:

The Manchester bombing

by CWS

May 24, 2017

By now, most of you are probably aware of the bombing that took place Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, for which ISIS has predictably claimed credit and responsibility.

A 22-year-old college dropout named Salman Abedi detonated multiple nail bombs at the concert, which was attended primarily by teenage girls and children, killing himself and 22 others (so far) and injuring nearly 60 more.

There isn't too much more I can really say that hasn't already been said, except to wonder when in the hell the civilized world is going to get serious about dealing with these sub-human throwbacks, and how many more innocent people are going to have to die in agony before that happens.

RIP Chris Cornell

by CWS

May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell, legendary singer and front man of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave, has died at the age of 52.

While I can't claim to have ever been a huge fan personally, he did make some great music and had tremendous and undeniable talent, not to mention a vocal range very few could match. To illustrate, here's one of my favorite Soundgarden songs.

Room a Thousand Years Wide
by Soundgarden

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The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

by CWS

May 18, 2017

While Power of the Dark Crystal, the long-promised sequel film to Jim Henson's original fantasy masterpiece, still has yet to materialize, Netflix has announced the production of a 10-episode TV series titled Age of Resistance. (See the link for an additional promo video clip.)

popculture.com wrote:

Netflix Officially Announces Dark Crystal TV Series, Unveils First Teaser
by Charlie Ridgely • May 18, 2017

Get ready nostalgia fans, Netflix is at it again! The streaming giant has just announced that a TV series for The Dark Crystal is officially on the way.

In a press release Thursday morning, The Jim Henson Company announced that Netflix was producing a 10-episode series, titled The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The show will act as a prequel series to the original 1982 film.

Age of Resistance is said to take place many years before the events of the original movie, and will feature an array of creatures created by Henson's shop. Brian Froud, the conceptual designer on the movie, co-created many of these new creatures.

The announcement also came with this synopsis for the series:

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance returns to the world of Thra with an all new adventure. When three Gelfling discover the horrifying secret behind the Skeksis' power, they set out on an epic journey to ignite the fires of rebellion and save their world.

Louis Leterrier, director of Now You See Me and The Incredible Hulk, will produce and direct the series. The Jim Henson Company will also produce the series, along Lisa Henson, Halle Stanford, Rita Peruggi, Blanca Lista, Jeffrey Addiss, Will Matthews, and Javier Grillo-Marxuach.


More information can be found on http://www.darkcrystal.com/

Macron wins French Presidency

by snowman1989

May 7, 2017

In a moment of sanity, France has rejected extreme right-wing, neo-Nazi Lite le Pen, and has essentially voted to remain in the EU. :) That is the only good news. :( Macron is a centrist (an extreme left-wing Marxist by American standards :P ) who more than likely will represent more of the same for France over the next five years: make things as easy as possible for big business, and do nothing for France's poorest or for its stressed middle class amidst recovery from the Recession. Basically, this is the scenario where Hillary won last year in the US, and he reminds me uncomfortably of John Key; both being former businessmen along with all the baggage that entails in this day and age. The French weren't especially keen on him either, as voter turnout was at its worst since 1981, but still far better than turnout at the last US election.

Never thought I'd be thanking France of all countries for not going completely apeshit like the US and Britain. :? But I would not relax yet. The fact Le Pen got this far is frightening enough, not to mention that she now represents a significant and powerful chunk of the new French government's opposition. If the French establishment have any sense, if they choose to unstick their heads from their asses and smell which way the wind is blowing, they'll start pushing through much needed reforms to help their constituents while they have the chance. I'm very sure the French people won't be so forgiving next time, otherwise. After all, the two traditional dominant parties of France, akin to the American Republican and Democrats, were completely crushed in the first round of voting, and neither Macron nor le Pen represent the left-right divide of old.

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