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Thursday, April 24th, 2014

James Robins

  • Unflinching death from above

    Predators, they’re called. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - drones - brimming with missiles and implements for the skewering of vehicles and human beings alike. These swift and menacing machines remove the pilot from the equation – the soldier in control ...

    April 22, 9:54 am
  • The hypnotic power of Wulls and Kayt

    Throughout the ten-day tour of New Zealand by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, critical faculties are dispensed with and the public mind is rendered limp in order to carry out the usual conversation:“Oy baib, dun’t thay jist luk soe gud tugetha!?”...

    April 15, 4:01 pm
  • The News: a piffle-peddler’s handbook

    “From time to time, I open a newspaper. Things seem to be proceeding at a dizzying rate. We are dancing not on the edge of a volcano, but on the wooden seat of a latrine, and it seems to me more than a touch rotten. Soon society will go plummeting d...

    April 3, 2:21 pm
  • Suspending disbelief: Against the distraction of a new Cold War

    Burma"When I cried they beat me. I had already decided that I would die there."Mohamed Hassan did not weep. He vomited instead as the body of a fellow prisoner, whose throat had been cut by rod-brandishing guards, was dragged out into a remote part ...

    March 18, 3:37 pm
  • 'Comment is free, but facts are sacred'

    In an editorial for Newstalk ZB on February 13th, radio breakfast show host and Seven Sharp anchor Mike Hosking attempted to tackle, throw his two pence in, or otherwise muddle through the debate around a Human Rights Commission complaint against St...

    February 17, 12:12 pm
  • Protesting the protester

    “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” – Albert CamusLast week, the New Zealand Herald anointed itself judge and executioner, a final arbiter of who is considered...

    February 11, 8:22 am
  • Why we must boycott the Sochi Games

    As plane-loads of Olympians skid to a halt on the icy tarmac of a sterilized Sochi, the time needed to organize an effective boycott of Russia’s hosting of this year’s Winter Olympics is sprinting out of sight.Wrapped up in their fleeces, long-johns...

    February 7, 1:23 pm
  • The National: being brave and being kind

    It borders on cacophony, building and building, rising and rising, a serene, hazy storm of guitars and rioting drums. Amongst the melee, a bearded figure spins slowly on the spot, turning this way and that, his hands clasped in front of his chest al...

    January 30, 8:50 am
  • Dear John, please don't change the flag

    This column was originally published on the 16th of August, 2013, following the National Party Conference where the Prime Minister raised the issue of changing the national flag. Asked to change one thing in this country overnight, Our Dear Leader d...

    January 29, 9:01 am
  • Friday Diary: Snowden's vindication and the meaning of martyrdom

    Tennis in the corridors of secrecyHow many more reports? How many more rulings? How many more articles need to be written before Edward Snowden is vindicated, finally perceived to inhabit the whistleblower role he has already proven himself to fulfi...

    January 17, 10:08 am
  • Like shooting fish in a barrel

    Some clarification needs airing in the public debate around the hunting of whales near New Zealand by the Japanese.The government has been harpooned by many critics who insist these whaling operations are harmful to our economic interests, to our po...

    January 10, 5:25 pm
  • To the contrary, Bob…

    How many burbling talk show hosts, or TV pundits, or radio jocks have we seen bite the bullet and state the obvious?“I’m sorry if I caused any offence,” goes the usual rhetoric. “I made an error of judgment. I would like to spend more time with my w...

    December 20, 1:23 pm
  • Without a Hitch

    I struggle to define Christopher Hitchens’ brand of journalism and politics in much the same way that he struggled to identify those same things.Contrarian, rebel, radical, dissident. All of these terms he applied to his own years of writing and cig...

    December 16, 8:36 am
  • Friday Diary: Cover-ups and close-outs

    Doctoring the pastBack in high school history class, probably on some sweltering afternoon where wool socks and buttoned collars were still insisted upon in a rather wicked way, we were provided a textbook on the Russian Revolution. Its pages crease...

    December 13, 1:55 pm
  • Be wary of Bergoglio

    Turning a new page in the Catholic Church from the first moment of his ascension to Pope, Cardinal Bergoglio appeared to refresh a congregation to which more than 1 billion people belong.As Archbishop of Buenos Aires , tales of his travelling to wor...

    December 11, 7:16 pm
  • Butcher of the year

    It might be considered esteemed by most, but the Nobel Peace Prize is on a fast-track to irrelevancy.While the prize money may not amount to much, the sparkling ring of ‘Nobel laureate’ still has the ability to woo crowds and congresses equally.But ...

    October 4, 4:45 pm
  • Gonads: not to be trifled with

    I don’t drive because it might harm my testicles.I’ve been told this by a female officer in the Organisation for the Promulgation of Modesty and the Protection of Evildoing, though she doesn’t provide any evidence for it, offering only the soothing ...

    October 1, 6:55 pm
  • Damp squibs and diamonds in the rough

    Damp squibs“The answer is, mate, because I want to do you slowly. There has to be a bit of sport in this for all of us. In the psychological battle stakes, we are stripped down and ready to go. I want to see those ashen-faced performances; I want mo...

    September 20, 3:33 pm
  • Iraq, all over again

    How curious to see The Guardian newspaper, perpetually at odds with any kind of intervention on Arab land, compare yesterday’s chemical weapons attack in Damascus, Syria to Saddam Hussein’s slaughter of the Kurds at Halabjah in 1988.It’s so difficul...

    August 22, 7:56 pm
  • Last chance to cross the floor

    "If ever a man feels the sweetness, the utility of friendship, must it not be that moral leper called by the crowd a spy, by the common people a nark, by the administration an agent?" - Honoré de Balzac: A Harlot High and LowSome lefties trundled in...

    August 21, 2:13 pm

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