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At the Rubicon

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, October 8th, 2013 - 91 comments
Categories: us politics - Tags:

As the US federal government shutdown drags on, an even more crucial point is approaching. The US government will hit its debt ceiling in ten days. If that happens, the results will be cataclysmic. But the Republicans who control congress hardly seem to care. Having gone nuclear already over Obamacare by shutting down the government, they can’t back down over the debt ceiling.

If the ceiling isn’t raised (or abolished) the Treasury won’t be able to issue additional debt to cover the government’s outgoings and raise cash to pay maturing bondholders. The US will be in default. That will trigger a cascade throughout the global financial system, which US Treasury bonds have underpinned for generations. The warnings are that the result would be worse than the Global Financial Crisis.

To avoid default, the US government may have to start issuing scrip, IOUs, to hospitals and other contractors in place of money so that it can use its revenue inflow to keep on paying staff and avoid issuing more bonds. The last time a major economy relied on scrip was post-World War 1 Germany. It’s not exactly a good thing to have the world’s largest government issuing IOUs rather than paying its bills.

And it’s all in the hands of Republicans. Especially the millennialist Tea Partiers. It would be a mistake to think that these people will allow for rational compromise or shy from crisis in the interests of the country. These people believe the end times are upon us and they welcome it.

What’s happening in the US reminds me a lot of what you read about the end of the Roman Republic and its replacement with the Roman Empire. The factions became increasingly willing to use whatever tools they had available to hurt their political opponents. Divisions of power that had been created to preserve the Republic by stopping any one person controlling everything were, instead, used to paralyze the government in the face of disaster to try to force the other side to back down.

The Roman Republic symbolically died when Caesar crossed the Rubicon into Italia with his army, breaking the separation of powers designed to put the stability of the Republic first, so that he could punish his political enemies. In ten days, the Republicans will reach their own Rubicon. Will they cross it?

91 comments on “At the Rubicon ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    “It’s not exactly a good thing to have the world’s largest government issuing IOUs rather than paying its bills.”

    Uhhhhhh… what do you think a Federal Reserve Note is, if not an IOU? One which these days can no longer itself be redeemed for gold?

    This may finally force the gov to start issuing debt free gov sourced greenbacks, instead of more debt.

    [an IOU would not be legal tender. That’s the difference. MV]

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Thats true. However if required the Treasury could define the new notes (IOUs) as ‘lawful money’ which technically has more senior standing than ‘legal tender’. Regardless, once the IRS, banks etc start accepting the new notes as deposits and as payment of taxes, it will become a de facto currency, one which is still backed by the full faith and credit of the gov. Which admittedly doesn’t mean what it used to…

  2. One Anonymous Knucklehead 2

    Or will the Democrats peel off enough moderate Republicans to split the GOP? Which outcome would our home-grown wingnuts prefer? Will they stick with their principles and cheer on a debt default, or follow their self interest and advocate a GOP rout?

    • Tamati 2.1

      Even if a majority of the house support a ‘clean’ continuing resolution, that doesn’t mean they are able to pass a bill. The Speaker must bring the Bill to the floor and Boehner has said he won’t do so unless a majority of his own party supports the bill. Essentially, the Speaker has a veto on any legislation that comes his way! (Similar to how the Nats vetoed Moroney’s parental leave bill.)

      • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1

        there are rumours that the Dems will bring forawrd a clean bill in the senate, which will put GOP senators on the spot. If that passes, it gets shunted down to the house.

        • Tamati 2.1.1.1

          And Boehner will add it to the pile of bills passed by the Senate and ignored by the house. The Senate can’t compel the house to vote on a bill, it’s all in the Speaker’s hands.

          • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.1

            Apparently a majority of congresspeople can sign a petition to force the congress to vote on a bill, without the speaker’s acquiescence.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Takes too long…

            • Tamati 2.1.1.1.1.2

              The “discharge petition” isn’t supported by a majority anyway and wouldn’t have to be voted on intil the end of Nowember.

  3. BM 3

    I thought this explained the situation quite well.

  4. muzza 4

    There is little point is pretending anyone has a clue what is behind all this, but it makes for interesting reading the speculation.

    @CV – There will be no issuing of debt free gov sourced greenbacks, the next step is the expansion of the Cyprian experiment, and the end of the dollar as global reserve currency, resplendent in the chaos that will create.

    Financial dominoes, which will all be taken down, you can bank on that, along more *war*, more false flags, more smoke and mirrors!

    The debt ceiling is not even the issue!

    • Ennui 4.1

      The whole thing revolves around confidence. Confidence in securities, confidence that debt will be repaid. Confidence that investment will result in a return. All sorts of confidences.

      We sit atop the greatest debt bubble in history, reflated worldwide around the world to arrest the “GFC” (which some media idiots portray as a past event). We never came out of the GFC, we merely convinced ourselves that the financial chicanery was somehow “real”. Now the piper calls the tune.

      Should confidence disappear all will change in the flash of an eye, the greatest deflation ever will result followed by who knows what. I fear that you will be proven correct.

  5. bad12 5

    i doubt that the whole of the Republican Senate are all totally insane, that perspective of course is garnered from never having met one of them,

    Shoving a big stick into the machinery of Government in Washington, and to a lesser extent, across the USA, is one thing but deliberately blowing over the house of cards that is the Global Financial Market???,

    The real madness should occur at the point the US Government can no longer service the ‘interest’ on the debt and i am not sure at what point in the future that little crisis will set the fox among the chickens,

    Perhaps the Republicans have done the math and see that there is little to lose by forcing the issue now, rather than have such an ‘interesting’ event occur while they hold the Presidency,

    i doubt it tho, and expect a sudden out-break of peace,love, and happiness to occur across the political divide for the vote on lifting the US debt ceiling…

    • Lightly 5.1

      its’ the house, not the senate, that’s got the real tea party nutters.

      Government’s don’t ‘pay interest’ as such. Instead, they issue bonds, a promise to pay a certain amount of money at a specific future date, and people buy them at a discount from face value. It’s the size of the discount/the time to the bonds maturity that creates the ‘interest rate’.

      The problem is that to pay out maturing bonds governments issue new bonds. You need to issue more in face value of the new bonds to get the cash to pay out the old bonds (because of the aforementioned discounting from face value that creates the borrowing rate). And that can’t increase the face value of the bonds on issue once the ceiling is reached, so the US won’t have all the cash needed to pay out maturing bonds by issuing new bonds, which will mean it will default on its promised payments to the maturing bondholders.

      On top of that, the US Federal Government is only taking in $3 in tax for every $4 it spends, so it needs to issue additional bonds for the remaining dollar (or issue IOUs to the people its buying goods and services from)

      • Bob 5.1.1

        I’m pretty sure some chap named Ponzi ran a similar scheme, it didn’t work out too well for him in the end.

  6. Pascal's bookie 6

    To avoid default, the US government may have to start issuing scrip, IOUs, to hospitals and other contractors in place of money so that it can use its revenue inflow to keep on paying staff and avoid issuing more bonds. The last time a major economy relied on scrip was post-World War 1 Germany. It’s not exactly a good thing to have the world’s largest government issuing IOUs rather than paying its bills

    This WaPo piece explains how legally, and practically, hard that will be:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/07/if-we-hit-the-debt-ceiling-can-obama-choose-which-bills-to-pay-2/

    tl;dr

    the US Treasury has automated systems to pay bills as they come in, which is required by law, the system is either ‘on, or ‘off’. There is no mechanism for the Treasury to pay some bills (like bonds) with tax revenue csahflow, and others, like medicaid bills or contractors, with scrip.

  7. Pete 7

    I suspect that if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, the Executive will invoke section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which states:

    The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

    It was one of the amendments passed after the Civil War to prevent this kind of trouble making as the former Confederacy was reintegrated.

    • Timmins 7.1

      As an alternative to invoking the 14th Amenment Obama has the option of minting a $1 trillion platinum coin – minting coinage is a Government privilege – and depositing it with the US Treasury to the Government’s credit.

      Neither the coin nor the 14th Amendment are trouble-free for Obama but they are options. What we still have to see are:

      1. Will the Tea-Party blink first, rather than earning the public odium of causing the US to default? IMHO they won’t as a) a fair number of them are Christian end-days loonies who will merely see they actions as part of the run-up to Armageddon and b) the rest see the chance to make a profit from the inevitable finance chaos, just as many of them did in the GFC,

      2. Will Obama seize the bull by the horns and go for the 14th Amendment/Platinum coin route to show that he won’t be blackmailed and wants to achieve something memorable in his second term – as he acheived nothing in his first term? IMHO he’s shown no sign of it yet.

      3. Is this just kabuki with Obama proceeding with his Great Betrayal of Obamacare etc. on the grounds that the wicked Repubs left him no choice. My bet lies here.

  8. Lanthanide 8

    I’m pretty sure that they won’t breach the debt limit.

    Yesterday on morning report they spoke to a correspondent in the US who was saying that Nancy Pelosi was working on some sort of petition, where if they get a majority of congresspeople to sign, they can force a vote on a debt bill (against the wishes of the house speaker, a republican). The correspondent said there were 20-40 moderate republicans who would sign the petition and also vote for the bill, which would be a majority and it would pass.

    Even if that doesn’t happen, the executive still has the Platinum Coin Trick that they can use. Faced with default vs not-default, I think it’s pretty easy which option to choose when your back is against the wall.

  9. Richard Christie 9

    If default is what it takes to permanently end government by ongoing extortion, then it is probably worth the price.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.1

      @ Richard Christie,

      I agree, wouldn’t defaulting also allow the global financial system to recalibrate and become based on something more real and reliable than money that has no real value (aka the American dollar)?

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      It wouldn’t end government – it’d end business and representative democracy. What we’d get is anarchy.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.2.1

        Sorry Draco, but representative democracy is fairly defunct in America now didn’t you realise?

        Two parties with the same backers, could hardly be called choice. Choice is required for democracy to be authentic.

        The people with the most money (as in corporate persons) are the people with the most power in America.

        These ‘people’ were leaders in getting rid of regulations for the banks etc. Lack of rules = anarchy in my book.
        That is what we are seeing now in the financial markets. Anarchy.

        So what is all this about representative democracy being lost and anarchy being introduced in response to America defaulting? These two things are already occurring.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1.1

          Lack of rules = anarchy in my book.

          Nope, lack of rules = chaos. Anarchy is a different beast altogether.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 9.2.1.1.1

            The link that you leave, leads to an article that relays that anarchy has many different meanings, I took care to define the sense in which I was meaning the word, and that definition is included in your article.

            The article also touches on the definition of freemarket ideology being related to anarchic principles.

            As I was saying this concept is already thriving and democracy is not in America

            So what is your point?

            • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1.1.1.1

              I took care to define the sense in which I was meaning the word, and that definition is included in your article.

              Yep, right at the beginning where it’s mentioned as a mistaken meaning.

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                Oh is that what “it has surely not impact on the definition” meant. I found that obscure:

                “Anarchy is said to have more than one definition. Some use the term “anarchy” to refer to a society without a publicly enforced government.[1][2] When used in this sense, anarchy may[3] or may not[4] be intended to imply political disorder or lawlessness within a society. But it is only a way to use the term. It has surely no impact on the definition of the term Anarchy” ~ Wikopedia

                So some people use one of the many definitions, but the Wikopedia article states they are wrong to do so.

                Wiktionary clears up my confusion somewhat:

                “Anarchists feel it is inappropriate to use anarchy to mean “a state of chaos or confusion”. However, this has historically been a common use of the word.”~ Wiktionary

                So I was using the word in the common garden way and you are correcting me regarding the technical meaning; which appears to be lack of authority or lack of ruler.

                It is interesting to learn the technical meaning, and I see I confused rulelessness with the lack of enforcing rules.

                I note that in practice these two concepts can have very similar effects.

                The sense of what I was saying still holds even using your definition of the word. The state of government lacking authority is exactly what America effectively has now. They have a government who are captured by big money and the government as a representative of public interest does not effectively exist; holds no authority. Rules that exist in the financial sector are not being enforced or are being removed completely by those acting in that sector. I am specifically talking about the financial sector, here, as I believe this is what this post was about.

                Your first comment states:

                “It wouldn’t end government – it’d end business and representative democracy. What we’d get is anarchy.”~DTB

                You appear to be stating that the government would still exist but it wouldn’t, or the government would have no authority.

                I continue to hold the view that that is the state of their government now.

                What do you mean?

    • greywarbler 9.3

      i don’t think rc that you have thought out all the ramifications – after the first second and third big quakes there all the smaller ones thud by thud.

  10. vto 10

    The system is mad, completely barking mad.

    The GFC was a warning tremor to the main quake coming.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned.

    Our own government recently passed a law permitting bank deposits to be taken if necessary to preserve the system.

    • Sable 10.1

      Parasites are hard things to get rid of and will try to find novel ways to survive.

      • Ennui 10.1.1

        Parasites die when they kill their hosts….that is the unpleasant fact. Wise animals tend to groom themselves in order to keep parasites under control. Mainly they kill them in the process. Nature is wonderful don’t you think?

  11. Sable 11

    The US has always been a breeding ground for freaks and fanatics. Think about those who settled the place, especially in the Southern states, all the whack jobs and religious extremists the UK didn’t want.

    The US wont fail as such but it is in decline and will not in coming years be the economic powerhouse it once was. Of course, like any dangerous wounded animal its going to do a lot of damage before it accepts its new place in the world much like the UK.

    The danger for us is backwards looking sycophants like Keys buying us a ticket on the sinking ship when we should be looking elsewhere to grow our economy.

    • Chooky 11.1

      +1…agree Sable ….look elsewhere to grow our economy…make it more self-sufficient and diversify away from an unhealthy and unsustainable long term reliance on Fonterra monoploy

  12. johnm 12

    “The Real Crisis Is Not The Government Shutdown”
    “The real crisis is not the “debt ceiling crisis.” The government shutdown is merely a result of the Republicans using the debt limit ceiling to attempt to block the implementation of Obamacare. If the shutdown persists and becomes a problem, Obama has enough power under the various “war on terror” rulings to declare a national emergency and raise the debt ceiling by executive order. An executive branch that has the power to inter citizens indefinitely and to murder them without due process of law, can certainly set aside a ceiling on debt that jeopardizes the government.”

  13. Rogue Trooper 13

    China, the US’s largest foreign creditor, holds 1,277 Trillion in US Treasury Bonds.

    • Sable 13.1

      The US is China’s little bitch just like the rest us and with the new leadership coming in China plans to increase restrictions on foreign investment in their domestic market. What that means of the US and EU, well lets wait and see.

    • Pete 13.2

      That shouldn’t matter. China can’t call in its Treasury Bonds until they mature. So the $1.3 trillion wouldn’t be called in all at once. A bond matures at 20-30 years (as opposed to a Tresury Bill, which matures in 1 year or less and a Treasury Note, wich matures in 2-10 years). These bonds would be “laddered”, so a portion matures this year, another the next year and so on.

      About half of US government debt is held domestically. By other US government departments – Social Security and the Federal Reserve and by private investors – pension funds, investment banks and so on.

      In total, China holds around 1/12th of US public debt.

      • greywarbler 13.2.1

        That’s a good summary of how it is Pete. Hard to get one’s head around. Are the figures factual or from memory, so as to give a rough concept of the situation?

  14. joe90 14

    Blazing saddles…

    Failure by the world’s largest borrower to pay its debt — unprecedented in modern history — will devastate stock markets from Brazil to Zurich, halt a $5 trillion lending mechanism for investors who rely on Treasuries, blow up borrowing costs for billions of people and companies, ravage the dollar and throw the U.S. and world economies into a recession that probably would become a depression. Among the dozens of money managers, economists, bankers, traders and former government officials interviewed for this story, few view a U.S. default as anything but a financial apocalypse.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-10-07/a-u-s-default-seen-as-catastrophe-dwarfing-lehman-s-fall.html

  15. And once again Michael Valley follows the MSM given party line. In this case the : blablablabla republicans blablabla teapartiers blablabla Blood on their hands blablabla line.

    For those of you finding it hard to get a take on what is happening in the US why John Key is chairing the TPP negotiations instead of Obama here are a few points you might want to take into account.

  16. clifford wright 16

    A very pertinent comment. As an Historian I am continually struck by the parallels between Rome in the 5th century AD and the 21st century USA.
    All the money is going overseas (in both cases largely to China), the armed forces are becoming demoralised and pointless faction in politics is destroying the economy and the whole social fabric.
    The so called “tea party” strike me as the very epitome of selfishness. Have you ever held your nose and watched Fox TV lately?

    Recently there was a programme on TV boasting about new weapons the US forces were getting.
    Talk about the devil in the detail- The new sniper rifle was made in the UK, the helicopter in France and parts for a new armoured vehicle were being made in Eastern Europe.
    This sort of thing is EXACTLY like decadent Rome.
    There massive farms run by slave labour drove small farmers off their land. Wealthy men controlled
    society without responsibility and taxes were levelled on the middle classes to subsidise both the poor and indirectly, the rich.

    • Paul 16.1

      Well, we’ve got the same circuses as they had.
      Ever seen a film called the Four Horsemen..here’s the link.
      Watch from 6.28 to 12.25

    • Ennui 16.2

      There is a theory of thermodynamics about the failure of Rome. In a nutshell it was that Rome devoured all the resources of the Empire at a greater rate than they could sustain. In the end to keep the supply of energy from the periphery to the centre coming became unsupportable. For example, grain fields in Sicily and Africa became over harvested and lost fertility, the supply of slaves to grow the grain came from further and further away etc etc, then the grain came from further afield. Rome had to expand in the same way our oil based economies did to sustain itself. When the energy invested in returning energy reached a zero balance collapse had to follow. Those lovely barbarians had a different EROEI dynamic, which proved enough to tip the balance against Romes expansion, and then hastened collapse.

      The world oil economy is reaching this point. When we see debt, it represents production of wealth, paid for with the production of wealth in the future. We spend tomorrows wealth in the expectation that tomorrows economy will have grown, and will have a greater energy supply. Finite resources run out…and there are no alternatives to oil despite what techno narcissists, spin doctors, the oil industry etc would have us believe. Rome it is, history does after all repeat.

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 16.3

      How to destroy an Empire: add Christianity to the government and sit back.

  17. Rich 17

    The US government could mint the trillion-dollar platinum coin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trillion_Dollar_Coin

    They’ve said they won’t but it could still happen.

  18. captain hook 18

    the USA is suffering at the hands of mischief makers at the moment.
    they will soon get blown away but as Robert Kennedy said:”20% are against everything all the time so there must be a valve for these knothead extremists with their very own deathwish.
    they the man who squats behind the man who works the soft machine.

  19. joe90 19

    FT: China and Japan warn US on default*

    Zhu Guangyao, vice-finance minister, told a media briefing that China has made clear its unease over the political impasse in Washington. In Japan, the Ministry of Finance is very worried about the potential impact on currency markets, according to a senior official. A US default could cause investors to dump the US dollar, which would sharply push up the value of the yen.

    *link goes to google result.

    (hint – when you’ve used up all your free articles google the title and click through the result).

  20. Puckish Rogue 20

    Does make me more appreciative of how NZ is run

  21. Tiger Mountain 22

    If the yankee devils end up crashing their own government (the public service parts thereof really) for much longer there should be public mobilisations. The 99% movement tried to educate people with the occupations. Failing a spirited reaction one is tempted to think the soda guzzling burger munching idiocracy deserves what it gets.

  22. joe90 23

    Bill Moyers.

    “When the president refused to buckle to this extortion, they threw their tantrum,” Bill says. “Like the die-hards of the racist South a century and a half ago, who would destroy the union before giving up their slaves, so would these people burn down the place, sink the ship.” He goes on to tell us where the “reckless ambition” of the Republicans could lead us.

    http://billmoyers.com/segment/bill-moyers-essay-shutdown-showdown/

  23. Draco T Bastard 24

    It’s not exactly a good thing to have the world’s largest government issuing IOUs rather than paying its bills.

    /facepalm

    And just what do you think bonds are?

  24. Steve Wrathall 25

    But surely all these Obama voters who love big govt so much are stepping forward to fund it voluntarily…aren’t they?

    • Paul 25.1

      Was this intended to further the discussion?

    • Colonial Viper 25.2

      But surely all these Obama voters who love big govt so much are stepping forward to fund it voluntarily…aren’t they?

      Hey Steve, it’s just like you to suggest that the wealthiest 1%, the ones shirking their responsibility for the orderly governing of the nation, should be carried along by ordinary hard working Americans.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 25.3

      But surely all these strawmen add up to something don’t they?

      Nope: they add up to sweet wrathall in fact.

    • Murray Olsen 25.4

      They already have funded government – by paying their taxes. Your lot are committing fraud on any and all American taxpayers.

  25. RedBaronCV 27

    Apparently Texas can seceede from the USA. Would it solve their problems if the USA pushed it out?
    Would it get rid of enough of the nutbags?

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    104 articles by 574 contributing authors Physical science of climate change, effects Delayed impacts of Arctic sea-ice loss on Eurasian severe cold winters Jang et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 10.1029/2021jd035286 Observations of climate change, effects Divergent responses of terrestrial carbon use efficiency to climate variation from 2000 ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour’s Eyes Wide Shut To “Unruly Tenants”.
    Not Seeing The Problem: They say there are none so blind as those who will not see. And, right now, Kāinga Ora is studiously not looking. It is clear to everyone that the Minister responsible, Poto Williams, has (like so many of her colleagues) been entirely captured by her officials. ...
    3 days ago
  • Is the mob coming for Charles Darwin?
    Richard Dawkins recently noted the giants of the past are being sanctimoniously judged by nonentities of the present whose only qualification is still being alive to do so. How will the future judge our own time when we are not around? Peter Franklin from Unherd examines whether the woke can ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Blowing a Hole in Your Own Wall: Idiotic Tampering with MIQ
    Managed Isolation/Quarantine has been a fact of life for New Zealand for eighteen months. It’s not popular – there are only so many spaces available at any given time, and the process is famously opaque – but it is the key to saving New Zealand from rampant Coronavirus. That, ...
    3 days ago
  • Now Labour wants secret trials
    Today, the government introduced the Security Information in Proceedings Legislation Bill to the House. The Bill would allow the government to use classified information in civil or criminal proceedings and keep it secret from the other party. So people suing the government for human rights abuses could lose, and defendants ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • The end of a toxic leader
    If there's one thing that Judith Collins is usually good at, it's using scandalous information about other people to her advantage. Not above undermining her own political party, Collins has been known to even leak against her own fellow MPs, particularly those who posed a threat to her as the ...
    4 days ago
  • A transformative government in Germany
    Back in September Germans went to the polls, and handed the politicians a tough job, with no easy majorities for anyone. The Social Democrats, Free Democrats, and Greens agreed to work together in a "traffic light" coalition, but given their political differences (its basicly ACT/Greens/Labour), expectations for real change were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Political Harakiri
    The National party must always have known that they were taking a risk when they elected Judith Collins as leader. There were, after all, good reasons why they repeatedly declined to accept her candidature when she offered herself – as she frequently did. She was always an inappropriate person to ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Thanksgiving advice, 2021: How to deal with climate change-denying Uncle Pete
    This is a re-post from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists by Richard Somerville “Birds of a feather flock together,” so I am sure that nearly all of those reading this article accept the main findings of climate science. Yet many people don’t. Instead, they believe a variety of climate ...
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the demotion of Simon Bridges
    So Simon Bridges has been bounced from the front bench and stripped of his shadow portfolio responsibilities for the crudely “inappropriate” comments that he allegedly made to a female colleague, Jacqui Dean – and personally apologised for – about five years ago. After years of mocking Labour for its supposed ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 25 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Dr Rosemary Wette, Associate Professor, Applied Linguistics, University of Auckland: “I’ve been browsing regularly through NZ Politics Daily for several months now. It gives me access to a range of views on current issues (helpfully organised by topic) that I wouldn’t otherwise have time to look up, or ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • The bizarre case of the Royal Society investigating academics defending science
    The Royal Society has begun a disciplinary investigation against a group of academics. The academics were defending science and in the past would have expected support from the Royal Society. The Free Speech Union has launched a campaign to defend the academics and academic freedom. Māori professor under investigation for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Ian Powell: Unionism and nursing in New Zealand
    In the around 35 years I worked for unions (over 30 with the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists and earlier with the New Zealand Educational Institute) I often cogitated over the distinction between unions and unionism. They are intertwined but not inseparable. I associate unionism with collective consciousness able to ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Today’s constitutional disgrace in Parliament
    This Government has a problem with urgency. Critics from both left and right have long complained about their lack of urgency on issues such as climate change, housing, and inequality. Likewise, in terms of the Covid response, there’s been a chorus of criticism that Labour has been complacent and sluggish ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • Vaping needs much tighter regulation as we approach Smokefree Aotearoa 2025: Two new studies
    Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek, Jennifer Summers, Driss Ait Ouakrim, Andrew Waa, Richard Edwards, Tony Blakely* Two recent studies provide new insights into the impact vaping may have on public health. The first estimates that use of modern vaping devices could be around a third as harmful to health as smoking. ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Strange Defeat: A Guest Post By Dr. Chris Harris.
    They Did Things Differently Then: And we might still be doing things differently, if the world these "Country Lads" were fighting for, and which endured for nearly 30 years after World War II, had not been supplanted by the world we inhabit now. In spite of its reality, New Zealand's ...
    5 days ago
  • More than 147km – the transformative potential of the Wellington bike network plan
    Feature image by Luke Pilkinton-Ching, University of Otago Wellington   Caroline Shaw, Anja Mizdrak, Ryan Gage* Wellington City Council is currently consulting on a cycle network for Wellington. This is a big deal. WCC are proposing a 147km cycle network around the city, the vast majority of which is new. ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 24 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Liz Brown, Senior communications advisor, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists: “The NZ Politics Daily is a fabulous resource providing a comprehensive one stop shop on what’s making news and how stories are being covered. I look forward to seeing it pop into my inbox every morning.” Anyone can sign ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Taking us for a ride
    Agricultural emissions has been an oozing sore in our climate change policy for over a decade. Exempted from the ETS in 2008, farmers were meant to be brought in and start paying for their emissions in 2012. Of course, National put a stop to that, and exempted them forever. When ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: An industry in denial
    Over the past few years it has become clear that coal has no future in Aotearoa. Rising carbon prices, a ban on new boilers and a legislated phase-out for existing infrastructure are going to drive it out of the market. To reinforce this, the government signed up for an anti-coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The “most open and transparent government ever” again
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on farmers playing the victim, plus Chile’s right turn
    Among the farming lobby groups, the good cop/bad cop routine has been working a treat. It suits Federated Farmers to keep daylight between itself and the Groundswell movement. Month in, year out the Federation continues to engage with the government over the very same water degradation/climate change regulations that Groundswell ...
    6 days ago
  • Important People
    The Herald has returned to form with a vengeance. In today’s issue, Barry Soper snipes at Jacinda’s handling of her regular press conferences. It seems that she did not give him an early chance to ask his very important question and took no account of his need to depart immediately ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • Parliament, the Courts and the end of three strikes (for now)
    Last week, Parliament embarked on the process of repealing the so-called “three strikes” provisions in the Sentencing Act 2002. Given that Labour, the Greens and Te Paati Māori all supported this repeal Bill at first reading (and that NZ First no longer is in government to block the move), three strikes’ eventual legislative demise seems ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    6 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 23 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Martyn Bradbury, Editor, The Daily Blog “’NZ Politics Daily’ is one of the most important news and political resources run in New Zealand. The expert collation of opinion and news makes it an invaluable day to day resource as well as an incredible treasure for researchers in the future. ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Emission Reduction Plan
    By Paul Callister and Robert McLachlan Fifty years ago, on 26 November 1971, the film “Notes on a New Zealand City: Wellington”, directed by Paul Maunder, premiered on Wellington TV. The narrator asks if Wellington’s future will involve suburban sprawl, traffic, motorways, suburban shopping malls, and the decentralization of employment; ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Dissing The Farmers.
    Neale vs The Revolting Farmers: One has to admire the way Capital Government Relations CEO, Neale Jones, covers-off all the bases of the current political zeitgeist. In a masterfully composed tweet, he lambasts the Groundswell protesters as sexists, racists and reactionaries, clinging for dear life to “a purely extractive economic ...
    6 days ago
  • How will carbon pricing impact inflation?
    This is a re-post from the Citizens' Climate Lobby blog Inflation — the decline of purchasing power as prices rise — is currently at its highest level in 30 years. This has led to concern among the public and policymakers about the rising costs of many important products like food, shelter, gasoline, ...
    6 days ago
  • (Lack of) Public Service Announcement: The National Library of New Zealand, Internet Archive, and Al...
    The National Library of New Zealand has not covered itself in glory in recent times. The decision to axe most of the Overseas Collection (some 600,000 books) in order to make way for more New Zealand items (which it collects already, and which amounts to some 3,000 items ...
    6 days ago
  • Game over for the HRPP
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Chinese influence and American hate diffusion.
    Over the last decade concerns have been raised about Chinese “influence operations” in NZ and elsewhere. Run by CCP-controlled “United Front” organisations, influence operations are designed to promote PRC interests and pro-PRC views within the economic and political elites of the targeted country as well as Chinese diaspora communities. The ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • The Real Interests Of The Country.
    Off Message: Into the extremely fraught relationship between Town and Country, the Groundswell organisers have blundered like an Aberdeen-Angus steer in an organic vege-shop. Unreasonably proud of their rural economic virtues, and dangerously forthright in their enumeration of the cities’ political vices, these Kiwi equivalents of America’s “good ole boys” ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 22 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Minna Reid, Law student, Victoria University of Wellington “As a Uni student, staying up to date with current affairs is always important. The Daily Politics & Democracy Project by Bryce Edwards is of great service for this. It offers varying news sources I would not have found myself ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    7 days ago
  • Free speech is a people’s frank confession to itself
    by Daphna Whitmore The government is devising new “Hate Speech” laws to save New Zealand from something that has not been defined. When asked what is hate speech the Prime Minister replied “You know it when you see it”. The Human Rights Commission is supporting the law change and sees ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47
    Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, November 14, 2021 through Sat, November 20, 2021 The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheeple? A.I. Maps 20 Years of Climate Conspiracies, COP Negotiators Demand Nations ...
    1 week ago
  • The F Words, by Barbara Gregorich
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • The Scourge of the Aimless Kick
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Delta Rocks Gibraltar: Lessons to be learned from Covid-19’s global resurgence.
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    1 week ago
  • I’ll take the masks and vaccines, thank you
    From Stuff:I don't want to be pedantic, but I'm pretty sure neither masks nor vaccines figure much in the Gospel of Saint John; nor has Jesus shown much efficacy in protecting people from anything. ...
    1 week ago
  • Hell To Pay: The alarming similarities between the Anti-Vaccination Movement and the creators of the...
    Never Let Go: If the violent prejudices of the Jim Crow South, echoing through contemporary struggles, teach us anything, it is that the defence of rationality, science and progressivism must never be allowed to falter. Those pre-modern night-riders, filled with unrelenting hate, are still out there. If the troops of ...
    1 week ago
  • A Peak Out of Auckland? + Other Covid Musings
    At last, we have some cause for optimism out of Auckland’s interminable Covid outbreak. Knowing our luck, it might be a false dawn… but there are some signs that we have seen the peak:
    1 week ago
  • Sing Song about Hard Times
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • A good problem to have
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the politics of anger, plus a music playlist
    Angry? Are you talkin’ to ME? Of late, the Code Red levels of resentment inspired by the government’s Covid policy almost make one hanker for the days when people could write best-selling books about New Zealanders being The Passionless People. Not anymore. A hissy fit arms race seems to be ...
    1 week ago
  • No, vaccinated people are not ‘just as infectious’ as unvaccinated people if they get COVID
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Electric cars alone won’t save the planet. We’ll need to design cities so people can walk and cy...
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Worn down by bad news? You’re not alone…
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato   Last week’s COVID protest outside parliament served as a warning that New Zealand is not immune to the kinds of anger seen overseas. As Labour Party whip Kieran McAnulty put it, “I think everyone needs to be aware that things are starting to escalate.” ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 19 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Brendon Burns, Marlborough-based communications consultant, former Christchurch MP “Politics Daily is simply the best go-to summary of everything in and around central and local government and much more besides. Compulsory daily reading.” Anyone can sign up to NZPD for free at: https://democracyproject.nz/nz-politics-daily/ Today’s content Govt management of Delta outbreak Michael ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Buying Back The Whenua.
    Dangerous Visionaries: Rex Connor wanted to “buy back the farm” (i.e. nationalise Australia’s mineral wealth) and ended up bringing down the government of Gough Whitlam. Nanaia Mahuta’s Three Waters Project is seen by many as a first step to “buying back the whenua” (repatriating Māori lands and waters). A policy which threatens the longevity of ...
    1 week ago
  • nuremberg, and history
      There’s a lot been said recently about the Nuremberg code. So what is it, and why is it popping up now? As described in this excellent NEJM article, the Code was developed over 80 years ago in August 1947, by judges involved in the “Doctors Trial” at Nuremberg. There were ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #46, 2021
    Housekeeping: New content New Research is primarily focused on reports published in "the academic literature." Thanks to a diversity of publishers, journals, editors, reviewers, researchers and institutional affiliations, such publications are statistically highly successful at approximating and reflecting our best dispassionate understanding of research topics. Any given personal agenda not ...
    1 week ago
  • Another OIA horror-story
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bribing for convictions
    Imagine that you've been arrested and are facing criminal charges. Now imagine that the government tries to bribe your lawyer to encourage you to plead guilty. It's obviously corrupt and a complete mockery of justice. But that's exactly what the New Zealand Government wants to do: The Criminal Process ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How does Labour expect to get away with this?
    Yesterday's decision by the government to open the Auckland border in December was, like all their other recent decisions, immediately panned by public health experts. The polite version, on Stuff, is that Covid will "travel for summer" with Aucklanders, leading to outbreaks. Newsroom's Marc Daalder cuts through the crap and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Chronicles of Kregsmal and Krunch: Volume III
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    2 weeks ago
  • The Good Ship Jacinda Ardern
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate challenges mount for California agriculture
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jan Ellen Spiegel California agriculture has experienced just about every form of climate change-induced calamity: Heat, drought, fire, floods. None bodes well for the future of farming in this state that is the U.S. king of agriculture. But there are a couple ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 18 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Kara Tait, External communications manager, Kiwibank “The morning email from Bryce at the Democracy Project is must-read for communication professionals. It provides a comprehensive overview of the issues covered by New Zealand media in an easy to read format. It supplements my media monitoring and ensures I don’t ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago

  • Further COVID-19 economic support for Cook Islands and Fiji announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced a further package of support for the Cook Islands and Fiji for COVID-19 economic support and recovery. “Aotearoa New Zealand remains committed to supporting our Pacific fanau and vuvale to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on their economies, and move towards long-term ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • New law will clear the air for tamariki in vehicles
    From today, it’s illegal to smoke or vape in most vehicles carrying children aged under 18 years old - whether the vehicle is moving or not. “Second-hand smoke poses an unacceptable risk to our tamariki and rangatahi,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said. “We know children in vehicles ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Nine countries designated very high risk
    Nine southern African countries are being added to the very high risk countries list following public health advice around the newly discovered COVID-19 variant Omicron, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. This afternoon, a public health risk assessment was carried out to assess the emerging evidence and any risk to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Foreign Affairs Minister concludes final stage of world trip
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today departed North America to return home to Aotearoa, concluding the last stage of her 17-day world trip. The final leg of her trip saw her visit the United States of America and Canada for a number of high-level discussions. While in Washington D.C., ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Milestone launch of Pacific Languages Unit
    Today’s official launch of the Pacific Languages Unit is a milestone for our Pacific communities, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said. The Pacific Languages Unit brings together a new set of language supports within the Ministry for Pacific Peoples to provide advice, commission research, maintain standards, promote ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Public Health Lecture – University of Otago
    Public Health - Lessons from New Zealand’s COVID-19 response and opportunities for the future E nga mana, E nga reo,                                          E nga iwi. Tēna koutou katoa. Ka huri ki nga mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēna koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand statement on situation in Honiara, Solomon Islands
    Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply concerned by the events which have been unfolding in Honiara, Solomon Islands, since Wednesday. “New Zealand is a long-standing partner of Solomon Islands, and there are deep and enduring connections between our two countries,” Acting Foreign Affairs Minister David Parker said. “Our engagement in Solomon ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Investment to support maternal mental health
    Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced an investment to help expand maternal mental health services in five District Health Boards. “Supporting parent’s mental wellbeing during their child’s first 1000 days, from conception to two years of age, is critical to the long-term emotional, mental and physical wellbeing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Workplace vaccination requirements extended to cover Police and NZ Defence Force
    With the support of the organisations, additional vaccination requirements will cover sworn members, recruits and authorised officers of the New Zealand Police, and all New Zealand Defence Force staff. First doses of the vaccine for workers in these organisations are required by 17 January 2022, and second doses by 1 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand and Canada to pursue greater Indigenous collaboration
    During her visit to Ottawa, the Honourable Nanaia Mahuta, New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs and Associate Minister for Māori Development, met with the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Canadian Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable Marc Miller, Canadian Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, to further expand and develop the positive relationship ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Māori vaccination rates reach 80% first dose
    Associate Minister of Health (Māori) Hon Peeni Henare today confirmed that Māori across the motu have now reached 80 percent for first doses of the COVID-19 vaccination nationally. “We have seen a huge increase in vaccinations for Māori throughout November, since the beginning of the month the increase for first ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Subsequent Children legislation to change
    The Government has today introduced legislation that will reverse provisions in the Oranga Tamariki Act as part of a path to rebuild trust and confidence in the organisation. “The Oranga Tamariki Amendment Bill makes a number of changes but by far the most important is the partial repeal of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Security Information in Proceedings Legislation Bill introduced to Parliament
    The Minister of Justice has confirmed the introduction of the Security Information in Proceedings Legislation Bill to Parliament. National security information is information which, if disclosed, would be likely to prejudice New Zealand’s security, defence, or international relations. “This Bill adds to the Government’s work to strengthen New Zealand’s protections ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Shortcomings revealed in power cut investigation
    No household should have had their power disconnected 18 recommendations, mostly EA and Transpower related The EA must strengthen its oversight of the system operator An investigation into power cuts that left more than 34,000 households without electricity on one of the coldest nights of the year has found that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 Protection Framework supported by new testing and contact tracing strategy
    Wider use of rapid antigen testing from 1 December Increasing daily laboratory capacity to 60,000 PCR tests Q1 2022 A new national telehealth case investigation service with 475 investigators A nearly $1 billion investment in testing, contact tracing and case investigation A new national testing strategy will provide better protection ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supporting New Zealanders to recover from COVID-19 in the community
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Additional support for people isolating at home
    New regional MSD COVID-19 welfare teams to coordinate social service support for those isolating at home Regional teams working alongside other government agencies, iwi/Māori and community providers for housing, food and income support Government investment of $204.1m into welfare system support for Care in the Community Minister for Social Development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tax bill provides vital support for families
    A boost to Working for Families tax credits, as part of a package of financial support that will see 346,000 families better off, has been passed into law late last night.  Revenue Minister David Parker said the measures would lift the incomes of those receiving the Family Tax Credit, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New text service to support disabled peoples’ vaccinations
    Efforts to support disabled peoples’ vaccinations go from strength-to-strength with the launch of a new text service, Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The service, run by Whakarongorau Aotearoa on behalf of the Ministry of Health, is in response to feedback from the disability community and is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Proactive Calendar Release – October 2021
    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific community reach vaccination milestone
    Pacific communities across the nation have rolled up their sleeves and played their part to reach a major vaccination milestone, 90 percent  have now had their first vaccination, Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister of Health said. “Reaching this milestone reflects the work Pacific Health Providers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Reconnecting New Zealand – the next steps
    Fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers can travel to NZ from Australia without staying in MIQ from 11.59pm Sunday, 16 January 2022 Fully vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible travellers can travel to NZ from all other countries from 11.59pm Sunday, 13 February 2022 All fully vaccinated individuals will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Shot in the arm for Canterbury tourism
    A brand new tourism attraction launched in the Canterbury high country is designed to transform the regional economy from seasonal peaks and troughs of past visitor trends. Regional Economic Development and Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the Ōpuke Pools at Methven, which received government backing from the Provincial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Combined efforts connecting locals to nature
    A Government investment in six community and iwi-led projects across the Hawke’s Bay district will provide nature-based jobs for more than 60 locals, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “Combined, these projects are contributing to a really ambitious conservation effort across the region, while at the same time up-skilling and offering ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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