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Brussels attack

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, March 23rd, 2016 - 55 comments
Categories: International, war - Tags: , ,

Isis has claimed responsibility for the horrific attacks in Brussels that left 34 dead.

The Guardian’s ongoing coverage is here.

This piece covers reaction from US presidential candidates. Naturally Trump calls for ‘more than waterboarding’ – because that will help.

55 comments on “Brussels attack”

  1. esoteric pineapples 1

    Does anyone really believe we are ever going to “destroy” ISIS or “terrorism”.

    • Sabine 1.1

      no, and we were never ment too.

      If we really wanted to defeat ‘terrorism’ we would have not invaded Iraq / Afghanistan in the first place, but instead made it a Police action with the full co-operation of the international services, i.e. Interpol, and the secrete services of all the countries.

      then once the perpetrators apprehended we would have held fully puplicly available trials for murder, consipracy, terrorism etc etc, instead of going the way of indefinite detention, water boarding and extrajudicial killings be it by drone or ‘human flown plane’.

      instead we went to invade a country that had nothing to do with anything, had no weapons of mass distraction err……and voila, 14 years later we are still fighting against Hydras heads.

      But I am sure the usual suspects have made a killing.

      Not sure if anyone has ever read about the Wolfowitz Doctrice, it should be required reading.

      http://work.colum.edu/~amiller/wolfowitz1992.htm

      http://www.archives.gov/declassification/iscap/pdf/2008-003-doc18.pdf

      In the meantime, the war that we (western world) have started is coming home to roost.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        I don’t remember Belgium invading Afghanistan or IraqIraq.

        • Matthew Hooton 1.1.1.1

          Belgium was strongly critical of the Iraq adventure, as of course was France.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1

            Belgium was strongly critical of the Iraq adventure, as of course was France.

            Iraq? That’s ancient history.

            Why don’t you look at what EU and NATO have done to Syria and Libya in the mean time.

            Its not an accident that the train station hit was just a few hundred metres from major EU institution offices.

        • AB 1.1.1.2

          Your reply is disingenuous – because Sabine is not asserting that terrorists make such a direct calculation and retaliate in kind.
          I take her assertion to be that western military and economic dominance creates an environment where some people are driven mad in response. You would be silly to dismiss this as a factor in the psychopathology of terrorism.

          ‘Disingenuous’ is being kind actually – more of a cheap rhetorical trick. And as the cheap rhetorical trick is the standard MO of Matthew Hooten, I see he has chimed in along the same line.

      • Matthew Hooton 1.1.2

        If terrorism was caused by the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, what caused the attacks of September 11, 2001?

        • Molly 1.1.2.1

          Matthew, does your knowledge of western intervention in the Middle East conveniently start on Sept 11th 2001?

          • Macro 1.1.2.1.1

            🙂 Nothing like rewriting history.
            Of course the Balfour Declaration never happened.

            • McFlock 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Actually, the bigger one is Sykes-Picot.

              That’s the real betrayal of the Arabs. And then propping up oppressive regimes in return for oil also helped piss people off.

              • Macro

                Yes – the Balfour Declaration was an attempt to smooth over the mess – as has almost every attempt since. You would think that after 100 years of meddling the west would have learned to keep their noses out by now!

        • McFlock 1.1.2.2

          Something that is not conducive to defeating terrorism does not in any way imply that the something was the original cause of terrorism in the first place.

          I’m surprised that you have such difficulty with basic English. Or, indeed, with recent history.

        • Stuart Munro 1.1.2.3

          Beirut.

          “God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the Towers, but after the situation became unbearable—and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon—I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were those of 1982 and the events that followed—when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust the same way: to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we were tasting and to stop killing our children and women.”

          — Osama bin Laden, 2004 (wikipedia)

        • saveNZ 1.1.2.4

          I believe most of the terrorists from 9/11 were Saudi Nationals. The regime that is one of the worst for human rights and recently crucified a body of a rival who was just a youth. Saudi Arabia was in “Granny” Herald yesterday as imprisoning a migrant worker who dared complain about his employer. We love to give Saudi businessmen bribes to kill lambs in the desert in the hope of a ‘free trade’ agreement. Lordy, lets hope not, or with all that free movement of Nationals we will be facing the same terrorism issues as Europe.

          As for France their government was bombing Syria. Yes the French public is against it, but governments now seem to think they can follow their own agenda and use twisted intelligence to justify in secret their bombing. It is the public that has to live with the growing insecurity from these issues, made worse by the

          ISIS never existed before the US started bombing the crap out of Iraq. Now with globalism the chickens have come home to roost.

          Obama set out to create a religious war with the West. Thanks to bad decisions of members of the US government they took the bait.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.5

          The invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Iran, etc, etc

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1.1.3

        I should have known it was the West’s fault. For once, could we not just blame the terrorists and their fucked up religion?

        • saveNZ 1.1.3.1

          @The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

          Last time I looked Saudi Arabia was not part of the west.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1.1.3.1.1

            It’s not always about you, saveNZ. I was addressing this:

            If we really wanted to defeat ‘terrorism’ we would have not invaded Iraq / Afghanistan in the first place

        • Puddleglum 1.1.3.2

          It is hapless to cite religious fanaticism as the ’cause’ of terrorism. Such ideas have always been present.

          The sensible question is what is it that now allows such ideas to flourish and what makes them coalesce with financial and geopolitical interests to both recruit and sustain a terrorist movement on such a scale?

          People don’t get ‘seduced’ by extreme ideas unless they serve other, rather less intangible and rather more obvious, purposes. Cults, for example, can only exploit those whose lives have made them need what the cult claims to offer – e.g., in the case of ISIS perhaps, a sense of justice, a sense of power, a sense of hope.

          Defeating an idea is a ludicrous notion. Far better to make sure there are as few ‘minds’ and geopolitical interests produced by this world of ours which are likely to be receptive to it.

          That’s the long term strategy, of course. More immediate responses, sadly, are also needed. The ‘minds’ and geopolitical interests have already been produced this time around.

      • Paul Campbell 1.1.4

        WE didn’t do those things, the blame should go to those who did. People who’s egos were more important than actually solving the problem.

  2. Ad 2

    I feel incredibly helpless that terrorism appears to be getting worse across the world not better. I don’t see any way to unwind it. I can see a few of the causes. I can see how it could be made less worse. Not how to ever eradicate it.

  3. Wayne 3

    Do you think ISIS should be left with its proto-state in North East Syria and Northern Iraq?

    While I am sure terrorism can be never fully eradicated, it would nevertheless seem reckless to leave the prime sponsor of ISIS terrorism in place.

    While the Iraq invasion clearly has its role in the formation of ISIS in Northern Iraq, that is not a reason to allow it to continue to exist.

    The Syrian civil war can’t be primarily blamed on the West. The prime cause was Assad’s response to the popular uprising. The regime was so unpopular that in large parts of the country the people were able to eject the government, get access to the weapons stores and conduct a civil war. And with the Kurds and ISIS in Iraq, they have been able to sustain their compatriots in Syria (and of course then fight each other).

    • Ad 3.1

      What do you think the probable framework for resolution in both northern Iraq and Syria is?

    • Yuri 3.2

      The prime sponsor of ISIS terrorism, in the final analysis, is Saudi Arabia.

      The prime sponsor of global terrorism, as in the root cause and enabler, is the USA.

      • adam 3.2.1

        Yuri, I think ISIS is an unexpected bite back for the USA.

        I don’t think they enabled it, they don’t want this, they the empire, this is not suppose to happen. /sarc

        They are Pax Americana

        Well obviously not, all empires are violent, especially on the fringes of empire – like the middle east. Just most of the time, people bow down to empire.

    • Roflcopter 3.3

      Do you think ISIS should be left with its proto-state in North East Syria and Northern Iraq?

      That option is inconsistent with the ideas of ISIS’s caliphate, which does not recognise any boundaries, and has stated that their caliphate will be global… the only way you would confine them to a proto-state is by military means.

    • Sabine 3.4

      Al Quada, Isis, wonder what we will name the group, once we kill their leaders several times over.

      • One Two 3.4.1

        Mujaheddin Freedom Fighters, in the 1980’s

        ‘The West’ (Oil and Banking Oligarchs) only sponsor, ‘moderate terrorists’

        The ‘real terrorists’ wear suits, ties and run/manage corporations which are murdering, injuring and abusing the global bio-sphere, and all its inhabitants, using weapons of mass destruction

        Weapons of physical warfare and weapons on ‘paper’ (legislation, treaties, contracts, agreements et al)

    • Stephen 3.5

      In a lot of cases, follow the money trail works. If a lot of the financial support ISIS gets comes from Saudi Arabia, which apparently it does, why can we not bring pressure to bear there. Or is the fact that SA is a “friend” of most of the West make them untouchable?

      • saveNZ 3.5.1

        +1 – the system is screwed up because the worst terrorists are protected and both regimes use the terror excuses as cover for other activities and to seize power even from their own people.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.5.2

        The fact that Saudi Arabia has huge amounts of oil and thus influences the oil price makes them untouchable.

        • saveNZ 3.5.2.1

          all the more reason to get away from oil, to cleaner energy.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.5.2.1.1

            Yep but the present set of rich/corporate/political schmucks don’t see it that way. They see it as another way to wield power.

    • adam 3.6

      Wayne silly question, do you think the Kurds are the enemy too?

      As I think ISIS need to be smashed, and we have allies in the middle east who can do just that. The Kurds. if we can get Turkey to pull their heads in.

      And don’t under estimate the influence of the USA in the civil war in Syria. The US ambassador going to an opposition rally of Assad’s, sent signals, not sure if it was planned – because the Americans did not initially help the opposition very much. But it sent signals they would have USA support.

      I agree Assad was not popular, it would have been the smart move to avoid taking on his regime, violently. Why? because Assad had overwhelming military support. He still does, the bulk of the military has stuck with Assad.

      And anyway the issue is way more complex than a few words on a message board.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.7

      Do you think ISIS should be left with its proto-state in North East Syria and Northern Iraq?

      Would you have asked the same thing when the Anglo-Saxons invaded England?

      After all, we now have English culture because of it.

      Personally, I’d say that we should leave them to it. If they settle down then they may produce a viable culture. If they don’t settle down then the people there will probably do something about it. Just as the US did about the bloody British. And the British did about the bloody British as well.

      The only thing that we should be doing there is stopping the influx of arms from the rest of the world. If they want weapons, they can make their own.

    • Stuart Munro 3.8

      Do you think the attacks in Paris and Belgium were ordered, or adventitious? If they are adventitious then destroying the formal ISIS structure will not prevent them. It might be wise to control radicalising acts like bombing, and give some thought to reconstruction.

    • Colonial Viper 3.9

      Do you think ISIS should be left with its proto-state in North East Syria and Northern Iraq?

      Wayne, can you answer a question for me please?

      Why has the EU, NATO and the USA tolerated Turkey (a NATO member with huge armed forces) actively helping and resourcing ISIS in Northern Syria. For years now.

  4. Manuka AOR 4

    The responses from the people of Belgium themselves have been inspiring:
    “On social media, people rose to the horrific occasion with heartfelt grace, grit and wit, creating hashtags aimed at following the mandate to, “Find shelter. Organize. Help.”

    “Through #Brüssel, #IkWilHelpen (I will help), #openhouse, #porteouverte, #Bruxelles and #enterrasse (still sitting outside in fearlessness on terraces), they have offered rides, beds, couches, hugs, meals, empathy and images of “many class acts full of light, even in a moment of darkness.” Many posts struck a determinedly down-but-not-out tone that rejected fear, the goal of terror.” http://www.commondreams.org/further/2016/03/22/ikwilhelpen
    —————–
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/people-brussels-provide-aid-shelter-free-rides-deadly/story?id=37839354 (This includes photos and tweets)
    ” While tens of thousands of Twitter users all over the globe are using hashtags like #PrayForBelgium, #JeSuisBruxelles and #PrayForTheWorld to offer their thoughts and prayers, those in Brussels or in nearby towns are using other hashtags to offer direct help.

    “Hashtags like #PorteOuverte (French for “open door”), #OpenHouse and #BrusselsIsWelcome are being used by those opening up their homes to anyone in need of shelter”

  5. Manuka AOR 5

    While the attack in Brussels receives instant world wide media coverage, the attack on a marketplace one week earlier, in which 120 people – more than 20 children, – were killed, receives little or none. Entire families were blown up in this instance, and the bodies often destroyed “beyond recognition”. The weapons used may well have come from the Belgian arms supply to the Saudis. https://theintercept.com/2016/03/22/families-were-blown-up-scenes-from-a-saudi-led-bombing-in-yemen/

    • saveNZ 5.1

      +1 Manuka AOR, while we have so many double standards terrorism will flourish. In fact most of the anti terrorism measures made by governments and double standards, seem to be increasing it.

      Don’t worry Trump is on his way to create ‘world peace’. sarc. But since Clinton loves wars so much, I think folks who want to reduce Terror attacks, need to hope for Bernie Sanders. Maybe that is why youth want him, ultimately they bear the greatest price of the F-up so far.

      Yep there are blood thirsty psychos everywhere, (look at Anders Behring Breivik) but it doesn’t help when governments start multiple bombing attacks on an entire countries in retaliation, escalating the terror and amplifying the attacks.

  6. Bill 6

    So ISIS claim responsibility. But what does that mean? It probably doesn’t mean that some-one traveled from Syria or Iraq to Belgium.

    Within ‘western’ countries, there are now people, some born in western countries, who are understandably upset about how ‘the west’ conducts its affairs in the Middle East (and elsewhere). And every night when they put on the news, they, like us, are informed that Muslims are terrorists and that Muslims are the enemy and that Muslims are illogical and that Muslims are backwards and that Muslims are violent…the humanity is stripped away and “Muslim” is broadcast far and wide as some vile caricature of malevolence.

    Muslim and non-Muslim alike are never informed that drone strikes, invasions or sanctions are, or might be unacceptable and wrong. ‘Double tap’ drone strikes on wedding parties are…well, there were a terrorist there weren’t there? And if the dead family members of the maimed bride and groom want to hang with alleged terror suspects or suspiciously gather in crowds numbering more than two or three…

    Growing numbers of people in the west may have family or have been close to people who have been obliterated in drone strikes or invasions or by sanctions. And aside form the ‘official’ dehumanised caricature being broadcast every night and every day in the news, on the radio, on TV and in films…probably in books too, Muslims are subjected to the ongoing ‘petty’ discriminations of the street, in the search for a job, in housing allocation…etc.

    It adds up. It damages.

    Our state governments and the media have seemed to revel in ‘othering’ and marginalising. Where there has been fleeing refugees from Syria or Afghanistan, the wests immediate reaction has been to condemn and reject them as ‘economic migrants’ at best or terrorists at worst- belittling and dismissing their experience and desperation…and holing many up in detention centers miles from anywhere in the middle of vast oceans.

    When a bomb is planted or a killing takes place, the western media insists that domiciled Muslims, not just condemn the act, but leave it hanging as an atrocity bereft of context beyond that of being perpetrated by some conveniently illogical and bestial Muslim enemy of the west’s imagination.

    Y’know, tell some group you’re fucking on that they are ‘x, y or z’ often enough, or for long enough, and the chances are that some within the group will become precisely that ‘x, y or z’. And after you’ve created a real live version of your bogey man and it’s encouraged it to act in precisely the way you always claimed it would…

    Fuck the bombing of people, but fuck the mind bombing of people too, y’know?

  7. shorts 7

    Belgium has one of the largest Muslim communities in Europe – there has been racial/cultural tension there as a result (similar to France) for a very long time

    As a consequence the potential for an attack from a resident for whatever reason are high – if they are connected to ISIS who knows (yet), it sure suits both sides to consider it to be ISIS

    And for those worried, terrorism is no worse than its ever been… and the causes are no newer than ever either – the reaction too also follow a very depressingly familiar line too

    No one is tackling the causes, nor the results so these sorts of attacks will continue – I wish this wasn’t so

    • Chooky 7.1

      +100 shorts…my heart goes out to those innocents killed and maimed and their families …however until there is honesty about tackling the causes, probably “these sorts of attacks will continue”

  8. As usual, the Guardian ties itself in knots trying to avoid naming the ideology involved. This article refers to “European extremist violence,” “radical activity,” “militancy” and “violent ideology,” anything other than use the word “Islam.” It’s like reading about Sendero Luminoso or the Red Army Faction with any reference to communism excised.

    • From the linked article:

      Many of my students live in Molenbeek and were shocked by such statements. “Is it because we are Muslim?” they asked me. “Is it because we are of Moroccan origin?” “What did I and my parents do wrong?”

      Well, duh-uh. You set up a Muslim enclave in Belgium, members of your enclave attack Belgium, and now you’re asking yourselves “Gee, why are Belgians not enjoying having our foreign enclave in their midst?” Try engaging your brains, dumb cunts.

  9. She'll be right 10

    Warfare between Islam and the West has been going on for a long time – ever since the days of Muhammad’s successors circa AD: 650-700 when Europe was threatened.

    This continued for many years including the times of the Crusades.

    For several centuries the warfare reduced – primarily as Western technological inventions pushed the means of warfare heavily in favour of the West.

    This culminated in the break up of the Ottoman Empire following WW1.

    You can forget about pointing to any individual incident that fuels the hatred and terrorism – it comes down to the fundamental beliefs involved.

    The religion/ideology established by Muhammad requires its adherents to convert the world by force. Those who do not wish to be converted are to be killed or enslaved. Opposing this ideology are non-Muslims who (for obvious reasons) do not wish to be destroyed or enslaved.

    The reason why it has been getting worse over the last 20 years or so are due to technological advances in means of terror and because the West has lost its mojo.

    Once upon a time (Empire building) nations of the West were quite confident that their way was the right way and were happy to fight for it. Now with the advent of PC liberalism, the belief system of the West (Christianity) has been rejected and all the cultures should hold hands and sing Kum by Ya.

    A nice thought but its not reality. It makes the West weak and just encourages more acts of war by the adherents of militant Islam who see the weakness as a sign from Allah that they will fulfill the long term goals.

    Also as many know Muslims see death (especially death by jihad) as free entry into Paradise so they have no qualms in the likes of suicide bombing or sending their children as suicide bombers etc whole world by force. If other nations refuse they are to be destroyed or enslaved.

    .

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The reason why it has been getting worse over the last 20 years or so are due to technological advances in means of terror and because the West has lost its mojo.

      What?

      You mean it’s nothing to do with the USA and NATO continuously killing off secular governments in the Middle East and Central Asia?

      Mossadegh/Iran, Afghanistan, Saddam/Iraq, Gaddafi/Libya, Assad/Syria, as a short list of examples.

      And then allowing extremist Islamism or theocracies to take hold in those same countries?

      Not to mention ongoing US financial and military support for the most extremist Islamic country of them all, Saudi Arabia.

      You don’t think that’s got something to do with it?

      Seriously mate, get real.

      • Psycho Milt 10.1.1

        They have a little to do with it, just like the victors’ actions against Germany in the Treaty of Versailles had a little to do with the Nazi terror, and western countries’ invasion of the Soviet Union in support of the old regime had a little to do with the Bolshevik terror. They’re relevant if you want to take a really comprehensive overview of what prompted those reigns of terror, but only an apologist for extremist violence would try and make out that they’re central to or downright caused those reigns of terror.

        Still, the fact that only an apologist for violent totalitarian ideologies would peddle that bullshit does explain your comment.

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    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    4 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    5 days ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    5 days ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    6 days ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    6 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    1 week ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    1 week ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    1 week ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • The Air New Zealand bailout
    Stuff reports that the government is going to have to throw $2 - 3 billion at Air new Zealand to get it through the pandemic. Good. While international routes are basicly closed, Air New Zealand is a strategic asset which is vital to our tourism industry, not to mentioning airfreight. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why NZ’s tough coronavirus travel rules are crucial to protecting lives at home and across the Pac...
    New Zealand’s border restrictions will come with significant job and business losses in the tourism sector, both at home and in the Pacific. But the new travel rules are absolutely necessary to protect the health of New Zealanders and people right across Pacific Islands, because New Zealand is a gateway ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The tiniest of teeth
    Back in early 2018, as a shoddy legal tactic to try and avoid the prisoner voting ban being formally declared inconsistent with the BORA by the Supreme Court, Justice Minister Andrew Little floated the idea of greater legal protection for human rights. When the Supreme Court case didn't go the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • One simple, common factor to success against COVID-19
    Professor Philip Hill and Associate Professor James Ussher Most infectious diseases have an Achilles heel, the secret is to find it. The question is if we don’t have a drug or a vaccine for COVID-19, is there something else we can do to beat it? Some people estimate that, without ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • National should isolate Simon Bridges
    The Coalition Governments $12.1 billion economic package to help combat the financial effects of COVID-19 was generally well received across the board, even amongst many business leaders who would normally be critical of a Labour led Government.However there was one glaringly obvious exception, Simon Bridges. The so-called leader of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How testing for Covid-19 works
    With confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand up to 12, many influential people are writing open letters and opinion pieces and doing press conferences asking why we aren’t pulling out all the stops and testing thousands of people a day like they are in South Korea. The thing is, ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • The COVID-19 package and the limits of capitalism
    by Daphna Whitmore The willingness to put human life before business shows that sometimes capitalism is capable of suspending its relentless drive for profit. For a short time it can behave differently. Flatten the curve is the public health message since COVID-19 suddenly overwhelmed the hospital system in northern Italy. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Black April, May and June?
    Worldwide, the 1918 influenza epidemic – wrongly called ‘Spanish’ flu – lasted about two years. However, it lasted about six weeks in New Zealand (remembered as ‘Black November’, because the dead turned a purplish-black). It is thought about 7000 Pakeha died and 2,500 Maori. The population mortality rate was about ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID 19 has struck… as has a lot of terrible ineptitude from far too many
    In a world and a time when the worst off and most vulnerable have been asked, time and again, to foot the bill for the complete subjugating to the will of the 1% thanks to the GFC, at a point where the world as a whole is now seeing quite ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • What’s in the Coronavirus Package?
    With the economy already reeling from a crisis that’s barely begun, the Government today sought to provide reassurance to workers and businesses in the form of a massive phallic pun to insert much-needed cash into the private sector and help fight the looming pandemic. Here are the key components: $5.1 ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • I just had my benefit suspended during a fucking pandemic
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    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago

  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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