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Buffett calls for rich to stop class war

Written By: - Date published: 2:04 pm, August 16th, 2011 - 53 comments
Categories: capital gains, class war, tax - Tags:

Today Warren Buffett, the third wealthiest man in the world, has come out demanding his mega-rich friends play a part in the American economic recovery. He is recognised as one of the smartest and most successful investors alive, his words should not be dismissed lightly, especially as we approach our own election and grapple with the issue of tax reform.
Here are some highlights:
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.”

Rijab

53 comments on “Buffett calls for rich to stop class war”

  1. I’m looking forward to the article where he self-expropriates and gives it all back to the workers he has lived off all his life.

  2. No actually what he is saying is the following: “If we don’t give the plebs a few coins from our hideous decadent wealth their are going to revolt and they are going to make the killing of the wealthy during the French revolution look like a walk in the park and while during the French revolution you could still escape to England or the “New World” now there is no place to run!”

    • aerobubble 2.1

      Wealthy is supposed to be hard to make, tax cuts are for the feckless capitalists and
      all Buffet is saying is that Republicians are crybaby wimps. “Is Obama going to
      take away your tax cut, oh little baby don’t cry, it will make you a better man”.

    • Drakula 2.2

      Well let’s bring it on !!!!

      • Colonial Viper 2.2.1

        Yeah I’m getting impatient waiting for Société Générale or Bank of America to fail. Not long now, the egg timer is about done. Then its going to be a ride.

  3. I think that we should support Buffett in his proposal to increase taxation for the wealthy.  His comments are perfectly valid and it is good to see that even the wealthy realise that things are out of control.
     

  4. queenstfarmer 4

    Fair points, though I wonder if Mr Buffet will lead by example.

    It is notable that he is only calling for this at the end of his career, after amassing his fortune, and after pledging to give most of it away (which will decrease his taxable income to near zero anyway). I wonder if Buffet was calling for higher taxes at the time he made his first millions?

  5. randal 5

    wealth is not hard to make if you know how.
    Warren Buffet made his because his father was a stockbroker in Kansas and dealt in the wheat futures market.
    Warren Buffet learned it all from him.
    When his first wife left and he needed some pin money he made a few million in three mnths!!!!
    However Bufet says if he was put down in Afghanistan without a dollar he would be done for in a day so there yo go.
    Anyway the world has changed. rich people need more money because they know how much lyalty and kiss ass they can buy and thats al they care about. Its a Macworld now.
    all notions of doing public good have gone forever.

    • mik e 5.1

      Berlusconi seems to be listening. He is closing loopholes on tax dodgers and raising tax on the wealthy.Some one has figured out what is needed

      • aerobubble 5.1.1

        It is the rich who work hard and know how to put money to productive use and make it grow… …this is backwards, people who take risks with money and are rewarded by the free market by growth become rich (they don’t start rich), then they spend or throw caution to the wind to get even richer. But wealth is “concentrated in the hands of those who can’t or won’t spend it.” capitalism comes to a grinding halt, the churn in the economy ends, the poorest are denied the aspiration of getting rich because the wealthy do not believe they should ever loss money. Now its
        entirely possible for everyone to eat, get heath care, a roof over their heads when government regulates the market to stop hoarding of money and insure everyone has economic power. We in one of the transition, when the powerful are wrong, when the man in a street is a jerk who thinks how they made money yesterday will work tomorrow, or worse know they really didn’t make a heap of money yet told and lived like they did and can’t deal with the psychological reality that they really are a loser. Key has to make a personal choice, either to be a winner or one of the biggest losers, a choice that if he dithers the outcome to NZ will be worse quite unnecessarily. Unfortuately poor education, easy career, have left a hollow prima donna who wins by being nice and amenable, but hard nosed when it counts tackling the wrong problem (the poor). We need leaders who don’t know everything and ask, not jerks like Key or the petty rich, we need people with backbone to talk to the rich about their prolific negative behavior.

  6. Craig Glen Eden 6

    When a truly rich guy comes out with this it really makes you realize how gutless and self serving John the con Key is? Asset sales anyone!

    • queenstfarmer 6.1

      Partial asset sales, yes

      • tc 6.1.1

        Nope, partial allows minorities to dictate direction under NZ law (profits over network re-investment as one example) they’re better off in public ownership especially when we’ve a gov’t that delights in punching large holes in it’s revenue base.
        All this and the nats have no idea how to ensure mum and dad end up owning them beacuse they don’t care having already done the deals with their backers. Little surprise they’re more cashed up than ever.

        • queenstfarmer 6.1.1.1

          Then according to your theory (which is incorrect), it would be better for the Govt to sell majority stakes, because then the Govt would be a minority shareholder and be able to “dictate direction”.

          • McFlock 6.1.1.1.1

            Um, no – that would be arguing that it’s better to put your ‘nads AND dick on an anvil, rather than just your dick. My interpretation of tc’s comment is that no part of your anatomy should be placed on the anvil in the first place.

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Although out of all the reasons I’ve heard National give for selling this shit off, yours is by far the best. Put all his kit on the anvil and see how qstf likes it when the auction hammer comes down!!! 🙂

            • queenstfarmer 6.1.1.1.1.2

              Yes I know that’s his position (no partial asset sales at all – enough already about nads!). I’m pointing out the silliness (not to mention outright incorrectness) of the suggestion that minority shareholders “dictate direction” – a view repeated many times here, in ignorance of the law and commercial practice.

              Think about it: shareholder A = 51%; shareholder B = 49%. According to this view, Shareholder B has control. But shareholder A could simply gift 2% of shares to B, and in doing so A would now be the minority with control of the company.

              • McFlock

                qsf – what is a “fraud on the minority”?
                It’s  been mentioned here before, but I’m not a companies lawyer. Mickeysavage seems to believe that this might stop a company wasting money (dare I say “pissing it away”, to continue the analogy) on things like the community welfare if the govt still maintains 51% ownership. MS is normally pretty reasonable. So what’s your take on it?

                • queenstfarmer

                  From my involvement with in several sometimes fractious start-ups I have some experience in this area.

                  The Companies Act does not have “fraud on minority”. It has shareholder prejudice, which is similar but different. That includes things like paying dividends to some but not all shareholders, issuing new shares for under-value, etc. It does not allow the minority to “control the board” as some seem to think (that’s simply ludicrous – if that were the case, you could gain strength by reducing your shareholding) – it simply means you cannot unfairly target some shareholders over others. It’s mainly about process. As long as the Board acts procedurally fairly (lets everyone have their say, provides information requested etc) and can provide sound reasons for its actions, that is all it needs to do.

                  Directors personally have a range of duties, such as acting for proper purposes and not engaging in reckless trading, so a shareholder could complain that a director has breached their duties. That means suing the directors, not the company.

                  There are also minority buy-out rights that can allow an upset minority to force the company to buy back their shares for fair value, and then everyone goes their own separate ways.

                  • McFlock

                    S131: Duty of directors to act in good faith and in best interests of company

                    (1) Subject to this section, a director of a company, when exercising powers or performing duties, must act in good faith and in what the director believes to be the best interests of the company.
                    (2) A director of a company that is a wholly-owned subsidiary may, when exercising powers or performing duties as a director, if expressly permitted to do so by the constitution of the company, act in a manner which he or she believes is in the best interests of that company’s holding company even though it may not be in the best interests of the company.
                    (3) A director of a company that is a subsidiary (but not a wholly-owned subsidiary) may, when exercising powers or performing duties as a director, if expressly permitted to do so by the constitution of the company and with the prior agreement of the shareholders (other than its holding company), act in a manner which he or she believes is in the best interests of that company’s holding company even though it may not be in the best interests of the company.

                    So if the directors chose to build trains in NZ and save jobs at the expense of company funds, they would be breaking their obligations to the company unless the minority shareholders agreed? And the shareholders could sue their ass?

                    • queenstfarmer

                      Shareholders can sue directors at any time. It’s a just a question of whether they’ll win. You could buy 1 share in The Warehouse for $1.50 and try to sue Stephen Tindall if you wanted.

                      But it’s got nothing to do with what the shareholders think, nor is it an accounting issue. Directors are charged with management of the company (see section 128). The question is what “the director believes to be the best interests of the company”. So as long as the directors are subjectively confident they are acting in the best interests of the company (and of course the majority shareholder usually gets to appoint the most directors) then no claim is founded.

                    • McFlock

                      But the point is that if the sole shareholder [govt] stated that they wanted the directors to let the company take a hit for the wider economy, under a wholly owned subsidiary model they can issue such a direction. Under a majority ownership model this is not the case. You’re argument seems to be that if the government gets the directors to make the right winks and fibs, they’ll *probably* get away with it.
                       
                       

      • mik e 6.1.2

        At their value to earnings ratio not Half price or a third of the price for the power companies .Qstf. the power companies are cash cows returning 17.6% returns govt borrowing costs 5.5%.If you can’t figure out how dumb that is I can really believe you love sucking up to Keys failed policies

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Buffet is enunciating what keeps capitalists awake nights, their parasitic party is almost over. Pull your heads in a little bit guys! he is saying. But the basic marxist precepts remain, capital must expand aggressively, and ultimately monopolistically, driven by the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. Finance capital ever more a house of cards as the months tick by.

    Maybe not this year or the next, authoritarianism and widespread ideolgical malaise (individualism) may prolong things a little more but the planets resources and people can not take much more hammering.

  8. Rijab 8

    Obama’s response to Buffett’s suggestion, for those interested:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-warren-buffett-is-right-on-taxes-2011-8

  9. Tom Gould 9

    Warren Buffett has been saying this for some time now, certainly before the GFC. This time, maybe because of the recent antics of the tea party whack-jobs, the MSM in the U.S. has finally heard him, or figured it might be worth reporting. Winds of change, perhaps?

  10. Colonial Viper 10

    Buffett plays the games in the markets as hard and as trickily as the next guy. He’s no saint.

    However, I don’t believe that he should donate to the IRS, as some of his detractors have been saying.

    Instead I think he should set aside an independent US$250M trust fund for those congressional candidates who refuse to take corporate campaign funds and who will push for progressive tax reform in the US.

    Edited: the US can close its entire budget deficit and more by going back to 1980 tax levels. Easy as pie.

    • QoT 10.1

      That idea is total genius.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        🙂

        And it should be a trust fund which supports both Republican and Democratic candidates. It might even extend support to promising independent candidates in order to break the two party stranglehold in the US.

    • queenstfarmer 10.2

      the US can close its entire budget deficit and more by going back to 1980 tax levels. Easy as pie.

      It’s as easy as people voting for politicians who will raise taxes. Until such time, it’s not going to be that easy.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.1

        I’m hearing ya.

      • mik e 10.2.2

        Yeah in the 1980s the rich paid a larger share of the tax burden good idea Qstf why not tell your boss Key or Brash.Since then both private and govt borrowing has exponentially blown out bar a few short years 1994 till 2000. being the worlds fore most super power is the main reason the US has had massive budget deficits. the other reason is tax cuts for the rich by Reagon & the Bushes.Look at this weeks time magazine debt goes up when republicans are in power not unlike NZ under National.Berlusconi has figured it out its a wonder no other right whinger has yet.

        • queenstfarmer 10.2.2.1

          No dispute about that (except the “your boss Key or Brash” bit – you seem a bit obsessed and perhaps envious of my independence?), though I would add spending blowouts, which have contributed more to the debt than tax cuts have. Eventually all countries need to live within their means, and that means either cutting spending, or increasing taxes.

          • Colonial Viper 10.2.2.1.1

            The other thing to do is for governments to not borrow money at interest, but to print it free of interest and free of debt. The supply of money can then be directly tightened or loosened as economic circumstances and the economic cycle requires.

          • mik e 10.2.2.1.2

            Your dependence shines through Qstf like your masters you have forgotten how to grow an economy. the other solution!

        • Deadly_NZ 10.2.2.2

          Well lets hope that shonkey has lost a bundle on the bank of America taking a hammering his 55mil could be halved. Now there’s a really good excuse for a party!!

    • RedLogix 10.3

      It’s easy to forget that when Bill Clinton left office the US Federal govt was in a healthy surplus. Essentially it was GW Bush’s tax cuts and military spending that tipped the US into this crisis.

      We forget also that the US is still the world’s largest economy. It is not a poor or fundamentally unproductive country. Just three actions would eliminate this debt crisis remarkably quickly:

      1. Restore taxes to 1980 levels.

      2. Reduce their grossly bloated military exependiture.

      3. Reform their insanely wasteful and expensive health system.

      All three items are plain and obvious, yet politically none can happen.

      • Colonial Viper 10.3.1

        The US has lost perhaps four to five million manufacturing jobs since 2000.

        Yes, the US could still be extraordinarily strong but the jobs and know-how that their elites chose to export to China etc. are not returning.

        I’ve posted this before but its worth looking at. A talk to uni students given by a former head of the World Bank.

    • millsy 10.4

      Closing down the several hundred-odd military bases in Europe, Korea and Japan would help too.

  11. randal 11

    it that aint easy.
    there are calls that only people can make what ever the programme says.
    just as well.
    or we would be at the mercy of the machines.
    maybe we are already are?
    nah just kidding kiddies.
    but phil will win.

  12. Afewknowthetruth 12

    Here we go again. A whole load of commentary and comments which completely ignore the fundamentals.

    1. America, and Americans in general, got rich because easily extractable coal and oil suppported industrial growth, which supported everything else, including industrialised agriculture. Both oil and coal are past peak in the US.

    2. America remained rich because it was not devastated by wars, unlike most other developed nations.

    3. Americans got even richer because they were able to manipulate world markets and currencies using the dominance that resulted from the Second World War -Hollywood, the IMF and all that.

    4. Americans got rich because they trashed their environment somewhat faster than most others.

    All the games that made America superfically rich are over or rapidly coming to an end.

    In reality it was all just an impossible dream, a crass superficiality which is now turning into a nightmare.

    ‘play a part in the American economic recovery.’

    There will be no recovery of the economy, of course, only some kind of recovery from the economy.

    • neoleftie 12.1

      interestingly America has to ‘close the gaps’ between the developed and developing countries,in a global sense, to allow for both security and more importantly to expand the market.
      The western world needs fresh investment, growth and market opportunities or the bubble will burst…globalisation is simply exporting security and freeing up markets so the ruling elites can generate more wealth.
      Long live pax america.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Not sure how to break this to you but you are more than 10 years late for delivering advice and the window has closed. 2005/2006 was probably the last chance for the US.

        interestingly America has to ‘close the gaps’ between the developed and developing countries,in a global sense, to allow for both security and more importantly to expand the market.

        America does not actually have to do any of the above. It is not up to America where markets expand (the growing middle classes in India and China). The developing countries are closing their own gaps as the US falls behind, and year by year, America is going to increasingly struggle to pay for its war machine.

        Some estimates say that China’s economy will be larger than the US before 2020.

        The western world needs fresh investment, growth and market opportunities or the bubble will burst…

        No you got it all wrong! In a capitalist system investment goes where the best growth and cost prospects are. That’s in Asia. The market opportunities are in Asia and the US is not positioned to benefit from them. NB most US headquartered multinationals build their goods outside of the US now. Even if all these Asian markets were to grow, very little of the benefit and the employment will actually occur in the US.

        Bubbles long burst. Watch the USD self destruct over the next few years.

        globalisation is simply exporting security and freeing up markets so the ruling elites can generate more wealth.

        You can’t export security. You can export weapons, and you can set up friendly regimes, but that is not the same thing.

        Globalisation was all about breaking down the power of sovereign states and advantaging capital over labour. “Freeing up markets” was not the objective, it was merely a means.

        • Bill 12.1.1.1

          Yup. There ain’t no ‘western world’ and ‘other world’ as far as global finance (ie global power) is concerned.

          Got to keep the kiddies believeing they’re on the ‘winning side’ for as long as poss. though, eh?

      • Afewknowthetruth 12.1.2

        neoleftie.

        May I suggest that you would do yourself a favour if you stopped parroting capitalist mantra. Growth is not the answer: growth is the problem. Captialists demand growth to prop up their fractional reserve monetary system. Growth is not possible in an energy-depleted, environmentally-degraded world which is past peak oil.

        I suppose if I were to say it every day for the next ‘x’ years people would eventually get it. I’m not sure that I have the time and energy to do that.

        The bubble is bursting and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it.

        The sensible thing to do would be to prepare for the inevitable, i.e. the collapse of western civilisation, the collapse of industrialised agriculture, and the food shortages that will accompany the collapse. Most people seem quite incapable of doing that, for some reason. Hence , most people will get ‘wiped out’ when the ‘tsunami’ eventually hits.

        .

  13. Jenny 13

    From my inbox;

    An email from Vaughn Gunson, tax justice campaigner, reporting on the ongoing political campaign to regain tax justice in this country.

    Hi Tax Justice supporters,

    On our website is a photo essay of the presentation of the Tax Justice petition to Parliament today. Go to http://www.nogstonfood.org/2011/08/16/598/

    There’s a good story on the NZ Herald website, go to http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10745488

    We’ve had extensive radio coverage all day, with more interviews upcoming this afternoon.

    The petition hand-over may feature on either TV3 or TV1 News (or both) tonight.

    It’s been a good positive conclusion to this phase of the Tax Justice campaign, built around the petition and the hard work of volunteers around the country.

    There’s more work to do to build a broader Tax Justice coalition that can put pressure on the politicians to act in the interests of grassroots Kiwis.

    Regards,

    Vaughan Gunson
    Tax Justice campaign coordinator
    (09)433 8897
    021-0415 082

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    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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
    JOINT MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY SINGAPORE AND NEW ZEALAND AFFIRMING COMMITMENT TO ENSURING SUPPLY CHAIN CONNECTIVITY AMIDST THE COVID-19 SITUATION  The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis.  As part of our collective response to combat COVID-19, Singapore and New Zealand are committed to maintaining open and connected supply chains. We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • $100 million to redeploy workers
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  • More support for wood processing
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  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
    The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.  New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with ...
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  • Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health
    The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.  “Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” ...
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  • New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas
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    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today outlined the first tranche of the $600 million aviation sector relief package announced earlier this week as part of the Government’s $12.1 billion COVID-19 economic response. The initial part of the aviation package aims to secure the operators of New Zealand’s aviation security system, and ...
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