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Regulate big tech now

Written By: - Date published: 7:54 am, January 18th, 2021 - 45 comments

If we had seen our Prime Minister fall from power because three companies decided that their dominance in society should be used to bring her down, we would be outraged. Yet that pretty much just happened in the United States.

Freedom of speech – the knife-edge.

Written By: - Date published: 4:43 pm, January 17th, 2021 - 18 comments

I have a problem with dimwits waving around a slogan of “free speech” without understanding it. Ignorant fools more interested in screaming slogans than understanding the constraints of their ‘right’. The events of the last 4 years in the USA have made that very clear. So I thought I’d point out a few facts of life about constraints on freedom of speech – with a sidetrack through Trumps’ incitements to riot.

The twitter purge

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, January 14th, 2021 - 109 comments

Over the past few days Twitter has suspended not only Donald Trump’s twitter account but 70,000 accounts world wide many associated with the propagation of Qanon conspiracies.

The Parler purge

Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, January 12th, 2021 - 87 comments

Parler, which attracted right wing extremists because of its refusal to apply any rules to what people said, has had its application banned by Google and Apple and Amazon has now refused to host its data.  But it has also had all of user’s data downloaded and archived and made available to everyone, including law enforcement authorities.  Think Dirty Politics but on industrial scale.

The Republican ostrich effect

Written By: - Date published: 8:54 am, January 11th, 2021 - 21 comments

Reading the effect of the Wednesday riot at the US Congress has been interesting. The Trump position has as usual been as infantile and self-adsorbed as all of his disaster of a presidency has been. The Republican politicians have been been more nuanced. But it looks to me like they would like to not rely on cheeseburgers to stop Donald Trump running again in 2024.

The ugly finale of the Trump Presidency

Written By: - Date published: 1:02 am, January 9th, 2021 - 150 comments

Wednesday’s insurrection further tarnishes America’s reputation as a credible democratic nation. Significant changes will be needed before this reputation can be restored and it is hard to be optimistic that the US political system is capable of reforming itself in the way it needs to.

Anatomy of a failed coup

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 am, January 8th, 2021 - 175 comments

America’s descent into chaos was almost completed yesterday.  An amazingly inept display by local police saw a takeover of Congress and a temporary disruption of the confirmation of the clearly expressed view of the majority of Americans.

US democracy is under threat

Written By: - Date published: 11:44 am, January 7th, 2021 - 43 comments

Short post to update on developments in Washington.

Trump’s next 48 hours

Written By: - Date published: 11:18 am, January 6th, 2021 - 66 comments

With crucial Senate run off races in Georgia and Congress meeting to receive the declared results of the US election and with Republicans determined to oppose the results at every turn the next couple of days will be very significant for America’s future. Update (lprent): The democratic senators from Georgia are called as victors. A riot pushed by an irresponsible President Trump happened at the Capitol building with people dead. Congress subsequently made a determined proclamation that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are confirmed a the newly elected president and vice-president. As for Donald Trump – goodbye to unstable rubbish..

The UK is now the world’s Covid cot case

Written By: - Date published: 9:09 am, January 6th, 2021 - 25 comments

Well after the emergence of a mutated Covid virus that is much easier to spread and faced with surging infection rates Boris Johnson has put England into a lockdown similar but not as strong as New Zealand’s original lockdown.  But the question is, has he done too little too late?

Prison conditions

Written By: - Date published: 12:56 pm, January 4th, 2021 - 27 comments

Statements by the Minister for Corrections and Corrections themselves asserting that there had been no complaints about prison conditions at Waikeria, in the face of the Ombudsman’s report, just look to me to be pure sophistry and bullshit. The report on conditions in the high security make grim reading. Even ignoring the inmates protest – I want to protest about the waste of my taxes in providing such a unproductive, inhumane and outright evil environment.

How low will Bridges go?

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, January 2nd, 2021 - 24 comments

Simon Bridges has spent the last week casting aspersions on people who have tragically died at Music Festivals in an attempt to score culture war inspired political points and undermine the Government’s new pill testing law.

Chris Bishop goes woof woof on variant ‘B.1.1.7’

Written By: - Date published: 1:26 pm, December 28th, 2020 - 43 comments

I realise that this would normally be our silly season, but it seems a bit macabre with the northern winter death toll. But nothing really excuses Chris Bishop for being a complete dickhead in barking for immediate offshore testing for travellers from the UK. It is pointless. The government are a bit more sensible. They’re instituting an extra test at our border.

Trump pardons buddies

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, December 27th, 2020 - 13 comments

Donald trump has in the past couple of days issued a number of pardons to people including former members of his campaign team, Jared Kushner’s father, a group of contractors involved in the massacre of 14 Iraqi civilians including a 14 year old boy and Ben Carson’s best friend.

Plan B activists still think NZ should be like Sweden

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, December 26th, 2020 - 171 comments

In a letter published in the Royal New Zealand College of Medical Practitioners journal Plan B academics have criticised the Government’s Covid elimination strategy because of the economic effects at the same time that recently announced growth figures show the economy grew in the past 12 months despite Covid.

A Few Good Green Wins

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, December 23rd, 2020 - 22 comments

There is always plenty of bad news when it comes to nature in New Zealand, but this year has had an accumulation of good.

Must New Zealand Pay Back All This Public Debt?

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 am, December 20th, 2020 - 22 comments

Without much fanfare, Minister Robertson has used 2020’s crisis to bury the historic scourge of monetarism and within it the excuses of the governments that used it as a pretext to sell off our key government income generators.

Operation warped

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, December 20th, 2020 - 30 comments

Donald Trump has spent the past week stuffing up the vaccine roll out in some states, fighting attempts to cancel the Trump wall and blaming China for Russian hacks on American institutions and corporations.

The Government’s finances are in very good shape

Written By: - Date published: 7:55 am, December 17th, 2020 - 66 comments

The Government’s finances are in remarkably good shape.  Who would have predicted that dealing properly with a global pandemic would have had better results for the economy than timidly dealing with it and trying to ensure that economic activity continued? But by international levels our Government debt is already low and maybe now is the time to spend on vital areas such as poverty, climate change and the housing crisis.

Nanaia Mahuta – Peacebroker

Written By: - Date published: 6:07 pm, December 16th, 2020 - 22 comments

“Do I believe that there might be an opportunity for New Zealand to create a different environment and have a conversation? Yes, I do.” Nanaia Mahuta told Reuters on Tuesday the country would be willing to help negotiate a truce between neighbouring Australia and regional heavyweight China, who are caught in an escalating trade and diplomatic spat. Great idea.

Show me the climate action New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, December 15th, 2020 - 67 comments

The Prime Minister is talking about demonstrating a plan for action, but as we move into 2021 we need to settle back into grappling with the urgency of the climate crisis.

Ihumātao deal imminent

Written By: - Date published: 7:38 am, December 14th, 2020 - 25 comments

Radio New Zealand is reporting that a deal on Ihumātao is imminent and that Cabinet is expected to sign off on the deal today.

Brexit revisited

Written By: - Date published: 7:19 am, December 13th, 2020 - 19 comments

With Brexit looming there is talk of unfinished customs software and the possibility of chaos around ports, the UK’s food supply being compromised, and potential skirmishes with France at fishing spots.  And Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are refusing to talk to Boris Johnson.  Hang on England, this is going to get wild.

How can NZ incomes be lifted to match housing costs?

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, December 12th, 2020 - 68 comments

Not a vague let’s raise wages and benefits explanation, but an in-depth, number crunching, evidence-driven explanation. Where is it?

The Mayor’s budget proposal and Auckland’s climate change response

Written By: - Date published: 11:33 am, December 11th, 2020 - 10 comments

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff’s recently released budget proposal for Auckland Council contains some welcome proposals to address climate change. But of itself this budget will not go near to achieving Auckland’s goal of halving emissions by 50% in 2030.

A joy to read

Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, December 10th, 2020 - 18 comments

There are the odd occasions when you find a political opinion that is a joy to read and quite revealing. An analysis piece by the Bagehot columnist that refers to the Conservatives as the dysmorphic Tory party completes its transition from the natural party of government into a British version of the Taliban…

What now for Judith?

Written By: - Date published: 7:28 am, December 8th, 2020 - 51 comments

The latest Colmar Brunton poll results have been released just in time to get the summer BBQs firing.  And the results would not have pleased Judith Collins.

Colin James looking forward

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, December 4th, 2020 - 38 comments

There is a public meeting in Wellington on Monday evening from the Fabians – which is also conveniently being streamed via Youtube and accessible by Zoom. Colin James doing a crystal ball gazing. While I’ve liked Colin James analysis for nearly 40 years, I’m also excited that the Fabians are starting to stream these nowdays so I don’t have to do the meat thing and actually attend.

What happens when the Covid vaccine becomes available?

Written By: - Date published: 7:42 am, December 4th, 2020 - 60 comments

The United Kingdom has used emergency procedures to approve for general use the Pfizer Covid vaccine.  But this will nor provide overnight respite from Covid.  How do you handle the mass vaccination of pretty well the whole planet?  And what are the implications for New Zealand’s border policy?

“Beyond Jacinda” – Colin James and Cr Tamatha Paul

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, December 3rd, 2020 - 20 comments

Colin James and Councillor Tamatha Paul will discuss Colin’s paper “Beyond Jacinda” on Monday 7 December at 5:30pm at Baptist Church, 46-48 Boulcott Street Wellington. It will also be shown on Zoom and available on YouTube. Registration links below. All Welcome.

Parliament’s climate change declaration

Written By: - Date published: 7:53 am, December 3rd, 2020 - 28 comments

Parliament has finally declared that the country is in a climate emergency.  And it has also told the public service that it has to become carbon neutral within five years.

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