Is Syria the first failed state because of climate change?

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, September 2nd, 2015 - 170 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, International, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, national, same old national, Syria - Tags:

Earth climate change

I thought I would write another post about Syria in part because the banality of the flag debate is driving me insane. If the All Blacks win the world cup I expect National’s polling to surge again and the silver fern to be adopted.  But thinking about the world’s current problems this is the most trivial of issues.

I have read a bit more about Syria and it appears clear that we may be witnessing the first nation to fail because of climate change. This comic started me thinking about this blog post. And this New York Times article provided verification.  From the article:

Drawing one of the strongest links yet between global warming and human conflict, researchers said Monday that an extreme drought in Syria between 2006 and 2009 was most likely due to climate change, and that the drought was a factor in the violent uprising that began there in 2011.

The drought was the worst in the country in modern times, and in a study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists laid the blame for it on a century-long trend toward warmer and drier conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean, rather than on natural climate variability.

The researchers said this trend matched computer simulations of how the region responds to increases in greenhouse-gas emissions, and appeared to be due to two factors: a weakening of winds that bring moisture-laden air from the Mediterranean and hotter temperatures that cause more evaporation.

The link between the localised climate change and the disruption that Syria has experienced is described in this way:

Some social scientists, policy makers and others have previously suggested that the drought played a role in the Syrian unrest, and the researchers addressed this as well, saying the drought “had a catalytic effect.” They cited studies that showed that the extreme dryness, combined with other factors, including misguided agricultural and water-use policies of the Syrian government, caused crop failures that led to the migration of as many as 1.5 million people from rural to urban areas. This in turn added to social stresses that eventually resulted in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

What began as civil war has since escalated into a multifaceted conflict, with at least 200,000 deaths. The United Nations estimates that half of the country’s 22 million people have been affected, with more than six million having been internally displaced.

The researchers said that there were many factors that contributed to the chaos, including the influx of 1.5 million refugees from Iraq, and that it was impossible to quantify the effect of any one event like a drought.

Essentially Syria suffered a major drought from 2006 to 2009 and this event was consistent with localised climate change predictions.  1.5 million people dependent on farming became displaced and fled to the cities causing extreme pressure and tension which Syria’s fragile autocratic rule could not handle. Then when civil discord broke out the State started to destroy itself.

We may not be seeing a temporary aberration.  As water in local areas becomes more and more scarce it is likely this will become a more common event.  This may be the first mass migration of people from warmer to cooler areas.  But it is likely it will not be the last.

And our Government’s response?  John Key has ruled out increasing the paltry 750 places available for refugees during this time of crisis.  And his Government’s insistence that agricultural trade is more important than protecting our environment means that we will continue to be a major part of the global warming problem.

Syria’s refugees needs other countries to treat them humanely and the world’s environment urgently needs strong decisive action. It is appalling that this Government will do neither.

170 comments on “Is Syria the first failed state because of climate change?”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Never have I been happier at the vastness of the oceans that insulate us from the world’s problems.

    • they are our problems too

      • infused 1.1.1

        They’re not actually.

          • weka

            because of the vastness of the oceans (although I agree, they are our problems, but we are insulated from them more than most places).

            • marty mars

              the oceans will not/do not insulate us and it is an illusion that these or any other refugees are not our problem imo

              for some, anything and everything will be used to try and insulate themselves from the piteous cries of the abandoned.

              • weka

                come on marty, why does NZ not have an influx of refugees but other countries do? Geography IS an issue here, alongside with compassion and politics.

                • “Never have I been happier at the vastness of the oceans that insulate us from the world’s problems.”
                  “they are our problems too”
                  “They’re not actually.”
                  “why not?”
                  “because of the vastness of the oceans”

                  I think a point has been missed

                  are the world’s problems our problems?
                  because we are part of the world.

                  • weka

                    I acknowledged that in my comment. I was responding to the idea in the original comment about insulation.

                    • yes I am aware of that – that wasn’t the point I was making that you originally responded to but I’m pretty sure I am aware of where you are at with this topic. And I think it is fair to say that we don’t align 100% on this one.

                    • weka

                      fair enough 🙂

      • Sanctuary 1.1.2

        The other thing this disaster is a symbol of is what happens when cultures enshrine a lethal cocktail of misogyny and an irresponsible, religious driven failure to promote birth control to populations massively overrunning the capacity of their countries to support them. All those miserable Syrian families at the borders with scores of squalling children, families of six, seven eight kids.

        I look at how the Hungarians and Poles are reacting, at how the Greeks are reacting, and I ask myself, would we react any better to such a deluge of displaced people hammering at our border? National poll constantly on this stuff. I suspect that what they are hearing is when it comes to illegal migration we are a nation of secret Tories. Otherwise, Key would be taking more refugees.

        But our vast distances mean, unlike Hungary and Poland and Greece, we at least have the luxury of choice. And given that this is but a foretaste of what is going to happen as over population collides with climate change that has to be something to be very pleased about.

        • Colonial Viper

          The other thing this disaster is a symbol of is what happens when cultures enshrine a lethal cocktail of misogyny and an irresponsible, religious driven failure to promote birth control to populations massively overrunning the capacity of their countries to support them.

          Seriously, apart from the cultural imperialism around you deciding what family sizes other countries should or should not have (are you going to start backing calls for poor people in NZ to use birth control to stop them breeding babies they can’t afford to raise???), what the fuck are you on about. Have you not noticed that 60% of Syria has been destroyed by warfare or is under the control of foreign supported violent militant movements.

          That’s the most important context behind the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees looking to get out of dodge, ASAP.

        • marty mars

          “All those miserable Syrian families at the borders with scores of squalling children, families of six, seven eight kids.”

          fuck you noddy

          “I suspect that what they are hearing is when it comes to illegal migration we are a nation of secret Tories.”

          yep you are

          “But our vast distances mean, unlike Hungary and Poland and Greece, we at least have the luxury of choice.”

          Choice! What a joke – you are delusional in the extreme. The choice to kill them, watch them die or help them and by them I mean all refugees – Asian, Pacific Islanders, Middle Eastern, African, Kiwi, Aussies et fucken c.

          The vast distance won’t protect you in your smug world.

        • Morrissey

          You have no idea of what you are talking about.

        • miravox

          “All those miserable Syrian families at the borders with scores of squalling children, families of six, seven eight kids.”

          Funny, just the other day someone said there were practically no kids that he saw – 90% young men – economic migrants. Now we have hordes of squalling kids.

          Just so the facts aren’t getting in the way

          Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

          2.68 Syria (as a comparison 2.05 New Zealand).

          So not the six, seven eight kids you mention, unless it’s extended families. It would be interesting to know the demographics of the ones traveling compared with those stuck in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. My guess it’s smaller families or only a chosen one (due to cost) of larger families that are trying for Europe.

  2. RedLogix 2

    A reasonable argument mickey. And entirely coherent with Jared Diamond’s work as well:


    Still one of the top ten most personally influential books I’ve ever read. The key point is that this sort of societal collapse is rarely due to just one factor alone; and that while the war headlines are the most apparent symptom, the root causes run a lot deeper and more entangled.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Thanks RL. The resilience of the society is a big determinant IMHO and the resilience of Syria is poor because of the autocratic Assad rule. Other states could have weathered this sort of threat but Syria’s resilience appears to be poor.

      • AmaKiwi 2.1.1


        “The resilience of the society is a big determinant IMHO (agreed) and the resilience of Syria (New Zealand) is poor because of the autocratic Assad (Key) rule.”

        “misguided agricultural and water-use policies of the Syrian (Key) government, caused crop failures that led to the migration of as many as 1.5 million people from rural to urban areas.”

        Add “failure to diversify the NZ economy and building roads that are likely to be flooded by rising sea levels and more violent storms.”

        I GOT IT! Key is inspired by the Syrian school of economics.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.2

        and the resilience of Syria is poor because of the autocratic Assad rule. Other states could have weathered this sort of threat but Syria’s resilience appears to be poor.

        Is Saudi Arabia is less autocratic? How about Jordan? Qatar? Bahrain?

        One big difference of course with those countries is that the US and Israel hasn’t taken the same steps to actively isolate and destabilise those nations.

  3. Tory 3

    “If the All Blacks win the World Cup I expect Nationals polling to surge and the silver fern to be adopted”. I suggest you also roll out Dot Com again to guarantee another National election win.
    Regarding the war in Syria, they have been slaughtering each other for centuries (Ottomans were experts) and their religious tensions and dislikes for each other has nothing to do with us.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      The drought that exacerbated existing tensions has though, eh. You will no doubt be insisting that we accept our measure of personal responsibility for that.

      Any day now…

  4. Matthew Hooton 5


  5. Really, if Labour wants to improve its electoral appeal it needs to drop this climate change drivel.

    Can’t the Labour leaders read opinion surveys?

    The greater majority of voters do not buy into global warming and regard it as a fraud.

    They also see measure to combat it as costly and unhelpful to business.

    The longer you make it a primary issue, the longer you’ll stay in opposition.

    Mark Latham said this in Australia a week ago, and he’s right.

    Someone in Labour needs to show some initiative and get this millstone off your necks.

    • lol – the right speaketh

      • Redbaiter 6.1.1

        “The right”


        Don’t you know who Mark Latham is Marty?

        He said the same thing about many issues Labour have taken up in recent times and he’s right about them too.

        • dukeofurl

          Tony Abbott took your advice -“drop this drivel” and look where it got him ?

          Looks more and more like he will be pushed out by a rival who accepts climate change isnt drivel.

          • Redbaiter

            Julia’s lie about a carbon tax was what got her and Kevin kicked.

            Abbot has problems but climate change is not really an issue with the man in the street.

            Its an academic/ media propaganda mission and opinion polls show most voters know it is.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Opinion polls. Are we supposed to just take your delusional word for that or something?

        • mickysavage

          Latham is weird.

          • Redbaiter

            The idea that Labour/ Labor is bogged down in “progressive” issues at the expense of its traditional cause (and core voters) is not an uncommon thesis among the left today.

            • mickysavage

              What can be more important than survival of the human race? A flag referendum? So we should ignore climate change because it is bad politics?

            • dukeofurl

              Labour in Australia , and here, has involved itself in ‘worker issues’ that are sometimes outside the experience of most voters, doesnt seem to have hurt them much.

              I fact you seem to be all praise for the narrow poll and focus group issues that Key does very well, but then you rubbish him anyway as not meeting your tiny small government factions core beliefs.

        • marty mars

          “and he’s right about them too.”


    • Sabine 6.2

      I don’t see the obsession of the right in regards to what the Left does or not does, Dear Leader, most comfortable of course, will say exactly what those on the right want to hear, anytime all the time. Why do you actually listen to Labour? Really, whats wrong with you? You should be listening to dear Leader.

      • Redbaiter 6.2.1

        Sabine, just to put you right here, I do not regard John Key and the National Party as any kind of right wing force.

        Neither do most NZers and trying to paint John Key as to the right of Vlad the Impaler will do you no good in the end. Its an idea that will just not float with the public.

        John Key was passed the socialist baton by Helen Clark and he has run on with it. except we are now in more debt, paying more taxes, and the govt is spending more money.

        I am a small govt right winger, and I don’t like JK because he is a hopeless socialist. Worse, I see him as all spin and no substance.

        I am not blind to the fact that many NZers embrace socialism. Given the narrow political spectrum that exists here their choices are ridiculously limited.

        To your advantage, most NZers don’t know of that limitation. They do know though that JK is a socialist like Helen Clark.

        So socialist political ideas might fly, but you’re still never going to get the majority of NZers to agree with your claim that JK is far right.

        • You_Fool

          Jk is a populist, like Helen Clark. Helen Clark was a socialist by default who implemented policies against her desires to ride public opinion when required. John Key is not a socialist who implements socialist policies when required to keep on the good side of public opinion.

          If you listen to either you realise where their true desires lie, but both were populist enough to do what was needed to ensure they kept power.

          On climate change: sticking your head in the sand is not a viable strategy; climate change is happening and we (humanity as a whole) need to deal with that. Also I doubt your claim very much that the majority of ordinary people regard it as a fraud; do you have links to such opinion polls? Even if that is the case then the answer is more education on the subject and bringing it to the public attention more often, not less.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      The greater majority of voters do not buy into global warming and regard it as a fraud.

      Actually, that’s only the fringe RWNJs like yourself. The majority of people want us to act far more aggressively than we are about it.

      A summary of the consultation responses said there was a strong call for an ambitious target and leadership from the government with the most common target suggested by stakeholders being 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 or a target of zero carbon by 2050.

      They also see measure to combat it as costly and unhelpful to business.

      Again, that’s just the RWNJs trying to protect their dying business models that have brought about such monumental failure.

      • Redbaiter 6.3.1

        OK, keep sticking your head in the sand, but most western countries when polled show similar results to this-

        Don’t think JK doesn’t thank you.

        • You_Fool

          That just shows that us humans are stupid and worry too much about the short term / what is currently impacting us. I notice that the trend line appears to climb after a major weather event in the states, so that shows that the respondents are worry about stuff that is in front of them.

          None of this makes climate change any less important or dire. JK ignoring it due to “opinion polls” shows that he has no care for anything past the end of his own nose.

        • weka

          1. You need to show the NZ figures, seeing as how you were talking about what Labour should do.

          2. that research is about the US. Of course it’s not going to reflect NZ. But even in the US 49% of the people surveyed worry about climate change.

          3. there is a difference between asking someone to rank what they are most worried about, and asking them if they believe in AGW. You stated that most voters regard CC as a fraud. Put up some evidence or you are a liar.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Thank you for proving, beyond doubt, that you’re a stupid RWNJ.

          See, you said: majority of voters do not buy into global warming to which I responded with link showing that the majority of NZers actually wanted us to do more about it than what National or you want us to do. You then responded with a Gallop poll from the US (which doesn’t apply to NZ) that showed that climate change isn’t their top worry which is not indicative of belief of climate change being a fraud or not.

          I mean, just believing the way you do proves that you’re an idiot but you just proved, big time that you’re an absolute fucken moron who can’t follow basic logic.

          • weka

            +very many ones. Not sure which is worse, the troling or the stupid. But yeah, I think RB’s set a bench mark on their reputation here.

    • weka 6.4

      “The greater majority of voters do not buy into global warming and regard it as a fraud.”

      Citation needed. Seriously, because to me what you’ve just said appears to be key to your whole comment but is actually an outright lie. Put up some evidence or expect to be called a liar from now on.

      • Redbaiter 6.4.1

        Don’t you think your eagerness to label people as liars says more about your own morality?

        How about you use some logic?

        The theme pushed by the left is that Climate Change threatens our very existence. If people believed that don’t you think it would be at the very top of their list of concerns?

        • weka

          No, and there are pretty good political analyses for why it’s not at the top of the list. But I see you have failed to provide any evidence for your assertion that most people think CC is a fraud, so liar you are then. I don’t think that says anything about my morality, but rather it says something positive about my debate skills and logic. If you can support your statement with evidence, I’ll be happy to change my stance.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Don’t you think your eagerness to label people as liars says more about your own morality?

          Nope. Liars need to be called out. Fuck this being nice BS.

          And I note that you still can’t produce any links to back up what you’re saying.

    • AmaKiwi 6.5

      Bill Clinton has been crusading very successful on the economic BENEFITS of making changes that deal with climate change.

      The prospect of change might be frightening, but the changes are often very beneficial.

      Maybe Labour leaders need a platform of “here are the economic and employment benefits of dealing with climate change.”

      Hopefully they are already doing it in secret, waiting for the 2017 election campaign.

    • save NZ 6.6

      Yes I totally agree with your Rebater, as a closet Act voting troll myself, I find any environmental regulation abhorrent and think that all the ocean and landmasses should be drilled a reasonable distance from my house and tax payers should pay for all the clean up and give me corporate welfare too.

      Get rid of the RMA – can’t you see that the 99% of resource consents which are granted are too little – we want the harbour, all forests exported, Fonterra privatised and in foreign hands, and 25m2 studios for the working poor and large gated houses for affluent people, it is crazy how easy it is to just throw out planning guidelines and encroach your neighbours. It’s a great way to make more profit in the Auckland property market. Of course that is to create affordable houses! Wink, wink, nod, nod.

      I was so pleased to see zero effort was made to be sustainable under any planning rules for the new .2 HA giant shopping mall out Westgate way, in one of my Hero’s John Key’s electorate. The beauty is that the council chipped in corporate welfare to build it and now the ratepayers can help pay for the infrastructure bill too – all that wastewater going somewhere, not sure – don’t care – someone else problem and expense. How cares about the F-ing climate! Even better closet Len is considered a lefty, overseeing all this S*&t – voters have few places to turn too. You couldn’t make this stuff up, ok we can manufacture and use dirt against people but what can they do about it.

      Lets face it, it’s global.

      Likewise in our higher power the USA, my lobbyists got Obama to do the neoliberal ‘third way’ approach of granting Shell final approval to drill for oil in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea while visiting Alaska today to put a spotlight on the realities of climate change and to forge his climate legacy.

      Works a treat. Just get the competition to start doing conflicting crazy approaches to policy (placating business, pretending to care about things voters care about like the environment) and then our right wing antics suddenly don’t look as bad and we are out of the spotlight!

      I too am a climate denier, but just in case I’m pleased the government have put tax payers money into an irrigation scheme to protect our friends and even had to wrestle it off those stupid democratic bodies – but the government do it so often now – even I am amazed how good they have got at it!

      Also getting rid of that Pesky lefty John Campbell, after that story about the business getting bottling rights to send our water to China for a mere $2000 council fee, while the farmer next door was losing his livelihood due to the drought – well what can I say, just come to our Nat party conference, know the right people and the doors will be greased for you.

      Some people might call it corruption but hello, I call it smart business in a global economy.

    • Paul 6.7

      Time waster.

  6. infused 7

    What Hooton said.

  7. photonz 8

    Mickey asks”Is Syria the first failed state because of climate change?”

    Obviously not.

    States around the Sahara have been under states of decay or failure for thousands of years because the climate has been changing.

    Think Timbiktu in Mali, Meroë in Sudan, Kingdom of Kush etc.

    The Mayan civilisation was destroyed by drought in 800-1000AD

    Other examples are Ethiopia in the1980s. Arabia in 629AD, Great European Famine of 1315–17, Anasazi Indians in whats now USA in 1275,

    And here’s several hundred more examples over the last couple of thousand years

    China alone has had nearly 2000 famines in the last 2000 years.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      You’re right. MS should have said anthropogenic climate change.

      • photonz 8.1.1

        For thousands of years we’ve had thousands of droughts that weren’t caused by man made climate change.

        Are we to believe they have suddenly all stopped?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          “Belief” doesn’t come into it, unless you’re too lazy or cognitively challenged to follow the science.

          • photonz

            So Syria had a war caused by many problems, just one of which might have been a drought a few years before the war, which may or may not have been partly caused by climate change.

            yeah – that’s a really strong case.

            Still odd that for thousands of years that planet has had thousands of droughts from natural causes, and now all the natural ones have completely stopped, and today every single drought is now caused by climate change.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Is that what you think people are saying? Is your utter incomprehension a result of laziness or a cognitive deficit?

              • photonz

                Every time there is a drought anywhere, it will it now blamed on climate change.

                I don’t THINK people are saying that. They ARE saying it.

                [Read the articles. This is not a case where there is a drought and man made climate change is being automatically blamed. The scientists are saying that the area is warming and that this matches predicted change caused by man made climate change – MS]

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  So what part of the fact that climate affects weather patterns are you confused about?

                • You_Fool

                  While I may be playing into your trap… I guess you haven’t noticed the difference in time spans? Hundreds of droughts over thousands of years vs hundreds of droughts over a hundred years; nor the fact that the more recent are the worst in recorded history.

                  But yeah, the fact that the climate has changed drastically since humans started pumping shit into the environment has nothing to do such an acceleration

                  • photonz

                    Wrong – there’s been far worse droughts historically.

                    Wrong – it’s not hundreds of droughts. China alone has had 2000 major droughts in 2000 years.

                    There’s no doubt humans are having an effect on the climate, but today every drought is blamed on climate change.

                    And the natural droughts that have happened for thousands of years are apparently never ever the reason for a drought today.

                    Many in the pro-climate change lobby cherry pick the data to back up their preconceived ideas of the most extreme change, and are equally delusional, if not more so, than those in the denier camp.

                    • maui

                      Got a reference for the 2000 in 2000 years theory?

                      Drought is a natural phenom, but we now know we’re having the worst droughts in recorded history and that is linked to human climate change. So it’s fairly obvious to link the droughts we’re having to climate change I would have thought.

                    • photonz

                      Maui says “we’re now having the worst droughts in recorded history..?


                      So the droughts that have killed millions and millions over the the last couple of millennia we’re as bad as what we’re having now?

                      “Between 108 BC and 1911 AD there were no fewer than 1,828 major famines in China, or one nearly every year in one or another province; however, the famines varied greatly in severity.[1][2] There were 95 famines in Britain during the Middle Ages.[3][4]”


                      Maui says “So it’s fairly obvious to link the droughts we’re having to climate change I would have thought.”

                      So why today are we getting droughts caused by climate change, but not any more naturally occuring ones like have happened for thousands of years

                    • weka

                      Photonz, you seem to be confusing famine with climate. Famines are caused by various factors, including drought but not limited to that. Drought is also caused by various factors (climate, land use etc). But really you just want to argue CC denial.

                      People, please stop arguing with CC deniers. Just call it bullshit. Arguing with them is just sucking vital energy from taking urgent action. We’re in the time of post-denial now.

                    • photonz

                      weka – how do you correlate my quote “There’s no doubt humans are having an effect on the climate” with being a climate change denier?

                      Or you just throw labels, however incorrect they are, at people you disagree with.

                    • maui

                      Just looked at your reference to the 2000 famines that you say are caused by DROUGHT. The author puts the reason for famines under four headings

                      economic, natural, social, political

                      Defining natural causes,

                      Natural causes are due to deforestation, irregular rainfall, flooding of rivers, locusts, earthquakes and typhoons

                      No mention of droughts anywhere there as a significant cause. I think you should realise now that you have no argument, goodbye.

                    • weka

                      weka – how do you correlate my quote “There’s no doubt humans are having an effect on the climate” with being a climate change denier?

                      Or you just throw labels, however incorrect they are, at people you disagree with.

                      The denier mentality comes in many shades now. You’ve been quacking like a duck all the way through. If you weren’t a denier you’d have said so.

                    • weka

                      “There’s no doubt humans are having an effect on the climate, but today every drought is blamed on climate change.”

                      Just to clarify, climate change affects all weather. It’s here now. There is no weather that’s not happening in the context of AGW. So the whole thing about “is this specific weather event/local phenomenon caused by CC?” is a red herring and a logical and real world cul de sac. It’s also a waste of time. CC is here, it’s real, and we need to be acting on it. Now.

                    • photonz

                      weka says ” If you weren’t a denier you’d have said so.”

                      What a stupid thing to say. Everybody who is not a denier, now has to state they’re not, otherwise they are. Pathetic.

                      Clearly you got your pigeonholing wrong.

                    • Poission

                      Just to clarify, climate change affects all weather.

                      Conversely weather effects climate (the aggregation of weather statistics) eg Marvin 1919.

                      “each striking feature on a long record is, therefore, no evidence of the persistent recurrence of peculiar irregularities, but is simply the residual scar or imprint of some unusual event, or a few which have been fortuitously combined at about the time in question.”

                      Marvin, C. F., 1919: Normal temperatures (daily): Are
                      irregularities in the annual march of temperature

                    • Pat

                      if it is accepted that climate effect is anthropogenic then it is reasonable to accept that any weather event is a result of that effect…for the simple reason the weather patterns would be different without the noted effect…how difficult is that to comprehend??

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Or perhaps it’s dishonesty. I’m being charitable though.

              • photonz

                Your need to constantly abuse tells us a huge amount about what sort of person you are, and shows us you have a lack of confidence to debate intelligently.

                Even your abuse is repetitive – same sort of labels, every time.

                I don’t see how you haven’t bored yourself to tears writing the same thing sort of abuse, over and over, as you were writing six and 12 months ago.

                Do you not have a life?

                If you want a debate, let me know.

                If you just want to abuse, I’ll leave you in your hole.

                • The lost sheep

                  Hey Photonz.
                  Anyone whose been here for a while knows that when OAB meets a strong point that challenges his stated position, he always uses obfuscation as a means of retreat.
                  Then he will keep obfuscating until you give up and he therefore gets the last ‘word’.
                  I used to think he was just taking the piss, but I now think he honestly believes that this tactic actually fools people into thinking he has dealt with all the inconvenient points with intellectual integrity and ‘won’ the argument.

                  Bizarre eh? But best just to pull out when he obviously has turned his back on a genuine engagement with the debate?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Anyone whose been here for a while knows that when OAB meets a strong point that challenges his stated position, he always uses obfuscation as a means of retreat.

                    No, he just insults the idiots, like photonz and you, who don’t actually have a point but believe that they do despite the facts proving that they don’t.

                    • photonz

                      The current point being argued was today someone always blames drought on climate change.

                      You now say the facts prove the opposite.

                      Which is totally idiotic.

                      It just shows you’ll make up any ludicrous nonsense, as long as it opposes the people you think are your opposition.

                    • The lost sheep

                      True that he attacks weak points.
                      But It is his avoidance of strong points that don’t suit his position that i am pointing out.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The current point being argued was today someone always blames drought on climate change.

                      No it wasn’t. The question was if Syria was the first state to fail due to anthropogenic climate change. You talked bullshit about it in which you tried to say that the physical evidence was wrong and then assumed you’d won the argument.

                      Now that is being idiotic.

                      But It is his avoidance of strong points that don’t suit his position that i am pointing out.

                      Photonz didn’t actually have a point as they were bullshitting.

                  • photonz

                    I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s probably what happens when you hide away wasting your life whinging on a computer.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Says someone who’s been whinging on a computer while having not the first clue about what I was up to in the meantime.

                • maui

                  You are being dishonest though, you’ve picked a whole swag of civilisational collpases and blamed them all singly on drought. Most if not all have a combination of factors for their collapse, even the scientists don’t know exactly what happened so I’m not sure how you do. Your Great European Famine example appears to have been caused by too much rain, not not enough rain! It’s clear what barrow you’re pushing here.

                  • photonz

                    maui says “You are being dishonest though, you’ve picked a whole swag of civilisational collpases and blamed them all singly on drought. ”

                    You mean like the reason above given for Syria’s current situation?

                    • maui

                      The author makes a valid argument, you however chose to rewrite history and can’t tell the difference between famine and drought. As of right now I can only really trust about 50% of the words you’re saying really, most of them are the joining words.

                    • photonz

                      You’ve just said how ridiculous it is to blame the the collapse of a civilisation just on one thing like drought – then you back-peddal furiously to say that the author above makes a good point.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Is it being blamed on one thing? The only person who has made such a statement is you.

                      Or perhaps you are simply ignorant of the meaning of “catalytic”.

                • weka

                  If you want a debate, let me know.

                  If you just want to abuse, I’ll leave you in your hole.

                  Yes, please do. Just go away. There is no debate on whether CC is real or not. The only sensible response to deniers is ridicule, abuse or ostracisation.

                  • The lost sheep

                    It’s Dogma then Weka?

                    • weka

                      The internet is a big place. If you want to argue about whether climate change is real, do it somewhere else (or at least take it to Open Mike). This thread isn’t about whether CC is real or not.

                    • The lost sheep

                      “This thread isn’t about whether CC is real or not.”

                      The thread is about whether or not climate change has ’caused the failure of the Syrian state’, and that is the point Photonz is debating. He has explicitly stated there is no doubt humans are having an effect on climate.

                      It is your intolerance of dissenting views that I was pointing out. You are coming across as a classic dogmatic bigot.
                      There shall be no debate because this is incontrovertibly true, and anyone who dares to question this deserves to be silenced, ridiculed and abused?
                      It sounds to me like you are well on the road to burning heretics at the stake.

                    • photonz

                      As I said previously, there are people who are so “into” climate change, that they take every price of evidence to make it seem as extreme as possible, and ignore everything else.

                      Which is pretty much identical the way deniers come to their opinions at the the other extreme of the spectrum.

                      They’ve lost touch with objectivity, and reality.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “every drought is blamed on climate change”

                      [citation needed]

                      In fact, “all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.”

                      If you want you can pay attention to the science, or not. Your call.

                    • weka

                      The thread is about whether or not climate change has ’caused the failure of the Syrian state’,

                      Actually, it’s not. It’s about whether CC was a significant contributing factor, and why we should be taking notice of that.

                      and that is the point Photonz is debating.

                      No, they’re not. They’re trying to undermine the basic premise (that CC is here now, having impacts here now, and that includes creating mass social upheaval via drought in unstable places) and they’re doing it via inaccuracies that have been pointed out repeatedly (eg that famine has mutiple causes and isn’t an inherent indication of drought). Maybe photonz does really take CC seriously and is just stupid. But I don’t think so.

                      He has explicitly stated there is no doubt humans are having an effect on climate.

                      Much of climate change denial has moved on from “it’s not real”, to “it’s real but not going to affect us that badly” and “it’s real but there is nothing we can do” and “it’s real but it’s not happening in this particular instance”. All of those are forms of denial. Am happy to debate that dynamic with you, in Open Mike. Am not willing to pretend that what is happening here is in this thread is honest and valid debate.

                      It is your intolerance of dissenting views that I was pointing out. You are coming across as a classic dogmatic bigot.
                      There shall be no debate because this is incontrovertibly true, and anyone who dares to question this deserves to be silenced, ridiculed and abused?

                      photonz has been ridiculed for the mistakes and inaccuracies they put up. I came along much later in the piece and pointed out that the whole debate is a waste of precious time because we need to focus on responses that CC that aren’t a distraction. Ok, so let me coin a new term. Maybe photonz isn’t a CC denier, they’re a CC distractor.

                      This isn’t dogma from me, it’s intolerance. It’s consistent with my belief that the situation with CC is serious beyond what we understand. And urgent. By all means see if you can convince me otherwise, but it’s going to take more low level arguments that can’t tell the difference between famine and drought.

                      It sounds to me like you are well on the road to burning heretics at the stake.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Actually, it’s not. It’s about whether CC was a significant contributing factor, and why we should be taking notice of that.

                      The Headline is ..
                      “Is Syria the first failed state because of climate change?”
                      and Mickey introduces his argument with…
                      “it appears clear that we may be witnessing the first nation to fail because of climate change.”

                      So forgive us for not understanding that he actually meant ‘contributing factor’.

                    • weka

                      well I can certainly see that if that’s all you read, and out of context, that you would be left with that impression.

                    • The lost sheep

                      And the front page precis…

                      “A climate change induced drought from 2006 to 2009 appears to have sparked the instability that has caused the Syrian Civil war. The mass exodus of citizens that we are witnessing may be the first of many climate change induced events.”

                      So while the source material quoted clearly discusses cc as a contributing factor, the article here at TS very explicitly draws a concrete linkage to causation.

                      So how is it taking it ‘out of context’ to challenge the linkage the article itself has actually made?…..

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person may, 2nd may or (Archaic) mayest or mayst, 3rd may; present plural may; past might.
                      (used to express possibility):
                      It may rain.
                      (used to express opportunity or permission):
                      You may enter.
                      (used to express contingency, especially in clauses indicating condition, concession, purpose, result, etc.):
                      I may be wrong but I think you would be wise to go. Times may change but human nature stays the same.
                      (used to express wish or prayer):
                      May you live to an old age.
                      Archaic. (used to express ability or power.)

                    • weka

                      you’re quibbling over semantics, meanwhile Rome burns. Of course, if you believe that Rome isn’t burning, that it’s just a few scrub fires on the periphery, then you will try and stop the people who are running round attempting to put the fires out, because they’re making you uncomfortable and they’re threatening your tenuous hold on your lifestyle.

                      btw, here’s a couple of clues,

                      I have read a bit more about Syria and it appears clear that we may be witnessing the first nation to fail because of climate change.

                      Look at the words appears and may in that sentence [edit, snap OAB]. Look at the question mark in the title. Micky is clearly inviting discussion about this, but photonz refutes it completely with their opening comment. Not only that, but the argument they make is (a) classic denier material and (b) stupid and incorrect. What ensues isn’t a discussion about in what ways CC contributed to the Syrian situation and why this is so important, but a debate between a couple of deniers (people who say there is no contribution, because) and everyone else who already thinks that this is highly likely.

                      If someone wants to argue that the Syrian situation was not largely influenced by CC, that’s fine, but they need to do it with some level of intelligence and not descend in troling at the first opportunity. This is high level debate culture, up your game or expect to get hammered.

                      photonz is part of the problem. You probably are too. You are right, I don’t care what you believe at this point. If you want to undulge your fantasy about CC, take it somewhere else. These threads should be about the seriousness of the situation and what we can do. Everything else is denial and we simply don’t have the time

                      Now, I’ve explained enough. You’re not stupid, and I’m not going to keep on with arguing over semantics when the world is burning. If you want to argue that CC isn’t that serious, go somewhere else. If you want to argue about the ways in which CC affected Syria, have at it, but it better be a bloody good argument after all the bullshit that’s gone on here today.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Thank you OAB.
                      And now maybe you can give us the meaning of the word ’caused’?

                      That might help us to clarify whether these 2 statements are synonymous, or whether they convey different meanings….
                      “may be witnessing the first nation to fail because of climate change”
                      “may be witnessing the first nation to fail with climate change as a contributing factor

                      Because if they are synonymous, then statements like these 2 must be also…
                      “Labour lost the election because of a public perception of weak leadership.”
                      ” A public perception of weak leadership was a contributing factor to Labours election loss”

                      No fine points of meaning to discuss there then?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


          • AmaKiwi

            What was said of Bush can be said of Key:

            “What does President Bush think?”

            “Oh, President Bush doesn’t think. He believes.”

        • Paul

          Climate denier.
          Time waster.
          Go away.

  8. johnm 9

    ” Climate Change Helped Spark Syrian War, Study Says ”

    A severe drought, worsened by a warming climate, drove Syrian farmers to abandon their crops and flock to cities, helping trigger a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, according to a new study published Monday.

    The authors acknowledge that many factors led to Syria’s uprising, including corrupt leadership, inequality, massive population growth, and the government’s inability to curb human suffering.

    But their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compiled statistics showing that water shortages in the Fertile Crescent in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey killed livestock, drove up food prices, sickened children, and forced 1.5 million rural residents to the outskirts of Syria’s jam-packed cities—just as that country was exploding with immigrants from the Iraq war. (Related: “Half of Syrians Displaced: 5 Takeaways From New UN Report.”)

    After examining meteorological data, the researchers determined that natural variability alone was unlikely to account for the trends in wind, rain, and heat that led to the massive drought. All these factors, combined with high unemployment and bad government, helped tip Syria into violence. ”

    • dukeofurl 9.1

      Thats not the original research which I have linked to.

      The authors admit their links between civil war and drought are very weak, but of course once they are in the general media that gets conflated as ‘proof’

  9. dukeofurl 10

    But back to the connection between the drought and the civil war:

    It seems that it mostly speculation as the NYTimes gives this disclaimer from the authors of the research.

    “The researchers said that there were many factors that contributed to the chaos, including the influx of 1.5million refugees from Iraq, and that it was impossible to quantify the effect of any one event like a drought.

    “Whether it was a primary or substantial factor is impossible to know,”

    Having read the full research article, which is mostly standard climate change analysis.

    Their only direct evidence of the drought and the civil war is ‘one farmers opinion’

    Iis the Arab Spring uprisings , which spread throughout ME a more likely spark point.

    A decades long brutal dictatorship along with deep sectarian divides which shut out the majority group from influence. You could say attempts at neoliberal policies were partly to blame

    “Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father in 2000, shifted to liberalizing the economy by cutting the fuel and food subsidies on which many Syrians had
    become dependent. These cuts continued despite the drought, further destabilizing the lives of those affected”

    “An abundance of history books on the subject tell us that civil unrest can never be said to have a simple or unique cause. The Syrian conflict, now civil war, is no exception.”

    Failed state because of climate change. ? Seems to be a lot of wishful thinking, that even the authors here struggle to accept.

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Destruction of a society is often a complex thing with a variety of contributing factors. I am suggesting that anthropological climate change and the displacement of 1.2 million farmers is likely to be a significant factor.

      And stand by as temperatures continue to rise. More resilient states are also going to fail.

  10. Steve Wrathall 11

    So, in summary, drought causes conflict, except when it doesn’t.

  11. Clean_power 12

    Alarmism and speculation without end: whatever can be attributed to climate change will be attributed to climate change, the new religion with many priests.

  12. Observer (Tokoroa) 13

    To: PhotoNZ

    You are probably too young to know that by the late 1940s….London was being choked by a things called smog.

    Smog is composed of heavy particles in the atmosphere produced by burning coal and fossil fuels. It produces savage respiratory collapse. It also made London look worse than the black hole of Calcutta.

    The same particles produce problems in drinking water.

    So do you know what London did Photo NZ?

    Do you know the process by which it changed London life dramatically?

    Fortunately for London you were not there to veto their wish to clean up the atmosphere.


    Ps: you you will be horrified to know that The Great California followed London’s lead successfully too.

    • photonz 13.1

      Wow. London was polluted. And it cleaned up it’s act.

      Who would have known.

      And why on earth do you think I would have vetoed their wish to clean up the atmosphere?

      This is a bizzare group of people. Even when you state clearly that climate change is real, you still get labelled a denier unless you agree with the most extreme predictions.

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        Feel free to go away.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1.2

        Which are the “extreme predictions”? Are you making shit up again?

      • weka 13.1.3

        “Even when you state clearly that climate change is real, you still get labelled a denier unless you agree with the most extreme predictions”

        Not only a denier/CC distractor, but a trole as well. Why don’t you just fuck off? You’ve made your points and can’t defend them, so what are you even doing here if it’s not to distrupt the thread or push a CC minimisation agenda?

        • photonz

          God you’re stupid weka.

          Repeatedly I’ve said climate change is real, and repeatedly you say I’m denying climate change.

          It’s like debating with a an imbecile.

          [Chill out and lay off with the abuse – MS]

          • Colonial Viper

            Surely it takes one to know one, and you persist in it regardless.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Weka’s comment at 3:16pm (above) may help you understand their reaction to your “contributions” here today. Perhaps.

            • photonz

              It’s laughable.

              Weka says that even people who agree that climate change is real, are still deniers.

              It’s a great example of how cult-like some people’s thinking has become.

              It makes the Gloriavale cult look sane by comparison.

              • weka

                classic troling. Fuck off.

                • photonz

                  You’re the one that made the bizarre comment that even people who agree with climate change are still deniers.

                  Did you really expect to say something so idiotic and not be pulled up on it?

                  And you again your reaction to anyone who doesn’t agree with you is cult-like.

                  I see extremists at your end of the spectrum just as delusional as those at the other end in denial.

                  You’re both the same. Take the most extreme information you can to back up your opinion, and disregard anything else.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    For the second time, what “extreme information” are you citing?

                    Weka’s point stands, because you’ve been telling lies, mate. Your lies about the OP, for example. Have you used a dictionary to look up “catalytic” yet?

                  • weka

                    @photonz, either respond to my explanation or fuck off trole.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                So you’ve changed your mind, and are no longer inventing lies about what other people have said? Are you now prepared to accept the meaning of quotation marks too? Have you managed to work out what links are?

          • weka

            Much of climate change denial has moved on from “it’s not real”, to “it’s real but not going to affect us that badly” and “it’s real but there is nothing we can do” and “it’s real but it’s not happening in this particular instance”. All of those are forms of denial.

            Thanks though, because now I’ve coined a new term. You are a CC distractor, whose mission is to derail attempts to discuss the seriousness and immediacy of CC. The arguments are pushed off into cul de sacs about whether x event is climate change, or it’s not really that bad. But the debate has all the hallmarks of the old denier debates.

            • Colonial Viper

              Yep. Purpose of this arsehole is to derail and distract the rest of us from having a serious discussion.

            • photonz

              Weka – it’s laughable that you talk about climate debate – you’re not even interested in debate – only people who parrot exactly the same view as you.

              That’s not debate – it’s cheerleading.

              A large part of the world are not interested in climate change. Like conservation, those are things you worry about when you have a safe secure lifestyle, and are not worrying about where the next meal will come from.

              The absolute worst, most disastrous thing we could do, it put all our resources into fighting climate change, but having little effect.

              We need to decide how much resource we put into fighting climate change (if any) and how much we put into adaptation.

              Because every dollar we put into fighting change (which may happen anyway) is a dollar we can’t use to adapt.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                And there it is.

                Weka’s assessment of your behaviour completely vindicated.

                • photonz

                  And there it is.

                  Your umpteenth post in a row totally devoid of intelligent comment about the subject at hand.

                  As the climate scientists have said, even if we stopped all carbon emmisssions at 10pm tonight, we’re still up for 50 years of climate change.

                  So it’s blatantly obvious we’re NOT going to stop it.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke


                    Since when did Tory scum start pretending to be part of the solution?

                  • weka

                    “So it’s blatantly obvious we’re NOT going to stop it.”

                    Of course. The only thing we have control over now is how bad it’s going to get. The debate on ts has acknowledge that for years.

                    People like you want us to gamble one way, people like me want us to gamble the other.

                    I want us to use the worst scenarios supported by science as our starting points and then act from there.

                    You want to argue that it’s not really that bad, and god knows what else because most of this conversation has been you saying that idiotic things like drought = famine = drought, but hey we’ve always had that so let’s not get too carried away and try and do the things that will actually save the planet. Sheep wants to argue over fucking semantics. In the meantime Rome burns.

                    So of course I am going to tell you to fuck off. Either up your game in terms of the actual arguments or fuck off, because you are part of the massive problem that is preventing us from doing the things that need to be done.

                    • photonz

                      You’re the one whose desperate to derail the conversation and start name-calling people deniers, even if they’re not.

                      As I’ve said, we could bankrupt ourselves trying to combat climate change – and likely still fail.

                      So I see your “solution” as potentially the most disastrous path we could take.

                      President Bush didn’t get much right, but one thing I think he did (probably accidentally) was his prediction that it would be technology that would solve issues like climate change.

                      My new car uses less than half the petrol of my old car.
                      My current light bulbs use 80% less power than my old bulbs.
                      My current heating uses 75% less power than my old heating.
                      My intellectual property exports now gets around the world via internet, rather than courier.

                      So personally, I’ve spent a significant amount, and my emissions are significantly reduced.

                      However I see several billion people around the globe who long for a middle class life, and will probably get it. And who are we to tell them that they can’t put out similar emissions that we do?

                      More to the point – would they take any notice?

                      Climate change is coming, like it or not, so we will need to adapt.

                      So we’re far better spending money on adaptation, than we are throwing money down the toilet trying to stop the inevitable.

                    • weka

                      That’s not what this thread is about.

                      Everything you have just said confirms you as a denier. Ten years ago you would have been arguing over the science and what was real. Now you can’t do that and be socially acceptable so you are arguing for adaptation instead. As Lynn points out this makes you an ignorant, selfish fuck.

                      I’m not going to address your individual points, because that’s not what this thread is for.

                    • photonz

                      Weka – your name calling is pathethic.

                      You obviously have a pathological need to abuse anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

                      And then make up false opinions for them from ten years ago, even though you are totally ignorant what they thought a decade ago.

                      That’s really odd.

                    • weka

                      🙄 Still can’t address the points. Trole.

                  • lprent

                    That is because what gets added into greenhouse gases now is still changing climate more than a thousand years later. It is a continuous process making the future worse until people stop adding long life greenhouse gases into the

                    So what you are saying if I can interpret your numbskull ignorance a bit.

                    “It doesn’t matter if I can’t change it within my lifetime, and I am only interested in my own comfort”.

                    This is a continuous process. What you add in to the greenhouse gases now will still be adding to the crap on descendants and family members over the next few thousand years. It will be making the cost of adaption that much harder for several thousands of years.

                    You are announcing that you are a selfish cretinous arsehole who doesn’t even care about his own family. Pretty typical

                    • photonz

                      So I’m the “selfish cretinous arsehole” even you are coming from a point of total and complete ignorance on whether or not you put out significantly more emissions than me (which I would bet you do).

                    • lprent []

                      That is very unlikely. I use a tank of gas in my 18 year old car on average about every 7 weeks these days, and my consumption is still falling (less trips to my parents in Rotorua). I buy virtually everything with bulk from locally made. The exception is computer gear, but that tends to last for long periods. Our small apartment is awesomely insulated.

                      About the only thing that I do that involves any emissions is probably the small gas and coal portions of the power for running this site. That is only because frigging Gerry Brownlee forced the power company with a low emission profile to take on more dirty assets. But at least the computers also warm the apartment.

                      Unlike you, I have been looking at and thinking about this for more than 3 decades. While you appear to have been thinking mainly about how crafty you are at offloading your pollution on to your kids and grandkids, and those of your siblings.

  13. Colonial Viper 14

    I’d just like to say that climate change did not feed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of rebel armaments and (conservatively) ten to twenty thousand anti-Assad foreign fighters into Syria.

    • dukeofurl 14.1

      Would fossil fuels be connected to the money , armaments and foreign fighters ??

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.2

      No it didn’t. It just contributed to the conditions that made that outcome possible.

    • mickysavage 14.3

      I am not claiming that climate change is the only reason but the stress caused by the drought and the dislocation of farming families appears to be the stressor that tipped things over.

      Agreed that Iraq and the destabilisation the west has caused is another contribution to the mess.

      • dukeofurl 14.3.1

        Unfortunately only ‘one farmers opinion’ was given as evidence for the drought being a primary cause.
        However even the authors cite previous studies which doubt any civil war has one cause.

        Or as they say
        ““Whether it was a primary or substantial factor is impossible to know,”

        Sorry MS if they ‘dont know’ , its only speculation to say ( and without evidence, after this was an academic study) that the drought ‘tipped things over’

  14. photonz 15

    One anonymous bloke says “In fact, “all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.””

    So even when it’s colder and dryer, it’s really warmer and wetter?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      ” <=== that symbol is called a "quotation mark".

      The “quotation” in question is also what's called a "link". On the "internet", you can "click" (with your left mouse button) on a "link". This basic step can help you avoid mis-attribution errors like the one you just made.

  15. McFlock 16

    My current boredom is contributed to by tory fuckwits being intentionally obtuse and derailing a geopolitical thread with semantic idiocy and passive-aggressive AGW-denial.

    Their contributions are not the sole cause of my boredom. There are other contributing factors IRL.

    But their contribution certainly adds to the monotony by derailing an otherwise interesting discussion. So yes, it is broadly correct to say that stupid tory fucktard shithead mouthpiece ego-wanking felchmeisters have caused me to be a bit bored today, and it is precisely correct to say that they have made me more bored than I otherwise would have been. Indeed, if today I pass the threshold of boredom that involves me banging my head on the desk from the fucking monotony that is this grey, featureless day, then it would even be correct to say that said tory cocks in fact “sparked” the head-desking event.

    Holy shit these tory fuckwits are boring. It’s like watching paint dry for three hours only to discover that actually the paint was dry to begin with because they never got around to putting the next coat on due to a five hour argument about the meaning of “paint”.

    • mickysavage 16.1

      Agreed. Well put.

    • weka 16.2

      You’re a treasure McFlock. Best comment of the day by far, and thanks for the actual laugh out louds.

      This should have been a very interesting conversation.

      • McFlock 16.2.1

        cheers 🙂

        My personal take is that it’s the longest-running (and therefore most serious) conflict sparked off by the food shortages in the area, but not the first or only one. The Syrian war started at the same time as the Arab Spring unrest, which ISTR began in a food stall in Tunisia.

        Contrasting Syria with Tunisia (which managed to quell the protests), Egypt (when the army saw the wind direction ans swapped sides), and Libya (where the lack of modern air defences resulted in an essentially risk-free bombing campaign to get rid of Gaddaffi, albeit with typical post-war “wtf we do now? Um, let’s just fuck up” that US-led wars love to have), Assad has enough generals tied to his mast to keep the army going, and enough air defence to make a bombing campaing painfully expensive, and enough resources to fight a war of attrition, at least for a while.

        Although if ISIL transfer a lot of the US gear they got from Iraq’s army into Syria, that might tip the balance against Assad. But if ISIL get too successful, trukey will concentrate on bombing them more than the kurds (yeah apparently they’ve started that again).

        Syria’s still going because Assad was in the sweet spot of not being strong enough to maintain complete control, but using demographic factors within Syria and external support from Hezbollah (combatants) and Russia (tech, especially anti-aircraft) it can drag it out into a war of attrition. I suspect it will end up with Syria having reduced borders formally recognised, maybe even with a kurdish state alongside an ISIL state.

        My two cents, anyway

  16. For those of you interested in the timeline of destabilization in Syria and the creation of ISIS. Here is a link that gives real information about Syria and how the West interfered with its internal politics.

    And as far as wars being influenced by climate here is another great example. WWII was won by the fact that the German army got caught and stopped in its tracks in one of the worst winters in Russia. It had nothing to do with the fact that the Allied troops and Russia attacked Germany form both sides. Nope all about the Russian winter! Not joking here!

  17. Arto 19

    Thank you for clearing that up.

    Silly me for thinking that the US’s support for terror groups inside Syria and from beyond, waging war against the Assad government was the reason for the carnage and horror in that country.

    Now I know better.

    Thank you.

  18. Benoni 20

    The majority of Syria’s population are Shia muslim of the Alawite sect who are similar to the muslims of Iran. The rebellion is by Sunni muslims who are a very large minority of the population. Sunnis hate Shia almost as much as they hate the Jews because they regard them false believers who are an insult to the prophet. Militant Islam is a growing Sunni phenomenon throughout the Islamic world and is promoted and financed by Saudi Arabia through its propagation of Wahabi Islam. The Sunni war against Shia in syria is a pan Islam war that has no end. The Alawites have nowhere to go and they do not want to be despised and demeaned by the rule of Sunnis in their own country. The Sunnis are self righteously attacking raping and pillaging the surrounding people and in doing so are going back to the religous roots of Islam. This has nothing to do with the weather.

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  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    19 hours ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    24 hours ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    1 day ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    3 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy
    3 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    4 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    4 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    5 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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