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Open mike 01/11/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 1st, 2015 - 149 comments
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149 comments on “Open mike 01/11/2015 ”

  1. Gangnam Style 1

    “I helped the ABs win the world cup” – JK

  2. locus 2

    You beauties!

  3. b waghorn 3

    Just in case there was any doubt that the nats are dangerous morons ,they want to soften a law that saves kids lives.

    • Gangnam Style 3.1

      “Some people don’t like the look of a fence but I can tell you there is nothing less aesthetically pleasing than your child lying face down in a pool,” – for sure!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2

      Morons would be harder to bribe successfully. They’d take the money then blab about it like Lusk.

      This isn’t stupidity it’s corruption: you can bet your eye teeth (or your drowned toddler) the National Party took money from property developers to do this.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      It wants to save $17 million over 10 years by moving towards voluntary compliance, fewer inspections and removing the requirement to fence spas or hot tubs.

      $1.7 million per year? It’ll probably cost more than that just to put it through parliament never mind how much it’s going to cost the local councils in changes to procedures.

    • Treetop 3.4

      Wakey, wakey to the government, children can be so quick, turn your head and they are not even in the same room.

    • Cricklewood 3.5

      To be fair the way Auckland council interprets the current legislation is ridiculous and has had the effect of turning the law into an ass. As one example of many a client of mine had a small area of garden within their properly fenced pool enclosure. They were failed on the grounds that the lemon tree within said garden would encourage children to enter the pool area unsupervised. It would seem to me anyway that the pool itself would be of far greater attraction to unsupervised kids hence the pool fence. There are similar stories all over Auckland of over zealous interpretation in regards to pool fencing an as we all know it the Nats are predisposed to fixing problems with regulation by removing them..

  4. North 4

    Wow !


    Nick Smith’s [read “The Ponce-Key’s”] motivation – “reducing the compliance burden imposed on pool owners and territorial authorities in relation to residential pools while……” [contradiction in terms surely ?] “maintaining child safety”.

    “It wants to save $17 million over 10 years by moving towards voluntary compliance, fewer inspections and removing the requirement to fence spas or hot tubs.”

    Hmmm…….$26 million up in smoke in one year, over a flag. Not a child life at stake.

    The imperative……stroking the ego of the simpering clown E! Channel John. Presently in London ‘colonising’ the ABs [to whom well done btw].

    It beggars belief !

    • miravox 4.1

      This doesn’t even deserve the politeness of a debate. These people are stupid.

      • weka 4.1.1

        +1 except I don’t think they’re stupid, they’re venal (pretty sure that it’s worth a few kids lives to save all that dosh).

        • miravox

          Venal and stupid works for me. Though it costs a fair bit of taxpayer $$$ to pay for lifelong care of oxygen-deprived, nearly-drowned kids. Not to mention the cost of 70-odd years of lost productivity of two-year-olds who die this way.

          Maybe they should think about charging that to the pool owners if they’re going to get rid of the relatively low costs of preventative measures.

          • weka

            Yes, you are completely right, venal and stupid.

            I’m sure someone has already thought up your last sentence as strategy, they just haven’t figured out yet how to do that in a way that is acceptable.

          • RedBaronCV

            If you’re rich enough to fund a swimming pool the fees should be a breeze.

            • miravox


              But it’s not the fees, it’s the fences spoiling the aesthetics that the owners complain about (in my experience).

          • alwyn

            That is a totally stupid calculation. Why should you count the cost of this hypothetical 70 years of production of those who were drowned and ignore the cost they might incur in living, and consuming, during those 70 years?
            The cost of these drownings is, in reality, the sadness caused to their families.

            When we look at the cabinet papers we see that the changes are expected to save about 6 lives per decade.
            In the cabinet papers we see, from
            “The changes are estimated to reduce the risk of young children drowning in home pools by six drownings every 10 years.”
            Think about the sort of silly calculations that could be thrown back at you?
            If we were to accept your logic we would have to accept an equally illogical claim that an abortion carried out in New Zealand had a cost equal to the possible 70 odd years productivity for each one performed wouldn’t we?
            There are about 15,000/year or about 25,000 times the number of drowned children. Are you really saying that we lose an enormous amount of production from performing an abortion and that that loss is real?
            This calculation is, of course, no more sensible than your own. They are both completely meaningless.

            ps. I am not attempting to bring the debate over the rights and wrongs of the legislation, or of abortion rights into this. I approve of the legislation and I approve of the right to choose. I am only commenting on the foolishness of this evaluation of the supposed costs of a death

            • North

              “When we look at the cabinet papers we see that the changes are expected to save about 6 lives per decade.”

              Oh really ? So less enforcement, because however you spin it that’s what it is, is going to maintain present statistics, rather than worsen ? What you quote from the cabinet papers does not address that. Neither do you Alwyn, while implying that this is some sort of enhancement.

              Disingenuous ? No. Plain dishonest. Masking that “When it comes to the tension between infant lives and choice there has to be an appropriate balance, and the appropriate balance is skewed presently. We’ll rectify that with less enforcement.” Which of course makes it likely that more infant lives will be lost than were lost previously.

              “Three cheers for restored balance and choice !” I say. Being a right wing nutter offended by infants making the cut for care and safety.

              • alwyn

                You didn’t bother to read everything I wrote did you?
                Alternatively you are too stupid to understand it.
                As I said at the end I am in favour of this pool fencing.
                What I do object to is fallacious comments implying that we are supposed to count as a cost what the children who drowned might have produced in their lifetime and ignore what they might have consumed. As I said that is no different from someone claiming that their are enormous losses from an abortion. They are equally fallacious calculations.
                Now try reading it again, completely and slowly.

                • alwyn

                  Oh Damn.
                  I should have been more careful myself when proofreading the original.
                  It was meant to say in the last para “I approve of the EXISTING legislation” not “I approve of the legislation”.
                  I stand by my comments on the analysis of costs though.

                  • North

                    Yeah beautiful Alwyn…..such perfunctory shit…..”I approve…..” Only to protect yourself in the ensuing discussion. Very dishonest. You really mean – “Whatever The Ponce Key does……I’ll come out swinging”.

                    Don’t pull your pompous “you’re so stupid” on me, idiot. I’m far too long in the tooth, and (gratuitous and entirely Grace of God) I’ve got far too many brains to be distracted by that poop. You wanna hide your fooulness, you wanna tangle words-wise well do it…..but do it better.

                    Hey, re your perceived need to ‘clarify’ (I got your perfunctory point in the first place) ……explaining is losing, dog.

                    Who asked for your rationalisations re ‘cost’ anyway ? Especially since it’s weighing infants like economic units with the meagrest acknowledgment of the pain of the tragic loss of a child as “sadness”, merely. Soooo Steven Joyce/Ponce Key and the rest of those bludgers.

                    Deaths which otherwise would not occur, will occur. You confirm yourself a shithead Big A !

                    • alwyn

                      I found it hard to understand how you could possibly have, rationally, come to your statements on my comment.
                      Giving you the benefit of the doubt I assumed that you might have taken my statement of approving of the legislation as approving of proposed changes to the existing legislation rather than to the existing legislation.
                      However you say that you did understand what I meant and I now see that you were merely expressing fantasies that exist only deep in the recesses of your mind and attributing words, and opinions, to me that I don’t hold and have never expressed.
                      You are more to be pitied than blamed I suppose.

                • locus

                  You didn’t bother to read everything I wrote did you?
                  Alternatively you are too stupid to understand it

                  Really alwyn? This comment sums up everything you are and how you think about people…..

                  Your nastiness is further demonstrated by introducing an emotive unrelated topic into the thread in order to denigrate

                  The line of discussion here is about how to challenge the ‘cost savings’ argument that the prime minister and joyce like to use, when it’s applied to justify reducing safeguards that prevent toddlers from drowning.

                  imo it’s both an ethical and leadership failing to present cost savings arguments on this topic, and it is clear that pool, pond and spa fencing has proven to be a simple practical and effective life-saving measure.

            • maui

              This is just a plain callous attitude, the proposed law almost doubles the time between pool safety inspections and takes any fence protection away from spa pools. And you think this is going to make things safer??

            • miravox

              Alwyn arguing against cost-benefits? I’m shaking my head in wonder.

              It’s not me who says a cost-benefit calculations is important. I’m being sarcastic. This government doesn’t do anything with social benefit without figuring how it will cost less and can be sold as if they’re doing something, or conversely to support dodgy plans they want (roads of national importance comes to mind).

              But anyway, Kids health Australia provides an examplefor swimming pool fencing [pdf] with these life-long calculations that show preventative measures are life-saving as well as cost-effective measures.

              Anyway (no2) the bill is not aimed at preventing drownings – the current law does that. It’s aimed at

              The amendment – put forward by Minister for Building and Housing Nick Smith – is aimed at “reducing the compliance burden imposed on pool owners and territorial authorities in relation to residential pools while maintaining child safety”.

    • Treetop 4.2

      Bluntly put, no one wants the cost of a coroners inquiry.

  5. Molly 5

    Looking at the pathetic – (30% reduction on 2005 levels using a carbon tax if everyone else does a little something… )- NZ Intended Nationally Determined Contribution for the Paris climate change talks, and noticed that every page has a silver fern insignia at the bottom.

    Did I miss when this became an official insignia for the NZ Government?

  6. amirite 6

    Stuart Nash’s rant in The Daily Blog is an example of all that is wrong with the Labour Party. They seem to think that the National_Lite Labour is the way to win in 2017.

    • BM 6.1

      Of course it is, you numpty.

      Why do you think National was labour lite for quite a few years, people don’t like radical change.

      • weka 6.1.1

        If they don’t want radical change why do some of them (not that many in teh end) keep voting National? This government is as radical as 1980s Labour.

        • BM

          Because people don’t consider them radical.

          Why, because the tack right has taken quite a long time, people consider what national is doing quite normal, that’s the key to get lasting change.

          Key and National understand the voter, the left does not.

          • locus

            it’s only a matter of time before the voter realises its time to get the pigs out of the beehive

          • b waghorn

            Boiling the frog slowly is the national way.

          • amirite

            If National’s taking basic workers rights away isn’t radical, what is? On the surface they are keeping a semblance of some basic welfare & social state while in the background dismantling all of it – health, corrections, education, benefits.
            And those dimwits who think they’re better off with National, just think again. You’re just one serious accident or one serious disease away from a life in poverty.

    • savenz 6.2

      It’s worth reading to get an insight into their minds – Unbelievable!

      All I can think of is IS Nash a National plant in Labour?

      Because there is not way they can win the election with that arrogant entitled attitude.

      And what do they have to be arrogant about?

      • weka 6.2.1

        He’s not a National plant, he’s a Pagani party plant. Which is worse.

        • savenz

          Actually he can’t be a plant because he won Napier by accident when the right vote was split with McVicar coming in.

          He accidentally won his electorate, but that does not stop his unbelievable arrogance. Because winning is everything in his view.

          And instead of blaming the Herald and MSM for being a problem for Labour – he blames the Standard. HMMM?

          Not one sentence about policy. It all about him, ME< ME< ME<

          And blaming others for Labour's loss and have you heard about how great he is because he won?

          Lucky I was not eating breakfast when I read it.

      • b waghorn 6.2.2

        Collins named him as a future leader of labour the other day.(forgotten where sorry)

        • whateva next?

          No surprises there, but whilst he is a Labour MP, why play into Collin’s hand by airing dirty laundry and giving oxygen to this stuff? It is the party that decides, not Colins/Lusk/Crosby Textor

      • Hami Shearlie 6.2.3

        He uses the magic “Nash” name to further himself – and he’s not even blood-related!

    • weka 6.3

      I tried reading it but couldn’t get past the first few paragraphs. It’s all rhetoric and spin and designed to manipulate towards the centre. Which is ironic given that TDB is running a special project on democracy and Nash is one of the guest writers.

    • Wainwright 6.4

      If he has a problem with undisciplined MPs making the Party look bad in public he should look in a mirror.

  7. maui 7

    Paul Craig Roberts says the US will be a third world country within a decade:

    The collapse of the Soviet Union was the worst thing that ever happened to the United States. The two main consequences of the Soviet collapse have been devastating. One consequence was the rise of the neoconservative hubris of US world hegemony, which has resulted in 14 years of wars that have cost $6 trillion. The other consequence was a change of mind in socialist India and communist China, large countries that responded to “the end of history” by opening their vast under-utilized labor forces to Western capital, which resulted in the American economic decline that this article describes, leaving a struggling economy to bear the enormous war debt.

    It is a reasonable conclusion that a social-political-economic system so incompetently run already is a Third World country.


    • savenz 7.1

      I have no problem with the US, but they need to reign back their own trojans of Greed that are destroying their own country.

      Provoking a world war is not the answer to improve American lives.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        Provoking a world war is not the answer to improve American lives.

        But it does boost profits for the bankers who will be making loans to both sides.

    • nadis 7.2

      Parts of the US are a third world country now. But you should read some of Paul Craig Roberts earlier predictions before you put any weight on his current ones.

  8. sabine 8

    Reposting here as I went to the wrong Open Mike thread,

    world war 3 anyone?


    “Islamic State, in a statement on Twitter, said it had brought down the aircraft. “You who kill will be killed.”

    Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, launched air raids against opposition groups in Syria including Islamic State on Sept. 30.

    Security sources said they had no indication the Airbus had been shot down or blown up. But in an illustration of sensitivity of the crash, Egypt invited Russian authorities to take part in the investigation.

    Sinai is the scene of an insurgency by militants close to Islamic State, who have killed hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police and have also attacked Western targets in recent months. Much of the Sinai is a restricted military zone.

    Islamist fighters in Sinai are not believed to have missiles capable of hitting a plane at 30,000 feet. Islamic State websites have in the past claimed responsibility for actions that have not been conclusively attributed to them. “

    • Graeme 8.1

      I think we’ll find this was a rather elderly and well used aeroplane, operating to it’s limits, that fell out of the sky all by it’s self. The actual cause will be confirmed in a few days once the flight recorders have been analysed.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        A 1997 or 1998 manufacture A321. Not that old on an industry basis, although it had certainly done a fairly large number of hours/flights.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Age is a factor but it really comes down to maintenance and replacement of worn parts. We’ve had our airforce Orions since 1966 and they’re still flying. The last upgrade was, IIRC, the last that they can go through though as the airframes are worn to the point that another upgrade would, essentially, be replacing the entire aircraft anyway.

    • nadis 8.2

      ” But in an illustration of sensitivity of the crash, Egypt invited Russian authorities to take part in the investigation.”

      Not unusual. In fact normal. It was a Russian flagged carrier with a large number of Russian citizens on board. Under ICAO rules, Egypt runs the investigation and other involved countries assist.

      Would be very surprised if IS in Egypt downed it with a missile. Egyptian authorities have already discounted the claim saying they dont have the technology. A bomb on board though is possible…… Could make sense given the entree of Russia into Syria.

  9. AsleepWhileWalking 9

    Eeek. Diagnosing metal illness via Google etc…

    Thomas Insel, who has been director of the National Institute of Mental Health for 13 years, is leaving at the end of the month to join Google. A major force behind the Obama administration’s BRAIN Initiative, he stirred major controversy by pressing for an overhaul in the way mental illness is diagnosed. At Google, he’ll be exploring how the company’s technological expertise can be applied to mental-health issues.

    Uh huh.

    Think about what he’s saying for a minute here folks:

    One of the possibilities here is, by using the technologies we already have, technologies that are linked to a cellphone, technologies that are linked to the Internet, we may be able to get much more information about behavior than what we’ve been able to use in making a diagnosis.


    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      It would have to be opt-in but other than that I don’t have a problem with the idea. Simple fact of the matter is that computers are going to be used in diagnosis and they’re going to make them far more accurate.

      Of course, what he’s talking about is technologies already there and in use. As I keep telling people when they get upset about the government keeping data – the private sector already is and they can’t be held to account.

      It shouldn’t be OMG, this is a bad idea and it needs to be stopped! It should be Ok, this is a good idea but it’s obviously going to need some tight regulation and oversight.

      It’s regulation like that that we’re missing partially because we’ve been in this deregulation mode for the last few decades and also because the technology is out pacing the laws. Which is why I like the idea of a law that simply says Nothing shall be brought to market until it has been properly regulated.

      • Graeme 9.1.1

        I’m with you on this Draco. Google’s technologies have the potential to give a tool that can go back through a person’s internet usage habits and allow professionals to deduce what was going on with their state of mind. This could allow an objective assessment of the progression of an illness in a “normal” (as in away from a clinical situation) environment. Hopefully this would lead to considerably faster and more accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of the the afflicted.

        With opt in and regulation, I think most unwell people would love to be able to op out of their illness, or at least the unpleasant sides of it…. The existing tools that clinicians use, DSM, Mental Health Act, and treatments are already highly regulated and this would be the same.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          …this would be the same.

          Just so long as you aren’t using the same definition of “would” as Max Bradford, Roger Douglas et al that sounds fine.

          • Graeme

            Clinicians already have extensive powers under the MHA that are wielded in a very conservative and respectful manner. Try getting someone who unwell committed under the Act, it’s done VERY carefully.

            I’ve supported my partner through 3 episodes of bipolar, 2 requiring hospitalisation, and the subjective, and often intuitive, nature of the diagnostic process is difficult for all concerned, especially the patient.

            I just hope that Google’s “Do No Evil” ethos prevails and the resulting tools, if any develop, (it could be a dead end, they’ve had a few noble efforts) are available to clinicians at no cost.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 9.1.2

        I object to any additional government regulation. It’s just another way to limit freedom. I think the most psychologically unbalanced among us (or just privacy weary) will simply switch to the dark net.

        The potential is there to target medication around political leanings or questioning a stated “fact” such as 9/11.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I object to any additional government regulation.

          Really? Just think of what the private corporations would be doing without government regulations and oversight. The environment would be trashed, they’d be spying on you 24/7 and that data that they share wouldn’t be anonymised at all.

          It’s just another way to limit freedom

          Within context, government regulations increase freedom.

          I think the most psychologically unbalanced among us (or just privacy weary) will simply switch to the dark net.

          There was a really good article not long ago about what the dark actually is and it’s obviously not what you think it is.

          The potential is there to target medication around political leanings or questioning a stated “fact” such as 9/11.

          Not really.

    • Incognito 9.2

      Could this be chicken & egg stuff? I mean, is certain behaviour (on the internet) possibly symptomatic of mental illness or is certain behaviour inducing or at least aggravating mental illness?

      Cause & effect, action & reaction, it often depends on your perspective, doesn’t it?

    • Treetop 9.3

      I heard something last week about an ap being developed to read facial moods, (think 8 – 10). Witch doctoring in the 21st century.

  10. sabine 10

    China, the world, artificial islands and stuff …….

    • DH 10.1

      It’s hard to figure out what China is up to there. Their territorial claims are quite outrageous and surely they can see that the world at large won’t accept them.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        they reclaimed land, are building extensive military facilities and are seeking a 12 mile territorial limit. How is that “outrageous”? Remember, the US has ringed China with dozens of military bases. Is that not “outrageous”?

        “the world at large”…I think you mean the 1/5 of the world allied to USA and the west.

        • DH

          “How is that “outrageous”?”

          Have you been living in a cave? Just take a look at the map showing Chinas territorial claims. They’re using the islands to claim the entire South China Sea as Chinese territory, with borders that infringe on every single one of its neighbors’ territorial rights.

          Take your anti-US blinkers off and look at it from the perspective of the other countries who also have rights there. China is the neighborhood bully here.

          • Colonial Viper

            huh? The South China Sea is huge. China’s claims represent a tiny surface area of the sea.

            And why should the USA be projecting its military might thousands of miles away from its own shores?

            Like I said, China is returning to its normal place as regional leader and power centre in east Asia.

            • RedLogix

              In other words – China as the regional bully. Good oh.

              • greywarshark

                What’s red and logical about that remark? Between big countries there are often power plays. We just have to hope that one power doesn’t want to own the whole world.

                • RedLogix

                  What is logical about a world in which we tolerate this threat of ‘power plays’?

                  Especially when the kiddies are armed with nuclear weapons?

                  • Draco T Bastard


                  • Colonial Viper

                    Especially when the kiddies are armed with nuclear weapons?

                    Worth remembering that only one nation in the world has used nuclear weapons on people and the deep state of that particular nation is very influenced by highly aggressive ‘take down 7 countries in 5 years’ neocons .

                    • RedLogix

                      So all the other nuclear weapons built by other countries are just cardboard cutouts that no-one ever intends using?

                      Well that’s a relief to know. Why didn’t someone say this decades ago?

                      Of course since WW2 no nation has used them, nor is it credible to suggest any nation really intends or plans on a first-strike option.

                      But as McFlock pointed out elsewhere today – the real risk is the unintended escalation – the scenario where one miscalculation tips into another and before you know it there are flaming naval wrecks dotting the South China Sea and Weapons Officers in deeply submerged subs – decrypting orders with a cold sense of dread.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So all the other nuclear weapons built by other countries are just cardboard cutouts that no-one ever intends using?

                      I’ll add here that China has a tiny nuclear arsenal comprising of relatively few warheads and only a few dozen ICBMs, compared to Russia or the USA.

                      They figured out a long time ago that it was largely a waste of money and resources.

                    • RedLogix

                      Ploughshares estimate China has about 250 warheads, although this doesn’t take into account size and delivery type. Just enough to be a significant deterrent and about the same as the UK.

                      Besides the 7,000 odd warheads possessed each by the US and Russia are more of legacy from the Cold War, rather than reflecting any useful strategic purpose. Any actual nuclear exchange would be over long before they got through a fraction of that number.

                    • Colonial Viper


                      And you can see today that both China and Russia have chosen strategies of pursuing extremely pragmatic cost-effective technologies and approaches to counter the US’s utterly overwhelming military spending.

            • Psycho Milt

              Like I said, China is returning to its normal place as regional leader and power centre in east Asia.

              Awesome. Maybe they could call it the “Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere.”

            • Draco T Bastard

              China’s claims represent a tiny surface area of the sea.

              No they don’t. Their aim is quite clear – they’re going to claim the entire South China Sea. Same as we should be claiming the entire area between NZ and the Kermadecs, the Chathams and all land out to the Continental Shelf as territory .

              Looking at the map, the Spratly’s should belong to Indonesia.

              And why should the USA be projecting its military might thousands of miles away from its own shores?

              It shouldn’t and it should have military bases outside of it’s own territory. This would apply to all nations.

              Like I said, China is returning to its normal place as regional leader and power centre in east Asia.

              That would only be true if you consider such things as normal. I don’t. I consider them as trappings of imperialism and I’m thoroughly against that no matter who does it.

              • RedLogix

                As I mentioned a while back, we’ve made a friend (sort of adopted as it were) a young Chinese man whose is studying locally to be a commercial pilot.

                Some time back when this first arose my partner mentioned it to him and he was pretty nonchalant about it. Then she got up a map and pointed out where the claim actually was.

                Suddenly he was quite confused, embarrassed and he admitted it made no sense. Of course we didn’t press the point, because it certainly wasn’t our intention to make him feel wrong about it.

                What concerns me about this is how little wriggle room there is. One side or another is going to have to back down – and either way it will come with big consequences.

                • DH

                  “What concerns me about this is how little wriggle room there is.’

                  Yeah that’s what worries me too. China seem to have talked this up so much they don’t have many avenues of backing down. That leaves the US to back down and I can’t see them doing that either.

                  I do wonder just how many people know how much territory China is claiming, this isn’t about a few islands. Those unfamiliar look at the map in this BBC report, the red dotted line is China’s claimed territorial border;


                  It is quite outrageous, leaves almost nothing to the other countries.

              • greywarshark

                Is this right – ‘should have ‘ be another shouldn’t?

                ‘It shouldn’t and it should have military bases outside of it’s own territory. This would apply to all nations.”

            • nadis

              hah – check out CV’s definition of “tiny”


              And it’s well documented that the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia have been asking the US to perform just this type of freedom of transit operation for several years. The obstacle had been the US state department and Pres Obama, but they finally lost patience with China at the recent state visit when Pres Xi essentially told the US that the ASEAN nations would have to live with the reality of Chinese “ownership” of the South China Sea.

              • Colonial Viper

                The obstacle had been the US state department and Pres Obama, but they finally lost patience with China at the recent state visit


                Western imperialism and self assured superiority at its best.

                The US was making public threatening noises about sanctioning China on the eve of Xi Jin Ping’s state visit.

                That rudeness and lack of civility will have been noted in Beijing.

                Compare the UK’s approach – literally rolling out the royal red carpet.

                • nadis

                  China and the US have a symbiotic relationship. They need each other economically.

                  I can’t see China over-escalating this, the area they claim doesn’t actually solve their import/export maritime route issues, and until about 2060 when China has th. Look at a map. Everything still has to come via choke points controlled by Malaysia/Indonesia/Singapore (Straits of Malacca is the main route) and then every other maritime route to China sits between two of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea. Its WW2 Japanese strategy revisited except China cant invade those countries..

                  RE the South China Sea – do you think China’s claim is legitimate? Do you still think their claim of 80% of the sea is a “tiny” part of the sea?

        • Psycho Milt

          they reclaimed land, are building extensive military facilities and are seeking a 12 mile territorial limit. How is that “outrageous”?

          Because international law says you don’t get to build artificial islands in international waters and declare a 12-mile territorial limit around them. That’s why it’s “outrageous,” and also why they Yanks are highlighting the breach by sailing warships within 12 miles of the artificial islands.

        • McFlock

          they reclaimed land, are building extensive military facilities and are seeking a 12 mile territorial limit. How is that “outrageous”?

          according to Nadis “The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea explicitly does not allow states to base a claim for a maritime zone based on reclaimed land.”

          Specifically, Article 60:

          7. Artificial islands, installations and structures and the safety zones around them may not be established where interference may be caused to the use of recognized sea lanes essential to international navigation.

          8. Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.

          Personally, given China’s track record on environmental protection vs strategic interests, I’m concerned as to how badly these artificial islets on previously abundant shoals will further fuck the SCS fisheries.

      • Chooky 10.1.2

        “Territorial disputes in the South China Sea involve both island and maritime claims among several sovereign states within the region, namely Brunei, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. There are disputes concerning both the Spratly and the Paracel islands, as well as maritime boundaries in the Gulf of Tonkin and elsewhere. There is a further dispute in the waters near the Indonesian Natuna Islands.[1] The interests of different nations include acquiring fishing areas around the two archipelagos; the potential exploitation of suspected crude oil and natural gas under the waters of various parts of the South China Sea; and the strategic control of important shipping lanes. Shangri-La Dialogue serves as the “Track One” exchange forum on the security issues surrounding Asia-Pacific region including Territorial disputes in the South China Sea.[2] Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific is the “Track Two” dialogue on security issues of Asia-Pacific.[3][4]”


        ‘How Should Vietnam Respond to China’s South China Sea Oil Rig Return? -A look at Beijing’s motivations and Hanoi’s options’.


        ‘Everything you need to know about the South China Sea conflict – in under five minutes’


        ‘Whatever Is Behind China’s Spratly Island Showdown, It Isn’t Drilling For Oil’


    • Rosemary McDonald 10.2

      The term ‘escalating’ comes to mind.

      Is is time to build up our Apocalypse supplies and take to the bunkers?

      • DH 10.2.1

        “The term ‘escalating’ comes to mind.”

        It does doesn’t it. China doesn’t appear willing to budge an inch and it can only go one way if they persist with that stance.

        I’m left with the impression China wants a war with the US.

        • Colonial Viper

          Bullshit. China is simply returning to the historical norm of being the lead power in eastern Asia.

          I’m left with the impression the USA thinks it can be policeman thousands of miles away from its own territory in China’s backyard.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            I’m left with the impression that ALL of those states who would presume superiority are just spoiling for a showdown.

            This is the posturing, sabre rattling, chest thumping bullshit that mankind should have moved on from by now.

            You know….evolved.

            U.S., Russia, China….enemies of us all.

            • Colonial Viper

              sorry, you’re looking at these great powers as if they all have the same cultural and societal values. They don’t.

              Secondly, NZ as a small Pacific country needs to have extensive dealings with the powers of this region. And we need to be way smarter about it.

              • Sabine

                extensive dealings or be submissive? What shall it be? Dealings or submit?

                Resistance is futile?
                Shall we all embrace our new future chinese overlords? And if we don’t like it what then?

                How would you like lil ole NZ to behave in its extensive dealings?

                Really, how do you think that will go ahead?

                • Colonial Viper

                  How it will go will depend on the skill, vision and competence of the NZ ruling class.

              • weka

                “Secondly, NZ as a small Pacific country needs to have extensive dealings with the powers of this region. And we need to be way smarter about it.”

                You said this the other day CV. I’d be interested to hear more of your thoughts on this, the being smarter about it stuff.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Friendly, largely neutral, mostly harmless with solid dependable values; willing to honestly trade and cut deals which advantage Kiwis but are also win-win to all parties.

                  • Bill

                    Kinda emulate India’s position during the cold war you mean? Could work. Unfortunately pollies tend to be kind of thick and to view the world in very black and white terms.

                    Needs to choose sides thems duz. 😉

                  • sabine

                    you forgot to add the TUI at the end of that.

          • DH

            “I’m left with the impression the USA thinks it can be policeman thousands of miles away from its own territory in China’s backyard.”

            Yeah, well you and your ilk are part of the problem aren’t you? You cheer on what will only be another bullying and tyrannical replacement for the US when what the world needs is an end to these ‘lead powers’.

            • One Two

              Idealists tend to lack objectivity, logic and critical thinking skills

              Simpletons are similar

              • RedLogix

                So when China – as the regional ‘lead power’ decides it would like a nice little naval base in the South Pacific, I guess we just have to give away being ‘idealistic’ about these things.

              • RedLogix

                So when China – as the regional ‘lead power’ decides it would like a nice little naval base in the South Pacific, I guess we just have to give away being ‘idealistic’ about these things.

                • One Two

                  The comment was an interpretation of post by DH

                  Given the number of US military bases around the world including the South Pacific, I can run the same interpretation over your response

                  • DH

                    “The comment was an interpretation of post by DH”

                    It also looks to be the interpretation of a simpleton who can’t follow a thread. CV above clearly seemed to approve of China becoming a new ‘lead power’ and since he’s been a vociferous critic of the USA I was merely pointing out his crass hypocrisy in supporting behaviour no different to that which he so frequently condemns.

                    • One Two

                      “I’m left with the impression that China wants a war with the US”

                      Quite the simpletons conclusion!

                      If I had comment for CV I would have addressed him directly.

                      @ Redlogix – re nuclear weapons. Either that or the continued tortuous death of the planets inhabitants

                    • DH

                      “I’m left with the impression that China wants a war with the US”

                      “Quite the simpletons conclusion!”

                      If you’d really wanted to join the conversation you’d have asked why I gained that impression. A quick brief of the dictionary should tell you an impression is not a conclusion, impression being a tad more ethereal.

                      Just move on, you’re not being clever and you’re not impressing anyone with your snide remarks.

                    • One Two

                      “China doesn’t appear willing to budge an inch and it can only go one way if they persist with that stance.”

                      No need to ask. My interpretation (check your dictionary) was based on your statements

                      That you then attack CV “and his ilk” left you little wiggle room, so you chose projection instead

                      Move on

                  • RedLogix

                    So now what? The US military hegemony is replaced by a Chinese one and we are all supposed to be happy about it?

                    And say what you like about the US (and it has all been said before) – China remains a nasty totalitarian state with an appalling human rights record.

                    If I had to pick between two evils I know which one I prefer. But actually the ‘idealist’ in me would prefer not.

                    I’ve repeatedly argued that the era of the ‘super power’ or ‘regional lead power’ is over and that the need for an alternative model based on a federal global governance is now inevitable.

                    If nothing else several tens of thousands of nuclear weapons will eventually prove me right.

                    • Chooky

                      +100 RedLogix

                    • Colonial Viper

                      If I had to pick between two evils I know which one I prefer. But actually the ‘idealist’ in me would prefer not.

                      If you were poor, coloured, Muslim and trying to survive in what is left of Iraq, Syria, Libya or Afghanistan would you pick the same?

                    • RedLogix

                      I understand that the US has been the imperial hegemony since WW2 – they’ve got record.

                      China in the meantime is clearly the new kid on the block aspiring to replace them. Not so much record yet.

                      If you want to argue that China will make a far better, kinder and nicer empire than the US – go right ahead. But in that case – and I feel a little mean for saying this – how come so many Chinese with the wealth and opportunity to do so are so very keen to get out of China if they possibly can?

                    • If you were poor, coloured, Muslim and trying to survive in what is left of Iraq, Syria, Libya or Afghanistan would you pick the same?

                      If I was poor, coloured and Muslim in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan, my bigger concern would be the other ethnic groups in the country, and the immediate neighbours (Iran, Pakistan etc), not what the US does. That aside, it’s pointless to request preference between the known activities of a current hegemon and the potential activities of a hegemon not currently active in your region. What do you base it on? Better the devil you don’t know?

                    • joe90

                      Not so much record yet.

                      Yeah nah.


                    • RedLogix


                      Kapersky doesn’t like that linky. But on reflection I can well imagine some of what it might refer to.

                      And then there is this allegation:


                      I don’t really know what to make of it – but a bit of a search I did a while back on it seemed to find a fair number of credible links backing it up.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      If you want to argue that China will make a far better, kinder and nicer empire than the US – go right ahead. But in that case – and I feel a little mean for saying this – how come so many Chinese with the wealth and opportunity to do so are so very keen to get out of China if they possibly can?

                      The moneyed elite rule the USA: they make the rules and the rules don’t apply to them.

                      In China and Russia, the moneyed elite are still heavily subject to the will and the willfulness of the state apparatus.

                      Look at how Putin brought the Russian billionaire oligarchs to heel in the 2000s. And the many wealthy Chinese elite who have been imprisoned – or executed – in the last few years.

                      Compare that to how many Wall St CEOs have been put behind bars for defrauding the 99%. (none)

                    • joe90

                      @ RL

                      It’s actually a potted history of China – Xia: c. 2200 – c. 1750 BC through to present day but I do take your point about the excesses of the regime.

                      But having said that my sister in law is mainland born to a father, dad returned to his ancestral village to wed, whose people arrived in Otago mid nineteenth century. And my SIL makes no bones about the fact that despite the current excesses post 1949 was the first time ever the ordinary people in China have been safe from the horrors of their rulers.

                      In fact her mothers people fled from a ruler much like this bloke:

                      (cited from the link above)

                      After the first Ming Emperor discovered that his prime minister was plotting against him, not only was the prime minister beheaded, but his entire family and anyone even remotely connected with him. Eventually, about 40,000 (no, that is not a misprint) people were executed in connection with this case alone.

                      The place is enormous and we make judgements at our peril because without China we’re done.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      yep – if your family ever crossed the Emperor, they would kill every generation of your family that was alive, employees and servants as well and slaughter all your pets and livestock too.

                    • RedLogix

                      Well with a cultural heritage like that – can I please just stick to the greed of the Wall St elites?

                    • One Two

                      RedLogix sure you realise the Wall St greed is responsible for the deaths of millions and the maiming, physically and mentally of tens if not hundreds millions more ?

                      That’s not factoring in the poverty , inequality and environmental damage which would take the figure into the billions of lives negatively impacted

          • Sabine

            and the others will just have to play ball or ?

            • nadis

              Don’t forget the genocide and cultural scorched earth policies in Tibet and Western China.

              • Colonial Viper

                let’s be clear: western nations have caused the death of about 2 million Muslims since 1990. No one else on the planet comes close in terms of “genocide”.

              • Chooky

                +100 nadis …my sister saw a kneeling praying Tibetan monk beaten senseless if not lifeless on the side of a road by Chinese soldiers in Tibet…and his body thrown on the back of a truck like a sack of spuds

                outside our hotel in Chengdu a Chinese man was shot dead by Chinese police in front of a French woman roommate for exchanging money…she was badly shaken , needless to say…life is cheap in China

                …from Chinese visitors recently we hear that young Chinese males have behavioural problems in epic proportions

                ( there are approximately 50 million more Chinese males than females)

  11. Penny Bright 11

    Some Israelis question the sanity of their Prime Minister.


    Adolf, Amin and Bibi

    IT IS not very pleasant when serious people around the world – historians, psychiatrists, diplomats – ask themselves if my prime minister is completely sane.

    But this is happening now. And not only abroad. More and more people in Israel are asking themselves the same question.

    All this is the result of one event. But people are now looking at many other events – past and present – in a new light.

    Until now, many strange actions and utterances by Binyamin Netanyahu have been seen as the manipulations of a clever politician, a talented demagogue who knows the soul of his constituents and supplies them with ample lies.

    Not anymore. A troubling suspicion is getting around: that our prime minister has serious mental problems. Is he losing his marbles?

    IT ALL started two weeks ago, when Netanyahu made a speech to a world-wide Zionist assembly. What he said was shocking.

    Adolf Hitler, he pontificated, did not really want to exterminate the Jews. He just wanted to expel them. But then he met the Mufti of Jerusalem, who convinced him to “burn” the Jews.

    Thus the Holocaust was born.

    The conclusion? Hitler was not so bad after all.

    The Germans are not really to blame.

    It was the Palestinians who were the instigators of the murder of six million Jews.

    If the subject had been different, this speech could be considered as one of the usual lies and falsifications typical of Netanyahu.

    Hitler was really not so bad, the Palestinians are to blame, the Mufti was the forerunner of Mahmoud Abbas. Just a routine piece of political propaganda.

    But this concerns the Holocaust, of the most atrocious events of modern times, and by far the most important event in modern Jewish history.

    This event has a direct bearing on the lives of half the Jewish population of Israel (including myself) who lost their relatives in the Holocaust, or are themselves survivors.

    This speech was not just a minor political manipulation, one of those we have become accustomed to since Netanyahu became prime minister. This was something new, something awful.

    ALL AROUND the world there was an outcry.

    There are many thousands of experts on the Holocaust. Innumerable books have been written on Nazi Germany (including one by me).

    Every single detail has been researched over and over again.

    Holocaust survivors were shocked, because Netanyahu was really absolving Hitler, and the Germans in general, of the main blame for the horrendous crime.

    So Hitler was not so bad, after all. He just wanted to expel the Jews, not to kill them. It was the evil Arabs who induced him to commit the atrocity of atrocities.


    Penny Bright

    • Bill 11.1

      This article (link below) contains some info that might be interesting to some in light of that comment. “Action T4” was the programme dedicated to exterminating the disabled and was a precursor to the broader holocaust…

      Dedicated euthanasia centres were created where disabled people were gassed in their thousands by SS guards dressed as doctors. The transports to the killing centres were T4 “charitable buses”, staffed by guards in white coats, taking them on a labyrinthine tour to mask their final destination. Families were told they could not visit because of the war, and eventually a plausible death certificate and a pile of random ashes was sent to them, even though most were killed with a day of reaching the centres.

      They would be given an initial assessment, and it was here that the ruse of the shower blocks was invented. While the deaths of disabled people continued until just past the end of the war, the official end of T4 happened in 1941, when many of the staff and high ranking officials were transferred to the new death camps, taking with them their expertise and technology. The architects of Action T4 were given major roles in the Final Solution.


      • Rosemary McDonald 11.1.1

        First they came for the disabled….and I did nothing.

        True then, true today in NZ.

        Exactly the same narrative being used by government and bureaucrats here in Godzone….


        “A Nazi propaganda poster reading, “60000 RM. This
        is what this person suffering from hereditary defects
        costs the Community of Germans during his lifetime.
        Fellow Citizen, that is your money, too.””

    • savenz 11.2

      Netanyahu is bonkers and Israel also have nuclear weapons.

      Not a good combination.

    • nadis 11.3

      Not sure about absolving Hitler, but al-husseini was a shitty piece of work and he was certainly an enthusiastic part of the holocaust effort as well as a cheerleader for the extermination of Israel until he died in the 70’s.

      “Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish people in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: “The Jews are yours.”

      (Ami Isseroff and Peter FitzGerald-Morris, “The Iraq Coup Attempt of 1941, the Mufti, and the Farhud”)

      “According to the testimony of Adolf Eichmann’s chief deputy Dieter Wisliceny (who was hanged for war crimes) the Mufti played a role in encouraging the Final Solution and was a close friend and advisor to Eichmann in the Holocaust’s implementation across Europe. Wisliceny testified further that al-Husseini had a close association with Heinrich Himmler and visited the gas chambers at Auschwitz, where he exhorted the staff to be even more dedicated in its important work.

      To assist the practical slaughter of Jews and Christians, al-Husseini built an army of Muslim volunteer units for the Waffen-SS (the combat units of the dread SS) to operate for the Nazi cause in the Balkans. While the appeal for volunteers from among Muslims always struggled to meet the demands for new recruits, al-Husseini was able to organize three divisions of Bosnian Muslims who were then trained as elements of the Waffen-SS. The largest radical Muslim unit was the 13th Waffen-SS Handzar (“Dagger”) division that boasted over 21,000 men. They were joined by the Bosnian 23rd Waffen-SS Kama Division and the Albanian Skanderbeg 21st Waffen-SS Division. The Muslim Waffen-SS forces fought across the Balkans against Communist partisans and then assisted in the genocide of Yugoslavian Jews and in the persecution and slaughter of Gypsies and Christian Serbs in 1944 and 1945. The brutality extended to Catholics as well, for the Muslim Waffen-SS cut a path of destruction across the Balkans that encompassed a large number of Catholic parishes, churches, and shrines and resulted in the deaths of thousands of Catholics. By the end of the war, al-Husseini’s fanatical soldiers had killed over 90 percent of the Jews in Bosnia.”

      – Matthew E. Bunson

  12. Ergo Robertina 12

    Audrey Young’s piece last weekend won praise from a couple of commenters because it said some nice things about Jacinda Ardern (Labour Party internal politics and specifically the deputy leader role was the biggest political story of that week, apparently).
    It was just more of the same who’s up, who’s down, who’s playing the long game politics as sport that forms the more explicit conceit of this week’s piece: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11537710
    Thing is, even accepting the format, it’s hard to reconcile the irrelevant, trivial, and stereotypical descriptions of ‘play’, like this re Bennett – ‘Gutsiness showed through when she broke up a schoolgirl brawl at a shopping mall’ with the massive problems in housing, tertiary education, health, social services, cost of living, and democratic integrity these guys are presiding over.

    • Gangnam Style 12.1

      Yep, what a waste of space that ‘sport’ article was, I didn’t bother reading it, which was prob the point really, disengagement etc…I do miss John Armstrong even tho he riled me up! Least he was interesting.

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    Must read: Bill Gates on much better the govt is over the private sector

    Bill Gates: ‘Private Sector is Inept’. Socialism needed to stop climate change

    “Since World War II, U.S.-government R&D has defined the state of the art in almost every area,” Gates said. “The private sector is, in general, inept.”

    “When I first got into this I thought, ‘How well does the Department of Energy spend its R&D budget?’ And I was worried: ‘Gosh, if I’m going to be saying it should double its budget, if it turns out it’s not very well spent, how am I going to feel about that?’” Gates told The Atlantic. “But as I’ve really dug into it, the DARPA money is very well spent, and the basic-science money is very well spent. The government has these ‘Centers of Excellence.’ They should have twice as many of those things, and those things should get about four times as much money as they do.”

    Which is pretty much the lesson from Mariana Mazzucato’s The Entrepreneurial State.

    • nadis 13.1

      I think what Bill gates meant was

      “Since World War II, U.S.-government R&D has defined the state of the art in almost every area that is related to defense”

      Think DARPA, Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge, Sandia, Ames, Lincoln Laboratory, NIH etc. Most US Federal spending on research is partnerships with Universities, grants to private sector sponsored institutes or top secret sites like the DOE campuses.

      Good overview here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federally_funded_research_and_development_centers

      The real power of the model is stability of funding and non requirement for immediate return on capital, both things that a corporate can struggle with. But don’t underestimate the extent to which the original aim of the civilian and military research funding programs was to entrench US technological leadership in the defense industry. The fact there are useful civilian spinoffs is incidental rather than intentional.

      DARPA is very interesting – they are a significant player in venture capital, as is the CIA via In-Q-Tel.

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1

        The same model has been applied across the board in the US and has proved remarkably productive. The lesson and the point is that none of the US technological lead that they had was due to the ‘free-market’ but was, as a matter of fact, due to the US government picking winners.

        If we did the same here then we’d quickly reach the same technological capability and it’d have nothing to do with markets – just like it didn’t in the US.

        • nadis

          I don’t think it was about the USG picking winners. It was more the USG saying to a bunch of smart scientists and engineers “solve these defense related issues and also do a bunch of blue sky research on stuff and don’t orry about funding for the next x years.”

          You might think I’m quibbling, but the success is not about picking winners. Neither the public or private sector is generally any good at that. The success comes from funding research without the pressure of picking winners.

          They also have scale which we would struggle to emulate. Right now for instance, an institution I am familiar with (Ames Lab at Iowa State, I have a close relative studying there) has over 250 scientists, 200 post graduate students and is probably the smallest of the DoE science facilities.

          Bear in mind too that when it comes to commercialisation of most of those technologies the US always works with the private sector, and in fact often gives it away. And, also you cant say that “none of the US technological lead that they had was due to the ‘free-market’”, otherwise you’ll force pedants like me to list thousands of innovations that were created solely by the private sector, as you well know to be the truth. But your key point that the US has a pretty good model of funding armaments industry innovation centrally plus politically targetted research plus blue sky research, and that this has many beneficial spinoffs for technological advancement generally, is right.

          Here’s another thought for you – is the following innovation due to US Govt central planning or something else?

          In 2014 9 US universities were in the top 10 universities world wide that were granted US patents – a total of 1786. If you expand out to the top 100, I can see maybe 30 from outside the US and most of those are making up places at the tail end. Not one of the top 9 US Universities was funded by the US Federal Government, though I am sure they get some grant money somewhere along the way.

          Is that centrally planned innovation?

          We all know how the US works, if it is funding something that “we” don’t like, it is socialism. If the funding is something “we” do like, it is a smart investment in the future.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I don’t think it was about the USG picking winners.

            You should probably read The Entrepreneurial State. In it the author goes into quite a bit more depth and it really is a case of the federal organisations funded by government picking winners. Sure, the steady funding makes a difference but those budgets still aren’t infinite and so not all ideas are funded.

            They also have scale which we would struggle to emulate.

            They do have more people and thus can have more people in R&D. But a lot of the innovation actually comes from small groups and we could put together quite a few small groups that could keep us abreast of the lead in many areas.

            Here’s another thought for you – is the following innovation due to US Govt central planning or something else?

            The US Federal government funds research. It does so through a generalised formula. That formula is relatively simple:

            1. They set up an organisation to research and develop a particular area. NASA is a good example of this
            2. Those organisations will look into what’s needed and then look for ideas on how to achieve that. They will look in both public and private institutions
            3. When they find what looks promising they’ll fund it until it either proves that it doesn’t work or until it does work

            As I say, it’s picking winners. The chances are those top 9 US universities probably get several million per year from the Federal government across many areas of research.

    • One Two 13.2

      Global Warming will not be ‘fixed’ , by the likes of Bill Gates or DARPA

      • nadis 13.2.1

        it will if it becomes an issue that the USG and the defense complex prioritises as an immediate existential threat to the USA.

  14. Tracey 14

    Anyone who has the ability could consider taking the Mastercard Ad with “Tim” who is sooooo excited about Richie and photoshop John Key onto it…

    When they first said someone had run onto the field I suspected it might be Key desperate to get into the photo.

  15. Mike the Savage One 15

    The Office of Ombudsmen is conducting a survey on experiences with and satisfaction with OIA requests and responses:


    This should be of great interest to readers here, especially those who care about our democracy!

    Sadly it does not seem to have been mentioned much by media.

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