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Open Mike 02/04/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 2nd, 2018 - 356 comments
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356 comments on “Open Mike 02/04/2018 ”

  1. Ed 1

    Yesterday and the day before there has been an excellent thread instigated by micky
    Savage. It looked at the manufacturing of a narrative, namely promoting the Curran story 28 more times as a headline than Middlemore Hospital’s crisis. A political narrative is created to change people’s perspective on the government.

    In the UK a narrative has also been manufactured.
    And the narrative is ‘Russia did it.’
    No evidence has been presented.

    A political narrative has been set up to demonise Russia, allowing for further aggressive actions towards that country.
    This narrative has some very scary outcomes.

    If you want to hear the dissidents’ views to the avalanche of propaganda, follow Craig Murray or George Galloway.

    We live in frightening times.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      No evidence has been presented.

      Stop telling lies. I had to correct you yesterday and here you are again, lying.

      The Kremlin is the aggressor in this instance. They tried to kill two people. If you think expelling some diplomats is an escalation of that, you’re confused about the definition of escalation.

      Don’t be such a coward. Admit to yourself that the Kremlin is as brutal and vicious as you say the White House and Downing Street are.

      • mauī 1.1.1

        We do not know who did it or how..
        But May and Johnson do..
        Good luck with that.
        Obviously some of us need to get some more guts.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Rubbish. Some of us need to stop pretending that it’s a binary choice between stroking the Kremlin and nuclear war.

          This jigsaw has some holes in it. We can still see the overall picture.

          Edit: some of us also need to stop pretending that the evidence comes from May and Johnson too. It comes from the Police and the medical professionals treating the Skripals.

      • Ed 1.1.2

        No evidence presented by you.
        Read Craig Murray.

      • Bill 1.1.3

        Accusations built on lots of bald assertions. That’s the basis of both the official narrative and, so obviously, the arguments of many who believe the official narrative to be true or ‘close enough’.

        Or so some would say.

        And that’s all fine and good. A difference of opinion.

        But when personal attacks become part and parcel of arguing this corner, that corner or the other corner, intelligence and whatever exchange of ideas/views or perspectives there might have been, gets to lie on the floor and play dead.

        Except it doesn’t just lie down. It gets punched out. And the personal attacks are the fist and the glove swinging at the head of intelligence…

        Ascribing views to people they haven’t expressed and seeking to diminish them in the eyes of others by name calling is garbage asking to be scooped up and dumped in banland along with the perpetrators.

        At least, as far as some moderators are concerned; moderators who may have to do a bit of work around the area of hypocrisy, but who can live with it short term.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Fair enough. Hence the edit. I’d add to that, that patronising suggestions of reading material that amount to “I agree with this person so you should read what he says too” are equally frustrating of intelligent discourse.

          So are lies.

          • Ed

            Remember wmd?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              No, please drivel on about it ad nauseam so that you can remind me how Porton Down forced Bush and Blair to invade Iraq against the express advice of the intelligence services.

              • Bill

                Obvious question.

                Has Ed ever claimed that Porton Down forced Bush and Blair to invade Iraq?

                Further, has he claimed that Bush and Blair were forced by anyone?

                And was all of the advice coming from all of the intelligence agencies in the UK and the US of the opinion that a) there were no WMD and b) that an invasion would be a mistake either way?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I can’t prove what Ed thinks, or what he means by “remember WMD”. It looks like blatant false equivalence to me though, hence the remarks about Porton Down.

                  Now, if Ed has evidence that Porton Down is a nest of vipers, intent on leading Boris and Teresa and Justice Williams down the garden path, he can present it.

                  Otherwise I think they’re telling the truth, and the Skripals were attacked by a military grade nerve agent known to have been designed by the Kremlin.

                  • Bill

                    What Porton Down have said is that the agent they’ve identified is “of a type” that was developed in Russia.

                    It’s May and others who are squealing about Novichok.

                    Perhaps then, much like the scenario of Blair and Bush squealing about WMD and those claims being taken as read and amplified by media.

              • Ed

                We were lied to about wmd in Iraq.
                Dishonest evidence was presented.
                1 million Iraqis died as a consequence.

                We were lied to about 9/11.
                Dishonest evidence was presented.
                Hundreds of thousands of Afghanis died as a consequence.

                We were lied to about the Gulf of Tonkin.
                Dishonest evidence was presented.
                Millions of Vietnamese died as a consequence.

                We are being lied to about Skripal.
                No evidence has been presented.
                The consequences of nuclear war are too horrible to imagine.

                Isn’t it worth demanding evidence before going along with the drums beating for war?

                I wonder if the summer of 1914 felt like this if you were a dissident.

                • One Anonymous Bloke


                  • Draco T Bastard

                    So, in one comment you tell us we should believe the evidence and then in this comment tell us not to?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Nope, my eyes are rolling because Ed is a 9/11 truther.

                    • OncewasTim []

                      @OAB. Do you think at sometime we could arrange dor you and Ed to just get a room?
                      The obsession is getting a little out of hand OAB.
                      I was about to back out of TS, but then I realised the thread has a high comment count and there’ll be plentt worth checking out

                    • Ed

                      Conspiracy theorist, truther, tin foil hat……
                      All expressions invented by the establishment to shut down dissenting views.

                    • Ed

                      No plausible honest evidence has been presented for the collapse of building 7 on September 11th


                    • JohnSelway

                      Actually loads of plausible honest evidence has been presented over and over again. That you ignore it doesn’t negate its presence

                    • Ed

                      The families of building 7 don’t share your confidence.
                      Nor do thousands of architects and engineers.

                      Please point me to evidence that a small fire can bring down a steel framed building.

                    • JohnSelway

                      It doesn’t matter – it has been explained over and over before. That you and others pretend it hasn’t been isnt relevant to fact that it has been plaisiably accounted for

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @Ed: What “families”?

                      There were no casualties in the collapse of building 7, but you’re just going off facts and evidence, eh.

                    • Ed

                      I meant to say families of 9/11.

                      No one can explain building 7’s collapse.


                    • JohnSelway

                      It has been explained over and over and over.

                      That you ignore the explanations and pretend no one hasn’t explained is just your willful ignorance

                    • Ed

                      Many different and divergent attempts have been made to explain buiding 7 by neocon ideologues.
                      And as each one is refuted by scientists as breaking the laws of physics, another absurd idea is concocted.
                      A fire cannot bring down a steel framed building at free fall speed.
                      The first explanation given from memory is that there was no explanation.

                    • JohnSelway

                      Again – it has been explained by a raft of different people, it never fell at free fall, it didn’t break the laws of physics and has been adequately accounted for. That you ignore all this speaks to your own failings, no one else’s

                    • Ed

                      Yet you provide no link.
                      I have never had it explained plausibly.
                      Many others would say the same.

                    • JohnSelway

                      Firstly it was never explained now never explained plausibly. And you know as well as I do no matter what link I provide you’ll still claim it hasn’t been explained plausibly to you so why would I bother with your delusions outside of pointing them out?
                      This sums it up well but you’ll ignore it anyway and still pretend it has never been explained because you are dishonest and only interested in maintaining your position – not actually learning anything

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The “free-fall” drivel doesn’t even apply to building 7 at all. It’s hardly surprising that Ed is confused though: all the truther narratives are incoherent and self-contradictory.

                    • Ed

                      Popular Mechanics.
                      That’s a joke.
                      They’ve been proven unreliable and compromised for years.

                      The NIST report they source says fire brought 7 down.

                      At freefall speed.

                      A ridiculous assertion.

                      Do you know how many steel framed buildings have been brought down by fire alone?


                      Building 7.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      So the guy telling us about the families and free-fall of building 7 accuses others of being “unreliable”, but is unable to say why in his own words, and runs away when challenged to do so.

                      It would be funny if it weren’t such a disgusting ghoulish self-serving exploitation of other people’s grief.

                      Where’s Buzz Aldrin when you need him?

                    • Ed

                      OAB, please desist from insults.
                      I shall end this debate if you persist.

                      No one knows what happened to building 7.
                      That is the point.
                      We know what we were told is a lie.
                      But we don’t know what actually happened.

                    • JohnSelway

                      What did I say – no matter what evidence you are shown you’ll always fall back on something. “It’s not good enough/they are compromised/it’s unreliable/etc etc”

                      You aren’t interested in knowing “the truth”. You’re dishonest and only interested in maintaining your delusions. You keep saying “no one knows” but when presented with evidence you say it’s not good enough for some reason then lie again that no one knows. It’s not that no one knows – it’s that you don’t accept it.

                      You’re intellectually dishonest at best, an outright liar at worst

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I’m calling you out, Ed. In your own words, explain the “unreliability”. Don’t link to anything, don’t appeal to authority, and no sneaky cut ‘n’ pastes.

                      Start here.

                      PS: criticising your disgusting behaviour is not a personal attack. Learn the difference.

                    • weka

                      “Nope, my eyes are rolling because Ed is a 9/11 truther.”

                      Good grief, you really had to go there.

                    • OncewasTim []

                      Yes…. he/she really did (HAVE to go there)

                      Fuck it…I’ll come back later …. maybe

                    • Ed

                      I’m not an expert, so I rely on experts.
                      Architects and engineers say it was freefall.

                      And I link to show you my source


                      I don’t want to spend the rest of the day debating this.
                      Next time you insult me as a truther,I’ll just ignore it.

                      Over and out.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @Weka, if we’re going to be subjected to this guy’s interminable relentless drivel, day in day out, he’s going to have his assertions challenged, and his utter lack of anything remotely resembling credibility is going to be ruthlessly exposed.

                      And now he’s running away, but he’ll be back with more baseless rubbish as soon as he thinks he can get away with it.

                      PS: from the link above:

                      NIST stated that the north face of the building descended 18 stories (the portion of the collapse visible in the video) in 5.4 seconds, based on video analysis of the building collapse. This time period is 40 percent longer than the 3.9 seconds this process would have taken if the north face of the building had descended solely under free fall conditions.

                    • Andre

                      Just in case there is anyone capable of rational thought that has somehow missed the frequent news photos of the twisted collapsed steel framing of post-fire factories, warehouses etc, and thinks there might be something to the ‘steel framed buildings don’t collapse due to fire alone’ line, check out the Jan 2017 Plasco building fire in Tehran.

                      That collapse showed pretty much all the features cited by 9/11 troofers as evidence of controlled demolition at WTC (all of which have much more plausible non-conspiracy explanations). This left the likes of AE911 truthers with a dilemma: admit their WTC controlled demolition story was all fantasy and no substance, or double down. Natch, they doubled down, fantasising CIA/Mossad plots with nano-thermite again. Fuckwits.

                      Sorry to fill your replies tab, DTB.

                    • weka

                      @OAB. For me it’s like arguing with CC deniers. Given the urgent state of the world, what is the point? Sure, back in the day those arguments were needed to shift the narrative and the culture, but then we moved on and now CC is accepted as real. There is no need to argue those big long arguments any more.

                      911 theories, who gives a shit? It literally doesn’t matter. So what I see is you taking moral affront at someone who has a different world view and value on evidence than you do and you’ve made it your mission to take him down and you feel utterly justified in doing that. I think you are achieving the opposite and pouring petrol on the fire so to speak.

                    • McFlock

                      Thing is though, Ed conflated them all. When 1/3 of the justification for believing the Skripals were poisoned by someone other then the russians rests on 9/11 bullshit, I suspect Ed’s batting at 50% rather than 75% accuracy.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            I have stepped back from this debate. I am not happy about the spin and beatup from May’s government based on a lot of maybes. The Kremlin also is very adept a it’s propaganda and spinning it’s responses on this issue and many others.

            Those who don’t accept the official May-narrative, but then go on to spin conspiracy theories based on yet more speculation are not helping.

            My main interest is in the slanting of the media, and how right wingers (whether in Downing Street, Westminster or the Kremlin) are able to spin so much propaganda via the mainstream media. It makes it hard to know how much is truth, how much spin, and how much is just opportunism (by east and west), using the events to further their own foreign policy aims.

            I’ll wait til all the evidence is in and available.

            However, what IS worrying is that both Westminster and the Kremlin are ramping up some very polarised cold war style rhetoric.

            • Ed

              It is very worrying.
              Rosa Luxembourg described it is as the August madness.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              There’s no way London or Moscow is going to initiate a nuclear war. The Kremlin owns too much real estate in London, and hard radiation would really mess up the money laundering business.

              I suggest you ignore what May et al are saying and concentrate on Police and forensic evidence, and what you already know about the various countries involved.

              • Carolyn_Nth

                There are a lot of bad things that came happen on the coattails of the right wing opportunist rhetoric, at home and abroad. There’s the east/west border ground wars, using non-nuclear weapons. And the right use such rhetoric to gain support for many of their long term agendas: from homeland security, to more state surveillance of the public at home, etc.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  They’re going to do that anyway. The Kremlin just gave them another opportunity.

              • Draco T Bastard

                There’s no way London or Moscow is going to initiate a nuclear war.

                Probably not but maybe a conventional war in some border country that either has oil in it or could be used to transport oil? Like, say, Syria or Iran?

                • Ed

                  Syria is also the clear flashpoint.

                  • McFlock

                    Nah. Just a testbed.

                    The Baltics and Eastern Europe are shitting themselves a bit, though. Between trumpian isolationism and brexit, basically Germany is the dominant power for regional security against Russia. And there are both logistical and historical problems with that.

            • weka

              I’m not really following it closely but I too find the polarisation a problem,

              “Those who don’t accept the official May-narrative, but then go on to spin conspiracy theories based on yet more speculation are not helping.”

              I like what OAB is saying about the evidence, but it comes down to who we trust and why we trust them. Not a lot of trust going around that the moment, and for good reasons. Probably doesn’t help though.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          As for the narrative: the UK government is hopelessly compromised by the fact that London is the world’s largest money laundromat. That’s one reason they will never take decisive action against the Kremlin, and will make empty diplomatic gestures instead.

          The Kremlin can murder people with relative impunity because Downing St. is bought.

          • Bill

            I believe that May is calling for an increase in sanctions. Hardly an “empty diplomatic gesture”.

            And in any case, “empty diplomatic gestures” have many, many ripple effects in a world dominated by efforts to capture, not just the support of a general public, but institutional mind sets.

          • adam

            So you think the correct response is to punish poor russians with more sanctions One Anonymous Bloke?

            Sanctions by the way, which play into the hands of muppets like putin, they give him, and his ilk a get out of jail free card. They can blame all the ills of their country on those who do the sanctions. It’s just more bashing of ordinary people, making them pawns in idiots games.

            Speaking of games, why are you playing when the truth is not known, when the stakes get this big, truth is more important than ever. Me, I’m willing to wait for the truth, whatever that may be.

            • Ed

              As I said 1 million Iraqis died.
              OABs response was to pull a face.

              The stakes are high alright.
              Russia will feel cornered.
              It has a proud history of fighting against foreign invaders.
              It has nuclear weapons .

              What could possibly go wrong by provoking Russia?

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                a united western alliance brought down the soviets, how good are the russians playing away from home?

                pretty bad if history is anything to go by

              • red-blooded

                I think he’s made it very clear that the face he pulled wasn’t aimed at your comments about Iraq, Ed.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Are my remarks about the City of London’s money laundering not a big enough clue as to what I think? The fact that Kremlin politicians on politicians salaries can amass millions of dollars worth of London real estate didn’t help you figure out what effective measures could be taken?

              Issue arrest warrants for the individuals involved. Shut down the money laundering services. Seize the property.

              • Carolyn_Nth

                The Russian crime base in London is a significant element in the mix, and does need to be shut down.

              • adam

                I hope that happens too, but I’m pretty sure it won’t.

                The thing is, events like this become political football. Much more simpler for politicians to get all jingoistic, and saber rattly. Especially politicians loathed by the general public like May.

            • Ed

              Of course it may not come out.
              We still don’t know what happened on the 11th September 2001.
              The deep state can hide a lot.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                yes we do.

                Osama bin laden funded men took over several air liners and crashed them into important buildings.

                You don’t know. but you’re an idiot who wallows in ignorance. either a national party troll sent to bring the standard down from the inside or a crazy person who hasn’t cottoned on that when you think the whole worlds crazy as they don’t believe you, it’s not the world that’s crazy

                • mikes

                  If you believe the official version of what happened on 9/11 then I’m sorry but you are the ” idiot who wallows in ignorance”

                  There’s so much evidence which contradicts the official explanation that you must be completely and willfully ignorant to not be aware of it.

          • mikesh

            “The Kremlin can murder people with relative impunity because Downing St. is bought.”

            This may be true in some cases but I don’t think it applies to spies who have been the subject of a prisoner exchange. There seems to be a convention in espionage circles that these are untouchable after the exchange has taken place. The fact that they are highly unlikely to breach this convention means that the Russians would have to be considered the suspects least likely to be guilty.

            The difficulty that Theresa May faces is that in all probability we will never find out who did it – they will have covered their tracks too well. The lack of evidence means that the only argument Mrs May has been able to advance so far is that “only the Russians could have done it”. This contention, unfortunately, is patently untrue, so I think the “untouchable exchanged prisoner” argument will, in the absence of hard evidence, probably carry the day.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              What “convention”? There’s a convention in military circles that unless rewards and punishments are consistent and strictly applied, the army will not be loyal, and will therefore be useless (cf: Sun Tzu).

              Sun Tzu dictates the harshest possible punishments for turncoats, too.

              In that sense, the attack on Colonel Skripal was a practical and logical thing to do. “Vicious, but fair”. Not my cup-of-tea but then I don’t much care for the death penalty under any circumstances.

              So I ask you, which “convention” are you citing?

              • francesca

                Apparently “Bridge of Spies “, by the Coen brothers is based on this
                I’ve got it on my shelf but haven’t watched it yet
                But anyway, here you go, a credible account of how the Spy swap deal works


                This article raises the possibility that Skripal may have breached the terms of his pardon by taking up spying again., which could nullify his immunity
                Definitely something to take in to account, but its rather a long shot to think he had anything worth trading after what, 6 years in prison? and 8 years in the UK

                This is interesting too


                Doco made in 20i4, but yeah, its the Daily Mail, would have to watch the thing to see if the headlines are true

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The scenario does not rely on the notion that Colonel Skripal had taken up spying again: the punishment in question is to be a ‘dead man walking’ whose inevitable death, when it comes, will be delivered in the most painful and humiliating way that can be devised, and it will be seen to be done.

                  That doesn’t negate the possibility that Colonel Skripal still had useful intelligence to impart, it just renders that particular motive moot: army loyalty and discipline is enough of a motive.

                  • francesca

                    The main point of the article is that in fact there is a spy swap convention.
                    And that the Russians take it very seriously

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Anonymous “experts” are to be believed, now?

                      When we get to an actual on-the-record account, “Spying agencies try to maintain a gentleman’s agreement that these people are beyond retribution,”

                      “try to maintain”

                      Does that tell you the “gentleman’s agreement” has been breached once or twice, much?

                      The article concludes that the Kremlin must have had a pretty good reason. Oh, and it’s The Daily Mail.

                      I’ll stick with what has actually been presented in court as evidence, and other known facts (eg: Lugovoy), thanks.

                    • mikesh

                      “I’ll stick with what has actually been presented in court as evidence, and other known facts (eg: Lugovoy), thanks.”

                      Do that, by all means. We are quite happy to see you rendering yourself completely irrelevant by ‘sticking with facts’ that have no bearing on the Salisbury incident. Even if it was Russia that did in Litvinenko, and that is by no means certain, he was not an exchanged prisoner.

                • mikesh

                  It is certainly true that if Skripal was, for example, blackmailing government officials in Russia, they could feel justified in breaching the ‘convention’; but, in the absence of knowledge of something like that, we have to assume that the ‘convention’ applies, and that thrRussians are innocent.

                  This however creates a problem for Theresa May because it seems to imply that whoever did the crime was motivated by a desire to villify Russia – in other words it would have been a ‘false flag’ attempt. No doubt Mrs May would be horrified at the thought of opening that particular ‘can of worms’. Perhaps that was why she rushed to pre-empt the situation and accuse Russia.

            • McFlock

              Seriously, who said swapped spies are untouchable? Does that apply to flipped nationals (traitors), or just foreign agents who are caught and exchanged? Where did you get that from? Did you have that piece of knowledge more than 5 weeks ago?

              • mikesh

                It applies, as I understand it, only to exchanged prisoners, and the rationale for it is that bumping off prisoners after an exchange would undermine the practice of exchanging prisoners, and that is in nobody’s interest.

                If Putin and co. thought that Skripal’s crimes were worthy of death they would have killed him while they still had him in custody.

                A number of bloggers have advanced this as one of the reasons why Russia would be reluctant to murder Skripal.

                • McFlock

                  If they’d killed him in custody, whom would they have had to trade for their spies?

                  But, to reiterate, you don’t have a specific source for this piece of knowledge that suddenly everyone knows, and you didn’t know it five weeks ago. It is something you picked up from people you agree with as a result of this incident.

                  I can see the logic of not killing foreign agents – why bother. But traitors? A nice deterrent to others. Sure, it cheapens their bargaining value if your opposition doesn’t give them witness protection, but that’s not really Russia’s problem. They swapped for Russian traitors for ten of theirs – not a bad deal.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    A nice deterrent to others.

                    And a way to maintain loyalty among the ranks. Not just because of the deterrent value: those who have been punished harshly at a level below that, can see that worse transgressions merit worse punishments, and tell themselves the system is fair.

                    Not just vengeance, not just to discourage would-be traitors: pragmatism.

                  • mikesh

                    “But, to reiterate, you don’t have a specific source for this piece of knowledge that suddenly everyone knows, and you didn’t know it five weeks ago. It is something you picked up from people you agree with as a result of this incident.”

                    Of course I can’t be certain from my own experience that such a convention exists, but it is reasonable enough , I think, to be given credence. So, unless you have evidence to the contrary, and I don’t think you have, I think we must consider it to be true.

      • Ed 1.1.4

        “They tried to kill two people.”


      • Brigid 1.1.5

        “exposed to a nerve agent. ”
        That’s your evidence? In total?
        You’re a laugh a minute oab.

        I really don’t understand the motives of one who indulges in gas lighting.
        It’s got to be one of the most obscene practices, that only really sick fucks get any pleasure from.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          No, it isn’t “my” evidence. It’s the only evidence that has yet been presented to a courtroom, and I brought it up because Ed keeps lying about it, saying there is “no evidence”.

          I look forward to you receiving a warning for calling me a sick fuck, because if I respond in kind I’ll be banned immediately.

          • weka

            When Brigid has as long a history of going at other commenters as you do, she’ll probably get moderated like you do. Not rocket science.

            You do seem* to be trying to bring Ed down by making out he is deficient. So it’s hard to see Brigid’s comment as being that out of line. She’s made an observation of your behaviour. I can’t see that as being worse than the the comments you’ve been making about Ed all day.

            (*can’t be bothered looking at it that closely today, but I think both you and Ed have choices here and one of them is to find someone else to talk to. If you both want to fight it out, that’s fine up until the point it becomes a problem then one or the other of you will probably get moderated. I have no idea how close to that line either of you are).

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              As I and many others have stated before, my problem with Ed’s behaviour is his habit of making assertions that [he is] unable to substantiate with some proof (and that doesn’t mean endless links to unsubstantial authorities) or even argue when requested to do so.

              Brigid makes plenty of personal remarks. I’ve worn enough of them.

              That’s a fair call on my seemingly trying to bring Ed down by making out he is deficient. I’m pointing out what I see as deficiences in his arguments and that sometimes strays into implying they’re character flaws. But I think we all do that from time to time.

              • weka

                “Brigid makes plenty of personal remarks. I’ve worn enough of them.”

                And yet she hasn’t come to the attention of the moderators like you have. Moderation is mostly about herding cats with the least effort. Notions of fairness don’t come into it in the way you might be implying.

                Sure, Ed’s way of arguing is annoying. But is he breaking any rules today? If he won’t debate with you the way you want him to then just don’t debate with him. Honestly, there are plenty of people here with interesting things to say, and you want to talk to someone who can’t argue? This is why I think it’s more about you taking affront and deciding to take him down. There is a line beyond which that isn’t ok.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Taking affront – to the relentless posting of the same dubious lines and the constant refusal/inability to debate them – damn straight I do.

                  And you’re right – that’s my stupid ego unable to drop the affront, taking it too personally. And I take your point about fairness.

          • weka

            Besides, she had you on the evidence thing. Ed claimed there was no evidence that the Russians did it, you presented evidence that a nerve agent had been used. They’re not the same thing.

            (I’m agnostic on the whole thing, because while I agree with the points about medical evidence etc, I think there are so many players involved internationally who are corrupt and amoral fucks that it’s hard to know what is real. I end up thinking in probabilities, but the so many of the arguments here are insistent on definitives that my eyes glaze over).

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Ed claimed there was no evidence that the Russians did it, you presented evidence that a nerve agent had been used. They’re not the same thing.

              Of course they are: evidence is not proof, though. The Kremlin’s gadflies have a habit of being murdered, certain rather nasty military philosophies give them a motive to use this method in this case, their story keeps changing in contradictory ways, and all that is evidence too. But not proof, not even “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

              Anyone who’s familiar with The Merchants of Doubt will recognise the “prove it” strategy: cf “the science isn’t settled” and so-on. In reality, as Schmidt says “we know things with varying degrees of certainty”.

              That’s in the rather dry world of science and the courtroom, of course. Does this level of doubt meet the thresh-hold for diplomatic actions? Lots of countries, many of whom have their own reasons to be wary of Brits bearing news, seem to think so.

              It isn’t “Russophobic”, or whatever the smear du jour is, to say so.

              • Poission

                Anyone who’s familiar with The Merchants of Doubt will recognise the “prove it” strategy: cf “the science isn’t settled” and so-on. In reality, as Schmidt says “we know things with varying degrees of certainty”.

                Well in mathematical physics the proof is the evidence, almost surely.

                For example the proof of the constraints on a long range weather forecast (the impossibility) is well known with (area-preserving diffeomorphism groups on the 2 torus)


                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

                  Albert Einstein.

                  All models are wrong. Some are useful.

                  George Box.

                  If it has a name, it’s just another thing.

                  Lao Tzu.

                  …conservation of energy is pretty well accepted, as is the theory of gravity (despite continuing interest in what happens at very small scales or very high energies), while the exact nature of dark matter is still unclear

                  Gavin Schmidt.

                  Maths is a BA; Physics is a BSc. Proofs belong in the former, not the latter.

                  • Poission

                    S. Chandrasekhar (Nobel laureate, 1983)

                    i>In my entire scientific life, extending over forty-five years, the most shattering experience has been the realization that an exact solution of Einstein’s equations of general relativity, discovered by the New Zealand mathematician, Roy Kerr, provides the absolutely exact representation of untold numbers of massive black holes that populate the universe. This shuddering before the beautiful, this incredible fact that a discovery motivated by a search after the beautiful in mathematics should find its exact replica in Nature, persuades me to say that beauty is that to which the human mind responds at its deepest and most profound.”

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Beautiful it may be, but it doesn’t exactly undermine Einstein’s observation: the map really isn’t the territory.

      • spikeyboy 1.1.6

        The evidence you cite says that a nerve agent was used not that the Kremlin did it. Which would more accurately make you the liar.
        Also Porton Downs has a history of testing nerve gas on their own military and citizens. I can only imagine the outrage by people like you if we used a Russian source that had experimented on its own citizens. It is known that this occurred till at least 1988 and resulted in at least one death



        As you say above we are dealing with two cases of attempted murder and yet no manhunt was ever initiated nor was anyone being looked for as a person of interest. In short no suspect ever identified. This all happened in public in a reasonably sized town. In the 1980s the New Zealand police were quickly able to identify the two french agents responsible for the Rainbow Warrior. In the 1980s…The french connection was then obvious.

        All this just falls into the same old pattern. Spray around as much mud as you can. Change the story as you need to to fit the undeniable facts as they arise but never back of from the Russia hating cause thats the sole purpose of all the mud slinging. Just pile it on top of everything else. It takes quite a bit of effort for individuals to go back and check all the facts on every accusation but its real easy to just apply another coat of slung mud. All the previos mud is used to justify the present and all future cases of the hate on Russia. But if you care to go back in time a little it turns out that past cases of mud slinging were just as dubious. Take Russian election riging. Turns out that Cambridge Analytic, a very British firm had a lot more to do with that. Or Litvinenko. Polonium is a very important starting point in nuclear weapon design (the trigger). Litvinenko was known to be involved with people involved with smuggling nuclear parts. But hey. Kremlin did it. Fits nicely.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Keep telling yourself that, Spike. Obviously you’re very sensitive to any suggestion that your precious Kremlin might have some not-very-nice people in it.

          • spikeyboy

            It may not be important to you oab but I believe that its important to blame the right bad people for whatever crime is going round. Not just whoever bad person fits the narrative best

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Occam’s Razor is your friend. On the subject of “blaming the right people”, iirc, thus far the Kremlin has blamed Yulia Skripal’s mum, the UK, the CIA, Colonel Skripal, Yulia Skripal, Sweden, Croatia and the Czech Republic.

              Perhaps you should have a word with them 😉

              • spikeyboy

                Perhaps you should provide some links

                • joe90

                  Theories 1 through to 17, sourced.

                  Russia’s state media #Skripal conspiracy theory No.1:“Accidental exposure”Porton Down, where the Brits were experimenting with the same types of nerve agents, is located next door to where Skripal and his daughter were found. pic.twitter.com/jAWUY2bXqS— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) March 9, 2018



                  • spikeyboy

                    Very nice touch that “conspiracy theory” descriptor attached to any theory not assciated with Russia done it but always missing from Russia done it theories. Do you ever feel the pain in your nose from the ring you are being led by?

              • spikeyboy

                Russia is accused of a crime that the world is told “only Russia could have done this!!” When they reply with a list of countries that also have the means to make n class nerve agents the narrative is that they are accusing these countries of the crime. Sorry. No. Only in your russophobic echochamber

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  You’re missing the point. Had they stuck to that one story it would be a little weird; it’s the fact they’ve come up with so many contradictory stories that’s significant.

                  The “Russophobe” smear is getting tired, by the way: as I’ve already stated, the Kremlin is not Russia, just as the National Party is not New Zealand.

                  • spikeyboy

                    But in the case of NZ you never direct your anger or whatever at the Beehive. You direct it at the party or individuals in the party. I would say that you use Kremlin because of the negative connotations from the Soviet era. The Kremlin is certainly not Russia it is a building.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I don’t care what you would say. Jamie Whyte employs similar rhetoric.

              • francesca

                Well I’m still dizzy from the restaurant ,.. ground zero at that point was the table, had to be destroyed it was so contaminated…talk about destroying evidence…,then it was the luggage, a parcel Yulia brought with her,a drop of something on the clothing, the cars ventilation system, no that couldnt work, a guy drove it to the garage without incident, the cop who copped it because he was a first responder, no that wouldnt fly because the Dr who got up close and intimate with Yulia’s vomit is fine…so .. I know, it was the house , the door!
                Only Russia knows how… uhoh, Iran can do it, US had access, who knows about Israel cos they dont let inspectors in
                Was it a gas, was it a powder,was it in the food, no ,it was a gloopy mess on the doorknob
                Nobody tried to enquire as to the Skripals health,we were told, no family tried to get in touch, so the judge appoints a special counsel, despite the cousin having been interviewed on BBC talking about wanting to get information about the Skripals whereabouts and state of health, and getting nowhere
                Frankly I think all these shifting tales are born out of total confusion, both the UK and Russia are groping in the dark , thinking WTF
                Maybe Skripal did some gardening with some dodgy organophosphate insecticide that should have been got rid of but was still in the garden shed, maybe he’s been up to other dodgy stuff, who knows
                So many of the expat Russian community in the UK seem to be outright criminals, I wouldn’t mess with them.They’re all over the world of course , but phew! the Ukand london especially is where they go to die
                But shit, if that stuff is meant to be military grade, someone needs the sack

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  You sound like Anthony Watts.

                • spikeyboy

                  Yes. Lies are very high maintenence. Facts keep getting in the way. Where as with a true story the facts support it. In another couple years all the holes and more will still be there but which will be stronger? Evil Russia or wtf was with that crazy story? Cause at the moment evil Russia seems to be winning and all the crazy stories are being used as evidence of a pattern when really crazy stories is all there is

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    It was Yulia’s mother in law then. Or maybe the suicidal MH17 pilot.

              • francesca

                Occam’s razor is the last refuge of the lazy
                As in : the Contamination of Fonterra baby formula with 1080 scare
                Occam’s razor would have us believing it was 1080 activists,
                In fact it was the feratox guy who stood to lose out commercially
                If the police had doggedly stuck to :it was the eco terrorists!, there is no other explanation!” we would have never got to the bottom of it

                • Ed

                  Or saying conspiracy theory.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Shoot the messenger: it makes you look big and strong.

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  So, is Mike Smith’s post on this tonight being fully moderated?

                  Not surprising really.

                  Speculation on no or flimsy evidence is not helpful. But Mike has added a couple of useful links.

                • McFlock

                  OK, good idea, let’s look at that.

                  Unknown person, unknown motive, possible.
                  1080 activists who have a beef with DoC decide to damage Fonterra. How does that work? Possible though. Seems to be 50/50 either way.

                  So we add more information, names and specific beefs with Fonterra:
                  Named activists link Fonterra to 1080 some how: mark against them.
                  Named competitor to Fonterra also has motive. Still plausible either way, but competitor motive is slightly less complex than protesting DoC via fonterra.

                  See how Occam starts to work?

                  • francesca

                    I have an idea prejudices can skew the assumptions

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “If it is your birthday, there is the strong possibility of cake.”

                    • McFlock

                      Which is why people should seriously consider all assumptions.

                      And yet all the non-Russia theories people have put up have still been much more complex than a deliberate exposure by russian agents.

                      I mean, it’d still be a pisser if it turned out that the boutique wines served at the local gastropub had been accidentally loaded with pesticide instead of antifreeze for sweetness and body, but that’s looking pretty slim by now. Even if May were covering it up because she overegged Russia, the lack of any other victims would suggest that only that bottle of wine had been distributed.

                    • mauī

                      Corbyn’s side want the facts to be laid out in full and for this whole complex thing to be properly investigated. From my point of view that is considering all assumptions.

                      The side saying all things are pointing to Russia don’t appear to be that enthusiastic about using such diligence. On the balance of probabilities it’s them they say. That’s not good enough when we have hardly any evidence to start with. Ok, we have a document that states a Novichook or a closely related chemical was used in the incident. Hmm ok, the evidence getting watered down like this is not a great start.

        • francesca

          Hey Spikeyboy, nice to see you back!

        • Ed

          Thank you for sharing.
          Very interesting.

        • Stuart Munro

          Porton Down’s nefarious role in history is from 1950. The principals are long dead. Unless you have fresher material, trying to blacken the contemporary institution suffers from a lack of evidence.

          • spikeyboy

            Can you not read Stuart. Nefarious activities continued until at least 1988…People in the 2000s are trying to get compensation for their still existing suffering. So not all dead quite yet though I guess exposure to nerve agents may get them there a little quicker than most…

            • Stuart Munro

              I read it – looks like pretty small beer being frothed up to lend credibility to a possible alternative Skripal hypothesis.

              Post the history of Russian chemical warfare labs in parallel and there might be meaningful inferences to be drawn.

    • james 1.2

      Ed: “No evidence has been presented”

      Do you think you have ALL the information that the government has in order to come to the conclusion.

      Just because evidence has not been given to the press or you – does not mean other evidence has been shared between governments.

      • Bill 1.2.1

        Corbyn was apparently presented with all of the evidence that has been presented to other governments. The volume of that evidence was apparently unprecedented.

        Yet Corbyn was less than fully convinced. How odd!

        And some pretty basic, straightforward questions coming from the Russian government haven’t been answered. (The questions are in the public domain)

        • Ed

          Yes and all of a sudden a narrative is set up by the corporate media.
          May. Strong against Putin.
          Corbyn. Supporting antisemitism

          Nowadays though the corporate media can only fool less of the people with their lies, smears and distortions.

          • james

            “Yes and all of a sudden a narrative is set up by the corporate media.
            May. Strong against Putin.
            Corbyn. Supporting antisemitism”

            Unfortuantley (for people who just love corbyn) the media can provide evidence of Corbyns antisemitism – its not exactly hidden.

            Would you prefer they didnt mention it?

            • Draco T Bastard

              Unfortuantley (for people who just love corbyn) the media can provide evidence of Corbyns antisemitism – its not exactly hidden.

              So, you’ll be able to present that as well then? How much he hates the Semitic languages?

                • Ed

                  Another narrative being built.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Nope, still haven’t seen anything that shows Corbyn anti-Jew.

                  Have you seen the mural that was removed? Were the fat cats on it really supposed to be Jewish or was it just an implication that some people decided was a good way to get rid of the mural because they don’t like the rich being described as the bludgers that they are?


                  There are 70 others too, each of which is the subject of a fraught local battle in which an aspect of the defence of the individual accused is that they are a victim of internal politicking. It is an idea that has a wider resonance: the group Labour Against the Witch-hunt promises to counter “the cynical protest” by the party’s Campaign Against Antisemitism next week, and accuses those calling out antisemitism as “hellbent on continuing to undermine Jeremy Corbyn”.

                  Seems it could be a load of white-anting by some old Labourites who are upset by the way that Corbyn and the rest of the party are taking UK Labour back to the Left.

                  • Baba Yaga

                    Your final comments may be correct, but that doesn’t help Corbyn:

                    “The Labour leader deleted his account this morning after it emerged he was a member of five groups which contained anti-Semitic posts.”

                    “Mr Corbyn was an active user of his Facebook account before he became Labour leader. He used it to express support for an anti-Semitic mural, which sparked an outcry last month when it was brought to public attention by Luciana Berger, a Labour MP.”

                    “Meanwhile, Labour MP Ruth Smeeth called for Mr Corbyn to “resign immediately”, claiming he failed to intervene when “anti-Semitic slurs” were directed towards her in front of him at the event.”

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      He used it to express support for an anti-Semitic mural

                      Was it an actual anti-Jewish mural? I mean, did the artist actually produce it as anti-Jewish? We don’t actually know.
                      Did he recognise it as such if it was?
                      Or is this just a beat up made up out of whole cloth? (I’m pretty sure that it’s this one)

                      This is the point – he’s being blamed for it but we don’t actually know. We haven’t seen the mural nor has anyone spoken to the artist.

                      “Meanwhile, Labour MP Ruth Smeeth called for Mr Corbyn to “resign immediately”, claiming he failed to intervene when “anti-Semitic slurs” were directed towards her in front of him at the event.”

                      And it’s entirely possible that he didn’t recognise them as such at the time. Not everyone has the same sensitivity to these things and he may not have even been listening to them but to someone else.

                      From what I can make out, people are attacking without grounds simply because they want to get rid of him. Meanwhile, UK Labour seems to be gaining under his leadership as he takes the party Left.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Was it an actual anti-Jewish mural?”
                      Well, YES.

                      “We haven’t seen the mural…”

                      “And it’s entirely possible that he didn’t recognise them as such at the time.”
                      And it’s entirely possible Trump never said ‘grab ’em by the pu%%y”.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Can’t see anything on it that says it’s anti-Jewish.

                      I’d say that those ‘hook-nosed men’ were probably English (Those moustaches are definitely English). All nations seem to have hook-nosed men in them.

                      When the artist complained on Facebook that it was being painted over, Mr Corbyn replied: ‘Why?’, before going on to condemn previous destruction of controversial political art.

                      They, of course, don’t have the artist saying that it was anti-Jewish. He probably didn’t say that so we have a fairly good mural being removed for no reason at all.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Can’t see anything on it that says it’s anti-Jewish.”
                      Really? The hooked noses? The glasses? The monopoly board on the backs of people of colour? The fact that Corbyn admitted himself that it was anti-Semitic?

                  • mikes

                    Jews are not the only semites. Arabs (amongst others) are also semitic.

                    • Draco T Bastard


                      It’s people like Baba Yaga that think that they are who are the ones most influenced by the Israeli propaganda, the outright lies of the Israeli government.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “It’s people like Baba Yaga…”
                      who take the time to actually view the mural you didn’t even attempt to sight.

            • Gabby

              Do you think that disapproval of Israel’s foreign policy is antisemitism jimbo?

              • Ed

                What about their domestic policy towards the Palestinians?
                477 shot.
                Criticise that and you’re an antisemite.

                What tosh.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          And some pretty basic, straightforward questions coming from the Russian government haven’t been answered.

          Perhaps because they’re punctuated by a relentless series of contradictory excuses like “it was the Czechs!” “We never made Novichok.” “We destroyed all the Novichok we made.”

          Perhaps the dog ate their homework too.

          • Bill

            Have you perused the questions OAB?

            They are a straight forward list containing no excuses (contradictory or otherwise) about anything.

            Can you offer any sensible reason as to why they shouldn’t be answered in a timely fashion?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Yes: their actions before, during and after the Dutch investigation into the murders of the passengers of flight MH17.

        • james

          “Yet Corbyn was less than fully convinced. How odd!”

          yes it is – especially that it seems ‘everyone else” (pretty much) who has seen all the information seems to think it was the Russians.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Less than fully convinced.

            Mr Corbyn said: “All fingers point towards Russia’s involvement in this, and obviously the manufacture of the material was undertaken by the Russian state originally.

            “I think Russia has to be held responsible for it but there has to be an absolutely definitive answer to the question where did the nerve agent come from?”

            He claimed the “pattern of people being murdered” means Vladimir Putin has questions to answer.

            About 3% less than fully, by the looks of it.

            • Bill

              Just going on what you’ve quoted.

              Is Corbyn stating that “all fingers point towards Russia’s involvement” any different to me making that observation?

              I don’t think anyone contests the claim that the Russian state (as the USSR) attempted to manufacture novichok. There are reasonable questions about the success of the programme given its absence from the internationally recognised list of nerve agents.

              The second para you pasted lays the development of Novichok at Russia’s doorstep. Which, if the stuff exists, is a reasonable enough thing to do. But did you not notice his questioning of where the nerve agent came from?

              Rather than selecting quotes from an article hanging from selective quotes, why not listen to the actual interview? (The final quote you provided isn’t something that was said in the interview btw)

              Interview of Corbyn begins at about 24min 30sec.


              The scene setting is nice – liberal interventionism writ large.

              I could think Corbyn’s approach is feared and that’s encouraging the wall to wall antisemitism guff, given that fills the airwaves and silences dissent on stuff that matters. 😉

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                why not listen to the actual interview?

                Because I’m not that invested in his reckons on the subject. I just wanted to get a feel for how much “less than fully convinced” he is.

                • Bill

                  How’s that work?

                  You want a feel for “how less than fully convinced” he is, and so go to a well known Tory rag that’s using selective quotes to get a sense of where he’s at – and attribute quotes to Corbyn that the article attributes to other people!?

                  I’m kind of lost for words at this point.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    In his own words then:

                    Theresa May was right on Monday to identify two possibilities for the source of the attack in Salisbury, given that the nerve agent used has been identified as of original Russian manufacture. Either this was a crime authored by the Russian state; or that state has allowed these deadly toxins to slip out of the control it has an obligation to exercise. If the latter, a connection to Russian mafia-like groups that have been allowed to gain a toehold in Britain cannot be excluded.

                    On Wednesday the prime minister ruled out neither option. Which of these ultimately prove to be the case is a matter for police and security professionals to determine. Hopefully the next step will be the arrest of those responsible.

                    As I said in parliament, the Russian authorities must be held to account on the basis of the evidence, and our response must be both decisive and proportionate.

                    Yep, I thought as much: the first article gave a pretty good steer on just how much “less than fully convinced” he is.

                    • Bill

                      Who’s contesting that Russia is responsible for Novichok (if that was indeed the nerve agent used)?

                      And who’s contesting that if that was the nerve agent used, then Russia has to answer questions around accountability?

                      Are you seriously unable to separate out those things that Corbyn is saying from the (not to be challenged) accusation that Russia attempted to murder two people by way of deploying a nerve agent in a foreign country?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Who’s contesting that Russia is responsible for Novichok (if that was indeed the nerve agent used)?

                      Alexander Shulgin.

                      not to be challenged

                      the prime minister ruled out neither option.

                      One of these things is not like the other one.

                    • Bill

                      So go argue that point with Alexander Shulgin.

                      When two possibilities are identified, does that mean there are only two possibilities? No.

                      But in this case, if we allow “a given”, (as Corbyn does in your quoted comment above) then the numbers of possibilities diminish. In this case down to two.

                      Is Corbyn saying “given that the nerve agent…” by way of asserting a fact, or is he merely couching his whole piece within the parameters of what the Government is claiming?

                      I can’t see how he could possibly (not sensibly) deny the alleged provenance of the nerve agent, unless he has concrete proof of it being something else. So, he “allows” for that in the interim while also and crucially pushing for full, inclusive and internationally recognised procedures of investigation that will settle the matter.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I doubt very much whether that will “settle” the matter. The Kremlin will deny the charges and ‘Lugovoy’ the accused, and in seventeen years, Ed will be telling us that no-one really knows what happened.

                      Shulgin is the Kremlin’s mouthpiece on the OPCW, by the way.

                    • Bill

                      And Shulgin has denied that if Novichok was used, that the Russian government bears some level of responsibility for developing it in the first place, has he?

                      A link would be useful.

                      And I’ll point out the obvious.

                      If Shulgin is saying that Novichok was never developed in the first place, then that is a completely different position to the one you’ve ascribed to him in replies here.

                    • Ed

                      Craig Murray

                      “I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve agent as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. “


                      “4) “Novichoks” were specifically designed to be able to be manufactured from common ingredients on any scientific bench. The Americans dismantled and studied the facility that allegedly developed them. It is completely untrue only the Russians could make them, if anybody can.
                      5) The “Novichok” programme was in Uzbekistan not in Russia. Its legacy was inherited by the Americans during their alliance with Karimov, not by the Russians.”


                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @Ed: hearsay from anonymous sources is totes reliable when you agree with it 🙄

                    • Ed

                      Do you follow Craig Murray’s blog?

                • adam

                  Or to extract the bits to fit your argument, and ignore the bits that don’t…

                • Bill

                  And so Shulgin wasn’t in fact claiming what you implied.

                  As for denying any such nerve agent was ever developed, this is pretty unambiguous call.

                  Mr Shulgin said that OPCW officials were welcome to inspect suspected Russian chemical weapon sites as part of the investigation.

                  Note the word “suspected” – so OPCW officials can inspect more or less any facility they like. That’s major.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Any facility they like, until the Kremlin vetoes it.

                    As tensions between the West and Russia grow, questions are bound to arise about Russia’s capacities and proclivities for biological weapons. Governments, the non-proliferation community, scientists and institutions involved in international collaborative research should begin looking for their answers here.


        • Tuppence Shrewsbury

          Present the average nz rugby fan with all the evidence available that Richie McCaw spent 15 years off side at the top level of international rugby and they won’t be fully convinced either. It’s benefit of the doubt stuff and there is more evidence in favour of Russia doing it than anyone else.

          You’ll never full convince any Russophile that Russia did it

        • tracey

          Remember when Blair and Bush had evidence of WMD…

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            I do. It’s a false equivalence though. Then, we had nothing to go on but the bald assertions from Bush and Blair. They lied.

            By comparison, we have Justice Williams going into considerable detail on the injuries sustained by the Skripals, forensic evidence from Porton Downs, also cited by Williams J., plausible motives, means, opportunity, a constantly shifting series of excuses from the accused and a pattern of previous offending. And how many people have to be lying?

            Certainly not enough (in my book) to secure a conviction at this point, and plenty enough to see why “diplomats” have been shown the door.

            • Stuart Munro

              In fairness there was slightly more to indicate Iraq intended to obtain yellowcake – their goto guy on WMD did travel to Niger and went through the motions of obtaining some. None was shipped however.

              This was preliminary and less than crucial, especially since Iran has the resources to produce yellowcake locally. What there was, was evidence of intent, and not particularly strong evidence at that.

              The major difference with the Skripal attack is that the attack demonstrates the existence of the material. Iraq never even procured the precursor material, much less refined or weaponized it.

            • tracey

              It is not evidence of who dosed them.

              It has quickly gone from evidence to political point scoring for certain agendas. And therein lies the equivalence to Blair and Bush

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                That evidence is circumstantial, as I said: motive, means, opportunity and a pattern of previous offending.

                Just as we still don’t “know” (beyond a reasonable doubt) who murdered Alexander Litvenenko, what with ‘the Rt. Honourable’ Andrey Lugovoy refusing to front up to face the charges against him and everything.

                And we don’t know who poisoned Viktor Yushchenko, or Vladimir Kara-Murza, or Alexander Perepilichny, or Ivan K. Kivelidi, or Karinna Moskalenko.

                Politicians doing what politicians do certainly isn’t evidence to the contrary, that’s for sure.

    • Brigid 1.3

      Russia’s questions to the United Kingdom regarding the Skripal case fabricated against Russia


      de-DE1 en-GB1 es-ES1 ru-RU1 fr-FR1

      On March 31, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in London delivered to the British Foreign Ministry a note with a list of questions to the British side regarding the Skripal case fabricated against Russia:

      1. Why has Russia been denied consular access to two Russian citizens who were injured in the UK?

      2. Which specific antidotes and in what form were the victims administered? How did the British doctors at the scene of the incident happen to have such antidotes in their possession?

      3. On what grounds did France become involved in the technical side of investigating an incident in which Russian citizens were injured?

      4. Has the United Kingdom notified the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of France’s involvement in the investigation of the incident in Salisbury?

      5. What does the incident involving two Russian citizens in the United Kingdom have to do with France?

      6. Which norms of British procedural legislation allow for the involvement of a foreign state in a domestic investigation?

      7. What evidence was handed over to France for testing and to conduct its own investigation?

      8. Were French specialists present when biological samples were collected from Sergey and Yulia Skripal?

      9. Did French specialists conduct their own tests of the biological samples collected from Sergey and Yulia Skripal and, if so, at which specific laboratories were the tests conducted?

      10. Does the United Kingdom possess the results of the investigation carried out by France?

      11. Have the results of the French investigation been submitted to the OPCW Technical Secretariat?

      12. Based on which attributes (markers) was the alleged “Russian origin” of the substance used in Salisbury established?

      13. Does the United Kingdom have control samples of the chemical warfare agent which British representatives refer to as Novichok?

      14. Have samples of the chemical warfare agent of the Novichok type (in accordance to British terminology) or its analogues been developed in the United Kingdom?


      A similar list, containing 10 questions, was sent to the French Foreign Ministry by the Russian Embassy in Paris. According to the document, Moscow wanted to know on what grounds France was involved in the British investigation into the Skripal poisoning.

      • Ed 1.3.1

        Thank you for sharing. These are very fair questions.
        Have May and Johnson replied?

        • James

          Perhaps they are waiting for the Russians to reply to their questions first?

          • mikesh

            May didn’t ask any questions. She insisted they did it and demanded an explanation.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Nope, she said that either they did it, or their security was so useless that mafia types stole the nerve agents, and in either case, they owe an explanation.

              That’s ok though, the Kremlin provided lots of explanations. It was Yulia’s mum, for example.

      • McFlock 1.3.2

        They’re pretty much all bullshit questions if you actually look at them. Either they’re exagerrating trivialities (atrapine is used in surgeries, apparently, so no big mystery if it was administered), or basically fishing for shit that would be classified right up until court use (why tell them what markers were there – they’ll just remove them for the next lot).

        The funny thing about the meds is that if there were tailor-made antidotes on hand, that would mean the Brits knew about it in advance. But if it was planned in advance, why would the brits try to keep the Skripals alive? Poisoning them but trying to cure them at the same time?

        • Poission

          Why would british intelligence with prior knowledge of the members of the “unknowns” allow the IRA perpetuated disappearances(read murders) to proceed ?


          • McFlock

            Because the victims were unimportant to the intelligence services. The inteligence services priorities were preserving and developing intelligence sources. But at least the cold math was logical.

            Poisoning the Skripals and then having specific preparations on hand would be like finding the full particulars of planned IRA hits, letting them happen, and then giving the intelligence operation away by having an ambulance and the RUC standing by a block away, all casual-like.

  2. Sacha 2

    Recent discussion here has highlighted how the right’s messages are still dominating our media despite the change of government. What examples have we seen since the election of NZ’s political left successfully explaining itself in public?

    Edit: nothing about Russia please. Ed has you covered on that topic.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Off the top of my head, Clark on Checkpoint. Ardern on Bridges. Ghahraman on CPTPP, Shaw on Parliamentary questions.

      Whether they’ve been “successful” or not depends on the results of the next few polls.

      • james 2.1.1

        “What examples have we seen since the election of NZ’s political left successfully explaining itself in public?”

        “Ghahraman on CPTPP”

        Ummm isnt Ghahraman against what the government is doing?

    • weka 2.2

      Good question Sacha.

      • Sacha 2.2.1

        Thank you. That’s one big steaming pile of tinfoil to get past to #2 by the end of the day.

    • veutoviper 2.3

      This will no doubt be somewhat controversial (including in my own head) but this morning I have watched Q & A yesterday with Clare Curran being interviewed by Corin Dann and then the two panel sessions (Matt McCarten, Fran o’Sullivan and Dr Jennifer Curtin.

      And IMHO Curran did not do too badly in this interview – in fact ,far better than her performance in Question Time in answering Melissa Lee’s varous questions.

      Further, the Panel were essentially of two/three minds (for different reasons) as to the importance etc of the whole episode. Well worth a watch.

      Actual interview – You Tube version – 16 minutes

      First Panel discussion on Curran Interview – 9 minutes

      Panel wrap-up session – 8 minutes. First 3.30 minutes covers Commonwealth issues following the interview with Baroness Patricia Scotland, Sec-Gen of the Commonwealth.

      Remainder again touches on the Curran interview but is also an interesting (constructive) discussion on what needs to improve vis a vis Ardern and the Government’s communications, internal management and presentation. This latter discussion in particular is reasonably relevant to your post.


  3. AsleepWhileWalking 3

    Flash back to April, 2016.

    Waatea News 5th Estate did the best coverage of any news media regarding the housing crisis.

    With guests who knew their shit I encourage every critic of the current Housing Minister to watch. This is the hardest job in the country mainly because the issue was denied for so long.

    This just one on many segments they did on the crisis before it was finally acknowledged by National this year.

  4. patricia bremner 4

    To Veteuoviper, please see my comment attached to Henry Cooke’s articles you provided.
    I accept i was totally mistaken, and Henry did an excellent job reporting the Island visit.
    I realise now why you were so annoyed. Thanks.

    • veutoviper 4.1

      That OK, patricia. I had wanted to bring it up at some stage, but it is good I did not do so at the time because I think we better understand one another for the delay.

      I have actually replied to you over at OM 1 April – https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-01-04-2018/#comment-1469180 This includes a rather long explanation of why I defend some journalists, and particularly the younger cohort coming through such as Cooke, Kirsty Johnston etc. – and why I defended Drinnan to a degree yesterday on MS’s excellent post.

      Since sending that reply, a friend has pointed out that Pete George has today picked up my list* and summary of Henry Cooke’s full set of ten articles on the Pacific Mission and put up a post on YourNZ. I am famous or probably infamous! LOL. At least he attributed it.

      * https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-01-04-2018/#comment-1468842

      My apologies again to the mods etc here for the double up of 20 and 21 etc on OM 1 April. Explanation at top of 21. I had also not replied to patricia in full on MS’ post but told her I would do so on OM instead, so hope that counts for some brownie points.

  5. Jenny 5

    The Arab World, just like the Rest Of The World, is made up of oppressors and the oppressed. We must make common cause with the oppressed where ever they are, against the oppressors where ever they are.

    The Arab Spring was an inspiring start in confronting this global divide.

    Currently the Arab Spring has stalled under the weight of Assad’s bombs and Sisi’s dictatorship.

    Egypt is the key.

    Freedom in Egypt will inevitably will lead to freedom in Gaza.

    Freedom in Gaza will inevitably lead to freedom for Palestine.

    Freedom for Palestine will inevitably lead to Freedom for the “Arab World”.

    Freedom for the Arab World will inevitably lead to freedom for the whole world.

    Long live the Arab Spring!

      • joe90 5.1.1

        Yeah, Arab’s didn’t rise up against their government’s greed, corruption, and abuses of power off their own bat, because.


      • Jenny 5.1.2

        There are some who argue the Arab Spring was concocted by the CIA.


        Yeah sure, there probably are “some” tin foil hat conspiracy theorists at the outer edge of the internet with the gall to “argue” (without any corroborating evidence), that the biggest political rising in human history, at its height, dwarfing in sheer numbers involved, every other political movement ever, was a carefully engineered and hatched CIA plot.

        Who other than a true tin foil hat conspiracy theorist would believe that the CIA fomented a mass revolution to unseat the pro US military regime of Hosni Mubarak?

        When only an idiot, or a conscious liar would dare try and deny the fact that the Mubarak regime, was a close ally and tool of both the US and Israel.

        Even if the CIA could engineer such a massive plot; Why on Earth would the CIA want to overthrow the Mubarak regime in the first place?

        Here was a regime that worked closely with the US and with Israel, to enforce Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza, (a duty for which the regime was lavishly rewarded with $billions in US military aid; the Mubarak military government being second only to Israel itself, in the amount of military aid received from the US.)

        This racist and Western intellectual bullshit is also shot down by the fact that at the height of the Arab Spring the US government pledged an extra $1.5 billion in military aid to the beleagured Egyptian military leadership, (which was mostly used to buy US F16 fighter jets).

        The same military leadership that later overthrew and imprisoned the first ever democratically elected government of Mohamed Morsi in a US Backed coup. The new US backed military dictator Abdel El Sisi wound back all the democratic advances of the Arab Spring in Egypt, and brought back all the excesses and human rights abuses of the Mubarak regime, as well as again reimposing the siege on Gaza on behalf of Israel.

        Yes Ed I am sure that despite these facts, there are still “some” Western apologists for imperialism ,and Western Leftist leaning intellectuals, prepared to argue the racist slur that the Arab peoples are blank blocks of wood manipulated and shaped by others, without the wit or courage to act for them selves to try and overthrow this US backed tyranny.

        “Everything You Need To Know About The $2 Billion That America Gives To Egypt Each Year


        The protests in Egypt have prompted renewed questions about the U.S.’s aid to the country—an issue that the U.S. government has also pledged to reconsider [1]. We’ve taken a step back and tried to answer some basic questions, such as how as much the U.S. has given, who has benefitted, and who gets to decide how its all spent.
        How much does the U.S. spend on Egypt?

        Egypt gets the most U.S. foreign aid of any country except for Israel. (This doesn’t include [2] the money spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.) The amount varies each year and there are many different funding streams, but U.S. foreign assistance to Egypt has averaged just over $2 billion every year since 1979, when Egypt struck a peace treaty with Israel [3] following the Camp David Peace Accords, according to a Congressional Research Service report from 2009.

        That average includes both military and economic assistance, though the latter has been in decline since 1998 [4], according to CRS.


    • Stuart Munro 5.2

      I met a number of Egyptian progressives in Saudi – they were not sanguine about reform. The armed forces are too large and too nepotistic to admit change – they would all lose their cosy positions.

  6. mauī 6

    An alternate look into North Korean life. Free healthcare, education, good cheap housing, almost free public transport, green energy on display. Not bad for a hellhole dictatorship. I wonder if Auckland Council should plan a visit to get some ideas.


    • Ed 6.1

      Sounds interesting. Will watch this later.
      It would be interesting to compare Baltimore USA with Pyongyang for your average worker/citizen on the following:
      healthcare, housing, transport, education…..

      • james 6.1.1

        No – it would not.

        You pick one of the poorest cities in the US against the “richest” in North Korea.

        How about doing a comparison of the average North Korean and the average US citizen?

        That would be a fair comparison.

        While you are there compare other things like:

        Freedom of expression – what happens if you write a mean tweet against Trump vs what happens if you say something bad about the Korean leader (you have to say it because they are not allowed twitter).

        and here are some other pictures showing the other side of the argument:


        • mauī

          You could construct a similar narrative using pictures of black wearing pedestrians outside a closed retail store on Lambton Quay on a cold July morning too.

          • james

            Ok course – but then that would be extremely easy to disprove.

            Huge problems for the people on North Korea – not so easy to disprove that.

        • Draco T Bastard

          How about doing a comparison of the average North Korean and the average US citizen?

          And the poorest and the richest.

          Won’t get a good idea if you only look at the average.

          And which particular average are you talking about?

        • Draco T Bastard

          The astonishing photos show bleak, colourless landscapes and run-down towns and cities with a noticeable lack of vehicles.

          The colourless landscape is a concern as it shows a dreadful drought going on. Possibly a result of the Western initiated Anthropogenic Climate Change.

          The ‘noticeable lack of vehicles’ is an interesting way to describe everyone having what looks to be a good quality vehicle. Yes, a bicycle is a vehicle.

          And I’ve seen places in NZ that also look that run down. Usually in old industrial districts.

          The problem with that article is that it assumes that people who don’t have a Western lifestyle are in poverty.

    • Anne 6.2

      I noted that the background film shoot is just being repeated over and over again. Does that mean filming is only allowed in a specified area?

      • mauī 6.2.1

        Not sure Anne, she says whe wasn’t asked to stop filming at any stage. It seems she took lots of photos and I have seen bits of other videos she took on her trip.

    • Stuart Munro 6.3

      There’s a significant gap between city/insider North Korea and the rest. The Girl with Seven Names By Hyeonseo Lee is a decent personal account, and Between Discord and Cooperation gives a good geopolitical overview. https://www.amazon.com/Between-Discord-Cooperation-Japan-Koreas/dp/8971417692

    • JohnSelway 6.4

      Are you actually supporting NK?

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    Looks totes reliable to me. She should “investigate” those Rohingya crisis actors next.

    Prof Choi Min-ho of Seoul National University’s college of medicine said: “Although we do not have solid figures showing health conditions of North Korea, medical experts assume that parasite infection problems and serious health issues have been prevalent in the country.

    “[The man’s condition is] not surprising at all considering the North’s hygiene and parasite problems.”

    Thanks for the heads up about another useful idiot.

  8. Carolyn_Nth 8

    This is interesting. When someone talks about how poor current landlords are, there’s often a response that some tenants are also very bad – and that it’s the bad ones on both sides that get noticed.

    An Auckland Council survey of rental property managers finds the managers are more critical of landlords than tenants at the moment.

    I have found my current property managers are pretty good, and the unit and grounds are well maintained. But I have seen some of the poorly maintained flats available, and think all rentals are over-priced these days.

    RNZ reports:

    While they experienced problems with some tenants, the managers saved their strongest criticism for tight-fisted landlords.

    “A key finding in this study was [the] extent to which property managers expressed frustration at the amount of property owners who are financially unable, or just unwilling, to pay for repairs and ongoing maintenance of their rental properties,” the report said.

    Interior and exterior painting, re-carpeting, fixing leaks and replacing ovens were all examples of maintenance that property managers said they had trouble talking landlords into doing.

    ‘”Even just general things like trying to get a gutter cleaned is like pulling teeth sometimes,” the same property manager said.

    There was a percentage of rental housing that was “dire”, another said.

    “That’s completely down to absolutely no investment in maintaining these properties. Taking all the profit and not putting anything back into it.”

    Several property managers said rental stock in poorer areas was in especially bad condition.

    Property managers extended that criticism to their own industry, saying a lack of regulation and minimum standards put both landlords and tenants at risk.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      That’s completely down to absolutely no investment in maintaining these properties. Taking all the profit and not putting anything back into it.

      Otherwise known as bludging.

  9. james 9

    Corbyn is under huge pressure in the UK – with the

    Exposed: Jeremy Corbyn’s hate factory


    I read that he has now deleted his facebook profile

    Pretty much every major paper in the UK is running stories about Corbyn and Labours anti-Semitism.

    • Carolyn_Nth 9.1

      The pro-Zionists are viscous but sophisticated propagandists, and will accept no criticism of the current Israel regime.

      • james 9.1.1

        Im guessing you didnt read it (or any of the other press).

        There is plenty to back it up.

        • adam

          *sigh* thanks for your obvious spin james. So wonderful that you lap up any old feces, and yell – the media tell the “Truth”. Except when you disagree with them. Then again, are you running with the line – that the media never tell porkies, or work to an agenda.

          How about you try looking from a different perspective. How many self hating jews do you know? Do you know what that label ‘self hating jew’ means? How many children were killed yesterday by the Zionist war machine – here a hint, more than 2.

          How much of a distraction is it to attack Corbyn, rather than face the reality of a state hell bent on killing it’s opponents, even/especially children.

          • james

            You argument has nothing to do with it Corbyn it would appear from all the evidence (and I note that you seem to ignore the evidence when it suits you) is an anti-semite.

            He seems ok with it, and thats OK – but he should and hopefully will be judged by his behaviour and held to account.

            You seem ok with it as well – and its OK for you to have that view. Some of us dont like it.

            Anti-Semitism is NOT ok.

            • adam

              *sigh* You really don’t like to think much do you james. Better to repeat what you been feed, rather than have to exercise the gray and white matter.

              Corban, like myself is Anti-Zionist. When idiots, tools, and fools confuse that for anti semitism, that is NOT ok.

            • Keepcalmcarryon

              Neither is shooting children James.

              • james

                Its people like yourself I guess who support him and his views.

                • The Fairy Godmother

                  Yes people like myself who do not like Zionism or any other form of colonialism. It is so frustrating that people can be so thick as to think that all Jewish people are Zionist and all Zionists are Jews. Not so. AS far as I can tell the worst Zionists are racist Christians from the former slave holding parts of the United States of America. They love it because they believe the second coming of Christ will come on the back of trouble in the middle East. Also Israel is a major player in the arms industry.

                • Muttonbird

                  Feel free to post any anti-semitic statements by Jeremy Corbyn.

                • adam

                  And your stupid comment I preempted in my first comment.

                  James, you have gone beyond being droll, you’re a bore who is now utterly predictable.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Anti-Semitism is NOT ok.

              Yes, hating on languages is definitely NOT ok.

            • joe90

              Anti-Semitism is NOT ok.

              Indeed. And to help you, here’s a short thread about the cesspool of hate [some] on the right dwell in.


              Antisemitism is so prevalent in part because it is extremely useful as misdirection.The Koch brothers spend millions trying to reshape education, fund a gigantic web of think tanks and organisations to influence politics, and conservatives still say "…but George Soros!"— Fuzzy Sloth Bottom (@CaseyExplosion) March 30, 2018



              • james

                “Indeed. And to help you, here’s a short thread about the cesspool of hate [some] on the right dwell in.”

                yes – its sad that some from either side act and think like that.

                Your link does not make whats happening in the UK labour any worse however.

                • joe90

                  Corbyn didn’t come down in the last shower and AFAIK he’s done nothing in the past that would validate your criticism. He’d know bigotry when he saw it and I reckon he’s unwittingly, and he’s since deleted his fucking account, associated himself with some of the more unsavory elements.

                  But dude, clean up your own shit first and perhaps you’d have a point because for all your huffing and fucking puffing about UK Labour’s alleged antisemitism, I don’t recall you ever calling out your own filth when they run their Soros/cultural Marxist lines.

    • Gabby 9.2

      They’ll be examining Blobby Jobby connected groups with equal rigour, no doubt jimbo.

    • Stuart Munro 9.3

      Given Israel ran a full on intelligence operation against Corbyn, they are the ones who owe the apology. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/israel-lobby-headlines-resignations-calls-probe-170113110120893.html

  10. joe90 10

    But the new ones…..they won’t be spies though, right?

    #Russia's state TV reports that an unnamed high-level White House source quietly told the Russians that the number of Russian diplomats in the U.S. is not being cut (they can send 60 other diplomats to replace the ones being expelled). They quote the source: "The doors are open." pic.twitter.com/1GgaGHUdQD— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) March 29, 2018


    • Anne 10.1

      I’m going to admit that this current impasse between Russia and the so-called Western nations is becoming very confusing. Setting aside the chemical attack in Salisbury for the moment, it seems to me there is an all out power struggle between Putin’s regime and the Western Alliance nations. Add to that the Trump regime which on the one hand wants to be friends with Putin and co. but who also want to dominate them at the same time, and we have a recipe for a cataclysmic event further down the track.

      I’m reminded of a sand pit full of 2 year olds who end up hitting each other with their buckets and spades. Blood and tears all round.

      • Ed 10.1.1

        It is meant to be confusing.
        So were wmd.

        Then we give up and the military industrial complex can continue on its merry way.
        War is money and profit for them.

        Rosa Luxembourg describing WW 1.

        “And the cannon fodder that was loaded upon the trains in August and September is rotting on the battlefields of Belgium and the Vosges, while profits are springing, like weeds, from the fields of the dead.”

        • Anne

          You can’t equate WMD with the current impasse over the nerve gas incident.

          It was another time, in another place and it involved different people. It was a conspiracy theory dreamed up by the Bush and Blair administrations to justify their desire to start a war in Iraq. And I understand it did not have the backing of their respective intelligence agencies. Nor, I’m proud to say, did it have the backing of the NZ government under Clark.

          I can’t see how that incident can be used as a yard stick in which to measure the current situation between Russia and the Western alliance countries.

      • Bill 10.1.2

        Teasing apart one thread…

        …whereas Trump might be quite happy to pursue some level of rapprochement with Russia, the US political establishment is dominated by people who are very much against such a move.

        And with the appointment of Bolton, the hand of the liberal interventionists and neo-cons (who are becoming ever more influential within the Democratic Party) just got that much stronger.

        Does Trump have people around him he could pursue a more sensible approach to Russia with? I don’t think so. Go back to what he has previously said on foreign affairs (there was , surprisingly perhaps, some very sensible stuff there) and contrast it with the positions he’s adopted in office. He’s being taken down step by step.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          pursue some level of rapprochement

          He looks more interested in pursuing their approach to dissent, governance, and democracy.

          • adam

            Silly question, because of your comments today One Anonymous Bloke, do you get that there is a difference between dealing with countries we don’t like in a civil manner, verse’s repeating slogans in a jingoistic fashion?

            Because you fell off the cliff and are well into beating war drums. Because you really lost me today with your lerch towards jingoism.

          • Bill

            Are we really going to back around the block and arrive at the same place as all the last times when your commentary got to the level of bumbling along at the level of derailing smart-arsery and snide?

            I sincerely hope not.

            Please address the points being raised in comments and add to or challenge whatever may be there, or simply don’t respond to comments if you can’t.


            • One Anonymous Bloke

              I am responding to the point you made. If Trump’s focus was merely on rapprochement there’d be some value in it. I also recall his musings on locking up political opponents, becoming “precedent” for life, and “voter fraud”, and I suspect they are closer to his agenda than better relations.

              Seriously, what’s a “sensible” approach to a mafia state, as Bálint Magyar puts it?

              • Bill

                No you weren’t.

                I made no comment on domestic policies at all, and I didn’t so much as suggest any “merely” in relation to the scope of US policies.

                My comment was in relation to Anne’s Add to that the Trump regime which on the one hand wants to be friends with Putin and co. but who also want to dominate them at the same time…

                In other words, my comment was an attempt to provide some explanation for that apparent disconnect, while you (as is your habit) just grabbed the wheel and smashed up any chance of discussion. Again.

                You know how this plays out OAB. Eventually I tire of the disruption and your ban (which is for the same shit every time) doubles. I’d far rather you stopped playing silly buggers and submitted considered and on topic comments. But it’s your call.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  If as you say, Trump is “being taken down step by step” there are lots of potential reasons for that apparent disconnect other than his policies differ from the Liberal establishment. One of those reasons might be that he is utterly beholden to the Kremlin.

                  Why should that be a bad thing? Well, if Russia is a “mafia state”, and Trump wants to emulate it, for example.

                  This is how democracy is supposed to work, no? The four estates in constant conflict with one another? Trump has to makes his edicts legal. The media have to try and expose everyone and everything. The judiciary has to pursue and imprison wrongdoers, even the ones in Congress and the White House. The army has to defend the country.

                  Another possible reason for him to walk back his foreign policy is that he’s now confronted by facts, and the facts don’t fit his previously simplistic reckons.

                  Or look at it from a “Panama/Paradise Papers perspective” – the tensions consequent from the exposure of money launderers in London, their clients around the world, the power relationships involved. The fear of losing all their money to some boy-scout prosecutor.

                  Personally I think this is entirely relevant to Anne’s remarks about “this current impasse”. Not trying to derail your argument, just want to add a few more possibilities for consideration.

    • Ed 10.2

      “It’s called the American Dream,because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
      George Carlin.

      I recommend you watch some of his commentary on the USA.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1

        The problem with Carlin is that he never got his message to stick as he put it all in a comedy show and nobody takes a comedy seriously.

  11. Kay 11

    I did confidently predict this would happen but I’m still pissed.

    The annual April Fools Day joke, aka benefit increases in line with the CPI have gone through. In short, With the core SLP in crease of c.$4 and the extra $5 accommodation supplement I should-theoretically be seeing another much needed $9/week.

    But of course not. Like so many already need TAS (temporary additional support) just to pay the private rental, that $9 is considered extra income and said supplement has been a
    appropriately” reduced. So my total raise to meet the cost of living increases?
    31c/week. Wow- I can get 1 whole unfunded pill with that. Gee, at least I didn’t end up any worse off…

    Justification to be fucking pissed off at this system???

    • Carolyn_Nth 11.1

      Unbelievable! And then there’s tax if it’s considered income!

      This system certainly does need to change.

      • Kay 11.1.1

        Carolyn, the same idea has been going on forever, back in the days when it was Special Benefit ie main benefit went up, SB reduced. So not a new practice for them, but back in the day so many people weren’t paying more than the entire core benefit just on rent and totally reliant on the supplements to pay the bills. While just as unfair then (especially when accommpanied by the annual Govt press releases crowing how kind they were to beneficiaries by increasing the rates), these days every dollar is way more of a big deal than it was even 10 years ago.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      Mine went up 41c.

    • Brigid 11.3

      We’ve been conned.
      What are we going to do though?

    • weka 11.4

      Thanks Kay. I started looking at the numbers the other day after Labour tweeted out about how AS was going up by $35/wk on average. I’d love to know how they came to that number.

      It ties in with the convo the other day. If National were doing this, we would be going hard criticising them. But when lefties criticise Labour for this shit we’re told we two year olds having a tantrum or that we are unrealistic to expect Labour to wave a wand and make everything ok overnight.

      This AS raise was always going to be like this. You getting 31c or Draco getting a 41c rise is the system working as intended, Labour know this. I really wish people would wake the fuck up, because this shit is how people justify leaving too many behind.

      • adam 11.4.1

        Careful weka, the labour party hacks will be after you for not being realistic, or that you’re a dreamer, or that you just don’t understand.

        Or my favourite, just give them a chance to explain, that the 31 cents is an improvement, or that the 41 cents is more than they’d see under a national government.

        • weka

          Lol. I’m going to be very interested to see what the response is. I suspect it’s that all these other people (esp ones with children) have been helped, we can’t help everyone, it’s better than nothing etc.

      • Kay 11.4.2

        Weka, is there any point at all at writing polite nasty letters to MPs, finding some user friendly journals (thinking John Campbell), somehow publicising this? I hate to play the disability card but most the bashers out there find it *ever so slightly* more difficult to at least attack ill and disabled. Ram in the fact that benefits are still being cut and that by starving and/or depriving us of ongoing necessary medical treatment it’s costing the taxpayer a hell of a lot more in public hospital bills. Keep running with that meme, it’s something that might gradually sink in with this crowd, it was never going to with the Natz.

        Or just be realistic and not waste what energy we have?

        • weka

          I think something needs to be done, and lots of different things, so choosing the ones that seem the best use of each of our energies. I don’t write to MPs because I assume they already know. But maybe they don’t. Maybe they’re getting really bad advice from MSD about the situation.

          Looks like Bill is doing a post for tomorrow. I’ll try and do a complementary one for later in the week. If you want to write one I will put it up as a Guest Post (even something short is good, but only if it’s ok for you). I think just keeping the messages out there is really important, as well as explaining things that seem obvious to us. I think most people have no idea how benefits are calculated, nor the real life impacts that you talk about it. Keeping those conversations in the public eye over time is vital.

          Beyond that, we still need an extra-parliamentary movement that continues what Turei and co did last year. I think the media are far more receptive and doing more and better coverage, so that could be built on too.

          The dilemma for me is that I basically think Labour now need to be shamed on this stuff, but there is a fair amount of pushback here on TS for criticising them strongly (ironic given how many lefties objected to the GP giving away some of the Questions in the House). I’m still trying to figure out how to hold Labour to account without buying into RW ‘Labour are incompetent’ narratives. For me it’s not that Labour are incompetent, it’s that their policies are on track with their values and too many NZers support that. That needs to be held up in people’s faces. No way in hell am I going to wait for three years and then start pointing out the problems that exist today.

          • Kay

            The only way to shame politicians/governments is via the media so we need the MSM on our side, and with very few exceptions, they’re not.

            I don’t pretend to have a clue how C&S agreements work, but can’t the Greens do a bit of negotiating along the lines of “we’ll give you the votes for x piece of legislation on the condition that you do y” y= if not full on welfare reform then fixing things like this?

            Not the sort of thing I could write a guest post about weka, it’s actually too political rather than personal if that makes sense. I have to be in the right head space as well so can’t write to order. I’ll stick with the comments sections for this one 🙂

            • weka

              all good 🙂

              I’d have no problem with putting Shame on Labour as the title of a post on the largest left wing blog in NZ 😉 I don’t believe that the MSM are the only influencers in NZ, nor do I think that the MSM is as against reporting well on welfare as it used to be. I’m just not sure that publicly shaming Labour is the best strategy.

              If we want change over time a number of things need to happen and one of them is for mainstream NZers to be informed of how welfare works (and doesn’t work) and for them to be presented with ideas that make them examine their own values. I think that process is well under way because of Turei, but also because of the numbers of stories that have come out in the past few years thanks to National pushing middle class people onto welfare and those people are truly shocked at how bad it is.

              Also, I agree that focusing on disability is useful, because most of the welfare bigots will at least say in public that disabled people deserve support. We need to be careful there about not pushing deserving poor memes, and of course there is still a lot of bigotry targeted at disable people. But 100,000 on medical benefits isn’t a small number and telling those stories will help I think.

            • francesca

              Maybe there needs to be a letter writing campaign to newspapers, politicians, ministers etc.
              If Labour is bowing to NZ first policies, maybe Jacinda needs to be able to show them”look, we’re losing support , there’s a groundswell of people who don’t approve of how we’re dealing with our social justice obligations”
              I’d be certainly in to writing a few letters. Especially if someone laid out what is really happening on the ground and how minimally their circumstances are being improved
              Its such Indian giving
              I was on a domestic purposes benefit some years ago and the only way to survive with 4 young kids was to break the law(under the table…it was bloody uncomfortable)….but thats not possible for those on a benefit because they’re unable to work

              • weka

                What we needed was many more Green MPs in parliament*. That would have changed the balance. As it is, we have the centrists and centre left designing welfare policy. That’s not going to be good.

                *that’s not partisan btw, it’s simply that from a welfare pov the Greens had the better policy. If anyone thinks that is wrong, I’d love to see the argument.

                So between now and the next election I think the problem is Labour itself, although it would be useful to look at NZF. It’s the fact that Labour appear to not be moving on the cultural change at WINZ very well that is the big red flag.

                • Ed

                  I agree.
                  It is a real pity the Greens didn’t get 15% of the vote as it looked they might for a while.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke


                  • mary_a

                    @ Ed … if I remember correctly, the 15% support the Greens were getting at one stage prior to the election, was when Metiria Turei was co leader. She was the Green’s strength at that time. That was until she confessed to her dishonesty with WINZ and holier than thou right wing media cut her down.

                    • Ed

                      Ah the media that will attack anyone – Turei, Corbyn, Hirschfield, Cunliffe, DotCom- who threatens the establishment.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Support (in one poll) spiked immediately after her announcement.

                • The Chairman

                  “What we needed was many more Green MPs in parliament”


                  What’s disappointing is the Greens aren’t doing anything to hold the Government to account on this now. Even though Shaw committed to continuing the cause.

                  Perhaps Shaw thinks National will do it for him?

          • David Mac

            I think most were surprised to see how MT’s stand set the Green’s polling tumbling. Survey results that carried through to the vote.

            I wonder if welfare might have a serious case of ‘Don’t mention the war’ when action plans get laid out on the 9th floor table.

            I think it’s a good idea to target areas that are getting a plain to see raw deal Weka. Like those with major diverse problems that stem from their disability. Getting more on board with regard welfare reforms is about drawing a ‘Geee, that’s pretty crappy treatment!’ out of New Zealand at large.

            • francesca

              “I think most were surprised to see how MT’S stand” etc

              I certainly was, and dismayed
              We lost members who were “disgusted”and defected to Gareth Morgan
              I’m favouring Marama as co leader at the moment, because I really want grass roots understanding of how it is for the struggling in this country.

            • The Chairman

              “I think most were surprised to see how MT’s stand set the Green’s polling tumbling.”

              Their support initially increased after she made her stand.

              • alwyn

                “initially increased”.
                That might be true.
                However her story started collapsing and as more people both heard about what she had been up to and how the real situation wasn’t how she had first described it support crashed.

                • Muttonbird

                  No. Support increased among the people she was trying to support. When this happened the Nats freaked out and sent the attack dogs in.

                  • alwyn

                    “Support increased among the people she was trying to support”.
                    Do you have any evidence at all of that occurring?
                    I would love to know what it is if you have some.

                    I had a great deal of sympathy when I heard her first go at justifying it. As more came out and I found that the child’s father, who she refused to name, and his family had supported her and that she had made no attempt to get paid work but amused herself running for Parliament and that even when she was in a high earning job she never made any offer to repay the money she had gained by fraud my sympathy for her waned dramatically.

                    • Muttonbird

                      What rubbish. You didn’t register for two weeks until the sources of your everyday opinion started their campaign of digging for dirt. They began a rallying call and being a sheep on these things, you answered, ‘baaa’.

                    • alwyn

                      Are you going to answer my question? I asked

                      ““Support increased among the people she was trying to support”.
                      Do you have any evidence at all of that occurring?
                      I would love to know what it is if you have some.”

                      Are you going to put up? Or was it just from your imagination, like the rest of your response?

                • The Chairman

                  “However her story started collapsing and as more people both heard about what she had been up to and how the real situation wasn’t how she had first described it support crashed.”

                  Yes, but that is related to the Greens handling of the situation, hence doesn’t necessarily mean voters oppose beneficiaries being paid more.

      • Bill 11.4.3

        Here’s the link to the page where you can enter in details and get your new or expected Accommodation Supplement payment – well, the new upper limit.

        And way down the bottom

        This calculator doesn’t show the impact on Temporary Additional Support payments. If you get Temporary Additional Support in most cases it will decrease if your Accommodation Supplement payments increase.


        I guess that when my entitlement drops in tomorrow, then between the CPI increase and the “robbing Peter to pay Paul” increase in Accommodation Supplement, I might be able clutch my extra pennies in my fist and run down the dairy to grab a $1 bag of lolly mix….if I’m really, really lucky.

        A post dedicated or limited to people logging their increases could be “illuminating” 😉

        Post scheduled for tomorrow morning 🙂

        • weka

          excellent idea!

          • Bill

            I’m off an’ busy now….building, building, painting, painting and…winter’s coming.

            I don’t suppose you fancy doing a more explanatory post that lends itself to broader commenting, do you?

        • Kay

          Bill, a WHOLE $1??? Don’t be so greedy!
          Looking forward to reading your post 🙂

          • alwyn

            I think we should cancel the whole of his increase.
            Lolly mix! Think of all that dreadful sugar he will be consuming.
            The Health Police will be after him immediately.

          • funstigator

            Are there not ways to become more self supporting financially for those that are obviously computer literate, have hardware and internet connections? Proof reading for example? How about using free software to become CAD confident and selling that service? I know many companies in engineering/construction need people to take material quantities from drawings to estimate costs. How about basic web content editing, or even coding? All of these things are fairly easily self taught/learnt – it would seem a far more productive step towards self sufficiency than complaining about an extra $1 per week and basically accepting the life at whim of a politician’s favour. Surely???

            • Brigid

              As some one who is fairly knowledgeable about architectural draughting and quantity surveying, the answer is

              er no.

      • McFlock 11.4.4

        Giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
        It looks like that TAS recipients are about a third of the number of main benefit recipients, but I’m not sure what the crossover is (although it’s at least some).

        Worst case, 72K beneficiaries saw pretty much no increase in their benefits due to this fuckaround.

        The nats did the same with their much-lauded “benefit increase”, ISTR, and Labour were pissed about it. So I think there might be a post of some sort in the offing here, and deservedly so.

        • weka

          cheers McFlock.

          I would say that most people on a long term benefit for health reasons would find it impossible to live without TAS. If you can’t earn extra money you’re screwed without it.

  12. joe90 12

    Ah, the world view of a well connected money laundering oligarch.

    Peskov said the case reminded him of the situation surrounding Weinstein. “Maybe he’s a scumbag, but nobody went to the police and said ‘Weinstein raped me’. No, they wanted to earn $10m. What do you call a woman who sleeps with a man for $10m? Maybe I’m being crude, but she’s called a prostitute.”


    • adam 12.1

      Gangsters paradise.

      Funny how the english are helping this along.

      One would start to form a world view all these rich gangster pricks are in it together.

  13. joe90 13


    Good news as Yulia Skripal is reported as recovering well. We insist on the right to see her, in accordance with the 1968 Consular Convention. pic.twitter.com/JhJPipqc5k— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) March 30, 2018

    Back in 2013, you didn't let us see Snowden "in accordance with the 1968 Consular Convention." https://t.co/1DwWRi7na1— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) March 31, 2018

    • Ed 13.1

      You appear quite Russophobic Joe.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1.1

        Oh look, a personal remark instead of a response to Joe’s comment.

        • Ed

          Not personal. It wasn’t meant to be.
          Joe seems to post a lot of negative reports about Russia. I am just curious what has prompted hostility to that country.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            not personal.

            Rubbish. It’s a remark on what Joe is, not a response to his comment. Own it.

        • Monty

          Sadly now that Ed is back all the threads have deteriorated into slanging matches.

          Takes my enjoyment out this as it is the same thing over and over.

          It’s just boring.

          OAB just ignore him.

          • Grey Area

            Then again I try to ignore OAB.

          • Grey Area

            If OAB didn’t react to almost everything Ed posts that would be good.

            • Monty

              It would be good if Ed didn’t derail most threads and he also fails to respect anyone else’s opinion unless they support him.

              While he was banned most of the commentators on here had good banter and good discussions. Now it’s feels like it is constant flame wars and tit for tat.

              I feel sorry for the moderators just increase their work load and in the case of Bill and Weka limits the time to they give to posting articles.

              • Anne

                I’ve said it before but I say it again. Ed makes good points sometimes but he doesn’t seem to know when to stop and let others have a go.

                • Monty

                  I agree Anne. He makes some interesting points at times. There have been a few posts lately I was going to comment about some stuff I saw recently at the future of food expo in Shenzhen but they quickly went off track.

      • joe90 13.1.2

        Russia loaded members of my family into cattle wagons and transported them east to forced labour camps. Three survived. They were reunited thirty years later but were never to return home.

        Russians cut off my Ukrainian friend’s nose. He was 14, they said he was a fascist and he never saw his family again.

        My Lithuanian friend and his soon to be wife were among the tens of thousands of Baltic people deported to make way for ethnic Russians during the Russification of their country . They were in their late teens and prior to their arrival in this country, they spent more than a decade in European camps for displaced persons.

        They both died shortly after the Berlin wall came down while preparing to visit family they’d been separated from for nearly fifty years.

        My Hungarian workmate fled his home during the Russian invasion to put a stop to his country’s desire to be free. He died before he could return home.

        So yeah, fuck Putin, his gangster state and apologist pricks.

        • James


          We don’t know how lucky we are to be so removed from horrific lives.

          • One Two

            Speak only and ever for yourself, James…

            Perhaps you have a similar tale to tell, back to J90…if by using ‘we’ you’re signalling that you share similar experiences…

            Perhaps you’re a semite…or have descendants who are…

            • james

              No – I was stating that we (being most New Zealanders) are very lucky that we dont have to exprience things like Joe90’s post in our lives down here.

              • Muttonbird

                Completely ignoring francesca’s comment I see. Is that because Maori experience is of little importance to you?

                • james

                  Since I replied to her three hours ago – Im guessing you arnt good at the internet.

                  • Muttonbird

                    Replying to a comment and understanding one are two different things.

                    You don’t do the latter well at all.

                    For instance, you claim “we don’t have to experience things like Joe90’s post in our lives down here”, when plainly that is not true.

                    • james

                      obv you are here to troll away as opposed to any effort at discussion – so I will just ignore you for the rest of the evening.

                      Have a nice night and I hope you are feeling better tomorrow.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Me trolling? That’s a laugh. You are quoted here replying to francesca’s comment:

                      Or are you only ok with it because it was sooooooo long ago ?

                      Now that is trolling, James.

          • Muttonbird

            Yeah, it’s all barbecues and boxing breakfasts here in NZ, eh. Not a care in the world.

            • james

              if you think its OK to trivialise Joe90s experiences by you comments – then I would suggest you are wrong.

        • francesca

          Joe, horrid stories, we all have em, here’s mine
          Nga Puhi abducted my great great great grandmother when she was 12 from her home in South Taranaki.They ate her relatives on the march home, she carried pieces of their butchered meat on her back, she was a slave and treated appallingly back in the Bay of Islands, but strangely, I don’t feel any hatred towards the descendants of those people today.

          • Stunned Mullet

            Time heals many wounds Francesca you are 5 generations removed from those events whereas Joe’s are a single generation ago.

            Also I don’t believe Aga Puhi still go in for abduction and cannabilism

          • joe90

            When I was a young fella my Ukrainian friend said to me forgive, but never, ever forget.

            Never forget, Putin and his gangster state kleptocrats are the descendants of, and heirs to the murderous Soviet Union.

          • James

            Do you think you would harbour some resentment if it happened to you mother?

            Or are you only ok with it because it was sooooooo long ago ?

  14. tracey 14

    Interesting article about potential pitfalls of politicians going into lucrative private sector jobs post politics.


  15. Adrian Thornton 15

    The Guardian is again today displaying it’s real colours..

    Lead Story…
    “Former Speaker Michael Martin calls for Labour conference on antisemitism”

    While not even in the main stories…
    “Israel rejects UN and EU calls for inquiry into Gaza bloodshed”

    Palestinians-17 Killed, 1,416 wounded: 758 from live fire, 148 from rubber-tipped bullets, 422 from inhaling tear gas and 88 from other causes…..Israelis Dead or wounded-0

    No torrents of outrage from The Guardian, no condemning the massacre of protesters throwing rocks, killed and wounded by snipers for fucks sake.

    Infact no outrage or condemnation from any media.

    • Ed 15.1

      Once the Guardian was a decent paper.
      It has certainly changed in the past 10 years.

      The media’s silence over Gaza is damning.
      Those numbers are horrific.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.2

      So long as they report the facts, as eg: Stuff did two days ago, I’d prefer journalists keep their “outrage” to themselves. Too much cross-over into op-ed, too much license for the likes of Duplicity-Allen.

  16. Ed 16

    Maria Zakharova, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, is more than a match for bumbling Boris.

    Boris made a comparison between the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia and the 1936 Olympic Games in the Third Reich.
    Maria reminded him that Britain attended the Berlin Olympics, while the Soviet Union did not.

    Had Boris had the remotest levels of tact or diplomacy, he would have realised that 25 million Russians died in the fight against Fascism, so comparing Russia to Nazi Germany is the most grievous of insults.

    Maybe they don’t teach them that in the Bullingdon Club.

    Or the fact that Russia’s sacrifice saved Britain.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      “Fight, you bastards”.

      Ruling class vs. ruling class. Why are you picking a side?

  17. joe90 17


    GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who seized power in a 1982 coup and presided over one of the bloodiest periods of Guatemala’s civil war in which soldiers waged a scorched-earth campaign to root out Marxist guerrillas, died Sunday, his lawyers said.

    Lawyer Jaime Hernandez said the family told him the 91-year-old died of a heart attack. Another of his attorneys, Luis Rosales, said he “died in peace, surrounded by his family.”

    Echoing Rios Montt’s longstanding, angry denials, Rosales said, “Here (in Guatemala) there was no genocide.”

    Hector Reyes, a lawyer who represented the families of some of the victims of government massacres, disputed that. Rios Montt “didn’t die innocent,” Reyes said. “He had been convicted, even though his sentence was overturned.

    “His house was his prison,” the lawyer added, referring to the house arrest Rios Montt had long been under.

    A U.N. truth commission determined that some 245,000 people were killed or disappeared during Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war, with the vast majority of the killings attributed to the army or pro-government paramilitary groups. Tens of thousands of those deaths came during Rios Montt’s 17-month rule.

    Rios Montt was convicted in 2013 of genocide and crimes against humanity for the massacre of 1,771 indigenous Ixil Mayans by security forces under his command.

    But the ruling was swiftly set aside and a new trial ordered, dismaying human rights activists and victims who long sought to see him punished for atrocities.

    In October, his trial on genocide charges resumed behind closed doors after being suspended for more than a year while his lawyers argued that he was too senile to participate, with no memory and unable to make decisions


  18. Good morning Newshub David The Common wealth games is a excerlint sports event being held in a beautiful country Australia It is one of the safes country’s in the World to live an on the Gold Coast hopefully they have good weather for the Games . This is a games were the smaller countrys sports stars can shine bright and they have seen the BIG picture and are promoting equal rights for ALL OUR Ladies Ka pai e hoa.

    Did you know that my tipuna were the first to export agriculture products to Australia
    the had 4 schooners and they traded goods in Auckland grown in the Waiapu valley we grew Kumara there when I was young they were huge . Agriculture and innovation with new tec is going to lift Ngati Porou Mana I Know were my PA is going to be built.

    I’m quite sure that the media will give OUR new LEADER who is hapu knowing that she had to step up to the task of leader of te Labour Party two months before our election a lot of respect they will if they have a consience . Kia kaha ka kite ano

    • eco maori 18.1

      Newshub condolences to our South African cousin for the loss of Winnie Mandela .

      These organizations that run our state or councils services need to come up with abetter innovative way to save money than attacking the % of money they pay there employees who provide these services that model is what has caused inequality in Aotearoa New Zealand. look At Toyota New Zealand centralizing there new car storage and using the internet for custom ordered new vehicles that’s innovation. I like Toyota cars they are reliable cheap to run and the easiest make to self service Ka Pai .
      Kia Kaha to all Aotearoa’s Sports Stars .

      Yes David I think the Big tec Company’s have a moral obligation to there users and the Country’s they draw there income from to pay some tax back to help lift the peoples standard of living the. TV company’s need to go with the flow of the tide of social media and use it to build there business model Ka kite ano

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