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Open Mike 02/02/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 2nd, 2017 - 131 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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131 comments on “Open Mike 02/02/2017 ”

  1. Andre 1

    Russian military threat keeps Baltic states reliant on Russian dirty energy.


    • garibaldi 1.1

      So let’s get this straight Andre. Is Russia not allowed to respond to the massive military build up right on its borders ? Should they just shrug their shoulders and believe that the Americans(Nato) are nice friendly people just giving their boys some kind of a picnic on their border? Would the Americans let the Russians amass forces on, say, the Canadian border?
      Is anyone in this World allowed to disagree with USA hegemony, and have a different world view?
      You come across as America – Great, and Russia- Bad , full stop. It’s not that simple, even if you are an American.

      • marty mars 1.1.1

        garibaldi – at least half the article is about the states dirty extractive energy decline – be good if they all just gave it up and worked towards the future – whether that be cleanish energy, reduced need for energy and/or renewable energy.

        But I spose while kneejerks continue on the macro and micro scale we are left with the spoil.

      • Andre 1.1.2

        Did you read the linked article garibaldi?

        It actually explains a few of the reasons nations in the Baltic region are nervous about Russia and might want visible shows of friendship from their allies.

        • mauī

          The article talks about Russia parading warships close to the Swedish coast.

          Looking at the linked article referencing that, Russia moved two warships to its Kaliningrad base and they have to pass through Swedish waters to get there.

          This kind of propoganda isnt great for international relations either.

          • Psycho Milt

            The article refers to Russian warships deliberately preventing power supply from Sweden to the Baltic republics, so they have to remain dependent on Russia for electricity. You don’t think the governments involved might have some concerns about that?

      • Psycho Milt 1.1.3

        …massive military build up… [citation needed]

        …right on its borders… [citation needed]

        • Paul

          At the time of Gorbachev the US promised NATO would not move East .
          You appear to be a cold war armchair warrior.

          • greywarshark

            That thing about the border agreement doesn’t get mentioned much but could be pivotal in Russian thinking today leading to aggressive defensive moves.

            And I would really like to know if you will be in the first reading group looking over E F Schumacher, it would be good for us to have you along. We give it a month and then a really good discussion.

          • Psycho Milt

            The first citation involves some people claiming a “massive military build-up,” which says nothing more than that people other than Garibaldi are also making the claim. The second one includes the actual number, 4,000, which is equivalent to one brigade. That’s a “massive” military buildup to the same extent that a sandfly is a “massive” animal. The only purpose a military force that small can serve in those countries is to ensure that any Russian attack would involve firing on American troops, so the fact the Russian government is angry about it is quite revealing.

            The second citation points out that these troops are being deployed in Poland and the Baltic republics. Those countries certainly border Russia (and two of them border “Russia” only in the sense that they border Kaliningrad, which Russia has no business occupying in the first place), but if we’re applying that criterion, every single one of Russia’s neighbours has military “right on Russia’s borders.” There is no military build-up “right on Russia’s borders” under any useful meaning of the phrase.

            • Adrian Thornton

              Come on, you are cherry picking, America has at least 40,000 troops in Germany alone, you know the same Germany that invaded Russia, and raped burned, tortured and pillaged their way to something like 20 million Russian/Slavic casualties not all that long ago.

              So I am not defending Putin, but I can fully understand Russia being just a little bit sensitive when it comes to it’s boarders…especially when an extra 4,000 troops from the world biggest and most aggressive super power arrive on your doorstep, don’t you think?

              • Sure. But can you fully understand the governments whose countries have been invaded and occupied multiple times by Russia being just a bit sensitive when Russia is ruled by a nationalist authoritarian dictator who acts aggressively against his neighbours?

                • Morrissey

                  a nationalist authoritarian dictator who acts aggressively against his neighbours?

                  You’ve described the president of the United States perfectly. But your misapplication of those epithets to Putin is simply nonsense.

                  • Wayne

                    Are you not aware of the Ukraine and Georgia? These were actual invasions this century. So it is not surprising the Baltic states need some reassurance.

                    • Bill

                      Ukraine? Where fascists (not your ‘garden variety’ or idiot on the street type of fascist) were floated into government on a raft of western interference in the internal affairs of the country? That Ukraine?

                    • Morrissey

                      These were actual invasions this century.

                      They were indeed, Wayne, and they were certainly wrong. But compared to the invasions this century of Iraq and Afghanistan, they’re not in the same ballpark.

                      What reassurance do you think the United States’ neighbours need?

                • Adrian Thornton

                  Yes I can, but what has that got to do with the USA?
                  However we all know what happened in Cuba right? that’s what happens when the US felt threatened, but they can’t seem be able to put that shoe on the other foot.

                  • Yes I can, but what has that got to do with the USA?

                    Seriously? Lithuania has a smaller population than New Zealand. Estonia and Latvia between them have a similar population to New Zealand, but a proportion of those are Russian colonists. If you were responsible for the defence of any of those countries, wouldn’t your first priority be an alliance with someone who has a military as powerful as Russia’s?

                    However we all know what happened in Cuba right? that’s what happens when the US felt threatened, but they can’t seem be able to put that shoe on the other foot.

                    There’s a lot more reason to feel threatened by nuclear missiles than by a combat brigade. I expect that if there was an actual equivalent, ie if NATO was installing nuclear missiles in Poland, there’d be a “Polish missile crisis” and we’d all be wondering if we’d wake up to a nuclear war – which is why there’s 0 chance of NATO installing nuclear missiles in Poland.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      No seriously American has significant nuclear weapons in Europe…
                      “180 of the tactical versions of the B61s remain at six
                      bases in Europe – in Belgium, Italy, Germany,
                      the Netherlands, and Turkey – as symbols of
                      US nuclear commitments to NATO. All the bases,
                      except the one in Turkey, have US or Allied
                      fighter jets equipped to deliver the bombs;”

                      Maybe my first priority would be making an alliance or at least try fora stable diplomatic relationship, with the countries on my boarder, but while the US is in there, the natural scales are never allowed to balance.

                    • These countries have excellent diplomatic relationships with the countries on their borders – except with the one that’s invaded and occupied them multiple times, never accepted that it was wrong to do so, and publicly regards them as belonging to a putative “sphere of influence” it feels it has a right to.

                      But you’re right in that the best thing the governments of these countries could do is achieve stable diplomatic relationships with the Russian Federation. I could envisage that being a possibility if the Russian Federation were to apologise for previous invasions, publicly reject any claim to an interest in the governance of these countries, cease its military activity against its neighbour Ukraine and generally demonstrate a willingness to cooperate (or at least to not actively obstruct, as described in the article linked above).

                      Problem is: first, those things aren’t going to happen, and second, even if they did the relevant governments would take decades to be convinced it wasn’t just a sham to get them to drop their defences. So, status quo it is then, for the foreseeable future.

                    • garibaldi

                      4.00pm and I’m back from work and I just want to say thanks to Paul, Morrissey and Adrian Thornton for their efforts here in this thread.

                  • Wayne


                    Iraq, yes illegal. Afghanistan was a UNSC approved operation for reasons you know well. So Afghanistan is actually a legal invasion.

                    Neither Georgia or Ukraine were UN authorized.

                    The Baltics have been previously invaded by Russia (USSR). That is why they wanted to be in NATO, to guarantee it would not happen again. The deployments are part of the guarantee.

                    In any event this is all a pointless debate. Pointing to Iraq or central America is all a bit irrelevant if you are a Baltic nation. Russia actions are what matters to them.

                    The Baltics are in NATO. That won’t change. NATO provides guarantees to all it members. Trump can’t change that. Congress wont let him.

                    So despite this debate, these deployments will happen, until and unless Russia stops complaining about them. If Russia didn’t complain the Baltics would be less nervous.

                    • Morrissey

                      Iraq, yes illegal.

                      It was, and is, the worst case of aggression since the destruction of Indo-China.

                      Afghanistan was a UNSC approved operation for reasons you know well. So Afghanistan is actually a legal invasion.

                      Your relaxed view of that horror contrasts starkly with the view of thoughtful Afghanis…

                      Neither Georgia or Ukraine were UN authorized.

                      Neither was the U.S./U.K. aggression against Iraq. In fact, it was the refusal of the United Nations Director General Kofi Annan to back the aggression that so incensed this racist broadcaster….

                      Pointing to Iraq or central America is all a bit irrelevant if you are a Baltic nation.

                      You are not a Baltic nation. I wanted to know why you were singling out Russian intervention in Georgia and Ukraine, and ignoring the far bloodier, far more destructive, and utterly unwarranted invasions of Afhanistan and Iraq.

            • lprent

              Exactly. The countries near to Russia got worried about the semi-covert invasions of their territory similar to those that Russia did with the Ukraine in both Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The obvious buildup in Kalingrad is worrying.

              Russia that has been getting increasingly aggressive apparently for the purposes of stifling internal dissent triggered by the faltering Russian economy. All of the states near them are increasing their defensive posture. Part of that has been to request and receive token numbers of ‘tripwire’ troops from Nato.

              Both help to constrain the Russian government from executing adventurism in neighboring states. If that makes Russia uncomfortable, then that is the direct consequence of their previous actions.

              If their idiotic apologists here dislike that, then I really couldn’t give a damn. Russia has shown in the past that this is about the only language that they understand when their internal issues spill over the borders.

              • Morrissey

                Both help to constrain the Russian government from executing adventurism in neighboring states.

                Russian adventurism in neighboring states is minor compared to what the United States has done and is doing in Central and South America. I see no concern by you about constraining the U.S.

                If their idiotic apologists here…

                So pointing out inaccurate and/or maliciously false claims against a party makes one an apologist, does it? I have sometimes had to point out to people that the United States did NOT have anything to do with the 9/11 attacks*; does that make me an apologist for the United States?

                * Well, it did of course have something to do with the 9/11 attacks in 1973, which killed more people.

                • Russian adventurism in neighboring states is minor compared to what the United States has done and is doing in Central and South America.

                  More false equivalence. First, the actual invasion, occupation and colonisation of Russia’s neighbouring states isn’t “minor” compared to US activities in Central and South America. Second, what’s your opinion of US involvement in Central and South America? Is it something you’d defend as vigorously as you defend Russia’s invasions of its neighbours? No, it isn’t, because the US’ activities in Central and South America have been unbelievably shitty. It would be nice if those countries had some means of defending themselves against their local great power, wouldn’t it? If they did, would you be on here berating them for “threatening” the USA?

                  • Morrissey

                    Fool, I didn’t say they were equivalent. When it comes to aggression and body counts, Russia is Switzerland or Liechtenstein compared to the United States.

                    • I guess you’re right – “false equivalence” is overly generous. It fails to capture the requisite level of wrongness and bombast. Unfortunately though, I don’t believe the the necessary linguistic tools to properly describe Morrissey levels of logical fallacy have yet been invented, so “false equivalence” will have to cover the territory in the meantime.

                • lprent

                  Looks like I slipped and posted that comment early. However…

                  The stupid adventurism of the US up to last century pretty much caused the hostile reactions by their neighbors. It also caused the formation of regional coalitions to limit it, and the slow deterioration of the Monroe doctrine. As it stands at present, the US has apparently been pretty good recently in central and south America in recent decades. Venezuela you could argue about, but it appears to have been largely the incompetent government internally that has done the damage there.

                  But basically you are being a complete and utter fool if you equate a powers making bad as excusing another to also act like an arsehole. It speaks of a certain level of moral and intellectual stupidity that I associate with unthinking apologists for one cause or another.

                  Personally I’d prefer if we left that kind of idiotic thinking back in the 19th century where it belongs.

                  Governments of small states (like NZ or Lithuania or Poland or Mexico or Saddam’s Iraq) should be able to make their own stupid decisions without having dickhead nations treating it as an excuse for adventurism. The exception is always when the disintegration of the government of the state causes overflow at the borders (the failed state issue), or where they start intruding or threatening other states (eg North Korea).

                  • Morrissey

                    As it stands at present, the US has apparently been pretty good recently in central and south America in recent decades.

                    That is simply not true. Unless of course the expression “pretty good” means something entirely different to what it used to mean. The United States is still involved in funding and training death squads in Honduras, to mention just one of the places where the United States has, in recent decades, been involved in the overthrow of a democratically elected government…


                    Venezuela you could argue about, but it appears to have been largely the incompetent government internally that has done the damage there.

                    Certainly the Chávez and now Maduro government has been extremely incompetent, but it is its fiercely independent stance that angers the United States. Forty years ago, of course, the United States could deal with these troublesome democratic governments by backing a military coup, as it did to the democratically elected government of Chile in 1973. There was a coup against Chávez, of course, in 2002, but massive popular resistance restored him to office—in fact, it’s a model of what the beleaguered population of the United States should be doing right now as its democracy is under massive attack from within the very centre of power. It certainly beats repeating those DNC fantasies about Russian hacking.

                    But basically you are being a complete and utter fool if you equate a powers making bad as excusing another to also act like an arsehole.

                    Certainly that would be true if that’s what I had done, but it’s not. I don’t support Russia, any more than I support Australia, or Sweden, or anyone else. But are you seriously trying to suggest that Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Georgia have caused anything like the death and destruction that the U.S. and its vassal states have wrought in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Syria?

                    …. where they start intruding or threatening other states (eg North Korea).

                    And the United States, and South Korea, and Israel.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    or where they start intruding or threatening other states (eg North Korea).

                    Can’t say that I consider the DPRK as a threat to anyone*. The US on the other hand, well, history tells us that they are a threat and a major one to pretty much any nation that displeases them.

                    * This isn’t to say that they haven’t threatened anyone – they have. I just don’t think those threats are credible.

            • lprent

              Exactly. The countries near to Russia got worried about the semi-covert invasions of their territory similar to those that Russia did with the Ukraine in both Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The obvious buildup in Kalingrad is worrying.

              Russia that has been getting increasingly aggressive apparently for the purposes of stifling internal dissent triggered by the faltering Russian economy. All of the states near them are increasing their defensive posture. Part of that has been to request and receive token numbers of ‘tripwire’ troops from Nato.

              Both help to constrain the Russian government from executing adventurism in neighboring states. If that makes Russia uncomfortable, then that is the direct consequence of their previous actions.

              If Russia’s apologists dislike that, then I really couldn’t give a damn. They deserve my contempt for their moral turpitude. I am only really concerned with their neighboring states and their ability towards self-determination without having an arsehole state next to them meddling in their internal affairs. The great power twaddle about “spheres of influence” and other such imperial stupidity belongs to be back in World War 1 when it demonstrated why it should be as dead as the soldiers and civilians it killed.

              If Russia’s neighbors feel insecure, then they should be able to call on the international community for whatever assistance they need to feel secure with Russia rattling its sabers against them again. A brigade level tripwire for states is a minimal response to that call.

              I’d point out that I feel exactly the same about the US, UK, French, China, Germany, or even tiddlers like Aussie.

              Edit: Opps – I must have banged that off already… Oh well.

              • Draco T Bastard

                If Russia’s neighbors feel insecure, then they should be able to call on the international community for whatever assistance they need to feel secure with Russia rattling its sabers against them again.

                But it’s a case of if they should call upon the UN or upon NATO.

                Of course, the UN has been set up so that it can’t act against the actions of the big players with the UNSC veto that they hold.

                • lprent

                  Which is why they asked NATO.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    True but NATO’s is not the people that they should be asking as it comes with massive US political agenda.

                    To put it another way: The UN needs to be reformed so that it can act against the US, Russia, China and all the other UNSC veto holders. Preferably by getting rid of their veto.

                    • adam

                      You know that what Peter Fraser said would eventually undermine the UN.

                    • McFlock


                      ok, so until the five permanent members all relinquish their vetos out of the kindness of their hearts, NATO is the go-to organisation for smaller European states looking for some external security support.

                    • lprent

                      Yeah. But the hassle with the UN isn’t just the security council. The principle of giving seats based solely on nation states sucks as well. It seems designed to provide lowest common denominator (ie the bribery level) decision making.

                      I’d say that the UN is a failed experiment, except that all of the extant alternatives are even worse.

                    • RedLogix

                      Not so much a failed experiment. It’s long been fashionable to write off the UN, but it is a large and complex organisation that has achieved a lot over the years. Arguably the world would be a lot worse off without it, despite the obvious shortcomings and failures.

                      The modern democratic nation-state was centuries in the making; equally it is reasonable to suppose the next logical step of federal global governance might take more than one attempt to get right. History will judge the League of Nations, and the UN as essential pre-cursors to the emergence of an authentic, democratically accountable global body.

                      All of the really big problems humanity faces are global in nature; from climate change onwards. I’ve always argued that ultimately they will only be solved by an entity with the authority and capacity to solve them on a global scale.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      so until the five permanent members all relinquish their vetos out of the kindness of their hearts,

                      Well, it should be put to the General Forum where every country gets to have a say on it. I don’t think there would be a majority of other states that allow them to keep it.

                      Of course, those states will probably simply leave the UN at that point in which case it would be up to the Rest of the World to show that they can go on without them. And that would include putting in place valid sanctions against them.

      • Paul 1.1.4

        Andre still believes what America tells him…

      • Morrissey 1.1.5

        Imagine the response if thousands of Russian troops conducted live fire “exercises” in Canada and Mexico.

        • Psycho Milt

          Let’s go with your counter-factual. For the analogy to work, we’re going to have to imagine that the USA has invaded and occupied Canada and Mexico several times within living memory, that they have since requested Russian protection because they don’t want a further repeat of the exercise, and that this Russian protection consists only of a few thousand troops who can serve no military purpose beyond ensuring that the USA can’t attack Canada and Mexico again without firing on Russian soldiers. I imagine the US government’s response would be exactly the kind of bluster we’re seeing from Putin.

          • Morrissey

            we’re going to have to imagine that the USA has invaded and occupied Canada

            They haven’t invaded Canada, although Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt both spoke of invading Canada at the time they were “liberating” Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Haiti, and the Philippines.

            and Mexico

            California? Texas? Arizona? New Mexico? Nevada? Utah? Colorado?

            • Psycho Milt

              I guess the phrase “within living memory” made the sentence longer than you can read.

              • Morrissey

                You’re quite right that the annexation of much of Mexico did not occur “within living memory”. The rhetorical and physical aggression against Mexicans by successive U.S. administrations, however, shows that the war against Mexico has continued through different means. And you’re correct to point out that Canada has not been attacked and occupied by the United States.

                But the people of the Dominican Republic, which the U.S. attacked in 1965, or Grenada (attacked in 1983) or Haiti, or Panama, or Chile, or Nicaragua, or Venezuela, or Brazil, or Honduras, or Ecuador, or Guatemala, or Bolivia, or Colombia, or Costa Rica certainly do have a living memory of being invaded, occupied, threatened, blockaded, tortured, humiliated and insulted by the United States.

                Until Hopey-Changey did one of the few positive things in his eight wasted years and normalised relations, Cuba had been the subject of a relentless propaganda and outright terror campaign by the United States.

                The terror, economic sabotage and vile propaganda continues against Venezuela.

                The United States has been, and is, a relentless and malignant aggressor against its neighbours. Russia, for all its crimes, is not in the same league.

                • Blah blah blah. Meanwhile, back here outside of the People’s Republic of False Equivalence, Poland and the Baltic republics have been actually invaded and occupied by Russia multiple times within living memory and their governments are justifiably suspicious of Putin. Your opinions on the relative merits of the Russian Federation vs the USA matter jack shit to them.

                  • Morrissey

                    Your flippant, disrespectful and foolish answer does you no credit.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    How exactly is what Morrissey is saying the “People’s Republic of False Equivalence”?
                    Of course most post war invasions quite often look a lot different from those pre 1930’s, but the results and intentions are the same politically.

                    The US invasion of Panama 1989 would be a good example of that..

                    So as I have mentioned before I am not defending Putin, but neither could one deny the US has been the major player in conducting regime change, in one way or another on the world stage post ’45.

                    • How exactly is what Morrissey is saying the “People’s Republic of False Equivalence”?

                      Because it’s his standard MO. In this particular instance: Russia’s practice of invading, annexing and colonising neighbour states (or parts of them) has continued unbroken from the times when that kind of thing was typical, right up to the collapse of the USSR, and now looks like it’s starting again under Putin. The USA attacking some states it wasn’t happy with in Latin America is not in the same league, and in any case is completely irrelevant to the topic of the post.

                      …I am not defending Putin, but neither could one deny the US has been the major player in conducting regime change, in one way or another on the world stage post ’45.

                      Well, one can deny it, and I do, because “regime change” in other countries was a major focus of the USSR for the entire period of its existence, not just post-war. In any case, what the USA does is of a lot less interest to the governments of Russia’s western neighbours than what Russia does – given the content of comment 1, all the subsequent blather about what the US government gets up to is tiresome what-aboutery.

                  • Peter Swift

                    “Meanwhile, back here outside of the People’s Republic of False Equivalence”

                    It’s funny because it’s true but a little sad at the same time.

        • Stunned Mullet

          I expect the response would be quite severe as such an action would quite possibly have involved an act of war by Russia.

    • Andre 1.2

      Reading these responses, it seems some people need to go take a look at a map. Apart from Kaliningrad (that Russia continues to hold Kaliningrad and has stationed big nasty missiles there is a provocation in itself, like Gibraltar or Ceuta and Melilla), to get from Poland to Russia requires going through quite a lot of either Ukraine or Belarus.

      So in fact as far as I can tell, American troops are a lot closer to Russia just across the Bering Strait from Alaska than they are in Poland.

  2. AsleepWhileWalking 2


    This ^ is what happens when unelected bureaucrats are allowed to take over.

    • greywarshark 2.1

      Asleep While Walking
      EU aren’t going to allow Brits off as Greece wasn’t allowed to do what was best for it. All divorces have high costs these days.

      When I was writing about having a reading circle AWW you liked the idea. Will you come in to the first group looking at E F Schumacher Small is Beautiful over a month with big discussion on it at end? You would contribute lots and it would be great to have you in if poss. Could you let me know as I am looking at best way to get the most out of the exercise. Thanks.

  3. Paul 3

    Peter Thiel supports Muslim ban of Trump’s.
    We should remember that he is part of a religion himself – the cult of Ayn Rand and Hayek. Their neoliberal cult of the individual has done a lot more damage to the world in the past 40 years than Islam has.
    Shall we ban followers of the neoliberal religion?

  4. bwaghorn 4

    nats can’t even keep city police stations manned. Hopeless

  5. Adrian 5

    If resistance is rising and Revolution is in the air is it too much to expect some decent fucking music at last!.

  6. Some good water protection networks out there – the fight to save us all is continuing – check out ‘bung the bore’ on fbook for instance.

    And for those who have visited Golden Bay/Mohua and may have met the beautiful waters of Waikoropupu Springs – this is concerning isn’t it?


    • Jenny Kirk 6.1

      This is just appalling. Is there no end to this greedy need for irrigation ? Surely someone in the Takaka authorities can see the incredible threat irrigation would bring to the Springs?

  7. Adrian Thornton 7

    Labour drops the ball, no wait Labour never picked up the ball on protecting the renter class from being gouged by landlords.
    Labour also have no policies that I know of to enable the renter class to have any type of long term security in a tenancy.
    No plan for protecting the wave of people coming into retirement age renting.
    So while Labour push their $500-600,000 affordable houses, they have no provisions to protect working people and families who obviously can’t afford their ‘affordable’ houses and are consigned to a bleak life rent from Ma & Pa investors, and speculators, who will both sell their investments at the drop of a hat, with no thought to the uprooting of the lives that live in their investments.
    As I have said previously, if I have missed something in Labours manifesto, please inform me, other wise we have to jus call it for what it is, class war.
    Luckily they have got the centre well covered though.

    • Muttonbird 7.1

      No, you are right, Labour are quiet on this. Their slogan is ‘Backing the Kiwi Dream’, but nowhere is there concern for those who missed the boat when National cast off the moorings.

      Greens are much more vocal. Clutching at straws here but maybe the Greens are given that area under the MOU?

      • Carolyn_nth 7.1.1

        To me “Backing the Kiwi Dream” of home ownership is part of the problem.

        So much emphasis on home ownership puts more pressure on people to buy – and some will pay over the odds to nail this over-rated dream. This plays into the hands of the speculators, property investors and banksters.

        Better to back secure, safe, affordable homes for all whether it be via renting or property ownership.

      • Adrian Thornton 7.1.2

        Yes to say I am disappointed in Labour, with the information I have on their policies thus far would be a understatement.
        To have a labour Party completely ignore the working class housing security is a sham.
        To have a Labour Party that is tacit at best on importing Labour from third world countries, there by artificially keeping working class wage growth down, while at the same time the unprotected renter is being forced to pay more and more in rent to the greedy and unhinged landlord class is almost beyond belief.

        What sort of Labour is Labour 2017?
        Who are they fighting for?, because it sure as hell doesn’t look like they are fighting for and protecting he working classes with any conviction.

        “Backing the Kiwi Dream”, yes they are, but only for certain classes.

    • Carolyn_nth 7.2

      I’m an aging renter from choice. Rented all my adult life. I’d always assumed there’s be affordable rentals available, and that there always would be properties available for long term rent.

      This is the worst situation I’ve ever seen for renters in my lifetime. It has escalated to unacceptable levels since 2008.

      Still, I’m not one of the worst off….. yet at least. I have a reasonable income at the moment, and a further year’s tenancy in this place.

      But I have seen what else is out there for rent. And I know how much of a desperate struggle it must be for those on low incomes.

      The future situation is insecure for all renters now.

      This issue will be a biggie for me in this year’s election.

    • Jenny Kirk 7.3

      Yes – Adrian Thornton, you HAVE missed something. And Muttonbird too.

      Labour has a massively comprehensive housing plan – it includes building thousands of state houses for rental, getting hundreds of young people into building apprentices – thereby giving them a good starting place at work, cracking down on speculators, limiting the numbers of immigrants to what can be sustained, fund additional emergency housing, and stopping the current Govt’s state housing sell-off.
      And of course, making it easier by getting more affordable housing built.

      This plan has been out in the open for months – and is on the Labour website.
      So I don’t know how you’ve all missed knowing something about it.

      It’s also on Labour’s Facebook page, if you’re into FB.

      • Carolyn_nth 7.3.1

        Yes, Jenny. There are those policies.

        Adrian and I commented on the Labour Housing policy yesterday here.

        You can see that yesterday I looked at Labour’s Housing policy online. There is nothing there explicitly to support private renters re- security of tenure, rent caps, etc.

      • Adrian Thornton 7.3.2

        I know that manifesto pretty well I have read through a number of times.
        Have to say their I also think the ‘cracking down on speculators’ is pretty soft core.

        I say again, where are the protections and security policies for renters? keeping in mind that this private/public affordable housing scheme is geared toward middle and upper middle class couples and not working class workers.

        Are you suggesting that Labour’s long term plan is to house the working class renters and incoming renting retirees in long term state housing?,

      • Siobhan 7.3.3

        “Little also said his party would build at least 1000 new state houses each year until there were enough to meet demand”…that’s great, but say Labour are in power 3 years, that’s 3000 state houses, its not going to cover all those in real immediate need, let alone those people who are simply trying to survive a lifetime on short term rentals and constant rent hikes, who do not have a hope of ever, ever, getting anywhere near a housing NZ waiting list.

        These policies are, maybe, addressing the immediate crisis of homeless people, and middle class kids who can’t afford a house. But they DO NOT deal with the new reality of an ever increasing number of folk who need to be allowed some security during a life time of renting.

        And there is no hint at how Labour will deal with large numbers of renters living on the pension. No one seems to want to have that conversation.

  8. Morrissey 8

    Bill English, who deals daily with the ACT cult, and was one of the many recipients of secret Brethren cash, condemns “ideological” and “doctrinaire” Greens
    RNZ National, Thursday 2 Febrary 2017

    About 8:15 this morning I heard that little tick Bill “Douple Dipton” English engaging in a bit of low-level propaganda warfare. He was dumping on the Greens….

    “We found them eventually just too ideological, too doctrinaire.”


    He said that with not the slightest tremor in his voice, nor the slightest sign that he possessed any sense of irony or absurdity. He sounded just like John Key.

  9. Carolyn_nth 9

    Dept of Corrections has been banned from this month’s Auckland Pride Parade.

    I recall that Judith Collins marched with them last year. So no platform this time for Louise Upston.

    Maybe Judith (such a great LGBTI supporter!!??) will be able to hitch a ride this time with an ethnic community float, or one focused on energy & resources?

  10. saveNZ 10

    Two girls die in suspected suicides a 9 and a 10 year old – this a a real tragedy – that kids so young take their own lives should be a wake up call.

    I don’t know why these kids did what they did, but I do think National’s policy of National Standards needs to be abolished. It puts a huge amount of stress of children from 5 years of age upward and they are told they are no achieving a set of standards that are stupid and arbitrary. There is also too much emphasis on safety in schools, this leads to kids thinking that the world is a dangerous place and developing anxiety. Parents are now forced into long hours of work and being home for your kids at 3pm is a luxury as well as the worry of losing your job/ income. There is huge pressure on parents in NZ and there is huge stress on kids in NZ.

    I went on a horrendous school trip last year and there were something like 8 messages of safety at least one per hour and the trip was not dangerous at all and was as boring as hell. It seemed more about keeping the kids contained than the actually the kids learning something and enjoying themselves. The kids were fidgeting and poking each other in frustration. I feel sorry for today’s kids and it was not the school or the teachers fault in my view but more policy from the ministry of education that they were following. Paperwork and testing has replaced teaching and learning. Teachers do a fantastic job. They should be respected and allowed to do a good job.

    Kids need to play and room to grow mentally and physically. These days there are no school pools anymore and fun places for them. They should not be told they are not good enough by their school reports and be contained and restrained in everything they do for ‘safety’.

    Who knows what else was going on in these poor kids lives to lead them to want to end it.

    My condolences to the family and friends of the two little lives lost.


    • saveNZ 10.1

      I was also talking to another parent, their kids went on a pre school trip to the local estuary – they had to fill out a 28? page report on the site prior to going and the teachers put barricades around some trees because they were prickly. WTF?

      • NewsFlash 10.1.1

        Welcome to the nanny state, Bob Jones did a story in the herald a couple of years ago about how NZ has become the biggest nanny state any where, a slag at JK and National, I don’t support Jones, but what he said is correct.

        Protecting people form inherent danger is mandatory, but you have to draw the line somewhere, when govts regulate how people behave in the belief that it some how protects them is incorrect, molly coddling leads to a lack of “personal responsibility”, which in turn results in greater danger for all.

        Thousands of years ago, when humans made stupid mistakes which resulted in injury or death, this generally served as a lesson for all, and if death occurred, it meant that this lack of perceived danger could not be passed on to next generation.

        Nanny states lead to reduced responsibility by some individuals, having a negative outcome, rather than a positive one.

        Children should be allowed to play, but supervision in imperative, allowing children to be pricked by a gorse bush, for example, is a lesson about how to avoid a recurrence, one which makes them wiser.

        • greywarshark

          Example of dogma Number 1 of 1000. Repeat 100 times while sitting on the toilet thus reducing the brain’s ‘downtime’ in an efficient manner.

          Nanny states lead to reduced responsibility by some individuals, having a negative outcome, rather than a positive one.

  11. Ed 11

    I came across this url, and it reminded me that in these difficult times for journalism, there is little follow up on stories. Naturally this trend is encouraged by the government – they know that all they have to do is defer action for a short while and the issue will be forgotten

    What’s the betting nothing will be done before the next election?

    In like vein a radio report yesterday said that one of the issues affecting housing construction was a shortage of developer finance. Remember when National promised to do something about finance company legislation to restore the ability of investors to trust they will not lose all their money, and provide an alternative to the banks for developers? Well if you didn’t I suspect you are not alone – and of course it is very hard to find any references . . .

    Another article I remember is one about some foreign workers employed by a foreign contractor just before Christmas – I think they were doing welding work on a project – their “employer” required them to live where directed, and charged them for food and accommodation – leaving them with pay much lower than the minimum wage. After discovering that this was all legal as it was an overseas contractor with overseas workers, it all got dropped. Can anyone find the reference?

    All that makes me wonder if there is a site somewhere that indexes articles that need to be followed up – perhaps it would be enough to keep a list of posts to The Standard that should probably be looked at again in a certain number of months – and a “reminder” posted if appropriate at that time – and perhaps the list of “banked” issues posted once a month for review.

    Lest we forget . . .

    • greywarshark 11.1

      Absolutely necessary as you say, to keep note of these stories. Facts, reference to past disasters, unbelievable but true, to learn from – absolutely. And not just the links either, though that is better than nothing, they need to be fully copied and (my belief) transferred to paper if possible. Everyone in theory, should have a large drawer for this sort of stuff. Lest we forget.

      Trivia it may be but illuminating of hidden behaviour and culture of some; does someone remember – when did some NZ men in Wellington area I think, businessmen I think, punish someone for something by digging an underground bunker and locking a man in? About 10-20 years ago.

      • Ed 11.1.1

        Thanks. I still can’t find the story about the foreign workers getting treated as slaves and the advice that it is all legal even though they were working in New Zealand (and prevented some locals getting welding work).

        I am not able to help with the “memory list’ – it needs a reference list held by category, picking up both post headings from the Std as well as urls. I understand why the search function was removed, but it was a good way to find issues from this site at least.

        • greywarshark

          Hi what do you think about Ed saying that some subjects need to go into memory both from posts and from URLS? Can it be done.

          And is it possible to have again a search function where you can type in a commenters name that brings up their contributions? It was so handy and I miss it.

  12. Penny Bright 12


    2 February 2017

    “Speaking rights confirmed for Penny Bright at next Auckland Transport Board meeting 16 February 2017.”

    The next AT Board meeting is scheduled as follows:

    DATE: Thursday 16 February 2017
    TIME: 2.00pm
    VENUE: AMP Building, Level 17, Mairangi Room, 29 Customs St West

    “This is going to be, in my opinion, a HUGE development in ensuring that ratepayers’ and citizens’ lawful rights to transparency and accountability in the spending of public monies on private consultants and contractors, are fully implemented and upheld,” says ‘anti-corruption campaigner’ and 2017 Independent Mt Albert by-election candidate, Penny Bright.

    “My subject matter for this Auckland Transport Board meeting, is as follows:

    Having spent days over the Christmas break, studying the ‘Reasons for the Verdict of Fitzgerald J’, I wish to raise key concerns that arise from the facts and evidence, upon which Justice Sally Fitzgerald relied in her Judgment.

    ( https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/r-v-borlase-reasons/@@images/fileDecision )

    1) The need for Auckland Transport to fully comply with the Public Records Act 2005, particularly section 17, and to make transparent and available for public scrutiny the details of ALL awarded contracts, including those under $50,000, and including ALL those sub-contracted.


    17 Requirement to create and maintain records

    (1) Every public office and local authority must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs, in accordance with normal, prudent business practice, including the records of any matter that is contracted out to an independent contractor.

    (Please be advised that I have raised my concerns directly with the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, regarding the lack of transparency with Auckland Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), which included Auckland Transport.

    Petition 2014/33 of Penelope Mary Bright and 55 others, and Report from the Controller and Auditor-General, Governance and accountability of council-controlled organisations.

    a) Here is the Local Government and Environment Select Committee’s Report on my above-mentioned petition:


    b) Here is my evidence which I presented to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee:


    I would like members of the Board of Auckland Transport to please study both this Local Government and Environment Select Committee Report, and the evidence I provided, before I attend the AT Board meeting on 20 February 2017? )

    2) The need to cease the ‘collaborative’ model for contracting, given that it has proven to ‘breed corruption’.

    3) The need for the Board of AT to urgently review the ‘private procurement’ model for the provision of passenger transport services, and for related services provided by Auckland Transport, regarding ‘cost-effectiveness’, ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’, bearing in mind the statutory obligations arising from the underpinning Act upon which Auckland Transport was established, namely the Local Government (Auckland Council) Act 2009:


    40 Operating principles

    In meeting its principal objective (as a council-controlled organisation) under section 59 of the Local Government Act 2002, and in performing its functions, Auckland Transport must—

    (a) establish and maintain processes for Māori to contribute to its decision-making processes; and

    (b) operate in a financially responsible manner and, for this purpose, prudently manage its assets and liabilities and endeavour to ensure—

    (i) its long-term financial viability; and

    (ii) that it acts as a successful going concern; and

    (c) use its revenue efficiently and effectively, and in a manner that seeks value for money; and

    (d) ensure that its revenue and expenditure are accounted for in a transparent manner; and

    (e) ensure that it acts in a transparent manner in making decisions under this Act and the Land Transport Management Act 2003.
    Section 40: substituted, on 1 November 2010, by section 31 of the Local Government (Auckland Council) Amendment Act 2010 (2010 No 36).

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-privatisation / anti-corruption campaigner’.

    (2017 Independent candidate Mt Albert by-election.)

    (Authorised by Penny Bright 86A School Rd, Kingsland Auckland 1021)

  13. joe90 13

    The peace dividend.

    We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years, aren’t we?” Mr Bannon said on his radio show in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face — and you understand how important face is — and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”


    • joe90 13.1

      On a roll.

      President Donald Trump threatened in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican military does more to control them, according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by The Associated Press.

      The excerpt of the call did not detail who exactly Trump considered “bad hombres,” nor did it make clear the tone and context of the remark, made in a Friday morning phone call between the leaders. It also did not contain Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s response.


    • GregJ 13.2

      My wife just made the observation to me that the “Fallout” series of computer games (set in the post-apocalyptic US) is based on the premise of a Chinese-USA war.

      The game involves remnant technology from the war – Remote drones, Power Armour, Energy Weapons, Virtual Reality & Robot military hardware – all things currently in varying stages of real-life development and some probably not all that far away as we seem to be on the cusp of a rapid automation boom/phase.

      After the reports of Trump’s conversation with Turnbull, and his casual line about sending troops to the Mexico border, any confrontation with China makes that feel a little too close for comfort.

      Just to give you the flavour of how that imaginary war started:

      “As the United Nations tried with little success to keep the peace, many of that organization’s member-states pulled out, and within two months of the outbreak of what was soon called the Resource Wars in 2052, the United Nations was disbanded. Next, following the breakdown of trade talks and the unilateral American exploitation of the world’s last newly discovered reserves of crude oil, the Chinese invaded Alaska in 2066 in pursuit of the state’s remaining oil reserves. The United States ultimately annexed Canada in 2076 to ensure Canadian support for its defense of the Alaskan front even as the American federal government acted aggressively against its own citizens to contain wartime rioting, anti-war civil disobedience and military desertion.”

      Somehow it doesn’t seen quite so an unlikely scenario any more.

      I told her to stop – she was freaking me out! 😉

      • joe90 13.2.1

        This bloke’s a right wing hawk and he’s worried.

        Trump is insane. We have proof now. He needs to be removed from office. Peacefully, one hopes. @GOP, you know what you have to do — do it.— John Schindler (@20committee) February 2, 2017

  14. joe90 14

    Fake news!.

    In a letter to the Dutch parliament on Wednesday, Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk wrote “no shadow of doubt can be allowed to hang over the result” of the March 15 parliamentary poll.

    To allay concerns about potential interference, municipalities and electoral regions will now have to tally all votes manually instead of using an automated counting system.

    “I cannot rule out that state actors may try to benefit from influencing political decisions and public opinion in the Netherlands,” Plasterk wrote.


  15. joe90 15

    Junta in the making.

    The military convoy spotted on Sunday flying a Donald Trump flag near Louisville belonged to an East Coast-based SEAL unit, a Navy spokesperson told ABC News.

    Military officials have launched an inquiry to determine if any misconduct can be linked to the incident. Regulations do not permit an unauthorized flag on a military vehicle.


    • marty mars 15.1

      Holy moly that is scary.

      • joe90 15.1.1


        And who’s to say the services haven’t been infiltrated in the same way law enforcement has.

        In a heavily redacted version of an October 2006 FBI internal intelligence assessment, the agency raised the alarm over white supremacist groups’ “historical” interest in “infiltrating law enforcement communities or recruiting law enforcement personnel.” The effort, the memo noted, “can lead to investigative breaches and can jeopardize the safety of law enforcement sources or personnel.” The memo also states that law enforcement had recently become aware of the term “ghost skins,” used among white supremacists to describe “those who avoid overt displays of their beliefs to blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes.” In at least one case, the FBI learned of a skinhead group encouraging ghost skins to seek employment with law enforcement agencies in order to warn crews of any investigations.


        Coincidentally, efforts to counter extremists have been sidetracked.

        The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

        The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.


  16. Andre 16

    Oh dear. It’s probably just as well Trump seems to be too lazy to do any background on people he talks to or he would’ve given Turnbull shit about how close he came to losing.


  17. greywarshark 17

    Robert Guyton
    How are things going down south? I am wondering if you can join in our group planning to read E F Schumachers Small is Beautiful over a month and then have an on-line discussion on it? Could you reply and let me know if you can fit it in. It’s something you could do to take a break from the hard yakker in the forest!

    • garibaldi 17.1

      Just when I had given up the panel I heard that Rachel Stewart and Gary McCormack were going to be on. At last, two decent people instead of the usual twats.

      • greywarshark 17.1.1

        You ended up in a different place than you intended as I am talking about a group on TS reading together E F Schumacher Small is Beautiful. That’s the nearest I am coming to a panel.

        But since you have turned up, it’s an opportunity to ask – would you be in on this our first go at group informed discussion, which we plan to do at the end of a month reading and extracting good stuff that could raise our political nous? Hope to have a really good discussion together on TS on a Sunday. If you could join in that would be much appreciated. Could you reply and let me know yay or nay, or next time, as if we can get this sort of informed political discussion going on a regular basis it would be a useful aspect giving kudos to TS.

        And yes fancy Rachel Stewart being on Mora, lets have more’a of her stripes.
        Gary, you like do you. I may have to listen to bring my opinion uptodate.

        • garibaldi

          Sorry greywarshark, I was merely expressing my delight at getting a decnt panel on RNZ.
          Thanks for your offer to join your group but I have too many other commitments for the next 3 months.

      • Paul 17.1.2

        When are they on?

        • greywarshark

          I asked on one of my comments if you would be in the reading group that you expressed interest in earlier. Perhaps you didn’t see it so I am asking again.
          Could you advise yes or no by replying to this?

          You are very interested in the political scene and it would be good to have your comments after the month we have set for reading and noting ideas from E F Schumacher.

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