Open mike 02/12/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 2nd, 2015 - 186 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

openmikeOpen mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

186 comments on “Open mike 02/12/2015”

  1. rhinocrates 1

    off topic

    • GregJ 1.1

      response to off topic

      • GregJ 1.1.1

        response to off topic

        • Kiwiri 1.1.1.1

          ?
          this is all quite cryptic.
          my curiosity is piqued!

          • GregJ 1.1.1.1.1

            heh – Tracey (rightly) moved our responses from the “make your own Labour Cabinet post” – she set down some firm rules about the responses – but in the best tradition of political dissent toward authority rhinocrates posted a witty response which included a nice Doctor Who reference (mine was fair less witty – it involved comparing Stuart Nash to Blackadder’s Baldrick and a Turnip). 👿

    • weka 1.2

      response to off topic

    • Chooky 1.3

      ?…the world is going off topic

      …our event horizon is gradually sliding back into the black hole

  2. Manuka AOR 2

    Kiwi detainee Ra Fowler’s partner Carmel, who had terminal cancer, has died. He had been allowed to visit her once every two months, then a bit more time with her as her condition worsened. He believes if he had been allowed to spend more time with her during her treatment, she could still be here. “Every time I walked in, she came back to life.”

    He was returned to Villawood “straight away” after her death.

    Ra’s initial crime, for which he had already done his time?

    He was driving while disqualified, and was caught in possession of cannabis. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/74623485/kiwi-detainee-allowed-to-be-with-partner-as-she-dies-from-cancer

  3. David Taylor, stop treating Indonesian migrant workers as slaves – Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti.

    See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/11/30/susi-seeks-protection-indonesian-slaves-new-zealand-waters.html#sthash.gquqEBNq.dpuf

  4. Morrissey 4

    We can save atheism from the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris
    by JEFF SPARROW, The Guardian, 29 November 2015
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/30/we-can-save-atheism-from-the-new-atheists

    Why are the New Atheists such jerks? Case in point: Richard Dawkins’ continuing pursuit of Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas 14-year-old humiliated in school after authorities mistook his homemade clock for a bomb.

    The other day, The God Delusion author called Ahmed a hoaxer and responded to suggestions “he was only a kid” by linking to a report about a juvenile Islamic State (Isis) fighter. “And how old is this ‘kid’?” Dawkins asked.

    Dawkins has been after the teenager for some time. When the story of Ahmed’s arrest and interrogation in handcuffs first broke, Dawkins questioned the boy’s motives, before linking to a video suggesting Ahmed wasn’t quite the inventor as he claimed.

    “Assembling clock from bought components is fine,” tweeted Dawkins to his 1.3m followers. “Taking clock out of its case to make it look as if he built it is not fine. Which is true?”

    The intervention exemplified everything toxic about Dawkins’ online persona. It’s not just the unedifying spectacle of an internationally famous biologist seeking to discredit a teenager’s science project, like a 9/11 truther obsessing about jet fuel. It’s also Dawkins’ disgraceful juxtaposition between Ahmed and an Isis supporter in Syria.

    “How COULD you think I was likening a hoaxer to a killer?” he later posted. “I just meant ‘Only a kid’ is not a knockdown defence. Remember poor James Bulger?”

    Except, of course, Dawkins hadn’t compared Ahmed to Bulger, who was murdered in 1993 by two 10-year-old boys. He’d linked a youth falsely accused of terrorism on the basis of his religion to Isis, precisely the kind of smear that any FOX news demagogue might make.

    Then there’s the author, philosopher, and neuroscientist Sam Harris – another New Atheist luminary.

    A few days before Dawkins relaunched his investigation into clock-gate, Harris explained on a podcast that Republican hopeful Ben Carson understood the Middle East better than Noam Chomsky. The same Ben Carson who thinks there’s a scientific consensus that aliens built the pyramids (even though Carson knows they were actually built by God as a granary for the biblical Jacob).

    Why does Harris prefer Carson’s know-nothing bluster on foreign policy to the opinions of Chomsky, one of the most influential scholars in the world? Because, you see, Carson “understands that jihadists are the enemy”. That’s also why Harris defends Ted Cruz’s proposal to…..

    Read more….
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/30/we-can-save-atheism-from-the-new-atheists

  5. Jay 5

    The photo of John Key eating the hotdog, clearly intended to look like he is sucking a dick is highly offensive and unbecoming of a left-wing blog that would ordinarily denounce insults such as faggot or homo as homophobic. This type of humour (or insult as the case may be) should surely remain in the last decade. I fail to see what would be wrong with it if John Key did choose to give someone a blow job, wouldn’t that be his business? Or is the point that he is a despicable cock-sucker? If so I disagree with the implication that cock-suckers are despicable. Either way it’s a schoolboy insult and reminiscent of many attitudes that contributors have in the past railed against

    [Concern Troll Derail detected – moved to Open Mike – BLiP]

    • I look at it as a turd being pulled from his mouth. ie spouting shit

    • Gabby 5.2

      It’s hard to know what was going through Ponyboy’s mind when he posed for it – apart from the tip o’ the ‘dog that is.

    • Chooky 5.3

      Jay …it is all in YOUR mind!

      The picture just made me hungry for a hotdog with tomato sauce

      ( pity about the picture of jonkey )

      How about a picture of Andrew Little licking an ice cream?

    • Rosie 5.4

      Thanks for your concern Jay. No doubt you were similarly offended when Maurice Williamson allegedly referred to “atta girl knee pads” to an audience of woman at a technology conference a few months ago. I hope you had a stern word with him about his inappropriate and sexist sense of non humour.

      And I agree, it’s none of anyone’s business if Key were to give someone a bj. But it is our business when he’s pimping our country out and he’s giving the figurative bj to big corporates to the cost of the well being of our society. Think, Rio Tinto, Warner Bro’s, Saudi “farmers”, TPPA etc etc.

  6. b waghorn 6

    For what little it is worth gower has given the Labour reshuffle a tick of approval.

    • Paul 6.1

      That says this.
      The establishment supports 2 neo-liberal parties.

      • mary_a 6.1.1

        Yep, quite right there Paul (6.1) Quite disturbing isn’t it? Labour/ NatzKEY … what’s the difference now?

        A new workers party is desperately needed in NZ, where the ordinary Kiwi gets a chance to vote for a party which represents their interests, giving them some strength.

    • Chooky 6.2

      Time for a new Labour Mana Party…little labour sucks

      • mary_a 6.2.1

        @ Chooky (6.2), with Hone Harawira, his Mana Movement team up there with him, also David Cunliffe and Nanaia Mahuta onside as well. Then watch the Dirty Politics thugs go into overdrive!

        I used to think NZ Greens were the party of the ordinary Kiwi man, woman and child, led by Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald and then Russel Norman and Meteria Turei. But not anymore, considering Shaw handed FJK a free pass on the flag issue recently. Like FJK, I wouldn’t trust Shaw either as far as I can spit and that’s not very far!

        • Chooky 6.2.1.1

          +100 mary_a

          i am looking for a party to get enthusiastic about and vote for

          (the Greens with Shaw and Red Peaks is not it)

          NZF is my option at the moment but I would prefer a new flaxroots real ‘LABOUR Mana Party’ which is tinted Emerald

          ( the word ‘Labour’ has to be kidnapped….it can not be left to little’s paltry party )

      • b waghorn 6.2.2

        It would only be worth it if mana can get a candidate that will win a seat ,otherwise 2% wasted vote is all that will happen.
        As a no not much punter I’ll take labour over the nats every time but would love to see a leftwing minor party getting into Parliament.

  7. Morrissey 7

    The ultimate insult in the Mondo Bizarro of Whaleoil’s site

    Yesterday I was banned, for the third and probably last time, from Cameron Slater’s egregious “Whaleoil” site. (More on this in an upcoming post.)

    One of the last of the many insults dished out to this writer, i.e. moi, was this gem from one “johnandali”, in the course of a robust discussion about the Israel-Palestine conflict….

    You’re not a professor at Auckland University by any chance, Morrissey?

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2015/12/bad-journalism-or-pro-palestinian-bias/

    • Paul 7.1

      Mora’s Panel.
      7 Sharp.
      And now Whale Oil.
      Some might call you a masochist!

      • Chooky 7.1.1

        Morrissey is very brave….he seeks out iniquity from all its dark and smelly corners …and he exposes it here in broad day light!

        Thanks Morrissey!

        • Halfcrown 7.1.1.1

          “Thanks Morrissey!”
          +1

          • Morrissey 7.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for your supportive comments, Paul, Chooky and Halfcrown. I’ll post up a detailed account of my on again-off again relationship with the National Party’s most disreputable agent in the near future.

  8. Bruce 8

    Indonesia calls on New Zealand to work towards combating the slavery of its citizens.

    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/11/30/susi-seeks-protection-indonesian-slaves-new-zealand-waters.html

    • Grindlebottom 8.1

      Was interested to see the following in the Comments on that article:

      Maxplus
      Dr Christina Stringer from the University of Auckland has done a lot of research on forced labour on fishing vessels in NZ. As a result all foreign charter vessels are required to be reflagged to New Zealand by 1 May 2016. Once the vessels are flagged to NZ (registered in NZ) they must follow NZ laws, especially labour laws. Indonesian’s (and others) working on board Korean and Taiwanese vessels were being mistreated so NZ has changed the law.

      • Bruce 8.1.1

        “Once they are reflagged they must follow NZ laws, especially labour laws”.

        But they won’t. Just as many land-based companies who employ migrant workers do not.

        Dr Christina Stringer and others have done commendable work which certainly led to the Government being forced to change the law. However it is unlikely to change company practices, and the Government’s acceptance of 19th century labour conditions. Witness Mr Woodhouse – note, Minister for Police and Immigration – in the House today defending the use of Indian students on student visas in our workforce by reference to the profitability of the service sector. It is clear where his and this government’s priorities lie.

        Likewise, if you think it is OK to delay (rather weak, difficult to enforce) anti-slavery measures by several years in order to give companies breathing room, when those companies and the government have known for years about the rape, murder, beatings, intimidation, and denial of wages routine on those ships, then there is something fundamentally wrong with you (generally, not you, commenter), just as there is clearly something fundamentally missing in Mr Woodhouse. What’s a few more murders and rapes of innocents when we’re making millions in shares, aye? Do they do cost benefit analysis with destroyed men in one column and dollars in the other? If so, how much is a life worth exactly? What is, you know, the overall benefit to “the economy” of human misery?

        The exploitation continues unabated: https://t.co/kxIMmnccki

        The Indonesians have their own responsibilities in this supply chain which they are not addressing. They make pronouncements like this and blow up Thai ships yet it is their own corrupt immigration officials who issue false documents and local authorities who provide legitimacy to predatory labour agents.

        But it is Mr Woodhouse and friends who sign off, each 6 months to a year, on new Agreements in Principle with companies who have shown themselves to have gathered information about abuses and buried it and the men in concerns.

        Mr Woodhouse and his colleagues have blood on their hands.

      • Bruce 8.1.2

        “Once they are reflagged they must follow NZ laws, especially labour laws”.

        But they won’t. Just as many land-based companies who employ migrant workers do not.

        Dr Christina Stringer and others have done commendable work which certainly led to the Government being forced to change the law. However it is unlikely to change company practices, and the Government’s acceptance of 19th century labour conditions. Witness Mr Woodhouse – note, Minister for Police and Immigration – in the House today defending the use of Indian students on student visas in our workforce by reference to the profitability of the service sector. It is clear where his and this government’s priorities lie.

        Likewise, if you think it is OK to delay (rather weak, difficult to enforce) anti-slavery measures by several years in order to give companies breathing room, when those companies and the government have known for years about the rape, murder, beatings, intimidation, and denial of wages routine on those ships, then there is something fundamentally wrong with you (generally, not you, commenter), just as there is clearly something fundamentally missing in Mr Woodhouse. What’s a few more murders and rapes of innocents when we’re making millions in shares, aye? Do they do cost benefit analysis with destroyed men in one column and dollars in the other? If so, how much is a life worth exactly? What is, you know, the overall benefit to “the economy” of human misery?

        The exploitation continues unabated: https://t.co/kxIMmnccki

        The Indonesians have their own responsibilities in this supply chain which they are not addressing. They make pronouncements like this and blow up Thai ships yet it is their own corrupt immigration officials who issue false documents and local authorities who provide legitimacy to predatory labour agents.

        But it is Mr Woodhouse and friends who sign off, each 6 months to a year, on new Agreements in Principle with companies who have shown themselves to have gathered information about abuses and buried it and the men it concerns.

        Mr Woodhouse and his colleagues have blood on their hands.

      • Bruce 8.1.3

        #Hi Lynn

        I think Grindlebottom should not have the last word on this particular issue – It’s not as simple as “we are reflagging in 2016, problem solved”. Can you please allow my previous comment to go through?

        Much respect and thank you#

        • lprent 8.1.3.1

          I thought I did. There were two right? Looked like duplicates.

          Oh well, I will pull out the one that I trashed and let that go through.

          • Bruce 8.1.3.1.1

            Correct, duplicate comments, because of an original spelling error, I think. Hasty of me: I checked back and didn’t see my comment, hence the comment that followed. My apologies! I know you do a lot of other stuff other than moderate comments. Best.

  9. http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-pentagon-the-climate-elephant-2/5402505

    The Pentagon, The Climate Elephant. The US Military Machine is the World’s Worst Polluter of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Expose the Pentagon, the world’s largest & most dangerous climate criminal!

    The US military machine, is the world’s biggest institutional consumer of petroleum products and the world’s worst polluter of greenhouse gas emissions. The role of the US military is not on the agenda of the Paris COP21 Climate Conference.

  10. Hami Shearlie 10

    You know how feared David Cunliffe is by the Nats when, even after he is demoted to the back benches, Paul Henry is still doing a hatchet job on him on his show. He should be Leader if the Nats are that scared of him. Why can’t Labour’s Caucus realise that he is one of their biggest assets? And one of very few who can actually give a brilliant rousing speech. The fact that Caucus don’t see this tells me they are either idiots, or, that they just don’t care whether they are in office or not. Things are cushy for them either way!

    • Gabby 10.1

      Paul Dipshit Henry is pitching into what he sees as an easy target. That’s what the twat does.

    • Northsider 10.2

      Today’s Trevett piece refers to the elevaton of Cosgrove, O’Connor and Parker.

      If experience capability and even youthfulness were factors in positioning people then Cunliffe would be in a far higher position then these. Personal politic are at play.
      For the life of me I cannot understand why Little should have become so personal with Cunliffe that he discarded him in such a destructive manner. Little and Laour are the loosers.

      • Puckish Rogue 10.2.1

        Indeed, look at what Helen Clark did with Sir Michael Cullen and what Sir John Key did with Sir Bill English

        Shouldn’t turf people out if they still have use

    • Chooky 10.3

      +100 Hami…It is my fervent wish that Cunliffe jumps ship…even if it is to the Greens

      ….his light and abilities should not be hidden or squandered by little Labour

      …my preference is a new Labour Mana Party is set up

      ( the existing little labour is misnamed and no more a real Labour Party imo)

      • Olwyn 10.3.1

        I am starting to lean that way myself Chooky – this caucus reshuffle has left me with the kind of despondency I felt in 2011, when Shearer was made leader and right wingers everywhere clinked their glasses in celebration.

      • savenz 10.3.2

        @Chooky – you are right!

        My preferred option is that Labour grow a brain and actually start getting the talent at the top in Labour instead of being afraid of it.

        But that is a fast dying hope.

        Giving Nash a promotion after his outburst on TDB is pretty concerning! He is Judith Collins preferred PM (after herself) and Grand daddy herald apparently loves the changes. Does not bode well for Labour.

        Labour are killing themselves like Key is killing our country and planet!

        Lemmings all around us.

      • Rosie 10.3.3

        Hi Chooky.

        I see over the last few days, in response to Labours new line up there has been the suggestion that a new left party should be created. Above you state a preference for a Labour Mana kind of an alliance.

        I have to say I share some of the disappointment expressed, but that has been building for awhile anyway and really came to a head when Andrew Little told a group of business people at a conference that the 90 day bill could potentially be retained, with some tinkering. It took me two weeks to get an answer and clarification from anyone from Labour on this issue. I ended up with some vague sense of reassurance in email comms with Grant Robertson.

        Like you, I was a major fan of Cunliffe last year. I still am. He was one of the reasons I joined the party. Now I kind of wonder what I’m doing as a member. (Admittedly I did warm up a bit after Little’s speech at the annual conference)

        BUT! what I want to know, is what would the creation of a new party achieve? Hardly anyone bothered to turn up to vote when we genuinely did have a good choice of parties to vote for last year, (and really good policy from Labour I thought) yet they all flopped badly.

        I’m wondering if this talk of a new party is simply coming from a strong sense of frustration rather than from any sense of practical purpose.

        • savenz 10.3.3.1

          @Rosie

          A split would allow a centre party. You can not call the current Labour party central. They are further right than NZ First on many issues. Essentially they offer nothing radical and are reluctant to even voice what their polices are. Like National they seem to think that having zero policy is what the public want or at least less dangerous than actually voicing their views of a global neoliberal economic policy that fosters inequality and power imbalance, in particular giving power and more rights than government to corporate entities in return for a crumb of exports of milk powder and wine under TPP in about 20 years, (by which NZ exports will no longer be locally owned anyway). Everything is in economic and legal terms, there is no spirit of justice as those with power, connections and money can write the rules and sway justice. Current Labour don’t seem to be able to disagree with the way this country is going in particular under TPP if it is signed. Labour at the most, shows tepid disagreement against the cult like support of the Natz for the ideology.

          There is a clear gap between the Greens and NZ First. Labour is on the right on NZ First. There needs to be a party on the left on NZ First that is where many people on the Standard seem to sit.

          So yep, if Labour could get rid of its neoliberals and feuds then it could go away. But placing Cunliffe where he is, and Nash where he is, and the TPP debacle is pretty much a message of a future neoliberal Labour that can’t make a decision.

          If Labour wanted to pick up support they would be against TPP (as their point of difference from the Natz) and promote Cunliffe as being one of their few smart and feared people by the Natz, but they are not doing that. Leaving Cunliffe behind is not showing unity.

          • Rosie 10.3.3.1.1

            I don’t disagree with your criticisms of Labour’s stance on TPP and their treatment of one of their greatest talents, savenz – that’s what’s troubling me.

            Also agree that NZ First are to the left of Labour on issues such as TPP. They are the ones who have strongly opposed it and introduced the Fighting Foreign Corporate Control bill at a time Labour were silent – but then they are on the right of Labour when it comes to social conservatism. Could a Labour voter really feel comfortable with voting NZ First?

            “There is a clear gap between the Greens and NZ First. Labour is on the right on NZ First. There needs to be a party on the left on NZ First that is where many people on the Standard seem to sit.”

            Also, this new party, what ever it may be, if it did appeal to commenters on TS, would that matter, would it make a difference?

            We’re in a time and place that feels hopeless, over 7 years into the Key regime, with 2 years more to go. If people are feeling frustrated, I understand that. But I worry about looking to another party, not yet created, for salvation.

            I would rather the voices of Labour supporters and members who have suffered under the Key regime and want to see social and economic justice done, use Labour MP’s as their mouthpiece. They will speak for so many when they do. If they listen to those stories and act accordingly with the right policy they will win. Put people first, not party first.

        • Karen 10.3.3.2

          I agree Rosie.

          As frustrating as Labour can be I don’t see a new party would achieve anything. Those people advocating it I suspect have no idea how difficult it is to build the structure and be able to finance a new party, let alone find enough supporters that all agree with the policies. Mana discovered to their cost that trying to grow quickly is likely to end in disaster.

          Much better to join Labour or the Greens and work hard within the party to make whichever more left wing rather than complaining from the sidelines.

          • Rosie 10.3.3.2.1

            “Much better to join Labour or the Greens and work hard within the party to make whichever more left wing rather than complaining from the sidelines.’

            That was my thought when I joined – don’t know how successful that action will be lol 🙂

            You make a good point about financing a new party, particularly a left wing one. The membership isn’t exactly flush – thats the problem right there, we’re economically marginalised people. Look at the problems an established party like Labour have, in funding themselves.

            • Rosie 10.3.3.2.1.1

              I should say “typically” – we’re typically economically marginalised people, not all on the left are, of course. Some are enjoying better circumstances than others, for a number of reasons.

              A few weeks ago a panellist on the 7 days show, whose a Labour member, when discussing Labour’s funding problems said “hey don’t look at me for financial help, I live on hummus and weed”. Had to smile at that. Not all of us can put our hands in our pockets when we struggle to get through the week as it is.

          • weka 10.3.3.2.2

            The problem though is that Labour are unlikely to change so unless big chunks of the membership leave Labour are going to dictate politics in NZ for a long time to come. By dictate I mean monkey wrench because the internal neoliberal/lefties split has never been resolved.

            I quite like Little and he seems competent enough. Cunliffe had his chance and didn’t put an end to the ABCs, but Little doesn’t appear to be tacking left either. What he is doing looks good for the health of the party but not NZ. Our best chance is the Greens getting 15% and NZF dropping so that Labour finally have to take the GP seriously, but is that likely to happen? I think this is why people look to another party but I agree it’s not a serious proposition. We could of course all vote green, that would certainly stir things up and I still don’t understand why more lefties don’t do that. It’s a very pragmatic choice.

            • Karen 10.3.3.2.2.1

              I’d like the Greens to increase their vote to 15% and Labour to 35%. I remain hopeful that this will happen.

              I know you have your doubts, Weka, but I think Labour and the Greens have a much better relationship than they have at any time in the past, and this will become clearer in election year.

              The best thing Little has achieved is to get the caucus to stop the internal fighting. It is obviously difficult keeping all the factions working together, but they need to do that to be seen as a viable alternative government. He will never be charismatic, but when I think about Lange, who was very charismatic, I think I’d rather have Little. Lange allowed Rogernomics full rein for far too long. I liked David Cunliffe but there is no question that he was a polarising figure. However, putting Nash, Cosgrove and O’Connor ahead of him was wrong IMO.

            • Rosie 10.3.3.2.2.2

              Agree that Little isn’t tacking left but his leadership is giving the appearance to the public that the health of the party is improving. Who knows, maybe that has to be fixed before they can advance.

              “We could of course all vote green, that would certainly stir things up and I still don’t understand why more lefties don’t do that. It’s a very pragmatic choice.”

              Personally, I’m pro Green and have voted Green in the past. They are a party you can respect for their lack of (apparent) in fighting and clear direction of values and policy. They have many experienced MP’s and they are well over due to be part of government. They carry some real mana. Of all the parties, I have the softest spot for them.

              Th reason I party voted Labour ( and locally too with the fabulous Ginny Andersen standing in Ohariu against Peter “old hat” Dunne) was because I was really impressed with their policy announcements and really impressed with David Cunliffe. I thought with the combined left vote we were going to scrape through and win. It was a vote of confidence in their ability to do it.

              The rest, as you know, is history.

    • mary_a 10.5

      @ Hami Shearlie – hear hear. Exactly the reason David Cunliffe isn’t leader now and is getting pushed further and further towards the door. The Labour ABC neo libs, like FJK find him a threat to them. So like the organized thugs they are, they use subtle bullying tactics to have him removed. It’s these ABC neo libs who are controlling Andrew Little! His reshuffle promotions this week are enough evidence of this point!

      Nanaia Mahuta is also being shown the door, because like her colleague Cunliffe, she stands true to the founding principles and values of Labour, which the neo libs on both sides of the House fear!

      Says it all doesn’t it, about the low life elected to represent and govern NZ?

  11. Pascals bookie 11

    Assad regime drops barrel bomb on civilian area, then targets the local hospital.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/01/syria-msf-hospital-homs-barrel-bombing

    Arsehole.

    • northshoredoc 11.1

      I expect a certain someone will be along to suggest it is a false flag by the US or some other nefarious member of the illuminati.

      The only thing for certain is that the non-combatants in Syria don’t really care who’s in charge as long as everyone stops the shooting and lets them get on with living in peace.

    • One Two 11.2

      Sounds like personal point scoring

    • Muttonbird 11.3

      Mate, Israel does this every single day whenever they take their army, US equipped and paid for, into the Palestinian territories.

      Why the sudden concern from you for ordinary muslim people?

      • Pascals bookie 11.3.1

        nothing sudden about it Mutton.

        I’ve got thousands of comments on this site under this handle, feel free to dig through them.

        What’s your problem though? Feeling awkward about something are we?

        • Muttonbird 11.3.1.1

          I’m just surprised you’d trot out the US line on this.

          • Pascals bookie 11.3.1.1.1

            That Assad is an arsehole?

            That’s my line. Assad is an arsehole. I read a lot, from a wide variety of sources, you should try that. It aids in discernment.

            Assad being an arsehole is a strong theme that comes through. The man is an arsehole, he really is, and anyone who says otherwise should be treated with extreme scepticism imo.

            Kind of like anyone who says ‘That Dick Cheney has been misunderstood, don’t believe the propganda about him, he just wanted peace and every thing else he did was ultimately going to be dontaed for charity’ or some shit.

            nah Cheney is an arsehole. Assad is an arsehole.

            Not US lines, my lines. You don;t have to share them, but don’t accuse me of folloowing people’s lines unless you have evidence for that, ok?

    • The Chairman 11.4

      Your thoughts on grumpystilskin’s link?

      • Pascals bookie 11.4.1

        Laughable, ignorant, and poorly thought out. equiv. to Prison Planet or the likes.

        • The Chairman 11.4.1.1

          Really? That says a lot about you.

          And your thoughts on your link?

          • The Chairman 11.4.1.1.1

            Thoughts on this anyone?

            • tinfoilhat 11.4.1.1.1.1

              RT propaganda.

              • The Chairman

                Don’t you mean RT highlighting US propaganda?

              • Draco T Bastard

                No, that was RT catching the US using unverified information for propaganda purposes against Russia.

                It’s one of the basic tenets of science that findings need to be falsifiable and yet the US refused to give the information needed to check their claims and said only that the reporter should ask the Russians about their targeting. Which she then did and the Russians actually provided her with that information.

                • tinfoilhat

                  Propaganda definition.

                  Official government communications to the public that are designed to influence opinion. The information may be true or false, but it is always carefully selected for its political effect.

                  • Pascals bookie

                    Kinda interesting that RT are only interested in one site, and offer images that themselves aren;t verified. Nor do they explain what they hit in that video.

                    Can’t wait to hear how MSF have faked the images from Homs etc.

                    • The Chairman

                      Not really considering the report was primarily responding to a US allegation of the bombing of said site.

                      Moreover, satellite images can be verified.

                      Ponder this, re your link:

                      What purpose does it serve the Assad regime to intentionally target and bomb one of their own hospitals, identifying themselves in such a bad light by using a signature tactic?

                      That would be counterproductive, turning the people (locally and internationally) against them.

                      Alternatively, having the people turn against them favours opponents of the regime.

                      Therefore, could this not be an attempt to reinforce the perception Assad’s regime is pure evil, thus needs to be taken out?

                      I also see no comment from the regime was reported in your link, robbing the report of any balance.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      Not really considering the report was primarily responding to a US allegation of the bombing of said site.

                      The intor to the RT piece are all about how Russia and Assad are accused of bombing many hospitials. they choose to repsond only to that one.

                      Moreover, satellite images can be verified.

                      they can also be faked, and old ones can be used. By istelf, it means nothing, all we have is the Kremlin’s word. If that’s enough for you, fine, but let’s not pretend it’s logically any better than the US State Depts. If you are sceptical of one, you should be of the other.

                      Ponder this, re your link:

                      What purpose does it serve the Assad regime to intentionally target and bomb one of their own hospitals, identifying themselves in such a bad light by using a signature tactic?

                      That would be counterproductive, turning the people (locally and internationally) against them.

                      Dicatators fight differently from non-dictators. Assad doesn’t give a shit, at this stage, about beeing ‘seen ina bad light’. Same reason Saddam gassed the kurds, or Syrian baathists hit the refugee camps, and that they run, even in peace time, jail systems notorious for their use of torture. The aim is to be feared, not loved, by your opponents. the message you send by hitting hopsitals is that:

                      ‘I will do anything, and no one will stop me. See. I hit the hospitals, I destroy your suburbs and where is your international support? Where is the UN? I have the Russians and the Iranians but your allies are giving you what? Some TOWs if you agree to their conditions? Good luck, I don’t care, I would rather burn it all to the ground than let you win’

                      this is fairly standard doctrine for Baathists. They have a long history, I doubt Assad has decided to ignore it all and adopt western liberal derived notions of warfare.

                      Alternatively, having the people turn against them favours opponents of the regime.

                      Therefore, could this not be an attempt to reinforce the perception Assad’s regime is pure evil, thus needs to be taken out?

                      That ship has sailed. have you not noticed that he has been unable to quell the insurgency? Or that refugees are fleeing? Or his conscription problems?

                      I also see no comment from the regime was reported in your link, robbing the report of any balance.

                      He said she said balance is overated. It is a war report, something happened, there were witnesses quoted. The regime can respond if and when it likes and I’m not sure that they accepting calls from western media anyway.

                    • The Chairman

                      The intro did mention numerous allegations. However, as previously stated, the report was primarily responding to a US allegation of the bombing of said site.

                      As for the satellite image, why fake it when it can be easily exposed as such, robbing them of their credibility?

                      With the West pushing for him to go, coupled with the need to have the majority on board and not turn against him, public perception is vital to Assad. Therefore, targeting hospitals in such an open manner is counterproductive. His supporters don’t fear him. And he can’t afford to start scaring them now.

                      That ship has not sailed, Assad is still there and a number want him out. Therefore, surely you can concede the possibility it’s an attempt to reinforce the perception Assad’s regime is pure evil, thus needs to be taken out?

                      Refugees are largely fleeing the fighting, not Assad. And, of course, a number don’t want to fight, thus are draft-dodging. Coupled with soaring causalities, hence his conscription problems. The vast majority of the population have remained despite the fighting.

                      Balance is vital for the reader to evaluate the whole story. Therefore, it was a one sided war report unworthy of any merit.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      So why didn’t RT talk about any of the other allegations again?

                      You didn’t really explain that part, I know the piece focussed on the one incident, that was my point.

                      I guess the other incidents remain undisputed then?

                      Is that your position?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Both Assad and Gaddafi built liberal (for the Middle East) secular states which respected the rights of minorities and women.

                      Both were also strong men dictators.

                      But both built public health and education services for their people as well as some of the best free universities in the Middle East.

                      Frankly, the West has no answers for these nations, and the answers that the West has forcibly applied have left millions in tragic disaster.

                      Dicatators fight differently from non-dictators. Assad doesn’t give a shit, at this stage, about beeing ‘seen ina bad light’.

                      You really don’t have any fucking clue.

                      Why don’t you look at what NATO did to Libya or what the US did to Ukraine, Afghanistan and Iraq (and is supporting Saudi Arabia to do to Yemen and supporting Israel to do to Gaza) before you pass more of your Kool Aid around.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      I’m not sure how many times I have to tell you I don’t support western current or historic policy CV.

                      You do bring up Yemen though, and yes, it’s awful what is being done there, I oppose that. I also opposed the drone strike policy that was in place that aggravated and helped to radicalise the regime’s opponents.

                      The western line on that was that they were doing it all with the permission of and in support of the legitimate government of Yemen in their fight against foreign inspired and funded terrorists. I didn’t give that much weight, how about you? Does that reasoning sound legit to you?

                      What answer does Putin have CV? What is the end game for you?

                      I saw in the other thread you claim Putin agrees Assad should go. That is the western position, I’m not been able to find where Putin has confirmed he has switched to it, so a link would be appreciated.

                      The Iranians are dead against that idea however, and winning the war for Assad would make it harder to convince him to steo down. Seeing yuo are defending it, how do you think this is going to work, oh wise one.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      PB I was refuting your Western Kool Aid that democratic countries fight wars cleaner than other countries, and cleaner than dictators.

                      As for the end game for Syria, why don’t you simply read the outcome of the latest Vienna talks:

                      http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2015/nov/17/iran-attends-syria-peace-talks-vienna

                      One major disagreement is that Russia believes that Assad should be able to stand in elections to be held within 18m; the US wants Assad gone by then and not be involved in any elections.

                      I’m not sure how many times I have to tell you I don’t support western current or historic policy CV.

                      Of course you do. You want Assad and his government gone, and for Syria to fall into a Libya-like failed state condition run by extremist Islamist factions.

                      I saw in the other thread you claim Putin agrees Assad should go. That is the western position, I’m not been able to find where Putin has confirmed he has switched to it, so a link would be appreciated.

                      The Iranians are dead against that idea however, and winning the war for Assad would make it harder to convince him to steo down.

                      Firstly, Russia and Iran have some common ground with regards to Syria, but they also have plenty of differences (mostly revolving around Israel, but also strategic differences on gas and oil pipelines).

                      Secondly, Russia is not wedded to Assad, Russia is wedded to the idea of a stable, secular, non-Islamist government in Syria that is chosen by the people.

                      Thirdly, the West thinks that Syrians should be able to choose who they want to lead the country – as long as it isn’t Assad. Clearly the Russians disagree on this point.

                      My main beef with your perspective is that your preferences to end Assad and his government ASAP will put Islamic extremists in charge of Damascus where they will promptly enforce Sharia Law over the whole country and fuck over every minority who disagrees.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      “You want Assad and his government gone, and for Syria to fall into a Libya-like failed state condition run by extremist Islamist factions.”

                      Where have a said this? Quote please.

                      I have said that the Assad regime is not legitimate, by that I mean it is not ruling by the consent of the governed. That is a standard western liberal definition of legitimacy.

                      I have said nothing about wanting him removed “ASAP” with the country handed over to Islamist militia. You may think I believe that , but if so, it is a straight out fabrication of your own mind.

                      “I was refuting your Western Kool Aid that democratic countries fight wars cleaner than other countries, and cleaner than dictators”

                      again, not what I said. I said dictators fight wars based on ideas different from the ones the Chairman was suggesting were in play. I think the history, specifically, of Baathist responses to revolts bears me out on this.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So let’s clarify this PB. Do you want Assad and his government gone ASAP, or is it OK if he stays in power in the interim?

                    • The Chairman

                      Because this was the latest allegation.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      I want lots of things.

                      removing Assad ASAP won’t fix anything. Smashing IS and restoring Assad won’t fix anything.

                      I say fuck both those options. Fix the underlying grievances, the legitimacy of Iraq and Syria as states is kaput. Regional govts, tribes and other actors have directly conflicting interests.

                      these interests must all be on the table.

                      I have said this before, but really, it’s a distraction. I am not in charge. And what I support is irrelevant as a defence for your support of Assad and Putin.

                      It is enough to say that my position is fuck that noise to the wests current policy, and fuck that noise to Russia’s policy.

                      I don’t think either of them adress what is drib=ving the conflict. When someone comes up with something I think might work, I’ll support it.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      CV, you can retract all the crap you’ve written about what I have said and supposedly believe any time you like.

                  • The Chairman

                    @ tinfoilhat

                    What the US were doing in the clip could be used as an example.

                    • tinfoilhat

                      Yes the US use propaganda as well, I don’t think anyone would argue that point.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The US is the most heavily propagandised and deliberately disinformed place on the planet.

                    • tinfoilhat

                      That’s a rather silly thing to say CV.

                      While there’s no doubt that there is propaganda and disinformation in the USA there’s certainly far worse places.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Uh, I’m pretty serious. You want to name a more propagandised place than the USA, I would agree that China and North Korea, are.

                      And that’s about it. Certainly no other G20 countries come close to the USA.

                      Russia is far less propagandised than the USA for instance, because Russians still remember the lying days of Pravda too well.

                      On the other hand, Americans actually believe what the Wall St Journal and the Washington Post tell them.

                      EDIT

                      Chris Hedges explains it much better than I can:

                    • tinfoilhat

                      Oh I disagree with that.

                      If we’re just talking about the G20 now, lets just take the big three and ignore an obvious last place for Saudi Arabia.

                      Sure the USA, China and Russia all employ propaganda but to suggest that the US is worse than Russia and China is disingenuous when China’s one party state still stringently controls news and internet for stories that are deemed not in the country’s best interest.

                      While the current assessment by reporters without borders of Russia suggests they are hardly in a position to trumpet their credentials.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      To clarify my statement, it says that China and North Korea are worse for propaganda than the USA is.

                      Re: Saudi Arabia. No one there believes what the government says, and the Shia minority in particular don’t need to be told that they are fucked over on a daily basis.

                      Put another way, there is a difference between a population which is subject to a lot of propaganda, and a population which has been successfully propagandised.

                      I suggest you have a listen to Chris Hedges.

        • Karen 11.4.1.2

          +1 PB
          Don’t give up with your comments even though you often get idiotic responses. You are one of my ever dwindling “must reads” on the Standard ,

    • Draco T Bastard 11.5

      A barrel bomb is an improvised explosive device packed with TNT and other material and dropped manually from planes and helicopters. Its inaccuracy has led some observers to conclude that its use is a de facto war crime.

      I sometimes wonder if these people read what they write.

      • Pascals bookie 11.5.1

        Is that your main takeaway from that piece? really?

        • Draco T Bastard 11.5.1.1

          Yes, apparently the bombing is so precise that they can choose their target and yet so inaccurate that no one can tell where they’re going to hit.

        • Grindlebottom 11.5.1.2

          I’ve seen plenty of videos of barrel bombs. They’ve always been shown coming out of choppers, they fall relatively slowly and they actually look like oil barrels.

          Yet I watched one video clip on Al Jazeera a couple of months back which the voice over claimed was Assad’s air force dropping 2 barrel bombs on a market place. They both came down really fast flashing across the screen on an angled trajectory. They were both clearly streamlined bombs. They obviously came from a plane not a chopper: no idea whose.

          I take media claims of “barrel bombs” a little more sceptically these days.

          • Pascals bookie 11.5.1.2.1

            who.fucking. cares.

            http://www.msf.org/article/syria-double-tap-bombing-msf-supported-hospital-%E2%80%93-hospital-partially-destroyed-%E2%80%93-patients

            The story is about hospital being bombed, and you guys are seriously flapping around with this ‘oh ‘barrel bombs, I don’t know man’?

            What the actual living loving hell is going on at The Standard these days.

            This is like some RW douchebag site that when some areshole shoots up a shopping mall they all start quibbling about ‘the media called it an assault rifle when actually it was a standard hunting rifle fitted with blah blah blah’.

            Who gives a shit, the point is MSF are saying their hospitial got bombed.

            Jesus.

            • Grindlebottom 11.5.1.2.1.1

              You’re right PB. I didn’t read the article before commenting. Sorry & point taken.

            • Colonial Viper 11.5.1.2.1.2

              I’m picking that its just as likely Turkish supported Islamist militias did this as it is Assad’s forces.

              Reason being that multiple helicopter attack runs over an hour is asking for Syrian Arab Army choppers to be downed by Islamist fighters with MANPADS or even RPGs.

              • Pascals bookie

                Then you need to read up on how often Assad has been using helicopters over urban areas and get some clues.

                Or maybe it was aliens, or Iraqi militia opposed to russian influence, or maybe Mossad, no wait, perhaps it was hamas, they do shit like this, Israel says so eh CV, and you sure like running the sorts of arguments they use these days.

                • Colonial Viper

                  ?

                  The US and its allies have recently supplied hundreds of TOW missiles to Islamist anti-Assad fighters. These missiles are optically guided by wire and can easily hit a helicopter 2km to 3km away.

                  Most recently one was used by Islamist militia to destroy a Russian search and rescue chopper.

                  IMO Assad’s forces would not conduct a broad daylight helicopter attack over an entire hour on a strategically worthless target like a hospital, as it is begging for their helos to be brought down for no reason.

                  • Pascals bookie

                    Really? You can shoot down helicopters ‘easily’ with a TOW?

                    Can you point me to where this has happened? If it’s easy it must have happened a few times right?

                    Interesting thing about the TOWs in Syria by the way, do you know why there are so many videos of them being used on youtube, and why they all have the same format of close up of the weapon being launched and then cutting to the other shot of the missile in flight to its target?

                    EDIT before you embarrass yourself, let’s assume you already knew that recent helicopter was hit on the ground as can be seen in the video of it, which follows that same format noted above.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Whether it is by a TOW, an RPG, or a MANPAD, anti-Assad fighters have been given advanced systems which can easily take out a slow moving or static helicopter in broad daylight.

                      Really? You can shoot down helicopters ‘easily’ with a TOW?

                      Can you point me to where this has happened? If it’s easy it must have happened a few times right?

                      Hmmmm. You can look up how Somalian fighters took down two US Blackhawks using far more primitive and less powerful unguided RPGs.

                      Bottom line is that risking its few remaining helicopters in a broad daylight attack like that is not something the Syrian Arab Army would do unless there was some critical target present.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      Seriously CV, for the amount of times you say I don’t know shit, you sure are making shit up a lot.

                      Come one, you said you could easily shoot down a helicopter with a TOW. Cite please, or admit you were just bullshitting.

                      Secondly, cite please for the anti-air systems that have been given to rebels in Syria that could easily take down a helicopter on a bombing run.

                      Show me how many they have brought down, and take a look around for videos of Syrian choppers in action over urban areas.

                      And tell me about why those TOW videos have that format while you’re at it..

                      You say I don’t know shit, and beef yourself up hilariously using technical jargon about systems you quickly googled to try and bluff knowledge.

                      back it up, teach me something son.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Bottom line PB, is that Assad isn’t going away, and he is better to be in charge rather than your mates ISIS/ISIL, Al Nusra, and the “moderate terrorists” that the west backs.

                      Oh, and daylight attacks using slow moving choppers dropping IEDs against enemy held areas where enemy militants are armed with advanced shoulder launched rockets is tactically, a very bad idea, and a recipe for losing the few precious helos that Assad’s forces have left. Somalia is the classic example. Soviet supported Afghanistan another.

                      back it up, teach me something son.

                      nah you’re too much of a smartass to learn anything new, and you probably have been since you were 20.

                    • lprent []

                      Somalia was landing troops in an urban environment which tactically was a stupid idea and unlikely to be repeated. It was bloody stupid when they did it. Landing with short sight lines in a constrained space – dumb.

                      Soviet occupied Afghanistan was a classic case of having a new technology (man portable infrared seeking ground to air missiles) meeting an operational pattern that wasn’t ready for them. The Soviet army was deployed for close air support and close air suppression in mountainous valleys. Without the air support that couldn’t fly low and slow, they and the supporting Afghan troops got creamed and had to withdraw from the firebases and fortified areas in the mountainous countryside. That allowed the opposition forces safe havens within which they could regroup and build strength in. The usual attrition pattern then happened.

                      You’ll notice that despite an even larger availability of much smarter man portable seeking ground to air missiles in both Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s, that the kill rates for aircraft was a fraction of that of the soviet era aircraft. The US and NATO troops deployed in a ground pattern that didn’t require them to depend on close air support, and they used better technical infrastructure with stand off weapons like hellfires and remote artillery.

                      Their troop’s main problem was IADs, not MANPADs holding off their CAS.

                    • lprent

                      TOW’s are ok on tanks and other slow vehicles. Not so good on anything moving at any speed. Part of the nature of running out control wires

                      I guess that they could down a helicopter if they were hovering or going slow and they weren’t looking to be attacked. Like a rescue helicopter

                    • Pascals bookie

                      More lies and unsupported assertions.

                      Already busted for making shit up and pretending to know shit you don’t actually know dick about, so fall back on Mr Bottom Line.

                      Better apologists for dictators please, this one sucks.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      LP, the rescue helicopter was on the ground, you can watch it on youtube.

                      I’m keen to hear from CV what advanced systems capable of taking down helicopters the rebels have been given though, seeing not getting them has been their main complaint.

                      Suspect he isn’t going to tell me though, coz he is just making it up.

                    • lprent []

                      the rescue helicopter was on the ground

                      An ideal immobile target. They are unlikely to get that opportunity again.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      “nah you’re too much of a smartass to learn anything new, and you probably have been since you were 20.”

                      So you can’t back it up. Thought not.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m keen to hear from CV what advanced systems capable of taking down helicopters the rebels have been given though, seeing not getting them has been their main complaint.

                      The rebels have RPGs right? They are capable of taking down Black Hawk helicopters.

                      TOWs are also quite capable of taking down helicopters.

                      Russia believes that the rebels are also armed with an assortment of ground to air MANPADs, which are both cheap and common. These weapons have helped decimate Syria’s airforce over the last 4 years.

                    • lprent []

                      The rebels have RPGs right? They are capable of taking down Black Hawk helicopters.

                      Capable yes. Likely to do so – NOT.

                      About the only time that they are likely to take out a chopper is if the chopper is near stationary AND (the pilot and crew aren’t watching around them OR the sightlines are very short as in a ambush urban or forest setting).

                      By the same criteria, a world war 2 .303 round could take out one of modern tank if it hit at exactly the right spot and at the right time (obviously refuelling is the most vulnerable time). However that isn’t likely either.

                      ..an assortment of ground to air MANPADs

                      Not particularly cheap unless they have been captured or given away (ie like the Stingers were in Afghanistan in the 1980s). The problem with those is that they require reasonably skilled crews. Again they are only really useful against aircraft at low altitudes and low speeds, and usually only when they are swarmed.

                      The advantage that happened in Afghanistan with the Stingers in the 1980s was that their mountains were high enough to allow cross valley targeting. But by the early 2000s, despite a lot of MANPADs being there, the US and NATO aircraft didn’t have a real problem with them both technically and operationally.

                      The thing that mainly decimated the Syrian airforce was their support bases being overrun along with their spares and staff, and outright desertion of techs. Even moderately sophisticated aircraft require continuous skilled maintenance. The regime is likely to have lost most of them on the ground to attacks or not being able to fly them because the pilots don’t like unmaintained deathtraps. By contrast helicopters are more robust and more of them are still flying, but steadily diminishing from simple gunfire.

                      It has been quite apparent for a number of years that the technical edge and capability of Assad’s regime has been markedly diminished and that their capabilities are now getting more and more similar to those of the irregular forces that they are fighting. His Alawite regime hasn’t that politically distinguishable from any other petty ethnic warlord from early in this conflict.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So you can’t back it up. Thought not.

                      heh. My assessment about the high risk to daylight helo operations from shoulder launched weapons is the tactically correct one.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      “The rebels have RPGs right? They are capable of taking down Black Hawk helicopters.”

                      Under favourable conditions you can get lucky, sure. In somalia those chppoers were flying very low and were landing to drop off infantry. It’s not really a simialr situation.

                      “TOWs are also quite capable of taking down helicopters.”

                      Can you show me where this has ever happened?

                      “Russia believes that the rebels are also armed with an assortment of ground to air MANPADs, which are both cheap and common. These weapons have helped decimate Syria’s airforce over the last 4 years.”‘

                      cites please.

                      Only reports can find of rebels with manpads say theu captured them from syrian bases, they are russian built.

                      eg

                      http://www.news24.com/World/News/Syrian-rebels-down-aircraft-20121202

                    • Pascals bookie

                      Do these Russians look like they are scared of ground fire?

                      idk, look pretty ‘not scared’ to me.

                    • Grindlebottom

                      Thing is CV if they’re not Assad’s helicopters dropping barrel bombs, whose are they?

                      It’s too much of a stretch for me to believe they’d be US or Turkish-operated false flag attackers. If they were, why wouldn’t they’d be worried about being subject to the same risk of being shot down, either by Assad’s forces or other groups? (And I’ve got the impression from news clips I’ve seen on Al Jazeera from time to time that they’re flying way too high when dropping BBs for RPGs to be a threat.)

                      I can’t find anything with google suggesting any of the rebel groups (including ISIS) even have helicopters or aircraft with trained pilots.

                      Edit: Correction, found one article. But it’s dated Oct 2014 and from a website of unknown reliability.
                      http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/isis-reportedly-has-fighter-pilots-flying-migs-over-syr-1647549076?trending_test_two_e&utm_expid=66866090-68.hhyw_lmCRuCTCg0I2RHHtw.4&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.nz%2F

            • The Chairman 11.5.1.2.1.3

              The problem is you stated the Assad regime dropped a barrel bomb on a civilian area, then targeted the local hospital. However, there is no conclusive evidence of that. Moreover, the logic for them doing so fails to add up.

              Therefore, while no one here is supporting such actions, we are questioning your claim and the one sided report provided.

              • Pascals bookie

                Someone appears to have done it, and the logic does stack up.

                Hitting hospitals and other civil services really isn;t uncommon in these sorts of brutal conflicts.

                A hospital is a strategic asset, there is a logic behind hitting them, a really ugly one but a logic all the same. It’s why they made it illegal.

                Hospitals reduce sufferring.

                I realise you really don’t want to think it’s true, but read up on what Assad’s regime is capable of there is lots of info easily available.

                Is it proven? No, never said that, but Occam’s razor has Assad as the most likely candidate by a long stretch. So saying ‘he did it’ is comfortable for me right now.

                this isn’t a court, I don’t have to extend him reasonable doubt. If you can show he didn’t do it, I’m all ears, your alternate theory needs work though. Who has the capability to fly over the area as described?

                • Colonial Viper

                  it’s just as likely that Turkish backed forces launched this attack against the hospital, as a false flag.

                • The Chairman

                  Even if Assad wanted to take out a hospital (for the reason you suggested) he still relies on public opinion (local and internationally) to help maintain power and win this fight, thus it would have been done covertly. Openly attacking hospitals does Assad no favours.

                  Therefore, logic suggests his opponents have far more to gain from such actions.

                  Numerous opposing groups have the capability.

                  • Pascals bookie

                    “Numerous opposing groups have the capability.”

                    Who? I’m happy to discuss this. Who has the ability to get helicopters over Homs at the moment? Shall we start with that question?

                    But nah, he is relying on the military (and imported religious militia, and the Russians) rather than public opinion at the moment. I mean, that’s what is actually happening eh.

                    • The Chairman

                      Again, numerous opposing groups. Air force bases have been taken. Helicopters could have been brought in from over the border. Helicopters can fly under the radar.

                      For all we know, the CIA could be covertly in action.
                      .
                      While it’s true Assad requires military assistance to maintain power he also requires public support (locally and internationally).

                      You can’t beat terrorism without the support of the people. Openly bombing hospitals is likely to foster its growth.

                      Additionally, his Russian allies are pushing for an early election to further demonstrate his mandate in a hope to win points internationally.

                      Openly bombing hospitals weakens his international standing while strengthening the position of those wanting him out.

                      Going of the last election result, he clearly has overwhelming support locally, thus wouldn’t want to jeopardize that by openly bombing his own hospitals.

          • McFlock 11.5.1.2.2

            and the media think every russian rocket fired from a truck is a katyusha.

            But MSF probalby know when their hospital gets bombed.

      • joe90 11.5.2

        I sometimes wonder if these people read what they write.

        meh

        When precision is not an option, such as when a foreign power decides to fight someone else’s war on the cheap, brute unguided bombing is the alternative. What could be destroyed with a single anti-tank missile, keeping civilian casualties and physical destruction of property to a relative minimum, is instead done using a barrage of 250 kg bombs lobbed in hopes of finding the intended target.

        http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/syrians-are-paying-a-high-price-for-russia-s-cheap-bomb-1744082828?trending_test_two_a&utm_expid=66866090-68.hhyw_lmCRuCTCg0I2RHHtw.1

    • Tracey 11.6

      Yup. Yanks bombed MSF … now Assad has a go. Innocent people are being killed to save the innocent people.

    • northshoredoc 11.7

      Good to see my prediction came to pass and the thread descended into high farce.

  12. veutoviper 12

    Tea Tape Update

    Remember when, back prior to the 2011 General Election, John Key and john Banks had their infamous cup of tea and chat in a public cafe? And their chat was taped – inadvertently or otherwise – by Bradley Ambrose?

    A year ago in Dec 2014, Bradley Ambrose filed defamation proceedings in the Auckland High Court against John Key, claiming a total of $1.25m.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11371272
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/bradley-ambrose-sues-pm-125m-ck-166481

    In March 2015, a pre-trial telephone conference was held in AKL High Court and
    the Court set down a two-week trial to commence on 16 February 2015.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/…/Cameraman-to-take-Prime-Minister-John-Key-to-court

    IIRC, a couple of pre-trial hearings have been held over recent months, but can provide no links – merely my memory from checking the daily High Court lists and not reported in the media.

    Key has always maintained that he would not settle with Ambrose or resile from his statements etc that led to the defamation claims and “in the end it will go through the court process”.

    However, the Auckland High Court list for today shows a listing in Court 15 before Hon Justice Thomas for an Application to Strike Out by Defendant. [The defendant being John Key.]

    Watch this space ….

    • veutoviper 12.1

      Oops – trial set down for 16 Feb 2016 – not 2015.

    • tracey 12.2

      Fascinating…

      r 15.1. Rule 15.1 provides: 15.1 Dismissing or staying all or part of proceeding (1) The court may strike out all or part of a pleading if it—

      (a) discloses no reasonably arguable cause of action, defence, or case appropriate to the nature of the pleading; or
      (b) is likely to cause prejudice or delay; or
      (c) is frivolous or vexatious; or
      (d) is otherwise an abuse of the process of the court

      Attorney-General v Prince and Gardner the Court of Appeal said:

      “A striking-out application proceeds on the assumption that the facts pleaded in the statement of claim are true. That is so even although they are not or may not be admitted. It is well settled that before the Court may strike out proceedings the causes of action must be so clearly untenable that they cannot possibly succeed (R Lucas & Son (Nelson Mail) Ltd v O’Brien [1978] 2 NZLR 289 at pp 294-295; Takaro Properties Ltd (in receivership) v Rowling [1978] 2 NZLR 314 at pp 316-317); the jurisdiction is one to be exercised sparingly, and only in a clear case where the Court is satisfied it has the requisite material (Gartside v Sheffield, Young & Ellis [1983] NZLR 37 at p 45; Electricity Corporation Ltd v Geotherm Energy Ltd [1992] 2 NZLR 641); but the fact that applications to strike out raise difficult questions of law, and require extensive argument does not exclude jurisdiction (Gartside v Sheffield, Young & Ellis).

      The principles referred to above were endorsed by the Supreme Court in Couch v Attorney-General.

  13. Muttonbird 13

    Judge Sharp valiantly coming to the defence of the mouthpiece of the rich, Paul Henry, even going so far as to cover for slack police procedure.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/74634923/protester-guilty-of-paul-henry-assault

    On Wednesday (Chavez’ lawyer) Wilson asked that a conviction not be entered immediately, and said Chavez intended to have a restorative justice session with Henry before sentencing in February.

    Haha, I’d like to witness this session.

    • BM 14.1

      I’d say some sort of fashion crime.

      That’s one ugly shirt, looks like he wore his pjs to work.

      • Skinny 14.1.1

        What he is being paid they won’t disclose, so you can take it he is being paid hansomely, it will be a designer shirt, just Heatley has bad taste. No need to advertise the new position it was created just for him, reminds me of Shane Jones and a job made for him. Abit of cronyism here and there is how National roll.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      The council’s chief executive Malcolm Nicolson said he created the job with the former Whangarei National MP’s skills and experience in mind.

      The job was not advertised and nor was there any legal obligation to do so, he said.

      So, the job was created specifically for one person…

      This is a prime example of the corruption that happens in NZ.

      • Tracey 14.2.1

        Someone who has been in the very govt pushing tis agenda.. At least they didnt waste other peoples time by pretending to be open to other candidates.

      • Skinny 14.2.2

        Yes it smacks of jobs for the boys. The super city model was rejected so the Tories send in one of their own to push Nationals agenda. Be interested to hear what Winston Peters has to say?

    • Anne 14.3

      From the link:

      The wide-scope job also includes the role of “continuous improvement manager”, to promote Northland effectively in local government and national forums.

      What a load of neo liberal bullshit! I remember that sort of meaningless language creeping into the Public Service in the late 80s and early 90s. Jobs for the boys is all it is. I can’t see the member for Northland, Winston Peters falling for that clap-trap.

      Edit: oops, Skinny has already noted same further down @ 14.3. Well, I agree with him.

  14. Chooky 15

    ‘Russia has ‘more proof’ ISIS oil routed through Turkey, Erdogan says he’ll resign if it’s true’

    https://www.rt.com/news/324045-putin-erdogan-su-downing/

    ( so ISIS does not exist in a vacuum)

    ‘Erdogan’s blunder’

    https://www.rt.com/shows/crosstalk/323904-turkey-russia-jet-syria/

    “Crime, and now punishment: So far the Russians are succeeding on all counts. The situation in Syria has stabilized, the Syrian army is on the offensive, and negotiations are underway. Is this why Turkey shot down the Russian jet over Syrian airspace?

    CrossTalking with Dmitry Babich, Mark Sleboda, and Stephen Ebert.”

  15. Grindlebottom 16

    Couple of interesting developments heard on Al Jazeera this morning.

    1. US Defence Secretary Ash Carter announcing an Expeditionary Force being sent to Iraq from where it will operate in Iraq & Syria to

    …conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/12027941/US-to-send-elite-expeditionary-force-to-hunt-down-Isil-leaders-in-Syria.html

    He indicated the initial initial expeditionary force could be expanded. Shades of Vietnam?

    2. Obama stating in a press conference

    What can happen is if the political process … if that works in Vienna, then it’s possible, given the existing accord the parties have already agreed to, we see at least pockets of cease-fires in and around Syria,” Obama said. “That may mean then that certain opposition groups no longer find themselves subject to either Syrian or Russian bombing. They are then in a conversation about politics. And slowly, we are then able to get everybody’s attention diverted to where it needs to be that—and that is going after ISIL in a systematic way.

    While he also talked about the problem being Assad needs to step down, while Russia wants him to stay on, and Russia needs to change its view, it seems Putin is winning here on the diplomatic front, and the US is losing.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/12/turkey-russia-syria-plane-isis/418125/

    • Grindlebottom 16.1

      Whoops, sorry, delete the extra “h” from the “hhttp” for the link to 2nd article.

      • Pascals bookie 16.1.2

        On that first story (about US special forces deployments:

        http://news.yahoo.com/iraqi-shiite-militias-pledge-fight-u-forces-deployed-191053767.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory&soc_trk=tw

        “We will chase and fight any American force deployed in Iraq,” said Jafaar Hussaini, a spokesman for one of the Shi’ite armed groups, Kata’ib Hezbollah. “Any such American force will become a primary target for our group. We fought them before and we are ready to resume fighting.”

        Spokesmen for the Iranian-backed Badr Organisation and Asaib Ahl al-Haq made similar statements to Reuters, expressing their distrust of American forces since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and the subsequent occupation

        • Grindlebottom 16.1.2.1

          Very interesting PB. I don’t see a good outcome here. There are so many competing/feuding opposition forces I don’t see how anyone could hold any kind of opposition coalition together, let alone get them to agree to work with Assad’s forces and US forces.

          Al Jazeera also said something about Germany and I think other NATO countries agreeing to commit more aircraft to the conflict. It’s gotta only be a matter of time before someone shoots someone else down either by design or accident, and that situation also gets out of hand, surely? Syria’s airspace must be getting pretty crowded & there’ll be a lot of testosterone flowing up there I imagine.

          • Colonial Viper 16.1.2.1.1

            US military on the ground in Syria without the consent of the Syrian Government and without a UN mandate, are of course little more than an illegal invasion force.

            In contrast, Hezbollah fighters and Iranian Republican Guard elements invited by the Assad Government to be in Syria are rightfully there.

            The US is opening the door to an escalation in Syria where their troops will be attacked (by whoever) and they will then have justification to pour in tens of thousands of NATO boots on the ground.

            • Grindlebottom 16.1.2.1.1.1

              Maybe. I don’t think they know what they’re doing. I think they’re making it up as they go. And I don’t think anyone really has any idea what’s going to happen there. It’s out of everybody’s control from what I can see. Just a buggers’ muddle of killing & intrigue. Anyone thinking they’re going to go in there and sort it out permanently is dreaming.

  16. The Chairman 17

    A Rimutaka Prison inmate is in a serious condition at Hutt Hospital after being assaulted by another prisoner

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/74643903/inmate-in-serious-condition-after-being-injured-at-rimutaka-prison

    Should the failure to protect prisoners result in victims of such failures being compensated?

    Thoughts?

  17. Jcuknz 19

    Was at the airport this morning to meet my son arriving from the States and saw this woman with a pigtail and immediately thought “I hope John Key isn’t also here” 🙂

  18. Morrissey 21

    Is Obama insane?

    This statement, quoted in the Grauniad, would suggest that Obama is explicitly stating that Turkey has been supplying Isis and facilitating its finances using smuggled oil but that Russian interdiction of these activities is the bigger problem. How can any sane person believe this?

    “There are about 98 kilometres that are still used as a transit point for foreign fighters [and] Isil shipping out fuel for sale that helps finance their terrorist activities,” said Obama.

    “We have got to choke them off. We have got to choke off their ability to make money and bring in new fighters,” he added.

    “We have taken tens of thousands of fighters off their battlefield, but if new ones continue to come in, then they continue to maintain a stranglehold over certain population centres inside Iraq and Syria.”

    The US president downplayed expectations of a swift end to Russian airstrikes against US-backed rebel forces fighting against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

    “I don’t expect that you’re going to see a 180 [degree] turn on their strategy over the next several weeks,” said Obama. “They have invested, for years now, in keeping Assad in power. Their presence there is predicated on propping him up, and so that’s going to take some time for them to change how they think about the issue.

    “I don’t think we should be under any illusions that somehow Russia starts hitting only Isil targets,” he added. “That’s not happening now. It was never happening. It’s not going to be happening in the next several weeks.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/01/us-military-expeditionary-force-isis-iraq-syria

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1449023286.html

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