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Open Mike 04/02/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 4th, 2017 - 138 comments
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Open 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 …

138 comments on “Open Mike 04/02/2017 ”

  1. Andre 1

    Europeans are surprisingly cool about Trump making America First. They all just want to be second, ok?

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/02/03/germany_switzerland_denmark_belgium_and_portugal_join_the_netherlands_in.html

  2. Adrian Thornton 2

    Yes Trump is a crazy and possibly insane lose cannon, who should to be fought at every turn.
    Yes Bill English is scary ideologue, a true believer.
    But until the Left addresses it’s own part in Trumps ascension,and Nationals continuing popularity, looks hard at it’s own failings in addressing the needs of average working class and poor citizens in both the US and here in NZ, then what would we be fighting him for?… so our own (left) centrist parties can continue on their neo liberal free market march off the inevitable cliff? fuck that.

    Witness Labour this week, Greg O’Connor and Willie Jackson, invited into the party.
    You might have thought Labour would have taken notice of the DNC’s disastrous concessions and shift to the right in the US election…but no.

    It speaks volumes that Labour hasn’t sought out a couple of progressive left candidates to give those on the left in NZ something to hang on to…but no…and so their neo liberal centrist ideology becomes clearer and more transparent every day.

    • Andre 2.1

      Adrian, what policies would you like Labour to have that are different to what they are proposing?

      You put out a lot of vague general negativity about Labour, but you’re very short on any specifics of positive things you think Labour should do differently.Who are the progressive left candidates you think Labour should be inviting in? Names please.

      From my personal sense of where people are at politically from conversations with people in the manufacturing workplaces I’ve been at, I really don’t think Labour would net gain votes with a big shift to the left. For every vote they might gain on the left and from the disaffected, they would lose a centrist vote. And the centrists are the more reliable voters.

      • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1

        I would like to see Labour demand a living wage.
        I would like to see Labour have a comprehensive plan around the rental market, and all it’s current and up coming implications.
        I would like to see Labour not encourage and promote temporary foreign labour into NZ.
        I would like Labour to forcefully put a stop to, or at least drastically slow the the fetish of trading housing as commodities in New Zealand, and half a million dollar affordable housing isn’t going to do that.
        I would like to see Labour kick for profit prisons out of NZ
        I would like to see Labour re-establish night classes.

        I do especially like Labours, Our Work Our Future plan.
        I do like Labours post school education plan, it is a good start, but doesn’t go far enough.
        NZ should have free University education, and forgive all student debt.
        I do like Labours , Young Entrepreneurs Policy.

        Look I am not a politician, nor a policy maker, but I am a Labour supporter, and I know what I want from a labour party, I think they have some good stuff in the manifesto, but they, and we need to aim higher, a lot higher.

        I don’t want to be negative, and I am the first to admit I don’t have the answers, but at the moment it seems as if Labour just has no real passion for a fair and equal country for all NZ…. John Campbell often sounds like he cares more about that project than Andrew Little, and I guess I just wish it was the other way around.

        BTW I don’t know if you have noticed, but the strategy of western centre left parties chasing that elusive centre/ centre right vote is fast becoming the death nail for all of them.

        • Andre 2.1.1.1

          Then we’ve got a lot of common ground.

          I think you’d be a lot more effective in shifting the positioning by moving from a negative frame (Labour are useless out-of-touch neoliberal elites for thinking $600k is an affordable house) to a goal oriented frame ($600k is a step in the right direction. But what’s the plan to get that to $300k, which is closer to being affordable?).

          • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1.1.1

            In the past I would have, and generally have agreed with your “goal oriented’ philosophy in regards to Labour, but after so many years of following that rabbit down it’s hole, and being constantly disappointed, it looks to me now, like that hole is most probably a dead end, even in the long term.

            I have always regarded my vote for a party as a vote of confidence, even if that has only expressed itself in a vague hope that there would be a slow moving ideological shift from within Labour, but you would have to admit that with the news of Greg O’Connor and Willie Jackson this week, and two weeks ago Nash banging on about gangs like some sort of deranged Michael Laws, along with Labour’s unseemly obsession with the centre, things aren’t looking all that positive for any sort of change, even slow change.

        • Carolyn_nth 2.1.1.2

          Adrian: I would like to see Labour have a comprehensive plan around the rental market, and all it’s current and up coming implications.

          Yep. And I’m turned right off by Labour’s Kiwibuild policy beginning with backing the Kiwi Dream of home ownership.

          It begins:

          The Kiwi Dream of homeownership is slipping away. Only a quarter of adults under 40 own their own home, compared to half in 1991. Too few houses are being built, which is helping to drive up prices beyond the reach of middle New Zealand, and too few of the houses that are built are affordably priced for new home buyers.

          Meanwhile, Labour’s home page has the slogan We’re backing the Kiwi Dream

          And their housing policy focuses on home ownership plus state housing. But there’s nothing there about renters of private housing. Furthermore, state housing is kind of the fall back position for those who can’t achieve the Kiwi dream of home ownership.

          The values and cultural focus are totally at odds with mine. I just read this November 2016 article on Huffington Post today, which spells out the problem with the primary cultural and institutional focus on home ownership in the US – also called the “American Dream” – so not really a specifically Kiwi Dream, just an idea borrowed from or echoing the alleged dream in the primary capitalist country of recent times.

          The HuffPo article, by Abraham Guttman, states that 41% of people in the US live in rental accommodation. Guttman explains that:

          In American society, the institutionalized means are study hard/work hard (and maybe go to church every so often), and the cultural goals are accumulate wealth and own a house.

          The first sentence in the quote is confusing. It should be read as “study hard or work hard”…. Actually, i think the hard work thing is a cultural value. the institutions, as argued by Guttman, favour those that have the means to by a home, by giving financial subsidies to home buyers – while renters get no such finanical favours:

          If one of the American cultural goals is homeownership, the mortgage interest tax deduction is a tool to maintain this social order.

          That tax deduction is actually an institutional means.

          Guttman says that many people follow the institutionalised means of study hard-or-work hard, but never achieve the cultural goal of home ownership. Nevertheless, they keep doing the hard work or hard study like some kind of morally upstanding ritual. By doing that, they maintain the social order.

          Guttman argues that the way forward is for renters to rebel against this social order, by not conforming, and campaigning for a system that doesn’t favour home buyers over renters, institutionally and culturally.

          So enough of this talk about home ownership being the Kiwi Dream.

          • Andre 2.1.1.2.1

            Just a note that the mortgage interest tax deduction is worth a hell of a lot more to high income/big mortgage types than those on a lower income or smaller mortgage. Because the US has a fairly large fixed “standard deduction” to cover things like state taxes, mortgage interest deductions etc, and it’s only worthwhile claiming itemized deductions for mortgage interest etc when you go over the standard deduction.

            Also, when I was in Wisconsin, they had a “renter’s credit” tax deduction as a partial even-up for those that couldn’t take advantage of the mortgage deduction. Although no doubt Scott Walker has canned it by now.

          • Incognito 2.1.1.2.2

            Meanwhile, Labour’s home page has the slogan We’re backing the Kiwi Dream

            Particularly politicians love to talk ‘dreamy’ stuff and “aspirational” things, all very vague and vanilla but always aimed to raise a feel-good sensation, a promise that the grass is greener at the other side, and a glimmer of hope for a brighter future even. Talk about greatness, etc., or Utopia (e.g. Peter Thiel) or the “Athens of the modern world” (Richard Dawkins). I am not trying to be cynical – I’m a cynic – but I believe this is a distinctly human trait that we all share.

            Labour and National are the same when it comes to this dream-weaving; I’ve written about this before here on TS.

            And their housing policy focuses on home ownership plus state housing. But there’s nothing there about renters of private housing. Furthermore, state housing is kind of the fall back position for those who can’t achieve the Kiwi dream of home ownership.

            I don’t read it quite the same way but obviously the MSM does and focusses on home owners and first-home buyers although plenty of stuff has been written a WOF for rentals, for example. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma attached to renting, suggesting (stereotyping) that renters are unsuccessful or not successful enough, unproductive or not productive enough, and worse … Labour must control the narrative, especially its own!

            • Carolyn_nth 2.1.1.2.2.1

              Yes, Labour does WOF for private renters – but nothing about rent caps/regulations. Nothing about security of tenure for private renters. And nothing about keeping private rents affordable for low-middle income households (especially in the bigger cities).

              Accommodation allowances are a subsidy to landlords, who then continue to put up rents for those without accommodation allowances.

              High rents may be partly countered by tackling housing speculation. But needs much more than that.

              Plus, it is not necessary to play the game of mythical dreams, especially when they harm the less well off. Time to change the values, and stop using right wing propaganda techniques.

              • Incognito

                Some want Labour to go (much) further than its current policies and announcements. Some want Labour to “turn left”. Its Housing policies are just one prong for changing things, over time.

                The main task now is to change the Government without becoming more like it! To achieve this Labour has to come with better narrative, and it has been improving, I have to say (Yay!), and control it, own it, by consistently repeating it (and removing any real or perceived inconsistencies in the message but also the messaging and possibly also the messenger, which does not mean “shoot the messenger”).

                The question seems to come down to whether Labour can be trusted or not. Do we believe that Labour will deliver on its policies and more or not? Do we think that the less-well-off will be better off under a Government that includes Labour? Do we think that all this and other important issues are essentially a zero-sum game and changes thus come at the expense (!) of the well-off? The (some) rich also appear to be struggling; it is not the same as the struggles of the Precariat (by definition) but to the rich it feels real and causes a lot of stress & anxiety – they will generally not take kindly to Labour and its policies if they are told, rightly or wrongly, that they will “have to pay” for it. Just saying.

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/personal-finance/news/article.cfm?c_id=12&objectid=11794078
                http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/89029839/why-the-rich-are-running-out-of-money

                Each of us has many questions and no answers because even hope is taking a punt on the future while we live in the here & now – do what you can do and don’t focus on what you can’t control right now.

                I hope I don’t sound too wishy-washy 😉

            • Olwyn 2.1.1.2.2.2

              Ours is a low-wage economy, accompanied by preternatural property prices. Under such circumstances it is insulting to go along with a stigma against renters. Moreover, “dreamy stuff” works for people who either see the proffered dream as a natural extension of where they are now, or who want to be reassured that the hardship of others isn’t all that hard or all that permanent. But when people are actually hurting, and can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, dreamy stuff increases their frustration and anger. In that position, you don’t care about dreams, you just want the assurance that reality is going to get a bit easier. When Helen Clark was first elected as PM, the strength of the Alliance, along with the Labour pledge card, gave people that assurance.

              • Incognito

                Thank you for your comment.

                In European countries renting is generally much more socially accepted than here in NZ. Interestingly, rentals over there also tend to be institutionalised and owned by large super funds, for example. I do wonder whether mum-dad investors and landlords do play a relatively large role in the stigma here.

                The issue that I have with “dreamy stuff” and also Labour’s Kiwi Dream is that is too vague, too unspecific, too polytelic, if you like; it means different things to different people but it remains largely unspoken and thus unspecified even at the individual level. Often “dreamy stuff” is very closely linked to emotions and emotive behaviour. So, yes, anger and frustration fit in there quite well.

                If Labour is going to give “reassurances” AKA “election promises” they’d better be clear, specific, and feasible. However, that would also give their political opponents something to either copy or attack. But if Labour does not have the confidence and conviction to stand up for what they believe in, for their values, and defend these regardless then they may have to resort to vague emotive slogans just like National, or, God forbid, semantic trickery combined with selective amnesia.

          • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1.2.3

            Yes it really is a huge and embarrassing hole in Labour’s 2017 campaign, I think Socialist Aotearoa are the only political organization that takes this issue seriously.
            Labour would be far better off having input from Joe Carolan, than those idiots Greg O’Connor and Willie Jackson.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2.4

            So enough of this talk about home ownership being the Kiwi Dream.

            QFT

            Much better to shift to a nation of renters with all houses being state owned.

            • McFlock 2.1.1.2.4.1

              lol good luck with that policy.

              It might be something other than laughable in, say, twenty years. In the meantime, any ideas on policies that would get a party elected?

              • Draco T Bastard

                With home ownership dropping and with many of those who do own in strife I think it may be more popular than you realise. With life-time lease and full maintenance from just a small percentage of household income – I think the majority would jump at it.

                • McFlock

                  Not after the nats tell several hundred thousand homeowners “labour want to steal your home”.

                  Even if that’s not a fair summary of your plan, it’s the headline that will be repeated incessantly.

                  • weka

                    Out of curiosity, what would happen to existing home owners’ property rights?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    And one that would be counted easily with the fact that market rates would be paid – if they decided to sell.

                    The reverse, and accurate headline, would be to use the word liar every time National tried it. Make people aware that they are lying. ATM the Left politicians seem not to want to do that.

                    • McFlock

                      So they’d have a choice about selling to the government?
                      What about to someone else?
                      What about bequests?
                      What about family trusts owning homes?

                      It seems to me that to achieve your goal of all houses being state owned, sooner or later it’s going to be against the wishes of someone who’d be an owner under the status quo. And then you’re stealing homes.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The status quo is the problem. It’s going to take awhile to change but we do need to change it.

                      And I happen to think that getting rid of home ownership is actually both the easiest to do and the place to start. Removing that stressor for so many so quickly will be a major plus.

                    • McFlock

                      So your policy is actually to steal homes and the nats wouldn’t be lying if they said it?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      No, it’s to buy them.

                      Those who want to keep them can do so.

                      They’ll just find that it will cost them more to do so.

                    • McFlock

                      Cost them more to keep a home they already own?
                      So the nats correct themselves from”theft” to “extortion”.
                      Either way not much of a vote catcher

    • gsays 2.2

      Hi Adrian,
      I largely agree with the second half of yr opinion.
      Laila Harre joining the party gave hope for a wee while, but talk of Greg O’Connor and Jackson has given reason to curb the enthusiasm.

      • Andre 2.2.1

        I have huge respect for Laila. She’s a fighter. She says things that need to be said. When shit gets thrown at her she lets it slide off so she can throw it straight back. I strongly agree with many of the goals she fights for.

        But, eyes firmly towards the most important goal of changing the government later this year, she really hasn’t had much success at attracting votes, has she?

        • The decrypter 2.2.1.1

          Yes agree. “Eyes Front”

        • gsays 2.2.1.2

          Well I can only speak personally, she has attracted my vote. Mana/internet crowd.

          Labour is in an awkward spot.
          Looking at UK and the labour party there,
          the ‘left’ in the US,
          the question of relevance comes up.

          The mou with greens can’t hurt their chances.

          The greens seemed to have moved to more centrist position, with the moving on of Nandor Tanzcos and Sue Bradford, and the quiet approach to social justice issues,
          eg relative silence on the recent talk of decriminalising pot.

          The Tories are fine, the nats exist only to negate any moves to the left.

          • Andre 2.2.1.2.1

            Personally the positioning I would like to see is Greens being loud about the environment and talking up the benefits of a green economy in a clean healthy environment, and willing to work towards those goals with whoever forms the government. That focus more naturally aligns aligns with left/progressive policies in other areas, but I prefer it when the Greens signal willingness to work with anyone, which positions as centrist.

            I cheered when Little said something like Labour wants to work for those who work for their money, rather than those whose money works for them.That strikes me as a good principle for informing positions on unions, taxation, education etc etc.

            I would like there to be a third “left” party like the Alliance or Mana focused on those marginalised by current society.

            In most areas there’s a natural alignment. But it some areas the natural priotrities would conflict. Then the vote share between the three parties would give a big hint to the priorities of the electorate.

            • weka 2.2.1.2.1.1

              “I cheered when Little said something like Labour wants to work for those who work for their money, rather than those whose money works for them.That strikes me as a good principle for informing positions on unions, taxation, education etc etc.”

              My heart sinks when I hear that, not because it’s not good, but because in the absences of strong, or any, message about how people who cannot work will be supported I see Labour’s potential to harm beneficiaries. Again. I trust the Greens more on this, but mostly because they don’t have a history of actively impoverishing vulnerable people, but they’re still relatively silent too.

              I don’t know why they can’t say the above and something about helping people with disabilities or full time care obligations.

              • weka

                As an example, tell me how this couple would be helped by Labour’s policies. See if you can be specific. I’m not talking about the hospital issue, but once the person is already dying.

                http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/88813708/future-snatched-away-from-manawatu-couple

                • Andre

                  I see this situation as one where if there were a party like Alliance in a coalition government, they would be able to argue for this couple as part of their core constituency, and Labour would find it easier to sign off on improving the policies that apply on the grounds of it being necessary for the coalition.

                  Whereas if Labour tries to improve the applicable policies it risks getting attacked with the argument of “workers taxes going to pay for bludging benes”. Which does actually work on a lot of the workforce.

                  I see it as learning the lesson of how National uses ACT as cover for implementing policies it knows won’t be very popular with the electorate.

                  • weka

                    Hmm, I take it then that beneficiaries are screwed unless we get a party like the Alliance back in govt, which obviously isn’t going to happen any time soon. Not good enough.

                    • Adrian Thornton

                      Hi weka, I was following a thread you started a few days ago “Then hope” and so thought of you when I was listening to this interview with Political economist David McNally talking about The Working Class and Anticapitalism at work this morning…

                      https://kpfa.org/episode/against-the-grain-january-25-2017/

                      It is one of the best conversations I have heard on western left resistance movements for a long while..very informed, insightful and quite inspiring.

                    • weka

                      “Political economist David McNally talks about the past and future of radical class-based politics.”

                      Is he looking at all classes or focussing on working classes?

              • Andre

                The problem I see is that people in the workforce are easily led into perceiving their interests as conflicting with those who really do need extra help from society. So in a big-tent approach it’s a very tough balancing and communication job to help the different groups see they’ve got more interests in common than differences.

                Whereas it looks to me that if a sufficiently strong Mana or Alliance type party emerged, then the natural response to someone using a wedge issue trying to stir up worker/beneficiary hostility would be to leave it as an area where there will be tough negotiations between the parties. I think it would reduce the likelihood of Labour blurting out really dumb shit shit like Shearer’s roof-painting beneficiary.

                • The land is barren and salted to the left of labour – that is why 2 prominent Alliance people namely Harre and Jackson are coming back inside the labour tent. And it is also why Harawira is buddying up with The Māori Party. There is no ‘left’ party or position left. So that ain’t going to stop the dumb blurts from Labour. And it is also going to stop the romantic and utterly unrealistic ideal that Labour will go ‘left’. They won’t because they don’t need to.

                  This imo is the hard lay of the land from an activist leftie.

                  • weka

                    Yep. Less hard if one sees potential in the Greens, and the sooner we get to working with the reality of the situation the better.

              • saveNZ

                The issue with that is that there are going to be fewer jobs…
                “Labour wants to work for those who work for their money, rather than those whose money works for them”

                I’d like to see more a French system where full time hours are lowered to a 35 hr working week and people have time to enjoy their lives.

                But I also see NZ future in areas like new patents, the arts and new technology. But avoiding agreements like TPPA that is protecting out dated and powerful interests and old technologies.

                NZ is relying on commodities, tourism and building jobs while selling off those land and assets offshore is not going to create enough wealth for NZ to be able to run a functioning social welfare system… we are turning into a banana republic.

                More jobs if they are low paid or polluting and subsidised by tax payers are not going to work long term. So I am not in favour of jobs for jobs sake.

                We are in a punitive system that seems to be suppressing people’s joy of life in favour of making them work harder and longer. Ruining the environment so that someone can make a profit short term. Punishing those who are not in traditional work but rewarding those like Peter Thiel.

                So I am slightly worried about the idea of work that Little is talking about. Some work is not paid like raising a family and looking after the elderly or environment.

                Work is not everything and not everyone works for money either.

                • weka

                  Labour want to raise wages too, and improve employment conditions, so it’s not like they’re just focussed on more jobs and nothing else.

                  The things you’d like to see still don’t solve the problem of people who can’t work. It’s not just Labour, it’s lefties who support this whole framing of better jobs and pay will solve our problems. But that’s not inclusive, it’s exclusionary.

        • Wayne 2.2.1.3

          Laila would loose Labour votes. She has too much history in too many parties. That will dog her.
          Willie will appeal. He has a big following on radio, and is a really interesting person.
          The votes Labour needs to win are currently with National, not in the so called missing million. Centre National voters who are presumable are hardly going to moved by a hard left message, or hard left personalities.

          • Andre 2.2.1.3.1

            Remind me again Wayne, whose side are you on?

            • Once was and others etc 2.2.1.3.1.1

              I think if you were to hear Geeze Wayne on RNZ this past week, it’d be pretty obvious whose ‘side’ he’s on. I.e. he’s on the side of Geeze Wayne and anyone that fits his narrow ideological view (going forward, of course).
              Like Groser and others, Wayne’s a real hero and a legend in his own mind.

              It’s a damn shame we don’t have satirical comedy on television anymore – you could do a whole series on Wayne Mapp without much difficulty

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Satire is wasted on people who herald a new “Anglo” (he means white men) alliance.

          • Adrian Thornton 2.2.1.3.2

            @Wayne, Paul Henry and Mike Hoskins have large followings on the radio, would you vote for them?..maybe you would.

            You are obviously completely out of touch with international politics, all western left leaning ( neo liberal) parties that have succeeded on that centre demographic in the past, and chase them obsessively still, are being destroyed one at a time.

          • The decrypter 2.2.1.3.3

            I.m gonna tell the herald what you said-I really am.

    • Redbaiter 2.3

      Mark Latham knows what Labor needs to do in Australia. Where’s his NZ equivalent? These policies, adapted to NZ and promoted by NZ Labour, would immediately drive National into political obscurity. Where they deserve to be.

      You guys will only become effective again when you understand that the Nats have stolen your political market, and you adopt a strategy to counter that theft.

      ——————————————————–

      1 Big cuts to the Federal Government’s annual 200,000-plus immigration and refugee program, ending the major-party consensus for a Big Australia. Slower population growth would take the pressure off local employment, urban congestion, housing prices and environmental sustainability — a massive win-win-win-win in public policy.

      2 An end to social engineering programs, with the abolition of Safe Schools, Respectful Relationships, university safe spaces, Section 18C and man-bashing government agencies such as Our Watch and the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS).

      3 Democratising the ABC, making it a clearinghouse for citizen-based broadcasting. Any Australian should be able to post their blogged, podcast or webcast material on its platforms. The most popular contributors would then be promoted to appear on the ABC’s radio and television programs — breaking the longstanding Leftist monopoly.

      4 Reforming the Human Rights Commission so that it serves the public, not political correctness. The Commission’s charter should be recast to promote community building, Australian values and the virtues of Western civilisation. It has an important role to play in pushing back against the spread of radical Islam — the greatest human rights threat to our society.

      5 Ending the era of big government. To reboot economic growth and international competitiveness, Australia’s top marginal tax rate should be cut from 49 per cent to 35, with other income brackets also receiving tax relief. To increase the disposable earnings of hardworking Australians, the Federal Government needs to make us a low-tax regime.

      6 Big cuts to wasteful Federal spending, especially in transport, higher education, energy subsidies, corporate welfare, Canberra’s defence and foreign policy establishment, arts funding, public broadcasting and mental health rorts. Entire departments and agencies need to be abolished, bringing the size of government back to pre-2000 levels. The profligacy of the past 17 years has given Australia the worst of both worlds: bloated bureaucracies and stagnant economic growth.

      7 Slashing regulation on business, especially when it holds back the development of new industries. For instance, Australia should be a global energy superpower with a dynamic mix of coal, renewable, CSG and nuclear energy. But the dead hand of government has knocked out the latter two. With the recent weakening of the economy, we can no longer afford to turn away new sources of jobs and investment.

      8 Urgent school education reform, fundamentally changing the face of Australian teaching. On the international league table of academic achievement, we have fallen behind Kazakhstan — a national embarrassment. The top performer, Singapore, has based its success on a highly selective process for teacher recruitment. We need to do the same, increasing salaries for high-quality teachers and weeding out under-performers.

      9 A new war on poverty, creating economic opportunity for all Australians. Non-viable indigenous settlements and public housing estates need to be closed down, with residents moving to areas where they can access jobs and services. The intergenerational poverty cycle also needs to be broken through improved teaching and learning programs in disadvantaged schools.

      10 Genuine reform of parliamentary entitlements to make rorting impossible. The Turnbull Government’s recent proposals are no more than window-dressing. Entitlement amounts should be bundled together and capped, with travel funding released only after MPs have demonstrated the primacy of parliamentary work in their itineraries. An Anti-Corruption Commission is also needed to guard against the corrosive influence of machine politics and paid lobbyists.

  3. Paul 3

    Not good.

    Billionaire Peter Thiel makes fortune after ‘sweetheart’ deal with Government

    A scheme funded by New Zealand taxpayers netted billionaire Peter Thiel tens of millions of dollars while his publicly-funded investment partner barely broke even.

    The partnering of Thiel’s Valar Ventures and the government-owned New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) was launched by Minister Steven Joyce in March 2012, nine months after Thiel took his oath of citizenship at the New Zealand consulate in Santa Monica.

    Joyce said at the time the venture was “part of the Government’s comprehensive business growth agenda,” but a Herald investigation has discovered the arrangement was quietly ended in October when Thiel activated a generous buyback option allowing him and his private partners to claim all profits from the venture by cheaply buying out his public co-investor.

    • Paul 3.1

      Rod Dury appears to have his fingers in the pie as well.

      “Xero’s founder and chief executive Rod Drury wrote a letter in 2011 supporting Thiel’s citizenship. He said Thiel’s investment in, and championing of, his firm had been instrumental in the Xero’s succces.

      During the period Valar Ventures was buying up the company’s stock, its share price soared from $3 to as high as $45, making the Xero-dominated fund extremely valuable. By mid-2016 its stash of Xero shares was worth $43m, representing the vast bulk of the funds value.”

      Dodgy business.
      See it’s made the front page of the Financial Times.

      • Pat 3.1.1

        “Xero has also received funding from various investors. In 2009, it closed a $23 million (NZD) round of funding led by MYOB founder Craig Winkler.[11] It raised an additional $4 million (NZD) in 2010 from Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures,[12] who also invested an additional $16.6 million (USD) in February 2012.[13] It raised $49 million in a funding round in November 2012 with the largest amounts coming from Peter Thiel and Matrix Capital. It was reported by PandoDaily that the company has raised more than $100 million and had a valuation of approximately $1.4 billion on the NZE as of May 2013.[4][14] This was prior to the company receiving an additional $180 million (NZD) from Thiel and Matrix in October 2013, bringing total funding to more than $230 million.[15]”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xero_(software)

        well he would say that wouldn’t he…….

      • saveNZ 3.1.2

        @Paul – shocking!

        not to mention Scenic hotels getting millions from the taxpayers after donating to the National party and millions going to the Clinton Fund.

      • saveNZ 3.1.3

        I bet people like Thiel love dealing the National local yokels and making a killing from them… brains are not really the Natz forte… especially not their ‘brilliant’ mind (sarc) Joyce… likewise Sky City… Warner’s… all the rest of them getting tax money and concessions from the eager Natz brokers…

        • Pat 3.1.3.1

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11794020

          Gov incompetent and/or complicit….probably both

          “Joyce said at the time the venture was “part of the Government’s comprehensive business growth agenda”, but a Herald investigation has discovered the arrangement was quietly ended in October when Thiel activated a generous buyback option allowing him and his private partners to claim all profits from the venture by cheaply buying out his public co-investor.”

    • tc 3.2

      You didn’t think he was just here for the clean air did you, national love making friends using public money.

    • smokes kreen 3.3

      Could this possibly be one (of many) reasons why Key suddenly resigned?

    • mlpc 3.4

      What were Labour thinking when they granted this guy residency in 2006?
      Bet they didn’t imagine he would invest in the development of a Kiwi business that now employs around 1,500 people.
      Disgraceful, I say.

      • Pat 3.4.1

        “Xero is a dynamic, progressive and expanding global SaaS company with offices in New Zealand, Australia, United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore. Today we employ a world-class team of more than 1500 Xeros in 20 offices around the globe.”

        http://www.girlboss.nz/single-post/2016/08/31/Zero-to-Xero

        you wouldn’t be trying to suggest those 1500 jobs are NZ based would you?

        “Both Xero and Orion are resorting to hiring overseas staff for jobs they would rather fill locally. When Xero’s search for New Zealand candidates for software quality assurance positions last year drew a blank, it found one overseas, and of last year’s roughly 200 hires, 70 came from outside New Zealand.”

        HOW MUCH?

        • Permanent staff salaries
        From: $40,000 (average for bottom quarter of hardware engineers, help desk/support staff, web/multimedia designers)

        To: $136,500 (average for top 25 per cent of software architects)

        • Contract rates
        From: $14/hour (bottom quarter of data record management staff)

        To: $160/hour (top earning 25 per cent of software architects)

        Source: absoluteit.co.nz

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10871184

        • mlpc 3.4.1.1

          Of course Xero has offices all around the globe.
          How else do you try to develop a global market presence?

          And what’s wrong with hiring staff from overseas? You’re not going to tell me that the sorts of skills they require are freely available in the pool of unemployed in NZ.

          And what if only 1,000 of the 1,500 are in NZ? They’re probably earning an average of around $100k and paying an average of around $25k in income tax alone.

          • Pat 3.4.1.1.1

            Nothing wrong if the claim (or inference) is not otherwise…and…

            “They’re probably earning an average of around $100k and paying an average of around $25k in income tax alone.”….you did see the industry scale attached??? …

            “And what if only 1,000 of the 1,500 are in NZ? They’re probably earning an average of around $100k and paying an average of around $25k in income tax alone.”

            how much do you think the taxpayer has lost in the Valar deal?…almost all of which was invested in Xero.

            Think theres enough disingenuous BS coming from the gov without adding to it.

            • mlpc 3.4.1.1.1.1

              “how much do you think the taxpayer has lost in the Valar deal?”

              Oh, do keep up! The original story from the Herald, posted by Paul, said that the gov’t barely broke even. i.e. it lost nothing.

              So, back to my point, it looks like NZ is still $25m ++ to the good each year.

              • Pat

                “Oh, do keep up! The original story from the Herald, posted by Paul, said that the gov’t barely broke even. i.e. it lost nothing.”

                misrepresenting again….unrealised return is still a loss, the NZ taxpayer essentially donated in excess of 13 million to Thiel.

                “So, back to my point, it looks like NZ is still $25m ++ to the good each year”……you continue to make unsubstantiated assumptions,you have no idea of the number of NZ employees, what their employment status (salary or contract) or their salaries and what tax they pay…we do know however Xero runs at a net loss and a consequent negative tax position.

                • mlpc

                  Meh,
                  Admit it,you despise successful enterprise.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    I am engaged in successful private enterprise and I despise you and your beliefs,

                • mlpc

                  You didn’t read the article properly, did you, Pat?

                  “The NZVIF, by contrast, confirmed in a statement to the Weekend Herald that it received just $10.2m following the October move after having earlier contributed $9m.”

                  I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you $9m and you give me $10.2m, and you’ll come out ahead in the deal, right?

                  • Pat

                    and you haven’t calculated properly have you mllc?

                    the value of those shares was 40.2 million when sell down occured …given the original investment was 15.8 million then Thiel with an initial investment of 6.8 million should have received less than 17.3 million…not the 30 million he did….a 13 million taxpayer gift. The NZVIF simply received bond rate yet carried the majority of the risk.

      • Cinny 3.4.2

        When things aren’t looking great for the Tories, change the conversation, quickest way to do it, blame Labour.

        Geez MLPC is that all you have?

        By crikey I would be more concerned at the what Thiel has been up to under the National Party regime, seems he has been making money thanks to the National Governments “comprehensive business growth agenda”.

        • mlpc 3.4.2.1

          I was responding to the anti-enterprise sentiment that pervades The Standard.

          The economy is always going to be high up there when it comes to determining how people vote, and Labour supporters are doing nothing to persuade people that the party is a better bet than National in this regard.

          And climbing into bed with the Greens doesn’t help.

          • Cinny 3.4.2.1.1

            MLPC, there is not an anti-enterprise sentiment on TS as you claim.

            Rather there is a wealth of ideas here, and a lack of tolerance for personal greed and selfish people.

            With ten national party MPs not seeking re-election, and an election date set already, is there any word from the Tories on whom will be standing to replace them? I’ve not heard much in the media, do you have any information to share on that please MLPC?

            • mlpc 3.4.2.1.1.1

              Sounds like you are trying to deflect attention from the point.

              Why would I have any information to share?
              I don’t speak for National.

              • Cinny

                I just thought you may know something about it, it’s something I’ve been wondering about of late.

                What was your point again MLPC?
                Was it to blame the opposition parties about the Thiel matter?

                • mlpc

                  Goodness, Cinny, you must have the attention span of a goldfish.
                  My point was the anti-enterprise sentiment that pervades The Standard.

                  • Cinny

                    MLPC…

                    Insults are the last resort of an insecure person with a crumbling position trying to appear confident. JS

                    I read further down that you’ve come here to argue, personally I’d rather debate than argue.

                    Arguments involve emotion, debates involve logic,
                    Arguments are about winning, debating is about finding the truth
                    Arguments often involve name calling, name calling in debating is admitting defeat

                    Not into playing those kind of games, so I’ll walk away and leave you to play with yourself.

              • Paul

                No you speak for ACT

              • greywarshark

                I wonder about why you speak so much mlpc seeing you don’t have any information to share, anything? You haven’t taken long to start putting down sincere commenters like cinny.

      • Ed 3.4.3

        “What were Labour thinking when they granted this guy residency in 2006?”
        I haven’t seen any evidence of that – is it true?

        This whole deal seems to be radically different that the original intention behind the NZVIF – do we know of any agreements made before 2008 under the scheme, and how they turned out?

        Certainly the net economic benefit of this deal, and possibly of Xero generally, does not appear to have accrued particularly to New Zealand

        • mlpc 3.4.3.1

          “Immigration New Zealand area manager Darren Calder confirmed that Thiel was granted residence in 2006 under the investor category, and became a permanent resident “after satisfying the conditions of his visa”.

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/88783166/bill-english-defends-citizenship-rules-over-peter-thiel-decision

          • Once was and others etc 3.4.3.1.1

            and just by the way …. that ‘investor category’ is measured in terms of money rather than value.
            It’s why the whole system is fucked.
            An extremely talented, but poor would-be ‘investor’ doesn’t stand a chance against a very wealthy, amoral ‘investor’ of average intellect who hasn’t come to terms with what’s ethical and what is not .

            • Wayne 3.4.3.1.1.1

              Do we really want officials conducting ideological tests on immigrants?

              Provided the person doesn’t have criminal convictions, then their beliefs (obviously not support of ISIS or of Nazism) is pretty much their own business. So if a person is a socialist or a libertarian, so what? Thats their view and they are entitled to it.

            • mlpc 3.4.3.1.1.2

              Extremely talented, but poor investor is really an oxymoron.

              If you truly are extremely talented you will make money starting with nothing.

              • Cinny

                I think what makes people lots of money is greed..

                Most people can make money starting with nothing. It’s easy to get ambition and greed mixed up, just as easy to get skills (education) and talent confused.

                However, it is greed and ego which drives people to amass vast wealth.

                • mlpc

                  Actually, I think most people who amass vast wealth are not all that bothered by the money. It’s doing the deals that count for them.

                  But, hey, if they create jobs along the way that keep families fed and generate taxes to pay for all the stuff that socialists like, that’s all good, isn’t it?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  That’s just like saying individual bad choices lead to poverty.

                  Greed can make people cling to vast wealth, but it’s accumulated by chance.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                If you truly are extremely talented you will make money starting with nothing.

                Bollocks. You might, you might not: it’s down to chance and nothing else.

                • mlpc

                  I wonder if One Anonymous Bloke (4.20) would agree that the success of his enterprise has been nothing to do with him, his talent and his hard work.

                  In your words: “it’s down to chance and nothing else.”

                  That’s kind of insulting, isn’t it?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Not at all: I count my lucky stars. Several random events and circumstances have contributed far more than my personal qualities. Many others are blessed with more talent, work harder than I do, etc.

      • Paul 3.4.4

        You have come here to troll.

        • mlpc 3.4.4.1

          No, I’ve come here to argue, and a few people have argued back.

          I thought that was how Open Mike worked.

          There’s no point preaching to the choir or arguing in an echo chamber.

      • Craig H 3.4.5

        I doubt the Minister of Immigration had anything to do with the grant of residence, unlike citizenship which must be approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs.

  4. Foreign waka 4

    Why are we deporting those Indian students? An amicable decision could be that they finish their study and, if the reason they are here were on grounds that the government advertised this as a “pathway” to residency” than there are reasons to belief that we have an obligation to solve this. Some emotional intelligence is called for as the students will loose face back home. Their culture is dramatically different and one needs to take this into account. Perhaps an extension could be to have a maximum of 1 year “praxis” as part of the education offered. Maybe with government contracted providers? This would also be great as it would provide day to day dealings in business matters in a foreign language that for the students is a great way to create their CV for future employment back home. An added bonus is that it creates good will for future generations.
    Access to unemployment benefit would not apply and basic health insurance would need to be obtained.
    The government and the educational institutions have a legal (consumer guaranty) and ethical obligation to honor any advertised proposition, if indeed this was done.
    To do otherwise would just create the impression that the swindle is on both sides and the winner is the one who hold sway over the process.
    Naturally, permanent residency is quite a different issue and any applicant has to follow the same regime as it cannot be that anyone can come and by just sitting for a few papers in an institution is automatically accepted – no country on this planet would allow that.

    • greywarshark 4.1

      The saga of the foreign students is complicated by the laxness of our own government in monitoring the so-called agents that process their applications some of whom are fleecing them. Apparently government has been advised of fraudulent practices by certain agencies back many years, and have done little to prevent this and nothing to close them down. I don’t know if there is no accredited registration system or one run on a shonky laissez faire approach as is normal with New Zealand government these days.

      Our governments are just like any third world governments with corruption eating away at its systems, and papered over with imported dollars ours backed by borrowings at 7% or such on the world stage. We of course are leaders in the neo lib world for our economy based on selling ourselves to the world of finance which wants their pound of flesh (they aren’t metric in the USA.)

      We want the foreign students money in NZ but don’t promise to deliver a fair product.
      I am ashamed on behalf of my country. These conmen and conwomen in government who have oversight of everything, and are paid well to do so, have no shame about stripping poor people of their money and hopes for a future beyond the poverty line by denying them the goods that they have paid for in the free market that costs us so much.

    • gsays 4.2

      Hi fw,
      The reason they are being deported is because they are brown and foreign.
      Hard on certain ‘crime’.
      I agree with the rest of yr comment.

      Where is the protest, agitation and organizing around these victims of a zealous state?

      Easier to get outraged, upset and to rant powerlessly about something over there than get involved and DO something about a local injustice.

  5. Paul 5

    Lester Levy being interviewed by Kim Hill this morning.
    Sounds like someone who never be let near a public health organisation.
    He is getting worse….quite scary that a crazy like this has control of the finances our health.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_Levy

  6. chris73 6

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/89093119/soldier-opens-fire-after-being-attacked-in-central-paris

    “The four soldiers first tried to fight off the attacker before opening fire, said Benoit Brulon, a spokesman for the military force that patrols Paris and its major tourist attractions. President Francois Hollande praised the troops’ “courage and determination.”

    Good on them but no doubt someone will complain that they opened fire rather then subdue the scumbag

    • North 6.1

      Thank you Kellyanne Conway masquerading as Chris73 above.

    • North 6.2

      Thank you Kellyanne Conway masquerading as Chris73 above. Fake news to reinforce, quite needlessly, the real news passed on.

      • chris73 6.2.1

        In what way is the link or the quote fake pray tell?

        • North 6.2.1.1

          You didn’t read my comment did you Kellyanne ?
          All you did was give more Chris73. Perhaps I should have said “fake ‘extra’ added to the quote.”

  7. greywarshark 7

    There is much talk lately about how images can be altered now, the media is fluid and flexible, effects so lifelike they can’t be detected as fake.

    Well I have just been watching the Outkasts made in 2000. And what artists at effects they were then.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W8x5lt9PMQ

  8. greywarshark 8

    NZ Herald covering Thief (sorry thiel, so similar aren’t they), and here is the juicy latest.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11794020
    Email Matt
    @MattNippert

    Matt Nippert is a business investigations journalist.
    Billionaire Peter Thiel makes fortune after ‘sweetheart’ deal with Government
    6:17 AM Saturday Feb 4, 2017

    I couldn’t possibly understand this sort of thing, being just a simple citizen able to be manipulated into thinking red, white and blue is white, so I suggest you have a look and make of it what you can. Sounds dodgy to me though. Duh!

  9. Carolyn_nth 9

    Continuing a discussion begun yesterday by Bill at this link:

    Bill linked to this article by Neil Postman’s son, saying that his father had predicted the “amusing ourselves to death” context of the 21st century.

    Ad replied with this:

    Sooner or later Critical Theory will catch up with the fact that we are beyond oligopolies of opinion from newspapers and television, and we are also well past the historical conditions for fascism. This era needs newer, fresher theorising.

    Well, I don’t think so. Critical theory has a long line of research and theory around the seductiveness of the image, it’s use in 20th century propaganda in pre WWII US, the Third Reich, and it’s expansion throughout the media and communications post WWII.

    From the article, commenting on Neil Postman’s reflections in the 1980s:

    But it wasn’t simply the magnitude of TV exposure that was troubling. It was that the audience was being conditioned to get its information faster, in a way that was less nuanced and, of course, image-based.

    As my father pointed out, a written sentence has a level of verifiability to it: it is true or not true – or, at the very least, we can have a meaningful discussion over its truth.

    One never says a picture is true or false. It either captures your attention or it doesn’t.

    In yesterday’s open mike discussion, Ad dismisses the relevance of fascism today. In the above linked article, Andrew Postman says:

    For all the ways one can define fascism (and there are many), one essential trait is its allegiance to no idea of right but its own: it is, in short, ideological narcissism. It creates a myth that is irrefutable (much in the way that an image’s “truth” cannot be disproved), in perpetuity, because of its authoritarian, unrestrained nature.

    Andre P also provides some counter measures for today’s context:

    1. treat false allegations as an opportunity. Seek information as close to the source as possible.

    2. don’t expect “the media” to do this job for you. Some of its practitioners do, brilliantly and at times heroically. But most of the media exists to sell you things.

    3. Links to a site that gives suggestions for journalists doing “public journalism” – here.

    4. Teach children to treat information with skepticism, and to understand out information environment, and to check sources.

    In short, it’s not so much about the democratic potential, or autocratic uses, of our communicative technologies; but about all of us taking responsibility for how we use them.

    • Ad 9.1

      Carolyn I’ll have a go at a post myself on this, unless you want to have a go.
      Might take a week for me though.

      Postman was only a shade away from Kenneth Clark’s Civilisations, bemoaning the rise of the trite and ephemeral. It only worked when tv was king.

      It’s incredibly lazy for the left to reach back to either 1930s Critical Theory, or to Orwell’s anti-Soviet thing, when there’s plenty of capacity to do fresh work now.
      The conditions we are in now are not those, not by a long way. Anthony Burgess did this little thing called 1985, which was essentially a parody of the UK under Labour in the 1960s and 1970s, where rebellious teenagers roamed the land and huddled around fires quoting Marlowe and Euripides and practicing Socratic discourse, and the rest of the world was as grey as the dishwater in the bar of Coronation Street.

      When the facts change, you have to think.

      • Carolyn_nth 9.1.1

        Oh, how condescending to present a dismissive statement of ennui with critical theory.

        Like any theoretical school of thought, it is a blanket term that covers a diverse range of research and theory. And it continually gets cross fertilised with diverse strands of theory, research and experience from elsewhere.

        Critical theory arose from Marxism and in a particular context – as did the work of other researchers and theorists, who have also been influenced by post structuralists, post marxists, etc.

        And this involves continual re-evaluations, and new directions, most often in order to understand changes by digital technologies and neoliberal politics.

        For myself, following the development of the internet, online videos, trans national corporatisation of the news and entertainment media and platforms, the work of Walter Benjamin still has value, and continues to have explanatory power: the aestheticisation of politics.

        Ideas about the move to dominance of visual technologies in digital culture is of major significance. Look how much money and consideration has been put into how political parties represent themselves visually – eg the Natz new logo.

        And the intertwining of marketing, entertainment and political representation and debate is of pressing concern.

        Thanks for the suggestion of writing a post. I’ll leave you to it.

        I write for another site but have been somewhat blocked in writing posts of late. Partly distractions from other areas of my life; plus I have so many issues I wish to write about, I don’t know where to start – have research folders for background to posts on a couple of topics.

    • Cinny 9.2

      Would love to see a post on that topic.

      This bit… for me personally, it’s so important..

      4. Teach children to treat information with skepticism, and to understand our information environment, and to check sources.

      Have tried hard to make sure my kids are aware of the tricks of advertising, I figure once they have their heads around that they can make better decisions about other choices, by understanding the psychology of marketing and mass manipulation.

      It’s important to me that their choices are well informed, they are aware of photo manipulation etc and are slowly learning how to research something to make sure the information is correct or fake.

      It’s amazing how easily a child believes so much of what they see on a screen.

      Would be wonderful to see some documentaries on such subjects that were specifically designed to be viewed and digested by kids. I wonder if there are any out there?

      • Carolyn_nth 9.2.1

        Agree, more information for kids about being critical of information, in a form they’d respond to is required.

        I also have just ordered this book from the library by Sherry Turkle: Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

        More on the book at the link.

        I have followed Turkle’s work for many years. Initially she was very optimistic about the potential that new digital technologies provided for democracy, and for children learning to be creative and critical. She has gradually become disillusioned, is still focused on researching digital culture, but wants to revive the old art of face-to-face or maybe person-to-person conversation; and part of that includes time alone for critical reflection.

        We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.

        ….
        The virtues of person-to-person conversation are timeless, and our most basic technology, talk, responds to our modern challenges. We have everything we need to start, we have each other.

        • Cinny 9.2.1.1

          Hey thanks Carolyn for mentioning the book you’ve ordered and the author, have just found a TED talk she has done, so will check it out.

          “Connected but Alone” https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together

          • Carolyn_nth 9.2.1.1.1

            Thanks, Cinny. I’ve read a fair bit of her stuff, but never seen Turkle talk.

            In that video she raises questions about our love affair with technology, and how we can make better use of it, to reflect on ourselves, empathise with others, and also talk more and listen to others.

  10. aom 10

    Question in DomPost regarding high cost of fuel, “Why have profit margins for fuel companies risen, consistently, for the best part of a decade, including this year?” The simple answer is that it was predictable in 2013 when the government financed (NZ Superannuation Fund) sharks at Infratil got hold of Shell NZ.

  11. joe90 11

    Thiel gets a finger on the trigger, too.
    /

    National security adviser Michael Flynn has hired four top deputies, including an executive for venture capitalist Peter Thiel — a top supporter of President Donald Trump — and former intelligence and legal officials who will manage broad portfolios, the White House announced.

    […]

    …. Kevin Harrington, most recently the managing director and head of research for Thiel Macro LLC, a San Francisco-based global macro hedge fund. Harrington will be responsible for strategic planning.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/national-security-council-new-advisers-234537

  12. weka 12

    Those pesky women’s problems. I guess I should try and explain the short and long term consequences of allowing husbands or fathers to control women’s bodies, because apparently it’s not self-evident, but maybe I’ll just hope that Sabine turns up instead 😈

    A new law in Arkansas bans most second trimester abortions and allows a woman’s husband to sue the doctor for civil damages or “injunctive relief,” which would block the woman from having the procedure.

    The “Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act,” signed into law last week by Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), bans dilation and evacuation procedures, in which the physician removes the fetus from the womb with surgical tools. D&E procedures are the safest and most common way women can end their pregnancies after 14 weeks of gestation, according to the American Medical Association.

    A clause buried in the legislation states that the husband of a woman seeking an abortion, if he is the baby’s father, can file a civil lawsuit against the physician for monetary damages or injunctive relief ― a court order that would prevent the doctor from going ahead with the procedure. The woman’s parents or legal guardians can also sue, if she is a minor. The law states that the husband cannot sue the doctor for money in cases of “criminal conduct” against his wife ― namely, spousal rape ― but he could still sue to block her from having the abortion.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/arkansas-anti-abortion-law_us_58939063e4b09bd304ba41ff?

    • joe90 12.1

      In another century on a 6000 year old planet.

      .

      Repeal of the Blue Laws in North Dakota has hit another roadblock. The House of Representatives voted against getting rid of them.

      But, what’s coming to light now are the comments made by male house members on the chamber floor. Their argument for keeping the law? So wives can use that time to make their husbands breakfast in bed.

      It was only by a thin margin repealing North Dakota’s Sunday closing law failed in the house.

      One lawmaker in favor of keeping the law in place feels Sunday mornings should be used for your wife to make you breakfast in bed.

      “Spending time with your wife, your husband. Making him breakfast, bringing it to him in bed and then after that go take your kids for a walk,” says Representative Bernie Satrom.

      Another feels his wife spends all his hard earned money the rest of the week and his wallet needs a day off. “I don’t know about you but my wife has no problem spending everything I earn in 6 and a half days. And I don’t think it hurts at all to have a half day off,” says Representative Vernon Laning.

      http://www.valleynewslive.com/content/news/ND-lawmakers-say-Blue-Laws-should-remain-so-wives-can-make-breakfast-412480953.html

    • The Fairy Godmother 12.2

      Where to start. Grrrrr. I thought that the idea of women and children being chattels owned by husbands and fathers went out a long time ago. It looks like its making a comeback in the US. In any relationship worth having the decision to have a child should ultimately rest with the mother. It is her body! How awful to be pregnant and not want to go through with it but have to because a husband or father has power over you and says you have to. Unbelieveable – unfortunately in this unfortunate age maybe not. Women have died because of dangerous pregnancies and legal/religious impediments to abortion. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/14/ireland-woman-dies-after-abortion-refusal

  13. greywarshark 13

    Speed talking about today’s fun problems.
    David Mitchell on there being a lot wrong with the world
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IsO8y-4AmU

    How to be a female popstar in this modern age (though age is a naughty word)
    (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2014/oct/17/idiot-guide-female-pop-star-2014-video

    • joe90 13.1

      Hey grey, thanks for yesterday’s invite but having the attention span of a sand fly and not being much of joiner I’m afraid I’m not prepared to commit myself to participating in anything organised.

      But I’m certainly going to work my way through Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful.

      http://www.ditext.com/schumacher/small/small.html

      • greywarshark 13.1.1

        Great joe90 you be in just as much as you have time for. This is organised individuality, just whay you say – reading through Small is Beautiful – and then feel free to check in to the post and put up some of your incisive comments. And I mean that sincerely, no sarc. Cheers.

        • marty mars 13.1.1.1

          me too grey – appreciate being asked and will read the book – can’t guarantee I will be available to discuss but I endorse your idea and I think reading books is cool. Kia kaha

          • greywarshark 13.1.1.1.1

            marty mars
            arohanui. The more the merrier, and I appreciate you joining in as you can.
            And what about you turning over in your mind some book for later (I think a book or long article promotes, encourages a thoughtful reception.) The idea is to have something on the back burner about each month, six weeks. For next unless anybody is strongly for something else, Rosemary McDonald’s idea of looking at Marilyn Waring’s Counting for Nothing is top of the list.

            But I have the feeling that you might have some Maori thinkers that would come to mind.

            By the way have you seen the film Poi E. Lovely little gem, very warm and full of keen people who could be NZ renaissance mascots and coach us how to follow the way to success from the doldrums, thinking what would Dalvanius have done.

      • weka 13.1.2

        cheers for the link. There are a few free copies floating around, including an audiobook. I won’t be able to link to them in the post though 😉

        Would love to hear your thoughts in the book sometime.

  14. joe90 14

    In 1989 Bob Crumb published Point the Finger, labeling the pumpkin pinochet one of the more visible big time predators who feed on society and one of the most evil men alive.

    http://fatpollyscomix.tumblr.com/post/137692625277/robert-crumb-takes-on-donald-trump-in-hup-3-from

    • greywarshark 14.1

      joe90
      Interesting that everything comes round again sometime. I saw an arthouse film about Crumb decades ago and never anything else have I come across. Some people’s perspective is so different, but I seem to remember he had an unusual family.

  15. joe90 16

    Not sure which is funnier – bullshit bylines or the fact that bogus news site CGS Monitor puts material from globalresearch on their facebook page.

    Bruce Riedel is a widely known expert on the Middle East who helped guide U.S. policy in the region as a member of President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council. So he was more than a little surprised recently when an obscure website ran an article about Saudi Arabia he had never seen before — with his byline.

    Riedel wasn’t upset just because he hadn’t written the piece, which appeared under his name on the website of something called the “Center for Global Strategic Monitoring,” or CGS Monitor. The phony piece espoused views — about an alleged Saudi role in the 9/11 terror attacks — that he has publicly rejected.

    “It was very disturbing,” said Riedel, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a prominent Washington think tank. “The article was entirely fictitious. This attacks the whole basis upon which our press works.”

    In effect, Riedel said, the website had lifted his name and attached it to someone else’s opinions. “It’s reverse plagiarism,” he said.

    It turns out Riedel wasn’t alone. Yahoo News has documented multiple other examples of phony advocacy and analysis pieces on CGS Monitor, appearing under the names of other well-known scholars who had never written them or even seen them.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/the-authors-are-real-the-articles-are-fake-who-is-behind-the-sinister-cgs-website-174814055.html

  16. joe90 17

    Sticking it as many people as they can as fast as they can because fraud, waste and abuse.

    But peanuts!.
    /

    Regulators are telling nine companies they won’t be allowed to participate in a federal program meant to help them provide affordable Internet access to low-income consumers — weeks after those companies had been given the green light.

    The move, announced Friday by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, reverses a decision by his Democratic predecessor, Tom Wheeler, and undercuts the companies’ ability to provide low-cost Internet access to poorer Americans. In a statement, Pai called the initial decisions a form of “midnight regulation.”

    “These last-minute actions, which did not enjoy the support of the majority of commissioners at the time they were taken, should not bind us going forward,” he said.

    The program, known as Lifeline, provides registered households with a $9.25-a-month credit, which can then be used to buy home Internet service. As many as 13 million Americans may be eligible for Lifeline that do not have broadband service at home, the FCC has found. Roughly 900 service providers participate in the Lifeline program.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/02/03/the-fcc-is-stopping-9-companies-from-providing-subsidized-broadband-to-the-poor/?utm_term=.36ab9dbd04ee

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