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Open mike 05/09/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, September 5th, 2021 - 50 comments
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50 comments on “Open mike 05/09/2021 ”

  1. vto 1

    rambling.. but my deadset 2c..

    that Texas law change on abortion is yet another certain indicator of the Republican's steady stomp to an authoritarian fascist state.. ramped up into the bright lights by Trump's corrupt and unlawful activities.. with the GOP now girding itself for further steps over the next few years to continue along this path…

    pretty much all authoritarian regimes and dictators take some considerable time to get there… cause a skirmish over there… pit citizens against one another over here… tweak the judiciary there… amend the constitution here… purge the public service there… change the military here… and then one day while all these things have steadily been pushed into place, make the final move…

    And so the Texas law trashes the US constitution… resulting from a tweaked judiciary willing to turn a blind eye… and pitting citizens against each other with bounty-hunters…

    It is all so very predictable… such is history always repeating this well-trodden path…

    The Texas law should be yet another warning to not only the US, but also the world… that the Republicans are stepping through the necessary steps to enable a final grab at total power..

    the US is heading down this track at an increasingly rapid rate…

    watch out

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    The horrific state of the American empire. Chris Hedges spells it out.

  3. ianmac 3

    ..exposed us as State Terrorists

    Terrifying and Ominous Robert. We must make the most of our relative security for tomorrow….. Hell might be real after all.

  4. JanM 4

    Interesting that Shane Te Pou on Marae this morning says he has reliable connections that reckon Judith’s only got about another week or so left as leader of the Nats

  5. Sacha 5

    Interesting systemic analysis of how some people end up distrusting vaccination – click on the tweet inside the tweet to see the rest of the chain of them.

  6. weka 6

    • francesca 6.1

      Hilary Mantel further down on that thread

      She said: “I recently found myself ‘misgendered.’ I received a university publication, with news items relating to alumni, where I was referred to as ‘they’, not ‘she.’

      “My books were ‘their books.’ I wasn’t singled out – the other alumni were similarly treated.

      “I thought: ‘Being a woman means a lot to me. I do not want my womanhood confiscated in print.’”

      • Morrissey 6.1.1

        The absurdity of "gender-neutral pronouns" was in full display again this afternoon as Grant Robertson referred repeatedly to "The Terrorist" as “they”. There is no confusion or uncertainty about the gender of The Terrorist; Robertson like everyone else is perfectly aware that The Terrorist is a male.

  7. Ad 7

    September 26th German Federal elections are looking interesting for a Left Left Green government. They'll have to come to an agreement on NATO membership though.

  8. Sacha 8

    With the current Nat leader smoothly claiming on telly that Covid would kill a trifling 500 of us each year at 70-75% vaccination levels, this actual evidence might prove useful:

    • AB 8.1

      Tame almost had Collins on toast but didn't close for the kill. He got to the point where he'd made it clear that a 70% (or whatever) vaccination rate isn't a target in itself, it's an enabler of other outcomes – and those outcomes are your real targets.

      Those real targets might include measures such as excess deaths, excess hospitalisations, productivity lost through excess illness, number of days in lockdown, no. of people able to cross the border, amount spent on wage subsidies, etc. Collins didn't have any of these real targets – and to pretend that an arbitrary vaccination rate plucked from your nether regions constitutes a target is nonsense. It's simply cover for indulging your ideological predilections against restricting business activity.

      A sane, honest person works bottom up from these real targets and with luck comes up with a combination of vaccination rate plus residual public health measures (masks, border controls) that gets us somewhere close to them.

      • Sacha 8.1.1

        Anyone saying that needs to be challenged, yes, starting with the obvious proxy figure..

      • Bearded Git 8.1.2

        The epidemiologist Jim mora interviewed this morning on Sunday (RNZ) said that excess death analysis showed that covid had killed 4 times as many people as shown on the worldometer site…that is 18 million rather than 4.5 million. Also it had caused life expectancy in the USA to drop by 18 months.

        These figures are clearly being covered up by Boris ScoMo et al. I wonder why? (Sarc)

    • Incognito 8.2

      Thanks, I previously linked to a Stuff piece on this: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/126211034/longterm-public-health-measures-needed-alongside-vaccination-for-borders-to-reopen

      National and Judith seemingly ignore stuff that doesn’t fit with their narrative or twist it.

    • Poission 8.3

      The paper notes the uncertainty in both alpha and delta variants that were increasing at the time of the paper.

      A high rate of vaccination is a necessity for NZ to constrain delta and its increasing risk,along with enhanced border controls for border staff,and international flight crews (vaccinated or otherwise such as specialist transport etc)

      Limitation of cross border transport during local outbreaks maybe also necessary to enhance both economic wellbeing,and to allow other medical facilities to be available in the event of a black swan event.

      For an example of how not to do things well look at Canada during an election cycle as the fourth wave rises.


      This is a very good article showing the constraints on outcomes on vaccination without concomitant public health measures.

  9. Incognito 9

    A very good opinion piece by Dr Ian Powell on the failings, not failure, of the overall Covid-19 response and the (public) health system in general.


  10. Sacha 10

    Highly misleading of him to claim there is no replacement plan for the DHBs whose failings have become all too obvious to the public in the last year or two.

    In the middle of a pandemic, the government is dismantling its structures (DHBs) responsible for ensuring the provision of hospital and community health services. Destabilising a system in a pandemic is madness. It is close to criminally insane to do this with little idea about what will replace it.

    • Incognito 10.1

      Well, if you happen to have a link to the new agreed and decided structure with all the relevant details that would be appreciated wink

      AFAIK, there’s no “dismantling” happening yet although the current system is crumbling and buckling under the pressure; it is only going to get worse, which is why the current Covid-19 strategy is the only viable option for Aotearoa-New Zealand, IMHO.

      • Sacha 10.1.1

        with little idea about what will replace it

        The plan is effectively the Simpson report being implemented by the 'transition unit' in DPMC, as Powell well knows.

      • francesca 10.1.2

        He has an interesting piece on Cuba's health system (not a lot of spare cash to throw around, but a much less individualistic culture) and the ways we might learn from each other.


        • Incognito


        • Andre

          I'd much rather be here in NZ than Cuba. Even just from a covid and vaccination perspective, let alone all the other factors.



          Powell's piece had very little discussion of the trials needed for vaccine approval. This appears to be the much bigger obstacle to vaccine development and use. Developing vaccines seems to be fairly straightforward, proving that they're safe and effective is the hard bit. That proof also requires the trial participants to be exposed to a lot of disease, which we in NZ have shown we're willing to take fairly stringent measures to avoid.

          All in all, it just came across as a "let's have lots more doctors and healthcare workers". Kind of an unsurprising position for the former Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists.

          So yeah, nah, I'm not seeing lessons from Cuba for us to follow. Not from that piece, anyways.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            I'd much rather be here in NZ than Cuba.

            Me too. Still, imho NZ could do with "more doctors and healthcare workers", for the health & wellbeing of both doctors/healthcare workers and their patients.

            Based on this old dataset, we'd need ~2,500 more physicians to approach the per capita number in Australia (32.7 per 10,000 people). And Cuba (67.2); well forgetaboutit – only Qatar (77.4) and Monaco (71.7) had more.

            Doctors and healthcare workers have to be trained and/or poached, and that takes money – another tricky balancing act.

            Covid-19: Delta in NZ community would ‘risk collapsing or compromising our health system’
            Because hospitals are aging, and because our resilience to a pandemic situation is poor, because of the design of elderly hospitals with poor ventilation of wards, inadequate numbers of negative pressure rooms.

            Stapleton said on a normal day only about 25 of the roughly 220 ICU beds were free.

            He said New Zealand’s ICU capacity was more like India’s – where hospitals were overrun – than Australia’s, and it needed to be doubled as the virus would become endemic in future years.

            Dr Stapleton said the real pinch point was the lack of ICU nurses.


            • Andre

              Yes, there is a good argument for beefing up our health system.

              But that good argument doesn't come from comparison with Cuba. Nor does it come from the very rare and specific circumstances of a pandemic disease potentially getting into our population before widespread vaccination has happened.

              The better argument comes from where we have lousy outcomes over sustained timeframes that are specifically attributable to under-resourcing, and we can point to peers that have better outcomes specifically attributable to better resourcing.

              Lord knows there's no shortage of material to work with to make those better arguments.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                All in all, it just came across as a "let's have lots more doctors and healthcare workers". Kind of an unsurprising position for the former Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists.

                Andre, nice to know you believe "there is a good argument for beefing up our health system", despite concerns about the nature of Powell's advocacy.

                Ian Powell was Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, the professional union representing senior doctors and dentists in New Zealand, for over 30 years, until December 2019.

                For over 30 years! So difficult to know whose opinion to trust these days.

                • Andre

                  I don't think the trajectory of our health care industry over those thirty years makes a good argument for the quality of his advocacy.

                  I've seen plenty of deep-seated long-lasting systemic issues attempt to get improved. Even when the underlying problems are correctly identified and a reasonable model chosen to follow for improvement, it's still a chancy thing as to whether what comes out the other side is genuinely better.

                  But if the problems are misidentified right from the beginning leading to the choice of crap models to learn from, then in my experience improvement efforts have a record unblemished by any success whatsoever.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    I don't think the trajectory of our health care industry over those thirty years makes a good argument for the quality of his advocacy.

                    Andre, do you feel that Powell's (30+ years of) advocacy was lacking in quality? If his peers shared this belief then it's simply staggering (to me) that he 'held on' to the position for as long as he did, but maybe you know something I don't, e.g. evidence that NZ's health care 'industry' would now be on a better path but for Powell?

                    Can help wondering if putting the boot into Powell's advocacy has less to do with 'trajectory', and more to do with 'union' and 'Cuba'.

                    New Executive Director appointed
                    Ian Powell signalled last year he will leave ASMS at the end of 2019. He has led the union since its formation in 1989.

                    ASMS President Professor Murray Barclay says Mr Powell’s departure is the most significant change in the union’s history.

                    We undertook a rigorous external recruitment process. I am pleased to announce Sarah’s appointment as the new face of ASMS.

                    Over the coming months we will farewell Ian, who built the union into the force it is today.

                    ASMS represents more than 90% of senior doctors and dentists working in public hospitals, an extraordinary level of coverage by today’s standards.

                    As well as fighting for pay and conditions, Mr Powell positioned ASMS as an advocacy body for the public health service with a strong focus on research and policy analysis.

                    Sarah will build on Ian’s legacy of strong leadership and advocacy.

                    She relates well to members throughout the country and is respected by senior managers in DHBs. Sarah has strengthened the voice of our women members through women’s networking initiatives,” Professor Barclay says.

                    Mr Powell said: “I’m delighted with the appointment and feel chuffed about being replaced with someone of Sarah’s calibre. She has been an outstanding industrial officer demonstrating strong insight, intellect, and emotional intelligence.

                    It feels good to be leaving the association in such good hands,” Mr Powell says.


  11. Sacha 11

    NZ On Air's regular tracking research shows how fast younger people have switched away from broadcast radio and TV. https://thespinoff.co.nz/business/03-09-2021/confronting-new-research-shows-just-how-fast-traditional-media-lost-young-nz/

    The youngest New Zealanders surveyed (it starts at 15 – we can only assume that the characteristics of those under that age are even more pronounced) are the starkest reminder we have of the stakes here. Those aged 15-24 are roughly three times as likely to watch online video (91%) as linear television (36%). Similarly for streaming music (81%) over radio (31%). Newspapers, a decade ago fairly commonplace, are a daily habit for a quarter of the population as a whole, but only 7% of those aged 15-24.

  12. Sacha 12

    Nice little Covid progress detail from a local data scientist.

    • Incognito 12.1


      Yes, it is dropping, but only slowly. Don’t forget that the current outbreak started with just one case (aka index case). Lockdown aims to get the R0 number down and break transmission chains; each chain can start a new chain/outbreak if not caught (in time). As always, testing levels tend to drop off over time and when we go down alert levels, our overall compliance levels tend to go down accordingly. This could have a long tail of short (!) chains of new community cases before we can and will go back to L2 or L1 even. It is only 111 days until Christmas.

      • Sacha 12.1.1

        The number of Locations of Interest are an interesting trend to monitor as well.

        • Andre

          I'm very curious about how many transmissions to customers are believed to have occurred at those locations of interest after the lockdown started.

          Further, if any transmissions occurred, how many were staff-to-customer and how many were customer-to-customer.

          • Sacha

            and customer to staff..

            • Andre

              Well, yeah.

              But I kinda suspect that opportunity for customer-to-staff transmission is kinda low, compared to customer-to-customer and staff-to-customer.

              If a customer is infected, they could spend quite a long time waiting in a queue with the same people 2m in front and 2m behind, with a bit of breathing air sharing going on. Also, most people tend to take a similar route through a store, so the people behind the infected person in the queue are potentially going around the store in a cloud of dilute infected air the infected person leaves behind them. Then there's the queue at the checkout, for another potential period of air-sharing. That's quite a long time for a potential customer-to-customer transmission to occur.

              Then when the customer gets to the checkout, yes, there's a medium-ish time of close-ish proximity with equal-ish opportunity for transmission either way, and a checkout operator has a lot of people go past them every shift.

              But an infected customer gets one go at infecting one staff member, if they're unlucky enough for their once every few days shopping trip to coincide with their infectious period. Compared to their somewhat stronger likelihood of infecting other customers.

              Whereas an infected checkout operator has a chance of infecting each of the dozens or even hundreds of customers they serve during a shift, and may even end up working multiple shifts while infectious. Even if each individual staff-customer interaction has a much lower chance of resulting in a transmission.

        • Incognito


          The aim is to get as close to the edges of the outbreak as possible. This can be achieved by mandatory scanning/signing in, rapid contact tracing, and rapid testing, whilst slowing down transmission, e.g., through lockdown, mask-wearing, et cetera.

  13. Pete 13

    Just over 48 hours ago two cops had an experience more harrowing than can be described.

    We've seen a million shots being fired by police and criminals and military in thousands of movies and tv shows for years. We turn them off and go to bed and maybe watch the same thing again the next day. It's normal.

    But it's not normal. Seeing thousands being shot and killed inures us to the reality of two cops looking after us being in a situation of having to shoot someone. And doing it.

    And then turn it off? Go home and, "How did your day go?"

    "Just another day at the office, love. Come here kids, give your dad a cuddle."

    Thank you to the officers who were there for us and acted as they did.

  14. Morrissey 14

    A comically inept Obama staffer has written a book; it was a bad idea. For him.

    "A level of sustained and conscious lying that can be explained only by sociopathy."—Glenn Greenwald

    • Ad 14.1

      The book came out in 2018, about internal White House processes which occurred multiple years earlier.

      Since that time we have had a global pandemic, a major economic collapse, two US Presidents, three changes in Senate majority, complete takeover of the US judiciary by hardcore Christian fundamentalists, and the collapse of the largest US military intervention since Vietnam.

      You'd be one of those lost RSA guys complaining into his fourth DB of the afternoon, except you never served.

      • Morrissey 14.1.1

        The book came out in 2018, about internal White House processes which occurred multiple years earlier.

        The "White House process", as you call it, that Ben Rhodes revealed was his browbeating of Cuban government officials to deny a political refugee safe passage. That was not in any way "White House process": it was an extraordinary and—until he bragged about it in his dog of a book—highly secret action.

        Since that time we have had a global pandemic, a major economic collapse, two US Presidents, three changes in Senate majority, complete takeover of the US judiciary by hardcore Christian fundamentalists, and the collapse of the largest US military intervention since Vietnam.

        We have indeed. Could you explain how any of that serves to mitigate the viciousness and the contempt for human rights of what Rhodes did in 2013?

        You'd be one of those lost RSA guys complaining into his fourth DB of the afternoon,

        Your disdain for old soldiers is duly noted.

        except you never served.

        ?? Never served whom?

  15. Fireblade 15


    by Faithless (Music Video)

    • Ad 15.1

      Great recommendation. On point.

      Rolle looks like a black Bela Lugosi.

      Lovely structure that accelerates very carefully into a proper London House.

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