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Open mike 08/03/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, March 8th, 2020 - 62 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

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 …

62 comments on “Open mike 08/03/2020 ”

  1. joe90 3

    Follow the money and bankrupt these pricks.

    The personal archives of prominent Dutch climate denier Frits Böttcher (who died in 2008) reveal that he received over a million guilders – close to half a million in euros – from Shell and other Dutch multinationals during the 1990s. The explicit objective: to question human responsibility for global warming.

    This article in one minute

    • Between 1989 and 1998, Dutch multinationals paid over one million guilders (close to half a million euros) to prominent climate sceptic Frits Böttcher (1915-2008), with the explicit goal of sowing doubts about climate change and humanity’s role in it.
    • Böttcher used the money to set up an international network of climate sceptics. He produced multiple reports, books and opinion pieces. In these he wrote, for instance, that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist and that CO2 is not dangerous, quite the opposite: it’s ‘good for plants’.
    • The doubt created led, among other things, to a lack of political support for regulatory measures with regard to CO2 reduction during the 1990s.
    • Funding for Böttcher’s ‘CO2 project’ finally ran out in 1998 . His 24 sponsors were concerned about public opinion and the climate scepticism lobby proved incapable of stopping the Kyoto Protocol being signed in 1997.
    • This research is part of the Shell Papers, a joint research project conducted by Platform Authentieke Journalistiek and Follow the Money, into the ties between the Dutch government and the oil giant.


  2. Andre 4

    A deeper look into the actual data from Wuhan and the Diamond Princess paints a less alarming picture for the likely impact of COVID-19 in the general population. But it's worse for the population subgroups that apparently make up a large portion of TS readers.

    Kevin Drum has a very good thumbnail summary here:


    Source paper here:


    • Sacha 4.1

      Let's not conflate TS readers with its writers. 🙂

      • Andre 4.1.1

        "Apparently" isn't a good enough weasel word for you?

        • Sacha

          Sorry, missing word. Merely noting the thousands of silent readers who may be different..

          • Andre


            It seems lprent gets a lot of analysis on the likely demographics of TS users. I wonder if the data is granular enough to tell if the demographic spread of silent readers and commenters is roughly similar or significantly different?

            edit: I’ll also take the (possibly unintended) point that it appears a lot of commenters here on TS don’t appear to be “readers”.

        • Sacha

          Caffeine deficiency, your honour.

    • Poission 4.2

      The US congress fits the demographic risk group.

  3. A 5

    Nice to see CNN is not a White House mouthpiece after all…they fact checked the statement that the Coronavirus /Honey Badger/Covid-19 is contained, apparently no longer viewing the White House as a credible source.

    Good job.


    • joe90 5.1

      Too late.


      • joe90 5.1.1


        Two people who attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington earlier this week have tested positive for the coronavirus, the group tweeted Friday. Thousands of people attended the policy conference, including some members of Congress and administration officials. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were among the speakers.


        • joe90

          …thinks & prays…

      • Ed 5.1.2

        A has directed us before to the coronavirus videos made by Chris Martensen.

        In this newest one, Martensen argued that the US in deep trouble. As it has not used the time since January to test proactively, there is a now a huge risk the US health system will be swamped by an exponential rise in cases in April.

        By comparison, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore tested early and tested a lot and have bought their hospital system time.

        Liz Specht's set of tweets ( which are mentioned in the video) also makes a compelling point that most people are not aware of the risk of systematic healthcare failure. The statistics seem to support her argument that the US has lost control of the situation.

        I do not know how much we are testing in New Zealand, but I fear we are replicating the US method as opposed to the stance taken by the Singaporean system.


        • joe90

          Why the fuck would I bother?

          Martenson's a gold bug, not a virologist nor an epidemiologist or public health expert, who makes a living flogging his own brand of financial self-help woo.


          • RedLogix

            Well I did bother to watch it and didn't find anything off base. For medical updates I've been watching John Campbell, but Martenson brings another perspective that's not entirely off base. He may not be an expert on the medical side, but it's clear he's made an effort to be a well informed layperson.

            But it's on the systemic implications of economic and social failure that he's definitely got something worth listening to.

    • RedLogix 5.2

      I'm hoping this will be Trump's New Orleans moment.

      He's an uncanny gambler and but this time the dice has been rolled the dice once too often. In the political realm his instinctive game has delivered him countless 'impossible' wins, but when it comes to science …. well let's just say reality always bats last.

  4. Whispering Kate 6

    Why would our health officials now suggest asking doctors and nurses who have retired to return to the coal face. The very age group who are most at risk. Are the authorities seriously thinking this a sensible plan? Doctors and nurses of retirement age are not going to be offering their services especially if they are suffering chronic conditions such as respiratory, heart, diabeties conditions. Head scratching where they get these ideas from.

    The drive in clinics are a far more sensible and inexpensive of tackling the spread of this virus.

    • Pingao 6.1

      Other countries are doing this apparently, such as the UK. Maybe those who may be asked to come out of retirement will have to consider renewing their licenses so they can be ready if needed and they decide they are able to help.

      Also, there will be plenty of other patients to treat so I would hope that any staff who are more vulnerable would be treating those patients.

    • swordfish 6.2

      As Pingao has suggested … the UK's already in the process of doing this.

      Enormous concern around hospitals quickly becoming overwhelmed … (particularly in those Western Countries that haven't taken the virus seriously enough). Lack of trained staff is just one aspect.

  5. mac1 7

    How many health professionals of retirement age, which is 65 and that's not elderly, do not suffer from the risky conditions for coronavirus- and know that?

    I'm 70 and know that I'm not suffering a cardio-vascular condition, that I have no respiratory problems, that my hypertension is controlled and I am not diabetic. My cancers have been removed. I do not fear this virus more than the 'flu.

    Were I a health professional I might consider offering my services part-time; and thereby feel useful, needed, still contributing, a valuable older member of our community with gifts still able to be offered.

    As the old saying goes, "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

    • McFlock 7.1


      I've noticed with quite a few doctor-types, "retirement" means "a bit more relaxation time, but still working".

      There's a big retirement do, everyone makes speeches, they disappear for a few weeks, but bugger me if they're not still working in some capacity five years later, just with less paperwork to sign.

    • swordfish 7.2

      Yeah, but we don't know yet if older people are in the high risk group solely because of greater prevalence of comorbidities. Dr John Campbell, for instance, suspects it's a bit of both – with age itself weakening the immune system.

      Nor do we know if having hypertension that's well-controlled negates the risk.

      I'd err on the side of caution until they’re certain.

      It’s time to start thinking about how to protect the high risk demographics – over-60s in general & the over-80s in particular (above all, of course, those with comorbidities). For those among the latter who’re living independently (including my Parents, for instance) = self-isolation / social distancing with methodical, well-organised community support.

      • mac1 7.2.1

        I take your point on even well-controlled hypertension. And thanks for the cautionary note.

  6. Andre 8

    Radioactive swampthings conjugating – Erik Prince is supplying spies for James O'Keefe to use for Project Veritas to infiltrate into organisations they want to try to produce fake-news lying sting videos on.


    • McFlock 8.1

      None of those spies will be working, or coordinated, for free.

      People who say there's no "war on the poor" need to provide another explanation as to why a koch-related organisation has enough cash to pay literal spies to infiltrate unions.

  7. David Mac 9

    Is this too outrageous to float?

    What would happen if Labour and the Greens collectively adopted the stance. 'Give us the chance to be the government you want us to be, don't vote NZ First, back us, let us deliver.'

    • David Mac 9.1

      Hmmm, maybe it's time I binge watched Yes Minister again. The Winston and Shane Show sugar in the tank can be rather convenient when it comes to unrealised expectations.

    • McFlock 9.2

      It's a high-risk gambit. National tried it last time.

      Thing is, would a nact or nact/nz1 government be significantly worse for the vulnerable in NZ than another labgrnnz1 government?

      I mean, really, fundamental difference to someone's life, not just a "I'm so far left they all look the same" response.

      I suspect workers' rights and tenants' rights would be rolled back rather than improved. That rhetoric and violence against minorities would be equally condemned, but more actively enabled in the name of "free speech" and "guns are fun". That protections for the environment will be delayed or rolled back.

      So that's what's more likely to be lost in a higher risk strategy.

      The winnings would be a lower or equivalent probability of a labgrn government.

      It would be awesome to tell NZ1 to piss off, especially shane jones. I just think it's a foolhardy move.

      • David Mac 9.2.1

        Ha ok, I'm still not sure I understand what you said, are you stoned?

        I think I get it, it would feel awesome to tell Shane to fuck off but that's not wise.

        • McFlock

          Let's try it another way.

          You know those movies where people are gambling with cards, and at the most dramatic point thge hero pushes all their chips into the middle of the table and say "all in"? They're betting everything they have on one hand. They win everything or lose everything. And the reason it's so dramatic is that almost always, the cards they are playing are bunk. Statistically they are often almost certain to lose. But they win, because movies.

          Telling NZ1 to piss off is the same thing. You either get to govern alone, or you sit in opposition for three years.

          Having NZ1 as an option is like hedging your bets, playing according to the statistical odds. You don't win everything in one hand, but your odds of losing are much smaller. Because this is reality.

          The stakes in the "game" are the lives of actual NZers, and our most vulnerable ones at that.

          So, sure, labgrn can go "all in". Run lines against NZ1. Rule them out of coalition after the election. Look at what they are risking by pissing off NZ1. Look at the odds of them losing because NZ1 don't exist or go with the nats. You're betting someone's home on labgrn becoming part or all of the next government. Would your idea increase or decrease the odds of that person losing their home?

          • David Mac

            Yes, I get it.

            Don't take the risk you don't need to take. All-in is a donkey play.

          • pat

            of course the election may change the hand that all the players have …and then all in may be the sensible bet.

            • McFlock

              The election is when everyone puts their cards on the table and the winner takes government.

              Whether NZ1 is part of that is up to the voters.

          • weka

            How would it work even if they did go all in? Isn't NZF in parliament a function of NZF voters? I'm not sure that L/G telling NZ to not vote for NZF would impress NZF voters much.

            • weka

              I assume that NZF will be out of parliament again when NZF voters get sick of the bullshit and decide Labour are not so bad after all. Or maybe they stay home.

            • McFlock

              Yeah, going "all in" would be labgrn announcing that they will not form a coalition with NZ1. It's essentially betting that labgrn get 50%, regardless of whether NZ1 gets returned to life.

              It's one of those "if they did what I want, suddenly a healthy majority of voters would support them" situations of which folks are so fond.

              But if the move isn't quite so popular as one imagines, the opposition benches await.

  8. Sacha 10

    Golden opportunity.

    • joe90 10.1


      You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

      – Rahm Emanuel

      • Muttonbird 10.1.1

        A Capital Gains Tax in response to Coronavirus…

        Let's do this!

        • Sacha

          Wrong timeframe. A UBI or nationalising and universalising small business continuity insurance, etc, perhaps. Whole lot of livelihoods under threat right now.

          • Graeme

            Or some serious public works projects, but timeframe could be too short. It's probably only going to be 6-12 months of extreme pain for some business only. Some, like couriers might do very well out of it delivering everyone's groceries.

            • Sacha

              Yes, the whole 'infrastructure' thing is not soon enough. Govt needs to inject big money and certainty this week for the rest of this year. Big test.

  9. joe90 11

    Fuckers have no intention of negotiating a just and fair settlement.


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