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Open mike 08/01/2015

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, January 8th, 2015 - 91 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

openmikeThe Authors of The Standard are now in holiday mode. Posting will be less regular and dependant on individual author enthusiasm.

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 …

91 comments on “Open mike 08/01/2015”

  1. aerobubble 1

    When markets are created, some market actors get greedy. Market failure occurs when that greed reaches a tipping point. The GFC was caised by thirty years of calling on the restriction of the free market, the exposure of greed, the dumbing down of govt oversight, regulation capture, etc. Yes, you heard it, neo-liberalism is anti-free market, as it calls for a shrinking of society, of the means to rectify market greed and so maket failure.

  2. wyndham 2

    I see Stuart Nash is making murmurations about foreign investment in NZ. https://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/25926507/nash-questions-approved-overseas-investments/

    Can any TS commentator tell me what or who constitutes this “Overseas Investment Office”? Over the years there have been many contentious decisions on land sale matters; it seems almost all applications are approved irrespective of their sensitivity. Who are these people? To whom are they responsible?

    • vto 2.1

      It is absolutely essential in the “foreign investment” debate to distinguish between actual foreign investment (in business) and foreign ownership of land….

      …. they are two completely different things which right wing politicians love to merge and confuse to help their spin.

      Foreign investment can happen but foreign ownership of land is outright barmy

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        It is absolutely essential in the “foreign investment” debate to distinguish between actual foreign investment (in business) and foreign ownership of land….

        …. they are two completely different things which right wing politicians love to merge and confuse to help their spin.

        Although I agree with you on that I think it’s more important to have a discussion about if foreign investment is wanted or even necessary. We do not need foreign currency to utilise our own resources which is all that is happening with foreign investment. If there’s not enough money in our economy to utilise all of our resources then the government needs to create more money and spend it in such a way so as to utilise those unused resources.

    • lprent 2.2


      The problem isn’t so much with the office and the people there as far as I can see. They appear to administer the act as written. The issues are that :-

      1. The legislation is *very* broad about what is permissible.
      2. The followup about what must be reported is pathetic (ie if you said you were building a hotel on your application, but instead built a luxury home I suspect that you wouldn’t have an issue).
      3. The minister can effectively overrule the OIO at the end of the process and frequently do.

    • disturbed 2.3

      Good for Stuart Nash to question the wholesale selling of NZ to overseas cheap money investors using almost zero interest loans to take them while our NZ public can’t get interest free loans.

      Soon we will become tenants in our own land all of us.

      “National” in the Dictionary means “for the people of the country”
      Collins Dictionary.
      1.of, involving, or relating to a nation as a whole
      2.of, relating to, or characteristic of a particular nation ⇒ the national dress of Poland
      3.(rare) nationalistic or patriotic
      4.a citizen or subject
      5.a national newspaper
      Derived Forms
      ˈnationally adverb
      View thesaurus entry
      = nationwide, state, public, federal, civil, widespread, governmental, countrywide

      = ethnic, social, native, racial, indigenous, tribal

      = citizen, subject, resident, native, inhabitant, domestic
      But in #4 in this site it is specific as national is
      “owned or maintained for the public of the country.”


      NATIONAL (adjective)
      The adjective NATIONAL has 7 senses:

      1. of or relating to or belonging to a nation or country
      2. limited to or in the interests of a particular nation
      3. concerned with or applicable to or belonging to an entire nation or country
      4. owned or maintained for the public by the national government
      5. inside the country
      6. characteristic of or peculiar to the people of a nation
      7. of or relating to nationality

    • aerobubble 2.4

      There are a group of individuals whose answer to important questions is no.
      Change is to hard for them
      They invariable are asked because they have wealth and dont want to lose it.
      So how to change, well stop telling us we innovators, we’re not, we dont need yes men. No, we need basics, that evidence base deision makig. not china wants dairy..
      Neolibs ae all about stopping govt debate, change, and letting the privaye sector make its bed, that bed does not include the rest of us, and it smells, lacks a cleaner..

  3. Clemgeopin 3


    I just read a few articles on statins used to reduce cholestorol. Here is one of them written by an MD who worked as a thoracic surgeon for 25 years. He says, “my life was passionately dedicated to treating heart disease; I gave many thousands of patients a second chance at life.

    Then a few years ago I made the most difficult decision of my medical career. I left the surgery that I loved to have the freedom necessary to speak the truth about heart disease, inflammation, statin medications, and the current methods of treating heart disease”

    Statin drugs, the ones your Doctor insists that you take if your cholesterol is slightly elevated and Bernie Madoff ( the now infamous financial fraudster ) have both left in their wake many innocent victims, and many sincere but misled supporters. Both are huge frauds perpetrated on the unsuspecting.

    Mr. Madoff, over 30 years swindled people out of about $50 billion. Statins have a worldwide market of over $30 billion annually and have had for many years. In addition, the testing for and treating elevated cholesterol costs about $100 billion annually with no noticeable benefit to the victims, I mean patients.

    I’m not sure if Mr. Madoff intended to swindle when he started out, but reading the reports it seems things got out of hand and he had to continue to tell a false story in order to keep the money flowing into his coffers to support his and his supporters’ lavish lifestyles, and perpetuate the fraud.

    I’m not sure that the statin makers intended to swindle in the beginning but they also were not about to give up on a $30 billion annual market easily. There are many sincere, well intentioned and deeply convinced physicians that will continue to support the theory that dietary cholesterol and saturated fats cause heart disease.

    They will continue to believe that cholesterol lowering medications will successfully treat and prevent heart disease in spite of the fact that a study published in The American Heart Journal ( January 2009 ) analyzing 137,000 patients admitted to hospitals in the United States with a heart attack demonstrated that almost 75% had “normal” cholesterol levels.

    This fact continued to bother me during my surgical career. The idea that a normal substance, namely cholesterol, would cause heart disease never resonated with me. I would see patients coming back for second coronary bypass operations a few years after their first, having had normal cholesterol levels the entire time. In the operating room I had made the observation that there seemed to be inflammation around the coronary arteries that I was bypassing.

    Through brilliant and massive marketing the makers of statin drugs have skillfully influenced science and controlled public policy so that prescribing statin drugs has become the standard of care. Anyone questioning or disagreeing with these policies is labeled as a heretic, disregarded and ridiculed.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ), The National Cholesterol Education Program, The American Heart Association and many academic centers are led and influenced by physicians who receive direct or indirect benefit from the makers of statin drugs.

    Their influence is so pervasive that recently the FDA approved Crestor®, a statin, to treat patients with normal cholesterol. Some of these academics have called for treating children with statin drugs. Marketing has truly triumphed over medicine.

    Treating or attempting to prevent heart disease with statin drugs is dangerous and fraudulent for two reasons:

    1.) Serious, deadly and disabling side effects which are largely ignored by the medical profession and suppressed by the statin makers. These side effects have been brilliantly documented by Dr. Duane Graveline and other brave doctors who dare to speak out against the official religion of cholesterol and saturated fat.

    2.) Continued focus on this ineffective treatment diverts attention from truly understanding and controlling heart disease, and gives patients a false sense of security that prevents them from making the lifestyle changes that would truly prevent and reverse heart disease.

    The very best statistical manipulation shows that one must treat at least 10 people for several years for 1 to have possible benefit. I’ll bet that when your doctor told you to take statins you were not told that under the most favorable statistical slant on the data there is only 1 chance in 10 that you will benefit.

    The much publicized JUPITER study which led the FDA to approve Crestor® for people with normal cholesterol showed that treating 100 people for 3 years with Crestor® “may” have prevented one heart attack.

    Yet the approval was granted and millions of people were exposed to the risks of statins with no possible benefit except to the maker of Crestor®. Do you think the process is pure and clean and free of improper influence?

    Just as a point of reference, if I had treated 100 people with the correct antibiotic for an infection 99 would have been cured. This is why I call statin treatment a scam that is bigger and more harmful than anything Bernie Madoff pulled off, at least his victims only lost money, not their health.

    In spite of being Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at a large specialty heart hospital I found that I could not change Medicine no matter how much I preached and pleaded, no matter how much scientific evidence I gathered that cholesterol was not a problem and that treating cholesterol with medications was counter productive.”

    Interesting and confusing stuff, isn’t it! I don’t know what to make of it!

    More here:

    The reason I read about statins was this headlines on Stuff this morning:

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Thanks Clemgeopin
      Confusing all right but someone in the field has given a heads-up so there is likely to be something in it.

      • Clemgeopin 3.1.1

        I just found another link which reports negative findings about this doctor.

        Take a look:
        A Skeptical Look at Dwight Lundell, M.D., By Stephen Barrett, M.D.


        • weka

          Lots of people have been commenting on the problems with statins for a long time, so I’d be more interested in what Quackwatch have to say about statins. Their page on Lundell doesn’t appear to address Lundell’s theories on statins, just looks at things like how his medical licence was suspended, that he makes money from selling healthcare books, has been made bankrupt etc. If they don’t want to trust Lundell on the basis of that fine (plenty of dodgy doctors still in practice), but that’s not a reason to not look at the actual evidence.

          (Quackwatch get some things right, but they’ve definitely got blindspots about many things they can’t get their head around)

    • grumpystilskin 3.2

      You can add tamiflu to the list of bogus medications.
      I read an article where it reduced “the flu” symptoms by an average of around half a day..
      And no, I have no idea where I saw it so can’t provide a link.
      stop the press, link found!

    • tricledrown 3.3

      Statins are bad for people with liver damage.
      Also people who suddenly stop taking Statins are at much higher risk of having a stroke.
      On the positive Statins reduce the risk of Dimentia.
      The amount perscribed is often to high
      When a much smaller amount is just as effective.
      A healthy lifestyle is the better option exercise,balanced nutrition,meditation,love and happiness !
      Lowering stress though is probably the single factor that will reduce the need for pills.

  4. mikesh 4

    Where commercial interests are involved I would be very suspicious. I would say the same thing about fluoride in water supplies.

    • Wonderpup 4.1

      And here is the problem. Distrust of commercial imperatives in the medical-industrial-agricultural complex, which is laudible, leads to extremes of public behaviour that includes the anti-fluoridation and anti-vaccination movements, which have their own exterior motivations.

      “Where there is smoke, there is fire” is not a reliable way to approach something like this. “Where there is smoke, there is a nutcase trying to get noticed to sell you snakeoil” is far more common.

      I think the intelligent, progressive consumer of healthcare needs to move cautiously through this space, realising that much is unknown, but that general scientific consensus is not arrived at easily.

      Personally I spend a lot of time selecting my guides (my G.P. in this instance) and the trust I put in them results not only in the physical benefit of treatment, but the psychological one of the lessening of anxiety by handing over some choices to an expert.

      • JanM 4.1.1

        Generally speaking, it’s not really a good idea to hand over responsibility for your wellbeing on any level to someone else. It weakens your spirit and tempts others to play ‘god’.

      • weka 4.1.2

        “but that general scientific consensus is not arrived at easily.”

        How does your philosophy re handing over to experts fit in with the fact that sometimes the scientific consensus is wrong to the point of being dangerous (eg in the case of statins and the fat hypothesis)?

        • Wonderpup

          It serves me very well indeed. In fact, it means i’m alive right now, thanks to antibiotics, insulin, surgery, ….

          Science is complicated, and a few examples, fortunately, don’t undermine the basic method. I have some interest in the insulin hypothesis of obesity, and a low carb diet keeps me healthier than following the food pyramid. On statins – I keep taking mine, after reading the Cochrane Review. I accept my doctors opinion that stabbing myself in the eye is a bad idea, even if it is supported by medical evidence.

      • Naturesong 4.1.3

        Absolutely agree with your comment, with one amendment.

        … handing over some choices to an expert.>
        You should have access to same data as your chosen Doctor (expert).
        And, both medical texts, and medical diagnosis methodology are now accessable to anyone with internet access.

        At the very least, reading up on whatever condition or injury a person is suffering from allows them to have a much higher level of conversation with their doctor about management and/or treatment.

        • McFlock


          I almost said “to a degree”, but of course that would be incorrect because googling will never be as good as an actual education.

          • Ergo Robertina

            ‘Googling will never be as good as an actual education.’

            Depends on the outcome you seek; if your concern is patients, then Googling can be superior to those with ‘actual education’ if available medical information is out of date and/or overly narrow.
            Access to Google and the resources it engenders means, for example, provincial doctors in smaller cities with their ‘actual education’ have to consider established treatment pathways that exist in larger centres, which makes Google a tool that can be superior to the doctors’ static and outmoded training.

            • McFlock

              And yet the same methodology gives us the anti-vax crowd, which strongly suggests to me that any benefit is purely coincidental.

              • Ergo Robertina

                You missed the point. I’m not alluding to those whose beliefs are outside accepted mainstream medical thinking. I’m talking about less common conditions (which may affect a significant minority) that can be helped by professionals with an ‘actual education’ who exist within the accepted paradigm but treat larger population sizes. That’s a very different proposition from those you seek to marginalise who hold views outside the mainstream medicine paradigm.

                • Macro

                  True. But even within mainstream medicine there is an ongoing problem. GP’s may prescribe a number of drugs to a patient without being fully cognisant of all their side effects. Between 2004 and 2010, major drug companies in the states paid out $7 billion in fines, penalties and lawsuits. http://www.drugwatch.com/dangerous-drugs.php
                  On a recent hospital visit the patient in the bed opposite me was on 28 pills a day! Goodness knows what the contra side effects of that cocktail would be – but he was not a well man. Interestingly his health improved when the medication was reduced (under a constant watch) and a more sensible regime was introduced. His wife was a nurse at the hospital – by the way.
                  I had another experience when my daughter was prescribed two medicines to be taken at the same time. But her condition deteriorated to such an extent that I then googled the two drugs to find that the two taken together could produce the side effects she was displaying. This was unknown by our doctor when I rang him to tell him about it and to enquire which of the two drugs she should stop taking. She improved when she stopped taking both medicines and only took the one.

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    I agree with your comment; the ignorance I have encountered personally in the medical profession is staggering.
                    There are some medical professionals (a small number) who are aware of these issues. In my view it’s worth pointing out to those who view the medical paradigm as the gold standard, that the best of the profession they value are cognisant of its blind spots and limitations.

              • Ergo Robertina

                Further to that, you appear to have a very poor grasp of methodology if you believe adhering to tenets outside the medical paradigm (like anti-vac) is akin to gaining an understanding of what exists within the medical paradigm in larger population centres.

                • McFlock

                  My point was that googling lacks the context that enables one to determine what constitutes “a valid medical postion that your doctor is unfamiliar with” and what constitutes “a string of pseudo-medical bullshit plugged by quacks on the paranoiac speaking circuit”.

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    Your argument is based on a false premise.
                    The doctor-patient relationship ought to be an iterative one enabling two-way communication and exchange of information and ideas, rather than a paternalistic doctor-knows-best transaction.

                    Plus many NZ patients are unconsciously repping for drug companies because of direct to consumer advertising (allowed only in NZ and the USA) – so the idea of the patient as a blank canvas is a fallacy anyway.

                    • McFlock

                      Who said “blank canvas”?

                      If anything, your second paragraph simply supports my assertion that patients are in no position to distinguish between good medical practise and quackery (including drug company advertising).

                      It’s almost certain that any doctor does know best. That’s what all those years of study, and ongoing training and conferences, are for.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      It’s almost certain that any doctor does know best. That’s what all those years of study, and ongoing training and conferences, are for.

                      Well, I don’t think it’s “almost certain” at all; in fact I think its a very situational call which has to be made.

                    • McFlock


                      big fucking surprise there, too

              • Yes, you have to vet your sources of information.

                In this case I was talking about using medical texts and methodologies that are taught to medical students in actual medical schools.
                You’ll find the anti-vax crowd will not use these, but generally rely on sources they consider trustworthy who misinterpret research in such a way that it scares the living shit out of them (the anti-vax folks).

                Also, with regard to “googling will never be as good as an actual education“;
                I’m not trying to open a barber shop in my garage.
                I’m seeking to understand a disease that affects me, audit the doctors conclusion, and be able to discuss the subject with the doctor who has the years of education and practice it takes

                • McFlock

                  Understand the disease? Really? Because, for example, “build up of uric acid in joints” gives no more information to me than “gout” does to explain “screamy toe-fucky syndrome”.

                  Basically, I pretty much have three main questions for my doctor:
                  Op or pill or fucked?
                  Cure or treatment ongoing for life?

                  and the big one:

                  Can I drink with this?

                  Not fixed? Referral or second opinion.

                  • What ever works for you. Though ensuring the correct diagnosis is quite critical to choosing whether or not you take a pill or have an op.

                    For myself, having been on the receiving end of two avoidable medical misadventures (one due to ignorance, one due to lazyness), and understanding that there are large variations in individual doctors abilities, I’ll stick to ensuring all my medical decisions are as informed as I can possibly make them.

                    • McFlock

                      knock yourself out.

                      Get the docs disciplined?

                    • weka

                      +1 Naturesong.

                    • weka

                      “Get the docs disciplined?”


                    • weka

                      Did you just use google? 😯

                      I think maybe you are naive about what making a complaint entails and how those processes generally go.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      For lots of people who have been hurt by the medical system, putting in a complaint and dealing with all the resulting aggro and paperwork is a bridge too far, especially when its not going to help them get better and heal.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, was your question “how” not a good faith request for information? Colour me gobsmacked.

                    • weka

                      I wanted to know what you knew/thought about that, because I was guessing you didn’t know much, given your suggestion and how it landed in this conversation. So the ‘how’ was genuine, just not in the way you might have taken it.

                    • Reply to McFlock.

                      Did not get them disciplined.
                      The first time, I was three years old and did not have the skills – and my parents simply changed doctors rather than confront him after they found out from another doctor that placing a child on an adult daily dose of Prednisone for 24 months is a really, really, really bad thing.

                      My hair fell out, I ceased to grow. Two adult teeth were malformed, and delayed – I was 15 when I got my last adult tooth (barring the wisdom ones). And, having had my immune system completely compromised, managed to catch every single disease during my school years. I was the short pale skinny white kid in the class, and spent as much time off sick as I did in school.

                      It wasn’t until my early twenties that I experienced any significant periods of good health.

                      The incident was a doctor who made a poor decision under time pressure. He should have sought advice from a specialist before making a decision to operate.
                      He didn’t cripple me, and I am still able to run, so I’m not too bothered about this one.
                      His error was not apparent for several months, at which time we were told that if I really wanted a straight leg, rebreaking and fixing it would have to be done on my dime.

                    • McFlock

                      @ naturesong:
                      that really sucks. The first one in particular would have warranted serious action, I get why you have the position you do. But I’m still not convinced that patients can reliably audit their doctor’s clinical decisions.

                      nah, it’s pretty typical for our healthcare arguments, on both sides.
                      They pretty quickly devolve into oblique point-scoring rather than straight-out questions and answers. Again, me as well as you. Getting a bit boring, really.

                  • weka

                    Good for you.

                    Also good for the people who take the information about gout and go and find things their doctors don’t know about, like they take x out of their diet and their symptoms become easier to manage. The good doctors (like mine) will support this. The stupid ones will ridicule their patient, tell them it’s dangerous (even when they have no idea if it is or isn’t), or get in a huff. Seen it all.

                    There is not good reason for not having an inclusive health care system, apart from partisan bullshit and ego.

                    • McFlock

                      I’m pretty sure “x” was in the leaflets the doctor gives out.

                      Communication can be great. What I take issue with is people pretending that their google search is equivalent to their doctor’s training.

                    • weka

                      No. Read what I said. Plenty of people find remedies that their doctors don’t know about.

                      I agree about people thinking their google search is equivalent to their GP’s education. A couple of problems though. One is that too many doctors are still too arrogant and some patients just want to shift out of the diminutive role they get forced into in those relationships. The other is that sometimes the patient knows more than the doctor about a particular aspect of health.

                      I’m curious if you have had any serious chronic health problems that doctors haven’t adequately treated (don’t need the details). Lots of people end up on google because they’re failed by medicine (not all, I agree some people use google in a stupid way).

                    • McFlock

                      Pretty much all of my treatments have been adequate, from several different doctors.

                      Had one doctor who was reluctant to debride a non-healing wound, but that’s the closest I had to come to demanding a second opinion.

                      As for plenty of people finding remedies their doctors don’t know about, plenty of people also do stuff that is unrelated or even harmful. Which goes back to an earlier comment

                    • weka

                      “plenty of people also do stuff that is unrelated or even harmful.”

                      And plenty of doctors do too (I assume you are aware of the rates of iatrogenesis).

                      So round and round we go.

                    • McFlock

                      the point being that doctors have a better than average (and considerably better than 50%) rate of beneficial outcomes.

                      Anyhoo, I’m gonna watch the Daily Show and go to bed. Night night.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      the point being that doctors have a better than average (and considerably better than 50%) rate of beneficial outcomes.

                      After subtracting the placebo effect? Sorry, I have to doubt that.

                    • weka

                      “the point being that doctors have a better than average (and considerably better than 50%) rate of beneficial outcomes.”

                      And doctors plus informed and empowered patients have a higher rate still. There is no reason for not cooperating where that is what the patient wants, apart from territory protection and ego. You assume risk, but that’s something that can be managed.

                      “the point being that doctors have a better than average (and considerably better than 50%) rate of beneficial outcomes.”

                      However, if you break that down into different areas of health (rather than medicine), it doesn’t look so good. Chronic illness is especially poorly served, as is mental illness.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  You’ll find the anti-vax crowd will not use these, but generally rely on sources they consider trustworthy who misinterpret research in such a way that it scares the living shit out of them (the anti-vax folks).


                  I’m on record on The Standard as not being a huge fan of all vaccinations. It’s not about being scared, it’s about being realistic about the limitations of vaccinations, vaccine by vaccine, and not giving away agency around making ones own healthcare decisions.

                  • McFlock

                    … and that’s an opinion that, what was it? Ah yes: does not exist “within the medical paradigm”. So thanks for the help.

                  • Having concerns about vaccinations (or any medical procedure for that matter) seems to me to be a perfectly valid viewpoint.

                    I would also assert that scepticism generally is a healthy thing.

                    But if you were to say somethng like
                    … MMR has/ or had mercury in it, or
                    … quote Andrew Wakefield’s study showing that vaccinations cause autism (first published in the Lancet in 2010, later withdrawn when it was discovered he had several ethics breaches, including failure to disclose financial compensation from a lawyer representing families claiming MMR cause their children’s autism, failure to disclose financial interests in patents for MMR alternatives, failure to include data which contradicted his conclusions, use of contaminated samples to support his conclusions. Furthermore, on January 28, 2010, Wakefield and two of his co-authors, John Angus Walker-Smith and Simon Harry Murch, were found by the UK.’s General Medical Council to have acted irresponsibly, dishonestly and not in the clinical interests of the children involved in the study.)

                    Then I’d consider you to be one of the zombies.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      And I suppose you know that the urabe version of the MMR vaccine caused severe life threatening problems in many children in the UK when it was introduced in 1988, including at least 4 confirmed deaths, before the vaccine was withdrawn by the government 4 years later in 1992.

                      NB the vaccination was introduced to the public even though UK health officials had already been briefed on the possibility of major problems with the vaccine.

                      If you did not know these facts about such a widely used vaccine, then I would have to consider *you* a “zombie.”

                      And when you say that the MMR vaccination has NEVER contained thimerosal…how sure are you that this earlier withdrawn vaccination did not have it and that the comment only applies to the later reformulated types of MMR vaccination.

                    • Yes I was aware of the issues around that specific vaccinne at that time.

                      I agree with this: It’s not about being scared, it’s about being realistic about the limitations of vaccinations, vaccine by vaccine, and not giving away agency around making ones own healthcare decisions..

                      It’s not ignorance that makes a person a zombie, its the regurgitation of second hand information without casting a critical eye on it first.
                      Clearly you have thought about this and have arrived at an informed position.
                      But if you want to believe that I was calling you a zombie, you go right ahead.

  5. wyndham 5

    “The targeting of journalists going about their daily work is an attack on the fourth estate and the democratic principles of freedom of speech and expression, which must be strongly condemned.”

    Comment by one John Key on the Paris shootings. Defender of the 4th. Estate. Andrea Vance and Bradley Ambrose will be pleased about that !

    • Northsider 5.1

      John Key does not do irony. Neither does Key’s most hardened supporters.
      Sadly many journalists rarely get irony. They are willing to castigate Pacific and Asian regimes for corrupt crony capitalism and are unable to see the parallels with what Key has been doing in godzone. Likewise NZ journalists will be shocked at the attempts to stiffle the press overseas without seeing the parallels with what Key does on a routine basis.

    • Tracey 5.2

      yikes. it’s like he has already forgotten cameron Slater’s use of prostitiutes to threaten and silence journalists or get them to publish to his will.

      • Naturesong 5.2.1

        Thats not a freedom of speech issue, the crime there is blackmail.

        Freedom of speech is where you have a legal right to say what you want without repercussion from the state, hate speech laws temper this right.

        The most recent example we have of curtailing freedom of speech is not the horrific killings in Paris (that’s terrorism – seeking to create an atmosphere of fear in order to change peoples habits, outlook, laws etc), it was the police raid on Nicky Hagers house following the election.

        Fear of legal action or being punched in the head for being a dick is what restrains most of the wankers out there.

  6. weka 6

    Anyone else finding ts slow to load today?

    • wyndham 6.1

      Yes Weka and then some !

    • Tracey 6.2

      only on the very long threads. i cant get back into charlie thread… will try when I come back later.

    • lprent 6.3

      Yes. It seems to be related to the large comment post. Probably the first really long one since xmas.

      But in case it is the php5-fpm change last night, I just rolled that back.

      • lprent 6.3.1

        It may also have something to do with the rapidly climbing blocked spam comments for the last few days as well. I swear that that was just over 2k at the start of the week. It is now 4.2k

  7. Charlie Hebdo: ‘… and not give in to fear’

    “..(as does yr intellectual-compatriot/equal alan..)”

    I wish 😉

    “.namely..attribute a false conclusion to yr opponent….then use that a ‘given’/base from which to attack/question..”

    pu –
    QED – which was to be shown or demonstrated
    QEF – which was to be done
    QM – Every morning.
    QN – Every night
    QD – Every day.
    QI – as much as is desired.
    QR – quantum rectum – However much is correct.

    The latin put down award goes to… 😆

  8. “..I Used to Be a Snob About Fake Meat – I Was Dead Wrong..

    Two years ago in the New York Times Magazine – the great food writer Mark Bittman made the case for fake meat.

    ‘Isn’t it preferable’ he asked ‘to eat plant products mixed with water that have been put through a thingamajiggy that spews out meatlike stuff –

    – instead of eating those same plant products put into a chicken that does its biomechanical thing for the six weeks of its miserable existence –

    – only to have its throat cut in the service of yielding barely distinguishable meat?’

    The argument is powerful.

    Factory-farmed meat doesn’t taste like much –

    – yet generates all manner of wreckage –

    – from antibiotic-resistant pathogens to fouled water and air to horrific working conditions –

    – and what amounts to systematized animal torture.

    Indeed – why not just eat some soybeans tarted up to look and taste like meat instead?..”



  9. Morrissey 10

    Fergal Keane praises the “restraint” of the French fascists;
    CNN hack rages against “barbaric form of Islam”

    Thursday 8 January 2015

    I don’t think anyone with any sense trusts what he or she hears on radio and television news reports. Only the terminally bewildered, the credulous and the most willfully obtuse, ideologically committed viewer would be foolish enough to believe—or cynical enough to pretend—that the BBC or CBS or NBC or ABC or Sky News or Fox News or Al Jazeera are anything other than deeply compromised, unreliable, or even consciously dishonest in their coverage of “world events”.

    Two examples of the dismal fare served up as “news” occurred early this evening—one on television, the other on radio….

    [1.] On Television One news, viewers were treated to a BBC report on his own emotions by the roving empathist, Fergal Keane, AKA “Keening Keane”. At his best, Keane is an absurd, unholy but unintentionally hilarious cross between that morose Irish bloke on Black Books, Alan Partridge and Bill Clinton; ever since he emoted his way through the Kobe earthquake in January 1995, he’s fashioned a very special niche role for himself, i.e., being flown into disaster zones hot on the heels of tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, train crashes, landslides, massacres, and reporting on his own feelings in the most heart-rending fashion. It doesn’t always work, however—-rather than having their hearts rent, many of his listeners feel violently sick whenever they hear Keane working up his Cork-inflected Clintonesque caring schtick into full flight mode.

    When he’s not being hysterically funny, Keane’s reports are, at worst, merely in bad taste. Today’s report, however, went further than usual, and showed just how impoverished and insubstantial his patina of compassion actually is. Keane announced that the commentary in France had been remarkably restrained, “even amongst the most extreme elements” of society. This was of course the perfect time to interview….(wait for it)….. a spokesman for the Front National. He let the fellow speak at length, showing British viewers just how tolerant and, er, restrained the Front National is. Keane was entirely approving of this smooth PR exercise by the closest thing France has to a Nazi Party. Damningly for his own as well as the BBC’s credibility, he seemed to be unaware of the incendiary rubbish that had been spewed earlier in the day by the Front National leader, Marine Le Pen.

    [2.] Shortly before the Keener’s ridiculous pantomime, Radio NZ National took a report by one Jonathan Mann, of CNN, who launched into an impassioned denunciation of extremism, noting that “the people of Paris have seen all too often before—blood in the streets, brought about by extreme Islam.” He finished off his “report” by damning the “barbaric form of Islam” espoused by these terrorists.

    I have been unable to find any evidence of Jonathan Mann condemning the blood in the streets of Gaza, Ramallah, Jenin, Baghdad, Mosul, Beirut, and Damascus—blood which has been brought about largely by—to use his own simplistic, formulaic take on the world—an extreme form of Christianity. I have also failed to find any evidence of his denouncing barbaric Christianity or Judaism. Perhaps others have heard him do this; if you have, please post it up ASAP.

  10. Miracle Worker 11



    I really wish there was a ‘like’ button for comments in these threads.

    • greywarshark 11.1

      M,W The +1 you put just requires an extra second or so. Likes do tend to end up competitive I think.

  11. Draco T Bastard 12

    The patients who can’t leave hospital – as no one will make a profit

    Hence, someone who is keen and fit to leave the NHS bed she is occupying unnecessarily is unlikely to be able to do so any time soon, because no one can make a profit from her doing so. It is a situation the charity Age UK describes as madness, in which there are only losers and no winners. Crucially, it is causing entire hospitals to get clogged up, leaving them unable to admit new patients as quickly as they deem necessary.

    And that explains how the profit drive fucks things up for society.

  12. Saarbo 13

    Andrew Little on fire on Twitter at the mo (fyi)…very entertaining…and doing a good job.

  13. geoff 14

    “Christianity was brutal on the Spanish Inquisition and blasphemy trials. Christianity wasn’t immune to it in its history and this is a phase that Islam is going through now and people just have to be brave and carry on.”


    • Colonial Rawshark 14.1

      Christianity is still pretty brutal. Look at the US right wing Christian support of continuing to send advanced arms for Israel to use even as Israel was demolishing Gaza and killing its massive population of children.

      • geoff 14.1.1

        Are you suggesting this quote reveals a, perhaps subconscious, Euro-centric worldview?

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Quite possibly…also one which hasn’t fully considered how Jewish and Christian nations have played a direct role in fomenting ever more extremist and oppressive forms of Islam in Muslim countries over the last 50 years.

  14. Pat O'Dea 15

    First published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, the Guardian reports that a new study shows that most of the known conventional fossil fuel reserves cannot be burnt without destroying the planet. Which poses the question, why are oil companies and government’s (like ours), investing in exploring additional unconventional oil reserves, like deep sea oil?
    Will history hold them to be the greatest criminals of all time?

    90% of US and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands must stay in the ground

    “The new analysis calls into question the gigantic sums of private and government investment being ploughed into exploration for new fossil fuel reserves, according to UCL’s Professor Paul Ekins, who conducted the research.”
    DAMIAN CARRINGTON Head of environment writing, at the ‘Guardian’.

    “In 2013, fossil fuel companies spent some $670bn (£443bn) on exploring for new oil and gas resources. One might ask why they are doing this when there is more in the ground than we can afford to burn,”

    “One lesson of this work is unmistakably obvious: when you’re in a hole, stop digging,”….
    “These numbers show that unconventional and ‘extreme’ fossil fuel – Canada’s tar sands, for instance – simply have to stay in the ground.”

    BILL McKIBBEN co-founder of 350.org

  15. Pat O'Dea 16

    First published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, the Guardian reports that a new study shows us that most of the known conventional fossil fuel reserves cannot be burnt without destroying the planetary biosphere. Which poses the question, why are oil companies and government’s (like ours), investing in exploring additional unconventional oil reserves, like deep sea oil?
    Will history hold them to be the greatest criminals of all time?

    90% of US and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands must stay in the ground

    “The new analysis calls into question the gigantic sums of private and government investment being ploughed into exploration for new fossil fuel reserves, according to UCL’s Professor Paul Ekins, who conducted the research.”
    DAMIAN CARRINGTON Head of environment writing, at the ‘Guardian’.

    “In 2013, fossil fuel companies spent some $670bn (£443bn) on exploring for new oil and gas resources. One might ask why they are doing this when there is more in the ground than we can afford to burn,”

    “One lesson of this work is unmistakably obvious: when you’re in a hole, stop digging,”….
    “These numbers show that unconventional and ‘extreme’ fossil fuel – Canada’s tar sands, for instance – simply have to stay in the ground.”

    BILL McKIBBEN co-founder of 350.org

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