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Open mike 09/01/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, January 9th, 2020 - 58 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 …

58 comments on “Open mike 09/01/2020 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    "Like most of the world's government's, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's administration has neither condemned nor endorsed the US drone strike which killed Soleimani, only calling for a de-escalation of hostilities. Jon Stevenson, a New Zealand journalist who has spent years covering conflict and politics in the Middle East, felt that was not enough. "I am concerned that there has been a lack not just of political leadership but of moral leadership by Western politicians. They need to step up now and make it clear to the Trump administration that they're very concerned," he said." https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/406940/iran-s-embassy-calls-on-nz-to-promote-peace-and-security

    I've been dismayed by the lack of western moral leadership since the Nixon era, so I agree with Jon. I also agree with the call from the Iranian embassy.

    As regards neither condemning nor condoning the drone strike, I'm agnostic. If the general was indeed about to launch terrorist strikes, Trump was right to take him out. Trouble is, we only have Trump's word for that. Okay, he seems to have gotten Putin on board, which suggests that the intelligence shared was persuasive. Even so, unless Trump shares it with Ardern & Peters he can't complain if they stand on the sidelines watching.

    Any helpful foreign policy initiative would have to direct Iran onto the path of peaceful coexistence – a fact that the Iranian embassy would do well to note. Provocation works both ways, and denuclearising has to be real, not fake…

  2. Hi Dennis

    What information do you have that Putin is "on board" with the killing of Suleiman?

    It was Suleiman , on a trip to Moscow, who persuaded Russia to enter the fray in Syria

    Russia is a long time ally with Iran , and has decried the assassination of Suleiman


    Or, do you mean that Putin recognises that it is not in Russia's interests , or that of most of the world , to have an all out war in that region, and that de escalation is better than further insanity?

    Less than a year ago Iran was declared to be compliant with the terms of the JCPOA treaty


    The US withdrew from this treaty a month later .For what reason, if not provocation?

    Suleiman worked with the US against the Taliban, and was hugely successful in defeating ISIS

    When assassinated, he was on a diplomatic mission seeking to ease hostilities between Saudi, Iran and Iraq


    What evidence are you aware of(I don't mean the unspecified claims of certain "intelligence" reports) that he was engaged in conspiracies to attack the US?

    Was Suleimani's support of the Palestinians enough to declare him a terrorist?

    I know who I think are the world's biggest terrorists.

    Our 5 Eyes partner

    • francesca 2.1

      Too difficult to edit what with all that nbsp carry on to delete

      Correction: Iran was still complying with the IPCOA treaty a year after Trump withdrew

      Here's a very recent article about Iran's compliance


    • Dennis Frank 2.2

      Hi Francesca, it was yesterday OM#8 I discussed that, but here's the source again: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50941754

      Haven't had a chance to examine your links yet. It's a moot topic and I agree that Trump ought to disclose his evidence re the general's terrorist organising. At that top level of geopolitics the tradition is to do so only with other relevant leaders and intelligence chiefs. Sharing that info with the public is routinely avoided.

      • francesca 2.2.1

        I read your OM comment and your source thoroughly.No mention of Suleiman in that BBC source

        Are you assuming rather than stating that intelligence prior to the Suleiman killing was shared and discussed with Putin ?

        I have come across no such report .

        The tradition of secret intelligence reports has been widely used in the past for very dodgy purposes and I wouldnt put much store by it. Remember Key and his secret advice about imminent jihadist threats to justify further surveillance .Lying bastards, and we shouldn't fall for it every time.

        It is not unusual for Russia and the US to share intelligence re terrorism

        Famously Russia attempted to warn Obama about the Tsarnaev brothers in 2013

        (Boston Bombers)


        But it seems only Israel was informed about Suleiman prior to his assassination

        • Dennis Frank

          We read our own inferences into news reports. BBC tells us about the understanding developed between Trump & Putin in regard to intelligence sharing and looming terrorist attacks. BBC tells us they talked on the phone a few days before the assassination. Doesn't tell us why or what about. So we can deduce that from what promptly happened.

          A possible scenario: "Hey Putin, I'm about to take out some Iranian general who is organising a terrorist attack. It'll make me look like a terrorist too, goddam it, but life ain't a bowl of peaches." "Bugger! He may be Shia, but he's been useful. Give me the details of what he was planning."

          • francesca

            Iran is a long term ally to Russia , the US is a long time adversary

            Russia stands by its allies

            I would very much doubt the US would tip Putin off on a strike on Russia's long time ally and not expect Putin to pass that news on

            The BBC is a master at directing opinion and sly suggestions, I'd be very careful of deducing anything from their crafted "news"

            • Peter

              Do you see the BBC more or less of a master at directing opinion and sly suggestions or any less intent on 'crafting' "news" than all the other big media players?

            • Wayne

              It is possible that everyone, including the Iranian government, are actually pleased to see the end of Suleiman. He, as part of the Revolutionary Guards, essentially was operating a parallel Iranian foreign policy to that of the Iranian government, a much more aggressive policy than the government would really like. That was probably complicating things for all the relevant governments with influence in the region, including Russia.

              If the Iranian response is as limited as at present, it would indicate that the Iranians are not going to do that much to "avenge" Suleiman. To me that shows they want to put his form of foreign policy behind them.

              This is all sheer speculation on my part, but from what I read, a lot of Iranians in government would like to see the Revolutionary Guards influence, both within and without Iran, curtailed. They have generally made life for the government of Iran, in the conventional sense of governing, a lot more difficult than it otherwise would be.

              • Sacha

                So the US officials who proposed this course of action may have been doing their Iranian counterparts a favour? Generous.

                • Dennis Frank

                  Wheels within wheels. Wayne's point is a good one. Roman history informs us that the inconvenience of successful military leaders often had emperors rearranging the chess board. Younger folk would get the point from Game of Thrones too.

                  • McFlock

                    Had a history of Mossad on my bookshelf for a few years ("Every Spy a Prince", I think). The Israelis had the model of factions within revolutionary Iran all competing together, extremists and moderates, building that model from a couple of defectors and agents.

                    That basically directed their foreign policy to Iran for a couple of decades. Dunno about now.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Good one. To be honest, it's never occurred to me to go looking for a history of Mossad. But I did get an eye-opening glimpse into that recently, courtesy of a book from the New Plymouth library by an investigative journalist who had compiled all the evidence that Mossad organised 9/11 using Arab stooges. He even had quotes from retirees that documented the origin of the scenario back around '79.

                      I paid attention to the Iran situation in the early years of the revolution. I remember learning how the mullahs eliminated the leftists. I was somewhat sympathetic to them from a nationalist perspective (inasmuch as the CIA took out Mossadegh in '53) but their ruthlessness proved they were merely fundamentalists so I got bored & ignored them after that.

                      If they were smart, they'd liberalise by allowing the secular option to become available to Iranians. The racist regime in South Africa yielded to the future, as did the communists, but no, these turkeys still want to pretend that it's the 7th century AD.

                    • McFlock

                      Iran's a fascinating country – liberal in many ways, but ruled by a paranoid and totalitarian theocracy.

                      Basically, I suspect the main reason the regime gained and maintains power is the USA – the shared external aggressor.

                      As for mossad doing 911 – yeah, nah. The penalty for failure would be insane, and their boy was in the WH anyway.

                    • Graeme


                      Basically, I suspect the main reason the regime gained and maintains power is the USA – the shared external aggressor.

                      This guy makes the same point, and that the assassination of Suleiman has reinforced the regime's position.


                      The Iranian leadership was struggling with a major legitimacy crisis when Trump came to its rescue.

                  • francesca

                    on the other hand…

                    Interesting commentary from the New Yorker, which suggests Suleimani was doing the bidding of the Iranian govt, rather than forming his own separate power base


                    • Dennis Frank

                      I suspect that Wayne had the Stalin model in mind. No apparent independent power base via deliberate effort towards creating that, but a de facto one produced by results, mana, reputation.

                      Pragmatists use levers that are available. The cleverest learn from experience that operating in the middle between powers that be, serving both sides ad hoc, in accord with what the situation requires, catalyses necessary progress. Partisans render themselves impotent by painting themselves into their corner.

                      Assad is Alawite. "Alawite doctrine incorporates Islamic, Gnostic, neo-Platonic, Christian and other elements and has, therefore, been described as syncretic." [Wikipedia] So the Shia orthodoxy can only perform regional liaison via a competent independent player. A general in the revolutionary guard with a track record of military success has the mana to do such liaison. The dead one had fought the Taliban with success, so Putin & Assad valued his expertise.

              • adam

                People I've talked to who have family in Iran, say the biggest hand up the Revolutionary Guards got was the sanctions imposed by the US. In that it not only has it made them more powerful in a political sense, but in economic terms as well.

                So if we really want to curtail the Revolutionary Guards, then sanctions need to be looked at.

              • Incognito

                Interesting comment, thanks.

                Suleiman was a revered and enormously popular person and will be a martyr, at least in the eyes of his many followers. This may not sit well with the theocratic leadership (government) but it won’t necessarily stop his followers from trying to avenge him. There are too many factions and splinter groups and it is not the most cohesive of societies.

              • francesca

                However, they still have to take into account the sentiments of their people

                I do not think the mass outcry of the general populace was faked

                And which arm of the govt are you referring to ?

                The Supreme Leader Khameini or some of the many different elements that make up the political system there

                Are you saying that Suleiman's defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq was a policy that the Iranian govt would not be in favour of ?

                • Wayne

                  My hypothesis will be tested by the extent of the overall reaction by Iran in the coming weeks.

                  Icognitio makes the point that the various elements who were Suleiman's loyal supporters will undertake numerous terrorist type actions against US interests. That is possible. But if that gets out of hand, the Iranian government will try to curtail it.

                  As for the scale of support, even if only 10% of Iranians supported the Revolutionary Guards, that is still 10 million people. Many of the other 90% fear the Guards, who have for decades been a repressive and violent faction within Iran. They have killed literally tens of thousands of Iranians.

                  However, I think it is already clear that the Iranian government is trying to limit the scale of reaction. No doubt there is intense diplomacy going on, particularly with various European nations.

                  • Incognito

                    Actually, I did not specify the type(s) of revenge. It is quite telling that you made that assumption. Many seem to look down on this ‘enemy’ as if they are some backwards barbarians stuck in the 7th century AD. It might explain the level of flippancy in and of their comments.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Perhaps they proved they aren't barbarians by getting revenge in a non-violent manner? I know, too great a break with tradition to be feasible, but it seems to have happened in the rocket attack.

                      Then again, the Iranian regime is apparently telling its people that they killed 80 American terrorists. Do you believe them?

                      You think describing America as the Great Satan is a form of contemporary sophistication?? Focus on the Great Satan successfully distracts everyone's attention from all the little Satans. Seems rather discriminatory! 😉 But did you have another form of revenge in mind?

                    • Incognito []

                      Not your usual insightful analysis but more flippancy.

                      Do I base my whole thinking on one rocket attack and an alleged 80 casualties?

                      You think, talk, and act as a Westerner without religion, myths, symbols, and heroes. Your only tool is your cool rationality. No wonder you are puzzled, but don’t worry, you are not alone.

                  • Andre

                    We can certainly hope Iran will choose to turn away from escalation. But Iran has form for liking their revenge served cold with a side of plausible deniability.

                    Like Hezbollah, Iran has appeared to attack soft targets thousands of miles from its borders. In 2012 Khameini vowed to “punish the perpetrators” of a hit against an Iranian nuclear chemist, the fourth Iranian nuclear scientist Israel was believed to have assassinated over a two-year span. Amid fears of retaliation in Israel or on U.S. soil, attacks instead took place as far afield as Georgia, India, and Thailand—where a series of bomb blasts wounded nine Israeli diplomats—and in Bulgaria, where another explosion killed five Israeli tourists, the Wall Street Journal reports. Iran has denied that it perpetrated any of the bombings.


  3. Dennis

    This is very long and not the easiest style but it's well worth reading and I think you have the stamina for it .It gives a different perspective on Suleimani , one that is valuable as a counterpoint to the "official " view

    From our very own Curwen Ares Rolinson


    • Dennis Frank 4.1

      I've cited his analysis on other topics in the past here once or twice: he's always worth reading. This one is sufficiently deep that a second reading may be required, for more leisurely contemplation, and I admit to just scanning some paragraphs.

      His problem as a communicator in this article is that of coming to a point. It's as if he knows there's one there somewhere but he can't quite crystallise it. Ain't enough to bemoan the banalities of US foreign policy, or the ham-fisted use of US military force. We learnt that when LBJ was president in the 1960s, and have had to be reminded by every president since for reasons that remain obscure!

      "It may, perhaps, be a bit of a stretch to suggest that he wanted peace with the Americans, but there is strong evidence in support of his actively working towards mutually-beneficial co-operation with his latter-day fatal adversary where appropriate and where this could actually be in some measure attained."

      If so, then we must draw the conclusion that he wasn't serious enough to make it obvious to US leaders and other relevant world leaders. Perhaps because his own leaders prevented him doing so! Religious nutters tend to be useless at geopolitics.

  4. Chris 5

    We've all become inured to this kind of thing. It's always "too expensive" or "we're working on it" or "it's very difficult", but the result is the same and the longer it goes on the more entrenched as nornal and acceptable it becomes. Even discussion about the cause of the problem is limited to whether the correct "need score" was applied.


  5. aj 6

    The Cambridge Analytica scandal grows, with whistleblower Brittany Kaiser releasing further internal documents from Cambridge Analytica.

    Very good interviews on on Democracy Now! yesterday. "“The Great Hack”: Big Data Firms Helped Sway the 2016 Election. Could It Happen Again in 2020?" and a must watch for anyone concerned about 'meddling in elections'

    This is the big story – forget Russia, Comey, Hillary, DNC. All bit players, CA would have to be the big one.

  6. Puckish Rogue 7

    So is kiwibuild still a thing?


    Build 100,000 affordable homes across the country

    Labour’s KiwiBuild programme will build 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over 10 years, with 50% of them in Auckland. Standalone houses in Auckland will cost $500,000 to $600,000, with apartments and townhouses under $500,000. Outside Auckland, houses will range from $300,000 to $500,000.

  7. ianmac 8

    A fresh attack has been launched at Baghdad, with rockets falling near the US embassy in Iraq.

    Iraqi military officials have confirmed to AAP that two rockets have fallen inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions.

    At this stage, there are no casualties.

    This is apparently not uncommon???


  8. joe90 9

    Of course Poots and co are trying to stuff this down the memory hole.

    Stalin, who sent millions to Gulag camps, has never been more popular in Russia. 70% of Russians say they approve of his legacy.

    This is the result of a Kremlin campaign, spearheaded by Vladimir Putin, to rewrite Soviet history.

    The Generation Gulag project started with a conversation between Coda journalists @antelava & @katia_patin. They wanted to hear from the eyewitnesses of Soviet authoritarianism about what it’s like to see their past being rewritten.

    In Russia, authorities have imprisoned prominent Gulag historians and forced Gulag museums to register as “foreign agents.” Last year in southern Russia, police officers dressed up in KGB uniforms — in celebration of the Soviet “heroes” who rounded up millions of Russians.

    Almost half of young Russians say they have never heard of the Stalin-era purges, known as the Great Terror.

    Olga Shirokaya’s father was arrested and executed at the height of the purge in 1938. In a second wave of mass arrests, Olga was sent to a camp in 1950:

    Olga’s Shirokaya was a child when Stalin’s purges reached a fever-pitch. It was 1938. Her father was arrested and executed. Twelve years later, Olga, now a young woman, was sent to the camps herself. The KGB accused her of “self-indoctrination.”

    As an infant, ballet dancer Azari Plesetsky was sent to a special Gulag camp for the wives and children of Stalin’s “enemies of the people.”

    “The most unpleasant and shameful part is that many people today try to forget about these wounds and not reopen them. But we must reopen them,” Azari Plesetsky told our journalist @oksanabaulina

    Russian authorities aren’t invested in coming to terms with the horror of the Gulag. Instead, “they want it to become part of the tapestry of the past that has no special significance, no special meaning and no special lessons,” said author @anneapplebaum

    Distorting the past is serving regimes around the world. As part of our disinformation coverage, we’re tracking how governments do it.

    Here, @isocockerell looks at how China tried to re-engineer the history of Muslims in the country.

    In the next few weeks, we will share the stories and the messages Gulag survivors have for us about our era.

    But we don’t want to stop here. Share your own family’s story from the Gulag using the hashtag #GenerationGulag

    To #stayonthestory of rewriting history, matters of disinformation, and more, subscribe to our newsletter now:



    [Held up in Moderation because it exceeded the link limit]

  9. Dennis Frank 10

    "But it got crazier still. Enter J K Rowling, the author, who expressed support for Forstater on Twitter. At this point the Twitterati decided Rowling was a far juicier target than Forstater, and turned on her like a swarm of angry wasps."

    "She was attacked as transphobic – 2019's most tiresome buzzword – and condemned as a terf, or trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The author's leftist credentials (Rowling campaigned against Brexit and once donated £1 million to the British Labour Party) were no protection." https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/118556579/has-the-left-learned-anything-from-the-lessons-of-2019

    "The Forstater-Rowling story encapsulated two of last year's dominant themes: the neo-Marxist Left's intolerance of dissent, and the crucial role of the ironically misnamed "social" media in howling down anyone who dares to question approved ideology."

    "It also highlighted the sheer aggressiveness of minority-group activists in attacking anyone who challenges them. The standard tactic is to demand that the dissenter be sacked, regardless of whether their personal views have any bearing on their ability to do their job."

    Stuff's cultural analyst wonders if the left learnt anything in 2019. Dunno why. People learn by themselves most of the time. They only do it collectively at school or university. Not all leftists are pc drones, so he's generalising – putting up a straw man to wave at Stuff readers under the false assumption that they will be impressed.

    "The so-called "bathroom battles" are evolving into a key issue in the American culture wars." It could be resolved by creating a third category, neither male nor female. Public toilets with the third option wearing the sign Whatever…

    • Incognito 10.1

      I read that this morning and I can’t be bothered unpacking this piece by Karl du Fresne.

      In case you wonder, he wasn’t “wondering”; it was entirely rhetorical (and a highly manipulative rant IMO).

    • Puckish Rogue 10.2

      Whats funny to me is that JK Rowling was the wokest of woke celebrities, remaining in Europe check, bring in the refugees double check, declaring Dumbledore to be gay (after the books were sold of course) triple check, announcing that Hermione was never specified as white (ignoring all the official illustrations, being described as going very brown in the sun and turning white) quadruple check

      Yet supporting a (oops nealy forgot to add it) cis-gendered woman and suddenly its all over in the blink of eye

      Why these celebrities continue to pander to nutbars on twitter is beyond me

      • Incognito 10.2.1

        Why these celebrities continue to pander to nutbars on twitter is beyond me

        Mr du Fresne muttered something about “freedom of expression” but apparently the Left has been taken over and is dominated by a fringe of “nutbars” whose “aim is to intimidate people into silence” (regardless of whether they are Left or Right).

        Mr du Fresne’s tacit concern is that it will lose the Left votes; he reminds me of a commenter here devil

        • Puckish Rogue

          I'm not interested in votes as much as the idea that celebrities (especially extremely wealthy ones) pander to groups that just seem to be waiting for them to stumble so they can tear them down

          Maybe subconscious feelings of guilt over just how much money they have so they feel a need to be punished for it…

  10. Dennis Frank 12

    So the Mongols have invaded Aotearoa. Not kidding, I can cite evidence provided by Richard Harman. I did a check to see if he had a take on Iran, and was surprised to not encounter his paywall. https://www.politik.co.nz/2019/12/11/the-politics-of-electoral-law-reform/

    "The report sets out the details of Ross’s allegations about the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Society (NZ) Ltd. Government members are concerned about the circumstances surrounding the involvement of a which is “owned by a China-based entity and controlled by a Chinese foreign national. “ We also note that Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry (NZ) Ltd carries out the business of exporting horses to China from New Zealand,” the report says."

    “Government members believe it is noteworthy that a former Minister (alleged to be Todd McClay) less than a year before the donation was received, met with the founder of Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry (NZ) Ltd, Mr Lang Lin, in China in July 2016. The former Minister has been quoted in the media as saying the local electorate meeting was where Mr Lang indicated “that Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry (NZ) Ltd would like to support the National Party”.”

    Since the invasion is by inner Mongolians, not outer, we can expect a more civilised outcome. So is it all about racing, or pet food? If the former, Winston may have perceived the threat. Although one of the Mongol companies wants to back the Nats, the other may be in talks with Winnie, in the hope of supporting the govt. Capitalists usually fund both sides to create a win/win outcome no matter what happens. The Mongols may be demonstrating that they know how to play the game.

  11. A 13

    Auckland University, you suck

    …and you hoover up government subsidies in the process

    The Herald reported on Wednesday that the 21-year-old fourth year student from China who is pursuing a double degree had her enrolment terminated for not telling the university about the change in her mental condition.

    She was allegedly raped at an Auckland mental health unit in late October and tried to take her own life a month later.

    "F**k what an utter lack of compassion and decency," one said on Facebook.

    Another said: "The University of Auckland all you needed to do was let the girl have a damn break cos LORD KNOWS the pressure of university can mess with your mental health.

    "Expulsion seems pretty extreme. Could've given her some time to get better and once she felt fit, return to her studies. From my understanding, this girl's family have spent upward of $100k sending their daughter to your school so WASSUP?"

    • A simple matter of key performance indicators. The previous government imposed KPIs on universities relating to student completion rates, the current government hasn't removed them, so the managerialists running the universities have a very strong incentive to assess whether an individual student is an asset or a liability from a KPI perspective, and act accordingly. This student had fallen into the "liability" category, hence the expulsion. People work to the KPIs they're given, with consequences that are often unintended by the people imposing the KPIs.

    • McFlock 13.2

      Another NZ university demonstrating its committment to "pastoral care". Been a bit of that over the last year or so.

      PM is right – completion rates are a KPI. Brought in because when universities became mass education, they were a relatively safe haven from WINZ harrassment about perennial unemployment because uni funding was "bums on seats", period. So the same student would take the same paper many, many times because there was no such thing as "academic requirements". If you failed, it didn't affect your ability to enrol again next year.

  12. mosa 14

    " Kiwis should make a New Year’s resolution to move their bank accounts to Kiwibank, or one of the other wholly owned New Zealand banks, said Social Credit Leader Chris Leitch "

    The big four Aussie owned banks dragged over $6 billion in profit out of the back pockets of Kiwis last year – four times more profit than the 10 largest companies on the NZ Stock Exchange.


    • indiana 14.1

      Fair enough…I take it that you feel this way because the big 4 banks are making a profit operating in NZ. If customers move to Kiwbank, do you want Kiwibank make a profit out of the back pockets of their customers?

      • mosa 14.1.1

        "Had even a quarter of that massive profit gone instead to Kiwibank, through Kiwis having moved their accounts last year, dividends to the Government would have provided over $1.5 billion dollars extra for health care and education"

        Who would disagree with more money for the essential services kiwis want too see supported instead of the profits used too benefit the Australian economy.

  13. Andre 15

    Interesting. Mike Lee and Rand Paul a wee bit tetchy about getting bullshitted in a classified briefing about the reasons to assassinate Soleimani.


    • Dennis Frank 15.1

      "On Tuesday, Esper had said that the "exquisite intelligence" on the threat posed by Soleimani that drove the US military to target him in a drone strike would be shared only with the Gang of Eight — a group of eight lawmakers made up of congressional leaders from both parties as well as the Intelligence Committee chairs — saying "most Members (of Congress) will not have access to that.""

      So those two guys were part of the eight? If so, the disclosure seems to have failed to impress them as adequate. Is this just a grey area of the constitution? President thinks he can assassinate as long as he doesn't declare war (because only congress can)?

      • Andre 15.1.1

        No, neither of them are on the "gang of eight" for intelligence. Those are McTurtle and Schumer (party leaders in the Senate), McCarthy and Pelosi (party leaders in the House), Burr and Warner (Repug chair on Dem vice-chair on Senate intelligence committee), Schiff and Nunes (Dem chair and Repug ranking member on the House intelligence committee).

        In general terms, I think there's very little patience for the "we have the intelligence but we can't tell it to you, just trust us" line. The Iraq WMD debacle probably removed trust for that kind of line for any president, let alone the current administration that lies much more frequently than it says anything resembling truth.

  14. aom 16

    So – https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/407004/national-party-says-nz-should-ignore-iran-s-advice-and-not-pick-a-side-in-tensions-with-the-us. Given that this fucker made his fortune being a mercenary and possible war criminal in Iraq, who needs his advice. Respect the sovereignty of Iraq and bring the troops home!!!!

  15. Robert Guyton 17


    Speaking of waves of the future, Boris Johnson’s resounding victory in Britain’s general election earlier this month marks another significant change I’ve been waiting to see. The change in question isn’t the Conservative victory—the Tories won the last four British elections, after all—but the strategy Johnson used to deal out a savage defeat to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, which was exactly the same strategy Donald Trump used to win his come-from-behind victory in 2016. Like Trump, Johnson realized that his nation’s leftward party had abandoned its working class voters in order to pander to the comfortable classes. He went to the working class voters Labour had abandoned and spoke to them about the issues that concerned them—above all, an end to the open borders and free trade agreements that drove down working class wages in order to boost middle class salaries and investment class profits—and found them more than willing to listen.

    To judge from his comments at the time, Trump stumbled onto that strategy by accident, and it took him a while to figure out what was happening and how to keep doing it. Johnson, with three years of hindsight to figure that out, didn’t have to rely on trial and error. His campaign was admirably precise; it focused on the issues that mattered to working class Britons—above all, on drawing a line under the delaying tactics of the Remainer minority and giving Britain the Brexit it voted for. When the other parties protested “But what about the issues that matter to the comfortable classes?” he rolled his eyes and kept on talking about Brexit.

    Now he’s sitting comfortably in No. 10 with a bigger majority than Margaret Thatcher had, and he’s doubling down on the same strategy; discarding the austerity policies (austerity for the poor, that is, and kleptocracy for the rich) that came in with Thatcher, and gearing up to reorient Britain’s social welfare policies toward providing benefits directly to the poor and away from providing well-paying government jobs to the middle class. While plenty of pundits and media personalities are still busy duplicating the mistake of the Democrats over here, and doing their level best not to learn the obvious lessons of their loss, a significant number of writers and thinkers—some of them within the Labour fold—have grasped the implications of the election and begun to talk about it."


    • Puckish Rogue 17.1

      It does seem to be something afflicting english speaking left wing parties. In NZ Labour does appear to be more interested in the middle class leaving the working class wide open to be scooped up (will Bridges step up to take them or will the Greens be able to do it) but it does ask the question as to why its happening, why are left wing parties more interested in the middle class and academics than the working class

      Speaking of who was the last Labour MP not to be university educated or from the middle class?

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