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Open Mike 09/11/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 9th, 2018 - 225 comments
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225 comments on “Open Mike 09/11/2018 ”

  1. Ed 1

    Peter Ford was British Ambassador to Syria.
    Here is his view.

    • Ed 2.1

      As Paul Craig Roberts says.

      “If America had an independent media, the election would be about the 20 years of US and NATO/EU war crimes against Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen, and US and NATO support for Israel’s war crimes against the remnants of the Palestinian people, and US and NATO/EU support for the neo-nazi regime established by the Obama regime in Ukraine to commit war crimes against the breakaway Russian provinces, the populations of which refuse to become victims of Washington’s overthrow of the democratic elected Ukrainian government and installation by “America’s first black president” of a neo-nazi regime.”

  2. Ed 3

    John Wight is one of the best left wing writers in the U.K.
    Here is his brilliant piece on Remembrance Day, as we approach 11/11/18 and 100 years since the end of WW1.

    “There is however an insidious and pernicious aspect to this annual ritual, one that has come to embrace a set of ironclad received truths that brook no questioning, dissent or disagreement. It is that at bottom the trumpets, monuments and fanfare are not designed to mourn the nation’s war dead but instead to glorify the nature of their deaths and, by extension, extol the virtues of militarism and the nation’s martial might; both of which in the context of the British State are inextricably linked to the brutal legacy of empire and colonialism on the part of its ruling class.

    This is even more relevant when we consider Britain’s participation in the recent wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya — wars in which countless thousands of civilians were killed and maimed, and for whom there is no monument or ritual of remembrance. And this is not forgetting the myriad other colonial wars the country has waged in the history of an empire that in truth should be a source of shame rather than celebration.

    Moreover, in 2018, as we are again invited to embrace Britain’s role in the world as a force for good, the people of Yemen are being systematically slaughtered, starved and made vulnerable to disease in a war unleashed upon them by the murderous medieval tyranny of Saudi Arabia with the active involvement of British miltiary expertise and resources.

    Meanwhile at home as the usual array of politicians, members of the royal family and various other dignitaries step forward to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph, consider that 13,000 former soldiers are currently homeless, cast aside like so much flotsam; their lives reduced to a daily struggle with mental health issues resulting from their active service, compounded by the living hell of Tory austerity. Their grim plight forces us to confront a withering reality — namely that of a political establishment which consistently demonstrates little desire to offer those who serve in the nation’s ignoble military adventures more than an existence of poverty, alienation and despair afterwards.”

    Read it all here.


    • Ad 3.1

      What you’re inviting there Ed is a kind of alternative history for the New Zealand involvement in the First World War.

      But that’s another mirage.
      We are now fully independent of Britain and have been for some time.

      The centenary of the end of New Zealand’s involvement in that war occurs this Sunday, Armistice Day.

      I’ll certainly be going to my nearest cenotaph and service.
      I am deeply grateful for their effort and deeply sad for the ruinous loss of life.

      Anyone who wants to can find their nearest one here:


      My personal favourite is the cavalcade of people on horses and flags that’s going through Roxborough and Tevoit.

      In Dunedin around the cenotaph there are hundreds and hundreds of little white crosses symbolising every person who died from New Zealand.

      You can do a hundred ” but whatabouts”, it won’t take away their service.
      This Sunday, something mysterious and sad of us will be laid to rest.

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.1

        I guess I’m with Ed. Aotearoa could do with an alternative history, as opposed to the colonialist version, and not just for WWI. Parihaka and the land wars ought to be taught to kids here. When I went through the education system in the fifties and sixties we got nothing about our real history.

        First up, I’d make Archie Baxter’s We Shall Not Cease a compulsory part of the college curriculum. It proves there was a positive alternative here to all the fools who volunteered to die for the empire.

        I’m currently in the midst of the account of Gallipoli trench warfare as experience by a turkish volunteer. In the novel by Louis de Berniers Birds Without Wings, but just as vivid and ghastly as that provided by Erich Maria Remarque in his famous memoir. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Maria_Remarque

        I understand why you feel the need to honour those who die for their country. However the other side of that coin is failure to honour those who tried to provide a better way forward: non-violent conflict resolution. Peaceful coexistence in a world fraught with political and religious hostility is as essential as ever.

      • crashcart 3.1.2

        Thanks for that Ad.

        It always disappoints me when people look at these remembrance ceremonies and think that they are glorifying war. I always see them as the complete opposite. We highlight the costs and horror of war in the hopes that it won’t be forgotten. We hope that reminding those in power of the terrible losses suffered, that they will be far more circumspect in committing to the horrors of war in the future.

        • Draco T Bastard

          We highlight the costs and horror of war in the hopes that it won’t be forgotten. We hope that reminding those in power of the terrible losses suffered, that they will be far more circumspect in committing to the horrors of war in the future.

          It’s obviously not working. IMO, those in power are seeking another world war.

  3. Ed 4

    John Wight on the Ukraine.

    “The democratic revolution that ensued in Ukraine in 2014 was in fact a revolution against democracy, unleashing the dogs of thuggery and gangsterism.

    Someone who made the mistake of falling foul of those with a vested interest in the corruption that is a hallmark of today’s Ukraine was Katerina Gandzyuk. The anti-police corruption activist was murdered in an acid attack in Kherson, southern Ukraine. Before succumbing to her injuries, Gandzyuk alleged that “corrupt” high ranking police officers might have been behind the attack, though as yet no one has been prosecuted in connection with it. Prominent members of the far-right group Right Sector are suspected however, begging the question of where the far-right ends and the police begin?

    The treatment of Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky sheds even more light on Ukraine’s failed experiment in pro-Western democracy. The head of the Russian RIA Novosti news bureau in Ukraine, Vyshinsky was arrested in May on treason charges by Ukrainian authorities and has been held in detention ever since. Even in the face of a call for the journalist’s release by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a Ukrainian court has ruled that Vyshinsky’s detention be extended until the end of December.

    When things reach the stage that even the neocons over at the Atlantic Council are no longer able to put lipstick on the pig of the far-right swamp that is Ukraine in 2018, rock bottom has surely been reached.“

    All the article here.


    • Wayne 4.1

      That item on Ukraine is almost completely the Putin line. Just like the Russian denial they didn’t shoot down MH 117 (even though it would have been an accident in the sense they didn’t intend to shoot down an airliner).
      Basically not believable.

    • Stuart Munro 4.2


      And the murdering butcher Putin is a fucking saint Ed. We get it.

      • Morrissey 4.2.1

        Nobody thinks that, Mr Munro. And you know it.

        Now, could you tell us why you don’t display such anger against the far more murderous butchers who run the U.K., the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia?

        • Stuart Munro

          “Nobody thinks that”

          Oh really. We get a neverending avalanche of tripe supporting him, and nothing from folk supporting the Ukrainian’s rights to self determination.

          “why you don’t display…”

          If someone makes a post supporting them Morrissey, I’ll probably critique it. Here Ed is supporting Putin’s program of invasions – it’s shameful – but I notice you’re not condemning it.

          “far more murderous” only the US would be. There’s half a million Chechens on Putin’s butcher’s bill before we even start with Georgia, the Ukraine, internal dissidents and Syrians.

          • Ed

            Have you seen the news from Yemen?

            • Stuart Munro

              Yes, MSF keep me up to speed on it.

              They’re also very concerned about the Central African Republic.

              • Ed

                Yet the butchers of Riyadh never seem to incur your wrath – as Morrissey stated.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Unlike you Ed, I don’t make a habit of posting a menu du jour of the regimes I object to. Quite a few educated folk read the Standard, and they don’t require my judgements anymore than they require yours.

                  I am hesitant to make blanket condemnations of Saudi, since neither anti-Arab racism, nor anti-Islamism square with my views on freedom of religion.

                  But I notice you continue to not only defend, BUT PROMOTE the murderous bastard Putin Ed. I don’t know where your head is at, but clearly nowhere Left or moral. I’m ashamed of you.

  4. Ed 5

    Patrick Cockburn on the Yemen.

    “It is important to watch how long the torrent of criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi Arabia will last. President Trump has been muted in his comments, emphasising the need to keep on terms with the Saudis because of the $110bn contract to sell them arms. Some of those most accustomed to kowtowing to Gulf monarchs, like Tony Blair, are comically reluctant to criticise Saudi Arabia despite the compelling evidence of the murder produced by Turkey. The best Blair can do is to say that the issue should be investigated and explained by Saudi Arabia “because otherwise it runs completely contrary to the process of modernisation”. Even for Blair this is surely a new low, and it could also be a dispiriting straw in the wind, suggesting that political elites in the US and UK will not be shocked for long and criticism will be confined to the alleged killing of Khashoggi.

    This is an important point because the killing (as suggested by the Turkish investigators) is by no means the worst act carried out by Saudi Arabia since 2015, though it is much the best publicised. Anybody doubting this should read a report just published which shows that bombing and other military activities by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is deliberately targeting food supplies and distribution in a bid to win the war by starving millions of civilians on the other side.

    There is nothing collateral or accidental about the attacks according to the report. Civilian food supplies are the intended target with the horrendous results spelled out by the UN at the end of September: some 22.2 million Yemenis or three quarters of the population are in need of assistance, 8.4 million of whom are not getting enough food to eat, a number which may increase by 10 million by the end of the year. “It is bleak,” UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council. “We are losing the fight against famine.”

    But there are those in Saudi Arabia, UAE and their allies in Washington, London and Paris who evidently do not feel any regret and are intent on creating conditions for a man-made famine as the best way of winning the war against the Houthis who still hold the capital Sana’a and the most highly populated parts of the country. This is the conclusion of the highly detailed report called “The Strategies of the Coalition in the Yemen War: Aerial Bombardment and Food War” written by Professor Martha Mundy for the World Peace Foundation affiliated to the Fletcher School at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

    …….The lack of international protests over the war in Yemen, and the involvement of the US and UK as allies of Saudi Arabia and UAE, helps explain one of the mysteries of the Khashoggi disappearance. If the Saudis murdered Khashoggi, why did they expect to carry out the assassination without producing an international uproar? The explanation probably is that Saudi leaders imagined that, having got away with worse atrocities in Yemen, that any outcry over the death of a single man in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was something they could handle.”

    Read the whole article here.

    • Stuart Munro 5.1

      “why did they expect to carry out the assassination without producing an international uproar?”

      The release of the tape by Turkish sources suggests that Turkey had the embassy bugged, and, unusually, was prepared to disclose this fact. In the ordinary course of events embassies enjoy virtual impunity. It’s possible that some other power was involved.

  5. mauī 6

    Thank you Ed, wonderful way to start the day.

  6. This is how disgusting this white house is.

    “White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday night shared a video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta that appeared to have been altered to make his actions at a news conference look more aggressive toward a White House intern.”


    • solkta 7.1

      I’m waiting for Trump to tell us that this is fake news and that it is the ‘original’ that has been altered.

      • marty mars 7.1.1

        It is amazing to watch this creep in action. So blatant, such corrupt morals. And his minions ffs this is how supposedly good people did bad back in the old days. Amazing how myopic and selfish some people can be – hard landing from this I suspect

        • tc

          A hard landing for us all given the quality and direction of leadership currently about the world.

          We are herd animals, most look for the pack leader and follow without much thought.

          Trump probably only has to stay the course and the gerrymandering does the rest. Democrats will be hoping to interrupt that now they have the lower house.

      • Anne 7.1.2


        And the Trumpites will agree with him. 😕

    • mac1 8.1

      The inability of capitalism to deal with crises that it causes, Gosman.

      From the same article you cite.

      Adam Isacson, an analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, a thinktank, tweeted: “An expert I talked to today pointed out: how is it that Colombia is receiving 5,000 Venezuelans every day, but the US government is panicked by 7,000 Central Americans?”

      • Gosman 8.1.1

        Capitalism did not cause the crisis in Venezuela. Socialism did.

        • SaveNZ

          Just shows how oil reserves can’t buy happiness, in fact can buy a shit fight for destabilisation instead.

          Lucky in NZ we are banning oil exploration. (more in words than reality though)

          • Gosman

            No, it shows Socialism doesn’t lead to happiness. in fact the exact opposite. It leads to 1/12th of the population of a country fleeing the results.

        • mac1

          Gosman, you did not get the point of the paragraph in the article that you cited, did you?

          What caused the crises in Honduras from where most of the feared and dreaded caravanistas are coming from?

          What does it say about the capitalist US that it is so distraught by the prospect of 7000 refugees?

          Or, just maybe, Gosman, just maybe it’s got SFA to do with political
          systems but with poverty, international relations, banana companies and their modern counterparts, the global corporations, with authoritariansim and governments of the elites, for the elites, by the elites.

          Some here would say more than ‘maybe’ to that one, and even sheet it home to the door of capitalism.

          You keep instancing one example to denigrate socialism. You do realise that you run the danger of arguing a logical fallacy here, don’t you?

          it’s over to you to prove that socialism done it, btw. First define socialism, then name the countries of the world which are socialist, then maybe your asseverations can be worth more than a passing pfffft!

          • Gosman

            3 million people fleeing the Chavista regime of Venezuela is not due to Capitalism, International relations, banana companies and their modern counterpart. It is purely down to the Socialist policies of the Chavista regime.

            • adam

              Your lies are getting a joke Gosman, when did the exodus start? When did the ability not to trade in oil kick in? When did sanctions bite, and how many are there now? How many times has the larger corporations stuffed with the Venezuela market (so much for you precious free market ah when they can manipulate shit like the toilet paper crisis) ? How many times has the far right bombed and attacked government – making it unsafe for average citizens?

              But most of all, and this is the real kicker for why people are running, becasue every day in Venezuela rumours run wild that the USA is going to bomb them back to the stone ages, like they did in the middle east. People are scared, because they can’t elect their own government – but hey you’re opposed to that so why should anyone listen to your lies?

              • Gosman

                There is NO restrictions on Venezuelan ability to trade in oil. The only liar here is YOU.

                • adam

                  You really have no idea do you.

                  So not being able to get loans to facilitate oil transactions, is no restriction on oil trade.

                  Either your a ideological hack who cherry picks information gossy, or your just a liar. I’m going with both.

                  Yeah the government is doing bad, but external forces are just complicit in the failings of Venezuela economy and those external forces are capitalist – so are you condemning them?

                  Nah, you just an alex jones style ideological hack.

                  • Gosman

                    I provided a link to a site that shows who is the main trading partners for Venezuela. The US is by far the biggest and given that Venezuela exports nothing much beyond oil then this suggests the trade in oil in unaffected by any “financial restrictions”. If you have evidence suggesting otherwise present it here.

                    • adam

                      Time to front up gossy.

                      Are you going to condemn the capitalist for their completeness in the failing economy? Or are you going to carry on be an alex jones style ideological hack?

                    • Gosman

                      What do you mean by “…their completeness in the failing economy”?

                    • adam

                      That they are completely involved.

                    • Gosman

                      You have failed to provide any evidence supporting this view. Why would I agree with something you haven’t backed up with facts?

                      For someone who is attempting to link me with fact free commentators like Alex Jones you yourself seem very Alex Jones like with providing anything resembling actual evidence.

                    • adam


                      Good news at least China is helping with loans to get oil to flow. Makes me wonder if you know how the economy really works gossy, if you don’t understand how this part works.


                      Now answer the damn question

                    • Gosman

                      That is correct. The US has imposed limited sanctions on Venezuela that hinder (but do not stop) it’s ability to access finance from US sources. This is entirely within the remit of the US to do and the US has done this to a number of countries in the past. It does not explain why the Venezuelan economy is collapsing though. The US is still the main trading partner with Venezuela so therefore trade financing is still occurring. As your seconf link points out Venezuela is more that able to access financing from other sources. Many countries have done this.

                    • adam

                      WOOHOO another alex jones answer from gossy, who would have thunked it…

            • mac1

              pffffft! with an extra ‘f’.

            • SaveNZ

              Yeah those little capitalist Xmas elves are real and were really just tying to give their neighbours free gifts from Santa for being good, not destabilise the country so they could swoop in and get cheaper oil.

              • Gosman

                Ummm… how are they achieving that aim at the moment? Venezuela is producing less oi. This increases the price of oil worldwide not lower it.

        • Psych nurse

          Or was it capitalisms response to a socialist society that nationalised proffitable industry.

          • Gosman

            Capitalism’s response such as what? To still trade with Venezuela and allow the country to access International finance markets do you mean? What can’t Venezuela do that it was hoping to be able to do that is directly caused by the actions of others and not as a result of the dire economic situation of the country?

        • Cinny

          Will ask one of our local ‘granny’s’ next time I see her. She fled Venezuela a few years back, and is raising her grandson here.

          An incredible, sweet, cautious, loving lady. Could be a sensitive topic for her, so will approach with kindness and understanding.

          But if she shares I will let you know, might take a few weeks before I catch up with her again.

        • Draco T Bastard

          It is always capitalists that cause crisis. They do so so as to enrich themselves.

    • Morrissey 8.2

      Go away, ignoramus. You know nothing about Venezuela and especially about the concerted attempts to destroy its democratically elected government.

      You’re ignorant. Go away.

    • Gabby 8.3

      Pretty sure it’s the yankers gozzer.

      • Gosman 8.3.1

        Then the Iranian economy is in for a pretty dire time given the US sanctions on Iran are 1000 times more stringent than anything Venezuela has had imposed on it. Venezuela can still trade (and does) with the US. Most of it’s oil is exported to the US market. If the US wanted to destroy the Venezuelan economy why doesn’t it just stop buying oil from it like it has done with Iran?


        “The top export destinations of Venezuela are the United States ($10.3B), China ($4.9B), India ($4.47B), Switzerland ($2.92B) and Singapore ($1.03B). The top import origins are the United States ($5.06B), China ($2.52B), Brazil ($1.28B), Argentina ($706M) and Colombia ($613M)”

        • Morrissey

          Again, you’re commenting from a position of utter ignorance.

          MEMO to site Administrators:

          Is there nothing you can do to stop this blizzard of willful, destructive nonsense from this fellow?

          • Andre

            Hmmm, so far in this thread Gosman has backed 2/3 of his comments with fairly solid links, whereas all you’ve contributed is assertions and ad homs.

            • Morrissey

              “Solid links”? The Guardian is a notorious parrot of propaganda—you probably haven’t but anyone with an I.Q. above room temperature will have been appalled at its role in the absurd and fantastical lying campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.

              One of Gosman’s “comments” was nothing more than a link to that propaganda machine, and the other was a fatuous assertion, contra reality, that the U.S. does not want to destroy Venezuela’s economy.

              Still, feel free to stick up for him. He needs help, even from someone as hopeless as you.

              • Andre

                Your comedy is improving, Mozzie. That one got an actual lol from me.

                • Morrissey

                  Are you trying to be funny?

                  Sorry, but you just ain’t got the chops for it.

                  (Try reading a book instead. Or a hundred books.)

                • Yeah me too. Pretty classic rant.

                  • Morrissey

                    Can you explain yourself, Marty? I pointed out the extreme unreliablity of the Grauniad, and excoriated someone who foolishly cited it as some kind of authority.

                    How is that a “rant”?

                    • Gosman

                      Your criticism of the Guardian is truly Trumpian in it’s nature. You have discounted any facts contained in the report purely on the basis that you don’t like the Guardian. It is like Trump refusing to address questions posed by CNN journalists.

                    • Mate, it was a COMPLIMENT as I suspect was Andre’s comment.

          • Gosman

            I’ve provided a link which highlights that the main Export and Import market for Venezuela is the US. How is that commenting from a position of ignorance? You on the other hand have provided ZERO evidence how so called sanctions are impacting the Venezuelan economy. If anyone is commenting from a position of ignorance it is you not I.

            • Morrissey

              As concerning as your apparent regard for the integrity of the Grauniad is, the main problem here is, as usual, your less than intelligent “take” on things. Your hare-brained claim that the U.S. doesn’t want to destroy Venezuela’s economy is on a par with your claim just one month ago that the US “has invaded relatively few countries since 1945.”

              Open Mike 10/10/2018

              I note with amusement that the dreadful Andre attempted to ride to your defence on that occasion as well. Sadly though, he fell off his horse.

          • Wayne

            You have to be pretty one-eyed to blame the Venezuela situation on anyone other than their current government. Not really sensible to try and defend them. The reality is that some governments are completely incompetent. Venezuela has one of the worst.

            • Gosman

              Apparently it is all the fault of the evil Capitalists though Wayne…

            • RedLogix

              Sadly this is true. Having just returned from working in Latin America I’m not going to pose as an expert, but I can convey from first-hand conversations the veracity and extent of this crisis.

              The root causes of Venezuela’s breakdown can be summarised in a nut-shell … ideologically induced incompetence. It’s what happens when any simplistic ideology that purports to have the ‘total answer’ to all problems meets the actual complexity of the real world.

              Extreme socialism doesn’t have a monopoly on this, but it sure has record with it.

              • Dennis Frank

                So unless someone gives us analysis from an expert familiar with how Venezuela has applied socialism, we can only deduce from regime failure that the way they tried to apply it was flawed.

                I think perceptive commentators can agree that both capitalism & socialism are flawed ideologies. Examples from history & current affairs indicate that failure & success are relative to time and place: national culture being the primary determinant of outcomes. Therefore blanket condemnations aren’t helpful. Generalising doesn’t get us anywhere.

                Progress can only be attained via application of Hegel’s dialectic: take the best from both thesis and antithesis, discard the worst, proceed to synthesis. Governments have been attempting the blend for several generations. What’s missing is empirical learning from all the outcomes. What we lack is a general theory emerging from the synthesis. I refuse to accept that everyone is too stupid to deduce it. I do accept that there’s a general reluctance to attempt the task.

                • Gosman

                  Venezuela was held up (and is still held up be some) by many leftists as taking the correct approach to implementing Socialism. It was being done in a democratic manner and seemingly focusing on the needs of the poor and working classes. There were multitudes of social programmes that received large amounts of funding from the government AND the main sectors of the economy were steadily nationalised or brought under State control via other means. The Chavez government also supported numerous worker lead co-operatives to take over or set up businesses. In short Venezuela WAS the poster child for how Socialism could be implement in a modern democratic country.

                  • Morrissey

                    Venezuela was held up (and is still held up be some) by many leftists as taking the correct approach to implementing Socialism.

                    No it’s not, and it never has been. Venezuela is as imperfect as any other democracy. What its defenders say is: the United States and its brutal vassal Colombia have no right at all to interfere with it.

                    It was being done in a democratic manner and seemingly focusing on the needs of the poor and working classes.

                    That much is true. Sadly, though, the Venezuelan government has made many mistakes. However, unlike, say, Australia, the U.K., Canada, and the United States, it has not been involved in the killing of millions of people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Africa, Palestine, and Syria.

                    Before human rights heroes like Wayne Mapp and Gosman pontificate any more about Venezuela’s failings, they should deal with those far more dangerous and irresponsible regimes.

                    • Gosman

                      No, it has only been involved in the impoverishment of it’s citizens which has lead to 3 million of them fleeing the country.

                  • RedLogix

                    Which is fine as far as it goes Gosman. But if you want us to have some faith in your views you need to show willing on our concerns too.

                    Unconstrained capitalism (and it’s political bastard fascism) also brings us gross inequality, environmental damage at an extinction level, a monstrous waste of resources, and a desperately myopic, materialist philosophy of life.

                    I’m willing to credit and accept that your take on life is different to mine, that you place a higher weight on values like order, achievement and stability than I do. I’m not going to quibble with how you’re wired; but if you want a more interesting conversation how about addressing what is important to us?

                    • Gosman

                      I’m a firm believer in that you have to get your economic fundamentals correct before you can start expanding social programmes not the other way around. The other way around leads to massive economic distortions which lead to economic contraction rather than expansion. At that point you can’t afford to fund the social programmes you think are so important.

                    • RedLogix

                      Fair enough I can go with your order of priorities in a fundamental sense; but you can surely understand what happens when this goes too far? When the pursuit of material means overtakes all other goals?

                      If there is one thing that frustrates the left more than anything else; is the seeming blindness of capitalists, that their success seems to render them impervious to the wider concerns I mentioned above.

                    • Gosman

                      Despite the propaganda of many on the left social programmes in places like NZ have not been cut back in any significant way since the 1991 Benefit cuts. The amount of Government expenditure spent on key areas like Health and Social Welfare has more than matched the increase in inflation. The real problem is the costs involved in providing social assistance are growing as is the demand for such services (e.g. an aging population requiring newer drugs). It is easy to demand that more and more money is fed in to a system that is constantly demanding more resources but there has to be a reality check on what the economy can afford to support. If you don’t do that you fall in to the trap of Venezuela which is that you think the State can solve social problems without having an economy to support it.

                    • Gosman

                      The left is useful in making the call for social reforms. The right is useful in providing the reality check on ensuring that the economy can afford the costs of those social reforms.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I’m a firm believer in that you have to get your economic fundamentals correct before you can start expanding social programmes not the other way around.

                      I’m all for getting economic fundamentals correct as well. Simple little things like physical reality have a major bearing upon what can be done.

                      Capitalism tends to ignore them so as to make a few people rich.

                • RedLogix

                  that both capitalism & socialism are flawed ideologies.

                  In isolation yes. It should be obvious to us by now that they both need each other.

                  The social and technical landscapes we are traversing are at present chaotic and confusing. We damn well should be worried about where we are heading, and as a species we are going to need every resource we have to navigate through this next century without fatal damage.

                  What we lack is a general theory emerging from the synthesis. I refuse to accept that everyone is too stupid to deduce it. I do accept that there’s a general reluctance to attempt the task.

                  I really liked this, and you are completely correct. We are all way smarter and tougher than we think. It was something Ad said to me a while back about being ‘free’ that was a personal turning point; often the chains we imagine bind us are largely illusory.

                  • Gosman

                    Except many on the left are unwilling to accept any flaws in their ideology. I am more than happy to accept Capitalism’s many flaws. It does not concern itself with the impacts of economic failure from a society point of view. That is where social policy comes in. You can have progressive social policies under a capitalist framework (indeed that is what the Scandinavian countries do).

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Yup – all that’s required is adequate taxation of higher incomes.

                    • RedLogix

                      I almost choked at the point when he used the phrase “paradigm shift” … but this guy does speak pretty well to what I have in mind:

                    • Gosman

                      Wishy washy nonsense.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yeah well at least you gave it a go Gosman. I’m not surprised at your response; I agree it was pretty abstract and that seems inherent in trying to discuss something as unverifiable as the future.

                      Also it speaks to how our personalities are different; I can listen to it and extract something interesting; you listen and don’t. Yet I’m certain there are scenarios where the opposite would be true. The same effect shows up in the comments underneath it.

                      To engage you I’d need an unqualified concrete discourse; facts, data points and appeal to values like diligence, stability and directness. Unfortunately approach can only replicate what we already know; it’s helpless in the face of the unknown, it fails to create the novel and unexpected.

                      It’s why I’m a moderately good software engineer, I can visualise abstractions, how they relate to real-world problems and put them together in novel ways; yet put me in charge of the operations division of a large company, within weeks I’d get bored and likely start tinkering with things to no good effect. I suspect you’re the converse, and it’s why the world needs types like both of us; even when we do frustrate the hell out of each other 🙂

                • WeTheBleeple

                  Hear hear.

              • Bewildered

                “It’s what happens when any simplistic ideology that purports to have the ‘total answer’ to all problems meets the actual complexity of the real world “

                In short Draco daily contributions

              • SaveNZ

                The social democrat countries seem to be the happiest with the best division of wealth. I hate extremes. Sad NZ is working their way out of being a socially democratic country and instead part of the ‘global’ economy when money buys anything and you can buy politicians who don’t seem to have a lot of common sense or scruples and rely on paper reports summaries from a bunch of neoliberal officials as though that is the gospel.

                I think Marty Mars said 1 in 8 people here over 15 are on antidepressants… likely a consequence of NZ from Rogernomics onwards…

                • RedLogix

                  Yes the middle path has proven the correct model; but it’s not necessarily easy to achieve, nor obviously stable when we do reach it. Of the 200 odd nations in the world, barely 30 count as social democrat/capitalist success stories. We certainly cannot point to any individual nation as the ideal model; all have their flaws, and in many ways we seem to have plateaued.

                  We are missing something; not the least because the nation state in an inadequate framework to understand the problem.

                • Gosman

                  There is no indication that people living in more social democratic countries have lower incidences of mental health problems.

            • Morrissey

              Of course the Venezuelan government has made many mistakes. Chavez wasted a lot of time on publicity stunts and annoying the United States. I’m not a blind supporter of either Chavez or the present democratically elected leader.

              But are you trying to suggest that the United States, which supported the coup against Chavez in 2002, is not trying to overthrow the democratic government of Venezuela?

              You’re not in the National cabinet now, Dr. Mapp—you’re allowed to be truthful if you want.

              • Gosman

                If the US was seriously trying to overthrow the Chavista regime in Venezuela why does it allow the country to trade with it and even own Billions of dollars of assets within the US? The US could easily cripple the Venezuelan economy if it took control of Venezuelan Oil assets in the US and stopped purchasing Venezuelan oil. It has applied similar sanctions in the past against regimes it does not like (e.g. Iran and Cuba).

                • Andre

                  To name just one of the Venezuelan assets in the US, Citgo is one of the larger chains of petrol stations, as well as owning a bunch of other petrochemical assets. Anyone interested should look it up.

                • Morrissey

                  If the US was seriously trying to overthrow the Chavista regime in Venezuela

                  By “Chavista regime”, you mean the democratically elected government of Venezuela. Are you seriously suggesting it is not trying to overthrow the Venezuelan government?

                  • Gosman

                    Yes, The US Government is not seriously trying to overthrow the Chavista regime in Venezuela. If it was it would have taking control of all Venezuelan oil assets in the US.

          • te reo putake

            I’m sure you’re already aware of Hamlet’s ironic musing on petards, Morrissey, and for added emphasis, here’s a handy list of people who suffered unintended consequences:


        • Ad

          The oil markets deserve another post in the next month or so.

          China has confirmed that they will not be taking Iranian oil.
          It seems the European importers are generally folding around the U.S. demands against Iran as well.

          It looks from my scan of the analysts that barrel prices will grind upwards next year, but will also remain very volatile. For a totally oil-reliant country like ours, price and price volatility is the meanest and most accurate way to wean us off it.

          That price volatility has changed the industry in four fundamental ways.

          The first is the U.S. production of shale oil and alternative fuels such as ethanol. The shale oil producers have got more and more efficient. Large companies like Exxon-Mobil, BP, Chevron, and Royal Dutch Shell have basically stopped exploring new reserves – and it’s cheaper for them to just buy out less efficient shale companies. The United States will become the world’s largest oil producer in 2023 – not that far away.

          The second is Saudi Arabia and Iran. I don’t think it’s coincidental that the U.S. shutting Iranian oil supply down also greatly assists Saudi Arabia against Iran its old enemy. None of them want to lose market share, and it really looks like two dogs against one in a pit.

          Third, foreign exchange traders drove up the value of the dollar by 25 percent in 2014 and 2015. All oil transactions are paid in U.S. dollars. The strong dollar helped cause some of the 70 percent decline in the price of petroleum for exporting countries. Most oil-exporting countries peg their currencies to the dollar. Therefore, a 25 percent rise in the dollar offsets a 25 percent drop in oil prices. Global uncertainty keeps the U.S. dollar strong.

          I think the fourth factor is the slowing global demand for oil. It only rose to 93.3 million b/d​ in 2015, from 92.4 million b/d​ in 2014, according to the IEA. Most of the increase was from China, which now consumes 12 percent of global oil production. Since its economic reforms (including electric car policies) slowed its growth, global demand growth may continue slow down. Underlying global demand is still strong, it’s just shifting around a lot. Plenty are talking about a peak for oil demand by about 2036. Too late to save this kind of world, but we’ve see a few shifts at least as large over the last century.

          • Dennis Frank

            That’s an excellent geopolitical analysis, Ad! I suggest you save it on file and update it for a feature post every now & then. Interesting that the US will soon become largest oil producer – perhaps the moral of that story is that hi-tech trumps depletion of reserves.

            A “70 percent decline in the price of petroleum for exporting countries” sure is a dramatic market signal, eh? Explains the revenue side of Venezuelan regime failure. “China has confirmed that they will not be taking Iranian oil.” That’s astonishing. I’d been seeing it as in their geopolitical interests to help Iran. Is there any other explanation apart from US hegemony dictating the outcome?

            • Ad

              Honestly it’s all a bit depressing.

              I’ll do one if there’s a useful local hook to attach it to.

              Otherwise it goes all climate change wrist-slitty for me.

              • Dennis Frank

                Always look on the bright side.. Sometimes that side is hard to find, eh? Be careful, there’s an ominous sign there that you may be trending towards solidarity with Bill.

                Perhaps the bright side evident in your analysis is “the fourth factor is the slowing global demand for oil.” Demand peaking in 2036 can be seen as positive – just as the trend toward global population peaking is likewise.

          • Draco T Bastard

            For a totally oil-reliant country like ours, price and price volatility is the meanest and most accurate way to wean us off it.

            Efficient distribution of scarce resources is what the price system is for of course, National will complain about it in some way while they’re the opposition and say that the government has To Do Something. If they ever get back in power they’ll just say it’s the market and that they can’t do anything. The MSM, in their total support of National, will parrot National’s lines without thought or critique.

            The United States will become the world’s largest oil producer in 2023

            Yes but for how long? Shale oil wells don’t last as long as conventional oil wells.

            Most oil-exporting countries peg their currencies to the dollar. Therefore, a 25 percent rise in the dollar offsets a 25 percent drop in oil prices. Global uncertainty keeps the U.S. dollar strong.

            Yes. The use of the US$ as the ‘Reserve Currency’ is fully against market rules. So is leaving exchange rates to ‘demand’. There should be no Reserve Currency and exchange rates should be formulaic.

        • Draco T Bastard

          And why is the US, shining light of capitalism that it is, putting sanctions on Iran?

          After all, Iran hasn’t actually done anything to the US or, in fact, the world.

    • Grey Area 8.4


      • Gosman 8.4.1

        If you aren’t interested in the damage caused by Socialist policies then don’t comment.

        • Grey Area

          I am interested but get bored by your one-trick pony posts based a “socialism is bad as well” schtick.

          • Bewildered

            Ok North Korea, Cuba, The Soviet Union, Communist China, Easter Europe, Most of South and Central America at various times, Vietnam, Cambodia. Venezuela is only the latest of a very long list of socialist experiments that went tits up Most are now coming out of poverty by embracing capitalism in some form

        • David Mac

          Greedy exploitive arseholes hang their hats on political persausions of all varieties.

          Men dragging sacks filled with under size paua up the beach are not doing so because they voted for Labour.

          The problem in Venezeula isn’t socialism, it’s greedy men that pay scant regard for their fellow man. These types can wear the jersey of any team.

          • Gosman

            No, it is Socialist policies. The reason the Oil industry in Venezuela is declining is because the main Oil company was nationalised under Chavez and used as a piggy bank to fund the many social programmes he implemented instead of concentrating on reinvesting money to ensure continued production. The fact that Chavez discouraged private sector investment in the economy has lead to a situation where production has collapsed.

            • David Mac

              I disagree Gos, all I’ve read about the situation sheets back to exploitive plunderers. I don’t think Chavez nationalised their oil industry to make life fabulous for all Venezuelans, he did it because : ‘What’s in it for me and my mates?’

            • McFlock

              A bit like what happened to NZRail in the 1990s, after it was privatised. Asset stripping and dividend extraction, rather than reinvesting for development.

              • David Mac

                Yep, selling off Telecom didn’t make all NZers’ lives a little bit better. It created a handful of overnight multi-millionaires.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Selling Telecom made most of us worse off. After all, those profits that they’ve been getting come from most of us and we get nothing for it.

                  • Gosman

                    The South Africa State owns South African Airways 100%. How has this lead to better outcomes for the South African people given the company is bleeding money?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      How badly was it doing before nationalisation?

                      After all the SAG wouldn’t have nationalised it if it wasn’t working for the country.

                    • Gosman

                      Why do you think that? Government’s nationalise industries for all sortss of reasons.

            • Psych nurse

              You can stop biting, you have swallowed the bait.

          • Bewilderd

            Here we go, it just has not been implemented properly arguement Similar to business would be easy argument if no staff and customers Socialism a proven failed ideology, persuasive on paper to fools but totally bankrupt in reality from an economic and humanity perspective

        • Gabby

          The yankers aren’t socialists gozzer. Well the bankers are a bit.

    • Sanctuary 8.5

      God you are like one of the crack pot 1080 protesters, hijacking every thread to derail it so you can troll contributors. Personally, I’d ban your ass for trolling like this – and the people who bite should be ashamed of themselves for feeding the troll.

      • Gosman 8.5.1

        This is Open mike. You are aware what Open mike is for aren’t you?

        • Morrissey

          It’s not for crackpot obsessives like you. Go away and read. Seriously, you need to.

          And, no, clicking on a Grauniad article or viewing a Fox News rant is NOT serious reading.

          • Gosman

            Considering you have yet to provide ANY links on alternative views on Venezuela I find your comment laughable.

            • adam

              Our own alex jones.

              • Gosman

                Your links to “facts” backing up your view that the US and Capitalists have somehow caused the economic collapse of Venezuela consist of one from the US Treasury stating there are limited Economic sanctions on Venezuela (noone argued there wasn’t) and another link where it highlighted that the Venezuelan government was arranging finance from China (which suggests Venezuela CAN get international finance if it wants to). Nowhere in your links does it show how the Venezuelan economy is contracting as a result of actions by the US OR Capitalists.

                • adam

                  Understanding how the oil market works, really does seem to be beyond you. Sorry I don’t have the time nor the inclination to help you – as you’re too much of an ideology. I would suggest you stop watching infowars, as it shows in how you debate.

  7. Shocking when you think about it.

    “New statistics, revealed in a University of Otago study, show almost one in eight New Zealanders over the age of 15 are on antidepressants despite little evidence the drugs are helping curb the country’s alarming suicide rates.”


    I’m not anti meds and we have to work out what the hell we can do to help people better.

    • A 9.1

      That’s an incredible amount of money being spent for a mediocre result.

      Definitely time to review.

    • ankerawshark 9.2


      With all due respect, I have a problem with this research. Click on this link which shows the highest suicide rates in NZ were in 1996 -97……….

      I have worked with hundreds of people suffering from anxiety and depressions and the vast majority of them make mild to significant improvement from taking them.

      I will post more later. Just a little busy working with and fixing the problem……………..

    • JanM 9.3

      There seems to be little appetite for serious research into why such a high percentage people in our society are so depressed. Improving the drugs is very much the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, isn’t it.

      • marty mars 9.3.1

        Yes we need to understand what is happening to people. Our society is missing something. I’m sure we all have great ideas of what things we think are not there or could be improved.
        I remember in a past career working with a matrix where Essential, Important, Nice were along one axis and Now, Future were along the other axis. Solutions for me are EssentialNow not ImportantFuture like say getting rid of capitalism. The issues are all around us everywhere and we are all connected to this. The first step I think is to really understand what the problem actually is that we want to solve and research is the way to begin to find out.

        • ankerawshark

          Depression and anxiety stress related conditions……..If you have a biological vulnerablity and you experience stress, then you will experience them.

          IMO people have got increasingly stressed for all the obvious reasons………….housing, working conditions, women trying to managed work/home/childminding…………………………etc etc.

          What I am curious about in this research are the rates of depression and suicide lower in the group of older women who are most heavily prescribed anti-ds.

          • marty mars

            Yes good comment. I suppose the study will get studied – it will be good to eventually see as many, hopefully constructive imo) views and analysis as possible. Thanks.

            • Ankerrawshark

              Cheers Marty. I appreciate your comments as well. It’s a complex area and I tend to get defensive about meds as I see first hand the huge benefit they provide to any,many people.

    • RedLogix 9.4

      Wow. That’s an extraordinary figure marty. I knew that in the USA it’s almost normal to be on anti-depressants, but to see NZ approach the same levels of use is well … depressing.

      Without trying to pretend I’m any kind of expert here, my thinking is that at root of the problem lies the extreme materialism of the modern world. In one sense it’s been an extraordinary blessing; a culture so focused on improving material welfare has created a world of convenience, comfort and safety our ancestors could scarcely imagine.

      But it has come with costs. One has been dauntingly steep levels of social inequality that we know is associated with stress and dysfunction. Another is a spiritual rootlessness, we live in a globalised world that lacks a coherent moral framework; making it hard for people to develop a sense of place within it. Too many of us feel as if we drift struggle to grasp onto a responsible purpose that would give meaning to the difficulties of our lives.

      It’s a lethal three way whammy; steep social gradients creating anxiety, steep economic gradients that create difficulties and weak psychological tools to face them. And this is without mentioning all the other factors, poor sleep, questionable diets, and a myriad of tech/social changes that all potentially undermine our inner balance.

      I’m inclined to think of depression as a form of anger but directed inwards, it’s the way the body deals with stressors it cannot process, so it protects what remains by shutting down. A good short-term strategy, but awful to live with long-term.

      But I’m only speaking from my limited understanding here; I’m genuinely interested to hear from your professional experience and viewpoint marty.

      • marty mars 9.4.1

        Thanks red. What you have written is true. My experience of depression is personal and through friends.
        For me it is hard to pinpoint because so much is on the list. An important point is that positives in life don’t balance it or offset it imo, they are discrete and seperate.
        I work in a slightly different area specifically. I don’t know what the answers are but your view that kindness is important is a good place to start I think.

        • RedLogix

          Yes kindness. And despite the inevitable corrosion of political life I hope Jacinda Adern doesn’t lose sight of it. Peter Cabaldi’s famous Dr Who scene here moved me (and millions of others) enormously:

        • greywarshark

          I found a quote from philosopher Kierkegaard which is at the back of the depression and suicides that are growing.
          I have put some of his quotes below and started thinking.

          We see the pleasure of being in the world recede as statistics about wealth improve and yet conditions slide.
          Humanity is down-graded and replaced by clever machines and we haven’t learned anything from the history of the Industrial Revolution or the Holocaust.
          It appears that people’s minds can be dominated by propaganda to despise those who want to conserve what’s good in the world for all people and gradually expand it. Instead is favoured speedy glamorous triviality that passes leaving nothing of lasting value, emptiness.

          This is behind the large amounts of anti depressants utilised. Not everyone can find and express the basis of what they feel, to crystallise their stress and concern into words like Kierkegaard did. He does a big thinkpiece that pares away to the core question:

          What is this thing called the world?…How did I obtain an interest in this big enterprise they call reality? Why should I have an interest in it? Is it not a voluntary concern? And if I am compelled to take part in it, where is the director?…Whither shall I turn with my complaint?
          I have a note this is from Small is Beautiful by EF Schumacher

          I like his concept of how to go about our lives.
          “Thinking can turn toward itself in order to think about itself and skepticism can emerge. But this thinking about itself never accomplishes anything.” Kierkegaard says thinking should serve by thinking something. Kierkegaard wants to stop “thinking’s self-reflection” and that is the movement that constitutes a leap.[3] He is against people thinking about religion all day without ever doing anything;

          Perhaps the depression that people feel is because they don’t know what is the good thing to actually do in the present circumstances. The indecision, and lack of clear direction and fixed truths that have arisen in our society and from seeing our government and economy run on half-lies, and deliberate inaction, makes us sick. Our certainties may be false but we cling to them because the reality cannot be pinned down or faced and as we look for it, a PR message will arise and tell us what we should think.

          Further Kierkegaard.
          Some of his quotes to add to the stew of thought:
          Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
          Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
          Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

          (I have made quite a few changes since I put this up, trying to make it coherent.)

          • RedLogix

            If he is right, then the depression that people feel is likely to be because they don’t know what is the good thing to do in the present circumstances.

            Yes. And the given how dramatically the circumstances have changed it’s no surprise the old responses fall short. When I step back and consider all the themes I’ve tried to pursue here over the years, they can be condensed into three broad streams:

            1. The mis-use of power in any of it’s forms. While all human endeavour demands power and authority to function correctly; the concentration of it into single the hands of single individuals history has demonstrated repeatedly to be problematic. We should pay more attention to the basis of power, why it is essential, how to ensure it is more evenly distributed, what purposes it serves and how to more reliably hold it to account.

            2. Inequality. The Spirit Level remains one of the most important contributions to our understanding of how societies work; that while distinction and individuality are core attributes of a progressive society, we can only tolerate a certain amount before it becomes toxic.

            3. The lack of a globally oriented moral and ethical framework. The material context of the modern world is global, but in spiritual terms it’s a desert.

            Epidemic levels of depression and anxiety are important symptoms; they tell us we are doing something wrong, we need to slow down, stop blaming each other and pay attention.

    • SaveNZ 9.5

      +1 marty mars

      That is an alarming statistic.

    • The evidence for antidepressant effectiveness will not be the anecdotal reporting of individuals but taking the research based evidence of a cohort of x numbers using a medication. I agree though that to many of the worried well turn to medication when a lifestyle change would be more effective.

  8. esoteric pineapples 10

    So when are we finally going to get our night school classes back, something that Jacinda Ardern specifically mentioned during the campaign. Anyone heard anything?

    • Anne 10.1

      Well, she has been at pains to say that the government can’t do everything at once. Having said that, I should have thought night classes would have been a priority. A big leg-up for solo mums and others who want to retrain after having families etc.

      • Antoine 10.1.1

        > I should have thought night classes would have been a priority

        If they were, they would have been done in the last Budget


      • esoteric pineapples 10.1.2

        Yes, they only cost $18 million or so a year to run so wouldn’t soak up too much of the budget, and until stopped were used by around 225,0000 people, if I recall correctly. Real value for money

        • WeTheBleeple

          There is some to and fro with govt and the business advisory council on what type of training/retraining NZ’ers will need in a rapidly shifting environment.

          Perhaps they’re trying to finalise the details before classes are rolled out again?

  9. JC 11

    Farmer Extremists?



    Former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer has slated ECAN’s proposed representation for next year’s election, saying it is “gerrymandering” and gives farmers more say than urban voters.

    .. “all Canterbury citizens had an interest in the environment and the decisions made by ECan, whether they lived in a city, town or in the country.

    But the proposal meant rural residents would be over-represented and urban residents under-represented, which was inconsistent with the principle of fair representation that underpinned New Zealand’s democracy and was required by the Electoral Act.

    “That is unacceptable. Their interest in the rural environment is no greater than the urban electors since the environment must be considered as a whole, not in segments, if the underlying principle of sustainability is to be maintained.”

    The proposal took important decisions away from the principle of one person one vote and substituted what amounted to a country quota, he said.

    “Such a decision can hardly be tolerated in a modern democracy.”


  10. esoteric pineapples 12

    I was reading a column which highlighted that Trump’s power lies in controlling the states that each have two senators, no matter if their population is 4 million or 40 million. The easiest way for progressives to win back the senate would be to migrate en masse to some of these red states with small populations. It would only require the Democrats winning three or four states more than they have already to control the Senate, and they could pick off the ones with the smallest populations. A migration of a few hundred thousand to each of these would likely tip the balance.

    • Macro 12.1

      Good thought! – but not as easy as all that unfortunately. You see first they would have to win the Governorship because each State has a different system of running elections, and in all the red states you can almost put a ring around the fact that each polling district is gerrymandered by the ruling party so that even if the popular vote goes against them they will still win. Furthermore in districts where the likely democrat voters reside they put in fewer polling places, so that it becomes a struggle to cast a vote. And if that is not enough, you just can’t move into a State and decide to vote, firstly you need to be (in Texas at least) a permanent resident, attend classes, and jump over a huge number of hurdles to be allowed to cast a vote. Just read this article and it will blow your mind!

    • Andre 12.2

      A bit of migration could help tip the electoral college. But if you go through the numbers, trying to do it through the smallest states would take maybe 400k plus to move to Alaska, Wyoming, North and South Dakota to flip them, for a total of 12 electoral college votes. Put those extra Dems into Florida, however, then you’ve turned what used to be 29 swinging EC votes into rock-solid Dem. An extra 200k Dems would lock down Pennsylvania’s 20 EC votes pretty solidly.

      When you go through the list of states, yes the Repugs do have an advantage from representing more of the smaller states. But that advantage isn’t that big. There’s plenty of smaller states that are solidly Dem, such as Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island…

      BTW the range of state populations is around 670k in Wyoming (and dropping) to almost 40 million in California (and growing). So yeah, one senator per 340k for Wyoming vs one senator per 20 million in California. And one Electoral College vote per 220k in Wyoming vs one per 730k in California.

  11. Dennis Frank 13

    Chris Trotter’s latest explains how identity politics on the right is working for Trump: “By bringing the losers back into the “Us” and by bringing the “Them” into much sharper focus, Trump has created an extremely powerful political force.”

    Giving losers self-belief and a group identity with a political focus is powerful magic. No way will the media want to acknowledge this! They will persevere in denial because they are advocates for the establishment. US media apologists for the left become delusional when they lose focus on what actually works in American democracy.

    “Oh sure, it is possible to defeat Trump’s candidates at the district level and reclaim control of the House of Representatives. But, as progressive America discovered to its horror on 6 November 2018, the real power lies not in the districts but with the states. It is the state which is entitled to two senators – regardless of whether it contains four or forty million voters. And, in 2020, it will be the states dispatching their electors to the Electoral College – which chooses the President of the United States of America.”

    • Pat 13.1

      CT gets close but misses the point…….the issue is one of lost credibility which is manifesting in various forms.

      • Dennis Frank 13.1.1

        You mean the Dems? Last time I thought they were credible was when Carter was president. As for the Reps, it would have to be Eisenhower in retrospect since I was a child at the time! Perhaps you mean both parties.

        Interesting that you see the thing as credibility though. I see it as tribal loyalty based mostly on blind faith. What’s believable? The American dream? Capitalism? Socialism? Multiculturalism? Democracy? All faith-based stuff…

        • Pat

          no…I mean the elites, the establishment, which includes the press….think about it.

          • Dennis Frank

            Ok, think I get it. The zeitgeist, shifting folks away from faith in traditional adherence to authority. Trump as anti-establishment hero, attractor for the losers victimised by the capitalists, no more trickle-down, alienated by the Democratic focus on minorities. Making America Great Again serving as a faith-based origin myth…

            • Pat

              no, i fear you too have missed it.

              Consider….life not great and gradually community is in decline, you know in your bones that the games rigged but you think those that are running things and those doing well are quite a bit smarter than you so sort of deserve to be where they are…..your not happy about it but thats life.

              Along comes Obama making the right noises (remember “yes we can?)…and you think heres a guy who understands what its like to be shit on, he’ll make a difference…and nothing changes.

              GFC hits and the banks are bailed, but your house is foreclosed and the taxpayer foots the bill and all the cuts that entails….those running the show are not only exposed as not knowing what theyre doing but they get rewarded for their incompetence and dishonesty.

              Meanwhile in the europe Janis Varoufakis, one of “them” (elite, university professor, economist, establishment family) rocks up to the EU with a considered plan to help the people of Greece only to be told that economics has nothing to do with it and he spends the next three years telling the world how decisions are really made.

              The curtain has been pulled back in OZ .

              8 years after GFC the same faces, same rhetoric, same methods, in other words same bullshit,are all still in place ( and faithfully reported/repeated by the media) and if anything things are worse not better…..and along comes Trump.

              The last decade has demonstrated to you that the faith you had that those running things at least knew what they were doing (even if they wernt acting in your best interest) has been been totally misplaced and theres bugger all you can do about it , but you can put the cat among the pidgeons and vote Trump, hell things cant get any worse and by some miracle they might get better….and besides its fun watching those that fucked everything up have an apoplexy.

              and they arnt all “good ol’ boys’ living in the stix.

              • Dennis Frank

                Thanks for filling it out. I agree with your analysis. Basically the same as what I was getting at, except it explains the mass psychology driving the zeitgeist much better. Middle-class alienation not voting Democrat due to not being offered anything of substance by them is another side of it.

                • Pat

                  “Middle-class alienation not voting Democrat due to not being offered anything of substance by them is another side of it.”

                  Its not of substance….. theyre not offering anything different. They are offering a continuation of the same failed paradigm.

                  Why would that be a vote winner?

                  • Brewilered

                    Yep the answer is small government, get out of people lives, build individual accountability, resilience, look after yourself and stop hoping mummy government will look after you and you will be right

              • Blazer

                Fantastic post Pat.Great analysis…the -‘it couldn’t be any worse’ solution.

    • Sabine 13.2

      it matters not who votes, it matters who counts.


      qUOTE : “But it might just be that there are now people running who are less reluctant to give up just because they have been told to sit down.

      “The votes are not there for her,” Kemp told NBC News. “I certainly respect the hard fought race that she ran. But that’s a decision she’s gonna have to make. But we’ve run the race, it’s very clear now and we’re moving forward with the transition.”

      NBC News notes that as more ballots are being counted for Abrams, the closer the race becomes, the more likely this fiasco is headed for a runoff election.

      Abrams’ campaign believes there are enough outstanding votes – excluding the votes stuffed inside a crushed Honda Civic trunk – to force a runoff. qUOTE END

  12. The Chairman 14

    Kiwibuild was sold to us as a means to increase our housing supply, thus improve declining home ownership numbers. Turns out it has also become a way for Kiwibuild buyers to make some serious cash.

    Housing Minister is defending his decision to soften the penalties for those who flip or rent out their Kiwibuild homes


    Labour seem way out of touch on this one.

    • Sabine 14.1


      Newshub can reveal more details about how KiwBuild owners can use the scheme to make some serious cash.

      Quote end.

      they use a lot of ‘can’ but not ‘have done’. So essentially Newshub is farting out loud and you reporting the farts as facts.


      • The Chairman 14.1.1

        They have yet to do so because the scheme has only just begun, but the potential to do so is real. And while Labour acknowledge that (highlighted by the regulation in place to deter it) it’s clear the regulation in place isn’t much of a deterrent.

        Seems Labour like giving National a stick to bash them with.

        • Sabine

          National will do as National wants to. Nothing to do with Labour. Besides atm it seems National is really good at bashing National.

          So why don’t you wait until someone has been caught doing wrong before you accuse people of doing wrong? Same for Newshub. So far no one has done anything, and they should rather report the news then make them up.

          Fake news! Sad!

          • The Chairman

            While National will continue to do what they do, there is no need for Labour to assist them by handing them that stick.

            As for your assertion, the only one I’m accusing of getting it wrong is Labour. The deterrents are too weak.

            From what I gather, this is going down like a cup of cold sick.

            Being their flagship policy, Labour can’t afford to get this so wrong.

    • WeTheBleeple 14.2

      I hear they’re making multiple millions with meth labs. Cheating bastards.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.3

      You do realise that the problem is capitalism and the profit drive right?

      • The Chairman 14.3.1

        I think it is more to do with those (elite, political class) whom enforce it and the form in which we have adopted.

  13. Ad 15

    Article from Shaun Barnett from New Zealand Geographic, on the story that 41 years ago turned me into a conservationist, and back when I was 10 Stephen King the activist was my kind of hero:

    “Your perch: a giant tōtara in the central North Island. Your view: thousands of hectares of podocarp forest, chainsaws chewing its edge. Your mission: to stage the world’s first treetop protest. Your name: Stephen King. Not the American novelist, but a barefoot botanist opposing forest destruction.

    During the 1970s, native forests were being milled, but many New Zealanders felt it was time to preserve what remained of our wild lands. Young activists, including King, formed the Native Forest Action Council (NFAC), and gathered signatures for a petition, which resulted in a reprieve for West Coast forests.

    But at Pureora, the chainsaws continued to snarl. In April 1977, King had been appalled to see thousand-year-old tōtara being felled, some of no use for timber. Meanwhile, conservationists feared for the future of the kōkako—only about 1400 remained, with the largest population at Pureora, and so the bird became the symbol of protest.

    King and NFAC leader Guy Salmon raised public awareness with submissions and slogans such as “Don’t beat about the bush, just stop the logging”. But after diplomacy failed, defiance seemed their only option.

    By 1978, King and others were willing to put their lives on the line. When loggers returned from their Christmas holiday on January 18, they found King and 13 other protesters stationed in the canopy. Frustrated millers implored them to leave. A police squad arrived, and loggers began spray-painting trees as a warning, but the activists held firm. By then, their stance headlined all the country’s major newspapers. One read, ‘Forest protesters face death as logging commences’. Unnerved, the district ranger called a halt.

    Eventually, the Forest Service backed down, pausing logging while the Wildlife Service researched kōkako. Native-forest logging ceased in 1982.

    Today, visitors can gain a similar view to King’s by scaling Pureora’s 12-metre Forest Tower to reach a platform high in the canopy. From Pikiariki and Bismark Roads, accessible from Pureora Village, it’s a ten-minute walk to the Forest Tower. Nearby, DOC has positioned a restored D7 bulldozer to mark where logging stopped.”


    • RedLogix 15.1

      Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint are just three names from the tramping community who personally embed a deep love for the NZ backcountry and the conservation ethic. (I could extend the list quite a bit.)

      These guys are the kaumatua of my tribe. And look up Honora Renwick for a woman with a remarkable backstory:


  14. JC 16

    The Supreme Court has ruled swamp kauri exports must be finished products. This means dodgy practices by Oravida etc (painting a face on a kauri log & call it a ‘totem pole’) are ILLEGAL. Huge congrats to Northland Environment Protection Society for their tireless work!


    (Poor Judith)

  15. ScottGN 17

    Black Girl Magic. All 19 black women who ran for Judge in Harris County, Texas – which includes Houston – have won their races. Beto might have missed out but the energy of his campaign sure has percolated down the ballot.


  16. Draco T Bastard 18

    Coroner links synthetic cannabis to two more deaths

    According to the coroner’s report into his death, he died after choking on his vomit while unconscious in the back of the van.

    Died due to breathing his own vomit. This happens with alcohol as well. The synthetic cannabis may not have had anything to do with the death other than causing him to vomit.

    Later, when his father arrived and along with the uncle returned to the shed, they found him slumped over a table.

    “He was unresponsive and cold to the touch.”

    A post mortem uncovered the synthetic cannabis link.

    “The presence of the synthetic drug was noted by the pathologist who recorded the fact that synthetic cannabinoids are associated with sudden death.”

    Died due, apparently, to the synthetic cannabis.

    I find it disturbing the way that the article focusses on the first one and pretty much dismisses the second which is far more concerning.

    • Sabine 18.1

      And still Labour/Greens/NZFirst is gonna do nothing about legalization of recreational and medicinal MJ.
      That to me is the saddest part of it all.

      Its gonna be National that will legalize it and if it is only to win a fucking election.

  17. Sabine 19

    In the meant time, high winds, high temperatures, whole city evacuated or in cases where not possible told to hunker down in large concrete buildings like Walgreens.

    good grief.



  18. greywarshark 20

    Making some of these guys who come before the Courts, and go to prison or are stuck on home detention, work hard for a month would be a useful saving for the country, then the government could put the money into better teaching for the drifters and training suitable for 10 second span teenagers. Saving all round, character building without being vicious punishment though.


  19. Herodotus 21

    Teachers’ strikes confirmed from Monday
    Of the offer tat the govt has made are 3% increase for each of the next 3 years and
    BUT you have to wait 14 months until this comes into effect …. REALLY….
    “Secretary of Education Iona Holsted said the ministry’s offer would give teachers $698 million over three years – $129m more than the previous offer.” Sure but much of what is being offered you have to wait 14 months until this comes into effect …. REALLY, doesn’t that in economic terms (Net Present Value) diminish what you are offering, it is disingenuous to frame the offer in this way
    “A new top pay step for teachers with degrees plus professional teaching qualifications from 2020.
    • Removal of the qualifications cap on progression for teachers without degrees from 2020.

  20. Ed 22

    As usual, no mention of climate change when reporting extreme weather in New Zealand…..

    • ropata 22.1

      Maybe there should be a permanent part of the Weather segment – looking at the demise of glaciers, ocean acidification, air pollution, water quality, biodiversity, rainforest destruction

    • joe90 22.2

      Are this year’s extremes any different to the extremes of say, 1954?

      • WeTheBleeple 22.2.1

        Bananas fruiting outside my window, two years in a row now.

        Our largest (niche) grower says “Three years after planting, banana plants begin to bear fruit, but they produce consistently from then on”

        Not any more, it takes one year.

        Nothing to see here, move along.

        • joe90

          In 1986 my mum’s banana plant fruited. They were inedible.

          But anyhoo, as with the halfwits who declare unseasonable cold to be a significant indicator of climate, Ed conflates weather and the extremes we endure as a speed hump in the southern ocean, with climate.

  21. greywarshark 23

    How can we purge our government and semi-government of people who have some right-wing conspiracy injections that bring on psychological fits?


    Mr McClymont said INZ raised concerns over the fact the student’s PhD proposal had changed after arriving in New Zealand.

    “What they don’t seem to understand is that the Univeristy proposed the change because they were working with a Crown research institute.

    “None of this was our clients idea, this was proposed by the Auckland University, it’s quite absurd.

    “They’re claiming, somehow, that he has some nefarious plan to change to change his proposal so that he can make weapons of mass destruction.”

    Mr McClymont said his client can’t afford to feed his family or pay rent and has been relying on the community and a local charity to get by while the investigation is ongoing.

    INZ general manager Peter Elms defended the investigation, saying New Zealand is a signatory to a number of international agreements that prohibit us from assisting in any way in the development of weapons of mass destruction.

    “We take that role seriously, we play our part,” he said.”

    (We have the same insane virus that ‘other countries’ have which leads to being super alert to the idea that everyone is a threat, except them of course.)

  22. Morrissey 24

    Two predictions about Donald Trump: one hopeless,
    the other one on the money

    At the 19:44 mark of this 2011 interview, Bill O’Reilly asks Jon Stewart: “How about Donald Trump?” Stewart gets it totally wrong….

    This writer, OTOH, got it pretty much correct in 2013….

    Open mike 31/12/2013

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