Open mike 10/08/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, August 10th, 2010 - 33 comments
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33 comments on “Open mike 10/08/2010”

  1. Bored 1

    Beautiful new term from Kunstler this morning…Peak Pretending…..now who can we think of?

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    For them what haven’t bookmarked newshoggers yet:

    http://www.newshoggers.com/blog/2010/08/iran-sanctions-andafghanistan-1.html

    The skinny: Sanctions on Iran are not going to work because India, Russia, Turkey, Iraq and China also have interests in the region; interests that the west is ignoring when we try and ‘fix’ Afghanistan by turning a blind eye to Pakistan. hoocoodanode?

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    And while I’m talking about Pakistan, the floods there are a huge story isn’t really getting the coverage it deserves and needs:

    http://www.undispatch.com/node/10128

    The flooding just keeps getting worse and worse. On Saturday, the UN estimated that 4 million people were affected by the flooding in Pakistan. By Sunday they revised that estimate to 6 million people. Today, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that over 13 million people are affected.

    It is no wonder that a UN officials are saying this is bigger than the 2004 tsunami. In fact, that would make it bigger than the combined number of people affected by the Tsunami, Haiti earthquake and 2005 Kashmir earthquake…combined. Make no mistake: this is the worst natural disaster in recent history.

    It’s not just a humanitarian crisis. Pakistan is very unstable, and has nukes. The real actual AQ leadership are in Pakistan. The security forces are still playing both sides, and there is a simmering civil war brewing….

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LH05Df01.html

    The killing sparked violence in Karachi, with at least 65 people killed in clashes between supporters of the anti-al-Qaeda MQM and pro-militant groups. Hundreds of buildings and vehicles have been destroyed and the city remains extremely tense and virtually closed down after overnight fighting on Tuesday.

    The unrest comes at time the country is reeling from its worst floods in living memory, with vast parts of northwestern Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province, southern Punjab and parts of Balochistan affected.

    The assassination has reopened deep faultlines in Karachi, the country’s main financial and industrial city, where over the past six months targeted killings on ethnic as well as sectarian lines have been frequent, with 165 people killed.

    Haider hailed from the ethnic Urdu community and was a Shi’ite. The alleged killers, if they did indeed belong to the Fazl Mehsud group, would be Sunnis and ethnically Pashtun.

    Karachi’s closure has completely choked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) supplies, of which more than 60% of non-fuel supplies and up to half of the fuel used by Western forces in Afghanistan passes through the port city.

    Asia Times Online investigations lead to the conclusion that al-Qaeda desires to jack up tensions in Karachi, open up a front in central Punjab and exploit the flood-affected situation in restive Khyber Pakhoonkhwa. The belief among al-Qaeda leaders is that NATO’s combat operations will have to be abandoned by the end of this year.

    Al-Qaeda’s war
    In al-Qaeda’s broader analysis, mainly agreed on by ideologues Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mustafa Abu al-Yazid (the latter – better known as al-Masri – was killed in drone attack this year), it is essential that Pakistan’s armed forces be engaged across as much of the country as possible. This, it is argued, will eventually lead to Pakistan’s support of the “American war” drying up.

    This approach led al-Qaeda to open up multiple war theaters in the tribal areas, such as Khyber Agency, Orakzai Agency, Kurram Agency and South Waziristan. The result was that the military had no capacity – or will – to launch operations against the global headquarters of al-Qaeda in North Waziristan. Al-Qaeda plans much the same for central Punjab, starting with the capital Lahore….

    No doubt a surge is all we need, home by christmas, etc.

    • BLiP 3.1

      Asia Times Online investigations lead to the conclusion that al-Qaeda desires . . . .

      Dox or GTFO

  4. joe90 4

    Images of the Pakistan floods from The Big Picture show the scale of the disaster.
    Avoid the comments, ugly.

    • The Voice of Reason 4.1

      Amazing photos, Joe. Thanks for the link, though I’m not sure why we should avoid the comments. Most of them were just the usual numb nutted yanks, at least until comment no.50 from this cleverly named contributer:

      “50.To all those advocating prayer, how about asking for something…you know…uh..useful? God doesn’t exist; never has and never will. Grow up already and realize there is no magic sky daddy looking out for you and solve your own damn problems.

      Posted by Voice of Reason August 6, 10 09:56 PM”

    • BLiP 4.2

      Far out!! Shocking stuff.

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    “The extent of the escape is unprecedented,” says Cynthia Sagers, an ecologist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, who led the research team that found the canola (Brassica napus, also known as rapeseed).

    Sagers and her team found two varieties of transgenic canola in the wild — one modified to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (glyphosate), and one resistant to Bayer Crop Science’s Liberty herbicide (gluphosinate). They also found some plants that were resistant to both herbicides, showing that the different GM plants had bred to produce a plant with a new trait that did not exist anywhere else.

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100806/full/news.2010.393.html

    I’m not generally opposed to GM thingies, but ffs. If you’re gonna breed plants resistant to control, keep them in their fckn cage people.

    • Bored 5.1

      It pays to regard GM in the same way you would radiation, once out of the bag you cant get it back and it has a bloody long half life. For that reason alone it should be banned.

      • BLiP 5.1.1

        Too late . . . GE contaminated products are already well embedded in the food chain. We just have to take the scientists’ word that we’ll all be okay.

        • NickS 5.1.1.1

          Protip: cloning is not genetic engineering, as genetic engineering involves knocking out and/or adding genes to an organism, where as cloning takes the nucleus from an adult cell and chucks into a de-nucleated egg and zaps it to kick start it. Big difference.

          Also, unless that cloned meat is kicking out some really weird shit, it’s just as safe as beef from the same breed of cattle raised in similar environments.
          /science!

        • Bill 5.1.1.2

          Nah Blip.

          It’s not scientists, as in the scientific community who are saying that we’ll all be okay.

          It’s people in the employ or pay of the corporations who are throwing the precautionary principle to the wind.

          Reflect.

          Is it scientists or the scientific community who are proclaiming that climate change is a crock?

          We know it’s not the scientific community. So what is the common thread of these scientists who tell us everything is A-OK regards climate change and the crop/animal GE advocates?
          (hint – they gets money or backing from corporate interests whose financial interests it is in to neigh say caution and conservatism)

          Do you really believe the scenario is any different for GE? Or for any other number of issues where there is a corporate/market, versus society/people divide?

          You can’t discount and dismiss science one day and then elevate it to be the last word on a particular matter on another There is a pattern. It’s not hard to see if you want to see it.

          • NickS 5.1.1.2.1

            /sigh

            And what about the stuff from governmental bodies in the EU and NZ (there’s some others, tired, can’t recall)? Both use the precautionary principle, and have independent reviewers to look at the data those applying to make or sell GMO’s give.

            Also, GE promoting is not the same situation as Climate Denialism, in which you have self proclaimed experts popping up with a lengthy list of oil company etc donors/links, or the hordes of morons believing the likes of Ian Whishart. If anything, you more see the hordes of morons on the anti-GE side, making a variety of evidence free claims and using the disgust reflex, while those promoting GE typically are those who make use of the techniques and know the risks well. Basically, each source needs to be checked out, rather than just discarded merely on the basis of which side their message is on.

            However the likes of Monsanto have been epically fucktarded over promoting and managing their GE crops, making it difficult for those who understand the advantages and risks of GE to get our message across.

            • Bill 5.1.1.2.1.1

              Yeah, okay Nick. To a degree.

              But lets look at a couple of factors.

              1. Claims that GE crops give higher yield are false. ( It’s late, but if you need the links to the study results I’ll find them anon) Who pushes the falsehoods if not the seed and chemical companies seeking to develop and defend market share? Just exactly like the petro chemical industries in relation to climate change.

              2. Governments are not applying a precautionary principle. Governments are applying market principles, hence people who demand precautionary principles be practiced get on the streets in protest.

              3. Overblown and misleading claims for GE crops include, for example ‘Golden Rice’. The argument is that with vitamin A locked in it will save lives. But conveniently overlooked is the fact that in non-monoculture environments Vit A was procured from the avocado and nut trees etc that were subsequently felled for the sake of these modern wonder crops.( Market and market share again)

              4. Intensive study/research has not been carried out – and will not be carried out – because market principles are meant to be the guiding principles which has the potential to leave us all in he shit, eg the unpredictable cascade affects of changing ‘a’ to deal with ‘b’ while having failed to take into account the unpredictable effect that ‘c’ will now have on the altered organism and it’s environment.

              5. Allied to 4. Almost all corn on the American continent is now contaminated because of GE corn cross fertilisation. What are the consequences of this? No-one knows. But organisms evolve to particular states for very good fucking ‘reasons’. In fact, the way things are in evolutionary terms could not possibly be any other way. If they could be different, they would be different. So messing in ways beyond that which would be naturally possible probably isn’t a fantastic idea…which is us back at the precautionary principle again.

              • NickS

                1. Claims that GE crops give higher yield are false. ( It’s late, but if you need the links to the study results I’ll find them anon) Who pushes the falsehoods if not the seed and chemical companies seeking to develop and defend market share? Just exactly like the petro chemical industries in relation to climate change.

                I already know the yield issue, and indeed I bitched about Monsanto et al above. However, GE isn’t just about crops, there’s a whole range of drugs in the form of very difficult to synthesise small polypeptides, antibodies and complex organic molecules with correct chirality (wrong chirality = side effects or no/low activity). Not to mention GE is used to develop transgenic animal models and explore how particular genes impact on a given phenotype (disease models, evo.devo/evolution research), as well as mass producing proteins for various purposes. Then there’s biopharming, making transgenic animals and plants to produce various therapeutics (or vaccines like I linked to below) which are difficult to make with HELA yeast or bacteria in bioreactors, or need to be in a ready to use form.

                By lumping all GE under commercial crops, you and others miss the bigger picture and the very real beneficial applications of GE, as well as effectively trying to ban a major research tool in biochemistry, genetics etc. All over the actions of a few moronic companies, like Monsanto. Then there’s the over reaction to terminator genes which would have made escape of transgenes much less of an issue, with the right pricing model.

                2. Governments are not applying a precautionary principle. Governments are applying market principles, hence people who demand precautionary principles be practiced get on the streets in protest.

                lawl-fucking-wat?

                Somehow I don’t think EMRA et al actually do what you claim they do. And it sure as hell doesn’t help that ignorant groups like GEFree NZ and Mothers Against Genetic Engineering keep spreading miss-info over stuff like starlink corn and transgenic cows for pharming human proteins. Leading to dumb arse protests that are driven by ignorant fearmongering and pseudo-science rather than actual scientific evidence.

                In other words, go read the ERMA and other groups guidelines, then come back to me. Because from Jack Heinemann’s lectures for bchm301 back in ’06, ERMA was already sticking to this for GMO’s and placing fairly strict field test conditions on researchers. And the EU has some of the strictest laws in the developed world for GMO field tests as well.

                3. Overblown and misleading claims for GE crops include, for example ‘Golden Rice’. The argument is that with vitamin A locked in it will save lives. But conveniently overlooked is the fact that in non-monoculture environments Vit A was procured from the avocado and nut trees etc that were subsequently felled for the sake of these modern wonder crops.( Market and market share again)

                lawl-fucking-wat again?

                The point of golden rice was to provide a source of vit A in areas where poverty and famine decreased the availability of other vit A sources and deal with vit A deficiencies in the developing world easily. And for fucks sake, if it is ever released, it will be freely available, with no added costs to those who need it the most.

                In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have vit A deficiency since the economic factors that cause it wouldn’t exist, but as it stands, we don’t and an easily available solution that involved one major carbohydrate sources for the world’s poorest exists in the form of golden rice. And though it’s a band-aide for the factors which cause it, it’s still a highly viable solution.

                It would be wonderful to provide a much better diet, however history and human stupidity has made that “slightly” problematic.

                4. Intensive study/research has not been carried out and will not be carried out because market principles are meant to be the guiding principles which has the potential to leave us all in he shit, eg the unpredictable cascade affects of changing ‘a’ to deal with ‘b’ while having failed to take into account the unpredictable effect that ‘c’ will now have on the altered organism and it’s environment.

                /facepalm

                It. Already. Is. Fucking. Carried. Out.

                What the hell to you think ERMA etc do? Twiddle their thumbs?

                It’s akin to creationists constantly asking for more evidence, when you’ve already cluebatted them with a textbook. Or anti-vaccinations asking for 100% safety when it’s impossible to achieve for anything.

                /grumblegrumblegrumble.

                5. Allied to 4. Almost all corn on the American continent is now contaminated because of GE corn cross fertilisation. What are the consequences of this? No-one knows. But organisms evolve to particular states for very good fucking ‘reasons’. In fact, the way things are in evolutionary terms could not possibly be any other way. If they could be different, they would be different. So messing in ways beyond that which would be naturally possible probably isn’t a fantastic idea which is us back at the precautionary principle again.

                Ugh, I don’t think you understand evolution…
                1) corn is not “natural”, humanity bred the living fuck out the ancestor of corn, that looks quite a bit like an overgrown tussock plant, to get the corn that appears in the archaeological from 1500BCE. Meaning that it’s evolved to meet the needs of humans and the environment that the plants were used in.

                2) There are multiple solutions to ecological conditions that evolution selects for, i.e. the product you see is the product very much of historical conditions, and trade offs, rather than a meritoriously engineered solution. Of course, this depends on the generation time, gene pool variation and size, population growth rate, migration rates and population connectivity, gene networks and selection strength. But suffice to say, evolution is not fucking perfect.

                Else we wouldn’t have depression etc to deal with, and we’d have the same retina construction as squid, without that fucking blind spot, not to mention the knee, shoulder and back issues. Basically, evolution can be improved on.

                3)The actual veracity of the claims of contamination in heirloom and indigenous corn variates is still disputed if I remember correctly. As the authors of the paper that sparked it didn’t do their controls fucking properly. But since it’s 12:21 am and I have work at 9am (thank Cthulhu for Hummingbird coffee), I can’t be arsed digging up the references. Also, corn is really utterly useless at wind pollination, as last years plants at home had to be right next to each other, which in terms of transgene spread, means GE crops would have to be rather close to a different corn variety for crossing to happen. Then you’ve got to take into account pollen competition and other factors to actually model the risk.

                …And it’s 12:25am. And I have work at 9am thanks to SJS. And depression caused oversleeping. Why the fuck did I bother writing this reply again? Gaaah.

                • loota

                  It. Already. Is. Fucking. Carried. Out.

                  What the hell to you think ERMA etc do? Twiddle their thumbs?

                  It’s akin to creationists constantly asking for more evidence, when you’ve already cluebatted them with a textbook. Or anti-vaccinations asking for 100% safety when it’s impossible to achieve for anything.

                  Uh…so where and when did ERMA do this intensive, longitudinal research which exposed the majority of NZ native species and ecosystems to these GE crops and tracked the effects of that interspecies exposure over generations? Anyone here fed GE modified corn to a kakapo to see how it went down?

                  Oh it didn’t happen did it? The research you’re talking about probably took place in carefully controlled and limited situations, reducing the generalisability and validity of the findings to the wild, yeah? And certainly who had funding or patience to check out the effects for more than a couple of years? Might be important to do this research over more than just a couple of years since we may be talking about eventually permanently and irreversibly introducing unpredictable new organisms into the wild, yeah? Possums, anyone?

                  Sorry mate you must think that the likes of me are asking a lot, but after seeing ‘extensively researched and scientifically proven safe’ drugs like Vioxx frak up a whole lot of people and a whole lot of scientists and scientific journals let patients down for years, I think that Bill’s ‘precautionary principle’ is not a bad thing, yeah?

                  • NickS

                    fuck, don’t have enough time to reply. I’ve spent nearly an hour mucking around reading stuff.

                    In a nutshell though, toxic effects of GMO maize (Bt types) on non target species only has one long term (3 months…) single animal model study to date, while short term feeding studies show no effect. Field studies on ecological impacts point towards an increase in certain insect life due to decreased pesticide usage.

                    Glycophosate resistant maize likewise has a dearth of long term feeding studies, which one of the ones touted a few years back by GreenPeace severely lacking in statistical power. With the 3 month feeding study on one variety pointing towards some markers of potential toxicity.

                    So off the top of my head, I’d doubt there’d be any toxicity towards avian species unless you force feed them GE maize, and GE maize only, more so if they’re adapted towards a more broad diet in the first place.

                    Ugh, and here’s the paper:
                    http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm#Section3
                    Read the whole thing and think before spouting off, else I’ll snark you to death.

                    Also GMO’s are not fucking drugs, whole different class of research and testing there, with the main issue with Vioxx was lying by omission on the drug company’s part (when are sales teams never evil?) and fraud by one of the researchers. Which was only revealed after the drug was withdrawn. And given the intense scrutiny over GM corn, fraud would have been revealed by now as some bright spark would have noticed the usual indicators of data fabrication in the short term feeding studies.

                    Also, what about the other GE stuff? GE isn’t just about fucking corn and modifying other crops for Cry toxin production and herbicide resistance. Nor is it the be all and end all of GE safety and modification techniques.

                    Anyhow, I’m running late now. I’ll post something longer later on if I haven’t crashed from a lack of sleep. I heart insomnia.

                • Bill

                  Appreciate the time you’ve put in to responding.

                  But a couple of points. I’m not commenting on GE beyond its agricultural application.

                  Your comments on that facet of GE’s efficacy display a certain blasé dismissal of socio/economic effects that have been brought about by the imposition of the very agricultural model so favoured and promoted by corporations and others pushing for GE ‘fixes’.

                  You can’t see the irony in that? That the very thing that has visited strife on people is now being touted as the cure or solution to the strife? eg Vit A in rice.

                  • NickS

                    Eh, I’m a cynical bastard at heart and I think, much like the patriarchal bs present loaded on society, to change the present means of agriculture it’s going to take a shock to the system. In short, the entire false competitive advantages that make the present inefficiencies in food distribution and large scale monocultures economically viable needs to be dismantled utterly and the technology re-purposed to suit smaller scale and mixed plots. Which leaves me stuck in pragmatism mode, and more than willing to use technologies that make monocultures less harmful.

                    I’d also strongly opinion that GE does hold advantages for mixed agriculture in terms of expanding crop traits and providing a means of rapidly* providing immunity against agricultural disease which are still a problem even with mixed plot systems. Well, that depends on local ecologies and vectors, but per the papaya example, GE + plant breeding can provide protection against diseases which otherwise would cripple yields. It’s just that the design of the transgenes + expression system and insertion need to be done in such a way that minimises potential negative side effects.

                    /yawn
                    Also, ugh, I don’t think I’ll be capable of getting around to posting more indepth stuff today, I’m near my caffeine limit and I still need to get some paid work done and find a means of escaping Christchurch this weekend for a much needed tramp. Meh, I’ll get back to this tomorrow. Nick needs sleep.

                    ___________________________
                    *the definition used here is the evolutionary one of rapid, i.e. at the speed of reproduction, mutation and genetic variation *cough* Translation: years instead of decades.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2

        Which has always been the biggest argument against GM – we have NFI WTF it’s going to do “in the wild”. Research, yes, but don’t go around creating GM organisms until we do have some idea.

      • NickS 5.1.3

        It pays to regard GM in the same way you would radiation, once out of the bag you cant get it back and it has a bloody long half life. For that reason alone it should be banned.

        So I take it you’d ban these as well?:
        http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2010/07/green_our_vaccines_part_ii.php
        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/07/12/genes-from-arctic-bacteria-used-to-create-new-vaccines

        Or this?:
        Cornell University and the University of Hawai’i Introduce the First Genetically-Engineered Fruit Crop.

        And the GM insulin and other peptide drugs that traditionally we’d have to harvest from the dead or animals? Ye fucking eldar things from beyond the stars, GM isn’t just for modifying crops for herbicide resistance and bt-insecticide production, particularly for producing enzymes, peptides and even hydrocarbon polymers and other organic chemicals that are otherwise very, very difficult to chemically synthesise or impossible due to complex chirality, which if not right will produce an inactive substance, or give nasty side effects.

        No, what matters is making sure that the gene’s your adding don’t spread out into weedy plants, on top of taking into account evolutionary pressures when using pesticides and herbicides to minimise both usage and the chances of resistance emerging. As well as rigorously checking that that added gene(s) do no generate any negative effects through out an organisms gene/metabolic network that result in toxicity. Something which is relatively “easy” ( it just takes months to years of work…) to test with animal studies and with mRNA/protein assays to ascertain possible risks.

        Is it a panacea like Gosman claimed in another thread? Hell no, we barely understand how to construct small genetic systems comprised of a few genes plus the regulatory genes to activate them. Which limits our ability to do really subtle, only on when it’s needed per stuff like droughts in eukaryotes (bacteria etc are ratehr easy…). For otherwise it’s generally a simple binary switch, so bt production will always be “on” instead of ramping up when insect damage occurs, or say when a heat wave hits to minimise the well known 10-25% drop in grain yields. It’s possible to do, it’s just more or less in development stage rather than being put into field-trails.

        And you know the weird/neat thing? When the gene insertion goes right (i.e. it lands in a stretch of non-coding, non regulatory DNA), the changes in gene expression are often close to that we get during normal plant breeding processes, which we generally don’t go nana’s over.

        Anyhow, GE is not inherently dangerous in my view, rather like any tool we have, it’s negative effects are dependent on how it’s used, and given the current climate, it’s likely safer than the water based paint I use for painting houses. And in some cases, is a very much needed tool to provide medicines, research tools (hello clone libraries and transgenic mice models) and preventing key crops from going extinct and providing long-life, easily transportable vaccines to developing and developed nations.

        Oh yeah, how the hell do I know all this stuff? Jack used to teach a segment on genetic modification, focusing on gene regulation and metabolic effects and how to detect them in biochemistry 301 back in 2006 as part of the post translation covalent modification of polypeptides (not just enzymes folks), focusing on the addition of phosphate groups that can modify enzyme activity.

  6. joe90 6

    Enough bad shit for one day so time for some good shit, the surreal works of Jacek Yerka.

  7. john 7

    The US is collapsing as a society and economy refer link this the country that gave us the free market Rogernomics ideology:
    http://geraldcelentechannel.blogspot.com/

  8. NickS 8

    I think this explains certain anomalous facts about the Key Government, and the fate of Kate Wilkinson:
    The Calculator of Cthulhu
    hat-tip to Lew.

    And I fear that Brownlee’s next move will be to summon shoggoths to do his fell bidding and provide the NZ mining industry with the perfect workers…

    (theme album, Cthulhu Strikes Back)

  9. BLiP 10

    Ignore me – I’m just playing about with my new gizmo – delete at will but not til tomorrow please.

    Bugger! I thought a comment I sent via my flash new cell phone would be here – guess not. Error says spam word incorrect – try again but this time pay attention to upper case 16:55 – check balance, does Vodascum charge for these messages – maybe like text?

    Note to self RTFM!!!!

    • lprent 10.1

      Register & login – then there is no anti-spam word…

      Words like a charm on my iPhone. If you have one of the supported smartphones then you’ll even see a brand new The Standard

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    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    3 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    7 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    7 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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