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Open mike 13/04/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 13th, 2020 - 205 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

205 comments on “Open mike 13/04/2020 ”

  1. adam 1

    When the system has been corrupted and both main parties are as sick as each other. Are you not glad you don't live in the USA.


    That said, thank goodness for working class sensibilities. And working people working for the best solutions for themselves.



  2. Ad 2

    For some reason the loss of Tim Brooke-Taylor overnight to Covid-19 makes me particularly sad.


    I'm sure it would be unwatchable tosh now, but at the time I just adored them:

    • Molly 2.1

      Me, too. Watched a season with the children about seven years ago, and they were delighted with the sheer farce and ridiculousness of the humour. A world away from mainstream comedy today. (…I still enjoyed it).

    • tc 2.2

      Rip……along with that anarchic silly style of humour sadly missing these days.

      • Forget now 2.2.1

        Good luck finding any Goodies nowadays, as a "kids show" (Cleese's guest line on the first episode), it suffered the same fate as Troughton's Doctor. I have a couple of discs, maybe a dozen episodes; though some of them are black and white (and then there's the apparteit episode…)

        Jones then Brooke-Taylor, bad year for that crew. He wrote the classic 4Yorkshiremen skit that the Python's covered at the Holywood bowl (while in the earlier "At last the 1948 show" [1967] with Chapman and Cleese).

        However, we also have to remember the twee dreck that was; My Girl and Me, with the guy from the (original) Three's Company. I remember that as a total snorefest. But I don't think he wrote it, and you can't blame an actor for working.

        • Bearded Git

          It was Apartheight……and of course Bill Oddie was the one who suffered the mindless prejudice…..The Goodies being very clever in that particular episode in parodying the Apartheid regime.

        • Herodotus

          There have started re playing this on Sky Jones Wednesday 8:30

          Good well written comedy lasts, even if the special effects are a little wonting. I see the Young Ones are also back on, remember Friday nights 11:00 just after closing time returning home turning on and being fortunate to view the 1st program. Meant had to miss out stopping off at Uncles on the way home from the pub !!

          • Forget now

            I have both series of the Young Ones on DVD too, though that's dated worse than The Goodies! At least Elton & Meyer wrote actual routines and jokes though – Bottom, that is just Meyer & Edmonton arsing around really is unwatchable.

            No one has noticed this apparently, but I meant; Man about the House (& the inferior Robin's Nest), not (rebranded US version); Three's company. For some reason I can recall Ritter's name, but not the original actor!

            BTW Herodotus, what the hell are you doing out at the pub or your Uncle's at the moment? Unless you both live on the same property, and "the pub" is your slang for a beer fridge.

            [Edit – whoops. I see the word “remember” now denoting that this occurred in the past. Will leave the comment as was as testament to my careless illiteracy]

          • aj

            … and Gimmie gimmie gimmie is back as well! One of the best.

        • joe90

          Goodies episode


          [replaced embed with a link as the formatting was clipping the sides, people can click through – weka]

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 2.3

      I loved The Goodies as a kid…and remember meeting Bill Oddie at a book signing when I spent a year in England as a child. Very sad to see Tim Brooke-Taylor go.

    • McFlock 4.1

      What would be bad PR to achieve through eugenics, he's happy to achieve through neglect.

  3. joe90 5

    The million or so rich Muscovites decamped to their summer homes will be doing their bit, too.

    — More than half of China's coronavirus infections reported on Sunday originated from a Russian flight to Shanghai the day before, a potential sign of the severity of Russia's outbreak, Bloomberg reported. So far this month, China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province has reported more than 100 infections imported from Russia through its land borders.


    • RedLogix 5.1

      The summer dacha is a widespread feature of Russian life. The vast expanses of wilderness, mean that very large numbers of families own, or have access to, a dacha many of which are quite traditional and modest. You don't have to be rich.

      It's very normal for the grandparents to move out from the city for the whole summer, with the rest of the family staying with them for extended periods as school timetables, holidays and work permit.

    • mauī 5.2

      Yet you're probably safer from the Coronavirus in a country with a strong state such as China or Russia. That doesn't quite fit in with the western propaganda though does it.

      • RedLogix 5.2.1

        When under an existential threat ALL nations react with authoritarian responses. In this context already authoritarian nations like China and Russia have a first mover advantage.

        But it doesn't follow that authoritarian regimes are always superior.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 5.2.2

        Not so much “strong” as “authoritarian”.

        We seem to be doing well in NZ compared to many places – and we aren’t that much like China or Russia in terms of social management.

        • mauī

          We compare well with Russia and China in terms of cases per capita. Which shows the great job those countries have done with a magnitude more people and less time.

      • Andre 5.2.3

        State competence and capability (or lack thereof) appears to have a much bigger influence on whether its citizens are safe than where it sits on the authoritarian – liberal spectrum.

        • Peter ChCh

          Maui. It was the 'strong state' that led to this pandemic, along with in the last 100 years alone Sars, Bird Flu, the Spanish Flu (which originated on the Chinese border), 1968 Hong Kong flu, 1957 Asian flu, 1977 Russian flu (which originated in China).

          It is this 'strong state' which felt so weak it had to suppress the news of covid 19 outbreak, and lie to the world and its own people now by trying to present it as starting in the US or Italy.

          It is this 'strong state' that is so weak that corruption allows the evil disease petri dishes of wet markets to flourish in southern China, dispite their being largerly illegal.

          It is a myth that China is strong. Like all bullies, the bluster hides an inner fragility.

          • David Mac

            Yup, the CCP slammed Wuhan down tighter than a drum, with the exception of arteries to the airport.

            When I scratch beneath the surface I get the feeling the CCP don't care very much about you and me.

            • David Mac

              When I consider how the CCP treat the Chinese people, their own, I think I would be foolish to think that they don't consider me to be anything more than a turd.

              The Chinese are beautiful, wise and loving people. I hope they don't put up with the stooges for too much longer.

      • AB 5.2.4

        I doubt that it's that simple. Maybe you need three things:

        1. a state that prioritises the health/wellbeing of all its citizenry above the interests (economic, political) of itself, or of it's own sub-group or class
        2. a state that has the competence and capacity/infrastructure to make good decisions and act quickly
        3. a citizenry with enough social cohesion and trust in the government to do what is needed at their end

        NZ thus does pretty well on all counts as does Germany. The US and UK are doing less well because they are poor on no.1 due to treating 'the economy' as the highest good. The US is also weak on no.3. China does well generally, but it's weakness on no.1 might explain its initial secrecy and desire to limit domestic political damage. Sweden is struggling because they erred on no.2 – especially decision-making about what sort of lock-down to implement. Luck also plays a big part – as seems to be the case with Italy and Spain.

        In general therefore, you are better off with a competent leftish government and in real danger with an incompetent right-wing one. However all sorts of combinations and confounding local conditions may apply.

  4. RedLogix 6

    COVID 19 is just the beginning. The liberal global order is being dismantled before your eyes and everything we take for granted that came with it, is now going away. The world is going to pull back into mutually antagonistic blocks.

    The USA will continue to retreat into the NAFTA block, that may even be expanded to include Colombia and few others. The US military will continue to enforce the Monroe doctrine, no Eastern power will be permitted to interfere with any Western hemisphere nation.

    Brazil will descend back into dysfunction, poverty and violence. Argentina will emerge as the regional South American power due to it's isolation and implicit security.

    The EU project is sadly dying. The only nation that will emerge intact from it will be France. Germany and Russia are both dying demographically, and in their desperation will once again clash.

    Turkey will once again become a regional power, but one beset with complex security concerns, but it's influence will expand dramatically and with an ethnic edge to it.

    Britain will become a client state of the UK. The pound will dissolve and the parent will move in with it's child.

    The ME will now revert to it's usual levels of violence; the relative period of calm under Western dominance will explode into sectarian mayhem. In particular the Iranian's will take over Iraq and probably Syria, while the Saudi's will do everything they can to export violence and disruption; terrorists being by far their second largest export. Oil exports from the region will become erratic and OPEC itself may crumble.

    India will become increasingly nationalistic; Modi is just the opening stanza. A war with Pakistan is still probable, and then a victorious India will turn it's attention north to it's long standing conflict with a weakening China.

    China will not be a united nation as we currently know it within a decade. It's impossibly over-leveraged after 30 years of binge debt, it's one child policy has gutted it's demographics, and it's geography is fatally weak. Which ever direction they turn, whether by sea or overland, they cannot control their destiny. For much of it's history China was really a series of three or four very different regions, vying with each other for political control. It will default back to this condition.

    Japan by contrast has a real navy and will use it to both block China's expansionary dreams, and to provide a regional security hegemon to replace the departing Americans. Outside of China the rest of SE Asia will adjust to becoming a regional trade bloc, with powerhouse nations such as India, Japan, Singapore and Australia generating a region of relative stability in an otherwise turbulent world.

    NZ faces two major adjustments. China will fairly quickly stop being our largest trading partner and the US security umbrella will become increasingly tenuous. While there are ethnic and cultural reasons for an Anglophone alliance, involving the US, Canada, UK, Australian and NZ to emerge … geography ensures the US would need a very good motivation indeed to put military assets in harms way to protect the latter two nations.

    Australia's main concern is going to be less China, and more Indonesia. While at present the relationship is stable, the risk of events like COVID 19 destablising such a populous and vulnerable nation is real. As the largest Islamic nation in SE Asia it's wide open to exploitation by militant fundamentalists spilling out from core conflicts in the ME as we currently see in the African Sahel regions.

    This means NZ is going to have to repair it's relationship with Australia. Or it may pivot strongly toward Singapore with whom we have a good history and a strong complementary trade character. Located at the centre of the emerging SE Asian bloc, Singapore has access to the technology goods NZ needs to continue operating as a modern nation; while NZ offers the reliable agricultural goods and safe tourism/recreational opportunities Singaporeans will seek.

    The next two decades are going to see a radical reshaping of the world. Much of the gains from this second phase of globalisation since the end of WW2 will be lost, a recrudescent nationalism and extreme ideologies will blight many parts of the world. Regional security will become an intense concern and we will not revert back to our pre-COVID 19 personal freedoms for many decades yet.

    The loss of the global order, imperfect as it was, will hurt. We took it for granted and never tried to maintain or reform it … so now we pay the heavy price. Inevitably, when that price becomes high enough, we will be compelled to pick up the shattered pieces of our neglected projected and painstakingly rebuild. Or we might get lucky ….

    • Koff 6.1

      Where on Earth did you get your crystal ball from, Red? What does it predict for climate change?

      [lprent: It is probably simpler to just click on his handle in the comments sidebar or type his handle into search and just read the pages upon pages of his previous comments and posts.

      That is a more courteous find out what someone else is like commenting here than demanding that they justify their comment. Doing some reading would be a starter. They frequently say from where they are forming/getting their opinions from.

      Now that doesn’t stop you from asking specific questions about what they wrote in their comment. But open-ended questions like this dickhead one just triggers my long-honed instincts that I’m seeing a debating team troll trying to start a flamewar by badgering and forcing others to justify themselves.

      I have a fast response to that – I usually just ban them from the site for months to reduce moderator work times. They add nothing to the robust debate.

      In your case your previous comments let you off – but at the cost of some of my valuable time. But please read the site policies and learn to avoid my experienced hair trigger judgements about onsite behaviour. This is your warning. ]

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        It's a projection not a prediction. The principle I'm working from is this; since the end of WW2 and the implicit US security guarantee which enabled every free nation (those not behind the Iron Curtain) to more or less trade freely with every other nation it cared to … and we now have two or three generations who now think this, and the prosperity generated, is normal.

        But before WW2 if you wanted to trade (and that meant shipping in most cases) you had to provide maritime security. And that meant geography mattered … a lot. Location, location and defendable deepwater ports were vital. Easy access to fuel, to an industrial base, to a population with a tradition of seafaring all made a difference.

        Then for 70 years the US has made none of that necessary … a supertanker could leave the Persian Gulf and arrive in Shanghai 20 days later with perfect reliability, despite multiple strategic vulnerabilities all along the passage. Shipping everywhere became so routine that we took it for granted, we started thinking this was the normal state of affairs instead of the unprecedentedly miraculous condition it really was.

        Well now that's going away … and geography is returning.

        • Peter

          Ah, that's the new world order. One without the WHO, WTO, NATO the United Nations and whatever else Trump's getting rid of. I can imagine that. When you're so great again you don't need anybody else.

          I can see all the American companies making their pharmaceuticals at home, workers arriving and departing for work in their football, baseball and basketball gear all made in America. And all the factories churning out whatever the world needs, well the world inside America's borders because globalisation is done and dusted, the world starts and stops at the border.

          The rest of the world will be distraught, no more so than the Middle East. Last week I heard Trump say the USA had given them something like a zillion zillion zillion trillion dollars, just to help them but now he wanted it back.

          Your projection can't match the one in the President's head. His picture will be supervideosonic with octophonic sound on the hugest screen. And you know that the best combination of John Wayne, Henry Fonda Bruce Willis, Kirk Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford won't come close to equalling the hero in his one.

        • Graeme

          Your projection supposes that the United States of America remains united. How much stress would the USA endure before the union falls to bits and the Civil War re-ignites? At that point everything changes.

          It is sad that the EU project is dying, it promised a lot for the world. I was discussing Brexit with a young French couple who didn't like what was happening. They said "The EU is the price of peace" Loosing it will be a very large price for human civilisation to endure.

          • RedLogix

            Your projection supposes that the United States of America remains united. How much stress would the USA endure before the union falls to bits and the Civil War re-ignites?

            That's not an unreasonable idea, and given the narcissistic intensity of their cultural wars and a hyper-partisan Washington it's not unthinkable.

            More likely however the American people will do what they do whenever events slap them in the face; they furiously overreact and dramatically reorganise themselves. Both the Republican and Democrat parties are going to have to reshuffle themselves in the aftermath of Trump. The multiple COVID 19 debacles at every level of government (from Trump downward) will prompt some serious reworkings of their governance.

            This ability to adapt, plus their invincible geography ensures the USA will remain the most prosperous and powerful nation well into this century.

            They may even expand their formal territory. For instance the Canadian state of Alberta has far more culturally in common with the USA than the rest of the country, and as impossible as it sounds the border states of Mexico might consider merging with the USA, for security reasons alone.

      • lprent 6.1.2

        Koff: Read my warning to you above.

      • RedLogix 6.2.1

        US foreign policy has been more or less rudderless since the end of the Cold War. Successive presidents have been reactive rather than visionary; now we have one that is downright destructive.

        Cultural and political polarisation has definitely undermined the US response to CV19 and they will pay a very heavy price for this. But as Winston Churchill said' "You can rely on the Americans to do the right thing, once they have exhausted all other options".

        They will react in two ways. Domestically there will be a reconstruction of their internal political capacity; both the Republican and Democrat parties will undergo a major reshaping of their internal alliances. In foreign terms they have already concluded that having supply chains vulnerable to disruption by nations, like China, who are both unstable and potential opponents, is a deep security risk. Watch US manufacturing return to the NAFTA region as fast as possible.

        • SPC

          So soon after Trump trashed NAFTA

        • Barfly

          "India will become increasingly nationalistic; Modi is just the opening stanza. A war with Pakistan is still probable, and then a victorious India will turn it's attention north to it's long standing conflict with a weakening China."

          Then the world experiences "the great dying" as nuclear armed Pakistan says 'well stuff it we're going down – you are all coming with us" bingo nuclear winter

          • RedLogix

            Possible, but more likely India will focus on taking out the key strategic Pakistani capacity and the whole exchange will be over before lunch. The regional consequences would be horrendous and shock the world dreadfully.

            But as for a 'great dying' we'd have to be very unlucky for that.

            • Graeme

              It would be more the 'great shrinking' as the world shits it's self and goes back into it's shell and slows down even more.

              The other nuclear threat would be in east Asia with a possibly united (and nuclear armed) Korea leading to Japan developing nuclear arms. I'd say they would have the ability and it wouldn't take long, if they aren't all but now.

              • RedLogix

                Japan developing nuclear arms.

                Indeed actual nuclear bombs are pretty much 1940's tech and any industrially capable nation can build one within a week or two. It's the delivery systems that are typically more challenging. Getting a missile to go a 1000km or so is fairly easy, getting them around the world without interdiction and landing accurately much less so.

                Which is why the nuclear threat is most acute between nations that are close neighbours. Especially when one of them is downwind ….

            • Barfly


              The pair modelled the impact of 100 explosions in subtropical megacities. They modelled 15-kilotonne explosions, like the Hiroshima bomb. This is also the size of the bombs now possessed by India and Pakistan, among others.

              "The immediate blast and radiation from the exchange of 100 small nuclear bombs killed between three million and 16 million people, depending on the targets. But the global effect of the resulting one-to-five million tonnes of smoke was much worse. “It is very surprising how few weapons are needed to do so much damage,” says Toon."

              I agree that 100 may be a hard number for them to reach..but Pakistan a country with long history of supporting Taliban and Al Qaeda (under the surface) experiencing a nuclear annihilation…well lets give Israel a couple for good measure and then…..

              • RedLogix

                For the purposes of argument I've tried not to dwell on all the worst case scenarios at once … but yes anything is possible.

            • Forget now

              Yes, we humans may talk a big game. But, we are way too insignificant to cause something on the level of the PT Extinction event.

    • RedLogix 6.3

      Britain will become a client state of the UK.

      Correction: Britain will become a client state of the USA.

      • SPC 6.3.1

        Outing the fact that the Court of Saint James (Skull and Bones freemasonry) has been Area 51 Deep State all along …

        • SPC

          It would seem those Brexit voters who imagined they could trade with the world did not count on Trump trashing the WTO, thus the USA is set to colonise the island, even as NATO lies in ruins.

          • RedLogix

            Yes. On the nail. The Brexit timing could not have been worse. Their initial vague idea was probably to leverage their old trade links with the Commonwealth, but that door is slamming shut as we type.

            Their only option now is to negotiate with the USA, who will obfuscate until they've crushed the Brit's will to live.

            • ScottGN

              Why is the door slamming shut on British links with the Commonwealth?

              • RedLogix

                Canada is now firmly locked into NAFTA and it too is rapidly becoming a satellite state of the USA.

                All other opportunities are now at the far end of suddenly less than secure shipping lanes. Argentina is in geographic terms the next best, but the two countries have more than a few historic and cultural barriers to overcome.

                South Africa, nope.

                India, maybe but exactly what? India is not going to tolerate anything remotely like the colonial era relationship, and all the advantages accrue to them.

                Hong Kong is gone. Malaysia maybe.

                Australia and NZ are literally the last men standing at the far end of the world. Australia mainly exports mining ores, and Britain consumes very little of this. Agricultural exports yes. And what exactly do we want from them?

                The old Commonwealth opportunities are not impossible, but will be no substitute for the EU. And that's before we start contemplating the fate of the City of London's immense financial trade.

    • Treetop 6.4

      Post Covid-19 will see a economic, a political, a social and a psychological adjustment.

      Do you think that the threat of a nuclear attack is increased in a country by a country?

      The health system will undergo a lot of change (preparedness) and scientific research will be adequately funded.

      The human race has become more reliant on essential service workers who keep a country running and I can see that this is where job growth will be increased. Countries will no longer bring in as many immigrants to fill the job vacancies.

      The world has slowed down and the many reset buttons will be activated. There is no carrying on, as how it was pre Covid-19 in many areas.

      • RedLogix 6.4.1

        Yes. Disease is our ancient enemy, and suddenly borders have taken on a psychological weight again. After we eliminate COVID 19, NZ is going to be sequestered behind it's vast ocean moat for many years. The fall of the global order is going to be paralleled by the rise in the nation state … and this reshapes more than we like to think.

        Do you think that the threat of a nuclear attack is increased in a country by a country?

        As deeply unpopular as it is to say this, the MAD doctrine has worked. There has been no great power war for 70 years. But now the rules are changing, no longer do the Americans provide a handbrake on regional conflicts, nor will the prohibition on proliferation hold for long.

        The ones to watch out for are going to be the smaller nations when faced with an existential threat from an impossibly larger neighbour. Think Poland vs Russia, Pakistan vs India, Saudi vs Iran, Nth Korea vs anyone else.

        Countries will no longer bring in as many immigrants to fill the job vacancies.

        Yup. Demographics are going to matter again as well. Ageing countries are going to struggle.

        • SPC

          the fall of the global order is going to be paralleled by the rise in the nation state

          How are we financing our pandemic costs … whose borrowing facility? Debt is the noose around the neck of the nation state. Imperial capital is growing in power over democracy, not declining. If the future is corporates extracting profit from broke nation states and faith based charities taking over case management of the poor – this is the takeover by the American God and its mammon.

          • KJT

            I think there is frantic work going on behind the scenes, to make sure the rule of corporate and banking power, that is scuppering the EU, and reduced the capability to respond to this crisis’ , continues to expand worldwide.

    • KJT 6.5

      "The ME will now revert to it's usual levels of violence; the relative period of calm under Western dominance will explode into sectarian mayhem"

      "The relative period of calm under Western dominance".

      Are you bloody joking?

      • RedLogix 6.5.1

        I wrote that especially for you KJT devil

        • SPC

          And the decline and break-up of China was written for ….

          • RedLogix

            I've posted extensively on this elsewhere. The default assumption of the past decade has been the inevitability of Chinese, and in particular CCP, global dominance. Yet the world has seen this kind of bloated over-reach before.

            China, or what passes for it in this region, will remain important. But the iron authoritarian grip of the CCP is what has held it together as continuous political entity for 50 years now, and when tyrannical 'strong men' political regimes falter … the outcome is always the same.

            • SPC

              For mine the American withdrawal from the world is based on two things – first, the failure of ME military adventurism has hurt their pride (NATO's standoff with Russia is a relic) and second, awareness that China was leveraging WTO membership to become the worlds major economic power.

              China has a billion people and its GDP per capita is still growing.

              But the iron authoritarian grip of the CCP is what has held it together as continuous political entity for 50 years now, and when tyrannical 'strong men' political regimes falter … the outcome is always the same.

              1. When they falter.

              2. China had borders before it had a communist government, and now has a proud nationalism.

              3. The fall of a regime rarely causes the break up of a state, it only changes priorities.

              • RedLogix

                COVID 19 may well be God's way of teaching the West something about Chinese geography.

                And their history.

                The idea that's it's been a continous 5,000 yrs of national history is mostly a nice idea sold to naive Westerners.

                The very geography of the country has created four major regions with very different views of the world. And the great interior has dozens of significant minority ethnicities. None of this has a stable history.

                Yes the CCP retains power as long as it can ensure employment and relative prosperity for most of the population, especially the Han. But when this falters all bets will be off. A credit bubble at least 300% of GDP, bad debt levels that consume most of it, a demographics that is ageing faster than Europe and extreme vulnerability to external events that will dramatically disrupt raw materials … almost ensures something bad will happen.

        • KJT

          Yeah. Figured that much of a denial of reality, could only have been intended to be, provocative.


          • RedLogix

            Still if you imagine the ME is some kind of peaceful hippie nirvana you really need to do some serious reading.

            In very simple terms there are four major ME ethnic groups. The Turkic peoples, last dominant during the Ottoman Empire,mostly Sunni. The Arabic peoples centred in Mesopotamia, Syria, Iraq and Saudi, a mix of Sunni and some Sh'ite. The Persians in Iran and their hillbilly country cousins in Afghanistan, almost all Sh'ite. And the poor bloody Kurds whom everyone takes sadistic pleasure in treating as target practice and rape meat.

            All of these groups have at least a millenia of bloody conflict at every level. Even when notionally united under an Islamic empire, they tended to treat infidels like Jews and Christians better than their co-religionists.

            Yes the West has mismanaged it's alliances in the ME repeatedly. The barking idea that somehow the Yanks could invade Iraq and 'nation build' it into something like Illinois had to be right up there. The 'necessary evil' of their alliance with Saudi will remain a shameful moral stain on their credibility for decades to come. The significance of the Khashoggi murder is that it undeniably rubbed into the American noses what a feral pack of feudal degenerates the Saudi regime really are.

            But if you imagine that when the Americans leave, that somehow peace will break out all over the place … then it's not just me being delusional here.

            • KJT

              Who said it was peaceful. Not me. "Reductio ad absurdum".

              The history of Western meddling causing conflict, in the middle East, goes way back in History, but claiming the artificial borders introduced by Western countries, the many regime changes imposed, the arms sales to the middle East, the support of totalitarian Dictatorships, proxy wars, and all the other meddling, did not cause the current mess.

              And is somehow ameliorating it.

              Is delusional.

              • Gabby

                I think h picked up the trick of demolishing an argument nobody made during his time in 'Nam. Or the Newfoundland fisheries.

                [Maybe it is time for a change. Instead of snide remarks, you start making a positive contribution to threads or keep quiet. What do you reckon? – Incognito]

            • KJT

              From your own words.

              What the "West" has been has doing in the Middle East. Iraq is just one of many, that have had, the treatment.

              "Yes the West has mismanaged it's alliances in the ME repeatedly. The barking idea that somehow the Yanks could invade Iraq and 'nation build' it into something like Illinois had to be right up there. The 'necessary evil' of their alliance with Saudi will remain a shameful moral stain on their credibility for decades to come. The significance of the Khashoggi murder is that it undeniably rubbed into the American noses what a feral pack of feudal degenerates the Saudi regime really are".

              The “West” put that regime and many others, there in the first place.

              • RedLogix

                As long as you remain trapped in the narrow idea that the West as the sole source of all evil in the world, you'll be unable to see the big picture. Up until the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the West had relatively little influence in the ME, yet there merest glance at their history going back millenia, even well before Islam, shows that it always has been one of the three most unstable regions in the world.

                All the European colonial powers had to do was nudge a few of the more tottery pieces around the board, and blammo the whole house of civilisational cards would rearrange themselves. There was never any problem in motivating hostile factions to go to war in the ME, the problem was stopping them once the goal had been achieved.

                It really only turned to custard when the West tried to put boots on the ground and make the place 'civilised'. Then of course everyone would unite against them.

                • KJT

                  You are arguing against something I have never claimed.

                  Gabby had that correct.

                  • RedLogix

                    Well your original argument was "Are you bloody joking?" Not exactly a nuanced interpretation of ME history was it? What did you actually intend to say? Articulate your argument clearly and then I’ll address it.

                    Originally the Brits wanted to destabilise Ottomans during WW1, then came the Balfour Declaration and Israel, then came the Saudi oil. Since then the western interests in the ME have revolved pretty much around either protecting Israel's and/or keeping the necessary oil flowing.

                    That meant keeping the place relatively calm as opposed to the local warlords/wannabe empire mongers careening across the landscape. For the past 100 years the West has been wrestling with the problem of how to manage these two important assets, highly exposed in the most hostile and unstable parts of the world. The solution hasn't been pretty, but for the most part until recently, it has worked.

                    Now the rules are shifting. Israel now has a defacto alliance with Egypt, Jordan is largely under it's control, Syria and Iraq are demolished and only Iran and Turkey present possible threats. The Saudi military is extended to it's max just using wedding parties in Yemen to hone in their weapons. So Israel isn't the big issue.

                    And from a strategic perspective, US energy independence means that it no longer needs ME oil. And under Trump the rest of the world can go to hell for it.

                    The Americans will of course continue their war on Islamic extremism, so they're not necessarily going to vanish from the ME entirely, but there will be no more troops, no more regime changes, no more US supercarrier groups in the Gulf of Persia. Drone strikes and special ops will carried out with minimal PR will be the new battle plan.

                    And once everyone in the ME realises this, it will be back to BAU. Essentially it will be a three-way gun fight between the Turks who will want to secure their southern border, the Iranians who hanker for their Mesopotamian Empire of old, and the Saudi's who think GOT is for amateurs.

                    • Paddington

                      I have thoroughly enjoyed your thoughtful contributions to this discussion Red.

                      "Israel now has a defacto alliance with Egypt…" which it has had (for better of for worse) since 1979. Egypt has an Embassy and Consulate in Israel, and vice versa. Israel has had a peace treaty with Jordan since 1994. My point being that Israel is quite capable of being at peace with it's Arab neighbours when there is goodwill on both sides.

                      "Since then the western interests in the ME have revolved pretty much around either protecting Israel's…" That's not going to change any time soon. The US and Israel are hand in glove, and strategically the US needs Israel as an ally in the ME.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ Paddington

                      Appreciated. For some years now I've been trying to develop my interest in the global perspective, and with time to do some more reading lately …

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    KJT, 25+ RL comments in today's OM alone. Don't expect good faith responses when he's spread this thin – he'll tell you what you claimed.

                    • Incognito

                      This is not helpful IMO.

                    • KJT

                      We are all getting a bit stir crazy.

                      Best to leave me and RL to it.

                      Though I’m trying not to get sucked down the rabbit hole.

                      It is a unnecessary distraction from trying to complete a considered post about, solutions.

                    • Incognito []

                      Fine with me, although it does tend to dominate OM a little, which is not your doing per se.

                      I’m in the middle of writing a post as well, in between checking here, and I’ll race you 😉

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Apologies Incognito (and to KJT for interfering.) RedLogix is knowledgeable on a wide range of topics and often writes from personal experience, but I've had difficulty understanding his positions on some issues. It's likely that I simply lack the experience to appreciate his more nuanced viewpoints, and withdraw and apologise. If possible, please delete my comment at 5:20 pm.

                    • Incognito []

                      No worries. I too struggle with many in-depth discussions on topics I don’t follow closely or at all and I usually skim read these. I do trust some commenters to keep it civilised even though they may strongly disagree, unlike others

                      Some commenters are fortunately more receptive to a friendly hint than others are 🙂

                      Although I technically can delete your comment (thread), we don’t usually do this unless it is at the very extreme end (which yours isn’t). It can stay as a little reminder to others and it shows balance, transparency, and fairness, I’d hope 😉

                    • KJT


                      Of course if you would like to debate anything we have said…. Go for it.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Thanks for understanding. The Standard is a great source of info, and entertainment, even more so lately. As an example, for the last week "Dalek Relaxation for Humans" [joe90] has been a daily tonic. https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-06-04-2020/#comment-1698693

                • Poission

                  The resurrection of the Ottoman empire (and middle east instability) is also applicable to Sultan Erdogan.

                  the greed and avarice seen by the distribution of economic relief to his family.

                  Turkey also announced a $15-billion stimulus package on March 18, which was one of the lowest in the G20 countries, and had only allocated $300 million to families in need. However, the struggling economy did not stop Erdogan from holding the first tender for his controversial Canal Istanbul project, in which his close family members, including his son-in-law and the Minister of Treasury and Finance, Berat Albayrak, and the mother of the Emir of Qatar have personal financial interests.


            • Foreign waka

              In this time were we all feel a bit despondent and tired of hearing all these theories about who will take over the world whilst we are vulnerable with the prospect of getting gravely sick, having our liberties taken away under the same "excuse", I stumble across some YouTube videos of the US Democratic Congress women Katie Porter and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I so hope that those ladies and many more, including those behind the scenes do not let up.

              It was a confirmation that not all is lost, that there is hope. However small.

              Happy Easter everybody.

              • RedLogix

                I hear you. I've no desire to add to anyone's burden at this time. But honestly no-one is forcing you to read this thread …

                • Foreign waka

                  RL – You misunderstand, I am perfectly fine with your post. In fact, there is not enough of constructive comments and contributions in the mainstream. My aim was to add a glimmer of hope so to speak, if you watch the ladies in action, you will know what I mean 🙂

    • SPC 6.6

      Germany and Russia are both dying demographically, and in their desperation will once again clash.

      More likely they will embrace after the end of NATO and have a strong regional focus EU-Russia FTA.

      This would be the vital gambit in any containment of China, but given American hubris is more likely to occur only because they have gone home to take a domestic dump when Berlin refuses to spend more than 1% on defence.

      • RedLogix 6.6.1

        More likely they will embrace after the end of NATO and have a strong regional focus EU-Russia FTA.

        That will likely be the opening gambit. It's rational and in principle I'd love to see it work. Hell it could work.

        But history has so many comebacks on that.

    • Ad 6.7

      I take your note you're making a projection not a prediction. Let me propose a different projection, one that's a bit more uneven.

      States that reacted fast and had will come out of this bloodied but unbowed. The net effect is the CPTPP+Belt and Road countries will group together a bit stronger. Others less so.

      China. Recovering fast. Those countries that supply oil, gas and mineral resource to China will be strengthened, because that is where their national interest lies. The price of oil looks likely to remain so low that Chinese manufacturers are just going to cream it in recovery mode. That motivates its big suppliers like Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Russia. With all the government relief projects globally, Chinese steel etc will be in high demand. There's no longer any threat to China's breakup because after Wuhan everyone understands the only thing holding prosperity together is CCCP stability. Their destiny is solidified as it always has been: one deal at at time.

      United States. If Trump doesn't leave office, that country will be weakened for many years to come. If Biden gets in and really is able to marshall the whole of the Pentagon into recovery, and implement an even stronger Obamacare 2.0, then it recovers somewhat faster but will take a full term at least. It retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan but retains full capacity to sustain oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

      Canada. Whither the US, so goes Canada. It's the true minor twin of the United States, and with car making and tourism gone, and fracking nearly dead, it's the one with the most to lose tied to the future of the United States. Only BC and the grain states hang in ok.

      Japan. The best example of managed decline for a people and a nation I can think of anywhere. No threat to anyone, not particularly protectionist, could defend itself if it really needed to … but otherwise an entire nation shrinking into aged care. But thankfully they love our stuff and will keep buying it.

      Indonesia. ASEAN seems to be holding up fine, in no small part due to Indonesian policy and security drivers. It's done so for decades. Australia has imagined military threats from Indonesian militants since the 1960s – but in reality both got wealthier and more stable, and successfully divided New Guinea between them successfully. I do see it as virus-vulnerable and can't see good projections out yet.

      Australia, honestly, is going to do great out of this crisis. All its systems have held up well. Many of its main customers are recovering fast. It will remain one of the richest per capita countries in the world. Though their prime ministers' smile might not be as sweet as ours, Australia will emerge as one of the premier model countries of the world.

      New Zealand will take longer to recover than Australia because it was so tourism and foreign-investor reliant. It will be a diminished country through this loss. It will start to recover when its borders open again to the world, and probably not before. We'll both still militarily mostly align with the United States, but otherwise we will continue to follow the money. I'd call it he 'walk-and-chw-gum' strategy.

      I can see why people worry about the existence of global institutions in the next 20 years.

      Even the Pope worries about the future of the EU today. I'd agree the WTO is on its last legs – and New Zealand has been a recent beneficiary of its previously strong judicial arm. And the WHO has been damaged through this virus crisis. Maybe the UN retreats to being a lot smaller, kills off a few of the high-humanist entities like UNESCO.

      But we are not without the capacity to build new global institutions as well. The Paris Accord was one. Back in the day OPEC was another. Strongly functioning global carbon markets are another. I would not be surprised if there are regional blocs which form over healthcare for immunization and large-scale medical manufacturing.

      So far, too, I don't see any major wars breaking out to be able to run a full 'empire-breaking-anomie' scenario. There's been remarkable international stability throughout. Blame and anger will of course come. But there's growing and shrinking without major war. States that have strong social welfare are holding on to it. States with a national healthcare system will redouble them, and the rest will want one. All central banks have reacted better than in 2008-9.

      The cohesion so far is impressive.

      • Poission 6.7.1

        New Zealand will take longer to recover than Australia because it was so tourism and foreign-investor reliant. It will be a diminished country through this loss. It will start to recover when its borders open again to the world, and probably not before.

        We will recover faster by elimination,which does include strict border controls.As both NZ and Aus,at present have the ability to eliminate COv.,there would be some ability to have trans tasman tourism within the next 12 months.

        Australia is already signalling that international tourism (for them) is dead in the water,and in the abscence of a vaccine will be for some time.

        For NZ we will see no migration inbound (excluding repatriation of nz citizens) with mandatory lockup.The elimination of 170000 inbound on temporary work visas will be a constraint on blowup of unemployment here.

      • RedLogix 6.7.2

        Great. I really appreciate the intelligent response Ad.

        There are four legs to geopolitics. Guns, butter, geography and demographics. Your analysis above is strong on the 'butter' component.

        But it rather neglects the other three. From a 'guns' perspective the USA will remain impregnable in it's North American continent, short of some idiot lobbing nuclear weapons their way, which given their retreat from the world, fewer and fewer nations will be motivated to do so. But for decades to come they will retain by far the world's most powerful navy. No-one will touch them in their hemisphere, their military will have almost nothing to do. Already it has drawn down global troop deployments to minimal levels. At most they will retain some critical bases for special forces deployment and drone wars carried on out of public sight.

        By contrast China is constrained in every direction. They can only control their trade by exerting constant hard and soft power over numerous neighbours. Most of whom are either deeply wary or suspicious of a CCP hegemon, and some like Japan and India are more than capable of exerting themselves on the ocean, while the vast undefendable emptiness of Central Asia means that overland routes are inherently vulnerable.

        My core assertion is this; that the implicit US Naval security guarantee (dating from post WW2 Bretton Woods agreement) has meant whole generations have grown up not understanding the significance of geography, because the global order made it less relevant. Now it's ancient logic is rushing back to fill the vacuum.

        Japan incidentally has found a remarkable way around the ageing workforce trap. The large majority of Toyotas are not made in Japan, automation meant they could de-sourced their production … not to low cost countries like China or SE Asia … but directly into their target markets in the USA and EU. Despite decades of apparent stagnation, Japan has actually been quietly thriving and is positioned as the world's best manufacturer just when the Chinese will falter.

        Demographics does matter, but in the developed world there are only four regional groups with the kind of balance that ensures a thriving domestic economy, the USA/Mexico combination, Argentina, France and oddly enough New Zealand. Everywhere else is going to struggle with ageing populations now largely constrained to the domestic scope.

        Much of the rest of your comment I agree with, which is why I'm not trying to paint a catastrophic doomcultish picture here. There will be many elements of cohesion that will keep things glued together for the foreseeable future, but it will look a very different world to the one we all grew up in.

        • Ad

          I commented less on guns because no major power has used them against each other since the Cold War. There's still plenty of detente to go around.

          We're not in disagreement about Japan managing itself.

          I can't see any dispute about Australia either.

          I'll probably wait until tomorrow's Treasury releases of its economic scenarios before commenting too much further on New Zealand's situation.

          I'm interested that you see that the US Navy is retreating and posing a critical risk faced to global trade. The US isn't giving up its naval bases – not Bahrain, Guam, Kwajalein, Singapore, or Okinawa – and hasn't signaled it's doing so anywhere as far as I'm aware. In the southern and eastern Pacific it's got them all over the place. If we were going to see a hot war, it would be on the Korean Peninsula before it were to be anywhere. The US and China have strong intersecting interests in preventing that.

          China has been generating a few naval bases around the place, but by contrast to the United States it tends to form more of its security around the soft power of trade deals. Its actions are definitely more aggressive, and are seeking some more territorial influence, but there's nothing resembling a Monroe Doctrine. This approach has worked for them since the late 1970s. They prefer to build pipe networks more than military networks. They'd prefer to gently bring Taiwan back into the fold through democratic means than anything else.

          But if we were talking about legs of stability, governance is the one to watch for me.

          The Prime Minister has today signaled that we are going to have to have the most sophisticated and effective border controls in the world. The very steep slippery slope to manage is that Singapore's model of very high surveillance becomes our own. We have seen the effectiveness of a Chinese system relying on total surveillance data to notice and assess everyday actions of its citizens, as it operated across Wuhan.

          Singapore's growing influence in our policy circles is also the bridge to Chinese cultural and governance influence in New Zealand. If I were looking for a new strategic inflexion point for New Zealand, let's keep tabs on how many times Prime Minister Ardern keeps mentioning Prime Minister Lee Hsian Loong.

          • KJT

            Far from "retreating", the US Navy is making it's presence felt all around the world, including the South China Sea and the Pacific, to the extent they are overextending their operational capability, beyond their ships and staff's ability to cope.


            They are blockading Iran. Cutting off, “Freedom of the seas”, and boarding ships in international waters in violation of “free passage”.

          • RedLogix

            I'm interested that you see that the US Navy is retreating and posing a critical risk faced to global trade.

            The retreat so far has been less physical, than political. Since the end of the Cold War every US President has failed to give their foreign policy any real direction or purpose.

            Clinton was great at handling events, but lacked any strategic direction. He simply failed to follow through and let that critical decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall go to waste. Instead of using the 'peace dividend' to reform the UN and drive new urgency and purpose into the global order, he let Russia degenerate into the oligarchy mess. Under Clinton the US made the crucial mistake of thinking that capitalism would 'rescue' the Soviets, when in fact what they really lacked was sound governance.

            GW Bush had one foreign policy focus from 9/11 onward, the manhunt for Bin Laden … in the wrong country and the utterly misguided invasion of Iraq. Nothing else got done and crucial alliances suddenly started cooling.

            Obama could do a wonderful speech, yet oddly enough at a personal level he remained highly disengaged from both Washington and the rest of the world. Cerebral and intelligent, he was never prepared to dirty his hands with the mess of the real world.

            Then Trump. Nothing I can say will add usefully to the mountain. Except that when he talks "MAGA" he's signalling not the restoration of a global US hegemony, but the rebuilding of the US economy and hastening the retreat from globalism as an idea. There is no-one in his cabinet who vaguely supports the idea of internationalism, the UN or the order they created post WW2.

            Through all of this the US military machine remained intact, and the Navy in particular retains all of it's capacity. The bases scattered throughout the oceans will never be let go lightly, from an operational perspective they are irreplaceable. But lacking strategic direction, the US military was over the years tasked to have a crack at 'everything'. With no clear priorities, no end-goals in mind, every crisis grabbed their attention, whether it was a good idea or not. Often without even an operation idea of what the end-game was going to be. Post Cold War the machine just kept rumbling on, often blundering into unwise quagmires, rarely directed to a sound purpose.

            This phase however is passing. Crucially there are now fewer than 300,000 US troop deployments globally, the lowest number since WW2. And it continues to fall. The US will not in our lifetime ever put boots on the ground in large numbers again. An aggressive Chinese missile program will ensure the US Navy pulls back from making itself an unnecessary target near Asia. Every passing year the US feels less and less obligation to alliances it made decades ago.

            The question the US can no longer find a good answer for is why? Why expend so much treasure on policing a world that they no longer need all that much.

            Edit: Your points on Singapore are well made and the raw material for a whole other discussion.

          • Shanreagh

            'Singapore's growing influence in our policy circles is also the bridge to Chinese cultural and governance influence in New Zealand. If I were looking for a new strategic inflexion point for New Zealand, let's keep tabs on how many times Prime Minister Ardern keeps mentioning Prime Minister Lee Hsian Loong'

            I had the thought also that perhaps the two countries (Singapore/NZ) working together now might also mean working together on airline transit issues as well once we do allow outbound travel. So going to Europe etc transits through Singapore only.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.8

      “India will become increasingly nationalistic; Modi is just the opening stanza. A war with Pakistan is still probable, and then a victorious India will turn it’s attention north…”

      I doubt there would be an obvious victor in that particular war, if it goes full throttle.


      • Treetop 6.8.1

        Yes a famine would be a serious matter due to the planet being interconnected. This is being seen with Covid-19.

    • Treetop 6.9

      What is ME? @6,7th paragraph.

  5. Gabby 7

    So what's the bad news?

    • RedLogix 7.1

      I should have told you ten years ago ….devil

      • Gabby 7.1.1

        Weren't you working in Communist Russia? The Antarctic? Sub Saharan Africa?

        • RedLogix

          Russia wasn't communist when I was there. The Canadian Arctic is at the other end of the world, and I never made it to the African continent. I'd score that as 0.5 out of 3.

          Unlike many commenters here I'm reasonably open about my real life. I comment on many things, sometimes abstractly, sometimes in intense political and cultural terms … but I also try to keep it grounded in my own experience and background which I merge into my comments from time to time.

          Exploiting that openness to score points is something most people here have the decency not to do …

          • Gabby

            No wonder Africa's in such a state.

            • RedLogix

              Your sniper's cover isn't as good as you imagine it is …

              • alwyn

                It is a complete waste of time trying to converse with Gabby, Red.

                In fact it is a waste of time even reading what he says. I have never seen a comment that wasn't just a jibe at a commenter with a misspelling of their name.

                Don't waste your time on him.

              • Gabby

                Hard to know what to make of that. You fit in a military career along with everything else?

                • RedLogix

                  No. It's just that you're clearly an intelligent and capable person, yet your demeanour here has been consistently peculiar, to put it politely. Sometimes you can be droll and funny, but often way too cynical.

                  Yeah sure I put up a long and detailed comment above … a big fat target if you like. What have you contributed?

    • Nick 7.2

      Or we might get lucky ….

    • Macro 7.3

      Stirling Moss has died aged 90. sad

    • aj 7.4

      Wow, lockdown has made for some very bleak projections. I have hope for the future, lets face it in the end hope is what keep people going.

      Noam Chomsky has always been an optimist and in this 59 minute interview on Democracy Now! sticks to his guns after an equally bleak disscection of current events. Amy Goodman has asked….

      "Noam, we only have a minute, but I wanted to ask you, as we speak to you at your home in Tucson, Arizona, where you are sheltering at home, where you are staying at home because we are in the midst of this pandemic, to prevent community spread and to protect yourself and your family: What gives you hope?"

      NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I should say that I’m following a strict regimen, because my wife Valeria is taking charge, and I follow her orders. So Valeria and I are in isolation.

      But what gives me hope is the actions that popular groups are taking all over the world, many of them. Some of them are — there are some things happening that are truly inspiring. Take the doctors and the nurses who are working overtime under extremely dangerous conditions, lacking — especially in the United States, lacking even minimal support, being compelled to make these agonizing decisions about who to kill tomorrow. But they’re doing it. It’s just a — it’s an inspiring tribute to the resources of the human spirit, a model of what can be done, along with the popular actions, the moves to create a Progressive International. These are all very positive signs.

      But you look back in recent history, there have been times where things looked really hopeless and desperate. I can go back to my early childhood, the late '30s, early ’40s. It looked as though the rise of the Nazi plague was inexorable, victory after victory. It looked like you couldn't stop it. It was the most horrible development in human history. Well, turns out — I didn’t know that at the time — that U.S. planners were expecting that the post-war world would be divided between a U.S.-controlled world and a German-controlled world, including all of Eurasia — a horrifying idea. Well, it was overcome. There have been other serious — the civil rights movement, Young Freedom Riders going out into Alabama to try to encourage black farmers to go to vote, despite the threat, serious threat, of being murdered, and being murdered themselves. These were some — this is examples of what humans can do and have done. And we see many signs of it today, and that’s the basis for hope.

  6. joe90 8

    An actual Ugly American.

  7. joe90 9

    Guy's an arse but he knows his shit.

    • weka 9.1

      does it apply to NZ?

      • joe90 9.1.1

        I imagine Bloomfield and the government are working towards lowering the spread line.

        What worries me is the propagation of the dangerous claptrap that opened yesterday's OM and the notion that it only takes 1 in 6 to take that shit seriously and flout the rules to make it nigh impossible to get the spread below that line.

        • Graeme

          Judging by how assiduously the other 5/6 is policing (narking) lockdown shirkers I'm hopeful that New Zealand will succeed in eliminating this virus. It'll ebb and flow, but we're better than that.

          • Forget now

            Really Graeme? There are no lockdown breakouts that are not immediately seen and reported by 83% of the population? Even at night? All the drug users have decided to forgo their daily dose and start devoting themselves to the preservation of a society that despises them?

            Sorry, that sounds bitchy. I am a bit on edge here. My point is more that; effective policing of the lockdown has to come from within a person. External repression will fail due to a lack of enforcement officers and facilities. If people don't believe that a government is acting in their interests (anti-vaxxers may be wrong, but that doesn't make their delusion any less sincere), then they will only obey when compelled.

            I am not convinced that we are better than that.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          I do keep wondering where we go from here…?

          So we "flatten the line" so that our health system is not overwhelmed? But that does not eliminate the virus.

          The government is talking about dropping down to level 3, with a lot of physical distancing, hand hygiene, etc, Alongside this will be continued C-10 testing and contact tracing, with the system ready to deal with future "out breaks" as they happen.

          Along with this will be border controls, quarantine and managed isolation, which will limit the spread of C-19. But, how long do we continue with this? And what level of personal surveillance can a population tolerate indefinitely in a well working democracy?

          What will be the new normal for a livable life, business, government and community? This virus may die out, but then what about the potential for another one?

          Or will we adapt with new forms of living, architecture and design for public places, as happened in response to early 20th century epidemics?

          • SPC

            It might be a case of the vulnerable not working and the aged social isolating.

            Using masks in queues and enclosed public spaces and continued social distancing. A school closing with any outbreak.

            The sad thing is only a vaccine (not a given) and herd immunity (intermittent lockdowns as required along the way to ease pressure on the health system) will allow the return to normal.

            They will really have to flu vaccinate as many of the active as they can, it will be bad enough those with cold or strep throat wanting COVID testing when track and trace capability will be vital.

            Exercise as can. A winter of Vitamin D capsules and sleep and await spring.

          • Graeme

            This pandemic is entirely due to the increased mobility and social interaction of global society in the last 20 or 30 years. Hop on line and buy a ticket to anywhere, starting at $49.

            That's all over.

            If Covid 19 had popped up in Wuhan in 1990 it would have been an regional curiosity that killed several hundred thousand people and caused huge upheaval in China, but didn't spread far outside. In 2019 it was global within days.

            We're going to have to learn to stay much closer to home, and maybe shrink back to a much smaller, closer and slower society.

            • weka

              "We're going to have to learn to stay much closer to home, and maybe shrink back to a much smaller, closer and slower society."

              Which fortunately is a really good thing in terms of addressing the climate and ecological crises, as well as many of our community and social issues. The trick here is to change the narrative from that being regressive/repressive to it leading to improved lives for most of us.

              • Graeme

                Yeah, the natural world moves in mysterious ways.

                Will be interesting to see how many people get to like this slower, quieter, cleaner world. Maybe a lot of us won't want to go back to how we were.

                Whakatipu is certainly a much nicer place right now without the noise and hustle, and lots of people are noticing, even the development crowd, begrudgingly.

          • joe90

            If we lower the rate of transmission below a certain rate, put spot fires out and control the border the virus will peter out.

            The level of control and how long it lasts compared to being dead?

            However long it takes, I reckon.

            • Bruce


              Then some goverments just don't care as long as there is money to be collected

            • SPC

              In our case controlling the border comes with a cost – lost tourism, and those locals able to (afford and have the time) travel will include those social isolating (age).

              But at what regime can we keep it under the line once the original imported spread has been stimied with this lockdown and tougher quarantine of arrivals – 4 or 3 or 2?

              4 and 3 take down a share of hospitality/recreational/sporting activty sectors.

              • Graeme

                We have been working through this with our business planning. In Queenstown's situation we're not operating as a domestic tourist economy really until level 1 because of restrictions on un-neccessary travel. Bars, restaurants and non-essential (discretionary) retail could open at level 2, but it would be for locals only so business levels would be around 20%, if that.

                Once internal travel restrictions can be relaxed then we should have a business because New Zealand's inbound tourism numbers and receipts are similar to our outbound. That outbound will have to have their re-creation in the domestic market, won't be the end of the world.

                Relaxing the restrictions to soon would be a disaster though. We've seen the spread from the Queenstown Hereford and Bluff wedding clusters. That happening again would be another lockdown, and would be community transmission next time. We were lucky with those two clusters that they were reasonably confined groups, not a couple of plane loads of independent tourists spreading it far and wide.

                • SPC

                  The bullet dodged, inbound tourists from China with the coronavirus.

                  • Andre

                    Or a group tour returning from Italy.

                  • Graeme

                    Fark yes. Fortunately we don't have a large exposure to that part of China, and by the time CNY came around the Chinese government had effectively shut down outbound tourism, and we backed that up.

                    The biggest tourist risk was from US, again very, very lucky. At risk New Zealanders appear to have been dealt with adequately as the results indicate.

                    The Hereford conference was scary, we had several symptomatic people through the gallery and were very careful for 3 weeks afterwards.

    • Editractor 9.2

      I found the start of this kind of confusing.

      Does he really make a lot of assumptions ("probably", "about" "~", "-ish", "they're crude numbers", "in the right ballpark") and then say "they're no longer really hypotheticals"?

      Did he really extrapolate his peak death rate from just 4 data points?

      Why does he use "peak deaths per day" and not mortality rate? Leading to…

      Why is he talking bout 300,000 deaths PER DAY at 100% infection? Is he saying that everyone remains permanently infected and will eventually die? And surely the deaths per day can't stay at 300,000 if the population keeps getting smaller over time.

      • weka 9.2.1

        I stopped watching at the point early on where he said 1/3 of a millions cases in the US, but his chart was showing 500,000.

  8. Ed1 10

    The response to the pandemic has been generally very good – from the big political decisions through to detailed assistance for affected groups. Naturally there are glitches at the edges, but our public servants have been working very hard to make sure these are kept to a minimum. I suspect in many cases supply lines have been stretched, and distribution of PPE has had glitches; it has been in the interests of the ''big project'' to not publicise every problem from the top, but inevitably some need publicity – and that is the reason why Simon Bridges had a smug smile on his face as he told New Zealanders that they should contact him or his MPs if they had any problems – why ask the people that can fix the problem when you can generate a "gotcha" moment to make the government look bad by actually telling the department responsible?

    Still, and you probably realise this was coming, a small seem to have been missed from the income support provisions. Provision has been made for payments to School relievers – they often regularly provide assistance to several schools, and are vital when teachers are sick; but strangely relievers for early childhood providers are not. I don;t know how many there are, but this seems to be a simple mistake; possibly as simple as those dealing with schools being different people in the Ministry of Education than those dealing with ECE. Hopefully it can be resolved quickly, and backdated to when they ECE centres closed.

    • JanM 10.1

      The mass privatisation and profit driven focus of ece in the last decade or two has had many undesirable consequences – I guess this is one of them

      • Ed1 10.1.1

        Fair comment, but I suspect relievers for private schools are getting some funding based on recent work volumes; and there are quite a few not-for-profit kindergartens.

  9. SPC 11

    An alternative to ventilators.

    Breathing machines that are relatively plentiful, such as those used to treat sleep apnea.


    This technological fix is happening at the same time as a bubbling medical debate among physicians over whether too many coronavirus patients are being placed on traditional ventilators that some argue may do more harm than good. They added a filter to the exhaust valve so virus particles expelled from the patient’s lungs don’t endanger hospital workers and an alarm system to warn nurses when a patient might be in trouble.

    In social media and online discussions, some emergency medicine physicians suggest that existing Covid-19 protocols may need to change and that with some patients, ventilators may do more harm than good.

    Kyle-Sidell and the Italian doctors both argue that it might be better to avoid putting Covid-19 patients on a ventilator for as long as possible, and use sleep apnea machines instead.

    Ventilators work by forcing air into the body under pressure. Over time, this pressure eventually damages tiny air sacs in the lungs, and can harm the patient just as much as the coronavirus that is attacking the entire respiratory system. In New York, city health officials reported this week that 80 percent of Covid-19 patients placed on a respirator have died, according to the Associated Press.

    Less-invasive machines, such as the BiPAP or anesthesia devices, may be a solution for patients whose lungs are not completely destroyed by Covid-19, but still need to maintain oxygen levels.

    • weka 11.1

      from what I can tell there's a debate going on among ICU staff about best protocols and this is changing over time as experience is gained. Hopefully we will get some solid research backing this up soon. Not sure what's happening with Chinese and other earl countries' experience and the Western medical people, you'd hope there's a big body of evidence already from January and February this year.

      • McFlock 11.1.1

        There's always a debate. If it's not ventilators vs cpap, it's start them at high-flow vs low-flow and all sorts of other stuff.

        Doctors love arguing (sorry, "presenting papers") about that stuff. Always a good opportunity for me to sneak out and have a cup of coffee.

        This might be a good way to ease demand for ventilators, and will probably save lives (gotta be better than nothing), but the high mortality rate from ventilation is a bit like the high mortality rate for CPR: if you're in a situation where you need it because the specific organ is damaged (e.g. heart attack vs lung damage), it simply changes "almost certainly dead" to "probably dead, but it might work".

        • weka

          this was ICU staff in the UK who are treating covid patients sharing various protocols in a teleconference and one of the doctors doing a long thread on twitter about what is and isn't working. Quite medical, so aimed at other ICU/frontline staff.

          Medical treatment adapting over time seems normal enough to me, as does doing that swiftly in a crisis. But I don't think it's a stretch to say that in those specific conditions (overloaded NHS) with this specific virus, they are still working out best practice. Happy to be corrected on that, and I will try and find the twitter thread.

          • McFlock

            Yeah, but they're still unlikely to flip a 20% survival rate to an 80% survival rate for patients they would have previously intubated as usual but put on a CPAP instead. The basic symptom is a pneumonia that isn't dramatically out of experienced norms.

            But if it delays ventilator use then that's another way to "flatten the curve" by lowering demand for the more scarce resources.

    • ianmac 11.2

      Crikey SPC. Imagine the dilemma facing doctors. Ventilate. Don't ventilate. If the forced ventilation is damaging what a disaster for the ailing desperate patient.

      • weka 11.2.1

        they're experimenting now. Another good reason to flatten the curve, or in the case of NZ do everything to eliminate.

    • KJT 11.3

      Really nice if CPAP, machines can be used.

      A proportion of the "at risk" group, own one already.

      Though I suspect it could simply be that by the time someone needs a ventilator, their chances of surviving are slim, anyway.

      Like CPR. The survival rate is not good. But, a chance is better than being certainly, dead.

  10. joe90 12

    Randy wrote a song.

  11. Ross 13

    A well-written piece by Peter Goetsche, Professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis at the University of Copenhagen:

    Toilet paper is sold out in many countries, as if we had an epidemic of cholera. I do not understand this. And I do not understand why Corona is the only thing that matters when millions die from malaria, TB and prescription drugs they didn’t need. Where is the perspective? Is eternal life awaiting us if only we can avoid dying from Corona?

    The hysteria has some positive effects. Teaching people to wash their hands and not coughing in others’ faces will undoubtedly reduce deaths, also from influenza and other viruses.

    But the harms are colossal for our national economies and ourselves. Quality of life has been reduced for billions of people and mortality from other causes goes up. Businesses go bankrupt in droves, which increases suicides, unemployment increases suicides, and depression pills increase suicides. Some people, even children, who are worried about dying from Corona have been put on depression pills, and we know that they double suicides not only in children but also in adults. Foolish doctors can be similarly dangerous as foolish politicians.


    John Ioannidis makes the same point re mortality from other causes going up:

    Flattening the curve to avoid overwhelming the health system is conceptually sound — in theory. A visual that has become viral in media and social media shows how flattening the curve reduces the volume of the epidemic that is above the threshold of what the health system can handle at any moment.

    Yet if the health system does become overwhelmed, the majority of the extra deaths may not be due to coronavirus but to other common diseases and conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, trauma, bleeding, and the like that are not adequately treated. If the level of the epidemic does overwhelm the health system and extreme measures have only modest effectiveness, then flattening the curve may make things worse: Instead of being overwhelmed during a short, acute phase, the health system will remain overwhelmed for a more protracted period. That’s another reason we need data about the exact level of the epidemic activity.


    • Andre 13.1

      To bastardise a saying: Only two things are infinite. The universe and stupid whataboutism. And I'm not sure about the universe.

    • Stunned Mullet 13.2

      Good grief Ross do you go out of your way to find dodgy academics to cite ?

      the one bit that immediately caught my eye was his claim that..

      and depression pills increase suicides. Some people, even children, who are worried about dying from Corona have been put on depression pills, and we know that they double suicides not only in children but also in adults.

      and lo and behold you go to the article and the citation he uses for this claim is a link to Amazon sprucing a book that he wrote.

      He does appear to be somewhat conflicted in his views.


    • Poission 13.3

      Toilet paper is sold out in many countries, as if we had an epidemic of cholera. I do not understand this

      Obviously an IYI,where the logical answer is more people are not using work,or restaurant etc to alleviate their bodily functions,and supply chain issues arise.

      In short, the toilet paper industry is split into two, largely separate markets: commercial and consumer. The pandemic has shifted the lion’s share of demand to the latter. People actually do need to buy significantly more toilet paper during the pandemic — not because they’re making more trips to the bathroom, but because they’re making more of them at home. With some 75% of the U.S. population under stay-at-home orders, Americans are no longer using the restrooms at their workplace, in schools, at restaurants, at hotels, or in airports.


    • UncookedSelachimorpha 13.4

      It is reasonable to consider Covid19 and control measures in contrast to other problems I suppose. To look at one of the claims in that document – concern that Covid19 control will increase suicide:

      " we know that they double suicides not only in children but also in adults…"

      Suicides in all of Italy, 2016 = 82 per million (over 12 months)

      Deaths in Italy from Covid19 = 322 per million (so far, in under 3 months)

      Seems to be a difference in scale, even if you doubled the entire annual suicide rate (while the author is actually only referring to suicide among those using anti-depressants – and whether the link in that case is causal is a question!).

      I am suspicious that some of the Covid19 “deniers / doubters” are motivated by their own inconvenience or financial interests, reminiscent of fossil-fuel companies and climate-change denial etc. And to hell with what is good for everyone else.

      • Ross 13.4.1

        Seems to be a difference in scale

        The author wasn't comparing suicide to Covid-19. He was saying that hysteria associated with Covid-19 could lead to more depression and more suicides than would otherwise be the case. The second writer discussed that more people could die from heart attacks, strokes etc than would otherwise be the case. Another commenter here yesterday quoted a Lancet article in which it was discussed that a number of children had died in Italy because their parents had been slow to act. The parents didn't want to inconvenience health professionals and were worried their children might contract the virus. That's a byproduct of the intense media attention given to the virus in addition to poor advice or communication from politicians.


    • McFlock 13.5

      So your first one is a fool who doesn't see stopping a pandemic as the right thing to do because they think it's plausible that more people will kill themselves than die from covid, and the second one doesn't apply to NZ because 19 rather than whatever we'd be on without a lockdown. A few hundred new cases yesterday, maybe?

      • Ross 13.5.1

        your first one is a fool who doesn't see stopping a pandemic as the right thing to do

        Hmmm I must confess I can't see where he says that. And feel free to lay out your professional credentials so I can compare them to his.

        We discussed yesterday that Iceland isn’t in lockdown and the sky has yet to fall in there. And as we discussed, the Icelandic government likely chose to avoid lockdown for good reasons, not because it wants to see people suffer.

        • Poission

          , the Icelandic government likely chose to avoid lockdown for good reasons, not because it wants to see people suffer

          What reasons are those?

        • Incognito

          That’s not how good faith discussion works here, Ross. You lay out your arguments and then other others can challenge these with their counter arguments. This can lead to a number of possible outcomes. It may be that you end up agreeing to disagree. It may be that you reach some level on consensus. It may be that one or more assertions are found to be inconsistent with facts. Et cetera.

          Hiding behind somebody else’s credentials does not make a strong argument. It is known as authority bias. Your credentials are the same as of other commenters unless they use their real-world name and can claim special knowledge and/or expertise in that way.

          You are still not making concise unambiguous points, which leads to long comment threads that descend into frustration and futility. You have done this with CC and now you’re doing it again with the COVID-19 pandemic response. In other words, you have not changed your behaviour pattern and MO.

          So, this could go two ways. One, you change your way of debating here. Two, I’ll put you on the Blacklist to free up people’s time & effort for more constructive exchanges, as has happened before (AKA you have form, which means your ‘credit rating’ here is low).

          I give you this warning in a comment, not a Moderation note. I don’t want you to argue with me or litigate past moderation. I want you to take heed and make the appropriate choice if you want to keep your commenting privileges here.

          In other words, don’t test our/my patience and don’t push your luck.

          FWIW, there are some (…) good points to make in your comments, but you fall short of making them well and expanding on them. Lift your game or leave.

        • McFlock

          We also discussed how Iceland has a higher fatality rate, so the sky fell down for those people.

          And try comparing NZ with a country that hasn't banned gatherings of over 20 people – level 3 is almost as effective as level 4, but obviously not to the same extent. Try a level 1 or 0 nation, like Trumpistan.

          As for your first dude, I simplified his message for you, because you obviously failed to read it the first time. It's not his credentials I'm debating, it's your malformed understanding of what he wrote. Start with the title of his paper.

    • One of the 1 in 6 referenced in Joe90's embedded video at 9 above.

  12. observer 14

    Idiot reporter at 1 pm presser asks PM if Winston is breaking the rules because he's fishing. Twitter Outrage follows … ignoring the fact that he is literally standing on his property, in his own garden, as isolated as it gets.

    Entertainingly desperate Gotcha-mania. But I'll be glad when the "hunt and dob" days are over. Too many Kiwis seem to be enjoying it.

    (coincided with Fireblade post above)

    • Fireblade 14.1

      • McFlock 14.1.1

        That's actually quite beautiful.

        • Koff

          Think it must be Whananaki, just north of Matapouri on the Northland East coast. Winston's rohe. He has a property there which must be where the photo was taken. Lovely place to be locked down in!

          • Macro

            Yes definitely Whananaki. And Matapouri is one of my fav beaches too.

            Talking of catching fish from your backyard, I remember my uncle some years back catching a kingfish out of his bedroom window which was just metres from the Kawhia Harbour, and when I was i the Navy we would set a line out of the classroom window at Devonport, Several fine snapper were had for lunch one day.

      • Herodotus 14.1.2

        Out of sight out of mind and worried that NZ1 will be no longer come Sept20.

        Mr Peters thinks to himself …. "I know how to create a "news worthy" story" So watch the news tonight I will be on it. Job done, profile increased !!!

        • I Feel Love

          Peters can troll like the best of them. Great picture.

          • weka

            yep and yep. Hook line and sinker.

          • bwaghorn

            Bit of a dick head thing to do posting a photo . There a whole lot of people playing the game locked down doing it tuff that dont have the luxury of fishing from the lawn .

            • Peter

              I could put up photos of us swimming in our pool but I shouldn't because there are a whole lot of people playing the game locked down doing it tough who don't have the luxury of swimming?

      • joe90 14.1.3

        What's not to like about wandering out to waters edge on your own ranch to catch mullet on the incoming.

    • Anne 14.2

      I recall the 'dob in a beneficiary a day' scheme which was introduced in the late 1990s under the dubious guidance of one, Christine Rankin. An analysis found that 72% of the complaints were malicious and had no basis in fact.

      I suspect the same is going on here only this time its in conjunction with Police and not MSD.

      • Tiger Mountain 14.2.1

        Dark times, there were state sponsored TV ads too, urging people to keep an eye on their neighbours and “dob in a bludger”. Some fiesty demos were organised by Students, the Auckland Unemployed Workers rights Centre and many others too… “burn Shipley burn!…”

        The 90s marked the end of “Social Security” as it had existed under the 1964 Social Security Act. Roger’n’Ruth’s legacy was kicking in. Beneficiaries were successfully othered and demonised. John Key had grown up courtesy of a Widows Benefit, but a generation later as PM declared Beneficiaries needed “a kick in the pants”.

        As for Covid 19 curtain twitchers–there have long been New Zealanders enthusiastic for junior Stasi duties.

        • Anne

          … there have long been New Zealanders enthusiastic for junior Stasi duties.

          I could write a book about past experiences of Kiwi Stasi types. Also an American who turned up in the mid 1980s when the stand-off with the USA over nuclear ships was at its peak and who managed to install himself inside the NZ Defence Force courtesy of another Public Service department.

      • KJT 14.2.2

        I suspect we have the curtain twitchers, to blame for the total no boating, swimming, fishing ban etc.

        The cops probably got sick of being called out, and the dob in lines clogged, for someone fishing off their front lawn.

        Easier to just have a blanket ban, Rather than distinguishing between "activities that may possibly need rescue services", and those that don't, wasting police time.

        • Anne

          To be fair, the 1990s episode was a political move, whereas the latest example is borne out of a pandemic. You're right though. The curtain twitching local stasis have probably been clogging the police lines of communication.

          I bet they're the same people who as kids (in my era at least) used to line up in front of the teachers' desks after the lunch break to report on the misdemeanours of the rest of us. I was strapped on the hand for one that I never committed. Pretty sure I probably got my own back on the sniveling little shit who did it. 😉

          • KJT

            There is a level where I would dob someone in, myself.

            However I Know that some people locally were Facebook policing, and saying they were going to report, everyone that walked or cycled past their front gate, they didn’t recognise as a local.

            Stopped after a while. The cops probably gave them a talk about wasting their time.

      • Forget now 14.2.3


        Do you have a link for that study (I do like my primary sources)? Curious to see the percentage breakdown (and criteria) for which dobs were

        A/ Factual

        B/ Nonfactual

        C/ Malicious

        D/ Nonmalicious

        Mainly to see how many were classified as Factual and malicious (AC) versus nonfactual and nonmalicious (BD). BC or AD would be more commonly expected.

        Personally, I think of the dob-in system as being akin to crowd-sourcing. Which means most of the power in that relationship remains with those who defined the initial parameters, and those entrusted with editing/ monitoring the project (apologies to those who actually know something about computers and are cringing at my clumsy terminology).

        Is there an immense potential for abuse? Hell yeah.

        So what's the preferred alternative? Even more prevalent surveillance cameras and ankle bracelets? Deputising newly unemployed as street wardens? Letting people die?

        • Anne

          Do you have a link for that study…

          No I don't Forget now, but it was well publicised at the time. The actual story came out a year or so later (from memory), after the scheme had been summarily dismissed by the incoming Labour government along with it's creator, Christine Rankin. There will be facts and figures somewhere.

          • Forget now

            Thanks KJT, though Anne seemed specific about that 72%, so I assumed that she had the analysis to hand (but then random snippets of fact do have a way of sticking in mind). And she was referencing the 90s National policies, whereas your link is from 2018 and pertains to those of the Key government.

            That 20% figure is a peculiar choice I feel. Why were only 67% of claims investigated? Of which 31% were deemed justified, so why express that as 20% of the gross dobs?

            Maybe missing something, will re-evaluate.

            • Anne

              This is all I could find Forget now but somewhere between 1999 and 2001 there was an analysis which was publicly released containing the figures – some of them anyway.


              I remember it because I was a casualty of a malicious claim – on the DPB at the time looking after my elderly mother who had dementia.

              • Chris

                I remember those tv 'dob in a beneficiary’ ads from the late 90s, Anne. The line was something like "benefit fraud, it's a crime", and had the figure of $64 million spread across the screen. I also remember that figure being challenged. I think the government statistician eventually said the figures were inflated.

    • Foreign waka 14.3

      Because they have never experienced the true extend such mischief can cause. Other countries have seen the value of dodge in your neighbour, from Germany to Argentina.

      The behaviour is a profound lack of character of a person, being a mixture of cowardice and sadism. I just hope that NZ has only a few but at least we now know who they are.

  13. Adrian 15

    3 weeks or so ago I made a prediction to my adult kids that if we got this response right more kiwis would be alive at the end of Lockdown than would normally be the case. Less road deaths, murders, accidents both work and home but I forgot about something Saint Ashley said today about our expected flu etc toll may well be a lot lower this year because of social distancing. I suspect suicides may well be lower too, it something that happens in wartime surprisingly.

    Wouldn't that be shit hot to be the only country to keep more of its population alive than any other. Olympics might be next year but we could get to only Gold Medal that matters in this one.

    • Robert Guyton 15.1

      "something Saint Ashley said today about our expected flu etc toll may well be a lot lower this year because of social distancing. "

      Yeah – I got a thrashing here on TS for suggesting that a few weeks back.

      Just sayin'

    • ianmac 15.2

      Well said Adrian. Did you get your grapes picked?

      • Adrian 15.2.1

        Yes thanks Ian, and the harvester crew took the whole thing really seriously including one hardcase I know who I would have expected to be pretty casual so I was really impressed. My young 30ish nieghbour who runs a few trucks moved out into a shed at his place because he didn't want to endanger his kids just in case, they don't see much of him over harvest anyway. Impressed with how the industry has behaved.

        One bonus is that a mate had made some 90% grappa that he had paid the full excise on so he made it into hand sanitiser with a few essential oils to stop it drying skin out, put in 1/2 litre spray bottles and gave it to mates. It must be the most expensive spray in the bloody world, astronomical excise duty on that proof, I don't know wether to drink it wash in it. Hint: alcohol in sanitiser doesn't get levied but he got stuck with it because too difficult to market it at the moment.

  14. Forget now 16

    So is it an Easter Monday thing these days to have no posts except Open Mic? Or just a coincidence?

    I do note that the last two were both from Weka. Maybe just that everyone else is busy?

    But busy at what? It's not like the long weekend is much different to any other day of level 4 lockdown. I mainly confine my comments to OM these days; so I don't inadvertently derail another thread, but I do like to read the longer, more carefully researched pieces.

    • weka 16.1

      It's a lot of work to do a big post. Even the shorter ones take time and effort, esp now because it's important to get things right.

      I've been averaging a post a week this year, for a range of reasons. Micky has been doing daily posts for a long time and basically carrying the site. I don't begrudge him any time off at all. Ad is a regular author and he's not posting every day and nor should he have to. Lynn has a full time job, and the tech support for the site, before he gets to write posts. Incognito and I are doing most of the moderation. Best way to get more posts out of me is to lower the moderation load 😈

      My own experience of Level Four is that while the routine of my day hasn't changed much I have less energy and less patience for things. Stress is real, as is the need to take things easy for many people.

      And yes, it's often quieter on long weekends.

      • Forget now 16.1.1

        Stress is indeed real, and you are not the only one who has burnt through their entire hoard of patience before the lockdown's ended. So I wouldn't put too much hope in you having a lower moderation load anytime soon.

        I am not doing much this week (kids back at ex's), so could contribute something if that'd help? The research is not a problem (except when I run into paywalls), rather; keeping the word count down, and not getting too finicky on details. Even have the laptop back to myself again!

        I am sure there are others here who would be willing to pitch in too. Though obviously, subject to being proof read for trolling. Which probably would add rather than subtract from your burden now I consider that… Just a thought.

        Your volunteer work here is certainly appreciated!

        • weka

          I can definitely take a look at something you write. What were you thinking of writing about? Yes, word count, good to keep initial posts in the 400 – 800 word range I think, but see how you go.

          If the email you use with your login is a real one, I can email you some guidelines and then you can send me a draft.

          • Forget now

            I have no idea at the moment what I would write about. Blogs are at their best when you feel you are talking with, rather than being lectured to by, people.

            Probably, I will see some thing on the Lancet (really appreciating the no paywalls for COVID articles policy there at the moment) or someplace else. Then see where that takes me… Today, I have been thinking about how hard the lockdown is for Trans people with domestic violence issues; but the shitstorm of comments that would fall on some one doing that piece is not going to make anyone's moderation workload easier!

            So yes, send me the guidelines (it's a spam-magnet account with fictitious name, but I can remember the password). I will probably use Open Office word processor and send as email attachment, if that'll work with the system?

            Though surely there must be others who feel capable of knocking out 500 words? RL must have done that in OM today alone!

            • weka

              cheers, will send the guidelines later today.

              Yeah, probably don't start with something that's going to increase mod load 😉

              Something coming out of medical research would be great.

              Do you know about scihub for free access to science articles?

    • Treetop 16.2

      As long as Open mike is not removed, there will always be something to read and comment on.

      Authors always need to be on their toes with the moderation.

    • Incognito 16.3

      I find myself busy all the time and time just seems to fly!?

      I would like to respond to your comment about inadvertently derailing a thread. I think that if you genuinely want to reply to a comment, address the content, and stay on topic, it is actually quite hard to derail. If you’re not sure, you could always start a new thread.

      Some commenters can react in ways that might come across as rude, thrashing, aggressive, or what have you. This is often a mix of idiosyncrasy (‘habitual mannerisms’) and familiarity (with the one they’re responding to). You know the saying, familiarity breeds contempt? I think there’s an element of that here too on TS and sometimes this is the predominant factor why people react the way they do. We do, however, encourage robust debate.

      In other words, give it a go, if you like 🙂

  15. Bruce 17

    In case you've forgotten

    • Adrian 17.1

      Spot on mate !

    • joe90 17.2


      So if things are looking really bad
      you're thinking of givin' it away
      Remember New Zealand's a cracker
      and I reckon come what may
      If things get appallingly bad
      and we all get atrociously poor
      If we stand in the queue with our hats on
      we can borrow a few million more.

      We don't know how lucky we are, mate

  16. pat 18


    "BlackRock, one of the world’s largest investors in banks and fossil fuel companies, has been hired by the EU to work on potential new environmental rules for banks."


    The EU is self destructing.

  17. pat 19

    "US President Donald Trump retweeted a call to fire his top infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci Sunday evening, amid mounting criticism of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic."


    the last sane voice in Trumps ear is about to be fired

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