Open mike 13/04/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 13th, 2023 - 49 comments
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49 comments on “Open mike 13/04/2023 ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    This savage beheading of a Ukrainian POW is all to typical for Russian forces, unfortunately. It is typical of the behaviour of brutalised armies (think Japanese in WW2, the entire Eastern front in that war) and of mercenary forces in general.

    From the piratical raids of the middle ages English Chevauchées (dignified by British historians as "campaigns") of a gangster mercenary force devastating the countryside and systematically slaughtering civilian populations to the Condottieri and the White Company and the Massacre at Cesena, to the absolute devastation inflicted on central Europe by the largely mercenary armies of the thirty years war mercenaries were and are a blight on civilisation – which is why mercenaries are bestowed none of the protections of the Geneva convention.

    On top of this innate aspect of mercenary forces well, history doesn't repeat but it does rhyme. Russia is a criminal state, run by crooks and murderers – just like Nazi Germany, the last time a major nation state fell into the hands of a homicidal lunatic and a gaggle of criminal chancers. The perverted morality of Hitler's Germany was butressed by a criminal organisation in the Waffen SS, which acted as the physical expression of the savage and racist nilhilism that lay at the heart of German fascism. Russia is also now victim to a murderous and messianic dictator and he too has use for a criminal organisation to act as the physical expression of his savage intent. So we have the Wagner Group, a force of literal psychopaths, rapists and murderers whose fury has been unleashed upon the Ukraine. Always remember the only thing between these barbarians and the civilians of the the Ukraine is the Ukrainian army.

    Finally, this sort of thing marks Wagner, and elements of the Russian army, as operating at the psychological level of Mexican drug cartels or ultra-violent Asian crime syndicates. By perpetrating an atrocity, recording it and distributing it you tie everyone to the gang in shared criminality. The video is telling Wagner soldiers they cannot expect to be taken prisoner and even if they were, they can only face war crime charges. Organisations like Wagner are, like the Waffen SS, violent death cults.

    Unfortunately, the only way to expunge organisations like Wagner is to wipe them out without mercy, and dismantle the state that created it.

    • SPC 1.1

      Tucker Carlson makes the case for abandoning Ukraine.

      He says it's not important and it's a threat to the well being of the (American empire) dollar.

      It's a call for the mammon, Christian white race nationalist and isolationist factions in the GOP to unite against support for Ukraine.

      Of course this is the same person who said in court he did not believe the Trump lie about the election being stolen, despite pretending to on his TV show (they just presented the narrative that the GOP supporters wanted to hear).

    • Tony 1.3

      Hey Sanctuary, why didn't you include the following statement "The Associated Press was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the video or the circumstances of where and when it was shot".

      • Sanctuary 1.3.1

        I would suggest you don't watch it if unless you have to in a professional capacity. I certainly have not viewed it, and I never will. I would say any official MSM outlet is always going to add that disclaimer until they get some sort of geolocation or absolute proof.

        As it happens, I believe the video is genuine. This is for the reasons of the internal logic of the perpetrators I outlined in the OP, and because other videos of Ulkrainian soldier's heads impailed on pipes and other objects have been circulating for some time. This ghastly beheading business from the Russian forces has been around as a habit of theirs for a while.

    • Molly 1.4

      I saw a video purportedly of someone boiling a Russian soldier's head about eighteen months ago.

      It looked very realistic but there was no way I could authenticate it, so I didn't post or link. Unfortunately in this war I think there will be examples of atrocities from both sides.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Meanwhile, in America the Republicans in Missouri have decided to defund libraries.

    I kid you not.

    "…The stripping of funds for public libraries was done in retaliation over a lawsuit brought forward by the Missouri Library Association (MLA), which, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is suing the state over a draconian law that bans hundreds of titles in public school district libraries, including books that discuss LGBTQ issues, racial justice and the history of the Holocaust…"

  3. mikesh 3

    and dismantle the state that created it.

    Yes, that's what this war is all about. Putin knows this and that's why he is fighting back, refusing to allow Russia to be broken up and picked off bit by bit by the evil empire. It's unfortunate for Ukraine, but it seems there were certain elements within that state that were always up for a fight with Russia (providing of course that they had the evil empire's supply of military equipment).

    • Sanctuary 3.1

      The evil empire thus far does not appear to have a predilection to sawing the heads of living POWs.

      I guess if you were around and really, really hated the British Empire the way you clearly do the west today you'd be here telling us how Herr Hitler was merely engaged in an existential struggle to unite the German people, and it was most unfortunate that the Poles has chosen to defend themselves as a front for British imperialism.

      You should be careful, one is usually judged by the company one keeps.

      • weston 3.1.1

        " You should be careful ,one is usually judged by the company one keeps "

        Is that a threat sanctuary ?

        What are you gonna do ,get mikesh put on Ukraine's kill list ??

        As has been said many times on this topic this conflict is as much a war of propaganda as one of blood an guts and at a time when Ukraines beginning to look into the abyss another atrocity story magically appears how convenient !!

  4. Hunter Thompson II 4

    I wonder if Chippy has got himself a new comms team to better trumpet the benefits of Three Waters (or whatever it will now be called).

    Remember, the only reason he hasn't got 100% support for the proposals is because the public just don't understand them. The reforms themselves are solid gold.

  5. Anker 5

    one of about three articles I have read in the last week challenging the Disinformation Project. It is suggested in one of these articles, that escalating the volume and the content of the “threat”, is a possible ploy to get more contracts for this organisation.

    To me the Disinformation Project lacks credibility. With the volume of “disinformation” they are noting, and yet not showing any examples of what they consider to be disinformation.

    Hattotuwa said there was an “extremely strong correlation” between online hate and the possibility of physical violence. Is there any evidence that supports this? Given what Hattotuwa is claiming about the levels of on line hate, his statement doesn’t add up

    The msn seem to pick up what The DP says without questioning it and publishes it. This is very bad for democracy

    • Sanctuary 5.1

      The far right doth protesteth to much. The main objective is to discredit the disinoformation project as a threat to their own right wing agenda.

      “…Bryce’s article claims that The Disinformation Project deals in hyperbole and presents no evidence. His evidence for them not doing evidence-based work is quotes from Sanjana in the news, rather than the actual methodology & quantitative findings in their papers, all online…”

      • weka 5.1.1

        Bryce is hardly far right. I can see problems with his post, but he also raises some obviously important points. The main one boils down to TDP's position that we should trust them because they say so, rather than them making compelling, evidence-based arguments.

        Let me know if you find any useful critiques of Bryce's post, too much of the left are just saying don't listen to him, he's a hack. But again, there's not really any meaningful, evidence-based argument or analysis.

        • Sanctuary

          Did you read the tweet conversation?

        • arkie

          TDP's position that we should trust them because they say so, rather than them making compelling, evidence-based arguments.

          They are an information science research group that produces quantitative evidence based reports that are transparent in their methodologies. Their arguments are explicitly evidence-based, and that is compelling if one is interested in evidence of claims.

          The Disinformation Project is an independent research group studying misinformation and disinformation in Aotearoa New Zealand. Since February 2020, we have used mixed methods approaches to analyse and review the seed and spread of information disorders – and their impact on the lives of New Zealanders.

          Our grounded research makes use of mixed methods, combining open-source and quantitative data from a range of social media platforms, cross-pollination patterns, super-spreader signatures, semantic study, and the qualitative analysis data, including discourse shifts over time. Our approach to information disorders provides unique perspectives into misinformation and disinformation’s establishment, entrenchment and expansion in Aotearoa New Zealand.

          We produce publicly available research, sensitive reporting, media commentary, and resourcing for civil society seeking to respond to information disorders, and growing offline consequences, in their communities.

          Where is the evidence(!) that backs up Edwards claim that the Disinformation Project's research isn't evidence-based?

          • weka

            I know who TDP are.

            I'm not saying they aren't evidence-based. I'm saying that their PR is not evidence-based and comes across as 'trust us because..', which is a fail when making such serious claims. Maybe they are just naive in their media work. The main issue I see here is the loss of trust, and they should be addressing that by fronting up with good arguments and evidence.

            Have you seen the evidence for these claims?

            For instance, Hannah and Hattotuwa appeared recently in TVNZ’s Web of Chaos documentary in which they suggested that 350,000 New Zealanders have been captured by “alt-right” politics. Elsewhere Hattotuwa claimed that 1.8m New Zealanders subscribe to extremist beliefs.


            Hattotuwa said a major change in the past fortnight has been the degree to which the "extraordinarily violent" content has been taken up and distributed by anti-vax and anti mandate groups.

            He said the extremity of the content was more characteristic of far right and neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups, and the fact it was now being taken up by groups that flourished because of Covid measures was "really worrying".

            He said the vitriol directed at the trans community could be described as "genocidal".

            "Something that we've never seen before is the import of content from Australian neo-Nazi, neo-fascist, anti-Semitic networks and individuals and their personal networks, into Aotearoa New Zealand."


            I think it's very likely that what TDP is saying is true, but I'm less convinced by the quantifying (numbers or adjectives). The whole 'we can't talk about it because it's too shocking' stuff is appalling. They don't have to give examples, they can describe what they are seeing though.

            At this point I'm utterly sick of the left and the right. The right are running round making good points, but also obviously putting a lot of RW, free speech opinion in, and the left are running round saying the right are bigots and hacks and we should trust academics because they're academics.

            I'm tempted to cross-post Edward's post simply to see if Standardistas can pull out the evidence based arguments (either side).

            • arkie

              fronting up with … arguments and evidence.

              That is precisely what they are doing, that you don't find it 'compelling' or 'good' isn't evidence that they are wrong in their assessment. If you have read their reports you will have seen their evidence and descriptions.

              we should trust academics because they're academics

              This isn't the argument, the argument is that data scientists and experts are better placed to make their evidence-backed claims around the data they have collected than a political commentator is to dispute their findings sans evidence.

              • weka

                have you read their reports and seen their evidence and descriptions?

                can you please link to them, because their website seems to only have articles from 2022.


              • weka

                This isn't the argument, the argument is that data scientists and experts are better placed to make their evidence-backed claims around the data they have collected than a political commentator is to dispute their findings sans evidence.

                then they (commentators and/or TDP) should be putting the evidence and arguments into the media that most people are seeing, in a form that most people can understand. Precisely because trust is so low.

                • arkie

                  One of the Disinformation Project's key findings is that on social media dis- and misinformation spreads quicker and further than traditional media. One of the purposes of mis- and disinformation is to erode trust:

                  Dis- and misinformation are often shared because of a strong emotional or affective response to that false information, which is fuelled by existing beliefs and biases. In short, content that ‘feels true’ and evokes a strong response is perceived as more believable. Because it resonates more strongly with already-held opinions and tends toward the shocking or sensational, disinformation often spreads faster than factual news stories. The result is that people are more likely to base their opinions, decisions, and actions on factually incorrect stories that are crafted to incite strong emotional or affective reactions.


                  There will no doubt be a report produced in the future that provides the evidence that they use to back up their recent claims. Producing scientific research, analysis and reporting doesn't happen overnight.

                  • weka

                    One of the purposes of mis- and disinformation is to erode trust

                    I know. Which is why I'm fucked off at TDP's poor media work on this. I'm not saying they're wrong, I'm saying they're reading the room badly in how they are presenting their ideas. There is good reason to be asking them to be more clear.

                    I will just note that you haven't provided a link to in support of "If you have read their reports you will have seen their evidence and descriptions"

                    • arkie

                      What do you think is 'poor media work'? In what way do you think they are 'reading the room badly'? What do you think is unclear?

                      The reports they have published are on their website under publicly available research linked in my comment at 11.22 am.

                    • weka []

                      TDP has been reported in the media in recent days, talking about rises in hate posting since KJK’s visit.

                      I gave an example here

                      If they’re going to use the word genocidal, they need to explain what they mean by that. They’ve said they can’t talk about the recent rise in hate because it would break the broadcasting standards, but they could actually talk about it without quoting it.

                      If they want to retain trust, they need to be responding proactively to the public wanting to know what they are talking about, the kinds of numbers, etc. Otherwise it literally is ‘trust us, we’re academics’. You might trust them, many others don’t. I’m in between, but the longer they take a side in the culture wars instead of fronting up to reasonable requests for explanations, the more dubious I am that they aren’t partisan and/or exaggerating.

                      One of the reasons is that the word genocide is misused by TRAs when talking about trans people. The ‘trans genocide’. There is no trans genocide. So the term in this context is already associated with gross and damaging hyperbole (damaging because telling young people especially that society hates them and that they will want to kill themselves if they can’t transition is feeding suicide). And there are no mass killings of trans people in countries like NZ.

                      If TDP doesn’t know that context, that makes them less trustworthy. If they do know but believe that there is in fact a trans genocide, then their trustworthiness drops even lower.

                      The way I took what they said was that there are lots of neonazis talking trans genocide in recent weeks, something I would believe. But that’s not how others are taking it. They really need to clear this up, and give more explanation and back up.

                    • weka []

                      The reports they have published are on their website under publicly available research linked in my comment at 11.22 am.

                      Yes, I know. That’s from last year. It’s not about what they are talking about this week.

                    • arkie

                      The link and quote you provided IS them talking about it without quoting it.

                      And as I said: There will no doubt be a report produced in the future that provides the evidence that they use to back up their recent claims. Producing scientific research, analysis and reporting doesn’t happen overnight.

                      That you are dubious, think the Disinformation Project are partisan and/or exaggerating, that you don't believe that 'vitriol directed at the trans community could be described as "genocidal"', that you require mass killings to reach that threshold, that the statement 'the extremity of the content was more characteristic of far right and neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups' is about the neo-nazis rather than a description of the rhetoric found within the anti-mandate/covid denier groups they monitor, that you have taken a side, named the opposition, and describe it as a culture 'war', is not at all surprising. It shows an active disinterest in evidenced-backed claims and a preference for what 'feels right'. You're welcome to feel this way but it is not inline with a kaupapa of rigorous and robust evidence-based debate.

                      [You cannot lie about author’s beliefs. I don’t believe those things and no way am I going to buy into this kind of slur politics in lieu of conversation and debate. It’s looked all morning like you haven’t understood my points, and now I can see that is probably true.

                      Take the day off because I don’t have the bandwidth for this degree of bullshit. When you come back, know that you can argue the politics you are, but you cannot make shit up about my or any other author’s beliefs. Next time all you have to do is ask (and I don’t mean disingneuously put a question mark at the end of an assertion). Feel free to ask for clarification if you don’t know what I mean – weka]

                    • weka []

                      mod note.

              • Anker

                As an old University Professor of mine use to say "Extraordinary claims call for extraordinary evidence".

                They give us no examples of what is extremist material nor do they give us examples of what constitutes "genocidal". And then they say they can't do this because it is so extreme.

                All they present is numbers and expect us to trust what they say.

                What is their brief? Is it a particular area they are looking for disinformation in? The only issues they seem to comment on is disinformation that is not in support of Government policy I am on line a lot across a number of media and other platforms. I don't see much evidence of extreme speech that the The D P claim.

      • Psycho Milt 5.1.2

        I read that thread and followed the link Tze Ming provided to one of the TDP articles to show how strong their data and methodology actually is. And it turned out that neither the methodology were explained. As weka's said elsewhere in this thread, the approach seems to be "Trust us because we say so." Edwards is correct that their publications are evidence-free.

    • Liberty Belle 5.2

      Where to start. Perhaps with TDP's own words:

      "Disinformation Project researcher Dr Sanjana Hattotuwa said the outpouring of hate towards the trans community triggered by Posie Parker's visit is beyond anything he has seen."

      Seriously? Where have you been, Sanjana?

      "He said the vitriol directed at the trans community could be described as "genocidal"."

      By whom? Certainly not by anyone with a clue of what that word actually means.

      These people are F'wits.

  6. Peter 6

    I didn't know anything about Kentucky so when reports about the shootings in Louisville came through early in the week I checked the city out.

    The population seems to be about 630,000. Apparently there were 160 murders in the city in 2022.

    In New Zealand with the population of 5,100,000 there were about 70-80 murders in 2022. That put a different perspective on crime here for me. Checking the homicide rates for other US cities was sobering too.

    • Sanctuary 7.1

      Chris Trotter has drifted into a cognitive style obsessed with a sense of Pakeha victimisation, and along with Bradbury he nurses a considerable chip on his shoulder at his (self-inflicted) irrelevance to the establishment and MSM.

      His writing these days is infused with phenomenological features common to people who have succumbed to conspiratorial thinking, including heightened tendency to attribute negative outcomes to malevolent agents and idiosyncratic pattern detection.

      In other words, the old duffer has started waving his fist at clouds.

  7. Incognito 8

    When key players, including the friendly face & voice of Auckland Mayoralty, Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson, are ducking for cover unavailable for comment you know the PR spin-doctors are working overtime crafting their response strategy.

    The buck stops at the man who exclaimed that it was not his job to rush out with buckets, but he’s been passing the buck ever since and not fronting media. A leader who refuses to accept his responsibilities or who doesn’t know what it takes to lead and be a leader.

    • arkie 8.2

      The Deputy Mayor has now commented on the report:

      "I think there's a huge number of failures in that report from Auckland Council's perspective and I think everyone needs to take responsibility. But the key thing is to fix it, and fix it very quickly."

      What are the chances that 'everyone' will take responsibility for the failures?

      • Incognito 8.2.1


        Clever PR, focus on the f-word and associate this with Mr F-it who cannot be f-ed himself.

        What are the chances? So far, the general rhetoric has been that of accepting as little as possible and casting aspersions elsewhere.

      • Sanctuary 8.2.2

        Let's not dwell on the past, let's all be part of the solution! I find playing the blame game unproductive, and all it does is make people very cross. So, are you onboard as part of the solution or are you going to stay part of the problem?

    • Sanctuary 8.3

      Honestly, the anniversary storm event was the lining up of the hole in the last piece cheese in the Swiss cheese model of failure that was the Auckland Emergency management response. Issues had been identified years ago, but nothing was done. A combination of inertia, a festishisation for keeping rates down, complacency, laissez-faire indifference to regulatory enforcement and a relaxed attitude to governance that has bordered on the inept and slovenly came together to cause a disaster.

      Watching everyone from Jim Stabback – another member of the teflon establishment who get paid gazillions to make the tough calls but bail out the minute the going gets tough – to the mayor and the ministers dive for cover reminds us that failure is truly an orphan while listening to Sharon Stewart on RNZ frantically throwing everyone and anyone else but her and the rest of right wing councillors under the steamroller to try and stop it before it might affect her cosy little "auto-elected on the back of a tiny turnout" 120K PA job made me feel quite ill. It is funny how these right wing types are always the biggest blowhards for personal responsibility until the buck stops with them, and then it is always someone elses fault.

      The bottom line is Auckland's bumbling bunch of right wing nincompoops who sit on the council from the mayor down are an indictment of failure of local democracy, and these fools first reaction has been to cover their arses rather than accept responsibility for their part in the systemic failure of the emergency management response.

      Not voting has consequences.

      • Liberty Belle 8.3.1

        "Issues had been identified years ago, but nothing was done. "

        Yep. The buck stops with the people who let Auckland's responsiveness get so run down, and that would start with the High Commissioner to the UK.

        "The bottom line is Auckland's bumbling bunch of right wing nincompoops who sit on the council from the mayor down are an indictment of failure of local democracy,"

        Nope. The last two mayors of Auckland have been Labour Party hacks, and the immediate past council centre left.

        But I find comfort in your sentiment. The current council is rightly conducting something of a purge of the obese bureaucracy that inhabits AC, so the city can not only pay its way, but actually function effectively.

        And well done to the mayor for initiating this thorough and timely review.

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