Open mike 13/03/2016

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 13th, 2016 - 132 comments
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openmikeOpen 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 …

132 comments on “Open mike 13/03/2016 ”

  1. Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 1

    Just a general complaint!

    I have in the past weeks attempted to contribute Guest Posts for general discussion.
    None of my contributions have appeared, which, perhaps, says something about their quality!

    But, at the very least, a short email indicating that the said post does not reach the standard required, or any other reason, is a basic courtesy which I, we, if others have had the same result, might expect.

    Cheers.

    • r0b 1.1

      Hi Tony – That email goes to lprent. I’m aware that he is massively busy at work at the moment – you may notice that he hasn’t posted himself here for ages. It’s likely that TS email is slipping through the cracks. I apologise for that, and I’ll draw this to his attention.

      • You can always send them to me, too, Tony.

        I’ve done a couple for regulars, including the recent AK IT one for SaveNZ, which went down pretty well. The only difference if I do them is they go out under my byline. Not sure if that’s an advantage or a disadvantage 😉

        tereoputake@gmail.com

        • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 1.1.1.1

          Thanks.

          I do appreciate all the work that must go on behind the scenes to keep The Standard on line – and hell, it is so so important as a place to vent one’s frustrations at the mess this neoliberal crap is getting us into.

          • greywarshark 1.1.1.1.1

            Hello Tony V
            Please don’t talk about venting your frustrations here in a guest post. If there is something to post about, please give us a good meaty one with your concerns and observations then as well explanation with links, details, background etc. We get enough venting as comments, they make the writer and every similar thinker feel better for a second, but we actually need to think beyond that as well, and what, and why it is important, and what is the scenario if we don’t get that change?

            How can we get something better, and what do you and informed others think would be the best method for the situation? What do they do overseas? Is there a time when people are really receptive to thinking on new ideas? Are we not doing regular thinking and assessment of what is being done, but just waiting for failures and disasters and then getting angry? That’s so reactionary, do we need to plan and think better, and right at the beginning of some new scheme, and who will do this, and how can informed citizens have a say and provide guidance?

        • lprent 1.1.1.2

          You should be able to select Guest Post.

      • lprent 1.1.2

        And currently back in Italy for work. Which paradoxically means that I will be more active than has been usual.

    • ianmac 2.1

      We must watch with great interest. Such a program would just about eliminate Work and Income. Wonder if the $800-1000per month is for every adult.

      • The Chairman 2.1.1

        Indeed, ianmac. It’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

      • weka 2.1.2

        “Such a program would just about eliminate Work and Income.”

        Not really. How many can live on that amount?

        250,000 people depend on Disability Allowance.

        85,000 are long term unwell or disabled and are currently on Supported Living. They have different welfare needs than the working population.

        I can’t tell you how many are on sickness benefit because National are hiding them in the unemployed, but that will more tens of thousands.

        People on the DPB etc.

        All those people require further assistance as do people on the dole who have financial hardship.

        All of that needs a competent system to deliver entitlements. It’s significant and UBI advocates need to start taking it seriously (sorry, not picking on you ianmac, but I”ve seen this written off too many times now).

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.2.1

          Are there better ways to assessing what higher need citizens require and ensuring that they get that extra assistance – other than WINZ offices?

          • weka 2.1.2.1.1

            Not any more. I don’t think the MoH would be an improvement and they won’t want to administer non-health and disability benefits anyway.

            The ideal? Scrap WINZ. Create two new departments. One is the Dept of Social Welfare and it administers all UBI and supplementary payments. Use that as an opportunity to set up a system that supports people to live meaningful lives where that isn’t solely defined by having paid employment. Redefine welfare as being about individual, family, community and society wellbeing.

            Have it completely separate from job seeking, which needs to be in a separate department.

            Not that anyone is going to do that though 😉

            So other than that, I think the most likely way to go is to use WINZ to administer the UBI and supplementaries, and for a left wong govt to strip out the worst of the punitive legislation and policy. They can also do quite a lot to change the culture within WINZ.

        • The Chairman 2.1.2.2

          “Not really. How many can live on that amount?”

          Not many if any, hence a UBI would require to be more.

          But there would also be savings made putting an end to the bureaucracy at WINZ.

          What’s their CEO on now days?

          • weka 2.1.2.2.1

            You didn’t read the rest of my comment did you. If you think that a UBI will pay a living income, please cite some people who’ve done work on this who have figured out how to pay for it. All the people I’ve seen do calculations are saying it will be less than a living income.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2.2.1.1

              If you think that a UBI will pay a living income, please cite some people who’ve done work on this who have figured out how to pay for it.

              You and them are looking at it the wrong way. It’s not that the UBI needs to be paid for but that the UBI would be the entire basis for the rest of the economy.

              • weka

                I was just meaning he would need to put up some figures that shows how a high rate would be done.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  How it’s done is dependent upon which way you view it. If you view it as the UBI needing to be funded from taxes then you have problems and you can’t get the figures to work.

                  When you view it as a UBI of $60 billion per year with a multiplier of ~3 funding the economy then it fits nicely within our ~200 billion dollar economy.

                  Other changes would need to be made of course. The most important one being that the private banks could no longer create money. You’d also need to ban offshore ownership.

            • The Chairman 2.1.2.2.1.2

              If we are going to replace welfare with a UBI, it would have to be as good as the pension. Not the living wage.

              One way to pay for it would be increasing royalties, or at least start charging them – i.e. water (see Q&A).

              • weka

                Here’s Red’s figures, $200/wk ($300 for over 65s). It’s based on people also working (or getting topups).

                http://thestandard.org.nz/universal-income-revisited/

                Gareth Morgans is roughly the same rate.

                http://thestandard.org.nz/gareth-morgans-big-kahuna/

                • The Chairman

                  Those amounts are inadequate if we want to avoid more people living in hardship.

                  Working or top ups on top of that would improve things. However, top ups implies more administrative bureaucracy and not all can work. Coupled with growing automation, there won’t be as much available employment going forward.

                  Why change/replace the current system if we aren’t going to improve it?

                  A survey (not to long ago) claimed 3% of the over 65 suffer deprivation.

                  Although, notably, high home ownership levels amongst the over 65 contributes to that low percentage. Along with pensions being tied to the average wage (opposed to other benefits being tied to the CPI) and returns on savings/investments.

                  Therefore, even basing a UBI on the current pension rate may be insufficient.

                  • weka

                    The point of a UBI isn’t to give everyone free money that they can live well on (have you read the actual proposals?). Yes, everyone needs a livable income, but that shouldn’t be coming solely from the UBI, it should be coming from the UBI, full employment, living wage rates, affordable housing and social welfare that is fair and supportive not punitive like we have now.

                    Have you looked at the various models that people have done work on on how to pay for a UBI? I haven’t seen any model yet that suggests giving people a living income.

                    Most people are going to want to work as well as receive the UBI. If people don’t need to work as hard or as often for financial reasons that frees up jobs for other people (many people on 30 hour weeks instead). I agree that automation will be an issue, but it’s an issue without a UBI so let’s solve that alongside.

                    Re topups, make them entitlements and easily accessible. Some of the issues that would need to be solved would be Accommodation Supplement, which tends to be inaedquate because it gets sucked up by landlords, and the bureaucracy/hoop jumping that makes up life for current beneficiaries.

                    None of those things are unsolvable.

                    • The Chairman

                      “The point of a UBI isn’t to give everyone free money that they can live well on”

                      I clearly stated above it doesn’t require to be a living wage.

                      “Have you looked at the various models that people have done work on on how to pay for a UBI? I haven’t seen any model yet that suggests giving people a living income”.

                      Again, I clearly stated above it doesn’t require to be a living wage.

                      The point you are overlooking is if we are going to change the system it’s got to be for the better. $200 a week isn’t an improvement, resulting in continuing the hardship a number currently face.

                      “Most people are going to want to work as well as receive the UBI”.

                      Good. Nothing wrong with that. They will be even better off.

                      “I agree that automation will be an issue, but it’s an issue without a UBI so let’s solve that alongside”

                      It can be resolved with a UBI was the point I’m making.

                      “Re topups, make them entitlements and easily accessible.”

                      That still requires more administrative bureaucracy.

                      As I stated above, the only reason why there is a low percentage of over 65 suffering is largely due to high home ownership levels amongst the over 65. Along with pensions being tied to the average wage (opposed to other benefits being tied to the CPI) and returns on savings/investments. Many others don’t have those benefits (home ownership, savings/investments) to help supplement their income. Thus, for those not working, $200 a week would result in financial hardship. As it currently does.

                      Food-banks have been reporting an increase in demand. A decent UBI ( but not a living wage) can help improve that. Hence, that is what we should be aiming for, improving peoples lives.

                    • weka

                      What’s a decent rate of UBI? If it’s not the Super rate (seeing as how too many elderly live in poverty), what is it? Can you please provide a model of how that would be paid for?

                      If you think that topups aren’t a useful way to go because of bureaucracy, please explain how you would make sure that someone with serious disability would get their needs met?

                      The point you are overlooking is if we are going to change the system it’s got to be for the better. $200 a week isn’t an improvement, resulting in continuing the hardship a number currently face.

                      I really get the sense that you don’t understand what a UBI is for. It’s not welfare. People without work aren’t going to be on the dole with a new name. People aren’t going to be living on $200/wk, they will get more income than that. Please go read what the point of a UBI is.

                    • The Chairman

                      “What’s a decent rate of UBI?”

                      See above comment (10:28 am)

                      “If you think that topups aren’t a useful way to go because of bureaucracy, please explain how you would make sure that someone with serious disability would get their needs met?”

                      Those with serious disability would have their rate set higher when transitioning over. Those who later become seriously disable (which would be a relatively small number in comparison) would have to apply to get their ongoing rate set higher.

                      “I really get the sense that you don’t understand what a UBI”

                      That’s you making those flawed assumptions again. Bad habit that.

                      “It’s not welfare. People without work aren’t going to be on the dole with a new name.”

                      But it can be. UBI can replace welfare. We don’t require duplication, it’s inefficient.

                      “People aren’t going to be living on $200/wk, they will get more income than that.”

                      If they are not working or unable to work, can you explain how they will get more income than that?

                    • weka

                      Those with serious disability would have their rate set higher when transitioning over. Those who later become seriously disable (which would be a relatively small number in comparison) would have to apply to get their ongoing rate set higher.

                      yeah, that’s called a topup. Disability is often not a static state and each person will need to be assessed and some will need to be reassessed over time. You need a system to do that.

                      “I really get the sense that you don’t understand what a UBI”

                      That’s you making those flawed assumptions again. Bad habit that.

                      And yet you keep talking about the UBI as a welfare substitute, it’s not.

                      “It’s not welfare. People without work aren’t going to be on the dole with a new name.”

                      But it can be. UBI can replace welfare. We don’t require duplication, it’s inefficient.

                      No-one has suggested it duplication.

                      “People aren’t going to be living on $200/wk, they will get more income than that.”

                      If they are not working or unable to work, can you explain how they will get more income than that?

                      They will get the extra amount you named above like someone with a disability.

                      Many people cannot live on $400/wk. If they’re not able to work and there are no topups how is your system going to work?

                    • The Chairman

                      “Disability is often not a static state and each person will need to be assessed”

                      Those currently disabled have already been assessed, Moreover, in a number of cases people’s conditions won’t alter. For example down’s syndrome.

                      When transitioning their rate would be set higher from the start, that’s not a top up. That’s merely starting on a higher rate.

                      Doctors can reassess people that require it. Those that have improved won’t require a higher rate, thus a top up.

                      New applicants would see their rates topped up, so yeah a top up in that regards, but in the most minimalistic way.

                      “And yet you keep talking about the UBI as a welfare substitute, it’s not”

                      Seems it’s you that needs to do some research. Labour are considering just that.

                      “No-one has suggested it duplication”.

                      You were imply benefits would remain, thus I stated that is inefficient duplication.

                      “They will get the extra amount you named above like someone with a disability.”

                      And what about those that aren’t employed? How will they get more until they secure work, which could take some time?

                      “Many people cannot live on $400/wk”

                      Yet many on benefits currently are expected too.

                  • greywarshark

                    I can see that UBI would be helpful as entitlement for maintenance for all. But different people fall into different strata of need.

                    There would have to be automatic topups for recognised need normal for those levels. They might be very low cost barriers to doctor, dentist, prescriptions, transport that go to not only old age pensioners, but all young families. There will need to be administration that assists people to get what they need within guidelines that are not rigid.

                    And all people be encouraged to do some community work. People with ability and capable but wheelchair bound, could do some reading education support work for instance. There are ways that all can promote wellbeing in society, both for the giver, the receiver, and the community which benefits too with pride at being a buzzing, happy group of people all needed and respected. Actually it can’t be that good because humans are ornery and don’t appreciate what they have and grizzle, but things would be improved.

          • Sirenia 2.1.2.2.2

            Supported Living payment is about $250 a week. People are expected to live on that. Many get nothing extra.

      • greywarshark 2.2.1

        joe90’s link to yesterday’s comment and link on UBI and Canada plus other nations is important to look at.

        And under that is Sabine on teenagers taking governments to court over lack of climate action. Now that is bold and innovative. And what have they got to lose, on the one hand some difficulties and expense, and on the other hand they may achieve a gigantic effect of prevention and action to deal with the present which seems so hard to see for the enfeebled politicians who can’t see past the stacked wall of monopoly money.

  2. Murray Simmonds 3

    We had a similar thing here once upon a time – it was called the family benefit, i think. If i remember rightly, one could capitalise it to get a “State Advances mortgage” to buy a first home. I think my mum did just that . . .

    • ianmac 3.1

      You are right about Family Benefit Murray but Jim Bolger canned it in the 90s. It wasn’t much each week but only the Mum could cash it. And yes the first home assistance was great.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        I think Jim Bolger was a Catholic with a good sized family. The religious often seem to be very conservative about how families should be treated. They must have been the originators of the term husbanding, for looking after resources carefully.
        I think Bill English also has a good sized family.

    • joe90 3.2

      During the sixties my old man was a Beazly builder – Murray, Mrs Murray and family would walk through the door and mum would sit them down with a plan book containing around 20 designs all of which could be mirrored, reversed, extended or otherwise tickled to suit the Murray clan.

      The Beazly parent company owned several subdivisions around the town so the Murray clan could choose a location to suit themselves and once decisions had been made finance would be arranged.

      Usually the capitalised family benefits would provide part if not all of a deposit with a State Advances mortgage to finance the remainder.

      Once finalised trucks would arrive on site carrying almost the entire house, framing through to cladding, roofing, kitchen and paint and local subcontractors would complete the Murray clan’s new house in around twelve weeks and they’d be in.

      • miravox 3.2.1

        Yup. My parents moved from a state house to private ownership. We had a Peerless home on pretty much the principle you describe (not that I remember).

        My dad painted the house red.

        • greywarshark 3.2.1.1

          We got 5% mortgage for our first house. We were working at two jobs, doing a bit of night time restaurant work to boost our earnings otherwise we would have been entitled to a 3% mortgage. We had no children then. We went through very much what Joe90 did. I think it was Gerards in Hamilton, built a lovely 3 bedroom I think 1000 sq foot home in summerhill stone. Decided to take the opportunity before children to travel and work overseas so sold it for about $10,000 I think –
          in 1968. We didn’t realise that life was at its crest for the world then, and is now sloping downhill. Ya don’t know how lucky ya are mate etc

          New Zealand had to find new ways to manage as we lost our automatic export link to Britain. But we couldn’t throw ourselves into enterprising NZ, we gave our opportunities for that away, along with our ability to provide for our own needs out of our own earnings. Don’t people understand that yet? We are living on borrowed money in the style that we have become accustomed to, except for some hundred thousand that spoil the effect.

          It’s time to regroup, have a group hug, plan a new strategy and unroll a new New Zealand, older, wiser, cautious about some things, but getting behind what is good and sustainable and pulling everyone in to help, even if just to hold onto the signs to the world to say Honk and call in and buy something from us.
          edited

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      And we still have pensions which are universal.

    • millsy 3.4

      This really needs to be brought back. The best way out of poverty is home ownership. State Advances/Housing Corp assistance helped a lot of people into their own homes. Replacing this with cash transfer payments is/was not the greatest idea.

      Peter Dunne saw the light and had a policy that would allow people to do this with WFF payments. but he never really fought for this.

  3. ianmac 4

    Hey. This is very good and very surprising. An article by Jarrod Gilbert about Bill English’s policy actions. We are used to rubbishing Bill but wait. This is deeper.

    “It was 2011 when English first shocked criminal justice circles.

    He proclaimed prisons were a “moral and fiscal failure” and heralded the Government’s dramatic policy shift towards prisoner rehabilitation.”

    “New Zealand has the fifth-highest rate of child abuse in the OECD. Last year I discovered that the period in which a New Zealander is most likely to be murdered is before the age of 3, a time when they cannot defend themselves, find sanctuary or even beg for help.

    “When the Dirty Politics saga broke in 2014, many politicians dismissed the revelations made by Nicky Hager ……. English spoke out and his views were unequivocal: not only was he not involved but he didn’t like what was happening, either.”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11604661

  4. weka 5

    Historic victory as Japanese court issues first injunction against an operating nuclear reactor

    Tokyo, 9 March 2016 – A local court today sided with the people of Japan by issuing the first injunction in the country’s history against an operating nuclear reactor.

    “This is a landmark victory for people living in the shadow of shut-down reactors across Japan and a devastating blow against the nuclear industry and the policies of the Abe government,” said Hisayo Takada, Deputy Program Director at Greenpeace Japan.

    “The court is sending a clear message to the nuclear industry nearly a week after the prosecution of TEPCO executives for criminal negligence that led to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. It’s a message that nuclear power has no place in Japan’s energy future.”

    • Ad 5.1

      Did the Court require an alternative generating capacity?
      Nuclear is the first best transition fuel to any other generation, for the scale that Japan needs it.

      • weka 5.1.1

        That’s an issue for the govt not the courts (kind of a weird suggestion there Ad).

        Nuclear is never going to be a good transition energy, esp not in a country with earthquakes and tsunamis. It’s neither resilient, nor safe, nor sustainable, nor afaik economic.

        If they thought Fukushima was bad try doing that when there’s no cheap oil available or after a GFC.

        • Ad 5.1.1.1

          I don’t mind protest movements celebrating a ‘victory’. I loathe movements who walk away from the hard work of the alternatives that really work.

          If someone would like to calculate the visible landscape left after replacing all of Japan’s nuclear generation with wind farms, I’d be interested. That’s where the work is.

          • weka 5.1.1.1.1

            I don’t believe it’s possible for the electronic/industrialised nations to keep their current lifestyles in a post-carbon world. We will have to powerdown. So from my perspective your basic premise of what should Japan replace nuclear with is faulty (ha ha).

            I don’t know Japan that well, but I could have a crack at how it would work in NZ. The biggest obstacle to that conversation is whether we can make a living here and be less dependent on exports. Once that one is solved a whole bunch of critical things change, including our GHG emissions.

            • Ad 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Always loving the Greens who expect whole percentages of the world to fail in order to succeed

              • weka

                Are you talking about the Green Party? They don’t believe that.

                Besides, you don’t understand what the issue is if that’s how you characterise it.

                Would you mind addressing the actual points instead of making inane assumptions that aren’t based on anything?

              • Colonial Viper

                Ad, how do you decommission a 70 year old nuclear reactor which has more than reached the end of its already extended service life, when you have no more access to diesel fuel?

                Also, failure of the modern globalised economic system is an inevitability at this point. The question is do you want a planned, graceful failure, or do you want a full speed train smash?

              • Draco T Bastard

                You really don’t get it do you? The present system has already failed.

          • One Two 5.1.1.1.2

            Ad, you do understand the unresolveble problems which plague nuclear reactor design, right?

            “Alternatives that really work”

            …. but can end life on earth at any time…..

            • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.2.1

              the problem is that there is no more time and no more money to implement nuclear power as a large scale energy alternative for the world.

              Easy access to fossil fuels ends in the next 25 years or so.

              And we have no way of properly decommissioning the dozens of existing nuclear reactors and used fuel storage facilities.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.3

            The Japanese landscape will be fine as they’re building these.

      • miravox 5.1.2

        This guy has a view on nuclear power that is probably worth adding into the mix of opinions

        and these two

  5. The Chairman 6

    I see TVNZ are as slow as ever getting Q&A up on TV on-demand.

  6. Morrissey 7

    Wallace Chapman is repeatedly failing to do his job;
    They might as well hire Jack Tame or Mike “Contra” Hosking.

    RNZ National, Sunday 13 March 2016

    The alarming vacuity continues on National Lite radio this morning. Wallace Chapman is obviously under management orders to “engage” his audience; this results in him repeatedly exhorting listeners to text in their opinions about whatever pop phenomenon he happens to touch upon during a particular programme. So in recent weeks we’ve been urged to send in our “all time favorite David Bowie song”, our “all time favorite movie”, our “all time favorite summer reading”, our “all-time favorite holiday spot”, our “all-time favorite beach”, et cetera, ad tedium, ad nauseam.

    Super-alert listeners will have noted that Chapman doesn’t really seem to be putting much, or indeed any, effort into meeting these audience engagement targets. He seems to be simply going through the motions, like a reluctant teacher being coerced into delivering his lessons in a way he knows is dull and counterproductive.

    This morning, for some reason (perhaps the death of Sir George Martin) someone on the program mentioned the Beatles. I’m quite sure I was not the only person to predict almost exactly what Chapman would say next….

    WALLACE CHAPMAN: I’ve always been a Beatles fan. ….[long pause]….. Here’s an interesting thought: what is your favorite Beatles song? Text us….

    But, when all is said and done, it is unfair to blame Chapman for this. Without a doubt, when he makes these appeals for text feedback, he is (by the sound of it reluctantly) just carrying out orders.

    Where Chapman is culpable, however, is when he is covering more serious topics. Interviewing ostensibly “serious” people, he has, time after time, failed to hold them to account, even when they make the most bizarre, provocative and offensive statements. [1]

    This morning, a short time after half-heartedly soliciting votes for all-time favorite Beatle songs, Chapman interviewed Canadian-born “social entrepreneur” Marilyn Garson, who has spent some time in Gaza. She made sure to speak disparagingly of “the militants” of Gaza’s Hamas government but, in spite of criticising the illegal blockade of the territory, she did not mention Israel or its chief arms supplier and sponsor the United States even once. As usual, Chapman never so much as demurred at a single thing she said, not even when she repeatedly described Israel’s massacres of the captive population of Gaza as “wars”. [2]

    I sent him the following email….

    Marilyn Garson’s careless use of the word “war.”

    Dear Wallace,

    Marilyn Garson talked about being in Gaza “during the last two wars.” A little later she referred to Gaza having “several full-scale wars” happen to it.

    In fact, the imprisoned citizens of Gaza are defenceless. There was no “war” in Gaza in 2008-9 (what Israel boastfully called “twenty-two days of madness”) or in 2014; there was mass slaughter by Israel.

    Yours sincerely,

    Morrissey Breen
    Northcote Point

    [1] http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-28022016/#comment-1139695

    [2] Anyone interested in what an informed and rigorous scholar, in contrast to the likes of Marilyn Garson, has to say about this matter should read the following…..
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nick-mutch/finkelstein-amnesty-gaza-israel_b_7786388.html

  7. The Chairman 8

    As usual, National refused to debate on TV3’s The Nation.

    Good to see the opposition front up.

    http://www.tv3.co.nz/tabid/3692/MCat/2910/Default.aspx

    • Morrissey 8.1

      I watched the Chris Liddell “interview”, which was, as one would expect seeing that he was talking to the woefully ill-informed and under-repared Jack Tame, nothing more than an uninterrupted free podium.

      Liddell talked with a lowered, croaky voice to convey intellectual depth and he continually raised his eyebrows to convey sincerity. Jack Tame, who might be the shallowest person “working” in the New Zealand media, failed to hold him to account for anything he said—even when Liddell called John Kasich a “respected, moderate governor”. Seconds after that howler, Liddell revealed that in 2012 he supported Mitt Romney.

      Calling John Kasich “respected” and “moderate” and confessing to being a Romney supporter would have indicated to any viewer with an IQ above room temperature that Liddell was neither a serious nor credible commentator. But Jack Tame, that great gorgeous empty grin notwithstanding, seemed to comprehend not a single word Liddell said.

      • joe90 8.1.1

        Liddell’s intimation the FBI could make decisions about prosecuting Clinton was dead wrong too.

        In an ordinary case, that would not be a point worth making. The FBI routinely conducts major investigations in collaboration with Justice Department prosecutors — usually from the U.S. attorney’s office in the district where potential crimes occurred. That is because the FBI needs the assistance of a grand jury. The FBI does not have authority even to issue subpoenas, let alone to charge someone with a crime. Only federal prosecutors may issue subpoenas, on the lawful authority of the grand jury. Only prosecutors are empowered to present evidence or propose charges to the grand jury. And the Constitution vests only the grand jury with authority to indict — the formal accusation of a crime. In our system, the FBI can do none of these things.

        No Justice Department, no grand jury. No grand jury, no case — period. As a technical matter, no matter how extensively the FBI pokes around on its own, no one can be a subject of a real investigation — i.e., one that can lead to criminal charges — unless and until there is a grand jury. That does not happen until the Justice Department hops on board.

        google cache because NRO.

      • The Chairman 8.1.2

        As usual, a good breakdown, Morrissey.

      • The Chairman 8.2.1

        Allowing the opposition to control the narrative while showing voters where their priorities lie.

    • Skinny 8.3

      +1

      People organising gigs of a political nature would be wise to always invite the 3 main party’s and then National if the main party’s leaders agree to front up. Either way Natcorp get it in the neck!

    • cowboy 8.4

      It was interesting to see a pretty coherent showing from the 3 opposition leaders. Clearly they have plenty of low hanging fruit to work with but they broadly seemed on the same page with issues around the dairy situation and Immigration/foreign investment which are going to be two massive issues playing out in 2017.

      Contrast with Bill English’s “nothing to see here” interview on Q&A this morning. (link not yet online)

      There seems a clear line drawn between the opposition being prepared to get involved directly with some sort of support package for the “too big to fail” dairy sector and the govts ideological hands off approach. While I ordinarily would not be in support of direct govt intervention my feeling is that this is going to be such a significant issue that the govt will be forced to take some action or face the consequences of significant 1980s style economic and social dislocation in the provinces. I think the opposition are being quite canny in positioning themselves ahead of the curve and waiting for the govt to pulled kicking and screaming towards their position.

      • The Chairman 8.4.1

        “It was interesting to see a pretty coherent showing from the 3 opposition leaders. Clearly they have plenty of low hanging fruit to work with but they broadly seemed on the same page with issues around the dairy situation and Immigration/foreign investment which are going to be two massive issues playing out in 2017.”

        Indeed, it was good to see. It almost looked like a Government in waiting.

        Bill was using the line the TPP will help. It will allow more NZ farms to end up in offshore ownership.

        According to Treasury (see link below) that’s a good thing. Yeah right.
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11602794

  8. adam 9

    WooHoo – It’s working

    • weka 9.1

      Cartels can’t sell cannabis so are now focussing more on P and heroin. If we legalise class A drugs, what will the cartels do then?

      I’m not supporting prohibition btw, just saying that I don’t think it’s as straightforward as its presented. Having locally grown cannabis that is cheaper is good though.

      • adam 9.1.1

        I think we need to end prohibition.

        It’s a health issue. And the lies over it are become more apparent. The big lie that it will increase drug usage is being killed, by Portugal, and all the US states which have legalised cannabis. Most credible research now believes the spike which occurs after legalisation, is people just being honest about their pot use, not new users. And if anything usage is going down.

        The real gateway drugs are prescription drugs, we at least do have a medical profession who don’t cut people off from pain killers.

        But with this government moving us towards a more corporate medical model, we may just follow the States fast than we think.

        • weka 9.1.1.1

          Yes, I agree with all of that, but my question was about what will the Mexican cartels do if they lose their illegal drugs trade? They’re not going to just retire. That video failed to take that into account yet was celebrating a victory that hasn’t actually happened.

          • adam 9.1.1.1.1

            True that.

            In capitalism, they will follow the money. Like they did by moving towards P and heroin. If that gone, prostitution and gambling would be my guess. Just like the other gangs have done.

          • Andre 9.1.1.1.2

            What brought the Mexican cartels into existence?

            The market for marijuana is much bigger than for harder drugs like P or heroin. When marijuana users have to buy from criminal suppliers, it puts them in contact with criminals that have an incentive to push other drugs. So legalising marijuana not only immediately eliminates much of the cartels’ business, it also eliminates their way to get new customers for their other lines. No, they won’t disappear in a puff of smoke, but they will shrivel to a small fraction of their current size. If there’s no customers. there’s no business. And many of their current suppliers will need to find something else to do.

            • weka 9.1.1.1.2.1

              Do you have any references for that? Because while I can see that some might disappear, I think that in general gangs just find other ways of making that money. People have to make a living. The actual people aren’t going to wither away.

              • Andre

                “The most telling sign of the relationship between serious crime and Prohibition was the dramatic reversal in the rates for robbery, burglary, murder, and assault when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. That dramatic reversal has Marxist and business-cycle crime theorists puzzled to this day. For example, sociologist John Pandiani noted that “a major wave of crime appears to have begun as early as the mid 1920s [and] increased continually until 1933 . . . when it mysteriously reversed itself.”[50] Theodore Ferdinand also found a “mysterious” decline that began in 1933 and lasted throughout the 1930s.[51] How could they miss the significance of the fact that the crime rate dropped in 1933?”

                http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-157.html
                (yeah, yeah, Cato Institute, I know. But they’re not always wrong)

                There’s plenty of evidence from the end of Prohibition. If you’re interested, google it yourself. Or substantiate your assertions that the cartels will be able to easily transition into other organised criminal activities.

                • weka

                  I assume that’s in the US (and would the Depression be a factor as well?). Not sure if that applies to the situation with Mexico now though. As noted, I support prohibition, and I’d like to see my question answered. What will the people in the cartels do then?

                  I didn’t use the word easily.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    You decapitate the senior leadership of the cartels.

                    Then give the remaining cartel members ways to economically and legally transition out of what they have been doing (including amnesties etc.).

                    The hard core remainder who insist on continuing on you get rid of out of society.

                    You do all of this while rooting out every corrupt official out of the government, military and police force.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, easy then.
                      Glad you sorted that out for us.

                      Of course, if there were other forms of crime that criminal organisations were involved in (say kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking, that sort of thing), it might not be so easy to persuade remaining members to “transition” away from crime into a 9-5 job somewhere.

                    • weka

                      Plus Mexico’s unemployment rate is 4.75%

  9. greywarshark 10

    I haven’t thought about Timor L’Este lately. It is chugging along with the help of its oil revenues. The fund built up from that has to be conserved and waste and too many little luxuries for the politicians and leaders says Dr Ramos-Horta on RADIONZ. They are still arguing with Australia over how to divide up the oil field – has been continuing for 30? years. Oz never changes does it.

    Wallace commented on the news blackout of the country’s problems, the murders and mass killing unreported, and that he only heard about the country from a cake stall in Dunedin run by principled supporters.

    10:32 Jose Ramos-Horta – Timor-Leste Today
    From 1975 to 1999 Timor-Leste, (formerly known as East Timor), was invaded and occupied by Indonesia. Over the course of the 24 year occupation, one-third of the Timorese population perished. Dr Jose Ramos-Horta was in exile during that time, but lead a campaign that ultimately saw his country become an independent nation. He became its Prime Minister and then President, and received a Nobel Peace Prize. He is now the United Nations’ special representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau.

  10. greywarshark 11

    I haven’t thought about Timor L’Este lately. It is chugging along with the help of its oil revenues. The fund built up from that has to be conserved and waste and too many little luxuries for the politicians and leaders says Dr Ramos-Horta on RADIONZ. They are still arguing with Australia over how to divide up the oil field – has been continuing for 30? years. Oz never changes does it.

    Wallace commented on the news blackout of the country’s problems, the murders and mass killing unreported, and that he only heard about the country from a cake stall in Dunedin run by principled supporters.

    10:32 Jose Ramos-Horta – Timor-Leste Today
    From 1975 to 1999 Timor-Leste, (formerly known as East Timor), was invaded and occupied by Indonesia. Over the course of the 24 year occupation, one-third of the Timorese population perished. Dr Jose Ramos-Horta was in exile during that time, but lead a campaign that ultimately saw his country become an independent nation. He became its Prime Minister and then President, and received a Nobel Peace Prize. He is now the United Nations’ special representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau. He mentioned with gratitude Helen Jansen in NZ.

    Maire Leadbeater was involved as spokesperson for many years.
    She was also involved in various other human rights groups including the Auckland East Timor Independence Committee, the Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa and the Indonesia Human Rights Committee.[2][5] Her family’s left-wing activities made her the target of surveillance by the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, the country’s main domestic intelligence agency

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maire_Leadbeater
    Note how her family were marked by the spy and security agencies for reminding people of the principles of human behaviour that were being broken in other countries that were being ignored by supposedly high principled countries like us and the USA.

    Doubled up here. I will know how not to do this again. Sorry.
    edited

  11. adam 12

    Because…

  12. The Chairman 13

    Farmers are resilient says National.

    Is this (link below) the kind of growth National’s brighter future will result in?

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/286358/farmer-suicides-up

    Can’t see too many farmers voting for that.

    • weka 13.1

      “The figures show almost 200 farmers have committed suicide in the past eight years.”

      That’s a shocking statistic. But then so is this,

      “New figures show 564 people died by suicide in the last year – the highest number since records began eight years ago.”

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/286226/number-of-suicides-highest-since-records-began

      Neither are suprising though.

      • Stuart Munro 13.1.1

        I started taking a pretty serious interest in suicide when I found that 10% of the deepsea fishermen I knew had committed suicide. Someone ought to pay for that.

        • greywarshark 13.1.1.1

          Stuart M
          That is bad. Do you have thoughts on the general reason. There must be more than individual personal problems that have gone deep.

          • Stuart Munro 13.1.1.1.1

            Well it was always an extreme profession – you give up normal social relationships, hobbies, sport, and time off – and then the companies bring in slave labour & throw you on the scrap heap? Very hard to take & you have weakened support networks to fall back on.

            Nor is the skill set respected – but it takes several years to learn to mend net and splice wire fast enough to be useful in a modern context. Fishing, perhaps a bit like scrub cutting, used to attract people who found 9-5 conventional jobs soul destroying. Even some gang folk fitted in quite well – they had a culture of physical toughness, and there were an abundance of challenging physical tasks for them to excell at. We liked them.

            But a bit like Fonterra, NZ companies were pretty good at getting bottom dollar for everything – and the great ongoing failure – they still have not developed the local market. They have much to learn.

            • The lost sheep 13.1.1.1.1.1

              ‘ Someone ought to pay for that.
              Fisherman Stuart? I see you were quoting a Gary Neave story the other day so you know all about them obviously.sarc.
              Can you give me a link that substantiates your implication that 10% of Deep Sea fisherman commit suicide?
              And then can you tell me who ‘should pay’, and why?

              • Gangnam Style

                @TheLostSheep Fuck off troll “I found that 10% of the deepsea fishermen I knew” is what he said, so obviously anecdotal, ie:people he knew. Why would you want to pick a fight there?

                • The lost sheep

                  Because he is implying there is an exceptionally high rate of suicide linked to Fishing employment, and that ‘someone should pay for that’.
                  As not a single one of the 100’s of fisherman i have known and consider good friends has committed suicide, I say he is talking utter shit.

                  Almost as much shit as you. Anyone thinks ‘fuck off troll’ is an intelligent lead in to an argument is brain dead moron.

                  • McFlock

                    you’ve had hundreds of good friends? Let alone all of whom happened to conveniently be in the one industry mentioned by Stuart M?

                    I doubt the former. The latter is just an outright lol.

            • greywarshark 13.1.1.1.1.2

              Thanks Stuart M. that sounds a knowledgable background to it all. Rings a bell with what I keep hearing. Physical skills are downgraded – not flavour of the month with the IT obssessed (both of my kids are in IT) – very clever, useful, but doesn’t replace actual physical work.

              And thinking that CAD? printing is going to do most of our physical stuff is not correct, and having robot worker factories just destroys the cement and inter-relationship of society and reduces customers, with so many dropping out from consumerism.

              Though am reading Oliver James on Affluenza which I totally agree with, and he is not for consumerism as what we need in the long run.

              So please keep writing here, it is good to read someone with experience that understands and communicates about our reality. We need to have ideas, people who get excited, and people who can balance ideas and assess them.
              Most of all we need navigators and pilots of, and in the wide world.

      • The Chairman 13.1.2

        “New figures show 564 people died by suicide in the last year”

        That’s shocking.

        As of March 1, 64 have died on our roads.

        During a 10 year period there were 312 family violence deaths in New Zealand.

        Which of the above statistics get the most attention and focus?

        • maui 13.1.2.1

          I was thinking about this the other day, of the cost to the economy of each of those lives. A fairly clinical way of looking at things however. But as money talks in pretty much anything we do and anything the Government is interested in, if it was put in pure economic terms that we’re losing so many million $ a year due to these deaths then maybe authorities might look for new solutions or work harder at it.

          • The Chairman 13.1.2.1.1

            Money talks, but with this Government, it’s more about how can the private sector capitalize from Government intervention.

  13. weka 14

    Rachel Madow on how Trump’s bloodlust has shifted violence from it’s place on the fringe to mainstream republican politics. Deliberately. She’s making a connection between the unrest in Black communities in cities where Black people have been shot by police and the places where Trump has been inciting violence in the lead up to what happened in Chicago yesterday,

    http://egbertowillies.com/2016/03/12/rachel-maddow-exposes-donald-trump/

  14. weka 15

    Working class, non-white, trans-national feminism in LA.

    The film follows the Ovarian Psycos Brigade of Los Angeles, a group of women on bicycles who have been known to ride in and around the streets where women have recently been killed. The women, who call themselves Ovas, ride the streets at night together to let the community know they stand together without fear. Their motto is “ovaries so big we don’t need no balls.”

    “We fight back against femicide, rape, the normalization of our disposability, [and] the war being played out upon our spaces,” said Xela de la X, the founder of the Ovarian Psycos.

    Those that have seen the Ovas ride down a street together describe it as powerful sight—a “sea of women.” In Los Angeles less than 1 in 5 bicyclists is female so it’s even more powerful when you see a group of women of color cycling down the street. Many of the women cover their faces with bandanas that have white fallopian tubes printed on black fabric.

    http://fusion.net/story/279260/ovarian-psycos-documentary-premiere/

  15. weka 16

    Someone on Twitter says the NZ army are being used for security at the TPPA re-education meetings. Read the convo. Good chart outlining control of dissent too. I’m unrepentant about calling National proto-fascist.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/nzreuben/status/708807227163877376

  16. ianmac 17

    Terrific Flashmob Beethoven. Ode to Joy. A delight.

    • sabine 17.1

      thanks.Much appreciated.

    • Whateva Next 17.2

      pure joy, I even teared up both times, reminds me why we have to stop corporatisation, and support the arts

      • ianmac 17.2.1

        Did you notice that the first little girl who dropped a coin in the bass players had was till standing watching right the end. Grey jeans pink top. Entranced.

        • whateva next? 17.2.1.1

          One of those inspiring moments, she will always remember, priceless (I mean that in the way we used to mean it before Visa corrupted it!)

    • Incognito 17.3

      Amazing acoustics.

  17. Zuszsa 18

    Interesting goungs on at Wellington airport. A huge Islamic Republic of Iran airbus is parked up at the international terminal. Shortly after it arrived a US airforce lear jet arrived and was promprly towed into a hanger. Coincidence? Probably 🙂

    • joe90 18.1

      Sanctions are off and surprise surprise, our former fifth largest trading partner shows up,

  18. Mike C 19

    Would someone in here be able to tell me why … in Georges YourNZ “Recent Comments” section … Ben Rachingers username is highlighted in blue … and not black the same as most other folks … aside from Pete George and a small few other select people’s usernames?

    Is this the way WordPress works?

    I have asked this question before of Rachinger … and he was evasive … and told me to ask George.

    Something ain’t right in the State of Texas.

    • r0b 19.1

      It is likely that comments appear in blue because the user is logged in. You’ll notice that my comment here is blue because I am logged in (yes it’s a WordPress thing).

      When you are logged in you don’t need to re-enter your details for every comment. If you look upthread you’ll see a few regular commenters are logged in.

    • MrMan 19.2

      It’s because they’ve got a web address written in the WEBSITE field, under email/name. It’s just a hyperlink to whatever they’ve written in there. Same as the blue names here, it’s nothing sinister at all. See if you click on Robs name you’ll go to the last page on the internet, lprent’s goes to the homepage here.

  19. Mike C 20

    Great … so I can’t even mention the name “R_r” in here.

    • Says who? As long as you don’t put the site at legal risk, you’re pretty well free to comment on anything. But you know better than most which areas are sensitive at the moment, so stick to other subjects and you’ll get on fine.

      • Mike C 20.1.1

        @TeReoPutake

        You do realise that I do not know exactly for sure what can and can’t be written in your blog that could put it at legal risk right ???

        I know enough to figure out and fathom what makes sense from a logical point of view.

        But I don’t have Extra Sensory Perception. LOL.

        • Draco T Bastard 20.1.1.1

          You do realise that I do not know exactly for sure what can and can’t be written in your blog that could put it at legal risk right ???

          There’s Policy section where it gives you some advice. But generally speaking if it’s defamatory, lies or copyrighted then don’t post it.

        • lprent 20.1.1.2

          Don’t worry too much. Just put yourself into my seat and think if I might decide it is worrisome bearing in mind I intensely dislike time wasted in court. And that I take draconian measures against anyone who tries to put me there. So I err on the side of caution. If I can’t figure out what you are talking about, because of opaque convolution, I assume the worst. It pays to be clear….

          Then assess how much you want to continue commenting here.

          We are adults. Determine how dangerously you want to get towards the edge. Besides, most of the commenters will try to warn you. But some consider watching banning to be entertaining…. 😈

          • lprent 20.1.1.2.1

            If you are on a desktop. Use the advanced, and search “[lprent” and you will get an idea of what I and the moderators look for.

      • Mike C 20.1.2

        @TeReoPutake

        Oh God … you are asking me to go out into “The Wilderness” in here.

        I am a “Centre Right Voter”.

        Are you trying to get me savaged to death?

        Mind you … I have put up with so much shit and crap over in Georges Blog over the past six months … that I can probably cope with being outnumbered 100 to 1 by a bunch of Lefties. LOL.

        • Draco T Bastard 20.1.2.1

          I am a “Centre Right Voter”.

          So, you vote Labour then?

        • b waghorn 20.1.2.2

          If you stop jibber jabbering and say something worth reading you’ll find the standard an interesting place.

    • r0b 20.2

      That name is probably on auto-moderation because we want to tread carefully in the context of the ongoing legal issues. Reasonable comments will always be released (the delay depends on when moderators are about).

  20. Mike C 21

    @r0b

    When I belonged to Georges Blog … I was permanently logged in at least 90% of the time.

    My username was never highlighted in blue as opposed to black at any stage throughout “My Tenure” there … and I checked often after I discovered the “Black and Blue” anomaly.

    What is considered to be “Logged-In” … with regards to Word Press?

    • Anne 21.1

      Mike C
      No two blogs are alike. Every blog owner runs their site as they see fit. If you’re a newbie then do what most newbies do… spend some time reading The Standard and join in with when you feel you’ve got the hang of the way it operates. It’s a left-wing blog site ranging from centre Left (probably where most commenters sit) to the far Left. All of them have contributions to make.

    • r0b 21.2

      Up the top of the page, on the right, are some green and blue buttons. If you click the one that says “Log in” you will find out how this works on WordPress.

    • Macro 22.1

      I think its time to get serious about limiting GHGs – and I don’t mean playing with a trashed and useless ETS.

      But don’t worry folks – John and Paula will sort it out. Just don’t expect them to listen to any of the submissions we make – they are not listening to any on the TPPA either, and why change the habit of a lifetime?

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