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Open mike 13/12/2009

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 13th, 2009 - 17 comments
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Topics of interest, announcements, general discussion. The usual rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

17 comments on “Open mike 13/12/2009”

  1. Bill 1

    Some worthwhile Sunday reading?

    The Climate Chronicle newspaper is being produced every two days during the Copenhagen climate talks. Thoughtful and in depth articles, analysis and comment. Downloadable as pdf


  2. prism 2

    A comment on one of the talks either Copenhagen or the Dohar rounds that countries might just give up set me thinking. In the future if nothing worthwhile has been done by top people with the money and information at hand to bring about change, ordinary people who are younger and not resigned or apathetic will become sufficiently enraged to have mass meetings and there will be slaughter of many by troops trying to control the population. Been done before. That will fuel and widen the anger. But if people feel there is nothing to lose there will be a worldwide focus on blame, revenge and hatred that will result in worse uprisings and attacks than the present Islamic attacks. It won’t just be a settling down to a simpler, more basic society – the element of class and desire for money has to be overcome for that to happen, I think.

    Some of the sci-fi books have attempted to devise a story using this scenario. I like John Wyndhams The Triffids, the book. Don’t know about the film. But in his story there is hope for the future, love, commitment, cunning, mature understanding of human behaviour and a viable place to live and group that still believe in friendship and human co-operation. Anyone remember the play The Admirable Crichton?

    • bill 2.1

      Or then again, you might be asked to board a train and you know if you do that you will wind up dead. And the person next to you knows the same thing. And thousands of us are herded and we are all thinking and knowing the same thing.

      Yet we all keep our heads down. We all keep our mouths shut and do as we are told because if we are good people…. compliant, polite and accommodating, then we might be okay.

      Of course we know we won’t be.


      • prism 2.1.1

        Just got back Bill. Your comment about getting on a train and compliance – well there would have been hope that something could happen. might happen, that survival was possible, with also a wish to protect others especially the children from vicious treatment and the pain of the stark truth , and also an inability to comprehend how good people could be so harshly treated.
        The Kampucheans, the Rwandans, etc must have felt the same. If people lack hope for their world and their future and the humanity of others who could help, then the nothing to lose feeling would result in angry reaction.

        • Bill

          Saw a ‘home vid’ a wee while back. Taken in what was then still (sort of) Yugoslavia. Anyway. Three bubbies (teenagers) led handcuffed from truck by three other (essentially) bubbies with guns. Three bubbies have piss stains on their pants (obviously been hand cuffed for a while).

          They are led into the woods. No objection. You’d cringe or even weep at their level of observable apparent compliance. They even appeared to converse affably with their (soon to be) executioners.

          These videos were the last images these kid’s mothers saw of them.

        • Bill

          “If people lack hope for their world and their future and the humanity of others who could help, then the nothing to lose feeling would result in angry reaction.”


          It results in a certain fatalism ’cause everything is already lost. Humanity didn’t and doesn’t care otherwise the present situation wouldn’t have come to be. There is no anger. There is an ‘already dead’ mentality that takes precedence.

          • prism

            I can see how that could be Bill. Confusion and the loss of normalcy in everything coupled with hunger, lack of direction or leadership and an unrealised scapegoat might lead to hopeless torpor. It seems that humans are prone to want a scapegoat to blame and if one was found and action planned for them, then it could unleash all the potent rage lying untapped. KKK like.

            Cults produce in their devotees quiet docility and the leaders can channel it. People could react suicidally once committed to retaliating, and feeling part of another reactionist group. The personality type measures that place people as followers, leaders, rule bound, and creatives indicate the need for leaders as followers tend to be 80% or similar amongst surveyed.

  3. side show bob 3

    Yes prism, this has nothing to do climate change but everything to do ideology, particularly socialist ideology. “People have nothing to lose”, what rubbish they have everything to lose, try freedom for a start.

    • prism 3.1

      Thinking of SSBob on the Simpsons. Think the bone through your hair very cute. So is the comment that freedom is everything. It is all a matter of perspective. My birth father died in WW2 fighting for the right for us to think about what sort of freedom we want. After the end of WW2 the free and victorious USA started an anti-commie hunt that took away people’s right to freely consider the attributes of differing ideologies. Freedom is like religion, a great idea until some guys get hold of it and find a way to market it for their own advantage.

  4. Quoth the Raven 4

    A article from a progressive and former Obama supporter: Dear Barack, Spare Me Your E-Mails

    Barack Obama’s faux populism is beginning to grate, and when yet another one of those “we the people’ e-mails from the president landed on my screen as I was fishing around for a column subject, I came unglued. It is one thing to rob us blind by rewarding the power elite that created our problems but quite another to sugarcoat it in the rhetoric of a David taking on those Goliaths.

    In each of the three most important areas of policy with which he has dealt, Obama speaks in the voice of the little people’s champion, but his actions cater fully to the demands of the most powerful economic interests.

    With his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, he has given the military-industrial complex an excuse for the United States to carry on in spending more on defense than the rest of the world combined, without a credible military adversary in sight. His response to the banking meltdown was to continue George W. Bush’s massive giveaway of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street, and his health care reform has all the earmarks of a boondoggle for the medical industry profiteers.

    I feel if these people had engaged their minds a little more before the election instead of the usual leader worship and fealty to authority of the mainstream left they wouldn’t have wasted their time supporting that fool.

    • Zorr 4.1

      And instead supported John McCain and Sarah Palin?

      Not much to choose from there QtR and Obama is by far the lesser of two evils. The issue lies in the giant pedestal that they built to place the 50ft towering golden statue of him on.

      • Quoth the Raven 4.1.1

        The wrong lizard argument.

        ‘Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard’, said Ford, ‘the wrong lizard might get in.

        Zorr there are means other than political to bring about positive change in society. The very fact that you see it as an issue of the lesser of two evils shows how bankrupt the system is and that is the way that many Americans see it themselves. Is that any kind of democracy where your vote is only to play one evil off of another? I don’t think so, but you insist on framing it in democratic terms i.e., if Obama didn’t get in than McCain would’ve. The American people need to work outside the system to change it for the better.

  5. nder the US Constitutional system what option had they? Vote for Obama, vote for McCain, not vote. What would you have done?

    What might at last be seeping into the American psyche is that their much-vaunted Constitution, the theoretical product of very different world, no longer suffices. It’s an uncomfortable merging of a quadannular Kingship trying to co-exist with the Roman Republic. It might have been a vast improvement over the systems that existed two centuries ago but many of those, such as the Westminster system, have moved on considerably and while far from perfect have proved far more responsive to the needs and demands of the modern world that the US and can adapt far faster.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Note that there’s nothing in the constitution that says there can only be 2 political parties. In fact up until about the 1930’s or so there were multiple parties in American politics that had significant showings in the presidential elections. Since then it has suited the “PTB” to have only 2 main parties that the plebs must choose between and many systems have been put in place to support the overall 2-party system.

      So to answer your original question: “Under the US Constitutional system what option had they? Vote for Obama, vote for McCain, not vote.” they could have voted for any of the numerous independents that stood for the presidency. Of course none of these have made realistic showings since Ralph Nador cost Al Gore the presidency in 2000, but they were still an option, just like RAM and the other maginal parties in NZ are an option.

  6. gingercrush 6

    So we have a new TV 3 poll that is favourable for Labour but not favourable for National. National is down 5 points, Labour is up 3.6%, Greens 1%. Preferred PM. Key down six points and below 50% and Goff up 3% to 8%. TV 3 is attributing that to the Nationhood speech with polling out tomorrow likely to show support for that speech.Best poll for Labour for the whole year and a bad poll for National.

    Only I think TV 3 have it wrong and the “Nationhood” speech played little role in the support for Labour and the Greens going up and National’s polling falling. 2-3% falls in support for or against a party is well normal with polling. Its almost expected. Thus in my view Labour polling higher with the Greens is just that. A symptom of what occurs naturally in polling. But additionally better media coverage of Goff and Labour. They’ve been performing better as the opposition and have gotten some good hits against National and lifted their profile.

    National’s polling and John Key’s have fallen more substantially than 2-3%. Hence my feeling that artificial high polling and some questionable policies and bad governing as of late is directly responsible for National’s poor polling. They’ve taken hits, ministers have been all over the news. Key and National continue to be vague on a vision for their government. They just haven’t delivered that well as of late.

    Overall, therefore a good poll for Labour and bad for National. But this poll is more about how horrible National has been lately than any speech Goff gave two weeks ago. No doubt the media everywhere will like TV 3 point to the “Nationhood” speech as what made the polls turn. Its easy to do. But I think they’re wrong.

    • Armchair Critic 6.1

      It’s just a poll, ginge, I wouldn’t read too much into it
      There was a post a month or three back asking people who voted National in 2008 why they voted National. I recall there was quite a response to it.
      Earlier on this week the results of a Roy Morgan poll were the subject of a post. The poll results show the gap widened after the election. Which indicates that there are people who didn’t vote National at the election who would now vote National. And since I didn’t vote National at the election and wouldn’t now, I would be fascinated to know why anyone else would.

      • Craig Glen Eden 6.1.1

        I don’t think the polls mean much at all at this time.
        I deal with a large number of National voting people. Some are quite shocked at how badly they (National ) are doing and that they are blatantly lying about stuff like ACC. The thing is its to early for them to admit they should have stuck with Labour and Helen.Its not easy to admit they got it wrong.

        The other group of National supporters are the type of people that make no link between who they voted for and policy. The fail to see that the nice smiley Mr Key actually is killing their businesses. Its that whole but he is smiling he seems nice to me how could he possibly be bad disconnect.

        Its going to take a whole group of people about 3 years to realise they are living a 90s rerun.
        Its like watching a movie and taking 30 minutes to realise oh shit I have seen this before and it was crap you keep looking at the cover of the DVD packett going” oh shit surely not, how did I get this out again?”
        Finally you realise you picked it because of the same reason you picked it the last time, it looked good in its cover and the spiel sounded interesting.

        By this time the family is shitty at you and you are saying ” I wont get that out again” and they are reminding you that you said that the last time you got the same shitty DVD out.

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