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Open mike 14/04/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 14th, 2022 - 88 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

88 comments on “Open mike 14/04/2022 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    The best way for Labour to help National is to encourage their ministers to appear incompetent in public. The strategy seems to be working well:

    The minister responsible for the Covid-19 rules, Chris Hipkins, admitted to a “mind blank” when asked about what the change to ”orange” meant for mask use.

    In a jumbled press conference announcing New Zealand’s move from red to orange on the Covid-19 traffic lights system, Hipkins defended rules which allow unmasked party goers to “pash” on the dance floor and had to backtrack after giving incorrect information about mask requirements.

    Hipkins initially said “the rules have changed”, and then incorrectly told reporters airlines and bus operators could set their own rules on face masks… Passengers on public transport are still required to wear a mask and the Covid-19 response minister had to correct himself mid-announcement.

    Hipkins finished the press conference with a mea culpa and apology: “I did not refresh my memory sufficiently about mask requirements at orange, I apologise for that. That was my mistake.” He insisted the mask rules would be clear for the public, despite initially being confused about the rules.


    His confidence that the general public will better at getting clarity on the new rules than he himself could be misplaced. However, sending the tacit signal to National that he believers the average voter is quicker on the uptake than he is seems an excellent example of bipartisanship. Will they grab this plum he has tossed at them and run with it?

    • Treetop 1.1

      Hipkins could have brain fog from Covid. Needs to refresh the traffic light rules before he presents. Just because the mask rules have changed in some situations there is nothing stopping a person from wearing a mask if they choose to.

    • To be fair, Hipkins is the Labour minister I like and respect the most.

      He seems earnest and hard-working.

      And he doesn't shy away from interviews even with the likes of HDPA and Hosking who tend try to eviscerate him. Yet he always responds in a cheery fashion, and tries to answer the questions in an open and honest way.

      • Dennis Frank 1.2.1

        Having a cheerful disposition helps. Being open & honest puts him above the PM currently. Fronting up for hostile interviews is even more meritorious.

        Problem: fronting the change to the pandemic management system at a press conference requires a grasp of the changes being made. He failed on that count.

        A PM's rating of ministerial performance is based on the minister's ability to get the elementary facts right when media ask about them.

      • Jimmy 1.2.2

        I agree, IMO Hipkins is the best performing Labour MP and as you say, always fronts up to interviews. I just think he is too busy with both Covid and Education so things slip through the cracks as he is too stretched. I think Jacinda would give him Poto Williams' portfolios too if she could, as she is clearly not coping, but he's too busy.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Bomber's too optimistic.

    James will go, the new non binary co-leadership model will be adopted, 10 000 people will like it on Twitter and it will lead to the Greens limping home with 7% in 2023.


    If they adopt it, no way will they get 7%. If they scrape in with 5% it will be a considerable surprise to me. I'm picking 4%, perhaps 3.5%. He's likely to be right about James deciding enough's enough though.

    And hey, discrimination against males is cool in the GP will be the verdict that turns voters off. Why is this not obvious to the Green Caucus & Exceutive already?? They can blather until they’re blue in the face that the rule change doesn’t thus discriminate. Technically correct is not a win – perception defeats reality!

    • Ad 2.1

      Come election this term, James Shaw will be the only Green MP to have achieved anything. The rest have just dragged.

      I have a lot of confidence he will land his portfolio well.

      If he walks he will go straight to something useful in Wellington like DPMC or KPMG.

      • Treetop 2.1.1

        Jan Logie did achieve having some birth injuries being covered by ACC. Logie is currently chipping away at the ACC sensitive claims process. It is brutal, repetitive and slow.

        Davidson has not done well with emergency housing. Now that the country has opened up I expect rents will rise and there will be less capacity in motels for emergency housing. The shortage and cost of building materials is also a concern. People will stay in a rental longer due to this.

      • Bearded Git 2.1.2

        Agreed Ad. Shaw has been the Green's major asset since Metiria left.

        The Greens are polling 10%-doing fine.

        Bomber is stirring, as is Trotter, who has always hated the Greens (and seems to be thick with Bomber).


    • Francesca 2.2

      It'll be interesting to see how the Green party membership votes regards list ranking and co leadership.

      It will demonstrate how the majority of members feel about the tinkering

      Also, we'll see how the SGM pans out, and which recommendations are approved

    • roblogic 2.3

      I’ve been a TOP voter for the last 2 elections – kind of a protest vote. But practically I think the Greens have the best chance of leading Aotearoa to a more just system of redistribution of wealth.

      Their identity bollocks is bloody annoying divisive and alienating tho. Despite that, I am inclined to hold my nose and vote Green for a better chance of fairer taxation, benefits, and investment in the future.

      Labour’s incrementalism doesn’t cut it.

  3. Jenny how to get there 3

    What would a Russian victory in Ukraine look like?

    Russia's ally in Syria gives us a some idea of what Ukraine under Russian occupation would be like.

    A year after “reconciliation”: Arrests and disappearances abound in southern Syria

    ……Among those arrested was Rateb al-Jabawi, the former head of Jasim local council during the opposition rule. In September 2018, al-Jabawi was taken from his home and arrested by a security service patrol in the city of Jasim. “[His arrest] is one of the most important violations of the settlement deal,” said the former military commander.”

    Security and military patrols have also been conducting raids and searches on houses of civilians in the town of Rasm al-Halabi, a village in the countryside of al-Quneitra, and have specifically targeted former members of the Civil Defense (The White Helmets). They have recently arrested two brothers who formerly worked with the White Helmets, Bilal and Ala’a Shubat.

    A week before the arrest of the Shubat brothers, three former members of the Civil Defense from the village of Saidah al-Joulan, near the Golan Heights, were kidnapped while traveling between the city of al-Sheikh Maskin and Nawa in the Daraa governorate. Local media outlets accused the Syrian government security forces of being behind the kidnappings….


    Don't support fascism. (It really shouldn't have to be said).

    • mikesh 3.1

      Syria is not an "occupied" country. As far as I know it has its own government.

      • Jenny how to get there 3.1.1

        Disappearances of citizens with no trial are a hall mark of fascist states.

        The policy of abducting of political activists and journalists and elected representatives common in Assad’s Syria, are now being carried in areas of occupied Ukraine by Russian forces.

        In A Ukrainian Region Occupied By Russian Forces, People Are Disappearing. Locals Fear It's About To Get Worse.

        March 16, 2022 17:30 GMT

        • By Oleksandr Yankovshiv
        • Volodymyr Mykhavlov
        • Yevhenia Tokar

        On the morning of March 12, just after 9 a.m., Serhiy Tsyhipa said goodbye to his wife and walked out the door of his home in the small southern Ukrainian city of Nova Kakhovka, along with his dog Ais, to meet colleagues in the next town.

        Tsyhipa, a 60-year-old activist, blogger, and vocal opponent of Russia's invasion, was also supposed to drop off some medicine for his mother-in-law.

        "He never arrived. He never came home. His phone turned on twice for a few minutes and that's it. I was only able to send voice messages, nothing more," his wife, Olena, told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service.

        The same day Tsyhipa disappeared, Oleh Baturin, a reporter for a local news site called Noviy Den, also went missing. His relatives and colleagues are still looking for him…..

        In southern Ukraine's Kherson region, people are going missing — most recently on March 16, when armed men seized the mayor and his deputy in the coastal town of Skadovsk and took them away to an undisclosed location….


        You are the fascists!

        • mikesh

          A fascist state is one that is ruled by fascists. As far as I know Russia does not rule any part of Ukraine.

          • Jenny how to get there


            14 April 2022 at 5:36 pm

            …..As far as I know Russia does not rule any part of Ukraine.

            Mikesh, "as far as you know" is not very far..

            For your information Crimea is a part of Ukraine that Russia rules.

            Russia seized control of most of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, except for the northern areas of the Arabat Spit and the Syvash, which were still ruled by Ukraine right up until February this year when Russia forcibly occupied and imposed their rule on these last bits of Crimea as well.

            Some other parts of Ukraine in the Donbas region, are also effectively ruled from Russia. Donetsk in eastern Ukraine is ruled by Russia-backed separatists, led by far right Russian Nationalists and neo-nazis, with state backing from Russia.

            ….Some have pointed out the far right received only 2% of the vote in Ukraine’s 2019 parliamentary elections, far less than in most of Europe….

            ….What has received less coverage is the Putin regime’s own record of collaboration with far-right extremists….

            …..No less important is the role of neo-Nazis and other right-wing figures in Russia’s onslaught against Ukraine.

            In 2014, RO’s Aleksandr Matyushin helped to terrorise supporters of the Ukrainian state in Donetsk on the eve of Russia’s proxy war in eastern Ukraine…..

            ….Putin’s weaponisation of neo-Nazis was always a risky strategy, but it was not irrational. Unlike mainstream nationalists, who tend to support the idea of free elections, neo-Nazis reject democratic institutions and the very idea of human equality. For a dictator dismantling democracy and constructing an authoritarian regime, they were ideal accomplices.

            Putin’s fascists: the Russian state’s long history of cultivating homegrown neo-Nazis

            Published: March 22, 2022 8.05am NZDT


            • mikesh

              For your information Crimea is a part of Ukraine that Russia rules.

              For your information, Crimea is part of Russia. Crimea has been been part of Russia for 300 years, and it was returned to Russia in 2014 with the consent of the Crimean people, the majority of whom are Russian anyway.

              I think the transfer of Crimea in 1954 was effected by the Soviet Union, not by Russia. Russia and the Soviet Union were of course separate entities, and the latter no longer exists

              It is your knowledge, I think, which does not "extend very far".

            • mikesh

              Putin’s fascists: the Russian state’s long history of cultivating homegrown neo-Nazis

              Russia has Neo-Nazis, as has every country probably, but they have no influence on government. It is actually the Ukraine that is led by Neo-Nazis. Zelenskyy himself campaigned on a "peace" policy, and I think that that is a policy he would have preferred to have followed, but the Nazi faction in the Ukraine, I think, wouldn't let him, so instead he was forced to continue the bombing of the Eastern regions. Not only that but he (was forced?) to endorse a policy aimed at conquering Crimea – a policy which Putin could scarcely be expected to countenance – and I think that ultimately this was the policy that led to the invasion.

              The men of the Donbas "republic",incidentally, are not Nazis, just men unwilling to live under Ukraine's Nazi rule. This war actually started in 2014 when the democratically elected president, Viktor Yanokovich, was illegally deposed by the Ukraine's Nazi element. It was at that point that they started to seek autonomy.

              • Jenny how to get there

                Quite obviously the flattening of cities is not a big issue for you.

              • Jenny how to get there

                There is not one neo-nazi representative in the Ukraine parliament. Ukrainian neo-nazi and far right candidates got less than 2% of the vote.

                No matter how many times you stick a label on your enemies as fascist, or communist, or capitalist, does not justify the flattening of cities.

                Targeting heavily populated civilian centres is a war crime amounting to genocide.

                Unless you think Ukraine is flattening its own cities to discredit Russia.

                Which side do you think closest resembles by their tactics and strategies Nazis?

                Bombing of Guernica

                From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

                …..The attack gained controversy because it involved the bombing of civilians by a military air force. Seen as a war crime by some historians, and argued as a legitimate attack by others,[1] it was one of the first aerial bombings to capture global attention.


                Bombing of Warsaw

                • mikesh

                  There is not one neo-nazi representative in the Ukraine parliament. Ukrainian neo-nazi and far right candidates got less than 2% of the vote.

                  The illegal ousting of Viktor Yanukovich in 2014 was engineered by fascists, so clearly they have sufficient influence to be able to pull strings.

                  No matter how many times you stick a label on your enemies as fascist, or communist, or capitalist, does not justify the flattening of cities.

                  True. Simply imposing a label never justifies anything.

                  Targeting heavily populated civilian centres is a war crime amounting to genocide.

                  Abhorent, I agree. But it "takes two to tango". The Ukranian authorities would have to be considered equally guilty if they provoke an invasion; which clearly they did.

                  Which side do you think closest resembles by their tactics and strategies Nazis?


                  • mikesh

                    The Ukranian authorities would have to be considered equally guilty if they provoke an invasion;

                    I should have added that this war might well have ended a lot sooner had the USA and GB not been supplying the Ukrainians eith weapons. And it may not even have started if the Ukranians had not been able to anticipate such assistance. So the burden of guilt would have to fall on the USA and GB also.

                    In case you hadn't noticed, the Ukrainians are fighting a proxy war on behalf of Uncle Sam.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Principled rightists are rare beasts but one just resigned as Conservative justice minister in the UK due to govt delinquency:

    In a letter to Mr Johnson, Lord David Wolfson criticised the "official response" to "repeated rule-breaking". He is the first person to quit the government since reports of lockdown parties emerged.

    Barrister Lord Wolfson has been a justice minister since December 2020, with responsibility for human rights and the constitution.

    In his resignation letter, Lord Wolfson said the “scale, context and nature” of Covid breaches in government was inconsistent with the rule of law.

    He added that he had “no option” other than to resign, given his “ministerial and professional obligations” in this area.

    “It is not just a question of what happened in Downing Street, or your own conduct,” he wrote to the PM. “It is also, and perhaps more so, the official response to what took place.”


    • AB 4.1

      With Labour governments in the UK now being virtually impossible due to FPP, Scottish nationalism and a corporate media environment that is relentlessly hostile to them – politics is now reduced to which faction of the Tory party is in power.

      It is a contest between the 'levelling up' nationalists wanting to make Britain great again, project power globally and not averse to governments doing stuff and spending money (Johnson faction) – and the swivel-eyed neoliberal loons of the 'Singapore on Thames' mob.(Sunak faction).

      Depressing and boring all round.

      • Dennis Frank 4.1.1

        Depressing and boring all round.

        Hard to argue with that. Starmer does seem notably centrist however – which we could translate as electable. Not that his likely default to a neoliberal agenda would please many other than as least/worst option. But you're right to imply that tories must implode to get that scenario activated. Boris is a scrapper. Opinion polls trending down for him would be a signal to watch for.

        • The Al1en

          People seem to forget, ignore or stick their fingers in their ears and go lalala that England is predominantly a centre right country and has been since '79. All hard left labour leaders since have led the party to record breaking defeats.

          It's like these "turn labour left" people have no idea of the real state of play in politics. It might not be what's needed, or desired by the more politically engaged, but winning the trust of the middle and dragging them left without scaring the voters away is the only way right wing conservatism can be kept from running amok unchecked. Add in a virtual monopoly of right leaning media it makes party messaging even more vital than ever. One has to be in it to win it.

          “Edwina Currie boasts ‘I don’t care’ Boris Johnson broke law because Tories will win anyway”


          • Binders full of women

            Agreed, I think it is now 44! years since a Labour leader not named Blair has been voted in as PM

      • Incognito 4.1.2

        Depressing and boring all round.

        People switch off and disengage. Voter turnout tumbles. Mission accomplished.

  5. I commented the other day on the nuclear weapon's strategy of mutually assured destruction and how the policy can no longer be relied on in the context of current events (if it ever could have been previously).

    Refreshingly, here is someone who knows what they are talking about saying similar things.

    The MAD (appropriate acronymn!!) strategy assumed a that major actors would be rational and would care for their own lives, and that of their population, and hence would not resort to the use of such weapons.

    The problem is that Putin, in a nefariously rational way, is threatening use of weapons if other nations go too far in terms of trying to stop him getting his way. Thus, nuclear weapons have suddenly become a major problem when a major power uses nuclear weapons to bully other nations into acquiescing to his demands and actions no matter how horrific they are.

    The problem being that if that sort of behaviour is tolerated, then it will continue to be repeated until the bully nation gets all it wants.

    This is a very thorny problem without any obvious solution. To me, it seems nuclear war is almost unavoidable at some point in the future with this sort of cavalier attitude.

    Once we get through the current crisis, I think this is an issue world leaders will need to address.

    One solution I proposed the other day, was that the super powers could agree to disband nuclear weapons in favour of large thermobaric ones if they still want to maintain a MAD policy. Those weapons have city-killing potential without the nuclear fall-out problems that could kill civilisation. So would do the job of MAD without the wider implications.

    Perhaps that could be a first step to total de-escalation and move towards a much more sustainable future of peace and co-operation.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Yes. If Putin wants to invade eastern Poland or the Baltic states for instance – exactly what would stop him if he recycles the same successful tactic? This has been the gorilla in the living room from the very start of this Ukrainian butchery.

      In doing this Putin stepped over a line – he has essentially said that he is the greater madman, that he believes it is worth ending civilisation to obtain his goals. Effectively he is now a greater monster than Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Hitler combined. You have to keep in mind that his ultimate goal is the destruction of the West – and there is the very real possibility he is so unhinged that he is willing to end the world to achieve it. If there is any truth to the idea that Alexandr Dugin has and is influencing his beliefs then we have to take this possibility seriously.

      The lazy strategy in response is to hope for an internal coup to topple him. Small odds of success in my view.

      The next strategy is to call his bluff as the West has been doing in a proportionate fashion, arming Ukraine and aiding with intelligence and imposing sanctions. The next step is to take out a Russian cruiser in the Black Sea, or start seizing Russian merchant navy and aviation anywhere in the world. Gradually ramping up the military pressure without triggering a nuclear response. This is the ‘ how lucky do you feel punk’ plan.

      The third strategy that would be the most dramatic, but could be the most profound. A global Mexican standoff – an open declaration that at the moment the first Russian nuke of any size is detonated anywhere that there will be an immediate, unconstrained launch of every western nuclear weapon onto not only Russia but onto every nation aligned with them.

      There is only one feasible, enduring solution to this threat – that the nations cede their power to commit war and their surrender their nuclear weapons in toto to a global body. The only way to ensure this happens now is through fear of the consequences of failing to do so.

      At the outset such a global body would be deeply imperfect, it would still be riven by contention and conflict between the democratic and authoritarian powers. It would still lack a universal embracing of a moral principle to guide it, it would struggle to attain an authentic democratic accountability. But if the alternative was extinction we might just have to swallow the largest rodent in all of human history and do it.

      • mikesh 5.1.1

        You have to keep in mind that his ultimate goal is the destruction of the West

        Really?? I doubt it. But if so, Ukraine would have to be seen as aiding him by providing him with a justifiable target with which to start such a project.

      • tsmithfield 5.1.2

        "The next step is to take out a Russian cruiser in the Black Sea, or start seizing Russian merchant navy and aviation anywhere in the world."

        The Ukranians claim they have just scored a damaging hit on the Russian missile cruiser, the Moskva. Still awaiting independent confirmation of that. But if true, would make the Russians feel a bit nervous about their other ships near Ukraine.

        Red, you would enjoy some of the podcasts on youtube by Peter Zeihan, a really insightful geopolitical analyst.

        He thinks it is unlikely that Russia will use a tactical nuke in Ukraine (though not ruling it out entirely). His view is that if Russia were to do that, one of the consequences would be that every Nato nation would very quickly have nuclear missiles on their countries pointing directly at Russia.

        So, hopefully, the use of a tactical nuke isn't so likely. And hopefully, Putin still fears MAD, and is just bluffing in that respect.

        • tsmithfield

          Further to my post above, it looks like something drastic has happened on the Russian flag ship, the Moskva.

          Apparently the Russians are saying that a fire on board caused ammunition to detonate meaning that the crew was evacuated. According the Ukranians, they have hit it with neptune missiles.

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            Be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic.

            A warship is built in 1979. Suddenly, after 43 years of operation without catching fire, and a few hours after Ukraine claims to have hit it with missiles, Russia says it had an 'onboard fire' and 'ammunition explosion' without admitting any attack! Quite the coincidence there.

            For amusing mockery of Russian lies and evil behaviour, I recommend Darth Putin and Sputnik_not

          • DB Brown

            I smiled to myself reading your mention of taking out a cruiser on the black sea as it was already done.

            Dear Moskva,

            No really, go fuck yourself.

            – Ukraine

  6. Francesca 6

    Already a precedent for it

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Unconditional surrender
    We tolerated it

    • Yes. In my opinion, that was the worst war crime in the history of the world.

      However, I think that so horrified the world, that it led to the MAD doctrine, given that other countries had also developed nukes.

      I the world needs to be horrified in a similar way again to move towards planet-saving change.

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        See above.

      • DB Brown 6.1.2

        It doesn't matter what type of weapon levels cities, we're already witnessing the levelling of cities.

        Our youth are already traumatised enough, by the adults in the room and their indifference and the pandemic, global warming, no path to a bright future, and now this Putin psycho. You reckon lobbing a nuke will help? Sounds desperate. Take a breath.

        Clearly Putin needs to be stopped. But violence begets trauma begets violence, and the hate lives on.

        We can’t break a cycle of grudges with a nuke.

      • Pataua4life 6.1.3

        What are you talking about. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved millions of lives. Both in Japanese and American servicemen and Japanese civilians.

        With the use of these bombs Japan would not have been forced to surrender until the country was wiped out.

        • arkie

          What are you talking about? Regurgitating US myths – next you'll tell us that WWII in Europe was resolved thanks entirely to US involvement – another myth.

          Nuclear weapons shocked Japan into surrendering at the end of World War II—except they didn’t. Japan surrendered because the Soviet Union entered the war. Japanese leaders said the bomb forced them to surrender because it was less embarrassing to say they had been defeated by a miracle weapon. Americans wanted to believe it, and the myth of nuclear weapons was born.

          Look at the facts. The United States bombed 68 cities in the summer of 1945. If you graph the number of people killed in all 68 of those attacks, you imagine that Hiroshima is off the charts, because that’s the way it’s usually presented. In fact, Hiroshima is second. Tokyo, a conventional attack, is first in the number killed. If you graph the number of square miles destroyed, Hiroshima is sixth. If you graph the percentage of the city destroyed, Hiroshima is 17th.


          • RedLogix

            Oh well so nuclear weapons are not so scary after all. Whatever were we thinking.

            I'm guessing this means NATO can now go ahead and enter Ukraine and crush the Russians with impunity.

            • arkie

              Please point out where I said or implied any of that. I was refuting an entirely different claim.

              Quite a ridiculous stretch, I expect an apology and a retraction.

            • mikesh

              Why would they? Oh, of course, I forgot. This is a proxy war fought on behalf of Uncle Sam.

          • joe90

            WWII in Europe was resolved thanks entirely to US involvement – another myth.

            The war in Europe was lost without Lend Lease and US industrial might.

            Churchill had just raised his glass for the concluding toast when
            Stalin requested the privilege of proposing one more toast—to the
            President and people of the United States:

            I want to tell you, from the Russian point of view, what
            the President and the United States have done to win the war.
            The most important things in this war are machines. The
            United States has proven that it can turn out from 8,000 to
            10.000 airplanes per month. Russia can only turn out, at most,
            3.000 airplanes a month. England turns out 3,000 to 3,500,
            which are principally heavy bombers. The United States,
            therefore, is a country of machines.
            Without the use of those machines, through Lend-Lease,
            we would lose this war

            This generous tribute prompted Roosevelt to ask for the last word.
            He talked about the diversity of political complexions around the
            banquet table which, he said, reminded him of the rainbow, to Ameri
            cans “a symbol of good fortune and of hope.” The President con

            W. Averell Harriman – Special Envoy to Churchill and Stalin, 1941-1946

            First of all, I want to say about the words of Stalin, which he repeated several times when we had "free conversations" among ourselves. He directly said that if the United States had not helped us, we would not have won this war: face to face with Nazi Germany, we would not have withstood its onslaught and lost the war.

            Nikita Khrushchev – Post-war reflections


            Even before the United States entered World War II in December 1941, America sent arms and equipment to the Soviet Union to help it defeat the Nazi invasion. Totaling $11.3 billion, or $180 billion in today’s currency, the Lend-Lease Act of the United States supplied needed goods to the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1945 in support of what Stalin described to Roosevelt as the “enormous and difficult fight against the common enemy — bloodthirsty Hitlerism.”

            • 400,000 jeeps & trucks
            • 14,000 airplanes
            • 8,000 tractors
            • 13,000 tanks
            • 1.5 million blankets
            • 15 million pairs of army boots
            • 107,000 tons of cotton
            • 2.7 million tons of petrol products
            • 4.5 million tons of food


            • arkie

              That's right, the US contributed greatly but the insertion of US armed forces was not the sole reason behind victory in Europe, it required a large number people and governments, you know, the Allied powers, working together. Funny that.

        • tsmithfield

          “What are you talking about. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved millions of lives. Both in Japanese and American servicemen and Japanese civilians.”

          I think that explanation was a nonsense argument, providing cognitive dissonance to justify the horror of what happened.

          The US could have chosen a much slower but far less damaging method to achieve the same end. For instance, blockading all of Japans ports until they surrendered. There wasn't any need for any more US or Japanese to die.

          • Sanctuary

            First of all, you are assuming that the Japanese would have surrendered if subject to blockade – an outcome completely unpredictable in 1945 and completely at variance with the fanatical resistance of the Japanese up to that point. The use of atomic weapons acted as a circuit breaker that gave the Japanese a way out.

            Second, you are dismissing the mass starvation that would have been caused by a blockade. The chances are many more, potentially running to the millions, could have starved to death (including large numbers of Allied POWs being held by the Japanese in Japan) than those who died in the nuclear attacks.

            Third you are not considering the considerable political impetus to use nuclear weapons in 1945. Consider this. It is December 1945, and you are a US Congressman attending a rally. An angry mother demands to know why her son was killed two days ago in a Kamikaze attack on his blockading cruiser when the United States had possessed for many months a wonder weapon of enormous power, but hadn't chosen to use it. Another man chimes in, saying he had heard via the Red Cross his son, a POW since 1942, had starved to death in November. He also wants to know why the government hadn't used this weapon on an enemy everyone (after three years of propaganda) agreed were little more than sentient Monkeys and saved his boy. No elected politician would want to answer those questions and if you were that congressman you'd be really, really pissed at any president who didn't use said wonder weapon at the earliest opportunity.

            It is all very well to sit back eighty years later and make rational arguments when in full possession of the facts but people in 1945 neither had all the facts or even if they had were disposed to give a brutal, dehumanised and merciless enemy any benefit of the doubt whatsoever.

            The Germans terror bombed Warsaw and Rotterdam, and they got Hamburg and Dresden. The Japanese brutalised Allied POWs and fought with merciless savagery and they got Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That is how the remorseless escalation of violence in war work.

            • tsmithfield

              You may be right. And we are looking back 80 years. Which is why I am not into "whataboutism" because most countries these days try to do everything possible to avoid the use of nukes.

              But, I still see the deliberate targeting of civilian populations with nuclear weapons has to be, by definition, the ultimate expression of a war crime.

              Sure, nukes were the shiny new thing back then, and people didn't know the full implications of them. But I still think there were much more peaceful options available.

              Another option may have been to have a demonstration of nuke at sea so the Japanese could see what might be in store for them if they continued the fight.

              The threat of something is often more effective than actually doing it. That is because the Japanese, including its leaders, would have no idea who the target of the weapon might be, if it were actually used.

              I just don't accept that the use of nukes on civilian populations had to be the only option considered. What would we say today if Russia did that to say, Kiev?

              • Sanctuary

                I think you are ascribing far to much thinking and nuance to a political process that basically went like this: "We've got the bomb, they don't, lets nuke 'em – they deserve it – and end this damn war quickly. Oh and while we are it at the same time show the Commies in Moscow they should be afraid, very afraid".

                The secondary debate about morality and how many people might have died either way was left for philosophers, theologians and historians at a later date.

                As for the Russian maybe using nuclear weapons – these are now understood to be weapons of last resort, for use only in retaliation for an existential nuclear attack. Russia would gain nothing by using nuclear weapons except to create an exceptional risk of total annihilation. Putin is as crazy as a cut snake, so who knows how far he is prepared to go but the United States has made 100% crystal clear it would respond in kind to the use of nuclear weapons by Russia in the Ukraine.

                • McFlock

                  The blockade idea was actually working – not cruisers, but US submarines had basically obliterated maritime traffic of all sizes around the Home Islands. It was just a matter of time until surrender.

                  But also, I haven't seen any example of any part of US government that was in the know even considering not using the Bomb. Some had the vengeance thing going, others wanted to see its effects, some wanted it as a warning to the Soviets, but these all seem to be "add-on" motives. The Bomb was going to be dropped, lots of folks could see positive angles for their own policy area or bugbear, but not dropping it doesn't seem to have seriously occurred to anyone.

                  • Sanctuary

                    Well, you don't spend two billion in 1940s dollars for something you are not going to use.

        • Stuart Munro

          The Japanese surrender was not precipitated by the nukes, but by Russia's rejection of a conditional surrender.

          Once Russia entered the war in the East, Japan had no options left short of unconditional surrender. But the bureaucracy was a little slow, as it was with the declaration of war prior to Pearl Harbour.

      • joe90 6.1.4

        that was the worst war crime in the history of the world.

        Winners don’t commit war crimes.

        LeMay said, "If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals." And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?

        • Robert McNamara
        • Sanctuary

          As an aside, while the Manhatten project cost two billion the cost to develop the B-29 bomber was three billion so the two atomic bombs and their delivery system represented a massive investment.

          In context, it was the equivalent at the time of forty fleet aircraft carriers complete with their air groups.

          • McFlock

            The B29 killed more people with incendiaries than the Silverplate mod did with nukes.

            It's a little-known fact that the delivery platform cost more than the device, but it's a mistake to add the two together.

    • RedLogix 6.2

      Yes this is effectively what Putin is doing, threatening nuclear extinction and using as cover to achieve the unconditional surrender of first Ukraine – then Europe.

      • Dennis Frank 6.2.1

        Except that his capacity to use an army as leverage is now in question due to the surprising failure of his surprise attack. Plus Xi has not yet made his public move.

        • RedLogix

          Putin has appointed a new military leader who openly prefers the standard Soviet siege strategy of slowly surrounding, starving and shelling opponents into surrender regardless of casualties.

          As per Mariupol. Big success.

          • Sanctuary

            Mariupol has held out for six weeks (so far).

            Hopefully the Russians will look at the battle for Mariupol, consider the cost, and recall the words of Mustapha Pasha, the leader of the Turkish army during the Great Seige of Malta in 1565, when after very heavy losses to his army he stood on the smoking ruins of the desperately defended small fort of St. Elmo and looked across the bay at the solid walls of Fort St Angelo:

            “If so small a son has cost us so dear,” he exclaimed, “what price shall we have to pay for so large a father?”

            • RedLogix

              Well yes that is also a reasonable argument.

              The critical strategic advantage now lies with Ukraine:

              • A full draft of all fighting age men – that will only become more effective with time
              • The innate advantage of defense, with a proven leadership
              • A very deep supply of weapons from NATO that Russia cannot easily stop

              As others have said Poots has run out of easy options – only hard ones are left.

            • swordfish


              Hopefully the Russians will look at the battle for Mariupol, consider the cost, and recall the words of Mustapha Pasha, the leader of the Turkish army during the Great Seige of Malta in 1565 … “If so small a son has cost us so dear,” he exclaimed, “what price shall we have to pay for so large a father?”

              I'm not sure the 1565 Great Seige of Malta by the Ottoman Turks will necessarily be sitting uppermost in the minds of Russian strategists at the moment.

              Nor will the 1315 Battle of Morgarten, in which the independence-seeking Swiss ambushed Duke Leopold I's well-trained army of Hapsburg mercenaries on the shores of Lake Ageri with Louis X of France exclaiming: “They appear outraged by the ban imposed by the Bishop of Bern's emissaries yet are reluctant to act for fear of Schwyz violence”.

              I'd aver the Ruskies will also pay little, if any, heed to the position of the Luftwaffe in 1945, the 1240 Sacking of Sandomierz during the first Mongol invasion of Poland, in which the Abbot of Koprzywnica and all his monks were brutally murdered with boiling molasses, the position the French Womens Auxilliary Balloon Corps found itself in towards the end of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War, the predicament of the German High Seas fleet after the Battle of Jutland in 1916, of which an American journalist observed – “the German fleet has assaulted its jailer, but it is still in jail”, the position of the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty in northern China on the eve of the 1211 Battle of Yehuling where the Mongol Empire forces of Genghis Khan ultimately prevailed, albeit at the cost of weakening certain allied tribes …

              Nor, for that matter, do I suspect Russian strategists will currently be pondering lessons to be learned from the decidedly gruesome 1676 Sea Battle of the Faroes, in which the combined maritime forces of Denmark & Norway under King Frederick V were massacred in a surprise axe-wielding ship invasion by men serving under the rebellious Icelandic Sea Captain & former Pirate Ólafur Halldór Gunnarsson.


              • RedLogix

                Very funny – but now you are just showing off. cheeky

                • swordfish


                  All genuine battles & seiges, RL, with valuable life-lessons for Sanc to imbibe & learn … except, perhaps, the last-mentioned axe-wielding homicidal Icelandic maniac … that was probably just wishful thinking …

                  … also not entirely sure there was ever a French Womens Auxilliary Balloon Corps on reconnaissance duties during the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War … but, by the same token, we can't completely rule it out either.

              • Poission

                Mar figures inflation

                Lithuania 15.9%

                Latvia 11.5%

                Estonia 15.2%

                Poland 11%

                Germany 7.3% (wholesale 22.2%)

                Euro depreciation (us$) 12 months 10%

                Ruble depreciation (us$) 8%

        • tsmithfield

          “Except that his capacity to use an army as leverage is now in question due to the surprising failure of his surprise attack.”

          The fact that the Russian army has performed so badly is even more scary.

          The point that Peter Zeihan makes is that previously US and NATO strategists expected that the Russians would be very tough opponents in a conventional war. But now it has become very obvious to both NATO and Russia that Russia would be obliterated in any conventional conflict. Thus the only choice for Russia would be a humiliating defeat or resorting immediately to nukes.

          Hence, NATO wants to do everything possible to avoid direct conflict with Russia. Which is why they want to bleed Russia dry in Ukraine rather than allow the possibility of Russia succeeding and facing off directly with Poland (a NATO country) as a result.

          • Dennis Frank

            Military theorists and strategists like Sun Tzu have viewed attrition warfare as something to be avoided… On the other hand, a side which perceives itself to be at a marked disadvantage in maneuver warfare or unit tactics may deliberately seek out attrition warfare to neutralize its opponent's advantages.

            If the sides are nearly evenly matched, the outcome of a war of attrition is likely to be a Pyrrhic victory.


            So if NATO does what you suggest, everyone will look at how long it will take & who pays the cost of the attrition…

            • tsmithfield

              I think NATO did originally see it as a war of attrition because they expected that Russia would win the conventional war against Ukraine very quickly, and then NATO would be supporting an insurgency.

              However, due to the success of the Ukraine military, and the horrors of the war crimes by Russia, I think the mood has now changed so that NATO would be very happy to see Ukraine soundly beat Russia.

              Hence, I think if you look at the various media reports, NATO is now supplying a lot more heavy weapons that have the potential to enable Ukraine defeat Russia outright.

            • Stuart Munro

              With the attack on the Moskva, Ukraine has opened up a new flank. If the Russian fleet is as much of a paper tiger as other Russian forces, Russian forces besieging Mariupol may find themselves hung out to dry with no lines of supply or retreat.

        • Treetop

          Xi has his hands full dealing with Omicron and decreased productivity. See what happens in the next month with Covid case numbers in Shanghai.

      • Scud 6.2.2

        Tsar Poot's went into Ukraine with a pair 7's to bluff everyone, that he is willing to use his Nukes/ WMD's if they deployed Troops into Ukraine.

        His bluff hasn't work nor has hand with a pair 7's as the Ukrainian resolve & it's Security Forces have given him a frightful belting that no one really predicted unless you really understand the doctrine of Territorial Defence.

        Poot's is running out of options fast & now it appears the Russian Flag Ship of the Black Fleet has met it's Trafalgar.

        If anyone here understand the mindset of a Slavic Male, they don't like losing to inferior people/ nations

        To those who have following Tsar Poot's in particular his dark arts from the KGB & you throw in Maskirovka which is almost as old as Russia itself.

        Then Tsar Poots Best Bets Form Guide, tells you he is capable of doing it & at 3/1 he will, be it he is winning or when he is at last chance saloon.

        9th May is going to be D Day (Victory Day over Nazi Germany) in Russia for Tsar Poot's.

        • Sanctuary

          Hmmm, the Moskva is supposed to have a layered air defense of S-300 and 9K33 missiles and 130mm rapid fire (up to 40 RPM) guns and 30mm CIWS as well as a shipload of passive (flares, jammers, chaff) counter-measures yet appears to have been hit by a single, high subsonic anti-ship missile using conventional radar guidance that was probably fired off the back of a Toyota with no counter-measures to support it.

          let me guess – The ships systems are either not working and/or not competently crewed and/or completely ineffective and/or the ship was recklessly exposed to a missile strike.

          The record since WW2 of surface ships successfully engaging anti-ship missiles is not encouraging for naval types who like to stay dry, yet Navies these days insist on building 10,000 ton "destroyers" as big as pre WW2 treaty cruisers, and probably as vulnerable to missile attack as those earlier ships were to air attack. From the INS Eilat to PNS Khaibar to HMS Sheffield to USS Stark to the Moskva the case against surface ships is building all the time…

          As Karl Dönitz said, admirals like big ships, because "you can't parade a band on the deck of a submarine".

          • Scud

            Word has its the Ukrainian Military baited them with a couple of those Turkish UAV's & smashed them with 2 Neptune's.

            Instead of looking Up, they should've been looking out.

            Mao, once said in his wee book for a guerrilla warfare, make noise in the East & attack from the West.

            • Sanctuary

              That is a pretty detailed engagement report, your twitter is clearly better than my twitter.

              • Scud

                Well it makes sense, if the Ukrainian Military Forces have used those Turkish UAV's again.

                In their last attack on Russian Ships, when the Ukrainians drop a couple bombs literally through the hatch (well the Cargo hull was open at the time) onto the vehicle deck that was full bang (ammo) & the valuable Russian Landing Ship went boom.

                The Ukrainian Military Forces also managed to seriously damaged the other 2 Landing Ships alongside as well which did the Harry Holt out of the port with various fires on the respective Landing Ships.

              • Scud

                Here's a detailed report, of what may've happened to that Russia Battlewagon today.

                The Ukranian's have literally taken the Territorial Defence Doctrine to a whole new level.

          • Poission

            The ship is a strategic missile platform,it more then likely does have at least 16 warheads on board in case of Nato intervention,and a switch to strategic defense.

            • tsmithfield

              Yes, word is the thing is at the bottom of the sea now. Apparently the single largest loss of life event the Russians have experienced in the war thus far.

              This is not going to be ideal for Russian's supply of cruise missiles that they were starting to run short of I think.

              I was wondering if there were any nukes on board. Hopefully not.

              • joe90

                With a rather large bang.

                • McFlock

                  And, technically, an incoming warhead is an "ammunition explosion" in its own right – just Ukrainian ammunition, not Russian…

              • Scud

                It's now the biggest Combat Surface Unit to be sunk Post WW2, the previous country was Argentina in the Falklands War. It's Brooklyn Class Crusier was sunk a Pommy SSN ( Nuclear Attack Sub) with a Torpedo dating back to WW2.

      • mikesh 6.2.3

        When Kruschev said "We will bury you", I don't think he talking about some future military action; I think he meant that the USSR would come to lead the world economically. To bring Europe into some sort of Russian empire that's what Russia would have to do. By themselves I don't think that that would be possible; but with China's help, who knows.

    • satty 7.1

      Unbelievable (quoted from article):

      Last month, she recruited the former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer to review the country’s border force, weeks after he had urged the UK to adopt a hard line on boat migrants.

      Last year, Australian government figures showed that the country spent £461m processing 239 refugees and asylum seekers held offshore.

      On the other hand maybe not surprising. Surely, there's money to be made by the Tory party donors. The company running the Australian off-shore camp is doing very well from what I've read.

  7. roblogic 8

    Louisa Wall's valedictory to Parliament today


    Looks like she lost the confidence of her colleagues, and read the writing on the "wall". I can see why Manurewa voters do not care for a neoliberal obsessed with identity issues rather than the concerns of her working class electorate. Agree with Sanctuary.

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