Open mike 14/11/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 14th, 2020 - 101 comments
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101 comments on “Open mike 14/11/2020 ”

  1. weka 1

    Interesting interview by Kim Hill with Dr Chris Smith, consultant clinical virologist at Cambridge University, on the Pfizer claims of a soon to be ready, 90% effective covid-19 vaccine.

    A few points:

    1. The Pfizer announcement was light on data and it's hard to know what the reality is
    2. 90% efficacy = 10% failure
    3. the vaccine wasn't tested on people under 18, and probably wasn't tested on elderly people who are at particular risk of covid
    4. if the vaccine is rushed and ends up going wrong (doesn't work well, has a too high side effect or damage rate) it will cause long term problems with covid vaccines and vaccines generally
    5. many people who are normally ok with vaccines are concerned about a covid one and reluctant about it due to it being rushed (25% of people surveyed in the UK)
    6. It's the first messenger RNA vaccine (this wasn't discussed but I'm wondering how they assess safety and side effects in a short time frame).

    Re the 90% rate, and the first planned roll out in the UK of vaccinating 30% of the population, the rationale is that you vaccinate vulnerable people and their caregivers first. I can see how this would work in the UK which has widespread community transmission. I'm less clear about NZ, mostly because I haven't seen vaccination in the context of a plan around opening the borders. Vaccinating the frontline workers (border control, medical people) makes sense. Is anyone talking about beyond that?

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        Audio link –

        It occurs to me that there needs to be a vaccine against the hubris of the self-centred, know-all type who talks their way into a position such as a President, Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Chancellor, CEO etc. It would act against hubris with a steady-on there, let's look at the facts and likely outcomes, and discuss them widely with a summary of pros and cons that satisfy everyone concerned that the point they wish to make is covered in the content.

        An anti-hubris vaccine is what should be the next 'great work' from the scientists. And it could be spread by droplets, so if you can get near enough and aerosol the air, it will reach the pushy, one-eyed, slightly mad people who seem to hypnotise their way into people's brains, probably from the projection or transference that people perceive.

        Projection and transference are very similar. They both involve you attributing emotions or feelings to a person who doesn't actually have them. … Projection occurs when you attribute a behavior or feeling you have about a person onto them. Then, you may begin to see “evidence” of those feelings projected back at you.

    • RedLogix 1.2

      The double standard is what gets me. Low cost, low risk interventions that we knew about back in March like Vitamin D get pooh pooh'ed because they haven't been through large gold standard double blind, peer reviewed published studies … yet somehow a vaccine leaps to the front of the queue without having to leap over the same hurdles.

      The cautions you list are all quite reasonable, yet the msm is largely silent on them.

      Between the blatant political biases, the incessant click bait and the selective spin put on everything … it's reached the point where reading the news has become a masochistic act of psychological self abuse.

    • Peter 1.3

      A 2020 public wants a click bait solution. an instant coffee vaccine. Yesterday.

      No knowledge of what it takes, no understanding of the myriad, multi-layersed infinite variables and research involved.

      The low status of scientists has been permanent, the disparagement and scorning of their work in the early stage of coronavirus very public. Every Tom Dick and Harry even if they'd done no science in high school or past their second year there, suddenly knew more about something experts had spent their lives immersed in

      Now though we want them to magically click their fingers and save us.

      I say, "Start by saving your fucking selves (and others) by doing some cheap, easy basic things. It ain't virological and epidemiological science."

      • anker 1.3.1

        I think this is a good article about the vaccine and quotes one of our leading experts in the field. It explains why 90% effectiveness is high and how that works.

        I think there is a danger of fuelling anti vaccination sentiment and this isn't helpful at the moment

        Vitamin D maybe helpful in the fight against Covid, but as a widespread intervention there would need to be gold standard studies. This is how medical science works and I am grateful for it.

        Of course if leaders of the world had used the behavioural strategies available to control an infection like Covid 19 and the populace had of adopted these strategies, then the pandemic would be on the wane. Leaders of the world are clearly very imperfect and have ignored the science. The general public are also imperfect, e.g people drinking at bars on Ponsonby Road last night without social distancing when there is currently Covid in the community. FFS. I cannot understand why people would do this, but then that is just me.

        How about we all start feeling grateful there is a vaccine? Small Pox, measles etc have either been eradicated or controlled by vaccines. And do all the right things to fight the virus before it is rolled out. The use of the Covid tracer app is frankly woeful……

    • Treetop 1.4

      And pregnant women. This group could be the biggest risk to both mother and baby.

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.4.1

        And pregnant women. This group could be the biggest risk to both mother and baby

        Women of childbearing age and babies cannot be considered 'vulnerable'….give the new vaccine to those who it is ethical to experiment on.

        • Treetop

          I know what happened with thalidomide and how people had to fight the drug company. Not just the drug company but the Ministry of Health. I have a lot of time for your views on health agencies and the delivery of services.

          I agree unethical to give the vaccine to pregnant women. There may even be a window period prior to conceiving which is unsafe.

          • Incognito

            That was in 1961/62. It was developed for morning sickness. Given that birth defects were not immediately obvious it is understandable that there was a lag. I’d think that most civil servants working in MoH (DoH, as it was known then) at the time have moved on.

            • weka

              The philosophy of science/medicine of the time was the problem though, not the lack of ability to see the future, and I still see science is god* people arguing that the damage that gets done is the price we pay for the good science brings.

              *science as the one true way and better than all other ways of knowing sometimes to the exclusion of other ways of knowing.

              • Incognito

                Sure, it was a disaster but to somehow connect that example to a Covid-19 vaccine and MoH in present time seems plain fear mongering, IMO. There are risks, always will be, and these need to be managed properly. If we’re saying that we cannot trust the makers of that or any other Covid-19 vaccine, that we cannot trust MoH to do the right things by and for us, then we might as well stay in bed and wait for the end of time to come and get (take?) us. I struggle with outbursts of hyper-emotional theatrics and histrionics and self-reinforcing loops of fear, distrust, and paranoia. Let’s talk these things through calmly, kindly, and respectfully.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  that we cannot trust MoH to do the right things by and for us,

                  You might want to Google "Ministry of Health Disability Support Services neglect and abuse.."

                  There's plenty of reading, and yes, some of it is "emotional" because that's how people get when a government organisation charged with providing care and support to a particular group of citizens fails. Time and fucking time again.

                  And if you think some of us are locked into this cycle of paranoia and distrust…you ought to have been sitting in various legal venues over the past two decades and listened how our beloved Crown Law argued the case against disabled New Zealanders and their families. This might give you some idea.


                  But to have a Crown Lawyer eyeball you in court and spew their bile…a whole new and novel experience. I wouldn't piss on any of them if they were on fire.

                  This is the Ministry of Health…charged with providing tax payer funded health and disability services and they treat citizens like so much worthless shit….

                  …and Crown Law…charged with ensuring New Zealand Laws are upheld…not treating innocent citizens as if we're guilty.

                  Fucking oath I wouldn't trust them.

                  Oh, and some of us have tried 'calm, kind and respectful' and ended up being treated like we have done wrong. That we had lied and cheated. That we would abuse and neglect. When it was the Ministry's own contracted providers doing the abusing and neglecting. And the Ministry lied and denied.

                  And yes Incognito I have crates full of evidence. I have evidence that senior bureaucrats at the MOH:DSS are so stunningly ignorant of the realities of the care required for some disabled people with the very highest needs that one doesn't know whether to guffaw at their outright idiocy or weep that they are in charge of peoples lives. So we do both.

                  And do I have to remind you again of the debacle that was the mask instructions for those requiring home based care? They fucking dug their toes in didn't they? Nevermind the precautionary principle, nevermind that Uncle Ashley knew so little of what was required for personal cares that he was waffling on about 'only if you're closer that 1 metre to the client'. What and ignorant fool…but I guess he was being advised by those ignorant numpties in DSS.

                  I have seen nothing over the past 10 months that raises my trust level in our Government and especially not for the MOH.

                  Oh and the 'risks'…none for Pfizer, they'll have immunity from any responsibility. They can't lose.

                • weka

                  It's not that the MoH is going to feed us a drug as bad as thalidomide. It's that the worldview is still similar. We're better, because we learned from thalidomide, but there is also reason to be cautious. It's a potent mix, a pandemic narrowly averted in NZ but still raging elsewhere, the push to save the economy, a health system that has been rationalised economically for decades, and a MoH with substantial cultural problems.

                  As for trusting the MoH, there are many people that good reason not to, unfortunately. Maybe we should amplify their voice a bit. It's not a black and white thing, criticising the MoH doesn't mean they're useless or can't be trusted in any capacity. But denial of the risks and problems doesn't help either.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                "Science is a way of not fooling yourself." – it's not the only way.

                "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool." – R. Feynman

                Applies (in some measure) to all ways of not fooling yourself, IMHO.

            • Treetop

              I was looking at the assistance given then and now to the affected children, now adults. As well support to the mothers. This would be ongoing for both.

              • Incognito

                There were lots of legal wrangles, as you can imagine, and a few settlements with companies. What was the role of MoH in all that and what assistance did it give?

                • Treetop

                  MoH attitude was send your child to an institution and have another baby to fill the void. Fight for disability assistance as well in your adult years.

                  I do not do scare mongering. I try to deal with the facts. History cannot be allowed to repeat itself with any medication/vaccine. I am not an anti vaxer, never have been and probably never will be.

                  When it came to legal wrangles any fool could see it was the thalidomide. It took years to settle a case and it would have been stressful to deal with the drug company which had the resources to squash you.

    • Andre 1.5

      A bit more on that 90% efficacy/10% failure: it seems they were only looking for symptomatic people, and weren't testing for asympotmatic-but-infectious people. So depending on how "efficacy" is defined. That also has implications for what % of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

      Another factor is it isn't clear how failed the failures were. The data set probably isn't big enough for the answer yet, but if the vaccine didn't completely prevent disease, but still reduced the likelihood of a mild infection progressing to severe disease or death, that's still a very worthwhile outcome, even if it falls short of being included in the the "efficacy" definition.

      Everything I've seen suggests there isn't yet a clear plan on which groups are priorities for early vaccinations. Just vague generalities about front-line staff (most likely to be exposed), and vulnerable groups, including Maori and Pasifika, disabled, elderly, those with illness that put them at extra risk, elderly etc. I haven't yet seen anything about when it might get extended to those likely to be in contact with large numbers of people, ie teachers, bus drivers, hospitality staff etc.

      • Rosemary McDonald 1.5.1

        …vulnerable groups, including Maori and Pasifika, disabled

        Ironically the groups with greatest reason not to trust the government.

        And after the outrageous way the MOH decided disabled people and their home based carers did not need PPE, especially masks, unless symptomatic my guess is that the disabled might be a little cautious also. I still reckon the Ministry was hoping that Te Virus would carry off more of this vulnerable group.

        Oh well.

      • weka 1.5.2

        UK plan seems to be 30% vax rate, focused on the vulnerable.

        The issue in NZ is the borders. Yes, vaccinating isolation hotel staff, medical staff and border control people makes sense, but talking about herd immunity in NZ doesn't make sense unless we also talk about how/when the borders would open. I assume we're not having that conversation yet because we don't know how effective any vaccine will be, nor how long it confers immunity. The rush from my pov is for countries who have out of control community transmission, and no good way to contain that now (although I assume there is a useful strategy in doing lockdowns, distancing, masks etc *and vaccinating).

        My problem there is that because it will be rushed, there are likely to be people who have adverse reactions, and they will be seen as collateral damage in large part for the economu. But it remains to be seen if they will be taken seriously, how adverse reactions will be reported and monitored, and whether those people will get support. Lots of shitty anti/pro vax wars stuff is really going to bite us now.

        Am also mindful that NZ is bad at supporting chronically ill people, and I haven't seen anything to suggest we will be better on this with long haul covid. It's not just about the death rate and the economy.

        • weka

          Maths dude interviewed by Hill this morning made some good points about vaccine hesitant people, we shouldn't treat them as stupid or ostracise them, but instead talk through the issues people are concerned about for themselves and their kids. This seems paramount now if we don't want a bigger anti-vax backlash.

    • McFlock 1.6

      Yeah all the points are true. It's a glimmer of hope, not a guarantee.

      The things that separate the pfizer thing from any other magic bullet so far is that at least a decent-sized trial is under way and close enough to deliver intial results, and also pfizer is an established industry actor – it's not a startup looking for money, promising the earth, and with one magic black box they promise will be amazeballs when it finally works.

      It could all go tits up on the cusp of production. But at least it's progress.

      Point 2 give me a minor quibble, though. If the success metric is immunity, 90% is amazeballs. Some figure for herd immunity people were throwing around a while back was 60%. So even if 35% don't get it, that's a population immunity rate of 67% when we only need 60% to stop clusters emerging (assuming a random distribution of vaccine uptake). So 90% effective is probably good enough.

      Contrast with measles(?) vaccine which I seem to recall needs in the range of 100% uptake to stop community spread outright.

      • weka 1.6.1

        90% across most of the population once the vaccine is effective and we know how it works in human populations, would be amazing. I'm not sure how close we are to that. I suspect 2021 reality will be more uneven, less certain. I also think there is a case for letting other countries get enough supplies to do whole populations before places like NZ (esp countries that are struggling to contain covid because of resource issues).

  2. Tricledrown 2

    Child slavery alive and well at Gloriavale Mbie labour inspectors fail child slavery victims.

    Gloriavale,exclusive brethren etc can practice financial sexual abuse and modern day slavery .

    Time for these outfits to be fully prosecuted.

    • Treetop 2.1

      What do the children know of the world at Gloriavale other than hard work, the Bible and not having a voice?

      Children as young as 16 marry at Gloriavale. Are forced marriages going on there and the expectation to breed?

      • greywarshark 2.1.1

        Treetop – Are forced marriages going on there and the expectation to breed?

        I would say probably. There would be expectations of marriage, and to a chosen person. I have family who seem to be in a sect; my young relative did very well at school developing a skill in draughtsmanship, but got married to a young man from the group when she was about 17. And babies came soon. Life as an adult had just begun, but maturing, developing her own skills, abilities as a male would, was not to be encouraged. And it would have probably taken her out of the group which grows, tight-knit. There are quite a few groups, patriarchal, like this around. They live apparently normal lives, but constrained and controlled. If they home-school then the children are isolated and may be deprived of contact with other children outside the chosen circle, and are like hens being fed, clucking around, and laying eggs, all for the greater good.

        There are a set of well-written books at Young Adult level by Fleur Beale such as 'I Am Not Esther' that deal with life in a sect.

        A youngish mother of 11 from the Gloriavale community drowned in November 2018. I don't know how old she was but that's constant pregnancies.

        They have Leaders imposed on them apparently. And are involved with other similar groups in other countries. The Sydney Morning Herald notes that the early group was started by an Australian. (This reminds me of Jones from USA who took his group out of his country to South America; which ended unhappily in violence and murder).
        Last week, former US Navy engineer Howard Temple was confirmed as the new head of the community.
        A former member, who still has family in the community, said Temple was appointed the new "overseeing shepherd" after the death of Hopeful Christian. Temple, who Christian had appointed his successor, recently spent several weeks visiting a Gloriavale off-shoot in India, he said.
        Gloriavale has a long relationship with India, supporting an evangelical organisation and setting up a community in Tirunelveli, in southern India.

        • Treetop

          I will read the links supplied.

          Those who leave a sect need an organisation to go to, to help with a new start in life due to having lived in an abusive and controlled invironment. The loss of family would be hard to deal with.

          There is not much difference between a refugee and a person escaping an intolerable situation when it comes to assistance required to live a meaningful life or to escape persecution.

  3. swordfish 3

    How 2020 Killed Off Democrats’ Demographic Hopes

    Demographics are not destiny, says David Shor. And if Democrats want their party to succeed nationally, they’ll have to face that fact and change.

    For years, the Democratic Party has operated under one immutable assumption: Long-term demographic trends would give the party something like a permanent majority as the country as a whole grows less white and more urban. President Donald Trump’s reliance on the politics of racial resentment would only quicken the process, solidifying support for Democrats among people of color.

    Then came November 3, 2020. And all those assumptions now seem like total nonsense.

    Long-ish interview with Democratic polling & data expert David Shor.

    • Adrian Thornton 3.1

      Well one thing you can be sure of is that he Democratic establishment will learn nothing from almost losing to Trump, as in 2016 they will blame the voters and progressives for their failures.

      Democratic leaders play a ridiculous blame game with progressives

    • Ad 3.2

      He would be more believable if he spent time showing the disenfranchisement effect of Republicans utterly screwing district boundaries to favour white people against all categories of non-white for decades.

      Also he would have done better if he accepted where demographic shifts really helped Democrats over time.

      California used to be regularly Republican – but their last win there was under Reagan. A Democrat president since Carter would simply be ruled out if that hadn't followed the demographic trend to support Democrats.

      Demographics did count there.

      They also certainly counted in Georgia this year (which most MSM broadcasters have called this morning) and as this commentary notes, demographic change in Georgia and other sunbelt states was critical there.

      Now, there may well be lazy Dem-leaning commentators who proposed the inevitability of change.

      But who would have thought that Bill Clinton would take out those solid mid-western states like Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri – with growing Black voter bases? Democrats would, of course. That's 1992 and 1996.

      Then of course there's Obama, who would compare his first election to Shor's analysis and just laugh.

      A Democratic president needs luck, and the right candidate, and you also need the right demographic headwinds.

      • Macro 3.2.1


        It’s the statehouses, stupid.

        Republicans are complaining that something’s not quite right with the presidential election, but the very same ballots voters used to elect Joe Biden helped the GOP run up their numbers, not just in Congress but in a whole bunch of state legislature races. Democrats had hoped to take control of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas—and it didn’t happen. On Wednesday’s episode of What Next, I spoke with Ari Berman, a senior reporter at Mother Jones, about what’s happening in these states and how it may cement Republican power across the country for the next decade. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

        Mary Harris: We’ve talked a lot about down-ballot races and the Senate and the House on this show, but I’ve heard a lot less conversation about state legislatures. Do you think that’s a miss?

        Ari Berman: I do think it’s a miss. We are heading into another redistricting cycle in 2021, and it’s the state legislatures that were elected in 2020 that are going to draw those maps for the next decade and determine which way all these pivotal swing states go. I think one of the biggest consequences of the 2020 election, which has not gotten much attention, is what happened in all of these different state legislative races.

        Can you give me the 101 version of why we need to be paying attention?

        Statehouses are important in a lot of different ways. They control voting laws. They control health care. They control environmental laws. But if you’re talking just about political power, state legislatures, with a few exceptions, are the ones that draw districts both for themselves and also for the House of Representatives. So the districts that these state legislatures are going to draw in 2021—which is when the next redistricting cycle happens—are going to determine who’s in control of these legislatures for the next decade. It’s also going to determine what the House of Representatives looks like for the next decade. State legislatures don’t get a whole lot of attention, but when it comes to how political power is distributed in America, they are incredibly, incredibly important.

  4. Ed1 4

    Some time ago there was a post to The Standard about a radio report saying that a survey had indicated that there was a minority of New Zealanders that supported Trump – mostly also National supporters – does anyone recall when that was?

    • Stuart Munro 4.1

      This is a survey of Trump support in NZ.

    • JO 4.2

      The radio report will have been about the study at this link. A personal experience of 'debating' with a relative and listening to Trumpeters losing their minds on talkback before and since the US election has been equally revealing:

      • greywarshark 4.2.1

        Some titbits from the link above.

        Of the 55,147 who answered the question in the mid-2020 survey, 6,833 said they hoped Trump would win. So, who are these Kiwi Trumpers? And what do they really think?

        Even demographic spread
        …Kiwi men are more than twice as likely to support Trump than women — a much wider gender gap than was found in the US after the 2016 election.

        Kiwi Trumpers are distributed evenly across lower and middle income brackets, and support declines only slightly in the upper income brackets.

        Perhaps surprisingly, 15.6% of Pasifika respondents and 20% of those who ticked the “gender-diverse” box hoped Trump would win — above the overall 11% result….

        Only 20% of National supporters overall said they hoped Trump would win. But this sub-group of National supporters made up 56% of the entire cohort of Kiwi Trumpers. A further 23% of Kiwi Trumpers supported ACT. So, the National Party is the preferred party of the Kiwi Trumper.

        Nov.6/20 by Grant Duncan Associate Professor, School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University

      • Chris T 4.2.2

        In all seriousness, who gives a shit?

        We simply won't get a Trump here given the differences in political systems and I am assuming 99% of those polled wouldn't be able to vote in the US.

        • Incognito

          It is obvious you don’t give a shit and you obviously didn’t read past the headline. Nobody in this thread was joking.

          • Chris T

            We don't live in the US and who cares how many kiwis support Trump?

            He is out anyway and he doesn't run NZ in the first place.

            Unless you can find an equivalent in NZ, which there isn't, it is a bit of a stupid thing to try to compare us to.

            Having said said that, I know some people think we are comparable to the US for some odd reason,.

  5. Adrian Thornton 5

    Well here is a depressing but unsurprising unpacking of the neo con, war mongering Biden cabinet…yuk

    As Trump rejects US election, Biden signals continued regime change abroad

  6. Andre 6

    I think I can fairly say I have had a longtime very low opinion of D. Jobless Drumpf's cognitive processes. But even I'm having trouble with the idea this is actually from him. To the point that I've tried to find evidence that this is a spoof. But Daniel Dale appears to be a genuine reporter for CNN, heavily involved in fact-checking, and it’s not April 1, so …

    • Matiri 6.1

      Mind you, Trumps press conference on election night 'I've won, stop counting" set the tone for what was to come!

  7. greywarshark 7

    There needs to be more discussion about politics and society and how we go about ordering and disordering what we have. I think we should have regular regional Ted Talks from people who have a range of views and can present a reasoned case.

    Not a religious pulpit as such, but people aware of how neo-lib is trying to traduce religion and our natural virtuous instincts. I refuse to be merely an object in a business culture experiment, being manipulated to do something, a pigeon activated to peck for whatever by remote control.

    Our information sources are sadly lacking and more frequently have a bias because of the commenter being a paid mouthpiece from some firm, or a straight PR providing focussed promotion and advertising. How are we to learn, comprehend and place into a framework of understanding about what is happening in our fast-moving society? Parents, school, broadcast media – all with bias and tending to dislike learning from reading, thought, questioning and discussion, even debates are competitive, but what if there is no straight-out or easy answer, just equivocal solutions each tailored for the special situations occurring! Instead the preference is for physicality – sports, running, biking, walking is more spoken about than encouraged.

    Information, news; the old idea of the Fourth Estate here – I wonder if it is still being fed to trainee journalists?

    The term Fourth Estate or fourth power refers to the press and news media both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issues. Though it is not formally recognized as a part of a political system, it wields significant indirect social influence. Fourth Estate – Wikipedia

    The press is called the fourth estate in the United States usually because they observe the political process. They do this to make sure the participants do not exploit the democratic system. They play a crucial role in the outcome of political issues and candidates. Fourth Estate – Open School of Journalism

  8. greywarshark 8

    Gordon Campbell wants someone to sing a soothing lullaby to overheated David Seymour.

    Seymour’s calling out of Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr’s recent stimulatory actions as “Muldoonist” and “unorthodox” (while slagging Orr himself as a “liability”) should be treated as a tantrum best handled by putting Seymour back in his cot again, until he cries himself to sleep.

    • Peter 8.1

      I heard Seymour and realised in a RNZ interview we wouldn't hear his solutions. The format suits him, he can spray and walk away.

      No doubt he will write a book about how he would start form scratch and reorganise things so that Adrian Orr is not in the situation where he has to make the decisions he has made.

      He may have done in on his pre-election rounds. Or not. No votes in that.

  9. Treetop 10

    How soon is it too soon to test for Covid and how late is it too late to test for Covid?

    Today a weak positive case, a neighbour at the Vincent Street Apartments. They were previously tested. It is looking like a second test a week apart might be the way to go with some close contacts and to isolate until after the second test result is known.

    I have given it a thought if the pipes between the Vincent Street Apartments and the Millennium Hotel are shared by connection and back flow could be an issue.

  10. greywarshark 11

    What is it we would really like the government to do when it has got all the important things accomplished?

    I would like fireworks to be available only for licensed users at public functions. NO private sales. Then they wouldn't be popping up all through the year, November 5th bangs on and on upsetting and likely to cause fires and eye damage when aimed wrongly. Health and safety could prove their worth by forcing intelligent laws on this but….

    And I hate the sirens we have. So strident, so high and loud, the dogs on the hill howl and I feel like it too. Here are some ideas for better from the inimitable Bill Bailey (I can't remember what that means but think, good).

  11. Adrian 12

    Did I hear correctly on NatRad that the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored and transported at MINUS 80 ( F,or C? ) . Whichever it pretty much buggers it as a cure for most of the world.

    • dv 12.1

      -60 c i believe.

      Bit of a challenge.

    • Andre 12.2

      It's below minus 70C. Dry ice is minus 78C, so containers surrounded by dry ice will do the job. Pfizer has developed a transport container that will keep it cold enough for 10 days, or up to 25 days if the dry ice is replenished. So it's a challenge to be sure, but not insurmountable.

      The ebola vaccine had similar requirements, and they managed to get it out into the field. Although in the end, the vaccine was late to the party and public health measures had already controlled the outbreak.

  12. weka 13

    Has the conniving fool in the White House made his intentions clear yet?

    Is the media thinking everything is ok now?

    • Macro 13.1

      Has the conniving fool in the White House made his intentions clear yet?


      Is the media thinking everything is ok now?

      No, but still…..

      There is a long-shot legal theory, floated by Republicans before the election, that Republican-friendly legislatures in places such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania could ignore the popular vote in their states and appoint their own electors. Federal law allows legislatures to do this if states have “failed to make a choice” by the day the electoral college meets. But there is no evidence of systemic fraud of wrongdoing in any state and Biden’s commanding margins in these places make it clear that the states have in fact made a choice.

      “If the country continues to follow the rule of law, I see no plausible constitutional path forward for Trump to remain as president barring new evidence of some massive failure of the election system in multiple states,” Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, who specializes in elections, wrote in an email. “It would be a naked, antidemocratic power grab to try to use state legislatures to get around the voters’ choice and I don’t expect it to happen.”

      For lawmakers in a single state to choose to override the clear will of its voters this way would be extraordinary and probably cause a huge outcry. For Trump to win the electoral college, several states would have to take this extraordinary step, a move that would cause extreme backlash and a real crisis of democracy throughout the country.

      • Maurice 13.1.1

        The 5.4 million difference in the popular vote was largely from California

        Joe Biden (D) 10,757,884 63.82%
        Donald J. Trump (R) 5,736,893 34.03%

        The winning Electoral College vote was largely decided in five major Democrat controlled cities: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Milwaukee (Wisconsin), Detroit (Michigan) and Atlanta ( Georgia).

        The Elections have been dangerously close elsewhere which seems to have emboldened the losing side!

        • Macro

          Sorry Maurice, but your overview of the election results neglects the margins by which Trump beat Biden in the 25 states that he did win, and neglects the size of the vote in each state where Biden flipped the state.

          Wisconsin 20,500+

          Michigan 125,000+

          Pennsylvania 75,000+

          Arizona 10,500+

          Georgia 14,000+

          (as at 8.45 am NZDST)

          Most political commentators suggest that the size of these margins are well outside the margin which would be susceptible to being overturned on recount, or by the odd instance of voter fraud.

          Biden beat Trump by over 900,000 votes in New York state which is heavily Republican outside of the City. The fact that a city's population might influence the outcome of a state's voting preference, does not mean that the popular vote has no relevance.

    • Treetop 13.2

      The expression a death by a thousand cuts, just leave him to it. Have a plan for needing to detain him when necessary where national security is at stake.

      What to do with the president would be being discussed. At some point intervention may be required for his own welfare.

  13. mary_a 14

    Is it possible that the present incumbent of the White House will appear at Biden's presidential inauguration on Jan 20 2021, claiming it as his own for a second term? After all, given the recent post US election insane ramblings and utterings from Trump, I doubt anything he says or does from now on will be surprising!

  14. mary_a 15

    And here it is. Trump’s whole office is stark raving bonkers!

  15. Byd0nz 16

    Seems like everyones happy 'bout Biden winning, I wonder if Julian Assange is, we will see what sort of a humanist Biden turns out to be, nothing short of dropping the case against Julian will tell a tale, but dont hold your breath.

    • greywarshark 16.1

      Possibly when it comes to treating Assange right and giving him release plus a rap over the knuckles, it'll be like the old song 'I'm just biding my ti.ime, That's the kind of guy I am."

    • Incognito 16.2

      I’m as happy about Biden winning as I’m about NZ Labour winning an absolute majority.

  16. joe90 18

    A long thread with something for everyone: Russians, Dan Bongino, Steve Bannon, The Epoch Times, Candace Owens, Cassandra Fairbanks, the husband of Paul senior's granddaughter with political connections to both Pauls and Mitch McConnell, the hospitality coordinator at a tRump hotel steakhouse at a Trump hotel, Giuliani’s former law firm and lots more.

  17. Ad 19

    Shoutout to Deborah Russell and team for actually holding a Thankyou Volunteers Event today to the people on the ground who actually worked for weeks on the election in New Lynn.

    Don't usually hear of MPs taking the time to actually thank us drones.

    Onyer Deborah.

    And we smashed them.

    • Anne 19.1

      ‘Thank-you' events have been around for decades. They usually took the form of a BBQ put on by the candidate and more often than not took place at their home.

  18. joe90 20

    Too late, sport, the damage is done.

    After President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and the tea party (which pushed to slash federal spending) emerged, Mr. Koch threw his weight behind the new movement and its candidates. “We did not create the tea party. We shared their concern about unsustainable government spending, and we supported some tea-party groups on that issue,” Mr. Koch wrote in an email. “But it seems to me the tea party was largely unsuccessful long-term, given that we’re coming off a Republican administration with the largest government spending in history.”

    Mr. Koch said he has since come to regret his partisanship, which he says badly deepened divisions. “Boy, did we screw up!” he writes in his new book. “What a mess!”

    Mr. Koch is now trying to work together with Democrats and liberals on issues such as immigration, criminal-justice reform and limiting U.S. intervention abroad, where he thinks common ground can be found. He has partnered with organizations including the LeBron James Family Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and even a handful of Democratic state legislative campaigns. In 2019, he renamed the Koch network of about 700 donors as Stand Together. (wsj)

    • Draco T Bastard 20.1

      We shared their concern about unsustainable government spending, and we supported some tea-party groups on that issue

      Government spending isn't unsupportable. In fact, its government spending that empowers the economy.

      What's unsustainable is private profit. Money taken out of the economy and not spent back into it.

  19. Stuart Munro 21

    Trump vs Biden – the rap battle.

  20. sumsuch 22

    We seem to be cornering Ardern and Robertson. Y'know about the people and reality. James Shaw, of all people, is trying out his talking voice re housing.

    Us Left interested.

    Why I voted for Andrew Little. Their magic talk for nothing.

    You have to imagine how little i care for their moth shadows.

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