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Open mike 14/03/2015

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, March 14th, 2015 - 83 comments
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National clowns key parata smith english brownleeOpen 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 …

83 comments on “Open mike 14/03/2015”

  1. Colonial Rawshark 2

    Prescription medications responsible for historic and rapidly increasing death rate amongst white US women

    It adds up to millions of excess deaths. No wonder some are questioning their own use of conventional medical approaches.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/05/the-mysterious-force-behind-rising-death-rates-for-white-women/

    • weka 2.1

      Over the past 15 years, death rates among white women in the United States have mysteriously surged. New research pins blame on an insidious culprit: prescription painkillers.

      Nice use of ‘the euphemism ‘painkillers’.

      It’s not like (white women) haven’t been through this before. In the 50s it was mother’s little helper. The article is trying to discuss a lot of things but not very clearly. Class is obviously a factor, as are geographical prescribing patterns, and the much easier availability of drugs. Ethnicity is mentioned, but in an almost causal way (black women’s death rates are much higher than white women’s despite the former decreasing and the latter increasing).

      • Foreign waka 2.1.1

        Breast cancer rates were for a long time a lot lower in black and Hispanic women then whites. White women’s rate has fallen in the last 10 years and the incident rate is now almost the same. Hispanic women have a far lower incident rate – it is almost unchanged.
        Black people have a first time stroke incidence twice as high as whites. They also have a higher incidence rate of high blood pressure.
        This points to lifestyle choices, diet for the most part but could also involvelso genetics.
        Cause of Death Age-Adjusted Death Rates*
        White Black Hispanic Asian
        All causes 450.4 690.9 432.8 264.6
        Heart disease 121.9 183.3 84.2 67.4
        Coronary heart disease 79.2 92.5 54.7 42.9
        Stroke 23.3 41.4 19 22.7
        Cancer 121 161.2 76.1 74.8
        COPD 21.9 17.7 8.5 7.4
        Pneumonia/influenza 12.7 17.4 9.8 10.3
        Liver disease/cirrhosis 7.1 8 11.7 2.4
        Diabetes mellitus 12 28.8 18.4 8.7
        HIV infection 2.6 20.6 6.2 0.8
        External causes 46.7 68.8 44.7 24.4
        Infant Mortality per 1,000 6 13.6 5.8 5.5
        Life expectancy (years from birth) 77.3 71.3 >80? >80?

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          ‘Lifestyle choice’ is an unfortunate choice of words, giving you the benefit of the doubt there, but poverty undermines lifestyle choices most of the time.

          • Foreign waka 2.1.1.1.1

            Lifestyle choice – I would translate this into not moving much. Not much sport and lots of TV, games etc. This is then showing in the heart disease and diabetics stats. Mind you, whites are catching up fast.

    • miravox 2.2

      ” No wonder some are questioning their own use of conventional medical approaches.”

      It has me questioning, in the context of the US health system, long-term relief through strong painkillers of conditions that patients can’t afford to see a specialist about.

      In other words people are using strong painkillers, obtained through health practitioners too ready to write prescriptions for them, or obtained illegally, because they can’t even get to see someone about conventional medical approaches for their conditions.

      i.e:

      Curbing opioid-related deaths is more complicated than simply arresting people who illegally peddle or buy the drugs. Lawmakers should also address the social determinants of health, Astone said. Housing and access to medical care, for example, are high on the list.

      The highest concentration of counties with rising female death rates clustered in historically impoverished regions of the Southwest, where doctors and clinics are known to write more opioid prescriptions.

      Previous research shows a strong correlation between income and lifespan.

      • weka 2.2.1

        I’d guess that another significant part of the picture is painkillers being used by people self medicating other kinds of pain than physical injury/illness. That’s about poverty, self-determination, culture etc as much as access to medical care.

        • miravox 2.2.1.1

          I agree – class, ethnicity, culture, geography. societal structures that impact on the use of available resources (time, money, social constraints etc) are all part of the context that affect access to health care (compared to commonly held views of access directly related to categories like transport, ethnicity, age, ‘attitudes’ & ‘behaviours’ and so forth).

          Although the US stands out in the developed world for the cost being a massive barrier. Hopefully the affordable care act despite its flaws will continue to improve this situation.

          • weka 2.2.1.1.1

            “are all part of the context that affect access to health care”

            Yes, but I’m saying in addition to that, poverty etc makes for a higher level of need to self medicate around existential pain, and people will use what they can get their hands on. That is essentially not a healthcare issue but one of poverty i.e. relieve poverty and many people won’t need to self-medicate. That’s a different thing than someone with back pain or on a long waiting list for hip replacement using opiates in the meantime because they’re not getting adequate medical treatment.

            • miravox 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes, I see what you mean, however that is true of people in all sorts of situations – whether they’re poor or not. For example, commonly cited are links between addictions are surviving child sexual abuse and domestic violence.

              I also wonder how much the medicalisation of unhappiness and anxiety affect people’s responses to these perfectly ok responses to some short-term, awful situations.

        • Colonial Rawshark 2.2.1.2

          It’s the medicalisation of societal, economic and familial dysfunction to try and cope with far wider issues.

          The highest concentration of counties with rising female death rates clustered in historically impoverished regions of the Southwest, where doctors and clinics are known to write more opioid prescriptions.

          Previous research shows a strong correlation between income and lifespan.

          People whose family income in 1980 was greater than $50,000, putting them in the top 5 percent of incomes, had a life expectancy at all ages that was about 25 percent longer than those in the bottom 5 percent

      • Murray Rawshark 2.2.2

        +1
        That fits with what I know of both living with chronic pain and prescribing practice in Dixie. If you have a pain problem that could be fixed if surgery were available, what do you do? You treat the symptoms while the underlying problem gets worse. Eventually you die and the American medical establishment blames the painkillers. The problem is just as likely to be lack of access to hospital treatment.

        I wonder if there is an equivalent rising death rate in countries that have an accessible health system?

        • miravox 2.2.2.1

          “I wonder if there is an equivalent rising death rate in countries that have an accessible health system?”

          A good research question there… hmm

          re chronic pain – I’ve been having a bit of a conversation with a patient US group and although I was aware of access issues there, some of the stories stunned me – losing healthcare with loss of job, going bankrupt several time due to the cost of meds, managing life around access to serious painkillers because they can’t get the prescriptions required to manage their disease, and then they lose access to the painkillers…. when they finally get on clinical trials or pharma charity (for want of a better description) the illness has progressed to a level that causes permanent disability – the list goes on….

          • Murray Rawshark 2.2.2.1.1

            And that is the sort of health system NAct want for Aotearoa.

            • miravox 2.2.2.1.1.1

              Yup. Just recently a Health Funds Association/NZIER report [.pdf] came out in favour of an workplace insurance scheme.

              A workplace based scheme that nudges people towards greater personal responsibility with features like preferred providers, portability and non-exclusion – adopted in the KiwiSaver scheme – could play an important role in making the New Zealand health system more sustainable

              I think the news/PR release when largely unnoticed here, but their lobbyists will certainly be heard loud and clear by the government, I expect.

    • TheContrarian 2.3

      Magic memory water is the way to go

      • Ergo Robertina 2.3.1

        That’s unhelpful stirring Contrarian. Let it go.
        The topic was the increased death rate among white women and its link to a type of prescription drug.
        CV has some insight into the intersection of social problems and over medicalisation, understanding of which is at a primitive stage in the mainstream.
        What’s your view on that?

    • Pauline 2.4

      Deaths (most of which are unintentional) from strong opioids have been increasing in parallel with increasing opioid sales worldwide but particularly in the USA. The USA uses 55% of the global morphine and hydromorphone supply, >99% of hydrocodone supply and 83% of oxycodone supply. On the other hand, Canada has the highest per capita “dose”. Mortality rates in NZ from prescription medicines are not easily available. The use of strong opioids has increased exponentially since the late 80s and early 90s when doctors in the USA started using them for non-cancer pain, despite minimal evidence of their long-term effectiveness and safety. Strong patient and healthcare professional lobby groups (often backed by pharmaceutical companies) combined with aggressive marketing tactics led to a marked growth in the use of strong opioids for non-cancer pain. The drug company who make Oxycontin spent US$200M on marketing in 2001, including US$40M in drug rep bonuses. The drug company’s profits rose from US$48M in 1996 when it was launched to US$3B in 2010. There are many reasons for the increase in use (including abuse), and the consensus is that it is primarily due to the lower threshold to prescribing strong opioids (particularly in light of increasing concerns about the toxicity of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers). Lack of access to specialist care is unlikely to be a strong contributor, treating existential suffering (eloquently put) is a recognised problem (“chemical coping”). Another reason the use is increasing is the development of tolerance, whereby more drug is needed for the same effect (this is not addiction or dependence). For more information on NZ usage: http://www.bpac.org.nz/BPJ/2014/July/oxycodone.aspx, http://www.hqsc.govt.nz/assets/Health-Quality-Evaluation/Atlas/opioidsSF/atlas.html

      • Ergo Robertina 2.4.1

        Thanks Pauline, interesting. I was surprised to learn from the Bpac link the majority of oxycodone isn’t prescribed in general practice. It says GPs post hospital discharge can feel compelled to continue prescribing, which figures, but I would have thought the resulting primary care prescription numbers would then vastly outweigh hospital prescribing.
        I wonder how much of the hospital prescribing is post-surgical, and how much is to patients waiting for surgery when they visit the hospital specialist or the hospital’s chronic pain clinic.

        ”Dispensing data shows that in New Zealand, the majority of prescriptions for oxycodone are not being written by General Practitioners.5 This suggests that a considerable proportion of oxycodone is being prescribed to patients on discharge from hospital, e.g. for post-surgical pain management”

        • Pauline 2.4.1.1

          The majority of hospital scripts for strong opioids are for patients being discharged after surgery, possibly also from ED. Specialists who see patients in outpatient clinics (including chronic pain team specialists) try to avoid writing scripts as they usually prefer the GP to retain primary management of the patient (plus it’s a hassle writing controlled drug scripts). The number of people taking strong opioids because they are waiting for surgery is likely to be minimal. Even so, these would only be hip and knee surgery and I can’t see orthopaedic surgeons writing controlled drug scripts. To give an example, in BoP in 2013 the prescription numbers for strong opioids were 4500; 2100 of these were for pts who had been in hospital in the past week, so 2400 were GP prescribed. Only about 600 of these were for >6 weeks. So the majority of the 4500 were for short-term use which is good.

      • miravox 2.4.2

        +1 Thanks Pauline. Diseases with chronic pain is managed quite differently in NZ compared with the US, I think, where ‘most’ chronic noncancer pain is managed in primary care.

        Sort of what I expected given access to free specialist care (albeit with sometimes long waiting times) in NZ.

        Using rheumatoid arthritis as and example, many individuals with this disease are managed in primary care, where, as well as not being able to afford the cost of treatment, patients may be in the care of physicians who are uncomfortable with prescribing drugs that control the disease. This means patients are left with symptomatic relief i.e. painkillers. Similar concerns about treating in primary care in Canada exist. NZ GPs do tend follow recommended practice and refer people with RA to specialists.

        Also interesting is GP concerns about the safety of non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). There is possibly a link there to increased prescribing of opiates and the controversy surrounding cox-2 inhibitors (e.g. vioxx) in the early 2000s which eventually proved an increased risk of heart problems with the used of several NSAIDs.

        • Pauline 2.4.2.1

          I’m not sure about the subtleties of US primary care/specialist care but at in NZ pts can be treated by their GP along with input from a specialist (at no cost to the pt) if the pt’s condition is more complex or labile. The waiting lists are not as long as they used to be and are usually quite reasonable, depending on the severity of the problem. Specialists try not to “take over” the prescribing and management because the GP is the main healthcare provider. Having access to specialists in the public system also gives access to specialist meds including expensive biologicals like adalimumab for RA, whereas in the US I understand this is dictated by someone’s insurance coverage and many people have to pay extra as a copayment. BTW, opioids are not very effective in RA.
          Yes, the increase in strong opioid prescribing may be related to the safety issues about NSAIDs including COX-2 inhibitors but there is some evidence that opioids have even more risks in older pts (Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(22):1979-1986).

          • miravox 2.4.2.1.1

            It’s been awhile since I’ve used the NZ health system, but I’m pretty familiar with how it operates. Good to know waiting times are improving (I suspect, more targeted referrals rather than improvements in resourcing).

            It’s also great when GPs and specialists can work together to manage chronic pain conditions. Although that would vary depending on the interests and confidence of the GP in managing a particular condition and the drug protocols, and for RA, whether the condition has stabilised, or not, as far as I recall. Although I understand that there is some collaboration between ‘expert’ GPs and consultants in this field to improve this situation.

            Yes, I’ve also heard that access to some biologics is much better than a few years ago, although the range is still rather sparse. You’re right that insurance coverage and co-payment are a huge big problem for US patients (along with getting a specialist diagnosis in the first place), according to the people there that I’ve conversed with.

            “opioids are not very effective in RA.”
            … and yet … they’re still prescribed (referring to aforementioned US patients). Obviously the best pain relief is to control the disease – a whole other topic, given the recommended meds for that – except that plenty of people refuse these and rely on painkillers to get through. The John Hopkins Institute does suggest there may be a role for opiates in RA. Maybe that justifies, for some, the prescribing of these rather than NSAIDs or steroids, if they’re worried about side effects from those. I’m not sure of the consensus on that view.

            Re opioids in the elderly: one of the reasons I used RA as an example is because onset frequently occurs in midlife, rather than later in life, which fit better with the original article of increased deaths in women due to overdoses up to age 54.

            Thanks again for the discussion. It’s clearly a big and diverse topic.

    • Sans Cle 3.1

      Thanks for the link.
      I agree with Chris Trotter: “His (Key’s) brilliance as a politician (if “brilliance” is the right word for so sinister a talent) lies in the way he has transformed the Truths and Untruths of the controversy into brutal binary equations of partisan allegiance.”

      Key is very skilled in this regard.

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1

        The Crosby Textors of the world have been doing this for over 50 years. Well before “either you are with us or you are against us.” Even before the days of McCarthy, where people labelled as communist sympathisers had their careers and lives destroyed.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          +1

          It’s actually been going on for centuries but the deception has become more refined over the last few decades.

          • whateva next? 3.1.1.1.1

            it’s become a science, and unfortunately, there isn’t an equal and opposite force yet.
            The film “Idiocracy” was as prophetic as George Orwell’s books.

            • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Freud, Lippman and Bernays were spot on. And the intellectual left has struggled ever since in the belief that policies, facts and figures – “evidence” – was the way to persuade people one way or the other. Utterly hopeless.

    • Clemgeopin 3.2

      A great article that every New Zealander should read.

      At the end of that excellent article about Key’s lying,
      a reader had the following comment and a link for signing a petition to John Key:

      COMMENT:

      Alma Rae from Christchurch:

      If anyone’s getting sick of Key’s endless lies, there’s a petition addressed to him asking him to get treatment for pathological lying:

      LINK:

      https://www.change.org/p/the-right-honourable-john-key-prime-minister-of-new-zealand-get-treatment-for-compulsive-lying

  2. ankerawshark 4

    Just watching the Nation, with the 4 Green Leadership contenders. All did well.

    Then the panel! FFS.

    • tc 4.1

      dunno why you bother what were you expecting, intelligent independant commentary.

      • ankerawshark 4.1.1

        tc @ 4.1I was expecting Paddy and the panel to spin, which they did. Paddy started right away with the angle that James would recognise the rights of a snail in the same way human rights (weirdo greens). Then Andrea Vance saying they should know the basic facts such as unemployment rate etc. FFS we are not at school anymore (and even school don’t do the rote learning of facts).

        I watched because I wanted to see the Green candidates and hear them talk. They were good, very good and I am a Labour supporter. There was also a good report on obesity.

    • Pasupial 4.2

      It’s up online now:

      http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/thenation/debate-who-wants-to-be-the-next-greens-co-leader-2015031409#axzz3UJAQCSK2

      I missed the contenders and could only stand 5 minutes of the commentary on TV, so no opinion as to content as yet.

      • Pasupial 4.2.1

        The debate was much better than the panel would have you believe. Though this from Shaw seems to be on the verge of deception”

        [Shaw – 1:06] I took the Green Party from 20% of the vote in Wellington Central to 30% of the vote in the last election.

        15.8% 2005 Kedgley
        20.6% 2008 Kedgley
        27.6% 2011 Shaw
        29.5% 2014 Shaw

        The actual increase in GP PV in; “the last election”, was 1.9% rather than the 10% suggested.

        • Colonial Rawshark 4.2.1.1

          I think those numbers are just as much about Grant Robertson as about the Green Party

          • Pasupial 4.2.1.1.1

            CR

            When you look at the electorate vote, Robertson’s has been increasing with each election and Shaw’s falling. Maybe you mean that Robertson has been prioritising his own place in parliament (EV) over the good of the party (PV)?

            2008 17,046 GR 5,971 Kedgley
            2011 18,836 GR 5,225 Shaw
            2014 19,807 GR 5,077 Shaw

            An important point I didn’t mention above was that the 2011 Wellington Central results represents a time when Kedgley was a Green MP. I am disinclined to ascribe Shaw; and his present electorate team, too much credit for the 7% rise in GP PV in that election.

    • whateva next? 4.3

      Yep, Greens subjected directly to the same treatment Labour get EVERYTIME they dare to disclose any details. Strangely, Nats NEVER seem to be subjected to same, and get away with appalling whitewashes of any/all their policies.Amazing.

    • Clemgeopin 4.4

      The series of statistical questions seem to have been suddenly unleashed on them with the sole aim of getting some ‘gotcha’ moments for discrediting them. Gower and the panel latched on to this as if those statistical numbers were the most important questions at hand, while ignoring the bulk of the interview based on their many other more important views including on environmental, political, social and leadership issues. They weren’t there to instantly recall and regurgitate the government’s various numbers. Would have been good if they knew, but that was NOT the most important matter for discussion TODAY or to be judged on.

      John Key did not even remember whose side he himself was on during the Springbok rugby protest that divided the entire nation!

  3. thought provoking

    It began in Wellington and spread to every major city in months. The loss of life was immense. 200,000 New Zealanders were killed. Who would be next? What about the kids? In the end, the fighting came to your suburb. You knew you had to go. You packed up your life in the space of a few minutes and fled the house. You locked the front door and hoped to God everything would still be there in a couple of months’ time.

    It would be all over by then, surely. It couldn’t drag on forever, could it?

    That was four years ago. This is now your reality. This is what life looks like for your family.

    You live in a refugee camp in the Auckland Domain. Your middle-class life is gone. You had a few thousand dollars that kept you going in the early years, but most of the money was tied up in the house.

    There is nothing left. Your family relies on aid-agencies to sustain your miserable, impoverished lives.

    There are no hospitals. No schools. The economy has collapsed. New Zealand is officially a failed state.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11416992

    It has happened in other countries, like Syria – “The Herald and World Vision are running a major campaign to raise funds and help the millions of children left homeless by war in Syria.” Good work Herald and World Vision – no matter what percentage actually gets used for purpose that will be better than nothing.

    Meanwhile – how would you cope if your world disintegrated.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.1

      Western power and western allies wanted Assad gone and this is the result. The result of supplying funds, arms and fighters to anti-Assad rebels in Syria.

      As Madeline Albright famously said on American TV when asked about the half million Iraqi children killed by sanctions, they think that it is “worth it.”

      NB ISIS continues to make gains against Assad in Syria despite US airstrikes. Its like the US doesn’t really want to be effective against ISIS.

    • David H 5.2

      Could always go hunting for food. And retribution from the Politicians.

      • weka 5.2.1

        Pretty sure the easily huntable food wouldn’t last that long. Here in the SI we’d do better, but the climate is colder too, which has a bit impact on food resources.

    • greywarshark 5.3

      Just a side point about money being raised for charity and good causes. I thought I heard on Radionz that the actual charity only got 4% of the funds raised by one contracted fund-raiser! Did anyone else hear a report about fund raisers for charities on radio about a week ago?

      Now when there are so many requests for money coming at you, and if what I’ve remembered is true, how much will that poor group in the Auckand Domain get from donations from kind people trying to help?

      I hate relying on private charity, and I want my government to have principles that ensure adequate help is available from funds received from all NZs from progressive income tax and other taxes. Private charity can fill the extreme needs, the unusual.

    • weka 5.4

      Interesting article and thought experiment marty. I think GFC/PO is more likely in NZ than civil war, but it could be both of course.

      I’m also not sure about comparing Syria with NZ, such different histories and geographies.

      I don’t have to think too much about how I would survive because I’d be one of the first to die 😉 But in the event of a slower, less violent collapse I think about things like how there are plenty of houses in NZ, and a lot of fertile land (decreasing though), and still quite a few people who know how to grow food. More of an issue is what the police and army would do here in various scenarios. Would people really be living in tents when there are empty houses around? If enough of the police and army have family who are homeless are they really going to support a state that says you can’t live in a house unless you pay rent/mortgage?

      • Morrissey 5.4.1

        I’m also not sure about comparing Syria with NZ, such different histories and geographies.

        Another quite important difference between NZ and Syria is the fact that the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have not been funding a bloody insurrection against our country for the last four years.

        • weka 5.4.1.1

          True. It could also be argued that the U.S. doesn’t need to do that here when it has Key as PM ;-/

    • gsays 5.5

      hi marty, two things spring immediately to mind.
      the first is how does raising funds help?
      you can not solve a problem with what got you into troubles in the first place.
      lets face it these conflicts ultimately have money as their root cause and are a significant driving factor.

      secondly i have been moving my life, to build resilience in the event of the scenario you described. learning about growing food energy, how to provide shelter (short and long term), strenthening the communities i am privileged to be involved with.
      i have come to the conclusion that money is the main chain that binds us and the less reliant i/we are on money the better off we are.
      i forget who said it but when the $*@#i goes down i would prefer to fall from the footpath to the gutter rather than from the penthouse.

    • Morrissey 5.6

      Marty, do you think it might be a good idea for our government and its media mouthpieces to stop supporting the violent Al Qaeda/ISIS-led insurrection in Syria?

      Only a year or so ago, the media were treating as heroes the fanatical louts who travelled to Syria to join the insurrection. If you read the endless torrent of anti-Syrian propaganda that the Herald has been running for the last four years—clearly you have not done so—then congratulating it would be the last thing you would do.

  4. veutoviper 7

    BUT, but, but – what is Hekia Parata doing in this picture?

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B_4nv7-WQAAw6ku.jpg:large

    • North 7.1

      For a minute I thought you were talking about the smiling lady to the right of Mr Rabbott…….”nah” I said……..”that’s Mrs Rabbott”.

      Then I saw Hekia conked out on the table. Poor girl ! They do tell me increasing numbers of kids are coming to school pissed nowadays…….

    • David H 7.2

      Looks like she may actually be learning something. Abbot really is a clown.

    • Molly 7.3

      Love the head-to-table position of the child right in front of Abbott.

      • ianmac 7.3.1

        I think that the head on table was the original point of the posted image.

        • veutoviper 7.3.1.1

          It was – but when I first saw the picture, for a minute I actually thought the woman was Hekia! She has an almost identical costume which she used to wear a lot!

          Just my weird sense of humour, posted it for a laugh on a dull, grey Saturday.

  5. Philip Ferguson 8

    South Africa is now the most unequal society in the world, certainly more economically unequal than it was before the end of apartheid. Certainly, a cruel irony. But perhaps also the result of putting the politics of ‘race’ above those of class?
    https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/south-africa-and-the-consequences-of-race-over-class/

    Phil

  6. North 9

    From Rachel Smalley in the Herald: Exhortation to New Zealanders to discover some human empathy. Good !

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11416992

    Mmmmmm………don’t recall any exhortations from the Herald to discover some human empathy re 60 plus years of human tragedy wrought by Zionist Eceptionalism in Palestine…….nor re the carnage brought down by Zionist Sports Tours Inc’s biennial ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ exercises in Gaza.

    I do recall TVOne/3 news anchors endlessly, sternly, reproachfully, reporting thus – “And today MILITANTS in Gaza……..”

    Damn ! I think Rachel might’ve been one of them at some point. Might be wrong but I think so. Certainly there were heaps !

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Cheers RL. Stiglitz is right. If I can hopefully simplify it down increased inequality reduces trust including trust in political institutions which unfortunately weakens them and reduces the ability for a political solution to be found. Feels a bit like a never ending cycle.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      An excellent article and a must read.

  7. freedom 11

    Please listen to this speech by US Senator Elizabeth Warren on the TPPA

    “ISDS (Investor Dispute Settlement) raises serious questions about democratic accountability, sovereignty, checks and balances and the separation of power” Sen Warren quoting the CATO Institute Trade Policy Programme ( yup, CATO said that )

    “100+ law professors agree: A TPP trade deal that includes an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision would undermine US sovereignty. ”
    – Sen Warren (quote from her fb page)

    If a US Senator declares openly that US sovereignty, its commercial freedoms and its legal system’s independence are put at risk by the TPPA, what chance does NZ have ?

    (And if you pay attention you may notice that once again, when discussing countries involved in US led actions, New Zealand does not even rate a mention from our good friend the USA)

    • Ergo Robertina 11.1

      Excellent clip, Warren is very good. Explains the corporates’ ISDS rort and its history well.

  8. Draco T Bastard 12

    Man who died after being Tasered by police named

    A man who refused to leave his car has died after being Tasered and pepper-sprayed by police, and having a dog set on him.

    Tasered, pepper sprayed and had a dog set on him? I suspect that they never considered that they were going over board with the assaults until he died.

    And, really, all they needed to do was block him in, put some clamps on a wheel or two and then leave two officers there to wait until he stepped out.

    • ianmac 12.1

      Exactly Draco. The man must have cooled down eventually.

      • greywarshark 12.1.1

        The comment doesn’t mention that the police also smashed his car windows.
        That is very frightening. And if he is a mental case, he would be out of the norms anyway. The suggestion made above about blocking seems the best thing.

        Perhaps all the police care about now is targets and money and that comes from the top. If any policeman involved in causing injury or death or being peripheral to it was docked pay according to how involved they were, that might have a limiting effect on violence used. Many of them seem to be brutalised, seem a bit distant from the ordinary citizen. Speak to them and they look at you assessingly “Is this a person causing a public nuisance” in their eyes.

        I don’t like this type of police behaviour. They ramp themselves up it seems. Round here they regularly have sirens on and shoot down the road at 70-80 kmh. It can be dangerous being a policeman, but their aqctions can increase that. And all are not equally at risk. The rural officers have more to contend with and less back-up, support people on the ground.

    • Murray Rawshark 12.2

      They should be charged with manslaughter, at the very least. Until we see some serious charges laid and pursued through to sentencing, poaka will continue to kill us.

  9. joe90 13

    tl;dr – they lie.

    Conservatives report, but liberals display, greater happiness

    Research suggesting that political conservatives are happier than political liberals has relied exclusively on self-report measures of subjective well-being. We show that this finding is fully mediated by conservatives’ self-enhancing style of self-report (study 1; N = 1433) and then describe three studies drawing from “big data” sources to assess liberal-conservative differences in happiness-related behavior (studies 2 to 4; N = 4936). Relative to conservatives, liberals more frequently used positive emotional language in their speech and smiled more intensely and genuinely in photographs. Our results were consistent across large samples of online survey takers, U.S. politicians, Twitter users, and LinkedIn users. Our findings illustrate the nuanced relationship between political ideology, self-enhancement, and happiness and illuminate the contradictory ways that happiness differences can manifest across behavior and self-reports.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6227/1243#aff-1

  10. Morrissey 14

    Another charity effort that the Herald has been supporting

    “As ever, Britain will be sending millions of pounds to schools and hospitals abroad next year, in the form of Cruise missiles.”
    —-Frankie Boyle

  11. Bill 15

    Double thread posting, but hey…

    So, this is what happens when you try to support democracy….

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/13/british-teenage-girl-charged-kurdish-forces-fighting-isis

    A teenager from London, who was allegedly trying to join a Kurdish military women’s unit fighting Isis in Syria, has been charged with a terrorist offence.

    Shilan Ozcelik, who is of Kurdish descent, was arrested earlier this year at Stansted airport. She is believed to be the first British citizen to be arrested for trying to join the campaign against the jihadis who control eastern Syria and western Iraq.

    She was arrested by on 16 January at as she returned from Brussels. Neither the YPJ nor the YPG, the main men’s Kurdish peshmerga militia in northern Syria, are banned organisations in the UK.

    The charges against Ozcelik are understood to relate to the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK), which is outlawed in Britain and has spent decades fighting the Turkish army in a separatist conflict

  12. Draco T Bastard 16

    For your amusement: A wall of memes

  13. Draco T Bastard 17

    Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?

    Don’t take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal, the leading financial information magazine in the world, has a blog dedicated to the life of expats and recently they featured a story ‘Who is an expat, anyway?’. Here are the main conclusions: “Some arrivals are described as expats; others as immigrants; and some simply as migrants. It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status. It’s strange to hear some people in Hong Kong described as expats, but not others. Anyone with roots in a western country is considered an expat … Filipino domestic helpers are just guests, even if they’ve been here for decades. Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese are rarely regarded as expats … It’s a double standard woven into official policy.”

    It’s actually quite amazing where racism and privilege shows itself.

    • miravox 17.1

      With a bit of expat experience, my partner and I were discussing this and came to the conclusion that it’s not so much racism these days. However, there is a strong class/privilege issue. In a nutshell, expats work move to take up a designated job in expensive offices and earn loads of money ‘guest’ workers take up jobs in factories, restaurants and homes and don’t earn much at all.

      The class/privilege bias means that Europeans hold a lot of the expat positions in some places but the situation is changing. That said, despite our belief that expat/guest definitions are about class, how the person on the street relates to all of these economic migrants can definitely racist, in my experience.

  14. thechangeling 18

    Excuse me if this has already been covered, but has anyone else noticed how the Roy Morgan website isn’t being updated with its latest poll since Jan 18th 2015, even though another poll has been released by them through the media since then?
    I’m assuming they’re only releasing their polls now to paying organisations prior to media release. Is this the case?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      If only.

      Some sanity would be if the accused could be sure that his appearance in a Swedish court had no bearing on US ambitions.

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