Open Mike 15/03/2018

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 15th, 2018 - 272 comments
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272 comments on “Open Mike 15/03/2018 ”

  1. Ed 1

    If you want to see an article exhibiting the complete ‘me me me’ selfish personality of Mike Hosking, today’s Herald entry is a gem.

    Forget climate change.
    Forget city congestion.
    Forget exorbitant house prices.
    Forget pollution.
    Forget everything else.

    Mike wants to have his car,
    So there.

    I wonder if the citizens of Copenhagen have to deal with moranic dinosaurs like Mike.

    • tc 1.1

      Mikey is an actor playing a part. He’s following a few directors notes and adding his own unique brand of rhetoric to it.

      The rights full of them, Glenn Beck was so bad at it I found him to be funny. Mikey softens them up for the more reasonable sounding diatribe that the others follow up with.

      Wonder how long before Joyce pops up in granny.

      • Ed 1.1.1

        The Herald is no longer the sort of paper to call Granny.
        It’s more like your drunk and violent uncle.

      • dukeofurl 1.1.2

        Granny has Hooton now , after he was sacked downsized from NBR. No room on the bridge for another like him, anyway he will follow the money and may be the figurehead for those wanting to snap up print media on the cheap

        Hosking is always lordly calling out others for presuming to know ‘how the media works’ but in this case hes presuming the council ‘pushed’ the developer of Daisy into not providing on site car parks. Its the holy grail for any shop business apartment block to do without car parks as normally that limits the usage of the site.

    • Tuppence Shrewsbury 1.2

      How dare people not take in interest in what you decide to be interesting!

      Doesn’t it wreck your day getting up this early to be outraged?

      • Ed 1.2.1

        What on earth are you talking about ?

        • Grey Area

          Don’t worry about it Ed. This character is one of a number on here who bring a corrosive note to proceedings.

          • Ed

            I wish they were booted off the site.
            They ruin discussion.

            [lprent: I like the principles behind vaccination (developing your immune system to work for you) and I dislike baby in a sterile bubble (not developing an immune system and getting sick to death on every damn thing going around).

            It seems to apply as much to political systems as it does to diseases. Living in silos is bad for the body politic. So learn to love it. ]

            • Tuppence Shrewsbury

              It’s not a discussion if you only have your own words repeated back to you.

              A columnist who you viscerally don’t like writes a column on something you not only disagree with but isn’t even on the topics you wish to discuss, and it’s a cause for such outrage from you? You then paint me as a sociopath for pointing out the sociopathic tendencies you display in behaving like that?

              Want to know why Hosking has his column? It’s not because people read and agree with it, it’s the click baited outrage it generates. Granny is making money off your outrage. Jokes on you pal

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                “Want to know why Hosking has his column? It’s not because people read and agree with it, it’s the click baited outrage it generates. Granny is making money off your outrage. Jokes on you pal”

                Unfortunately TS has a valid point here. Commercial media is all about putting eyeballs in front of marketers, not news.

            • Grey Area

              Several are taking a break and good riddance. A couple of others are here this morning. I agree the Standard would be a better place if a number of irritants weren’t present.

              I like robust debate but I am against trolling and/or people just bringing a consistent sour note to the site.

              I haven’t got the time to read every comment in every thread so I’m selective about threads and commenters.

              There a couple of commenters where even though I generally disagree with what they say or how they say it, I still read their comments as occasionally (sometimes very occasionally) they challenge my thinking with an alternative view or open me up to something I hadn’t ever considered.

              A handful of others I usually ignore because what I see as a track record but it makes sifting through threads hard work when they are busy and sometimes just leads to a feeling of can’tbebotheredness.

              • tracey

                Agree about reading those who disagree with me and make their case. The 1 to 2 sentence ones are annoying.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                Ed’s the sourest note of all. He’s like vinegar acetate poured on a lemon applied to a mouth full of paper cuts when someone dares to have a different agenda. I’m starting to wonder if he’s one of Putin’s useful idiots or paid fsb men with all the RT publishing.

            • Psycho Milt

              I wish they were booted off the site.
              They ruin discussion.

              Your collections of logical fallacies and ad hominems aren’t “discussion.” If anything, they’re anti-discussions. I’ve yet to see you actually discuss anything.

              • solkta

                Yes, it is just the right wing trolls he wants removed not the left wing ones.

              • alwyn

                I’m afraid that “Ed” is displaying most of the symptoms of what Irving Janis described as Groupthink.
                If you look at the symptoms in this description of the phenomena you will see that Ed shows 7 of the 8 symptoms in most of his comments.
                The only one that is not normally present is the first, delusions of invulnerability.
                He does however display all the others.
                His wish to have anyone who makes a comment that is not in agreement with his mores is certainly characteristic of symptom 4,
                “Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid”
                symptom 5,
                “Self-censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus”
                and 8,
                “Mind-guards— self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information”.
                Sad really, but typical of most political groups.

                • Incognito

                  You could also have said that “Ed” is displaying most of the symptoms of a cult, a mob, a gang, a neural network, or a political party. Groupthink is a concept that applies to a group of people, not to a single individual like “Ed”. Are you implying that “Ed” is a hive mind or like the Borg Collective or some other multi-mind-entity self-organised and merged into one? BTW, why the quotation marks?

                  • Ed

                    I tried to instigate a discussion about how the media uses its puppets to influence people’s thinking : Hosking on attempts to improve road congestion and Crampton on ideas to tax sugar to tackle the health crisis caused by it.

                    For that, I have been crucified.

                    • Incognito

                      I’m not making any judgement on what you do here or how, Ed. If you think it achieves what you want to achieve, you continue. If not, you adapt until it does. Simple as that. Personally, I would not like to be or feel “crucified” because it ‘hurts’ …

                    • Ed

                      Informing folk about climate change is worth it.
                      Thank you for your non judgemental approach.

                    • alwyn

                      You might note that I never commented on the views you were expressing about climate change, or any of your other hobby-horses.
                      I commented on the fact that you appear to want to silence anyone who doesn’t promote the same things as you do.

                      Your full comment that I responded to was –
                      “I wish they were booted off the site.
                      They ruin discussion”.
                      This pretty clearly has to mean you think that any views that don’t follow the same line as you promulgate should be suppressed. That is not discussion, that is censorship.

                      Describing yourself as being crucified is rather over the top don’t you think? You really aren’t Spartacus or one of his followers you know? Neither are you Jesus Christ. I’m not sure about whether you are like Gestas of course.

      • Ed 1.2.2

        Not outraged by children in poverty
        Not outraged by catastrophic climate change
        Not outraged by wars and violence
        Not outraged by cruelty and torture of animals

        I am outraged.



        • One Two

          Being proactive and finding some joy in life will serve you better than expressing outrage on an anonymous blog site…

    • Sanctuary 1.3

      I wonder if Hosking knows what a pompous twat he sounds like in the piece?

      Nah, he is utterly lacking in self-awareness.

      But as the unalloyed voice of privilege, he makes for amusing reading.

      PS I have no idea why his wife gets a column as well, she largely parrots the same predictable class based views as her husband.

      • Grey Area 1.3.1

        I liked tc’s comment at 1.1 that Hosking is an actor playing a part. Showed real insight I thought. The pro-car piece is almost a parody.

        PS I have no idea why his wife gets a column as well, she largely parrots the same predictable class based views as her husband.

        Haven’t you answered your own question? 🙂

        Same reason she gets the early-morning gig on Newstalk. Because she is Hosking’s spouse and parrots the same predictable class-based views.

        • Pete

          His writing is perpetual parody. But they are genuine to him as he himself is the perfect put-on-planet-Earth-for-myself parody.

          He has assumed a munificent purpose though. magnanimously assuming the role of being spokesperson for those as desolate as himself.

        • tracey

          Kate Hawkesby was a broadcaster in her own right before marrying Hosking

          • Sanctuary

            Good to see she has thrown that dangerously subversive aspect of liberal behaviour into full reverse since she got the rich hubby, embraced the filthy lucre and learned to love the merlot reactionaries. I mean, it is all about consistency, innit.

          • dukeofurl

            BA in political studies here and has worked in London on Daily Express. Dont know that she has previously been on radio

      • mauī 1.3.2

        Best not to listen to the radio either in the mornings, that duo morph into one practically. It’s Mike Hosking 1 first up followed by Mike Hosking 2.

        • Grey Area

          Isn’t that Mike Hosking 2 followed up by Mike Hosking 1? Mr Hosking is always #1, at least in his own mind.

        • Sanctuary

          I caught a lift to a customer site yesterday with a depressingly reactionary Englishman in our employ (he is an unconsciously hilariously stereotypical Maggie Thatcher loving Brit who is perpetually in a state of high anxiety about something and everything) and he runs ZB on his car radio. I never listen to ZB, the station appears to me to be just a succession of angry baby boomers waging a culture war against everything that happened after 1973. So listening to it was astounding. It was reactionary and revanchist right wing propaganda so blatant it would make a FSB agent writing copy at RT dry-retch in disgust. With such reactionary and revanchist rabble rousing rubbish on 24×7 rotate on ZB, it is hardly surprising Hosking is an increasingly isolated and out of touch parody of a right wing apologist. Those people live in a make believe la la land.

      • Anne 1.3.3

        Bimbo. … Bimbo is a derogatory slang term for an attractive but unintelligent female. The term was originally used in the United States as early as 1919 for an unintelligent or brutish male.
        Bimbo – Wikipedia

        Answer to your question. They’re both bimbos. The media literati hate intelligent people. They tend to show them up for their own intellectual inadequacies. Much better to employ blonde bimbos and their fatuous other halves who can be relied upon to talk mulched-up crap for the purpose of non-informing the uninformed masses.

    • Grey Area 1.4

      I‘ve seen many clips like this Copenhagen one and they’re inspiring about what can be done. I liked a couple of points from Mikael Colville-Andersen: “We’re moving towards a better urban culture” and “This is vacuum cleaner culture” (meaning cycling is a normal everyday activity that you don’t need special gear to do and the bicycle is just a tool).

      But things are changing even here in New Zealand.

      I was at a council working group meeting yesterday and was encouraged to hear a presentation on Neighbourhood Greenways – a term for creating family-friendly walking/cycling networks. We are getting more separated cycle paths, and more trails and better cycling-related infrastructure but the basis of neighbourhood greenways is that we also need to create safer routes for cycling and walking routes from existing infrastructure.

      The key is to reduce motor vehicle volumes and speed to encourage the group of citizens described (following a Portland, Oregon study) as “interested but concerned”.

      For me the concept puts into words a feeling I often have when out cycling – that an area or route would be so much better for everyone if there were fewer motor vehicles and those that were there were travelling slower.

      There’s a long way to go in NZ but change isn’t just coming, it’s here.


      Portland Study

  2. Ed 2

    Dr Eric Crampton is the Chief Economist at The New Zealand Initiative .

    Micky Savage wrote in 2016

    The New Zealand Initiative ‘is the successor of the Business Roundtable which was created during the height of Rogernomics by founders who eventually formed part of the Act Party.

    Dr Eric Crampton gets a lot of media time and platforms.
    Today he got another platform.
    To dismiss a sugar tax.

    It shows that Stuff is not serious about tackling sugar.
    It’s like saying we are dealing with climate change, then inviting David Bellamy on.

    Crampton on to prop up big sugar.
    Hosking on to prop up the fossil fuel industry and the roading companies.

    The government must be doing something right if these mindless media parrots are repeating words for their owners.

    • tc 2.1

      The govt isn’t doing all that much Ed, it’s not a National government so all their shills bray like donkeys in chorus on the gazetted topic. Y’know Manufacturing consent.

      • Ed 2.1.1

        Sadly there are so many people who still fall for the media’s lies, diversions and fearmongering.

        People will believe Crampton, with the doctor word at the front.
        People are being scared into fear and hatred of Russia by the media.
        People were frightened into believing there were weapons of mass destruction 45 minutes away.

        The media is a big part of the problem.

        • Psycho Milt

          Sadly there are so many people who still fall for the media’s lies, diversions and fearmongering.

          Indeed. I note, for example, your RT video above.

          • Ed

            More fool you.

          • adam

            That journalist no longer works at RT, she works for teleSUR.

            As for this blanket, “RT you must be mad”, it’s a bit odd, do you do it with the BBC, TVNZ or any of the others? Are you going to tell me corporate media like MSNBC is better?

            I’d say it’s better to go with a good journo, rather than dismiss them out of hand because the company they work for.

            • JohnSelway

              How is state media any more reliable than corporate media? They both have interests to support and editorial biases to convey

            • Psycho Milt

              As for this blanket, “RT you must be mad”, it’s a bit odd, do you do it with the BBC, TVNZ or any of the others?

              Last time I looked, the BBC, TVNZ etc weren’t propaganda arms of nationalist authoritarian regimes. But no, unlike Ed I’m not a sucker for any media outlet that reinforces my prejudices. It’s not that some are reliable, it’s that some are less unreliable than others.

              • adam

                Didn’t the BBC do a number on the public over Iraq? You need to have filters on, when engaging with any media. Personally I can’t be bothered with RT news (need 100% bulllshit detectors on), but RT America has some a couple of good shows Larry King, and Chris Hedges.

                So that a no for you on looking at the reporter rather than the outlet?

    • Stunned mullet 2.2

      😆 Brainwash update from RT.

      • Ed 2.2.1

        Yes, stunned mullet you are brainwashed.
        Either that or knowingly lying.

        You should read Chomsky on the media.
        But you won’t.

        • Stunned mullet

          😆 Why don’t you get one of your fine sock puppets to tell me how I’m brainwashed Ed.

          • Ed


            • Grey Area


              • Stunned mullet

                All we need now is either Paul, One Two, Louis or another of the sock puppets and we’ve got a trifecta.

                • weka

                  If you have genuine concerns about someone using sock puppets, then flag a moderator or email Lynn. Otherwise you look like you are just shitstirring, and I’m happy to get out the black pen to tone down any flame wars.

                • One Two

                  Mullet, if you’ve managed to cross my comments with Ed’s to a position where you believe either Ed writes under my pseudonym, or that Ed and I are somehow in this together…

                  You would be wrong…

                  I couldn’t hold it against you…it’s just where you’re at in life…

                  Raising ones own level is a journey…be that journey…

          • mauī

            I and many others stand with Ed, and greatly respect his caring and compassionate thoughts and viewpoints.

            What can we say about you, other than you’re bored..

            • Grey Area

              What can we say about you, other than you’re bored..

              How about “go away and play somewhere else”?

            • Carolyn_Nth

              I don’t find Ed’s comments to be greatly enlightening. And I get bored with the amount of space this entity takes up here – mostly just scroll on past it these days.

              In relation to issues of power and communication, it’s useful to look at who is dominating public spaces and how. Sometimes less is more.

              If I see a lot of Ed comments for open mike in the sidebar in a morning, I avoid open mike.

              • Sam C

                “Mainly just scroll on past it these days”…

                Exactly what I “mainly” do with your poorly reasoned and constructed posts, Carolyn_Nth.

                But each to their own, eh?

                [you look like you are trolling. Up your game and count this as a warning – weka]

                • weka

                  Two moderator warnings in half an hour. I’m looking at your commenting history (which looks like mostly all you do here is have a go at people), your last ban and thinking you get one chance and your next ban will be double the last one.

              • veutoviper

                Agreed Carolyn Nth. I find what I call the “Ed Hour” very off putting and just go elsewhere on the net for my early morning reading and may or may not return to TS.

                I find his continual telling other people that they are idiots and are not able to decide for themselves which sources/writers are credible and only he knows what we should be reading/thinking/doing/eating, as being both arrogant and ignorant at the same time. As for his continual calls for other people to be banned …

                Usually but not always, his early morning dumps are over in an hour or so with visits back for short periods during the day sometimes, and some more in the evening. BUT his total output is massive.

                For some stupid* reason while waiting for some long maintenance, upgrades etc to my PC to do their thing, I used my Ipad to do a rough count of his daily comments on TS since his return on 8 March from his latest ban, using the TS Search function.
                Thu 8 March = 24; Fri 9 March = only 2; Sat 10 March = 11; Sun 11 March = 29; Mon 12 March = 17; Tue 13 March = only 1; Wed 14 March = 27 . This gives a one week total of approximately 111.

                His early morning dump this morning has totalled 15 from 6.17am to 7.44am. These have included at least two with personal attacks on two other commenters, and one calling for bannings.

                IMO Anne put it well back in Open Mike on 2 March when Ed received his 6 day ban:
                “Over the next six days, I hope Ed reflects on the fact that ramming the same stories down readers’ throats over and over again is doing the exact opposite to what is intended. 90% of readers here know all about the problems of the world Ed. They don’t need you to be constantly reminding them. All I suspect you’re doing is driving people away from the site.”


                * I sometime amaze even myself as to what I can find to do to avoid what I should be doing!

                • Keepcalmcarryon

                  I don’t find Ed particularly aggressive (”having a go”). Boring and repetitive as all hell, yes (sorry Ed). I am a proponent of free speech as much as possible to make life interesting, so not a proponent of always banning.
                  Maybe just a bit more red meat in the diet and less spamming of the same stuff and we can all get along 🙂

                  • veutoviper

                    I did not say aggressive – I said arrogant and ignorant at the same time. And definitely boring and repetitive.

                    I too am a big proponent of free speech (within reason) and the exchange and discussion of ideas and differences of opinion, and banning only as a last resort (and exercised on a fair and balanced basis). But Ed just does not to seem to get it that ramming the same thing down people’s throats over and over just turns them off and unwilling to engage.

                    As to meat vs vegetarianism and vegan, I am actually very open minded on this – and enjoy catering. cooking and eating all three types of food, as well catering for other dietary restrictions.

                    Again it is the preaching at people I refuse to accept whether it is food, religion, or smoking etc.- and unwillingness to accept and respect that other people have a right to different points of view and to express these.

                    • Keepcalmcarryon


                    • Carolyn_Nth

                      Yes. I have no problem with Ed or anyone else here expressing their views in a discussion. But it is important that the space is shared equally – something that requires a bit of self reflection and consideration of others from time to time.

                      Any discussion benefits by not being dominated by a small number of people.

                • mauī

                  “Over the next six days, I hope Ed reflects on the fact that ramming the same stories down readers’ throats over and over again is doing the exact opposite to what is intended. 90% of readers here know all about the problems of the world Ed. They don’t need you to be constantly reminding them. All I suspect you’re doing is driving people away from the site.”

                  I think the above quote from Anne you have linked to is unfair. Ed doesn’t post the “same stories” on open mike or anywhere else from what I can tell. Sure his comments follow similar “themes” I admit that, like neoliberalism, water quality, geopolitics, for example. But these are all relevant topics for lefties and he is using new links and new prose all the time from what I can see. It is not repetitive.

                  If Ed can’t discuss the problems of the world, then what’s the point of having a political blog site. Are we supposed to only talk about problems in moderation? It sounds more like some people don’t like the way Ed is saying things, and maybe that is just personal taste. In the words of Ed – scroll past.

                  • Anne

                    Nothing unfair about it at all. Ed has posted some good stuff and I almost always agree with his sentiments as I expect most others on this site do as well. But there’s no need to keep repeating the same meme as if we’re all too thick to understand the first time round. It gets up people’s noses maui. Are fellow readers not also entitled to some consideration?

                  • Ed

                    Thank you for your support.

                    “If Ed can’t discuss the problems of the world, then what’s the point of having a political blog site.”

                    I try to vary points I broach and shine a torch on issues that concern me, as well as highlighting subject matter and material that may not be known to many readers.

                    Are we supposed to ignore the various crises facing the world?

    • So, apart from lengthy and pointless ad hominem attacks, do you have any comment on Crampton’s arguments?

      • Ed 2.3.1

        He should be ignored.
        I don’t listen to Bellamy on climate change, I don’t listen to Charlton Heston on gun control and I don’t listen to Crampton on sugar.
        I note their agenda, their funding and their motivation.

        • Psycho Milt

          I see you don’t note their arguments – that explains a lot.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury

            If you don’t stand with Ed you stand for evil, or even worse, rational thought and debate

            • Grey Area

              That’s rubbish as I’m sure you know. Some of the criticism of Ed’s commenting style is warranted but what annoys and saddens me is how quick some commenters on here are to put the boot in.

              Some people appear to me to have a real nasty streak which they display regularly. And unless I’m wrong they are mostly male.

              It makes this an unhealthy place at times. It’s not a case of wanting a sterile environment removed of any contrary views.

              I just want read healthy vigorous debate but without the virulent sniping.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                Really? Ed is the quickest to put the boot in. If someone dares to disagree with Ed he launches into ad hominem attacks on that invariably lead to Ed casting some slur at said disagreer then ed getting schooled.

                This happens, literally, every day

                • monty

                  I was just going to say the same thing re Ed.

                  When asked a direct question or presented with alternative points of view and or facts he starts the sniping and attacks or wont answer.

                  However what Ed adds is conversation starters and his opinion which opens up debate. When opening up a debate on a topic commentators should be prepared for contrasting views and treat each other with respect and not resort to personal attacks.

                  Ed is entilted to his opinion and should be respected for that, but he should also respect others and not de value their opinion.

                  Does your comment “mostly male” have anything to do with the price of fish. As unless I am wrong Ed is a male.

        • alwyn

          ” I don’t listen to Charlton Heston on gun control “.
          I should certainly hope not. If you are listening to Charlton Heston you really must be severely delusional.
          He died 10 years (minus about 3 weeks) ago.
          I realise he tended to star in films about people who could work miracles, such as Moses, but I don’t really think he had the powers of St Dennis, patron saint of Paris.

          When did you last hear from him? And if he talked to you what is his motivation?

          • tracey

            “He died 10 years (minus about 3 weeks) ago.”

            If I drank coffee I would have snorted it over my keyboard. Instead I just snorted. Thank you sir.

        • mikes


          If you don’t listen then how do you know what it is you’re disagreeing with?

          “Courage is what takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” — Winston Churchill

          “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” — Sun Tzu

          And so on….

        • Jenny

          RT should be taken with a grain of salt.

          Personally I prefer Democracy Now and Amy Goodman to RT, which is heavy on the frenzied Revanchist delivery.

          In Syria, human rights groups say as many as 50 civilians were killed Wednesday, as a relentless assault by Russian and Syrian forces continued to pound the rebel held Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. One local medic warned, 5,000 people are at risk of annihilation.

          At the United Nations, Deputy High Commission for secretary for human rights kate Gilmore, warned a 125,000 children remained entrapped in Eastern Ghouta.

          Amy Goodman

          Those responsible for these war crimes, and crimes against humanity, are being identified, the chain of evidence is being preserved, dossiers are being built up for their prosecution, and duly convened tribunals will hold them legally accountable for these crimes, which in malice they continue to wage with scant regard for Syria’s children. By allowing their cruelty to continue to violate the rights of Syria’s children, the international community too, must confront the blood on its hands.

          Kate Gilmore
          U.N. Human Rights Official

          Meanwhile Turkey’s military has encircled the Northern Syrian city of Afrin, where the United Nations is warning of a growing humanitarian disaster. Residents of Afrin have had no access to clean drinking water for a week after Turkish troops and their allies cut water supplies to the area.
          Turkish President, Turtip Erdogan, has vowed to crush the Kurdish Y.P.G Militia, known as the People’s Protection Units who control Afrin.
          Turkey’s offensive has sparked protests by Kurds around the world. On Tuesday police in Paris used teargas to drive back hundreds of Kurdish protesters and their allies as they demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy, where they accuse the Trump administration of failing to prevent Turkish atrocities in Syria.

          Amy Goodman

      • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2

        To begin with, sugar taxes are offensive. They presume that some government official knows better than you about what food choices are best for you.

        This is, of course, a logical fallacy as it assumes that everybody knows everything which is simply untrue. Chances are that the government official does know better than you – they’ve read the reports.

        And when we think about how they’re generally aimed at things like soda rather than expensive coffee drinks, they’re also deeply classist.

        Which is wrong as well. It’s aimed at sugar which is actually bad for society while coffee isn’t.

        Sugar taxes of 10 or 20 per cent – the range usually advocated – simply do not affect consumption very much.

        Well then, we need it to be as high as tobacco tax.

        Until vaping, if you wanted nicotine, you had to buy cigarettes.

        Which is wrong as well as you could always go out and buy other sources of nicotine – gum comes to mind.

        The effects of tax on health would then be much smaller than you might think from a naive estimation from any reduction in sugar consumption. If people flip from chocolate bars to crisps, are they really that much healthier?

        Probably. Potato is a reasonably healthy food and the vegetable oil that they’re cooked in is known to reduce bad cholesterol.

        All of that means that, even if sugar taxes were easy to implement (and they are far from easy to implement), there would still be no good reason to do it.

        Which is a load bollocks. What the evidence shows is that the taxes have to be high enough to have an effect – just like tobacco taxes – and not that they shouldn’t be enacted. Evidence shows that high taxes does have an effect on consumption.

        They may not be easy to implement but that, too, is not an argument for doing nothing.

        • Psycho Milt

          Potato is a reasonably healthy food and the vegetable oil that they’re cooked in is known to reduce bad cholesterol.

          Crampton is right. Deep-fried carbs are easily as bad for your health as a chocolate bar, and the kinds of oils used for crisps are anything but good for you.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Deep-fried carbs are easily as bad for your health as a chocolate bar

            [Citation Needed]

            I’m reasonably certain that the amount of sugar in a bar of chocolate is actually worse for you than the carbs in a bag of chips.

            The chocolate bar does have the advantage of having cocoa in it of course and thus provides better nutrition.

            and the kinds of oils used for crisps are anything but good for you.

            The link I provided disagrees with you and I’m far more likely to believe the link.

            • Psycho Milt

              [Citation Needed]

              Sure. Harvard’s glycemic index rating for a Snickers Bar: 51. For potato chips: 56. That makes the chips slightly worse for you than a Snickers bar, assuming you eat the same weight of each.

              Your link says that vegetable oils lower cholesterol more than animal fats, which is probably true but also probably irrelevant as far as health is concerned. And there are plenty of reasons not to eat them – in that linked article, particularly items 3, 4 and 5.

              • Incognito

                But the glycemic index of foods tells only part of the story. What it doesn’t tell you is how high your blood sugar could go when you actually eat the food, which is partly determined by how much carbohydrate is in an individual serving. To understand a food’s complete effect on blood sugar, you need to know both how quickly the food makes glucose enter the bloodstream, and how much glucose it will deliver. A separate value called glycemic load does that. It gives a more accurate picture of a food’s real-life impact on blood sugar. The glycemic load is determined by multiplying the grams of a carbohydrate in a serving by the glycemic index, then dividing by 100. A glycemic load of 10 or below is considered low; 20 or above is considered high. Watermelon, for example, has a high glycemic index (80). But a serving of watermelon has so little carbohydrate (6 grams) that its glycemic load is only 5.

                From your Harvard link.

    • Tuppence Shrewsbury 2.4

      “Stuff is not serious about tackling sugar”

      Stuff is a private enterprise, it doesn’t have an enforced mandate of tackling an imaginary conspiracy like big sugar. It’s published an article by a Dr, who has correctly pointed out that a consumption tax on sugar is largely pointless. The parallels between cigarette taxes and sugar taxes are largely non existent. He also correctly points out that sugar taxes unfairly target the poor as they tend to consume more sugar than wealthier people. So a tax is then inherently classist and punititve

      • Stuart Munro 2.4.1

        Agreed. If sugary drinks are a health issue there is no reason not to regulate sugar levels. It doesn’t have to be a tax, and the regulation need not cost manufacturers or consumers a thing. A steady incremental decline in sugar content is better for everyone.

        • Tuppence Shrewsbury

          That sounds dangerously like big sugar talk right there. Slowly dropping consumption means prices can slowly increase and profits will remain huge to fund the advertising needed to stay in power

          • Stuart Munro

            Taxing opens a can of worms though. What gets taxed and what doesn’t? Confectionaries? Icecream? Biscuits? Fruit – some is pretty high in sugar. The problematic behavior has been the gradual ramping up of sugar levels, especially in drinks, to produce the so-called ‘sugar-hit’. Reversing that is neither demanding nor oppressive.

            But, if the government wants to put up the price of the sugar that I want to use to make jam for example, I don’t think they’re doing that in my interests, which makes it illegitimate. It would further increase the cost of living, especially for poorer members of society.

            • Draco T Bastard

              What gets taxed and what doesn’t?

              Added sugar.

              In other words, only processed food.

              • Tuppence Shrewsbury

                How do you manage that at cafes Draco? Pretty sure you’d be pissed if you got charged extra for two sugars in your trim latte

                • Draco T Bastard

                  A trim latte isn’t a processed food with added sugar whereas Coke and other soft-drinks and a few other processed foods are.

  3. AsleepWhileWalking 3


    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • bwaghorn 3.1

      aye its is the only true option , all the rest is pipe dreams

      • Graeme 3.1.1

        I got warned about that sort of thinking when I was a young fella with a story about an old lady that swallowed a fly…

        Those sentiments were reinforced when i trained as an engineer.

        Where we are is the result of geo-engineering, albeit unintentional, but quite foreseeable.

  4. Jenny 4

    “Diaries of the Siege”

    Amid the relative quiet of this night, the hopelessness of our situation sets in again and my mind goes back to my last meeting with a United Nations delegation.
    They had come to Douma last November with just around 4,010 baskets for the town’s 28,000 families. I remember distinctly what I told them, as head of the city’s Women’s Council, and it still holds today.
    Back in November, on a long table where the town’s civil society leaders were speaking to members of the delegation, I told a delegate that the amount they had given us was completely insufficient. I said that the aid convoy carried with it a message: that the population of Douma would be reduced to suit the aid that the UN was providing.
    If a convoy were to arrive again today, I would remind them of what I said and I would tell them that they are partners in the regime and Russia’s crimes. Unlike those around the world who have put humanity first and who have tried to stop the killing of innocents with their fundraising and demonstrations in solidarity with Eastern Ghouta.

    “Protesters clash in Auckland over killings in Syria”

    Kiwi counter-protesters tell Syrian protesters,
    “How do you know the truth?”

    “You don’t know the truth.”

    And I would tell the international community that if they have decided, with Bashar al Assad, to kill us all then please have mercy on us and speed it up. Because we’re tired of waiting our turn on death row.
    I would tell the international community to please burn the charters and treaties of the United Nations with regards to protecting human beings and their rights, which chief among them is the right to life.

    • Ed 4.1

      Why do you never mention Afrin?
      Patrick Cockburn, an experienced, knowledgeable and nonpartisan journalist wrote this very recently.

      “While the world looks to Eastern Ghouta, civilians in Afrin are being slaughtered in their hundreds by Turkish forces

      ……I have been struck since 2011 by the unbalanced way in which the Syrian war has been reported by the media. Vast attention was given to the sufferings inflicted on the people of East Aleppo in 2016 under attack by Syrian government and Russian air strikes, but very little notice was taken of the almost complete destruction of Isis-held Raqqa, with massive civilian casualties, at the hands of the US-led coalition.

      I used to attribute such uneven coverage of the war to the greater skill and resources of the Syrian opposition in recording and publicising atrocities committed by the Syrian government and its allies. Isis had no interest in the fate of civilians under its control. But in Afrin there is no shortage of film of the suffering of civilians, but it simply is not widely broadcast or printed. In many respects, the role of the international media in the Syrian war has been as partial and misleading as the warring parties inside the country or their foreign sponsors without.”

      • Jenny 4.1.1

        I missed putting the accompaning link to the “Diary of the siege”

        Please read

        • Jenny

          “Diaries of the Siege”

          Muzna Duried of the Syrian Political Feminist Movement writes about her friend Bayan Rehan, head of the Women’s Office at the Douma Local Council in Ghouta
          Svetlana Alexievich wrote in her book ‘The Unwomanly Face of War’:

          “Thousands of wars have occurred, short and long. We knew the details of some, and other details were lost among the bodies of the victims. Many wrote, but men always wrote about men. All we knew about the war, we knew it through the “voice of the man”. We are all captives of “men” and their feelings of war, prisoners of the words of men. Women have chosen silence.”

          Not any more.

      • Jenny 4.1.2

        Why do you never mention Afrin?


        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        Whataboutism (also known as whataboutery) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument

        • Ed

          Why don’t you mention Afrin?

          • Jenny

            “Why don’t you mention Afrin?”


            Why don’t you disprove my argument?

            For instance, Ed, do you still dispute that the Assad regime is slaughtering civilians?


            “……attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument”

        • One Two

          Another commentator misuses ‘whataboutism’…

          Simple lack of understanding…perhaps…

          Cognizant dissonance…absolutely…

          • Jenny

            What about Afrin?

            What about Yemen?

            Maybe, just maybe, if the world had not looked away from the genocide in Syria, these other genocides would not have been possible.

            “The Smell of Fear and Death”
            14 March, 2018

            Last week, the independent Syrian organization Women Now for Development, which runs three centers for women in Eastern Ghouta, published a press release titled “International Women’s Day under siege, chlorine and napalm.”

            “Even from these dark cellars and bunkers, messages reach us daily, updating us about the situation, and showing women’s strength and leadership,” the release reads. “We have been publishing the stories and providing a platform for these women to share their fears, thoughts and hopes.”

            As the violence has escalated in Eastern Ghouta, the social media accounts of Women Now and many other Syrian NGOs have been transformed into news bulletins. And the major providers of the dispatches published on such sites are women. “On this day on which we celebrate women’s achievements,” the Women Now press release concludes, “we should not forget those who have been forced into darkness.”


  5. Ed 5

    This article only goes to show how entitled, selfish and ignorant so many sportsmen are.

    Educate yourself.

    “A former All Black insists he was unaware of any maltreatment of animals before competing in an annual elephant polo tournament in Thailand that has been marred by allegations of abuse and has a rights group calling for it to be cancelled.

    Steve McDowall, and three other former All Blacks – Olo Brown, Robin Brooke, and Charles Riechelmann – played in the final of the King’s Cup in Bangkok on Sunday.”

    • James 5.1

      “This article only goes to show how entitled, selfish and ignorant so many sportsmen are.”

      So the actions of a few is representative of “so many sportsmen”

      Seems you are unaware and need to educate yourself

      Have you ever played sport?.

      • Ed 5.1.1

        Please save your breath.
        Until you retract the repulsive racist comments you made the other day, I have nothing to say to you.

        • James

          I stand my what I posted. Feel free to link to the repulsive racist comments I made (after all you have made this allegation multiple times now).

          Just because you say something doesn’t make it so.

    • tc 5.2

      Maybe Robin Brooke will be ‘hugely remorseful’ as he was back in 2010.

  6. Jenny 6

    I missed putting the accompaning link to the “Diary of the siege”

    • Brigid 6.1

      Oh Jenny Jenny Jenny

      ” I, on the other hand, assumed the role of keeping the kids entertained. I had the children gather around and told them stories. I started with Gone with the Wind because I wanted the kids to be inspired by the heroine Scarlett’s courage. I told them about how she had been through her own war and came out of it safely. I regaled them with stories about how she rebuilt her life over the rubble of America’s civil war.”

      How can you believe this crap.

      • francesca 6.1.1

        I did Jenny the courtesy of reading that link she was so insistent on providing.
        Like you I was gobsmacked.
        I think Jenny is probably a lovely person, who means well, but Jesus!
        Julie Andrews meets Anne Frank!

        The Syria Campaign is usually pretty slick, they do all the White Helmet stuff, but they fell down on the job with this one

        • Jenny

          The Syria Campaign is usually pretty slick, they do all the White Helmet stuff, but they fell down on the job with this one



          “How Syria’s White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine”

          The Russia-backed campaign to link the volunteer rescuers with al-Qaida exposes how conspiracy theories take root: ‘It’s like a factory’

          by Olivia Solon

          The Syrian volunteer rescue workers known as the White Helmets have become the target of an extraordinary disinformation campaign that positions them as an al-Qaida-linked terrorist organisation.

          The Guardian has uncovered how this counter-narrative is propagated online by a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government (which provides military support to the Syrian regime).

          The White Helmets, officially known as the Syria Civil Defence, is a humanitarian organisation made up of 3,400 volunteers – former teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters – who rush to pull people from the rubble when bombs rain down on Syrian civilians. They’ve been credited with saving thousands of civilians during the country’s continuing civil war.

          They have also exposed, through first-hand video footage, war crimes including a chemical attack in April. Their work was the subject of an Oscar-winning Netflix documentary and the recipient of two Nobel peace prize nominations.

          Despite this positive international recognition, there’s a counter-narrative pushed by a vocal network of individuals who write for alternative news sites countering the “MSM agenda”. Their views align with the positions of Syria and Russia and attract an enormous online audience, amplified by high-profile alt-right personalities, appearances on Russian state TV and an army of Twitter bots.

          The way the Russian propaganda machine has targeted the White Helmets is a neat case study in the prevailing information wars. It exposes just how rumours, conspiracy theories and half-truths bubble to the top of YouTube, Google and Twitter search algorithms.

          “This is the heart of Russian propaganda. In the old days they would try and portray the Soviet Union as a model society. Now it’s about confusing every issue with so many narratives that people can’t recognise the truth when they see it,” said David Patrikarakos, author of War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the 21st Century.

          “Hybrid Warfare”

          The campaign to discredit the White Helmets started at the same time as Russia staged a military intervention in Syria in September 2015, supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s army with airstrikes bombarding opposition-held areas. Almost immediately, Russian state media such as RT and Sputnik started falsely claiming that Isis was the only target and throwing doubt on the bombings of infrastructure and civilian sites.

          The same propaganda machine scooped up fringe anti-American activists, bloggers and researchers who believe the White Helmets are terrorists, giving them a platform on state TV and amplifying their articles through social media.

          There is no evidence to suggest that these activists and bloggers are knowingly spreading disinformation, although the stories are often thinly sourced.

          Scott Lucas, professor of international politics at the University of Birmingham, describes the overall campaign as “agitation propaganda” but said that some of its participants don’t realise they are being used as pawns.

          “The most effective propaganda is when you find someone who believes it then give them support – you don’t create them from scratch,” he added.

          “Why the White Helmets?

          The White Helmets play two roles within Syria. The first is their rescue work: providing an ambulance service, fire service and search and rescue in conflict areas where infrastructure has been decimated.

          The second role is the documentation of what is taking place within the country via handheld and helmet cameras.

          “This is the thing that has annoyed not just the Assad regime and Russian authorities but a lot of the propagandists who work in their orbit,” said Amnesty International’s Kristyan Benedict, a crisis response manager who specialises in Syria.

          Their footage has helped organisations like Amnesty and the Syria Justice and Accountability Center corroborate testimony they receive from people in Syria via phone, Skype and WhatsApp. It allows them to check the aftermath of airstrikes to see whether civilians were targeted and whether there was any military presence or checkpoints.

          “That’s really been damaging to the war narrative of Syria and Russia,” said Benedict.

          • Jenny

            And for the computer nerds among us…

            “The research that shows the link”

            The Guardian spoke to several researchers studying the spread of disinformation and propaganda online who have found evidence of a targeted Russian influence campaign against the White Helmets.

            Fil Menczer, a computer science professor at Indiana University, has developed a tool called Hoaxy to chart the spread of misinformation online. Searching for “White Helmets” reveals a handful of sources generated hundreds of stories about the organisation. “It’s like a factory,” he said.

            The same handful of people are quoted as “experts” in articles that are repackaged and interlinked to create a body of content whose conspiracy claims gain a semblance of legitimacy.

            The analytics firm Graphika has spent years analysing a range of Russian disinformation campaigns including those around the Macron leaks and the Russian doping scandal. In research commissioned by the human rights group the Syria Campaign, it found that the patterns in the online network of the 14,000 Twitter users talking about the White Helmets looked “very similar” and included many known pro-Kremlin troll accounts, some of which were closed down as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the US election. Other accounts appeared to generate more than 150 tweets per day (more than 70 is seen by scholars studying bots as suspicious).


      • joe90 6.1.2

        Gone With The Wind is available as English to Arabic in page facing format so it’s certainly possible Bayan Rehan did as she says she did.

      • Psycho Milt 6.1.3

        How can you believe this crap.

        Ha ha, those people living under siege, aren’t they a bunch of assholes?

      • Jenny 6.1.4

        “How can you believe this crap.”


        Kia ora Brigid, by this comment, are you denying that the civilian population of East Ghouta are having to live in makeshift basement bomb shelters to escape the bombs being dropped on them by the Assad Regime and their Russian ally?

        And are you really basing your objection of this reality, on a woman trapped in this situation, recounting her favourite novel to entertain children?

        Surely if you have ever traveled you would have come across the phenomenon of odd cultural cross over.

        That, this novel of surviving a hugely destructive war, is Gone With the Wind, may seem strange to us, with its tangled racist stereotypes, but in Syria in a makeshift bomb shelter it may have some resonance.

        I googled Gone With the Wind,

        This is what came up:

        The story is set in Clayton County and Atlanta, both in Georgia, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty following Sherman’s destructive “March to the Sea”. This historical novel features a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.[2]

        …..Written from the perspective of the slaveholder, Gone with the Wind is Southern plantation fiction. Its portrayal of slavery and African Americans has been considered controversial, especially by succeeding generations, as well as its use of a racial epithet and ethnic slurs common to the period. However, the novel has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white. Scholars at American universities refer to, interpret, and study it in their writings. The novel has been absorbed into American popular culture.

        Sitting in a Syrian air raid shelter with bombs falling, and no light to read by, a recitation of well remembered novel about surviving war might be quite comforting to children.

        Brigid, to sum up; It is my humble opinion, that this petty nitpicking effort to defend the Assad regime, does you no justice.

  7. cleangreen 7

    Food for thought today as new cold war emerges yesterday and today.

    UK encouraging another “cold war with Russia now”???

    Is this actually about oil again?? And is UK PM Teresa May working for “big oil” to go to war with Russia to get Russia’s biggest known deposits of oil?

    See her nasty response to anyone spoiling her grip on UK power!!!!!!

    Could the sacking of the Global oil giant Rex Tillerson from Trump’s US Government yesterday actually involved with this effort to begin another war with Russia again just over oil???

    Tories will ban Scots MPs voting on England-only law – is to include a pledge to ban Scottish MPs from voting on laws for England in the Conservative manifesto for the next general election.
    By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor
    12:45PM GMT 15 Feb 2009

    BRITAIN today ordered 23 Russian spooks to leave the country within a week in response to the spy poisoning scandal.
    Theresa May told MPs that two dozen so-called diplomats who are in fact spies will be kicked out in a bid to stop Vladimir Putin meddling in Britain.
    Theresa May kicks out 23 Russian spies from the UK and blasts Vladimir Putin’s ‘contempt’ for Salisbury poisoning
    Theresa May accused Vladimir Putin of acting with ‘sarcasm, contempt and defiance’ in the wake of the attempt on Sergei Skripal’s life
    By Hugo Gye and Natasha Clark
    14th March 2018, 6:05 pm
    Updated: 14th March 2018, 6:14 pm

    • Ed 7.1

      The best I’ve heard on the subject is George Galloway.
      In 5 minutes you will learn more than hours of listening to the propaganda on the corporate media.
      There are many parallels to 2002/3 and the lies about WMD.

    • UK encouraging another “cold war with Russia now”???

      Well, no, given that the UK can’t rely on any support from its allies on this one – which is another reason Putin can do stuff like this with impunity.

      Is this actually about oil again??

      Er, no. Not even remotely, vaguely or peripherally.

      And is UK PM Teresa May working for “big oil” to go to war with Russia to get Russia’s biggest known deposits of oil?

      I think your tinfoil hat’s on too tight.
      1. Chances of “big oil” and the UK having more success at conquering Russia than Napoleon or Hitler approximate to 0.
      2. Assuming item 1 above wasn’t a thing, and that conquering Russia didn’t involve significant areas of the planet becoming radioactive wastelands, the cost of the enterprise would be more than anything that “big oil” could gain from it.

      Could the sacking of the Global oil giant Rex Tillerson from Trump’s US Government yesterday actually involved with this effort to begin another war with Russia again just over oil???

      “Could” it be? Yes. Is it more likely than the actual reason, that Trump hates people disagreeing with him so has replaced Tillerson with a sycophant? No.

      • In Vino 7.2.1

        Come on PM… We all know that terrible external enemies are a necessity in our modern society. You really believe our media and propaganda are so much more lily-white than Russia’s?

        • Psycho Milt

          Do I really believe that media outlets in countries with rule of law and freedom of the press are less unreliable than those being run by authoritarian nationalist regimes? Er, yes – why do you ask?

        • Stunned Mullet

          Reporters without borders seem to view Russia’s press freedom somewhat less favourably.

          • In Vino

            Maybe… Yet I suspect that Terrorism (former external enemy du jour) may have lost some of its bite, so now we have evil Russia again. Same pattern emerging as all through the Cold War. Russia periodically accused of heinous acts… Sudden scares that Russia has just leapt ahead of us in the arms race. Later revealed to have been bullshit regarding the arms race, but here comes the same pattern again, Suddenly the Russians have some terrible new weapons!! One does get a bit tired of it and cynical at my age.

            • Stunned Mullet

              Yep I don’t disagree that the Russian bogeyman gets over egged a fair bit.

              Putin is certainly not a fellow to be messed with in Russia, or for expats who are deemed to have crossed him or Russia – for me what is the more interesting question is what or who will replace him when he inevitably comes to the end of the road, sometimes it’s better the devil you know.

      • CHCOff 7.3.1

        The obvious factor is that it revolves around an issue of a double spy.

        Any approach that involves double spys, is not one that international diplomacy and relations should be based on one way or another, given the obvious murkiness this involves.

        It is counter productive to the role of civilised societal instituitions, firstly in it’s application, and secondly in associating the two functions together.

      • Stuart Munro 7.3.2

        Corbyn is a careful man. But he is expecting Russia be sent a ‘please explain’, and to involve the OPCW.

    • Jenny 7.4

      Another imperial rivalry AKA, Cold War, Proxy War, Hot War, Trade War, Propaganda War, Cyber War, rears its ugly head in the 21st century.

      Pick a side.

      The new and smaller contender, or the reigning superweight champion?

      All empires are expansionist by nature, and racist and bloody in practice.

      All are dangerous.

      Nine foreign military bases, Or eighty, it doesn’t matter, the only difference is one of degree.

  8. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    Geoengineering is being inflicted upon us by a small group of people. If it were made a crime against humanity/made illegal it has immediate and extensive impact. We could literally save the earth.

    Plus geoengineering needs widespread acknowledgement.

    Horrors of plastics/greenhouse gases etc involve most of the world population and therefore take more effort to stop.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

  9. reason 9

    The largest starvation / siege / war crime being committed in the world at present … is taking place in Yemen…. with not a russian in sight…. Jenny

    For upsetting images showing the cruel inhumane torture resulting from this war crime …. a google image search of …”starvation in yemen”, will show endless purposely inflicted suffering ….equal to anything the barbaric nazis committed.

    Behind this atrocity are Saudi Arabia … and it’s partners in crime … the u.s.a and Britain … along with a rabble of local thug nations / regimes.

    “U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council this week that unless the blockade is lifted, Yemen will face “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims”.

    ““The Saudis have managed to block coverage of the crimes against humanity they are perpetrating in Yemen, and the US backs the Saudis.”

    He was referring to a Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, which now puts millions of people at risk of death from famine.” … “The United States has participated in Saudi-led airstrikes”

    “Udai’s short five-month life was destroyed by the raging Yemeni civil war and the worsening humanitarian crisis putting more than 300,000 children at risk of starvation.

    On the day his mother gave birth, a hail of air strikes from Saudi-led coalition planes were striking a nearby rebel base, with shrapnel showing the roof of the family’s bungalow in a shanty town on the outskirts of Sanaa.”

    Oxfam have been active in Yemen ….. and protested the u.s.a involvement

    Which could be another reason they have suffered a media smear campaign ….and cut in their Govt funding from the british tory tax dodging party …

    Russia will not stop killing Saudi / U.s.a / british sponsored proxy killers / terrorists in Syria …. a more effective use of your protests might be against our Government support for the protagonists

    • Jenny 9.1

      Kia ora reason it is good to hear that you are opposed to the war in Yemen.
      A lot more needs to be said about this terrible conflict, and the role played by the Saudi regime.

      Just as you say, reason the Saudi autocratic regime is backed by the US, (and us, as a junior partner to US imperialism).

      But why bring up my name?

      Are you trying to infer (without saying it), that I support the Saudi intervention in Yemen?

      Let me put the record straight, here and now.

      Though my personal knowledge of this war is little. I do not and have never supported the Saudi led intervention in Yemen.

      We should all condemn the US and their Saudi proxies’ war in Yemen.

      Maybe we could set up a facebook page, and maybe could try to lobby the government to make a statement condemning the Saudi involvement in this brutal war.

      Maybe we could organise a protest outside the Saudi Consulate.

      Let me know what you think we should do?

      Cheers J,

      • reason 9.1.1

        Thanks for the reply Jenny ….

        I mentioned you,… because I’m Glad the russians started killing the state sponsored terrorists in Syria …. and saved that country from the same fate as Libya.

        Good on them and they are obviously not the bad guys …. or the people trying to extend the bloodbath in Syria.

        Before the Russians arrived….. ISIS , Al-quad / Al Nurse and every other Al-nutbars were all kitted up and driving unmolested around the deserts and roads …seemingly only opposed by the Kurds and Syrian army …. Long convoys and thousands of truck trips transporting ISIS oil were being made and delivered to a NATO country ….. helping to fund the meat grinder of Syrians.

        Wikileaks and history show who has set the savage extremist Sunni mercenaries upon the Syrian people and their society …. basically the same psychotic child killers behind the destruction of Libya…. u.s.a, britian , france, Israel … Basically Nato & zionist Nazis

        Same with the war crimes and mass starvation going on in Yemen ….

        It’s not for me to tell you who to protest against …And my philosophy is like the only prayer I’ve ever listened to…..” God give me the strength to change what I can … with the knowledge to leave what I can’t.

        I’d tend to say Forget about protesting the Saudi’s , they have no shame ….

        Protest against the u.s.a and Britain …. who both need their feet held above the fire for their participation…. along with our silent and complicit media .

        The yanks especially could get the Saudis to lift the siege tomorrow if they wanted or cared to…. but their concern for children from Yemen seems as Nazi like as their concern for children from Syria.

        • Jenny


          Thanks for this reason.

          I wonder if you could indulge me just a bit more.

          And also give me your opinion of the Arab Spring.

          • reason

            Hi Jenny … utilizing genuine protestors and those wishing for more fairness / freedoms / change …… to achieve the aims of the minority prepared to murder and kill.

            For instance … Many young Libyans may have wanted more freedom… things like nightclubs and ability to have a beer … Instead They got warlords, religious extremists, ethnic cleansing, slave-markets, ongoing civil war …. the destruction of Libya as a modern social state.

            The best thing NZ could do on a world stage … is keep right out of all illegal wars of aggression …… and dismantle John Keys tax haven laws …. which aside from being a NZ part…. in the biggest driver of inequality and poverty in the world. …. Also Help prop up and facilitae Dictators, corruption , slavery, deforestation etc etc..

            At the moment New Zealanders should or could be standing up for Lorde …. Maybe by spreading the truth behind her stand ..


  10. ianmac 10

    In Vietnam people rode bikes in the millions.
    More recently in Vietnam people rode motorbikes in the millions.
    Very recently cars became more affordable so the people moved increasingly by car.
    Roads which could cope with millions of bikes now become gridlocked.

    • prickles 10.1

      Same in Beijing – when I visited 12 years ago, bikes by the thousand – or possibly by the million. Last year, bikes still probably by the hundred but cars increased many-fold and bike shelters full of dust-covered bikes left to die. Gridlock everywhere.

      One thing I did notice though was the dramatic increase in electric cars – particularly the taxis and huge numbers of electric scooters. So I guess that is something.

      • lprent 10.1.1

        Just at present we seem to be reversing this. The cycleways of Auckland are blogging up with electric bikes.

        Now that I have finally had (nonworking) time to purchase a pump and reinflate my sagging tires, I request that other bike riders notice the onset of autumn and get back into the traffic jams in their nice warm cars….

        Selfish? Hardly. Reliably takes me 10 minutes to bike home in the rush hours. Takes between 20 minutes and 45 in a car.

        Let’s put some more trucks on the road and increase the differential… Because it is so SO productive listening to dipshits on the radio..


    • weka 10.2


      There is this leftie argument that all countries should be brought up to our standard of living. In that are some key ideologies around individual freedoms too. Myself, I think countries like NZ will have to drop their standard of living so that climate change can be mitigated in a more equitable way. That we are still arguing over plastic straws and bike lanes suggests we still think that everything is going to be ok if we just have enough electric cars. Obviously not.

  11. francesca 11

    Corporate media goes for the cost effective parroting of official sources and narratives
    A little more sleuthing would have uncovered a report in a scientific journal , published in 2016 , by a leading Porton Down chemist, Robin Black

    Iprent and others , skim right over, this is obviously an attempt by the Rooskies to cover their tracks.Clearly Black paid prostitutes to piss on him and he was pre emptively blackmailed to cunningly write this report in 2016 in anticipation of the coming dastardly attack by Putin to shore up his sagging poll ratings

    Black says there is no evidence for the existence of novichoks (which illuminates the Russian ambassadors equivocations this morning on RNZ, using words like
    “supposed” and” alleged” when referring to the now legendary nerve agent)

    A quick look
    “As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown”.

    “In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)”

    Robin Black. (2016) Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents.

    The OPCW also does not include Novichoks in its list of chemical weapons because there was not sufficient evidence of its existence

    Full article below

    No wonder T.May declined to go down the usual route outlined under the Chemical Weapons Convention
    She would have been laughed out of court

    • Stuart Munro 11.1

      Actually it’s irrelevant whether it was Novichok or some other chemical – deliberately poisoning another country’s citizens is a serious matter.

      Not for Putin fans apparently though – this is ‘enlightened murder’.

      • francesca 11.1.1

        Surely the relevance is that Novichok , according to May, is exclusively Russian
        I think the French have taken the wiser path
        “we don’t do fantasy politics”
        They’re waiting for the completion of a thorough investigation

        • Stuart Munro

          Well the French don’t have the Russians murdering their citizens Francesca.

          The poms actually did a thorough investigation – it took them some time to establish the chemicals in question. I suppose you would prefer that they humoured Russia’s request for a sample of the nerve agent – this is not necessary, and would only facilitate the kind of dishonest circus that Russia created to muddy the waters in respect of their murder of Malaysian Airlines passengers. You may not remember that, but it included creating altered footage of a Ukrainian jet – the level of deception that is tantamount to a confession.

          You really need to wake up to fact that Putin is a cold war spy, and there is literally nothing he won’t do in pursuit of his ends. Lying his ass off and recruiting credulous persons like yourself is also a well established soviet period ploy.

          • francesca

            I’m 65 Stuart
            I’ve seen this stuff before,many many times, crude propaganda on the lead up to war.
            One person as a cipher for all the ills of the world, from Ho chi Minh, to Castro, Kruschev, Saddam ,Ghadaffi, and now its Putin we want swinging from the lamp post
            Same old pattern, same old lies, better PR, more desperation
            I’m not buying it
            And I’;m sorry, but a thorough investigation needs to include the OPCW, who incidentally verified the destruction of all Russian chemical weapon stockpiles 6 months ago

            • Stuart Munro

              The investigation is ongoing but there is nothing to suggest at this stage that anyone except Russia is involved.

              The Aussies have unearthed speculation that it is a Skripal family affair involving a current senior FSB agent – but that may be simply creating a fall-girl for the Putin administration who are happy to do the crime but really don’t want to accept the consequences.


              • Ed

                I wouldn’t trust the western corporate media.
                It lies.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I don’t trust you Ed – you’ve entirety lost your critical faculties and became one of the sheep from 1984.

                  Four legs good two legs baaaaad.

                  • Ed

                    Which of the sources I use don’t you trust?


                    • Stuart Munro

                      Any of yours Ed. I used to read your stuff, but you’ve lost the plot mate.

                    • Ed

                      Cockburn, Fisk.
                      You are kidding They are Russian stooges !

                      There’s a simple solution, scroll past.

            • Stuart Munro

              But as for your credulity, you consistently buy Putin’s lines. They’re as bad a bet as Trump’s, because Putin attaches no value to truth in pursuit of his objectives.

              There’s nothing inconsistent in Putin’s behavior here – as with the murders of Politkovskaya and Litvinenko and Nemtsov and the genocide of half a million Chechens. He’s a despot – and if allowed to run the line that the gas found its way into the hands of mafia he might do so. But generally speaking the Russian mafia are part of his machine – if not they aren’t allowed to operate.

              We can tell how Putin feels about these things from how he treats those involved – Lugovoi and Dmitri V. Kovtun – the farcically inept Litvinenko murderers have become suddenly wealthy. A mark of favour.

              • Ed

                Putin may be bad.
                But he’s not stupid.
                He had no motive.
                Have you heard Galloway?

                • Stuart Munro

                  No, I don’t follow your backward conspiracy sites.

                  Putin had no reason to kill Litvinenko either – but he did it.

                  Get some real links based on credible facts and exercise ordinary prudence in respect of Russian propaganda.

                  • Ed

                    The journalists I refer to are independent.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      They clearly aren’t turning you into a sophisticated reader of international nuance – you’ve become a Putin shill.

                  • joe90

                    He had no motive.

                    He’s got a motive alright, holding onto the billions he and his cronies have looted from the Russian people.

            • Ed


          • Brigid

            “The poms actually did a thorough investigation”
            I don’t think that is the case. If you know for a fact that it is, I’d like you to provide proof.

            Incidentally, it is a requirement of OPCW regulations that samples be submitted to them. May has not done this. Why not, do you suppose?

            As someone has already stated, a thing isn’t necessarily true because you claim it to be so.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              From the independent (on Corbyn saying that it is not clear it was an act by Russian authorities):

              He explained that senior Labour figures had attended briefings from the intelligence services, but pointed towards an alternative explanation for the incident other than direct Russian responsibility.

              The spokesman said even the Prime Minister had said there may be two explanations, with one being that the chemical had fallen into the wrong hands.

              He said: “In relation to the second alternative explanation, in other words the loss of control of military grade nerve agent, we highlighted and have done repeatedly the dangers of mafia-like groups and Russian oligarchic interests in London and their links with elements of the Russian state and that we need to take firm action on that and Jeremy highlighted that point in his response.”

              • Anne

                I think Corbyn is right. It’s not clear yet whether the incident was carried out at the behest of the Kremlin. We have been told it is a Soviet era chemical agent which means it has been around for at least 30 years. Ample time for ‘the Russian mafia’ to get their hands on some of it.

                Looking at it from purely a political perspective:

                1) If it had been ‘stolen’ at some point in the past and the poisoning was carried out by a rogue element inside Russia, then I would imagine the last thing Putin and his mates would want to see is the truth coming out. To find out that it happened (presumably) under their watch wouldn’t be a good look for the future prospects of the Putin regime?

                2) This incident was an opportunity made in heaven for the ailing Tories and Theresa May in particular. Nothing like a major spy drama to raise emotive responses to irrational levels, with shouts of ‘lock em up, lock em up’… to mimic a large bunch of nutters on the other side of the Atlantic.

            • Stuart Munro

              The investigation is ongoing Brigid – do you really suppose a high level affair like this is just going to be sidelined?

              In spite of indications that a nerve agent was used the police were not guessing as to its identity or releasing it four days after the event.

              It is enough that it is a nerve agent and a Russian target – but May’s response suggests that she has further information.

              The OPCW can probably expect samples in due course, the Russians probably cannot.

              Perhaps you’d like to provide a credible source that suggests that the British police are doing something other than a rigorous investigation? It would be career ending folly for any of them to do anything else.

              • Brigid

                Quoting you:
                “The poms actually did a thorough investigation – it took them some time to establish the chemicals in question. ”

                Quoting you again:
                “The investigation is ongoing ”

                If the investigation is ongoing, it has not been done. Conversely if it has been done, by definition, it is not ongoing.

                I think you may be confusing yourself.

                The thing is you see, that the OPCW was set up explicitly to investigate this type of poisoning.
                Don’t you see that if May wants to be taken seriously by reasonably intelligent people, she will hand over all available samples to a body – OPCW- that is expected to be unbiased and thorough in its investigation.

                Otherwise what the hell is the point of the OPCW?

                • Stuart Munro

                  No – but you obviously are.

                  They know the victims. They know the nature of the agent used. They have a large number of proximate suspects to work through and delivery means they must establish to an evidential standard. Some of this will involve combing hundreds or thousands of hours of video footage for example.

                  Spare me your faux semantic nonsense – it is sufficient to establish the use of a weapon possession of which is restricted to a very select group of cold war nations. The police will of course continue to investigate but the prima facie evidence points to Russia – they’re always poisoning people.


                  The OPCW is not the British state. A CBW attack on British soil, the second by Russia, is a significant provocation. Given a different balance of power Russia would have a new war on its hands.

                  • francesca

                    Ok so if we assume that Novichoks are really a thing
                    Why is it so impossible that Mirzayanov, living in the US for the past 20 years, publishing a tell all book replete with formulas for Novichoks , would not assist the Americans in developing same
                    Or for that matter all those Soviet chemists involved in the development , who after the USSR unravelled, travelled far and wide, seeking their fortunes, to Israel, to the UK, Canada, the US
                    So please, tell me again if you have no shame, That ONLY Russia could produce these nerve agents
                    Mirzayanov himself said”Only the Russians could have done this, or SOMEONE WHO HAS READ MY BOOK”

          • francesca

            I think May’s in for a disastrous fall on this one
            The Falklands moment won’t be repeated


            • Psycho Milt

              The Falklands moment won’t be repeated

              Gosh, yes, poor Vlad must be shitting himself worrying about whether May’s going to send a task force to teach him a lesson. Whatever that is you’re taking, take less of it.

              • francesca

                Oh dear Stuart,
                Such a literalist
                Theresa May is in big trouble at the moment
                She’s getting the door slammed in her face over Brexit
                She desperately needs the EU onside
                She’s unpopular
                Like Maggie Thatcher she needs an external threat that will pull everyone together and cause them to forget the failings of her govt
                It worked for Maggie Thatcher
                It won’t work for May
                I sense you’re getting a bit nasty, lets not fall out over this

                • Stuart Munro

                  You know you’d be hysterically funny if you didn’t apparently believe this rubbish. There is no evidence whatsoever of a May fit up here.

                  Produce some if you don’t want to rubbished as a screaming ninny.

                  • francesca

                    Its that literalism kicking in again
                    You want to watch that
                    Who said anything about a “May fit up?” apart from you?
                    May may not have initiated the situation , but she’s milking it as much as she can to get the Brits to circle the wagons
                    She can talk tough and be “strong and stable” and save the day for her and her govt
                    Maybe I shouldn’t mention wagons, you’ll be going off reservation

                    • Stuart Munro

                      May’s actions are unremarkable in the circumstances.

                      She’ll struggle to garner support in the fashion you suggest unless she can produce ‘victories’. I doubt she’ll be sinking the Russian equivalent of the Belgrano (The Kuznetsov) any time soon.

                      Her expulsions are merely prudent – it will be the security council where the real screaming goes on.

                      Corbyn is unwise to give credence to Russian counter narratives – the troll army and Putinistas will go to great lengths to sell that steaming pile of crap. It may be that he has found a lever to shift May – but it comes at a price.

          • Macro

            Novichok – is not exclusively Russian

            “The binary form of the gas can be produced in a garage”

            If you were to read the rest of that very short paragraph to which you refer – you would read that Mirzayanov then goes on to say that that is an exaggeration.
            The next paragraph shows that if you were to attempt to manufacture the chemical in a garage you would in most likelihood die within an instant. No one knows what it smells like because if you were to smell it you would be dead. This shit is 10 times more toxic than the previous most toxic nerve gas VX. It is colourless and even the most minute exposure can be fatal.To be playing around with this stuff in anything other than a sophisticated laboratory would be fool hardiness in the extreme.

            You need also to be aware that Vil Mirzayanov who helped develop the Soviet-era nerve agent used to poison a former Russian double agent in southern England said only the Russian Government could have carried out the attack with such a deadly and advanced toxin.

            Vil Mirzayanov says nerve agent he created is too complicated for a non-state actor to have weaponised.
            Russia repeatedly denied involvement in poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal
            Mirzayanov says he never imagined Novichok “would be used as a terrorist weapon”
            Vil Mirzayanov, 83, said he had no doubt Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible, given Russia maintained tight control over its Novichok stockpile and that the agent is too complicated for a non-state actor to have weaponised.

            “The Kremlin all the time, like all criminals, denying — it doesn’t mean anything,” Dr Mirzayanov said in an interview in his home in Princeton, New Jersey, where he has lived in exile for more than 20 years


            • francesca

              You missed out the bit where he publishes the formulae in his book
              Do you really take this guy seriously?

              “The former Soviet scientist, Vil Mirzanyanov, who ‘blew the whistle’ and wrote about the ‘Novichoks’, now lives in a $1 million home in the United States. The AFP news agency just interviewed him about the recent incident:

              Mirzayanov, speaking at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, said he is convinced Russia carried it out as a way of intimidating opponents of President Vladimir Putin.
              “Only the Russians” developed this class of nerve agents, said the chemist. “They kept it and are still keeping it in secrecy.”

              The only other possibility, he said, would be that someone used the formulas in his book to make such a weapon.

              “Russia did it”, says Mirzanyanov, “OR SOMEONE WHO READ MY BOOK”.

              Or just possibly Mirzanyanov shared his expertise with the Americans, would that be so impossible?

              • It wouldn’t be impossible at all, no. Now you just need to bridge the gaping logical chasm between the evidence, which points to the Russian government having done this, and whatever speculative, evidence-free alternative theory you’d like to propose.

                • francesca

                  Its not up to me or Russia for that matter to prove innocence. the accuser has to establish beyond doubt guilt

              • Macro

                I was pointing out francesca that this nerve agent – which is highly toxic – is not something that anyone would want to prepare in a garage!
                Certainly one of the co-inventors confirms that fact.
                Yes he has published it in his book – i’m sure all defence scientific agencies throughout the western world know this – they most likely have created it as well. You need to know what it is that you are defending against.
                Also – please stop spreading lies. No where does Mirzanyanov shout “OR SOMEONE WHO READ MY BOOK” as you shout It is the height of dishonesty.
                Given all of that as Psycho Milt and Mirzanyanov himself say the evidence points to the Russian government having done this.

                • francesca

                  Sorry Macro, I know its rude to shout
                  i hate it myself
                  I wan’t suggesting he was shouting, of course he wasn’t , I was drawing attention to those words
                  And apart from accusing me once of being some kind of Putinbot, you’re generally pretty civil yourself

                  Theresa has 2 pillars
                  means and motive

                  She attempted to convince all that ..only.. Russia had the ability to produce the nerve agent
                  I think we can agree that doesn’t seem logical
                  Now we move on to motive, far more murky
                  I’m not convinced that …only… (trying not to shout here) The Russian govt has a motive
                  All of that is speculation and guesswork
                  I think we are all best to let the protocols of the CWC take over now
                  This is too important to rely on “past form” etc, that doesn’t meet very high standards of proof

                • Exkiwiforces

                  Further to Macro comments,

                  It’s the precursors and the way they are manufactured that make each Chemical and Biological argent have its own type of chemical finger print/ Chemical DNA whatever you want to call it. For example a VX Nevre or Smallpox argent from Russia is going to different from a US, UK, France and China etc. made one because of the precursors and the way the are manufactured.

                  When I did one my CBRND courses way back we were showed some old US and Soviet training films when they had drop or let off a bucket of Sunshine own their own troops, then we seen one Chemical and a bio argents. The DS said when the wall came down the West sent it CBRND teams/ boffins into the former Soviet States and attempt to obtain any argents be it Chemical or Bio IRT understand it Chemical/ Bio composition as the Soviets made some real nasty stuff as they weren’t scared to use it on humans to test its effectiveness as where as West only went so far with testing on humans. Even then it with a lot of controls/ procedures in place it was more to with testing and or training on CBRND protective gear, argent detection kit or doing a decontamination exercise which I would’ve like to have done.

                  I trust anything that comes out Porton Down weather it’s equipment, research into new ways to conduct training or identify new argents, or a outbreak, or something like this. Also the Soviets/ Russia has always had a thing for knock off in what see as enemies of the State, hell even old mate Trotsky got an ice axe through the head in Mexico, even through the cold war and now they are still doing it.

          • Ed

            Nafeez Ahmed is an independent and fearless journalist.
            The ‘Russia did it’ line looks like a massive beat up.

            Cui bono?

            “The UK government is manufacturing its nerve agent case for ‘action’ on RussiaOfficial claim that ‘Novichok’ points solely to Russia discredited.

            The British government’s line has been chorused uncritically by the entire global press corps, with little scrutiny of its plausibility.
            But there is a problem: far from offering a clear-cut evidence-trail to Vladimir Putin’s chemical warfare labs, the use of Novichok in the nerve gas attack on UK soil points to a wider set of potential suspects, of which Russia is in fact the least likely.”


            George Galloway is an independent and fearless politician.
            He agrees with Ahmed. The Russians did not do it.


            • francesca

              Hey thanks for that link Ed, one of the best I’ve come across

            • Psycho Milt

              Cui bono?

              Hmm, yes. Let’s have a think.

              Perhaps Teresa May thought her government really needed to be made to look weak and ineffectual right now and this was just the right way to do it?

              Maybe she thought sending a message to all Putin’s enemies in the UK that they can be blatantly murdered with impunity would further the UK’s interests?

              Could be that highlighting how isolated the UK is from its US and EU allies right now was a key motivator for the British government?

              Possibly, May thought that giving the Russian government insights into how the British government would deal with an attack like this might be of great strategic benefit to the UK?

              Those damn Tories!

          • Brigid

            “The binary form of the gas can be produced in a garage”
            As can the binary form of most gaseous compounds.

  12. patricia bremner 12

    How did Joyce get away with fudging costs of MBI for so long? It appears he and others, did not count IT consultants as costs. He may even have misled parliament, in this respect. Some interesting revelations to come?

  13. Sam C 13

    How can I be trolling if, as you say, I am correct?

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • weka 13.1

      Read the moderation comment up thread, and let me know if you are going to heed it or not.

  14. ianmac 14

    What happens to officials with a change of Government?

    Most evident has been the sudden outburst of criticism of National’s policies and funding by those who had been very quiet before the change of government. Had they made the same criticisms before the election, it is probable that Labour would have had a larger majority, but their temporary loyalty to the incumbents ruled that out.

    A charming inciteful look at such a change by Brian Easton:

  15. patricia bremner 15

    Thank you Ianmac. I remember going through part of our family tree and discovering a not too subtle change in Christian names, which indicated like the Vicar of Bray they were survivors of religious eras.

    So yes, the survivors of political changes in the ministries are very like that.
    A tsunami of truthfulness may arise? Well we live in hope.
    I was surprised to find criticism of Joyce anywhere. I formally believed he walked on water, so many of his supporters would have us believe that he was infallible.

    It should not have come as a surprise to find he “massaged” the figures”, used “creative accounting” as his peers did that before him. He was only following Collins’ breadcrumb trail after all.

    Having to overcome embedded attitudes and survivor traits may make the current governments path a slippery slope, littered with grenades from DP as well.

  16. joe90 16

    Gina Haspel, GWB’s former torturer-in-chief who helped design the US waterboarding program and directed the destruction of evidence of her own crimes committed at foreign black sites, is tRump’s pick to succeed Pompeo as director of the CIA.

    One declassified cable, among scores obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit against the architects of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques, says that chief of base and another senior counterterrorism official on scene had the sole authority power to halt the questioning.

    She never did so, records show, watching as Zubaydah vomited, passed out and urinated on himself while shackled. During one waterboarding session, Zubaydah lost consciousness and bubbles began gurgling from his mouth. Medical personnel on the scene had to revive him. Haspel allowed the most brutal interrogations by the CIA to continue for nearly three weeks even though, as the cables sent from Thailand to the agency’s headquarters repeatedly stated, “subject has not provided any new threat information or elaborated on any old threat information.”

    At one point, Haspel spoke directly with Zubaydah, accusing him of faking symptoms of physical distress and psychological breakdown. In a scene described in a book written by one of the interrogators, the chief of base came to his cell and “congratulated him on the fine quality of his acting.” According to the book, the chief of base, who was identified only by title, said: “Good job! I like the way you’re drooling; it adds realism. I’m almost buying it. You wouldn’t think a grown man would do that.”

  17. clare 17

    here’s a point on the sexual harassment at the youth camp –

    in fact if the teens were over 16 it’s entirely their choice who gets told, police or parents or media.

    just to put it in perspective, here’s some of what the family planning website has to say about a woman, young or old, seeking an abortion –

    “There is no legal age limit on seeking or having an abortion.”


    “It is also your decision who you tell about the procedure – this includes your parent and parents. If you are a teenager, it is a good idea to talk to a parent or another trusted adult. If you do choose to seek an abortion, it is good to have adult support.”

    now most of us would think the issue of having an abortion is a good deal more serious than reacting to some idiot putting their hands down your pants.

    so a young woman is deemed capable of making her own decision about whether her parents get to hear about an abortion or not, but all sorts of media idiots, not mentioning names, insist that the police and parents should both immediately have been told about the incident at the youth camp.

    the rights of those young people to privacy and to make their own decisions about how the matter is treated should be respected. seems to me that was what Andrew Kirton was doing. sure they were too slow on the follow up.

    and now the whole thing’s been blown sky high and how is that going to affect the victims?

  18. joe90 18

    Well this is a fun thread.

    Russia’s actions cannot be tolerated. Proportionate but firm response right. Support PM’s initial actions, though future legislation will require careful scrutiny. Key point – Russia cannot unlawfully kill/attempt to kill on our streets with impunity.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 14, 2018

    • ianmac 18.1

      Do you think that May is lining up to do a Thatcher and set up “enemies are at our door so rally behind me people.”

      • joe90 18.1.1

        Nope. Unlike Thatcher’s Malvinas low risk jingoistic turkey shoot against a vastly inferior Argentine force one and a half hemispheres removed from home, Russia is a formidable and likely superior military power on the UK’s doorstep capable of wiping her opponents off the map in the blink of an eye.

        • dukeofurl

          I dont think he was suggesting May would sending the RN off to Baltic/Barents Sea

          rally behind me sort of stuff is the Tory meme here

          • joe90

            I’ve no doubt Thatcher used the Malvinas as her rally behind me meme but Russia? Nah, even Tories wouldn’t be stupid enough to play chicken with Putin and his estimated 7000 nukes.

            • dukeofurl

              Russia supplies 20% of UK natural gas, which they use a lot for home heating and hot water.

              Does UK really want to get into a ‘hard confrontation’ here ?

              • Surely not, given that it’s currently isolated from its usual allies (US and EU) and has little ability to confront the Russian government in any way beyond clamping down on money-laundering, which no Tory government will be interested in.

                On the other hand, it really can’t just let Putin kill off “traitors” in very public ways on British soil, so there has to be some kind of response. If May wasn’t a Tory I’d feel sorry for her, it must be a real prick having the weakness of your position highlighted like this.

                • McFlock

                  Lol according to Yes Prime Minister, the standard routine for domestic consumption was to expel 76 sovi- sorry Russian diplomats. “Ambassador’s driver secretly a KGB spy”, that sort of thing.

                  Some stuff is timeless.

                  But they probably need something more significant than that to make it look like they’re putting a halt to murders on UK soil.

              • joe90

                No more than the oligarchs want their wealth tied up in years of litigation over their alleged money laundering.

      • dukeofurl 18.2.1

        Remember NZs own poisoning scandal . The Botulism at Fonterra that eventually was a false alarm ? It was botulism just not the nasty kind

        Then there was the family in Waikato who also had a ‘mystery poisoning’, the symptoms said one thing but the testing took ages to carry out and finally it was a ‘mystery’. The symptoms were life threatning

        Where would we be if the family were ‘Russian’. Of course the UK incident happened outside …… you guessed it.. a restaurant they had just left.

        There are just so many poisons in the natural world or connected with food, it can take for ever to eliminate them one by one.

      • andrew murray 18.2.2

        good on you Francesca,

        you’re a breath of fresh air in the otherwise partisan and unthinking atmosphere of this and other issues

        • francesca

          Thanks Andrew
          It actually exposes me to a lot of different thought, to test out my own assumptions
          Has got me back in to reading history as well
          And there’s something sleuth like about it all

  19. Tricledrown 19

    Russia is pushing back after many former buffer countries moved to NATO and the EU.
    Supporting right wing fascist xenophobia Trump Farage Brexit.
    Putin has out maneuvered his detractors now openly thumbing his nose with Trump favouring Russia.
    He succeeded in dividing an conquering creating divisions in his biggest threats and directly acting on his own political opponents ordering murders and arresting dissenters.

    • Stuart Munro 19.1

      Yes. I think there’s good reason to suspect Russian involvement in the Turkish coup for example. It pivoted Turkey away from the US and consolidated Putin’s foothold in Syria.

  20. Tricledrown 20

    The latest economic performance figures are out.
    Economic growth at 2•9% but that’s misleading .
    Per Capita growth at just •1% over the last year makes National claims of a healthy economy hollow.
    With inflation at 1%+ that’s a decline .

    • dukeofurl 20.1

      Inflation is only sort of connected to the CPI – which is a ‘price index’ of practically every thing

      More useful is the Household Index which is based off what people are buying and what they pay for it.

    • Graeme 20.2

      CPI is actually 1.6% overall, the 1% was just non-tradeables.

      So even worse. Comes across loud and clear over the counter at the gallery, no one’s got any money. “We were doing really well under National, but we can’t afford to spend anything in case the mortgage goes up”

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 20.3

      When 50% of the population have less than 5% of the wealth…GDP etc is an irrelevant distraction.

      Small reductions in inequality can swamp any effect from economic growth rates, in terms of people’s real quality of life.

  21. bwaghorn 21

    Barry So per nails it regarding the labour camp

    • Carolyn_Nth 21.1

      That link goes to a traffic crash article.

    • ianmac 21.2

      Are you sure it was Soper, bWaghorn?

    • Carolyn_Nth 21.3

      This is an article from Soper on it today.

      Those of us who’ve raised kids through their teens would certainly want to be told.

      But even if Kirton wanted to, the law prevents him from doing it if the kids tell him not to.

      I have the personal experience of being molested by a close family friend as a teenager.

      My lack of trauma is as a result of talking to and being counselled by my mum which is what these youngsters would be well advised to do.

      As far as Labour goes, the party’s over, no more youth summer camps run by the whipper snappers – pity considering the general lack of interest from the young in politics.

    • Jilly Bee 21.4

      Agreed bwaghorn – in contrast to what the Hosking duo had written. Honestly, MH is just having a great wankfest at present, his piece in today’s Herald was pathetic. The link to Soper’s piece is here. I’m also well over Tim Murphy’s Twitter rant about this unfortunate happening.

      • veutoviper 21.4.1

        For clarity for anyone who does not want to give double clicks to the Soper article, this link is the same as the one in Carolyn Nth’s post at 21.3.

        No criticism meant, Jilly Bee.

        • Jilly Bee

          No problems veutoviper – I posted my comment and link before Carolyn_Nth’s comment showed up. I mentioned somewhere else that at least Soper’s piece was a bit of a refreshing change from the wankfest of Mike Hosking et al.

  22. joe90 22

    A gun every classroom.

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A teacher at a Northern California high school accidentally fired his gun inside a classroom, causing minor injuries to three students, but kept teaching while the students sat there, the mother of one of the students said Wednesday.

    Dennis Alexander, a reserve police officer, was pointing the gun at the ceiling Tuesday to make sure it was not loaded when it discharged inside his classroom at Seaside High School in the coastal community of Seaside, police said.

    • Macro 22.1

      Students from more than 3,000 schools walked out today to demand stricter gun regulation, including bans on assault weapons and expanded background checks. The National School Walkout started at 10 a.m. ET and will continue across the country at 10 a.m. in each time zone, sparked by last month’s school shooting in Florida. The protests will last for 17 minutes to honor each of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one month ago. Some school districts have said they will discipline students who participate in the walkouts. “Change never happens without backlash,” Pope High School senior Kara Litwin said. “This is a movement, this is not simply a moment, and this is only the first step in our long process.”

  23. James 23

    Another complaint this time regarding sexual harassment.

    “It is understood Kirton is aware that the sexual harassment claim involves an alleged known predator, while the sexual abuse allegation may involve an underage teenager.”

    Edit – sorry it appears that the article changed and there are two separate people.

    • chris73 23.1

      Is that four separate incidences now?

      • Psycho Milt 23.1.1

        My God, it’s almost as though sexual assault was a common occurrence or something…

        • chris73

          My God, it’s almost as though sexual assault was a common occurrence ay Labour affiliated organisations or something…

          What you’re saying is not wrong but don’t you also think that four known incidences plus the “interesting” use of foreign students might suggest that Labour has an issue in how it handles things?

          • joe90

            Perhaps they should take a leaf out of the Nat’s book and hide behind NDAs, payouts from slush leaders taxpayer funds and suppression orders.

          • Psycho Milt

            …don’t you also think that four known incidences plus the “interesting” use of foreign students might suggest that Labour has an issue in how it handles things?

            I think that four known instances of sexual assaults suggests that sexual assaults are fairly common, something that wouldn’t come as a surprise to you if you’d read the comments by female readers of The Standard this week.

            But yeah, Labour certainly does have an issue with its capability for heading off and destroying dirty-politics attacks by right-wingers. Not that I have any suggestions for how they might improve their capability in that respect, mind you.

            • Anne

              Labour certainly does have an issue with its capability for heading off and destroying dirty-politics attacks by right-wingers.

              They spend too much time on the defensive and not enough time going on the attack. There were so many instances of lies, obfuscation, misinformation and downright suspect behaviour during the Nat’s 9 years in power. Labour should have compiled a list of them and the moment one of them threw a grenade at them, the recipient would have a grenade ready to throw back at them.

              The list could be kept in Jacinda’s top drawer

          • weka

            We’ll just keep saying it. Many organisations have a hard time with sexual assault and harassment because we live in a society that has rape culture deeply embedded in it. Pay attention chris, because the common denominator in #metooNZ isn’t Labour.

            Also worth repeating, National promote and support rape culture. So yes Labour have some issues to sort out, but the politicising of this by RWers is tells me that you won’t want to deal with rape culture yet and instead want to score political points.

            • chris73

              My point is that for as long as I can remember the left have always held themselves up as progressive, supportive etc etc and that the right are the bad, evil doers

              Now it appears that the left looks to be as bad, if not worse, than the right and maybe the left should have looked a bit more closely at their own organisation and cleaned themselves up first before casting the first of many stones

              Hopefully this will make all political parties (yes even National and Act) to look at whats happening their respective organisations and make sure these sorts of things don’t happen

              Because at the moment I’m reading a lot of comments on here from people who seem to think that its a conspiracy or its a media beat up or National does it or anything else except accepting its happened numerous times within the auspices of Labour

              • Louis

                Your point Chris73, is that it’s more about political point scoring than anything else.

              • weka

                My point is that for as long as I can remember the left have always held themselves up as progressive, supportive etc etc and that the right are the bad, evil doers

                Stop listening so much to LW white men, and start listening to women and POC. Because we’ve been talking about the problems in LW spaces with sexual abuse/harassment for a long time. That you don’t know this is on you.

                Now it appears that the left looks to be as bad, if not worse, than the right and maybe the left should have looked a bit more closely at their own organisation and cleaned themselves up first before casting the first of many stones

                The left aren’t Labour. But even on its worst day Labour are still better at this than what National are. As I already pointed out. At least Labour are heading in the right direction.

                Some bad shit happened a some Labour camps. That’s not saying that Labour are sexual assaulters, or that they promote rape culture. See my previous comment about National. What matters here from a point of ending rape culture is what Labour do next. Also what matters is how political people handle this. You are showing up loud and clear as making it about Labour-bashing instead of addressing rape culture.

                Hopefully this will make all political parties (yes even National and Act) to look at whats happening their respective organisations and make sure these sorts of things don’t happen

                I agree, but I doubt that National and ACT will do much beyond what is required so there is no backlash on them. Not that there aren’t well intentioned people in those parties, but their politics actively promote rape culture.

                Because at the moment I’m reading a lot of comments on here from people who seem to think that its a conspiracy or its a media beat up or National does it or anything else except accepting its happened numerous times within the auspices of Labour

                Really? because I’ve seen plenty of people say that Labour need to sort their shit out. They’re just not in the same place as you which appears to be that Labour are as bad or worse than National. Assert that all you like, but I’ll put up actual evidence that shows otherwise.

                (and of course the MSM are bad at this, for all the usual reasons).

              • McFlock

                “Cleaned themselves up”

                Fucksake, it’s not like sexual harrassment is like dust on a shelf.

                One of the ways I pass my rec time is in a voluntary governance position for a community organisation, non-political. It’s a small group, so people wear lots of hats and at different times, so I think we’re pretty close to the group culture and we have a good and diverse mix of folks, procedures, all that shit. But we get a lot of people through the door in different roles, and one thing that does lurk in the back of my brain is what we do if one of them is a dick to someone else.

                And, frankly, sooner or later it will happen. Because even if we’re immune to it (and as soon as you think that, you open the door to concealing all sorts of abuse) we have to let society in the doors, and society still has a long way to go.

      • Louis 23.1.2

        Dont know Chris73. Cant find any reference to it on other news sites.

    • Louis 23.2

      Hmmm….Cant find any reference to it on other news sites like Stuff, Herald, Newshub, not even Newsroom.

  24. Cinny 24

    To the media…

    Are you interviewing mark mitchell re Ron Mark and the helicopter trips?

    Then you should ask Mark Mitchell about Operation Burnham as well.
    Or are you not allowed too??!!


    “The New Zealand Defence Force’s attempted cover-up of the Hit & Run controversy appears to be unravelling.”

    Did the New Zealand Defence Force lie?
    15 Mar, 2018 1:47pm – By: Bryce Edwards

    Increasingly it looks as if the Defence Force has blatantly lied in order to escape scrutiny over the Hit & Run allegations. With an announcement of a government inquiry looming, military bosses may be defensively admitting the truth before facing more serious scrutiny.

    • James 24.1

      That deserves its own full investigation (had not to agree with that).

      Curious about the helicopters however. Seems like he has really taken advantage.

      • Carolyn_Nth 24.1.1

        Ron Mark is saying there is no other air service to where he’s taken the helicopter trips for his work as a minister.

    • Carolyn_Nth 24.2

      I’ve tweeted your request to Checkpoint as they are interviewing Ron Mark right now.

    • James 24.3

      Why would they not be allowed to ?

    • Carolyn_Nth 24.4

      Checkpoint replied that they asked Mark Mitchell to join them on Checkpoint but was told he’s not available.

      • veutoviper 24.4.1

        John Campbell now reporting overwhelming support for Marks in tweets, txts to them after the interviews.

        • Anne

          It’s another example of the Nat. initiated DP beat-up. Yesterday it was the alcohol driven sexual assaults on young Labour members. Today it’s a beat up on NZ1st and Ron Mark. Tomorrow or the next day it’ll be a beat up on some other routine activity.

          No different to the beat ups during the Helen Clark government era.

          I’ve said it before… they’re looking to repeat what they successfully did before – create a meme of supposed Labour inspired incompetence and/or questionable behaviour, and there are plenty of Radio and TV Nat. sycophants who are aiding and abetting them along the way.

        • veutoviper

          Oops not both Marks – Ron Mark!

      • Cinny 24.4.2


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