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Open mike 15/12/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 15th, 2021 - 253 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:


Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

253 comments on “Open mike 15/12/2021 ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Best news we've had for many years!

    Microbes in oceans and soils across the globe are evolving to eat plastic, according to a study. The research scanned more than 200m genes found in DNA samples taken from the environment and found 30,000 different enzymes that could degrade 10 different types of plastic.

    [overlong copypasta deleted]

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/14/bugs-across-globe-are-evolving-to-eat-plastic-study-finds

    • Dennis Frank 1.1

      Plastic pollution being God's will, seems like Gaia said to herself "Enough of this shit already." Then proceeded to organise an immense army of micro-organisms to consume God's shit.

      Of course capitalists will continue to produce more shit. Neoliberalism would fail if it did not. But in the battle between God & Gaia, looks like God will be the loser.

      God is somewhat of a Johnny-come-lately, of course. His authorisation of the divine right of humans to have dominion over nature wasn't inserted into the Old Testament of the Bible until the first millennium BC. Religious authorities have long agreed that the Babylonian captivity era was when the OT was compiled. It has taken a while for Gaia to slap down the upstart but the organic steamroller is gathering speed.

      • Robert Guyton 1.1.1

        The very clever, antibiotic thinkers amongst us will come up with a fix for those enzyme-producing bacteria that threaten our dominance over the living world 🙂

        We will not be denied our birthright!!

        • Gezza 1.1.1.1

          Of course capitalists will continue to produce more shit. Neoliberalism would fail if it did not. But in the battle between God & Gaia, looks like God will be the loser.

          Is it neoliberalism that would fail, or consumerism – which preceded it? I think consumerism is ultimately responsible for the plastics problem, but hey, if microbes are evolving to thrive on the plastics stuff, that's pretty amazing.

          As to whether Gaia is winning out over God, depends on your definition of God, I suppose. Some Christians would argue that God designed the microbes to evolve this way.

      • Ad 1.1.2

        Humans are the most powerful agents on this planet and on current trajectory always will be.

        We caused it, and we can fix it.

        Your clear anti-Jewish and anti-Christian warbling notwithstanding, the responsibility and the agency is ours.

        • Robert Guyton 1.1.2.1

          More powerful even, than viruses?

          • weka 1.1.2.1.1

            or bacteria. Or Gaia for that matter.

            So powerful we're about to kill half of life, clever.

            • weka 1.1.2.1.1.1

              acid rain.

              runaway climate feedback loops.

              social media giants

              the arctic ice shelf that's about to fall off

              weeds

              this is fun

              • Ad

                We've faced worse and done even better.

                • weka

                  when have we faced worse than climate change?

                  • Sabine

                    well its ok, there are some very rich very capitalistic men shooting off rockets into the sky – never mind the carbon footprint, and they will save us.

                    Ben Elton, Stark again comes to mind. 1989 🙂

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stark_(novel)

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Climate change, the 6th Great Extinction, the destruction of the forests te mea te mea…. we are being as an antibiotic.

                    Our minds need to change.

                  • alwyn

                    The last Ice Age? All of Canada and the northern states of the US under ice. Britain and Scandinavia plus the Baltic and its bordering States under ice. About a third of the South Island was also covered but of course humans weren't affected.

                    I would think that was worse than the predicted Global warming and it only ended about 12,000 years ago.

                    That is just a personal opinion of course but cold weather seems to kill more people than hot. According to this study cold weather caused 20 times as many death as hot. I have no idea whether this study was right or wrong though.

                    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150520193831.htm

                    • weka

                      it's to do with the rate of change, and the runaway nature of feedback loops. We and much of life was able to adapt to the ice ages because of its relatively slow pace.

                    • Tricledrown

                      The research admitted that many factors weren't included.

                      such as age and existing health status .

                      Also the massive difference between some countries that could include pollution.

                      Mild climate change caused more deaths than short term heatwaves and cold spells.

                      When you read your link it doesn't fit your agenda.

                • Tricledrown

                  Sounds like a quote Neville Chamberlain's claim of a peace treaty with Hitler.

              • Dennis Frank

                Ad's bullshit scheme is too trivial to waste time on. Better to focus on scientific evidence:

                The study is the first large-scale global assessment of the plastic-degrading potential of bacteria and found that one in four of the organisms analysed carried a suitable enzyme. The researchers found that the number and type of enzymes they discovered matched the amount and type of plastic pollution in different locations.

                Two points evident in this section of the Guardian report. The first is that a quarter of the sample contained Gaian corrective response chemicals. The second is that those chemicals were produced in evolutionary response to the specific plastics in that local environment.

                Those like Ad that mouth off without studying how Gaia operates merely achieve a display of their ignorance and laziness for readers to roll their eyes at. 🙄

                • Ad

                  You had a needless crack against God and replaced it with Gaia.

                  Stick to facts and stop the insults.

                  • Gezza

                    Wot Ad sed, Dennis. yes

                    You're coming across as an arrogant plonker these days, mon ami.

                    No need for personal insults. If you don’t like ’em, don’t make ’em.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      If you believe he has actually studied Gaia, provide the evidence. He hasn't claimed to have done so, has he? My critique is valid on that basis. You're interpretation that it is an insult is inappropriate.

                    • Gezza

                      The Gaia hypothesis is essentially an unproven myth. It's not required to account for how evolution operates and doesn't explain how the earth came into existence.

                      Although I personally consider that our planet is a balanced entity that will experience the continued elimination of harmful or unfit life forms (they may just eliminate themselves) and produce new ones via evolution/adaptation.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Gezza – "The Gaia hypothesis is essentially an unproven myth"

                      You'll be comfortable then, with the statement that "The God hypothesis is essentially an unproven myth"?

                    • Gezza

                      @ Robert – Yes, perfectly comfortable with that.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Humans need models/stories to congeal around.

                      We need to up the quality of our stories.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      So you're unfamiliar with the function of models in science? Non-scientists who dismiss them as myths just make fools of themselves. Why did you fall into that trap?

                      A theory is a model of some part of the world. Plenty of influential scientific theories remain unproven. The theory of evolution is one of those. The process of science accumulates evidence that supports theories. Gaia theory long ago transited from its original social category of hypothesis. Too much supportive evidence was compiled. None of that has been invalidated. My recycling of the Guardian report of more such evidence is intended to broaden this virtuous circle. angel

                    • Gezza

                      Non-scientists who dismiss them as myths just make fools of themselves.

                      What's your science degree in, Dennis?

                    • weka

                      The Gaia hypothesis is essentially an unproven myth. It's not required to account for how evolution operates and doesn't explain how the earth came into existence.

                      You also haven't explained how the earth came into existence, so I'm afraid your comment is an unproven myth too.

                    • Gezza

                      You also haven't explained how the earth came into existence, so I'm afraid your comment is an unproven myth too.

                      True enuf. Although I generally see no reason to seriously question the standard model of solar system and planetary formation and current evolutionary theory.

                      I don't imagine that the earth is a thinking entity.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      "I don't imagine that the earth is a thinking entity."

                      If you stretch your imagination sufficiently, could you conceive of the earth as a conscious entity?

                    • swordfish

                      .

                      Actually, this is quite fascinating.

                      I would never have predicted a sudden eruption of intense faction-fighting between the once cordial Ageing Hippie and Roman Catholic wings of the Broad Left.

                    • RedLogix

                      once cordial Ageing Hippie and Roman Catholic wings of the Broad Left.

                      Given that I broadly tick both boxes I find the entire skirmish more than a tad silly.

                    • Gezza

                      @ Robert

                      If you stretch your imagination sufficiently, could you conceive of the earth as a conscious entity?

                      Sure, if I stretch it enuf. But personally I think it requires less of a stretch to think of it as possibly designed by a conscious entity (or several conscious entities) to function automatically – on auto pilot – in the way that it does.

                      Either as an individually-designed planet, or as part of a universe that has evolved on a larger, more comprehensive scale from the time of the Big Bang and is still evolving.

                      But these are all hypotheses no one has yet been able to prove beyond any doubt.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Intense, Swordfish?

                      Polite and good humoured, I'd say 🙂

                    • Robert Guyton

                      " possibly designed by a conscious entity"

                      Have you thoughts about why a conscious entity might design an unconscious planet, rather than a conscious one?

                    • Gezza

                      @ Robert

                      Have you thoughts about why a conscious entity might design an unconscious planet, rather than a conscious one?

                      Yes. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons, lightning strikes, forest fires, floods, tornados, diseases that affect different creatures seemingly randomly, volcanic eruptions, asteroid / cometary impacts and aftermaths etc

                      Heaven knows how many millennia of human apes killing each other over things that don’t require such extreme prejudice – without the planet doing anything about it.

                      These suggest to me a planet that things just happen on, not that it controls them.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      So, you don't believe a conscious entity created a conscious planet, because when you look at the planet, it seems chaotic to you, and therefore, devoid of consciousness?

                      Is that what you mean?

                      Wouldn't it follow that the creative entity is also unconscious, given that it's creation is chaotic, (as observed by you).

                    • Gezza

                      Sorry Robert

                      No offence, but my interest in this particular topic ended with my previous response.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Ran out of puff?

                      No worries, I'll chew the cud alone.

                      If I'm struck by inspiration, I'll let you know.

                • RedLogix

                  Sorry Dennis but the battle between the polytheists and the monotheists was settled about a millennia ago. Also – there is but one single reality, therefore only a singular creator.

                  “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
                  ― Werner Heisenberg

                  “In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I an now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on, Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of though, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”
                  ― Werner Heisenberg

                  • Dennis Frank

                    the battle between the polytheists and the monotheists was settled about a millennia ago

                    Did seem so for most of that millennium, until the rise of science in the 18th century flipped the social reality.

                    Deities are collective projections – but do acquire social power & influence in proportion to number of adherents.

                    Other influential scientists retain belief in God. Heisenberg isn't even the only leading physicist to do so. My theory is that we have an innate spiritual drive that some of us are more attuned to than others. Consequently spirituality emerges more into consciousness and behaviour in those folks…

                    • RedLogix

                      Did seem so for most of that millennium, until the rise of science in the 18th century flipped the social reality.

                      In my experience both religious fundamentalists and scientific materialists have one thing in common – a relatively shallow understanding of the domain they imagine to defend. In my view both religion and science must be in harmony with each other – the apparent contradictions are expressions of current ignorance or limitation of thought.

                      Deities are collective projections – but do acquire social power & influence in proportion to number of adherents.

                      This so reminds me of the same logic that says sex is nothing more than social construct.

                      “Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”
                      ― Werner Heisenberg, Across the Frontiers

                  • Sabine

                    How about Fritz The Great (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_the_Great)

                    „Die Religionen Müsen alle Tolleriret werden und Mus der Fiscal nuhr das Auge darauf haben, das keine der andern abrug Tuhe, den hier mus ein jeder nach seiner Fasson Selich werden.

                    translated:

                    "The religions must all be tolerated and the state does not have to intervene other then to prevent one from superseding another, everyone here should become "holy" according to his own way.

                    • RedLogix

                      That's a good quote thank you.

                      Too often we conflate personal religious faith with the man-made institutions we create to give it community expression.

                      The Western insistence to politically separate the two was one of our very best innovations.

          • Ad 1.1.2.1.2

            Obviously.

            For several centuries so far.

          • Ad 1.1.2.1.3

            Obviously and for several centuries

        • Dennis Frank 1.1.2.2

          we can fix it

          Via grandstanding? Consider me a sceptic. Grandstanding hasn't accumulated a known tradition of achieving problem-solving results.

          Nothing wrong with prometheanism – as long as it produces tech that works. Blind faith in it, however, tends not too…

        • weka 1.1.2.3

          Humans are the most powerful agents on this planet and on current trajectory always will be.

          We caused it, and we can fix it.

          we could, the question is why aren't we.

          • Ad 1.1.2.3.1

            Plenty already are.

            • weka 1.1.2.3.1.1

              oh we are addressing some of the problems, sure. Lots of really interesting stuff being done. But here we are all still creating more plastics pollutions. We're not nearly as smart as we think we are. Pretty good at figuring out individual fixes, not so good at the whole systems stuff especially where it intersects with social and political aspects.

              We also apparently don't know what to do about capitalisms' refusal to shift to sustainable economies. So let's tidy up some of the plastic and develop new processes, but until we address the systemic issues we're not getting ahead of it.

          • RedLogix 1.1.2.3.2

            We are busy fixing it. The amount of industrial research, development and project planning that I could link to – specifically targeted at these issues would overwhelm this site.

            • weka 1.1.2.3.2.1

              see my comment above to Ad. Industry is doing good things, we're not at the point of changing the whole system though, or even looking at the whole system.

            • Robert Guyton 1.1.2.3.2.2

              Those CO2 scrubbers are making a tangible difference!

              *sarc

              • weka

                Fungi on the other hand 😍

                Imagine if science were a servant of nature instead of the other way round.

                • Robert Guyton

                  Fungi indeed, weka.

                  Science, of course, was born out of nature.

                  What's missing is the "bridge" between us and science – the bridge made from story, and we've become distant from that and barely able to hear it at all.

                  Still, we can retune our ears.

                  It's easy to do.

              • RedLogix

                The main reason why we don't have them yet is that people have been taught to be irrationally scared of the one technology that could have provided the bulk energy needed to power them.

                • Gezza

                  There was an item on 1ewes at 6 last night on a nuclear fusion development site in the UK somewhere, where they are succeeding in momentarily heating hydrogen to 50 million degrees, fusing atoms into helium and releasing untold energy.

                  The item's reporter claimed that nuclear fusion reactor builders are getting closer and closer to solving all the practical problems involved and predicted that there will be working fusion reactors providing cheap, virtually unlimited, energy by 2030.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Pie in the sky.

                    • Gezza

                      No, I think that's the sun, Robert.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Indeed, Gezza.

                      Indeed.

                      "There are no bananas in the sky, in the sky,

                      There are no bananas in the sky.

                      There's a sun and a moon and a big pineapple pie,

                      But there are no bananas in the sky!"

                    • Tricledrown

                      Given Human progress in the last 150 years Nuclear Fission is going to be widely available just when.

                    • Gezza

                      But, being serious, re the claim working fusion reactors will be available by 2030, it’ll be believable only when it actually happens.

                      Proponents having been promising nuclear fusion reactors are “just around the corner” for decades. So far, they definitely have NOT been “just around the corner”. As RL has also noted below.

                  • RedLogix

                    Fusion tech has famously been within a decade of a breakthrough for about the last 70 years. It's a tremendous engineering puzzle to make these machine practical and I wish them nothing but the best with it.

                    In the meantime there are a number of fission based Gen 4 projects that are based of proven technologies and are definitely progressing well. We are fortunate to have both opportunities to pursue.

                    But it's my sense that even if we did deliver on the promise of cheap, abundant and clean energy from either of these pathways, that category of anti-human Malthusian thinking that lurks in the dark spaces of the so-called environmentalist movement – will still find ways to protest progress.

                    • swordfish

                      .

                      I firmly reject all the romantic Noble Savage tosh and Hunter-Gatherer mysticism that sloshes about in the backwaters of the environmentalist movement. It's a luxury belief the actual poor people in the world scoff at.

                      Hit the nail squarely on the head.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      "poor people" does not equate with "humans living close to nature"

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Those darn "so-called environmentalists", with their "anti-human Malthusian thinking". So inscrutable – why such passionate protests, when they've never had it so good?

                      Whereas some human exceptionalists have apparently convinced themselves that adopting a "shrink and share" approach to life will deliver "misery for all"! But I've been on a "shrink and share" jag for over two years now, and ‘misery’ has yet to manifest itself – honest.

                      Just goes to show how different we all are. https://genless.govt.nz/

                • Robert Guyton

                  "Bulk energy"

                  Awesome!

                  We'll be able to crank up the volume!

                  Production will soar!

                  The stuff we will have!

                  Everybody needs a sneed!

                  • weka

                    Bulk energy is the last thing we need. This is why I will never trust science bods to lead the way. Never. We already know that such tech doesn't sit outside of human culture, and that human culture is currently incapable of sustainability other than the outliers. Thankfully the outliers are leading the way and have done all the ground work for when the rest catch up.

                    Yes, retune our ears. Not that hard from where we sit, but apparently very hard from the other side.

                    • RedLogix

                      "that category of anti-human Malthusian thinking that lurks in the dark spaces of the so-called environmentalist movement – will still find ways to protest progress."

                    • weka

                      even after all this time you still don't know what I'm talking about. But the inability to engage and instead to just keep reasserting false premises is one of the characteristics of the lack of systems thinking /shrug.

                      That you cannot conceive of sustainability as progress stands as its own statement.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      We're "anti-human" weka!

                      Progress must not be protested!

                    • weka

                      so how do we facilitate that conceptual leap to being part of nature again?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      There are so many ways, weka.

                      Indigenous peoples around the world offer advice to those cultures who have become too far removed.

                      Early childhood doyens have woven pathways into their practices.

                      The medical fraternity, especially those involved in mental health have prescriptions that advise on how to reconnect to the other-than-human world.

                      Some churches, at their most creative end, preach the same path.

                      And so on, and so on.
                      Most fun for me, naturally enough, are the works by such scientists as Monica Gagliano and Suzzanne Simard.

                    • RedLogix

                      so how do we facilitate that conceptual leap to being part of nature again?

                      For several million years we evolved very much as 'part of nature'. It was a raw, bloody and typically violent affair. And there was never anything 'safe' about it. I firmly reject all the romantic Noble Savage tosh and Hunter-Gatherer mysticism that sloshes about in the backwaters of the environmentalist movement. It's a luxury belief the actual poor people in the world scoff at.

                      Malthusian thinking proposes that humans are nothing but unthinking bacteria in a finite petri dish doomed to consume all and die. Yet we have repeatedly innovated past apparent resource limits, and there is no reason to image that at the peak of our capacity as a species we should not continue to do so. I'm not the one with trust issues here.

                      At the same time – and you should have noticed this by now – I absolutely do not comment here with a reductionist, materialist science only view of the world. I've repeatedly argued from a broader position that encompasses the spiritual and non-material domains as well. I've long ago reconciled the hippie and the engineer – they both have to co-exist.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

                      ― Albert Einstein

                  • Robert Guyton

                    RedLogix – you wrote:

                    "For several million years we evolved very much as 'part of nature'. It was a raw, bloody and typically violent affair."

                    Other creatures have, for several million years, evolved very much as 'part of nature'"

                    Was their existence "a raw, bloody and typically violent affair"?

                    Given our advantageous abilities (to plan, strategies, make tools and weapons and shelter etc.) why is it you believe our evolution over those several million years was so awful?

                    For the record, as if you were unaware, I don't hold to your theory.

                    • RedLogix

                      Was their existence "a raw, bloody and typically violent affair"?

                      Do I have to explain the phrase 'food chain' to you?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Creatures not at the apex of the food chain, employ strategies to help them avoid being eaten. Humans are the master strategists; we leaned early-on how to avoid and or repel tigers, crocodiles, wolves and so on; we chucked rocks, we built barriers.

                      Were you imagining that we lay down, in the face of a stalking big cat, and offered up our soft-parts to fate, red of tooth and claw?

                      We're much smarter than that!

    • Nic the NZer 1.2

      Well there goes George Carlins theory then.

    • Subliminal 1.3

      Fungi can also digest plastic into a non toxic human edible form. There is a start up in the US called mycocycle that proposes to use fungi to digest building material waste, at scale, including asphalt roofing, into a building, packaging and textile substite. The process takes 4-6 weeks that would take decades to centuries in a conventional landfill

      • Dennis Frank 1.3.1

        Love it! heart If they put pics on the package of what industrial materials went into the food schoolkids would deem it supercool & show each other what they were eating at lunchtime.

    • Bill 1.4

      "..could degrade 10 different types of plastic.."

      Quite the feat if google's info that there be seven types of plastic is correct.

  2. Pat 2

    Where are the NZ New Liberals?

  3. Ad 3

    The US Secretary of State said in Indonesia yesterday that the US will recommit to an "international rule based order", on the same day as the US Pentagon said no one in its military would be held accountable for the drone attack in Afghanistan three months ago that wiped out an innocent family.

    Whatever this rules based order is, mybe rhe State and Defence Chiefs need a chat.

    • Nic the NZer 3.1

      Just what part of the US makes the "rules based order" don't you understand?

    • Dennis Frank 3.2

      The thing is anchored in liberalism according to Wikipedia:

      In international relations, the liberal international order (some times referred to as the rules-based or the US-led international order) describes a set of global, rule-based, structured relationships based on political liberalism, economic liberalism and liberal internationalism since the late 1940s.

      More specifically, it entails international cooperation through multilateral institutions (like the United Nations, World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund) and is constituted by human equality (freedom, rule of law and human rights), open markets, security cooperation, promotion of liberal democracy, and monetary cooperation. The order was established in the aftermath of World War II, led in large part by the United States.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_international_order

    • RedLogix 3.3

      said no one in its military would be held accountable for the drone attack in Afghanistan three months ago that wiped out an innocent family.

      The problem will be rather like the Pike River disaster, a case of too many people to prosecute rather than none. Everyone in the organisation doing what they were supposed to do – but arriving at a totally wrong outcome.

      And this is the direct consequence of five Presidents in a row who have failed to re-direct the US military toward a fresh moral mandate. After winning the Cold War the machine was left on auto – still on the old trajectory and still operating under the old assumptions making increasingly erratic blunders like this.

      That the Biden Administration is finally making the right noises on this is a promising sign – but they have a deep pit to dig their way out of.

      • Subliminal 3.3.1

        I'm not quite sure what to make of Biden yet but was astonished by his determination in the face of a lot of pushback, to leave Afghanistan. On this I think he has shown a lot of spine but I'm still perplexed by his confrontational approach to Taiwan and Ukraine unless he understands that he must offer something to the hawks while ending what wars he can. The NYT recent exposure of civilian deaths in Syria leads me to hope that following through on the intention to leave Syria and Iraq will be next. I used to buy the old man Joe feeblemindedness but he has shown some determination. We all need him to be successful because if not the scene is well set for tragedy if he becomes another 1 term president. The polling on this is not good.

        • Gezza 3.3.1.1

          You have to allow for the Trump effect at the next election.

          Also, the Republicans have gone hell for leather in several states doing their damnedest to make sure some potential Democrat voters are denied eligibility to vote.

          I agree Joe Biden deserves full credit for standing up and taking it on the chin over pulling out of Afghanistan. His reasons for doing so stack up. The Taliban was always going to take over eventually and the hopelessly corrupt regime the US was supporting there was always going to collapse.

          The big worry about Joe is his age. And while I don't believe he's senile yet, he sure does have some senior moments where he mumbles nonsense. At his age he's too vulnerable to any number of conditions that could take him out of running the Oval Office, even if he did get back in.

          The Trump Effect

        • joe90 3.3.1.2

          perplexed by his confrontational approach to Taiwan and Ukraine

          Deals a deal.

          Taiwan Relations Act

          January 1, 1979

          […]

          • to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character; and
          • to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.

          https://www.ait.org.tw/our-relationship/policy-history/key-u-s-foreign-policy-documents-region/taiwan-relations-act/

          Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s
          Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
          Weapons

          Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
          Northern Ireland and the United States of America

          […]

          1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
          Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to
          Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on
          Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;

          2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
          Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to
          refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or
          political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be
          used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the
          Charter of the United Nations;

          3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
          Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to
          Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on
          Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed
          to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights
          inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;

          https://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_1994_1399.pdf

          • Subliminal 3.3.1.2.1

            Except the deals a deal theory doesn't really stack up. There was also the rather momentous event that was the crumbling of the Berlin wall. It was bought with the deal of NATO not moving further east. As with most things, freedom is not absolute and the freedom for the Ukraine to choose NATO membership should be considered far lower than the freedom that resulted from the destruction of the Berlin wall. Russia has offered to refrain from any acts of agression on Ukraine in exchange for a guarantee that NATO membership will not occur nor certain weapons be situated there. This is a type of detente that used to work well.

            With regard to Taiwan there was also the deal that the USA would neither recognise Taiwan nor arm Taiwan and China would not invade. This has also worked and was working until Trump decided to end it. Why has Biden decided to continue with Trump policy?

  4. Rosemary McDonald 5

    Good news on Natrad this morning as it has been all smiles and compliance at the Tai Tokerau border checkpoints set up to ensure the unsafe, unvaccinated are properly tested for Te Virus and allow the Pass Protected to be waved on through. All shits and giggles.

    Until someone giggles and shits and decides to drop the truth into the mix.

    Government officials think the testing requirement to leave Auckland from today might only catch a quarter of the number of Covid-19 cases leaving.

    To leave Auckland, unvaccinated people are required to show a negative test from within the previous 72 hours. A negative test is not needed for vaccinated people and children under 12 at any land or air border.

    The government's modelling expects up to 50 percent of the Covid-19 cases could be in vaccinated people, according to a Cabinet paper from 15 November. That is with vaccination rates of 90 percent, of which Auckland is above.

    Another 25 percent of cases could be in under 12 year olds, the paper said.

    This means around 75 percent of Covid-19 cases could be carried across the border by those not needing to be tested in order to leave.

    Now this is not news to those of us keeping up.

    My question is why is this being highlighted by our state broadcaster now? This morning? When all is peaceful and well at the border?

    A deeply cynical person might suspect Natrad is deliberately trying to incite a bit of conflict…disappointed that the predicted angry checkpoint confrontations have not materialised.

    • weka 5.1

      what are the projected numbers of covid cases? (rather than %)

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.1.1

        …what are the projected numbers of covid cases? (rather than %)

        Who knows? Piece of string and all that. I suspect, after speaking with double vaxxed folk, that the double vaxxed are not exactly rushing to be tested even if they are symptomatic because the the vaccine keeps them safe. 'Cos the gummint told them so. We will never know the true numbers.

        It matters not…the scene has already been set to blame we Filth for any outbreaks, hospitalisations and deaths.

        OTOH…Natrads wee spill this morning will spread around other MSM. Picture in another hour's time as the Ueretiti checkpoint has a vehicle tailback to the base of the Brynderwyn. Sitting there patiently and whatever MSM drivel they are tuned to lets everyone know that the Misery of Health is well aware that the majority of transmission will be from the good, clean vaccinated people.

        The ones being thanked by the locals at the Tai Tokerau checkpoints for doing the right thing to protect whanau.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          I agree that the messaging has been off re using all the tools. Lots of people aren't paying so much attention as to get the message indirectly. It needed to be in all our faces. You can imagine what it's like being in an area without any covid transmission and Aucklanders about to arrive en masse over the next few weeks.

          "Who knows? Piece of string and all that."

          Someone must have a ball park. Transmission, case rates, and vax rates are a known thing for Auckland.

          • Sabine 5.1.1.1.1

            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/covid-19-delta-outbreak-northland-health-officials-planning-for-up-to-95-cases-a-day/NARHC3QHDZYWJLC2Y6HKZF6ND4/

            Northland health officials are planning for up to 95 new Covid cases a day after the border with Auckland comes down, but they are confident they can handle any such outbreak.

            Northland District Health Board's Covid Management Plan for the period until the end of January looks at three possible scenarios based on modelling from Dr Gary Jackson of Counties Manukau DHB.

            that's Northland, never mind the rest of the country.

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              95 is higher than I would have thought. What are the expected numbers of Aucklanders going into Northland?

              • weka

                ug, paywalled. Of course. NZH would paywall an article about a current serious public health issue affecting some of the poorest people in NZ.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                What are the expected numbers of Aucklanders going into Northland?

                As a guess. Heaps. A lot of friends and neighbours here in the FFN have whanau living in Auckland and the couple of weeks over the summer is when they all come up to reconnect. Or so it seems. There are still a number of undeveloped sections in what passes for 'town' here…for the past few weeks the portaloos have arrived and the water tanks are set up and the screened off ablution areas are looking very camplike. The local watering holes, here and south in Kaitaia, are enjoying a very slow patch (as so many of their regulars are not vaccine pass holders) and are earnestly polishing the glassware in anticipation of the arrival of the Clean Double Vaxxed and Tested from Auckland. The very popular DOC camps at Spirits, Taputoputo , Rarawa and Matai are off limits to the Fucking Filth…so other camping options are at a premium.

                I am planning a quick final stockup in Kaitaia sometime in the next day or so, and it will be interesting to see if the quality of the vehicles in the Pak n Save carpark has risen.

                • Sabine

                  i would go today tbh.

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    I'll do the primer/undercoat the cyclone prevented yesterday then I'll see. You could be right. I've run out of No More Gaps and gib stopping compound. Renovator crisis.

                    • Sabine

                      find the time and get enough supplies to not having to go for a while.

                    • weka

                      Hate when that happens going into Christmas. I'm triaging what's essential and what can wait until mid January when some semblance of normal returns to getting shit done (ignoring the pandemic thing for as long as I can).

                      But yep, in your situation I’d go now.

                • weka

                  "Heaps"

                  I'm sure. I was meaning before we all get too freaked out, the pandemic response is about harm minimisation now. So the number of people going to Northland from Auckland, relative to the number of people in Ak with covid, should tell us something about relative risk.

              • Sabine

                nothing about that in the article.

    • Gezza 5.2

      My question is why is this being highlighted by our state broadcaster now? This morning? When all is peaceful and well at the border?

      A deeply cynical person might suspect Natrad is deliberately trying to incite a bit of conflict…disappointed that the predicted angry checkpoint confrontations have not materialised.

      Are you serious, Rosemary? RNZ's Morning Report hosts are among the PCest, wokest Labour Gummint supporters on air. Right up there with the hosts and presenters of TV1's Breakfast Show.

      Mind you, you could be right. Because of that, they're also pretty damn boring to listen to a lot of the time.

      • Rosemary McDonald 5.2.1

        Are you serious, Rosemary? Always. I have no sense of humour whatsoever. Never cynical, never sarcastic, never sardonic and never, ever ironic. /sarc

        PS. I love pukeko…until they wreck inevitable havoc in my vege garden. Baby pukeko have an unfair advantage in the cute stakes, second only to newly hatched ducklings. Probably why adult pukeko will kill wee ducklings, seemingly for shits and giggles. Obviously I have mixed feelings. OTOH and firmly believe we missed the mark when we adopted the kiwi as our national bird. The pukeko, IMHO, would be much more apt.

        • weka 5.2.1.1

          😂

        • Molly 5.2.1.2

          Adult pukeko in our garden teaching their youngsters how to pick apples by breaking off the whole bloody branch of the young saplings and then running away with five or six apples.

          A pukeko family pack takeaway.

          • Gezza 5.2.1.2.1

            Yes they're pretty naughty. Pickles Pook got up onto the clearlight plastic roof of my back patio and – for reasons known only to him – pecked off the plastic button-clips that fit over the tops of the roofing bolts, stopping them from rusting.

            I came out one morning, after it had rained pretty heavily, and found half a dozen of these plastic tops lying on the pavers, and that explained what the little blighter had been up to up there the previous day.

            • Tricledrown 5.2.1.2.1.1

              Those covers are to stop water getting under the plastic roofing and also reduce the noise of the plastic moving and expansion and contraction.The proper screws are stainless steel.The holes drilled in the plastic have to be bigger than the screw so when the plastic moves it doesn't tear. Put the covers back on glue them with a dot off silicone on top of the screw.

          • Rosemary McDonald 5.2.1.2.2

            We have this plum tree. Legendary with my neighbours, who clearly enjoyed the bounty before the newbies put fences up and lived here year round. Red is appearing on the heavily laden branches and drooling is beginning. Last year Young People packed some in a glass jar and covered them with gin. Yum. Last night there was a possum. I heard the thing. It was also drooling. I have been googling 'best bait for possum trap'. Wish me luck.

            • Sabine 5.2.1.2.2.1

              i got these yellow boxes online and just put a piece of apple in. Killed a few that way and saved my rhubarb.

              Wondering though how to actually skin and eat the buggers as it seems a waste and i am quite open to eat anything so as long as its covered in delicious gravy.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                I'll put apple on the shopping list. I have one of those yellow traps. I will deploy.

              • weston

                How to skin : lay pos on his or her back using a small knife with a very sharp tip cut down each leg neck and belly . Hold the knife by the tip and cut sharp part up away from you .Pry the body from the skin with your fingers and hands this will require effort ! . Cut off the head paws and tail carefully open the belly and pull out the guts dont forget to reach right up inside the carcase to remove the heart and lungs if you have a dog he will prob enjoy the liver and maybe some other bits and pieces .

                An option is to soak the body in a brine overnite this will take away some of the gaminess .To cook simply boil until the meat comes away from the bone .Make yr delicious gravy and chuck the meat in .

                I find chilling down the meat pie mixture and putting it into a pie dish with flakey puff pastry top an bottom an cooked to perfection is hard to beat .

                • Sabine

                  Essentially treat it like wild rabbit, make it a ragout. Are they generally safe to eat, like it does not matter from where they come from. Mine are semi feral urban rubbish possums.

                  • weston

                    Prob ok i guess if they gleam with gd health they should be ok to eat .Its disappointing how many people resort to poison for 'pest'management i think the timms traps are much more humane and as you are doing utilizing poor ol pos for your dinner !

          • Sabine 5.2.1.2.3

            That is why i throw the excess pears from my tree over the fence to feed them on the other side….so far my cunning plan has worked.

          • Anne 5.2.1.2.4

            Birds are not stupid. They also have a sense of humour.

            I used to have an outdoor aviary with up to 25 budgies. The larger variety. On a sunny afternoon the older birds would settle together on a perch and have a snooze. The younger rascals (one in particular) would wait until they were asleep then they ran sideways along the perch pushing them all off.

            The ensuing din would see me race downstairs to find the victims running around on the floor protesting loudly while the perpetrators would be sitting silently on their perch looking so sweet and innocent.

        • Gezza 5.2.1.3

          The problem with the idea of our adopting the pūkeko as our national bird or national symbol is that it's not solely native to Kiwiland.

          The Australasian swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus) is a species of swamphen (Porphyrio) occurring in eastern Indonesia (the Moluccas, Aru and Kai Islands), Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.

          In New Zealand, it is known as the pukeko (from the Māori pūkeko). The species used to be considered a subspecies of the purple swamphen.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australasian_swamphen

          • Koff 5.2.1.3.1

            You're right. Plenty of pukeko here in Australia, although not so dominant because of a greater diversity of water birds. Never seen them in PNG, despite having spent 9 years there. I still call swamphens "pukeko" here when I see them. The hypothesis is that they arrived in NZ in at least 2 successful waves from the east coast of Australia (hard to imagine the impetus considering how poorly they fly). The earlier invasion was probably a long time ago giving enough time for evolution into the takahe. (had to teach evolution of NZ endemics once, fascinating stuff).

    • Pete 5.3

      You know there'll be an equivalent to the 'Horror in MIQ': "I was in MIQ and my 3 course dinner arrived 27 seconds late."

      What'll it be? 'Terror at border': Border patroller looked at my kids in the back seat in a funny way"?

    • AB 5.4

      The Northland soft border is not watertight – a soft border can't be. In large part it's simply performative because:

      • not every vehicle will be checked when it gets busy
      • vaccinated people can be infectious
      • the rapid antigen test results provided by the unvaccinated are basically rubbish if all you have to go on is a single test, not multiple tests over a short time period.

      The only interesting question is whether, as a piece of theatre, it has much value. I think it does – by maybe deterring unvaccinated people and creating a sense of seriousness that means people crossing the border are more likely to behave well (e.g. wear masks) once they're in Northland. I also think that it neatly foregrounds the idea that there are real grassroots (not just elite) local interests, and makes tangible the economic gap between the SUV-driving boat-towing Aucklanders and the provincial and rural poor.

      But whatever – we'll see. The right want to see it become a problem with either horrendous delays or even better, outbreaks of violence. All they need is a video clip of a guy with a facial tattoo shouting at or abusing someone and it's a big win for them. So high stakes all around.

  5. Joe90 6

    A memorable night.

    Newcastle Argyle House nightclub COVID outbreak could become one of the highesttransmission events' in the world.

    thttps://www.abc.net.au/news/2021–14/newcastle-covid-outbreak-could-become-highest-transmission-event/100697836

    • Rosemary McDonald 6.2

      Of course all the party goers were fully vaccinated Joe90? There must be some stats to show this? I though NSW had strict vaccine passports?

      Because it is the "fucking filth" anti -vaxxers who are the Cause of All the Troubles.

      I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for giving those of us who, after careful weighing up of the evidence (available to all chose to look for it) decided not to take the shots, a label we aspire to live down.

      • Bill 6.2.1

        "…after careful weighing up of the evidence (available to all chose to look for it)…"

        That availability of information was problematic given the level of censorship across all major media platforms and the complete lock down in messaging across legacy media.

        Even today, when we know that Omicron results in mild illness and health care professionals in South Africa are going 'blue in the face' trying to tell the world that Omicron poses no threat, politicians across the rest of the world are running around like their hair's on fire, and with legacy media at their side, banging on about booster shots (that will likely be as much use as the first two injections – ie, useless), and deliberately misleading the public about deaths from Omicron (died with not actually being the same as died of) the need for lock-downs and vaccine passports etc.

        If the news from South Africa is accurate (and there's no reason to believe it's not), then the NZ government ought to be looking to open the international border so that Omicron can displace Delta and all of the vaccine nonsense and division could end.

        Not oing to happen though, is it? Every arm is a target. Every person has to be 'enrolled' in the vaccine passport/digital ID programme – the future awaits.

        • Rosemary McDonald 6.2.1.1

          That availability of information was problematic given the level of censorship across all major media platforms and the complete lock down in messaging across legacy media.

          Bill! You have actually managed to shock me! I thought I would never read an admission like that here on TS.

          And that is not sarcasm. Thanks. You've made my day.

          That said…what has surprised and disappointed me over the past couple of years …has been the almost complete acceptance of the 'official narrative' from those here who should know better.

          • Bill 6.2.1.1.1

            I'm just sorry I didn't write for The Standard these past two years. I'd occasionally (very occasionally) have a quick look at the site but never saw anything much around Covid or the government response.

            I did think about writing posts, but to be honest, I wasn't up for putting myself through the wringer like I'd experienced when writing on topics like Syria or RussiaGate – ie, anything not in line with tribal acceptance.

            The Covid debacle really is quite something else, and the effect it's had on people's critical faculties leaves me aghast.

            Maybe (maybe) it's time to do a comprehensive and thoroughly linked post that aims to kick all the garbage into touch?

            • Dennis Frank 6.2.1.1.1.1

              I'd occasionally (very occasionally) have a quick look at the site but never saw anything much around Covid or the government response.

              Whereas both topics have featured onsite here more or less continuously throughout! Not denying your experience – I'm well aware of that type of thing & interpret it along the lines of `ok, obviously I wasn't meant to focus on it at the time'. Very similar to something else even more profound: we don't want to absorb info if we feel the time ain't right for that.

              Maybe (maybe) it's time to do a comprehensive and thoroughly linked post that aims to kick all the garbage into touch?

              Would be quite a challenge. What's garbage to some is gold to others. I've been bemused by some of my old friends putting themselves in the covid-denier category. Two are university grads – both psychologists. A third didn't deny covid's reality to me but is resolute in not getting the jab. And I know several others still thinking about it, including an ex-wife.

              If you go for it, do try to encompass the primary nuances of the situation rather than just paint it black & white…

              • alwyn

                "Two are university grads – both psychologists".

                H'm. I'm afraid that is the problem. When I was at University the standard opinion was that anyone could safely do Psych 1. You only did Psych 2 however if you were worried about your sanity and the people who did Psych 3 were those who were totally crazy.

                Mind you we probably had similar opinions about anyone whose Major was different to our own.

                • Dennis Frank

                  smiley Hadn't heard that one but I like it. I've know those two since '83 & '84. We share a similar world-view but their lack of comprehension of human nature & motivations often baffles me. I suppose it's the old story of universities teaching students crap just like schools.

              • Bill

                Rest assured there Dennis that the backbone of any piece I may write will be peer reviewed scientific papers. And, of course, I'll link to them.

            • Molly 6.2.1.1.1.2

              A dedicated post would be great Bill, if you have the time.

            • RedLogix 6.2.1.1.1.3

              I'm just sorry I didn't write for The Standard these past two years.

              Welcome back Bill. I wondered more than once what had happened, so it's good to see you writing here again – and as vocal as ever. yes

        • RedLogix 6.2.1.2

          yes

          While it's prudent to hedge our bets on Omicron for at least a few weeks more, by the New Year govts all over the developed world will have to face this choice.

          And it will be a vivid political litmus test indeed.

        • Sabine 6.2.1.3

          Once the people are conditioned to monthly injections the government stops paying for the shots. 🙂

          Can you see the future?

          • RedLogix 6.2.1.3.1

            Those 5G chips aren't cheap you know. /sarc

            • Sabine 6.2.1.3.1.1

              you don't need these chips if you got a mobile phone. 🙂

              so can you not see a future with a different government where you need to pay for your own boosters or else you can't participate in public life? Because i can.

          • Bill 6.2.1.3.2

            The vaccine passport is the foot in the door that allows for digital ID to be rolled out.

            That's why injections have been the "go to" and therapeutic medicines ignored.

            The proposed future is a hellscape of personal phone bound information being harvested for profit and used to exercise social control 'for ever and the day'.

            • Dennis Frank 6.2.1.3.2.1

              You mean the nanobots in the bloodstream? Ever since I got my double-jab I've been waiting for the Men In Black to knock on my door. My thoughts have always been extremely subversive so I don't get why it hasn't happened. They must have a long list to work their way down…

              • Bill

                See, Dennis, that's the sort of brainless fuckwittery that no-one needs.

                Who mentioned nanobots besides yourself?

                If you don't understand how digital ID works, or if you don't understand why it's necessary to have vaccine passports widely distributed and acting as an entry point, and if you don't understand why injection allows for passports in a way that no therapeutic would….then ask.

                Bullshit about nanobots or Tamakibots or any of the rest of that nonsense has no place whatsoever in any exchange with me. Got it?

                • Dennis Frank

                  If you don't understand how digital ID works (snip) then ask.

                  Never heard of it. A short description would be cool to indicate relevance, but if you're too busy I'll wait for enlightenment. It worked for Buddha.

                  I now gather your basis is science. A physics grad long ago, I've read widely on leading edge science ever since & my take on covid is that the genetic/epigenetic frontier is where evolution happens. Do you have a science education relevant?

                  • Bill

                    China already has a "social credit" system in place, at least in some regions.

                    The way digital ID works is that all information that an individual requires to access society is held on their phone – facial recognition software (bio-metrics), digital currency (backed by Central Bank), ongoing medical status (vaccination passport), possible future introduction of carbon credit tally…all accessible by government or their corporate 'partners' all of the time.

                    Aside from the fact that type of information can be harvested for immense profit (eg – you jaywalk and the camera fitted with facial recognition capabilities accesses your digital currency and debits $10 instantly and sends a notification text, with some sliver of that $10 going to the owners of the app…), it acts as an iron clad form of social control. Access to society becomes contingent on obedience.(eg – your booster shot is overdue and now your digital pass declines you access to places or/and that digital currency gets bled by way of electronically administered and rolling fines for non-compliance.)

                    Or, maybe you participate in some environmental protest. We've already witnessed protestors being labeled "domestic terrorists", yes? Well, there goes your access to society and government services. Instantly.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Thanks. Apprehension seems reasonable in this light! I have read about the thing in China. Here, the proposal would have to run the gauntlet of testing against civil liberties. Both laws & conventions.

                      China disregards the UN civil rights covenants due to being on the UN Security Council. Might is right, so the rules-based order the US promotes is a sham. But I digress…

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Bill, do you regard jaywalking unpunished is a significant marker for individual freedom?

                    • Bill

                      Robert, do you consider a mass, intrusive surveillance system that can instantly mete out punishment at the targeted individual level a significant marker for authoritarian social control?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Not necessarily; your description is loaded, imo, and doesn't allow for nuanced decision-making. For example, your jaywalking example didn't include discussion about any sort of stepped-response such as traffic infringements have, nor any opportunity to challenge the decision/action of the agency involved etc. Your examples and language is so blunt, it's not possible to fairly give a yes or no answer.

                      I wonder, will you answer my question @2:01?

                    • Bill

                      Pedestrians in New Zealand must, if possible, cross at right angles to the kerb or side of the roadway unless they use pedestrian crossings or school crossing points.[82] Pedestrians must use a pedestrian crossing, footbridge, underpass or traffic signal within 20 m.[83] At intersections controlled by signals, pedestrians should wait for the green man to display and may not begin crossing when the static or the flashing red man is displayed.[84] The fine for jaywalking is up to $35.[85]

                      So, $10 would be part of a stepped response.

                      Now fuck off and take your trolling bullshit with you Robert.

              • alwyn

                They've been mate. You just don't remember because after they flashed that light in your eyes you don't remember anything ever again.

        • Nic the NZer 6.2.1.4

          Do you have a good mental model for why new strains would replace rather than arive along side existing variants?

          I don't really see why that model should be preferred but it seems to be preferred over treating newer variants as a parallel faster pandemic.

          • Bill 6.2.1.4.1

            Omicron has more or less completely displaced Delta in South Africa, and accounting for over 50% of new cases in the London area now. I'm not sure I understand the question.

            A more virulent strain will outcompete a less virulent strain. And with Omicron we got very lucky, because it just happens to be much less pathogenic, yes?

            • Nic the NZer 6.2.1.4.1.1

              I'm asking because I know both models work similarly. It seems if only displacement is a good model then there is some resource (like succeptible to infection persons) which the infections use up.

              I'm asking why delta + omicron could be better than delta, rather than delta with some parallel mild omicron happening at the same time (at least intellectually).

        • Poission 6.2.1.5

          so that Omicron can displace Delta

          The naive assumption would suggest so,the intuitive assumption suggests multiple scenarios including co existence.

          • Bill 6.2.1.5.1

            Number 3 makes no sense, and number 2 is not what is being observed in South Africa or the rest of the world. Omicron is becoming dominant just as Delta did before it. (Anyone seen Alpha?)

            • Poission 6.2.1.5.1.1

              No 3 suggests that Omicron both weakens the immune system,and blocks prior immunity allowing reinfection.

              Omicron is spreading 3x faster then the original (wuhan )strain.This is in a community with high immunity,whereas the original strain was in a community with no immunity.

              • Bill

                I don't know what you mean when you say "blocks prior immunity".

                Observations suggest that immunity from prior infection doesn't really work against Omicron (same applying to vaccination).

                Are you suggesting that Omicron could somehow disable the immune system, such that the T cells and whatever else that are kicked off in the case of an infection with Delta just don't work, or have disappeared or something?

                I would have no idea if such a thing is even remotely feasible.

                • Nic the NZer

                  I was asked recently to review an article suggesting, vaccine studies had over measured protection. This was by separating out people infected in the first 2 weeks after vaccine, and the vaccine surpressing natural immunity as people initially respond. My conclusion was its a plausible idea that only those with stronger immunity make it through that uninfected so boosting the study protection results. But I think this is incompatible with vaccinating millions in Auckland without causing a visible outbreak. The extent these vaccines surpress immunity seems at most small.

                • Tricledrown

                  Measles does exactly that resets the immune system not to recognise infections.

                  Omricon could have a similar effect.

      • Tricledrown 6.2.2

        You are the one putting nasty despicable names to your stand against getting vaccinated.

        That's self abuse you have made the decision not to be vaccinated so take responsibility for it.

        Isolate if you don't want Covid keep safe.

        The whole country is having to change its behaviour.

        I doubt if we will ever return to what life was before Covid came along.

        Medicines are coming not vaccines that if Taken before covid becomes full blown will reduce severe illness on par with vaccines.

        So we are going to have to be extra careful until these new medicines are widely available.

        N95 masks worn properly reduce chances of getting infected by 99% plus.medical masks 53% reduction in transmission.If they are worn properly they are better no gaps around nose and sides most people don't wear masks properly

        • alwyn 6.2.2.1

          "Medicines are coming".

          And as usual you make statements of fact without providing any evidence. What are they? When are they expected? What evidence is there that they work?

          Where are the links to your evidence for these claims? Or are they just figments of your imagination?

    • Bill 6.3

      The Omicron steps rights around the mRNA injections. There are many reports out there of huge infection rates arising from gatherings of fully vaccinated people.

      And it's not a bad thing, given that Omicron (if 4 weeks of data from South Africa count) just doesn't do much of anything.

      In South Africa, with a population of 60 million, there were (from official stats a couple of days ago)

      5 500 hospital patients in hospital for any reason and who have incidentally tested +ve for Covid.

      And of those –

      151 were being ventilated.

      782 were being oxygenated.

      Those numbers include all medical conditions that might require oxygenation or ventilation

      That contrasts with previous Covid waves where more or less anyone in hospital because of Delta needed to be oxygenated.

      Time to bring the stupid fear games to a close.

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.3.1

        Time to bring the stupid fear games to a close.

        We need to do this promptly as some (of us) are planning our lives as permanent outcasts. There are networks.

        Worryingly, there are some who are very angry (rooted in the fear we all feel…) and are prepared to do more than wave a few placards and loudly march. Past unresolved grievances are providing fuel.

        And some of the angriest are the growing number of people who have had the shots to either 'do the right thing' or to keep their jobs, homes and their children fed and are now suffering significant adverse effects. They are being almost completely ignored by MSM, and the governments are dismissing them. Doctors struggle to treat their illnesses. Their children have heart damage.

        And those of us who have been begging, pleading, demanding that the unjustified mass vaccinating of children and young adults who are at fuck all risk of becoming ill with Covid must stop…we will never, ever, forgive the sociopaths doing this. They know what they are doing.

        How are we going to turn this ship around Bill? You're an old campaigner…

        • Bill 6.3.1.1

          Tonight, there's a meeting of some 20 odd locals from this small community that I'll be attending.

          I've been along to one Saturday protest and didn't run into a single rabid right winger or any faces from days gone by of left wing activism.

          The people I encountered were basically politically naive – ie, they didn't have the theoretical understanding or vocabulary to articulate their sense of wrong doing. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing – principles come from the gut afterall 😉

          Like yourself, I'm outcast. Yay!

          But having 'declined' the invitations to get injected, I'm discovering that many people who simply trusted the information they were getting, and who believed the government was doing the right thing by them in offering protection via injection, are not the trusting souls they have been when it comes to the imposition of vaccine passports.

          Using social media is of limited value given how censorious it has become, and anyway, I've found that simply talking with people works wonders. I don't bang on about vaccination or even mandates, because those things have come to pass and are in the rear view mirror.

          Vaccine passports serving as an entry point to full digital ID and all that entails gets people's attention. Of course, having some info to hand is good. So mention of the Chinese "social credit" system (we are on the thresh-hold given some of us can't go into some places without digital verification of medical status, aye?) and how the idea is move in that direction, and dropping in the fact that a Bill is going through Parliament (public submissions now closed) that would see the NZ Reserve Bank issue digital currency…

          Oh, I do sometimes throw in the safety data (lack of) around mRNA injections if the conversation turns to the injection of children – who only have something like a 0.001% chance of dying from Covid (bigger risks from seasonal flu or from the injection itself) – and why it might be that Health Authorities and government are bent on getting them enrolled in the vaccine passport scheme….

          • Gordon 6.3.1.1.1

            Welcome to the rationality club, Bill. There's not many of us right now in NZ on Covid.

            I'm probably a bit less concerned over social credit and a firm sceptic of conspiracy, but I do believe this is a precedent for techno-social control and an utterly low threshold for mass denial of human rights.

            The last 18 months has seen the utter demise of Western Liberal democracy. It's not some conspiracy – none of this is – its simply power wants more power and this Government (and health 'experts') has given itself a whole load and we've submitted in fear, and abused notions of what the 'public good' is in a democracy.

            I'm actually double vaxxed and generally supportive of it as a choice, but the level of unthinking in NZ is horrendous. I have self-checked whether I'm going off the deep end in my revulsion at our gleeful segregation (maybe I still am), but the mass mandates and passports verge on state abuse now.

            With clearer (but by no means certain) evidence that Omicron jumps around mRNA vaccines but is much milder, and natural immunity can protect against reinfection better, the feeble justification for such coercion falls even further away.

            Its obscene how much we've given away for so little. And the Left just lap this up more. Problem with vaccines? More boosters, more, more! People won't do what we say? Coercion, demonisation, censorship, more more! Don't listen, anything not from Stuff or the One Source of Truth is misinformation conspiracy.

            The fact people cannot make any link between bad risk assessment and decisions, and the continual fear and anxiety showered on us shows how far we've gone. In World War 2 we locked out Japanese in camps without evidence because they were all a blanket "danger". It was for the public good, like sterlising disabled people was recommended by health 'experts' last century.

            Even though vaccination had protected those who choosen to get ut, it's not enough – pitchforks for the unvaccinated and pretend we never had hospital capacity issues before. We've done a softer and more insidious version of Featherston WW2 camps, except for the unvaccinated by excluding them from society.

            I'm ashamed at New Zealand.

            • Bill 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Just so as you know – your initial comments were held in moderation because you are a new commentator. (I've just this sec noticed them and released them)

              All future comments you make should show up straight away.

          • Pat 6.3.1.1.2

            Especially dont forget the CBDCs…and its good to see you back Bill.

            • Bill 6.3.1.1.2.1

              Not sure if it's the full blown thing, but the ANZ has been advertising a digital wallet.

              I've also noticed that actors pushing for a digitised future are emboldened enough now to be putting out saccharine pieces in publications (sponsored content) extolling the wonders of the beautiful future their lining us up for.

          • Nic the NZer 6.3.1.1.3

            I'm pretty sure the digital currency stuff is way overblown.

            Based on some observations,

            1) The BofE recently released an article which highlighted bitcoin could well become worthless as its plausible at some point nobody thinks its worth holding.

            2) Nobody wants the RBNZ to be able to say no to parliaments budget happening.

            3) Nobody wants the RBNZ to be unable to facilitate inter bank payments.

            4) The RBNZ already issues digital currency in its NZ Clear accounts.

            • Bill 6.3.1.1.3.1

              The bill currently going through parliament would allow the Central Bank to create and underwrite a digital currency that would, over time, supplant the ‘coins and notes’ currently used in everyday transactions between businesses and individuals.

              • Pat

                More dangerous is the ability to time limit and target its use to specific companies/individuals…..if you think vaccine mandates are discriminatory then you aint (potentially) seen nothing yet.

              • Nic the NZer

                Sure, and that can be extrapolated quite far. But coins and notes are quite a small part of NZ payments as it stands and only going as far as what it says, all thats being discussed is putting that on a phone rather than in a wallet.

                And yes, if you know anything about software reliability you probably understand its a bit dumb to do this and expect coins and notes to actually stop being useful.

                • Dennis Frank

                  software reliability

                  I'm interested. Normally systems failure occurs via hardware, eh? I mean software has to be tested & de-bugged in ops, true, but after those early corrections are made the plan ought to work.

                  Do you mean upgrades that are flawed? I suppose the infrastructure situation then becomes analogous to perennial roadworks on busy routes. So a credit-based economy runs smoothly when credit is technically ascertainable, and transactions get held up when not?

                  Hmm. I can see neolibs being disenchanted with the high tech. Perhaps a traffic light system could be used? System go with the green button lit, stopped with red, pending with orange. Could catch on.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    In practice normally systems failure occurs via software. Its essentially the same either way if some computer you didn't know even existed is failing to help with your transactions just now.

                • Bill

                  No Nic. It's not about expressing current 'notes and coins' in a digital form on a phone (which probably wouldn't be far removed from the current scenario of financial info held on a bank card).

        • Tricledrown 6.3.1.2

          Rosemary so if the vaccines are so bad and more dangerous why are you bothering to isolate.

          Every vaccine has a certain number of serious side effects MMR 1 in 100 000.Pfizer 1 in 60,000 .

          Covid 19 more than one in a hundred dying which risk would you take .

          1 in a million of dying 1 in 60,000 of a serious side effect or as in the UK 1 ,500 deaths per million for those who are unvaccinated. Not to mention up to 40% of those who survive covid suffer from long Covid.

          Your choice

          • Bill 6.3.1.2.1

            Covid 19 more than one in a hundred dying …

            That's a flat out lie.

            • Tricledrown 6.3.1.2.1.1

              1 in 400 in the US general population around 1 in a 100 who contract covid19.

              • Bill

                I've no idea where you're getting those numbers from, but registering deaths of people who died with Covid as deaths from Covid does not provide an accurate picture of Covid fatalities. And maybe those are the numbers you're looking at?

                The fatality rate (as published by the WHO and in peer reviewed scientific literature that I previously linked to above) is 0.15% overall and 0.05% if the over 70s are excluded.

                • Tricledrown

                  Bill so the US has had 50.3 million reported cases of Covid 800,000 reported deaths from covid that's about 1 in 50 and could be much higher as many deaths go unreported with 33 million undocumented migrants.

                  My argument with Rosemary Mcdonald was showing the difference between the risk of vaccination and the risks of covid.

                  So far in NZ 1 death attributed to vaccination 50 with serious side effects .Vaccines have all got a level of side effects but about 1 in a 100,000 is the average.

                  Covid has serious side effect 40% of those infected still suffering 6 months after infection.

                  1 in 50 who are infected and unvaccinated will die in the US where only 60% of the eligible population is vaccinated.

                  So I was wrong Bill sorry.

          • joe90 6.3.1.2.2

            Ageism rules.

            Seventy-five percent of people who have died of the virus in the United States — or about 600,000 of the nearly 800,000 who have perished so far — have been 65 or older. One in 100 older Americans has died from the virus. For people younger than 65, that ratio is closer to 1 in 1,400.

            […]

            By now, Covid-19 has become the third leading cause of death among Americans 65 and older, after heart disease and cancer. It is responsible for about 13 percent of all deaths in that age group since the beginning of 2020, more than diabetes, accidents, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

            https://archive.li/1srGi

      • Tricledrown 6.3.2

        Bill the facts aren't all out there for you to make such claims.

        South Africa has a much younger population.How many cases are their in South Africa probably double what's claimed.

        A new variant could emerge that is more deadly being cautious is best practice as we have learned through NZ's response.

        Long covid could be just as prevalent with Omricon.

        Given its spreading rate this makes it easier for a new more deadly variant to get out of Control.

        The WHO has warned that Omricon needs to be taken seriously.

        Facts not fear.

        • Gordon 6.3.2.1

          "A new variant could emerge that is more deadly"?

          What do you call a hypothetical based on nothing but imagination at the worst possible situation?

          I'd call that fear not facts. In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, that type of thinking is taught to be considered irrational.

          That "logic" is not simply weak but morally reprehensible. It's the logic of pre-detention of Uyghur Muslims, mass state surveillance, and tyranny. It reverses the entire presumption of Liberal democracy and the criminal justice system – we're now guilty till innocent and unfree until the Government decides we're allowed rights in accordance with whatever interpretation it declares is exclusively the 'public good'.

          And if that doom-fantasy of yours occurs, why should us vaccinated worry – we're protected I thought? The Government told me to vaccinate because it's super great. But if the vaccination protection is so nebulous for future immunity how can we justify indefinite mandates and passports, extreme social control, for such uncertain value?

          Just asking for a friend.

        • Bill 6.3.2.2

          Who cares how many people are infected? What counts is the numbers of people experiencing serious illness or dying.

          But yes, there are differences between the population in South Africa and that of other countries – average age and vaccination rates for example.

          If more pathogenic new variants are your concern, then do a bit of reading up on Mareks virus – and then have a think about how wise or unwise it might be to distribute a leaky or non-sterlilising vaccine like the m-RNA injections on a universal basis.

          And Tricledrown? You're going to get Covid. We're all going to get Covid – it's endemic now.

          • Tricledrown 6.3.2.2.1

            Bill I would take the 1 in 1,000,000 chance by vaccinating than the 1 in 40chance by not vaccinating.

            • Bill 6.3.2.2.1.1

              That would be your choice, and I would have no problem with it at all. What I can't quite wrap my head around is why people, with plenty of state sponsored propaganda at their back it has to be said, are so insistent that other people take a medicine that offers personal protection against severity of illness.

              Anyone in reasonable health will not wind up in hospital, and there are plenty of very simple and effective ways a person can boost their immune system and so wind up with milder symptoms than they would otherwise.

  6. Dennis Frank 7

    Ford Hart was an American diplomat for 33 years, serving as consul-general to Hong Kong and Macau, National Security Council China director, and Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks. He now lives in Wellington.

    the December 8 Defence Assessment declares Aotearoa “faces a substantially more challenging and complex strategic environment than it has for decades.” The report is cogent and insightful, and I agree with its general assertion that “strategic competition” and climate change are the principal drivers of this deteriorating environment.

    the Assessment makes clear China’s rising power and challenges to the rules-based international order are the chief drivers of strategic competition in this region… In the Indo-Pacific region more broadly, the Defence Assessment finds the most significant conflict risks – the points where strategic competition is most acute – are the Taiwan Strait, the South and East China Seas, the Korean Peninsula, and space/cyberspace. I’m confident that most Kiwis, on reflection, would agree New Zealand has a genuine stake in how each plays out.

    He then discusses the first of those and draws this conclusion:

    Given the realities of “strategic competition,” however, Aotearoa’s own interests and principles are providing a timely reminder why this foreign policy, while undoubtedly independent, cannot afford to be neutral.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/china-and-nz/300477093/opinion-new-zealand-is-not-a-bystander-when-it-comes-to-strategic-competition

    Neutrality and non-alignment don't equate. You can retain the latter as long-term policy policy whilst ditching the former in favour of helpful diplomacy to solve a particular problem. Such intervention can be framed as different to both sides of the binary…

  7. observer 8

    Luxon has got one thing right: this morning he has criticised the (so-called) "Freedom & Rights" protesters, AKA the Brian Tamaki fan club. In response, the protest supporters on social media are already expressing their dismay. (This is what happens when you start filling in the new blank sheet, and taking positions … even if I agree with him this time).

    (link not yet ready but will be here):

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300478174/christopher-luxon-on-covid-and-nationals-poll-rise

  8. Molly 9

    On 30 November, Dr Adrian Harrop, displaying the new misogyny, was given a one month suspension by the General Medical Council in the UK.

    Overall, the tribunal found that his misconduct had impaired his fitness to practice. It suspended his registration for a month.

    Today's ruling said: 'The tribunal considered that Dr Harrop's actions in posting inappropriate tweets over a sustained period of time, in contradiction to the advice he was given, breached fundamental tenets of the profession.

    'His actions brought the profession into disrepute, undermining public confidence in the profession and the standards of conduct expected from members of the profession'.

    The tribunal added: 'Whilst Dr Harrop has a right to his views and to express them, the manner and thought processes he demonstrated raised concerns regarding the extent of his insight, and his inability to fully appreciate the wider context of his obligations as a doctor.'

    Arguably a light sentence after a fixated three year campaign against one woman, Caroline Farrow " a broadcaster who received some media attention in late 2018 for stating the suddenly taboo fact that 'people cannot change sex'."

    Take time to view some of the harassment this woman received, including – similar to Kathleen Stock – the establishment of an anonymous website purely to target her. (

    Threats, doxxing, intimidation, and other forms of harassment.

    Later that year Caroline's ESTA to visit the USA was withdrawn just before she was about to travel, with no explanation given why. At the same time, Dr Harrop revealed he'd just visited the US embassy in London.

    Caroline posted details about her children on Instagram, as many mothers do. Harrop then revealed a couple of weeks later that he'd been following the account and knows her children's names and the schools they attend, making comments about their mental states.

    He also implied he had compromising images of Caroline Farrow that he would distribute, despite this being in breach of revenge porn legislation. He also said he was tracking her periods and mocked her mental state.

    Caroline’s family then received several takeaway deliveries, traced back to Farnborough, that they didn't order. Harrop then tweeted that he'd been speaking to police and put his location as 'Farnborough'.

    This comment on his suspension is good, but doesn't indicate the absolute delight he publicly shared on his vicious campaign.

    • Sabine 9.1

      Bullying, harrasing, intimidating, threatening and otherwise fucking up Non Males is ok and totally acceptable if they don't totally and utterly submit to a mans definition of what a women is and not is, and this person is merely showing a Non Male its place.

      • Molly 9.1.1

        Surprisingly, Dr Harrop retained enough medical knowledge to put up a public post repeatedly saying – Caroline Farrow is a c**t.

        So, you'd think he'd have some understanding of her view.

        If his patients are aware of his full recent history, for which he shows no remorse, I'm sure they will review his role in their lives.

        • Sabine 9.1.1.1

          he is part of a mixed practice and you would thi nk that they will re-think his position, but then you know once fear becomes part in decision making ….

          No one ever expects the Inquisition, and that is what this guy represents. However i have seen comments to the fact that his Insurance will be more a factor in his future behaviour then anything else.

          He will not change, and simply become a Gender Doctor, helping to put kids on lifelong medication in the name of Trans. Taking bets now, here is my dollar.

        • Molly 9.1.1.2

          Sorry, forgot the quote:

          Harrop broke his silence yesterday following the tribunal, with a sympathetic interview for Vice.

          He said: 'Having my personal life, actions, professionalism, and personality debated on a public stage has been horrendous.

          'It's been humiliating and embarrassing, but I am coming out of this stronger and more determined.'

          He went on: 'I am relatively privileged, in that I am financially secure, and I have a supportive network around me.'

          Harrop also said he was happy with the outcome of the tribunal and was 'grateful' he will get to return to work after just one month off.

          He added he would suggest other doctors looking to comment on LGBT rights on social media 'be very, very cautious'.

          Harrop tweeted his attack on Rowling in May last year, where he made the ludicrous comparison with sick paedophile Savile.

          He wrote: 'Notice how the transphobic trolls are so outraged when someone suggests JKRowling isn't safe to be around children.

          n reply to a comment, he said: 'Jimmy Savile was the UK's most popular children's entertainer at the height of his career and one of the most famous men in the country.

          'Working with how you're framing JKR, I suppose you'd have gladly given him unsupervised contact with your kids – or have I misunderstood you?'

          He later added: 'I think it was a fairly reasonable statement to make, and could be well substantiated.

          'Personally i wouldn't want any vulnerable and impressionable children to be alone and unsupervised with anyone who espouses hateful and discriminatory views towards trans people – it'd be unsafe.'

          • crashcart 9.1.1.2.1

            Why did you edit out that one sentence in the middle? Seems a bit weird. Not like it was a short post. You were keen to include everything else.

            'They're basically baying for a trans woman's blood over this – but then demonstrate complete inconsistency/apathy when Glinner starts calling people ''groomers''.'

            • Molly 9.1.1.2.1.1

              Because I keep getting pulled up for long quotes. I put the ellipses in so people could see that it missed a section, and could look it up – like you did. There was more I wanted to add, but as I say I have had comments in moderation before, and rely on people to use the links which I always include.

              (Also, the topic was around the harassment of women – displaying the new misogyny – not Graham Lineham. Although he was involved in that too).

              Did you have any comment on Harrop's horrendous behaviour, or just a redirect?

              (Seems to be standard practice for apologists, so… I won’t hold my breath.)

              • Molly

                (Actually strictly speaking, pulled up once. But as a typical rule follower, that was enough to get me self-editing, and trying to make judgement calls that will avoid a repeat, so it's a constant consideration. In this case, the quote looked too long after I posted.)

              • Molly

                I wanted also to include this:

                But he launched another attack on the writer two months later when he moaned about a poster in Edinburgh – four hours from his home – saying: 'I love JK Rowling.'

                The digitised slogan in Waverley was launched at the railway station to celebrate her 55th birthday.

                But it was torn down after Twitter troll Harrop complained to the chief executive and senior directors of the billboard company Primesight.

                He had blasted them on social media, accusing them of being complicit 'in the spread of transphobic hate speech' and they gave way.

                He kicked up a fuss when banners were hoisted above two venues in Bootle and Southport in Merseyside to mark International Women's Day.

                He claimed their message, which read 'woman, noun, adult female', was a 'hostile transphobic dog whistle' and said they had to be ripped down.

                Merseyside Council caved into the demand despite huge opposition from the feminist community.

                His LinkedIn says: 'MBChB, MRCGP. General Practitioner in Liverpool, UK. Special interest in gender-affirmative healthcare for transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse people.'

                It adds: 'Community advocate, and campaigner for social justice, equality, and human rights.'

              • Molly

                For those wondering Crashcart is referring to this sentence:

                'They're basically baying for a trans woman's blood over this – but then demonstrate complete inconsistency/apathy when Glinner starts calling people ''groomers''.'

                Which has whole other backstory, between Harrop and Graham Lineham who is GC and admins a website on substack – The Glinner Update.

  9. Sanctuary 10

    Another first class defense procurement disaster is looming for the NZ Military:

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/dec/10/australia-to-dump-taipan-helicopters-and-buy-black-hawks-from-us-amid-china-fears

    The RNZAF's purchase of the high performance gold plated NH90 was almost entirely justified by inter-operability, spares, and training support from the RAAF which had also purchased them. The cost of the nine purchased would have paid for twice the number of Blackhawks, while the running costs of the NH90 is significantly higher than the Blackhawk and the RNZAF has experienced exactly the same reliability issues with their as the Australians and, I read, Norway is looking to buy more (of a different type) helicopters to deal with the persistant low servicability rates and high operating costs of the NH90. There is a reason you barely see the NH90s doing SAR work in the way the old Iroquois helicopters thumped-thumped-thumped their wat around the countryside rescuing all and sundry.

    Now the RNZAF is going to be left holding a high cost hanger Queen of a helicopter that is operated by any of our allies in the Asia/Pacific region and can't be deployed using our new C-130J medium lift transports (unlike the UH-60, specifically designed with the Hercules in mind. I guess we might be able to buy some of the Aussie ones for cheap, which at least would reduce the high yearly hours of our NH90 fleet.

    Can we have another round of slow clapping for the idiots in our military who always advise the government to buy inadequate numbers of the most gold plated high intensity warfare weapon system they can find?

    • Dennis Frank 10.1

      Look on the bright side. Here's a couple of terriers dead keen to go woof at it:

      The Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Trade PAG is chaired by Todd McClay MP. Simon Bridges MP is National's Foreign Affairs Spokesperson.

      https://www.national.org.nz/pag-foreignaffairs

      I'm a little disappointed, having assumed it would be a golden opportunity for Mark Mitchell to demonstrate his (lack of ) credibility.

      Oh, they do actually have a defence spokesperson. They just forgot to put him on the right page. Scroll down & you’ll see:
      https://www.national.org.nz/team

    • alwyn 10.2

      Why blame the defense people? Why don't you blame the Government who bought them and who assured that they were absolutely the greatest thing since sliced bread?

      Oh, that's right. It was the Labour Government with Helen Clark as PM and Phil Goff as Minister of Defense.

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/770m-helicopter-deal-good-value-says-government/DXXVXTVQZD3LMLFYTOKRDLYRWY/

      Mind you, you can never win when buying military equipment. It is meant to last forever and things change as to the need we will have.

    • Scud 10.3

      My apologies for a late reply to this.

      Actually it was Mark Burton, who stuffed up the Huey replacement by letting costs blow out and ruling out the Boeing Blackhawk & the Twin Engine Venom Huey from the get go.

      The Blackhawk Helicopter was the most preferred option, according to my Uncle. He said the RNZAF would gotten 16 Blackhawks & 9 Huey Venom's which incl trading in the Hueys & the remaining Bell47 G's as a part of the deal. Apart from the F16's, the C130 J's on the back of the RAAF order this Helicopter Replacement deal would've another deal of the century.

      But stupid politics of the left fractions of the NZLP, with that "wanker Locke from the Greens" (my Uncles words) & help from the NZ Treasury (NZ Treasury along with elements of the NZ MoD later got brunt with Project Protector in the Coles & the NZ Auditor General Reports) buried that Helicopter deal.

      Now the RNZAF is stuck with too few NH90's (10 was the bare min in the RNZAF/ NZ MoD briefing paper submitted to Cabinet after Goff had sorted out Burton's shit show) to sustain the NH90 fleet long term with 16-18 NH90's being a more favorable option over a 30-40yr operating period.

      The A109's were meant to fill a role similar to the Venoms, but again f***ing Politics & NZ Treasury got in the way yet again. The A109's are basically an up rated/ upmarket commercial version of the A109 which can't operate from ships, do any of the SF Tasks or even basic HADR or SAR Tasks in NZ or overseas. Compared to the Venom which would been able to do everything and a bit more, had they been brought.

      Also this on the C130J's

      There was also a lot of Left Wing anti Yank Rubbish from both Labour Left Wing & the NZ Greens with the Option for 8 C130 J Models as well. Which was to be exercise on the end of the RAAF order at the and properly my guess it would've been a lot of a hell cheaper (need to check with my Uncle who on was in the Major RNZAF Projects Cell in the late 90's early 2000's) than the current for the 5 new C130 J's that ordered by the last CL Coalition.

      As for the 8 C130J's i would dearly love too see someone from the 4th Estate, do some digging on the 2000 decision of not buying them vs the current 5 C130 J's on order. As i believe the NZDF & the NZ Taxpayer have been screwed over the 2000 decision of not buying the 8 C130J's & the Claytons upgrade of the 5 C130's instead wasn't Value for Money over the long term.

  10. Jenny How to get there 11

    'I was here before them'

    Billy does not want to share his conspiracy platform with anyone

    Billy Te Kahika might possibly be feeling that his income stream is being threatened by these Johny-come-late upstarts.

    'I was way before Brian': Discord growing among rival 'freedom' groups as Billy TK lashes out at Tamaki (msn.com)

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/122715762/billy-te-kahika-kept-public-party-cash-under-bed-but-denies-wrongdoing

    • Molly 12.1

      DS, if you can provide a link to your blog, you could also provide some insight into what your point is so it can be discussed, with a starting comment on TS.

      Be braver.

    • swordfish 12.2

      .

      Yep … that’s bang-on … just be aware that a highly Paternalistic Noble Savage infantilization – Māori as eternally innocent, virtuous, victimised children in need of 'Heroic' White ex-boarding school Rescuers – sits right at the heart of affluent Woke moral posturing (as the latter diligently consolidate their own power, financial privilege & class position). They're particularly keen on seeing the non-Māori/Polynesian elderly & poor do all the suffering & sacrificing. Self-interest camouflaged as Altruism.

      The reality is that Māori in general have been prioritised on vaccine & booster … the most vulnerable of all ethnicities constantly having to wait.

      • Hetzer 12.2.1

        Accurately observed Swordfish. The racism of low expectations oils the process too.

        By the way, any update on your parents situation?

        • swordfish 12.2.1.1

          .

          Thanks for asking, Hetzer.

          Prick's been largely away for roughly 12 weeks … so a real break for them during the day … but he's still turning up periodically … usually late at night / early hours & inflicting violent intimidation whenever he's in the mood.

          He's done this on 5 occasions over the last 3 months … worst one went on (somewhat sporadically with occasional 20-30 min breaks) from a little after Midnight right through to after 5:30am … mainly indoors, huge slams into the dividing-wall & bedroom floor & the usual aggressive haka-like stomping, violent swearing … so loud that my Parents' neighbours – asleep 20 metres across the road behind double-glazing – were woken not once, not twice, but three times … 1:20am, 3:40am then later just after 5am … so you can imagine what my 90 / 91 yo Parents were experiencing a few metres away from him.

          More slamming & banging with stereo up loud through the early hours of the night a few days ago (though this one was more mid-level than his really Major Explosions).

          Prick's been turning up more regularly during day over last fortnight … looking a bit ominous … just heard that he was there for an hour or so this afternoon with some mate or family member … loud stomping, shouting & slams … Stereo up at full volume next to dividing-wall … Gangsta Rap with aggressive MoFo lyrics.

          But he's a member of a "marginalised" and "subjugated" ID Pols demographic … so All Good.

          Now if only we could get the little piece of shit living next to affluent dogmatic Woke narcissists [with their unusually refined sensibilities towards racial injustice] … what a beautiful World this would be … genuine fucking social justice.

          I’d stick dear old Poto Williams & a few Kainga Ora Managers in there with them.

          • Hetzer 12.2.1.1.1

            Sorry to hear that Swordfish. Judging by the media reports your parents situation is not an isolated one.

            I would have thought the Zoo would be an appropriate place to relocate the pos. Who knows, they might even be able to learn some tricks to entertain the visitors, doubtful though I know.

            Lets hope with media reporting and exposure, pressure will be exerted and the human excrement will be moved on. God help the next set of neighbours though.

  11. Gezza 13

    Trouble brewing at checkpoints already?

    Police are pulling over [only] a selection of cars to check their documents, while letting other vehicles through, including trucks and local vehicles identified by police-issued stickers.

    Taipari said there was capacity to check every car, to make sure they were complying with the rules, and hoped it would improve as time went on.

    Stuff also saw unstickered vehicles not being stopped and checked. Response from police has been sought from police on the reason why.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/127274029/covid19-northland-checkpoint-volunteers-concerned-not-every-car-being-stopped

  12. Gezza 14

    “Transmission Gully is a botched National Party PPP and we’re experiencing the costs of that now,” Wood said on Tuesday.

    Transport Minister Michael Wood says Transmission Gully’s public-private partnership model was a mistake.

    It comes after Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency confirmed on Monday the road would not be open in time for Christmas – the fifth time in two years it has missed an opening day deadline.

    Just when it will be open is still unclear.

    BUT

    Simeon Brown, the new National Party transport spokesperson, said National deserved credit for delivering the road.

    “There's a number of issues in that but at the end of the day, it's getting done. We've actually delivered that,” he said.

    However, he said Labour was at fault for the road not being open yet.

    “They've been in Government now for four years, and we still haven't actually seen it delivered. They need to take some responsibility for that fact”.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/wellington/127274853/transmission-gully-publicprivate-partnership-contract-was-wrong-call-transport-minister-says

    Meanwhile, Wellingtonians wait, as usual, and curse both parties.

    • Dennis Frank 14.1

      Nifty line to end on, warms the very cockles of my nonpartisan heart. yes

      An independent review earlier this year found multiple problems with the way the contract was planned and established. It noted the Government tendered the private contract out at an unrealistically low price by essentially “double counting” cost-savings the private sector could bring to the project.

      Well obviously it would be essential to do double-counting! If they did basic maths correctly the public service wouldn't screw up, people would drop dead all over the place in astonishment, and those who merely got palpitations would fill the hospital wards. Nobody wants that outcome.

  13. Molly 15

    Banning conversion therapy – or simply banning good therapy?

    And you thought it doesn't happen here?

    For those who scroll past, who are tired of this topic on TS, continue ignoring the posts, but could you take time to listen to this NZ woman – FTMTF detransitioner.

    Groomed to identify as trans by medical practitioner, on puberty blockers at 13, on cross-sex hormones at 16.

    At the very least, we owe our young people more than this:

    • Bill 15.1

      I fully admit the lack of logic around all of this hurts my head.

      Sex is sex is sex (chromosomes). Gender is a social construct.

      If those two statements are true (and I'm open to a logical rebuttal), then "transgender" makes no sense whatsoever. None.

      If someone wants to present themselves as a cherry topped chocolate cake alien, then that's their business and all power to them if it gets them through and does no harm to anyone else.

      But no matter how or what they decide to present themselves as, they are still either male or female and that's not transmutable.

      And for anyone who might convince themselves they have been "born into the wrong body", then unless they sincerely believe in rebirth…

      If someone is unhappy with their physical appearance and is privileged enough to change their physical appearance – including so-called "gender surgery", then (as above) all power to them, but male is male and female is female no matter what surgery is undertaken. Just ask any archaeologist 🙂

      • Molly 15.1.1

        The failure here, Bill, is not the child who self-diagnoses and is then unquestioningly affirmed. It was the therapist who introduced the idea that this young-woman at the cusp of puberty should consider that she was "born in the wrong body", and those who without knowing her or her history, encouraged transition as a fix-it solution.

        Puberty and young adulthood is a time of self-exploration and trying on new identities, or ways of presenting yourself to the world. It can also be a traumatic time for many, coming to terms with their changing body. There has been a vast increase in the mental health burdens of our youngsters, that seems to coincide with heavy social media use that is predicated on external validations, and not curated for accuracy or truth.

        I don't disagree with what you have said, but I do believe that unless we step back and take critical and safeguarding view of therapy and treatment, there will be other young people who travel this pathway – with the encouragement of our medical and professional therapists – who get off the journey only after irreparable damage.

        If you haven't watched it, I recommend you do. I understand it’s long, but the delivery and content seems to be a sincere and true account.

        • Bill 15.1.1.1

          I began the comment as the vid was playing and intended it as a broad overview of my position/thoughts.

          I've now watched the entire vid. I found it sad and positive at the same time.

          At the level of what the medical profession pushed, it's just fcken anger inducing.

        • A.Ziffel 15.1.1.2

          One might surmise that at the intersection of the conversion therapy, gender self-id & hate speech trinity, lies the TRA notion –
          "why be gay when you can be trans-straight".

          • Molly 15.1.1.2.1

            That message is out there along with many others, but I believe the responsibility belongs to the adults in the room – the health professionals, advisors and counsellors who are supposed to help people – children especially – navigate their way through external messaging to find the best answer for the individual.

            Did you get time to watch the video? I thought she was very honest, and harder on herself than she deserved.

            • A.Ziffel 15.1.1.2.1.1

              Yes I did watch, entirely distressing.

              She makes the point about 19 being a common age of detransitioning, but is unsure why that is.
              I would suggest that 19 is post-pubescent & that the impressionability of earlier years has faded etc.

              It seems that onset of puberty is the catalyst for these events in the sense of "if you don't act now, it'll be too late".
              If puberty didn’t occur until after brain maturation, I imagine not so many going down this path.

            • Rosemary McDonald 15.1.1.2.1.2

              …the adults in the room

              Not always easy to identify. frown

              Here's an article by one of the better Kiwi journos about a local lassie. I often wonder how she's getting on.

              Thanks for sharing the clip.

              • Molly

                Thanks, Rosemary.

                I wasn't aware we were medically treating children at this age, but it is apparent we have been for a while.

                • Sabine

                  Surgically implanting puberty blockers at age 10 and then inverting the resulting micro penis into a Vagina is was made a reality TV star Jazz Jennings a Eunuch at age 17. The botched surgery, – they had a total of 4, is what made the Neo Vagina Grafters Marcy Bowers (a transwomen) and her side kick (also a transwoman) to have an interview with Abigail Shrier in which they finally stated that giving puberty blockers that early might not be a good idea a. because of the stunted growth of the penis being a hinderniss to creating a 'functional' vagina and being able to 'piss', and mostly, that these children don't experience sexual lust and might not ever be able to orgasm because they essentially don't know what an orgasm is. And that is currently ongoing life on telly for everyones entertainment. There is good money in for their parents and TLC though.

                  In the us it is equally ok to amputate the breasts of girls as young as 13 and it seems here, followed by a hysterectomy at 16 and a Vagina Ectomy at 18 followed by some very frankensteinisch phalloplasty which also needs some 3 – 5 surgeries depending on how much goes wrong, and a lot goes wrong. Plus all that testesterone.

                  the last part is literally forearm skin, muscle and tendon rolled up like a sausage roll and sewn onto the pubic bone, and then if all goes 'well' a penis pump is installed.

                  The amount of money hospitals and doctors make in these un-nessecary surgeries is mind boggling, consider also the lack of 'expertise' 'training' and the fact that this will be the only way open for these kids to affirm their gender, as explorative talk therapy is now officially verboten, cause ' conversion therapy '.

                  https://bariweiss.substack.com/p/top-trans-doctors-blow-the-whistle

                  The story of the girl uptop is sad, but the only doctor that was honest to her is the one she calls 'transphobic' and she has yet to understand it. It would be interesting to see how she has progressed on from 2017.

                  We do horrible things to young people in the name of a new religion. But then maybe that is a ritual every few hundred years that we do, we offer our children to a new god.

          • Hetzer 15.1.1.2.2

            God knows Arnold, but they sure bore the shit out of me!

  14. Pat 16

    We cant afford it

    "So far so good. Except that both laws and money are merely ink on paper. They do not, in and of themselves change anything. Imagine, for a moment, you are the proverbial shipwreck survivor on your desert island. Lacking sufficient food and drinking water, your days are numbered. But then a passing aeroplane appears to offer salvation in the form of an emergency package parachuted down to you. You tear into the package, saliva dripping from the side of your mouth as you imagine the tinned food inside. But to your horror, you discover that the package contains a copy of a new law banning hunger on desert islands, together with a pile of banknotes that you might use to purchase some drinking water. Laws and money, then, are only useful insofar as they can redirect available resources – in this case, food and water – but are entirely useless when resources are not available."

    https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2021/11/02/when-they-say-money-think-energy/

    • Molly 17.1

      Yes, that was good news.

    • DS 17.2

      It's a downright idiotic law change.

      In order to be not guilty by reason of insanity, you need to prove that you are suffering a disease of the mind such that you can't tell right from wrong. That's not some minor technicality. That's a major hurdle – and if you clear it, your future involves being drugged to your eyeballs in a small room for decades to come. It's actually a worse fate than prison.

      If someone is so mentally ill they can't tell what they are doing is wrong, then they honestly fall into the same category as an animal attack, so far as culpability goes.

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