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Open mike 16/04/2022

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 16th, 2022 - 61 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

61 comments on “Open mike 16/04/2022 ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    On the 10th of April in "Open Mike" I wrote:

    "I have been thinking that, once this conflict is over, the democratic world needs to find a way to encourage the formation of, and strengthening of democracies world wide.

    One way to do that could be to have a trading block between democratic nations. Entry to that trading block could be requirements such as having free and democratic elections etc."

    At the time I thought the idea was quite good. But I felt a bit frustrated because very few of us here have any influence at pushing "good ideas" to a level where they could have international effect.

    However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this very concept is being thought about at level where it could be picked up at an international level.

    From the article:

    "Speaking before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, witnesses also pushed for an “Economic Nato”, or ENato – a trading bloc that would be made up of democratic countries with free-market systems"

    I think that this sort of solution provides a non-military carrot and stick approach to encourage democracy and encourage countries to move away from oppressive dictatorship models because it becomes an existential threat for them not to do so.

    • DB Brown 1.1

      I reckon they'd need a proviso they trade between each other in goods not made via exploiting other countries/people/environments/lax laws.

      Otherwise it's just another corporate structure screwing those not in the inner circle.

    • mikesh 1.2

      "Speaking before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, witnesses also pushed for an “Economic Nato”, or ENato – a trading bloc that would be made up of democratic countries with free-market systems"

      Says it all !!

      • aj 1.2.1

        If there is an Asian NATO, Europeans are not going to be part of it: former French ambassador to UN

        https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202204/1259302.shtml

        Araud:I felt it when I was the French ambassador to the United Nations. I discovered there was resentment expressed by the ambassadors of the third world countries against the West.

        There is a colonial past which is feeding some resentment. There is also the fact that the West is lecturing the rest of the world and using double standards very often. I'm quite aware that, after all, invading Ukraine is no more scandalous than invading Iraq in 2003. France opposed the invasion of Iraq by the US. But it's a good example of what you can call double standards.

        I used to say, look at the military intervention of the US, and look at China in the last 30 years. There is no Chinese military intervention in the last 30 years. On the American side, you have a long list of military interventions.

        So it's something that the West should take into account, maybe to change our behavior. But between us, I know that the Americans are not going to change their behavior. That's really part of their national character, believing they are the beacon of freedom in the world. I'm writing for a French weekly, which says that when you look at this war, from a Western point of view, we would be expecting every country to be on our side. But the Russians are greeted in some countries. Mr. Lavrov, for instance, was in New Delhi recently. He was greeted with smiles by the Indians. I'm not sure that Indians raised the issue of Ukraine. That's a good example. It's not only China. When you look at the votes, China, India, South Africa abstained in the UN General Assembly. And the West should really take this into account in its vision of the world.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Likelihood of usage of tactical nukes in Ukraine is being assessed at the top level of the US military establishment. There's a short appraisal here… https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2022/04/15/russian-nuclear-weapons-explained-retired-general-newday-berman-vpx.cnn

    And the context for usage is assessed here: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2022/4/6/the-spectre-of-tactical-nuclear-weapons-use-in-ukraine

    Russia has done badly in this war, the myth of its new professional armed forces lying in tatters, the country’s international prestige at rock bottom.

    With the war going so badly in Ukraine, the scenarios President Putin could claim as victorious or successful for Russia are rapidly diminishing and Putin’s political survival is now increasingly tied to the outcome of the conflict.

    Modern warheads have a variable “dial-up” yield, meaning an operator can specify its explosive power, and a tactical weapon would be anywhere from a fraction of a kiloton to 50kt in strength. For a sense of scale, the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima was roughly 15kt.

    So the Russians can select a warhead with a specific explosive power that matches accurately the size of the target they want to eliminate. This surgical strike capacity is tailor-made for situations in which Putin feels the need to stop a threat without escalating hostilities automatically. If he does use this option, damage could be limited to a relatively small region. Biden would have to decide on a suitably-geared response to avoid WWIII.

    • tsmithfield 2.1

      According to a comment I heard from Peter Zeihan (don't ask me where because I have been looking at quite a few of his podcasts) the use of tactical nukes, while not out of the question, is perhaps unlikely due to the strategic implications for Russia of such actions.

      Besides any immediate responses from NATO, according to Zeihan, one of the strategic consequences would be every NATO country installing nukes pointing straight at Russia. So, for Russia, it would be NATO on steroids.

      However, that also does depend on Putin having the foresight to see that possibility, and actually having the strategic consequences in his mind outweighing the tactical benefit of winning the conflict. Which is why Zeihan does not rule out the likelihood of Russia taking such action.

      I imagine the immediate consequence of that sort of action would drive all NATO countries, including Germany, to take the step they are trying to avoid. That is, ceasing immediately all imports of Russian oil and gas.

      Also, it might force China off the fence, as they would see that sort of action as definitely bad for business for them, as it would cause a major slowdown in world economies, and thus severely impact China’s own economy.

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        Yeah, good thinking. All that makes a lot of sense. Silo thinking in the Russian leadership is now the likely determinant of the outcome. Are they unified on the basis of paranoia? If not, dualism will kick in (if it hasn't already).

        Those who side with Putin on the basis that autocracy is all Russia knows how to do in statecraft will maintain support for him. Those who want to bet on a more sophisticated future will try to create a pragmatic basis to preserve workable relations with the west & China.

        Whether the latter group becomes sufficiently distinct via collaboration as to create an actual power divide in the Russian state depends on Putin's pragmatism – which has prevailed over his paranoia for most of his career.

        • tsmithfield 2.1.1.1

          It looks like the Russian Media are losing their shit over the sinking of the Moskva. That is despite the Russian government saying the sinking was due to a fire on board, not Ukrainian missiles. Their rhetoric is really amping up, to the extent that they used the "war" word and had to walk that back.

          The Russian media are right about one thing though. It really is world war three now, with all the sanctions from around the world and arms being supplied to Ukraine from everywhere. It is just that everyone is trying to pretend that it isn't.

    • Adrian Thornton 2.2

      So in short Putin would conceivably deploy nuclear weapons specifically to avoid 'escalating hostilities"?…..that makes no logical sense what so ever….sounds more like straight out Fear Mongering.

      Further…that piece of 'military analysis ' from Alajzeera you quote from fails to unpack or even mention the tactical reasons why Russia just didn't wipe out every Ukrainian tactical strong point with it's Heavy Bombers, and missiles.and then invade?…or for that matter, as the Russians are supposedly so ready to kill civilians, why they don't employ those tactics now that they are supposedly losing so badly?

      Personally I found this a far more useful take from Alajzeera….
      "The problem with a single story is not that it is necessarily false. Many of the media reports coming out of Ukraine are true. However, they ignore complexity and doing that distorts rather than explains the world, its conflicts and its contradictions. The media’s attempts to establish a single story of the conflict are about power, not truth. That’s why I find the coverage so disturbing. The reports are not news. They are morality tales posing as the news."
      https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/3/9/on-the-ukrainian-david-and-the-russian-goliath

      • Dennis Frank 2.2.1

        no logical sense

        You're not factoring in the military mind. Military commanders as chess players, I mean. Tactical nukes are a useful strategy in that game. If his army leaders sell Putin on a particular usage scenario, it's game on.

        why Russia just didn't wipe out every Ukrainian tactical strong point with it's Heavy Bombers, and missiles and then invade?

        You'd have to ask the Russian high command, eh? Tankies?

        they ignore complexity and doing that distorts rather than explains the world

        I totally agree. Journos trained in complexity science would be an improvement.

        morality tales posing as the news

        Been a driver of geopolitics ever since the christians masterminded that process many centuries ago…

        • Cricklewood 2.2.1.1

          Very much suspect that they didnt deploy the heavy bombers first because they were certain they could take Kiev by removing Zielinski and that they would face minimal resistance ergo there was nothing to be gained with a heavy bombing campaign.

          That miscalculation put them in a tactical bind.

          • tsmithfield 2.2.1.1.1

            Also, the considerable air defences in Ukraine now would probably take a lot of them down. That is why a lot of the air attacks on Ukraine now are from missiles from planes outside Ukraine.

          • Adrian Thornton 2.2.1.1.2

            OK, so say I agree with your analysis (which I don't) that still doesn't answer the question as to why they don't deploy those tactic's now?..the Ukrainian air defense systems are now pretty much gone…an example is that the Russians could have easily flattened the final Ukrainian defenses in Mariupol weeks ago through overwhelming strategic aerial bombardment (the defenders where/are cut off, isolated and surrounded, so a perfect target for that type of tactic) …why haven't they? why are they prepared to suffer military losses in this way?…maybe that is the question you should be asking yourself?

            • tsmithfield 2.2.1.1.2.1

              I would be interested to see your rationale for claiming their air defences are nearly gone. From the reports I have seen long range air defence systems have been shipping in from around Europe to augment the ones they already have. These systems are a major challenge for the Russian air force.

              For instance, Slovakia has just sent S300 long range air defence systems. The Ukranians are very familiar with these systems.

              Also, it looks like Slovakia may donate its Mig 29s to Ukraine to augment the Ukranian air force, which I understand is still operating effectively. It may well be that Poland feels emboldened enough to donate theirs directly to Ukraine as a result.

              I also expect that the US is training Ukrainians right now on Patriot systems, and that those could be deployed in Ukraine in the future.

              Also, the Moskva that has just sunk was a major asset for the Russians for air defence in the South. That ship had a lot of S300 long range air defence to provide support to the Russian forces in the area.

              The fact that they have lost that now makes it safer for the Ukranian air force to attack in that area themselves.

            • DB Brown 2.2.1.1.2.2

              They don't employ the tactics you suggest because you clearly don't know what you are talking about. Ukraine knew they were coming, likely expected bombers, and would have taken out a slew of them on day one.

              Something about impartiality, poor misunderstood Russia, impartiality, big bad America, impartiality, we're all idiots and you are the font of knowledge, etc.

              You are now trying to sell us the idea Russia's holding back. Is there no end to your mental gymnastics? Are the levelled cities not flat enough for you to land your nonsense on yet?

              Go on, give us another link of Azov battalion, or maybe a list of US misadventure abroad, which somehow makes everything acceptable.

              • Adrian Thornton

                So just to be clear, you would have us believe that the Russians couldn't level to the ground the final small area's where the final defenders of Mariupol are surrounded to the ground if they so wanted?

                World’s Most Powerful Combat Aircraft Jet Engine Is Back In Production For Russia’s New Bombers
                https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/37426/worlds-most-powerful-combat-aircraft-jet-engine-is-back-in-production-for-russias-new-bombers

                • DB Brown

                  You are the person trying to tell us Russia is misunderstood.

                  I say they're criminal, murderous, corrupt, and incompetent. Much like the USA, only the war crimes are on open display – not very smart either, are they.

                  So Russia's holding back. LOL. They got their ass kicked trying to take Kiev and now they're sucking their sore thumb and trying to intimidate the world with threats of nukes.

                  Fuck Putin and his psychopath fan club.

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    "You are the person trying to tell us Russia is misunderstood"…no I asked you a simple question that you either can't or won't answer..I assume that is because it doesn't fit into a false media fueled war narrative that you and many others on this site have allowed yourselves to blindly and willingly accept….ie, Ukraine can defeat or at least fight Russia to a standstill.

                    The Ukrainians are going to lose this war…that is just a fact, the sooner their leaders stop taking advice from the US, the UK and people like you and negotiate for peace with the Russians, the better for Ukraine and Ukrainians…of course I know what your predictable response to this will be….fight to the last Ukrainian!

                    I am no fan of Putin ( or Zelensky for that matter) I am just presenting some obvious facts…sorry that that offends you and others on this site…but there it is.

                    • DB Brown

                      'because it doesn't fit your narrative'

                      You want Ukraine to surrender because Russia's got bombers. That's your narrative.

                      They've got enough nukes to destroy the world too. You should go there and prostrate yourself before them.

                      And after Ukraine's surrendered, what then, genius?

                      Genius. Sorry, I meant fucking idiot.

                      ‘Some obvious facts’ – again think you got secret info we’re not privy to. Conspiratorial twat.

                      [Chill or you go into the chiller compartment with the other fizzy stuff – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      Mod note

                  • Adrian Thornton

                    " fucking idiot"…"Conspiratorial twat"…"a blood thirsty apologist for war"…"your fascist friends"…" you are now a cheerleader for Russia's genocidal attack on Ukraine"..etc etc (and that is just today!!) that is all you people have got…which tells us all quite clearly that you have got nothing…because as usual you people always steer clear of answering specific questions.
                    Why are you even here on TS if you don't want a mature debate?…listen pal, if you can't debate me without resorting to angry playground behaviour, then please don't comment to me.

                    • DB Brown

                      Fuck off muppet. If you want to whine about the names I called you it was 'fucking idiot' and 'conspirational twat'.

                      Add all that other shit I've a mind to take you on for slander.

                      And I'm not your pal.

                      [Way too much aggro, so into the chiller with you until after the Easter weekend; you’d been warned – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      Mod note

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Why are you even here on TS if you don't want a mature debate?

                      Genuine leftists are reluctant to abandon the field to cryptofascists. What you imagine is mature debate falls well short.

      • Jenny how to get there 2.2.2

        @Adrian Thornton. You are a blood thirsty apologist for war and the slaughter of civilians.

        You always have been.

        The same crimes committed in Syria by Assad and Putin are now being repeated in Ukraine.

        As you have been a long time supporter of the genocide conducted by your fascist friends in Syria against the Syrian people. It is no surprise to me Adrian, that you are now a cheerleader for Russia's genocidal attack on Ukraine.

        [In no way does your comment address Adrian Thornton’s comment @ 2.2, which made more than enough good points to debate. Instead of playing the ball you attacked the man.

        Your accusations are beyond the absurd and I was going to ask you to provide evidence with 5 links for this specific accusation, for example:

        As you have been a long time [sic] supporter of the genocide conducted by your fascist friends in Syria against the Syrian people.

        However, you would just come back with more irrelevancies and another opportunity to push your ‘Syrian cause’. And it would create more work for the Mods.

        It is Easter and I wish Peace upon the World. That seems wishful thinking, but at least I can help to keep the peace here on TS.

        Banned for a week – Incognito]

    • Peter 2.3

      "This surgical strike capacity is tailor-made for situations in which Putin feels the need to stop a threat…"

      That sounds sort of weird. You climb over your neighbour's fence and complain about their watchdog getting upset and attacking you.

      You can avoid the dog getting upset and biting you by not hopping over their fence. There you go, threat averted. Is that it?

      • Dennis Frank 2.3.1

        Why go for a simple explanation when you are considering a complex situation? Seems kinda irrational. So your analogy doesn't work.

        • DB Brown 2.3.1.1

          Why don't you praxillate for three pages Mr Frank, enlighten us lowly peasants, again.

          • Dennis Frank 2.3.1.1.1

            I googled praxillate & got no results. You could be the first person in history to defeat Google. Being that clever, you ought to be able to post a meaningful comment here this morning, eh? Give it a go.

            • DB Brown 2.3.1.1.1.1

              Praxillation is your word Dennis. It is what you do here a lot. Your so called 'analysis' in which you post the reckons of this or that blogger whining about the government. A form of concern trolling but far more long winded.

              While you got interesting things to say at times, I mostly skip posts with your name on them, because it's a massive waste of time. Yesterday was just one example of many where you'll spend all day arguing over nothing just to tie everyone else up with your obviously binary reckons.

              It is your praxis to vacillate – praxillation.

              • Dennis Frank

                praxis to vacillate – praxillation

                I get the grammatical logic but it seems to be based on lack of comprehension of your terminology. Google:

                waver between different opinions or actions; be indecisive

                I usually comment decisively so am puzzled by this. If I don't have a definite opinion on something I will only comment if it seems appropriate as a response to what someone else has written. In which case I discuss the obvious competing interpretations that are relevant.

                Binary reckons are normal in political commentary. They feature here regularly so I'm in excellent company when I use that framing.

                So yeah, if you can't cope with nuance, I'm happy for you to not read what I write. All good. angel

                • DB Brown

                  Waffle waffle waffle, smiley. Another masterpiece.

                • Peter

                  My apologies for being very nuanced when I said, "You climb over your neighbour's fence and complain about their watchdog getting upset and attacking you. You can avoid the dog getting upset and biting you by not hopping over their fence."

                  My apologies for it being such a simple explanation. I see in the Herald, "Moskva sank on Thursday after an explosion and fire that Ukraine claimed was a successful missile strike, as the Kremlin accused Kyiv of targeting its citizens in sorties across the border."

                  I do understand there are complexities going back hundreds of years.

                  That won't preclude me making simple observations like, "What the fuck? You invade a country, kill lots of people, create massive destruction and you get pissed off when the attacked people target your citizens in sorties across the border?"

                  • Grumpy

                    Could it be as simple as Russia finding their weapons and forces are not very good. If that failure rate and incompetence extends to a nuclear strike it will be all downhill for them,

    • joe90 2.4

      Likelihood of usage of tactical nukes in Ukraine is being assessed at the top level of the US military establishment.

      Perhaps they're taking Russia's word that they would.

      The current edition of the Russian military doctrine—when compared to the national security strategy and military doctrine published in 1993—significantly lowers the threshold under which the use of nuclear weapons is permitted. While the 1993 doctrine allowed the first use of nuclear weapons only when the “existence of the Russian Federation” is threatened, the versions published since 2000 explicitly state that Russia “reserves the right to use nuclear weapons to respond to all weapons of mass destruction attacks” on Russia and its allies.

      https://globalsecurityreview.com/nuclear-de-escalation-russias-deterrence-strategy/

      29.06.2015

      THE MILITARY DOCTRINE OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

      […]

      27. The Russian Federation shall reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.

      The decision to use nuclear weapons shall be taken by the President of the Russian Federation.

      https://rusemb.org.uk/press/2029

  3. Jenny how to get there 3

    '

    'Capitalist', 'Communist', 'Fascist', 'Islamist'. I don't care what 'ist label you stick on other human beings, it does not justify leveling cities and butchering children.

    There is no excuse for this savagery.

    …..Days into the war, an Auckland Hospital doctor travelled to Ukraine. She tells Nicholas Jones about being away from her young family, sleeping through air-raid sirens and helping a child with shrapnel in his brain.

    ….."I have turned into this crazy person who says 'Hello', and then says, 'How much money do you have? Can I have money towards this?'" says Rybinkina, who works with the Ukrainian health and defence ministries.

    She hired a crane and trucks to search through rubble in the northern town of Borodyanka.

    "They pulled out 26 bodies," she says.

    "Every day is a crisis here."

    …."Even if the war would stop today, to get Ukraine back on its feet, it's going to take decades. It was a very flourishing country, with beautiful people," says Veldhuijzen, who, between childcare and working at a local hospital, performs a key administrative role for Smart Medical Aid.

    "They have been bombarded back decades, for no reason at all….

    Russia-Ukraine war: Auckland doctor in war zone – 'They pulled out 26 bodies … every day is a crisis'

    16 Apr, 2022 05:00 AM

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/russia-ukraine-war-auckland-doctor-in-war-zone-they-pulled-out-26-bodies-every-day-is-a-crisis/6WVDKMAJA5E6OWDZNF7NLQADUI/

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Economist views a political memoir through the lens of identity/class/racism:

    Bridges’ ambiguity about his status is common. About half of those of Māori descent respond that they are also Pakeha (or some such) in the Population Census ethnicity question. There is a ‘descent’ question and also an ‘ethnicity’ question in the Census. The first is a question of fact (hence its relevance for electoral purposes), the second is a question of self-categorisation; we know that many New Zealanders vary their ethnicity in different circumstances.

    Moreover, there is almost certainly no one alive today who is of sole-Māori descent. Anyone is absolutely entitled to say they are of sole-Māori ethnicity, but we are not entitled to take everyone of Māori descent as sole Māori; we insult many when we re-categorise them from their self-definition. Unfortunately, our statistical definitions are misleading.

    The convention is that if one is of Māori descent or says that Māori is one of their ethnicities they are classified as ‘Māori’. Yet about half of them say their ethnicity is more complex than ‘sole Māori’. When we report statistics for Māori we are, in effect, using a race (i.e. descent) definition, something we need to be very cautious about.

    It is equally cavalier to generalise about Māori as if they are a homogenous group with a unified view. (Equally true about most other categories, including economists.) Observe that the statistical quirk not only gives the impression of homogeneity but exaggerates the size of the Māori category for most purposes.

    Bridges provides a nice account of his particular struggle: ‘Over time I began to feel I was too Māori to be Pakeha and too Pakeha to be Māori.

    There are a couple of themes which led the sixteen-year-old to join National. Suppose he was working class. The ambiguity hardly matters, what was key was that he was aspiring; he would not be the only National Party leader with aspirations which involved class mobility.

    But second, his positions on social issues are conservative (which was a factor in his loss of the leadership, for National is far more torn on the conservative-liberal social dimension than Labour). Perhaps it is not so surprising, given his father was a Baptist minister. Is that enough to explain the sign-up? Add that sixteen-year-olds often take positions which are a bit quirky, except this one has stuck to his.

    Seems like an apt appraisal. Simon exemplifies the medial operator, pressured from both sides of a conventional binary. Three as an archetype of nature forces itself in between binaries. When it emerges into the subconscious of a political operator, the challenge is to differentiate from both conventional options, creating a third political category. Being conservative, young Simon chose to cloak his differentiation and seems to have done that well. Remains to be seen if he has freed himself sufficiently to empower in a novel context by trending more radical…

    https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/the-ambiguity-of-labels

    • pat 4.1

      'Bridges provides a nice account of his particular struggle: ‘Over time I began to feel I was too Māori to be Pakeha and too Pakeha to be Māori."

      Simple solution….be Simon Bridges.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Excellent analysis of how social media is toxifying politics:

    The “Hidden Tribes” study, by the pro-democracy group More in Common, surveyed 8,000 Americans in 2017 and 2018 and identified seven groups that shared beliefs and behaviors.

    The one furthest to the right, known as the “devoted conservatives,” comprised 6 percent of the U.S. population. The group furthest to the left, the “progressive activists,” comprised 8 percent of the population.

    The progressive activists were by far the most prolific group on social media: 70 percent had shared political content over the previous year. The devoted conservatives followed, at 56 percent.

    These two extreme groups are similar in surprising ways. They are the whitest and richest of the seven groups, which suggests that America is being torn apart by a battle between two subsets of the elite who are not representative of the broader society.

    What’s more, they are the two groups that show the greatest homogeneity in their moral and political attitudes. This uniformity of opinion, the study’s authors speculate, is likely a result of thought-policing on social media: “Those who express sympathy for the views of opposing groups may experience backlash from their own cohort.”

    In other words, political extremists don’t just shoot darts at their enemies; they spend a lot of their ammunition targeting dissenters or nuanced thinkers on their own team. In this way, social media makes a political system based on compromise grind to a halt.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/05/social-media-democracy-trust-babel/629369/

  6. Adrian Thornton 6

    @ Redlogix….I thought you told me to "fuck off"…so how about you take your own advice and not comment to or about me in future please, you have nothing constructive to say or add to the conversation and analysis around the Ukraine that I can see…and you obviously think the same about me, so let's just leave it that shall we.

    [You’re often too quick to draw your gun and shoot [at] your perceived enemy, who may or may not treat or threaten you with the same contempt or violence – it doesn’t seem to matter much.

    Unfortunately, your 10-min window of opportunity closed without any further corrective action from you. Hence this Mod note.

    Today, I give you one warning to keep your comments as impersonal as possible to prevent you from adding more fuel to the flames of your ongoing moral warfare against others here. You have demonstrated that you’re eminently capable of posting solid comments with good debating points and without any personal attacks aimed at others here. Obviously, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the content is not controversial nor that it will receive broad agreement or acceptance here. But that’s the nature of robust debate here on TS.

    Unless instructed otherwise by Mods and within reason, anybody is free to respond to anybody here on TS.

    This is your one warning. Happy Easter and happy commenting – Incognito]

    • Incognito 6.1

      Why don’t you trash this comment on your own accord while you still can? RL trashed his, as you can tell, which was a wise move too.

      • Incognito 6.1.1

        Red trashed his comment within 29 seconds, which was long enough for AT to see red.

        • RedLogix 6.1.1.1

          I deleted it because I did not want to complicate your moderation. I know from long experience how irritating that is. If not I would have let it stand.

          Maybe you should ban me as well; it would be worth it tbh.

          • Incognito 6.1.1.1.1

            I know that you know that Mods can read trashed comments in the backend, but I wanted to let you and others know anyway that I appreciated your decision, which indeed made it a little easier for me as Mod to try and ‘keep the peace’ here. I’d like to think that we all want less angry argy-bargy and more robust convo/debate.

            FWIW, lately, your comments have been up & down, but when you’re up, you’re really up there, in my opinion. I won’t dwell on the downs other than to say that I hope they will pass smiley

            Have a good Easter.

    • Incognito 6.2

      Mod note

      • Adrian Thornton 6.2.1

        "robust debate" that is exactly what I am here for, I love it….hardly much point in talking endlessly on TS with people whom I mainly agree with, that's what my friends are for.

        It used to be, that the good thing about the "robust debate" that I would often have here on TS, was that I would learn quite a bit from many considered and thoughtful 'opponents' and would get my arse kicked here and there if I went in unprepared, which (believe it or not) I actually really appreciated…for a dummy like me it was a great way to learn the subtle (and not so subtle) art of robust debate.

        However I have noticed that since Trump, that 'considered and thoughtful' element has become less and less (I know I can be quite adversarial at times, so I accept and acknowledge my own part in this decline) until here we are…it seems like this war in the Ukraine has finally broken a good many Standard regulars IMO…many are now just openly hostile all the time, and often seem to be seething with anger and indignation at even the slightest push back, differing view or competing analysis.

        Can you imagine how long a list would be, if I lined up, one after another, all the ad hominem, straight out swearing, dirt and vile directed at me over the past two or three months?…I would do it, but why bother, it doesn't interest or effect me at all, and you have probably seen it all (or most of it) yourself anyway…but it's all a bit sad that it has come all the way down to this.

        Anyway that's my bit…Happy Easter to you too.

        …..I see that DB Brown (predictably) has just made my point quite succinctly.

        • weka 6.2.1.1

          in the history of TS, telling someone to fuck off isn't that big a deal. Neither is calling them names in the context of making political points (reference Lynn's posts, but he also does educational abuse). Point being, from my perspective it's not really the name calling, it's the energy it is done with.

          The other point is that it's very difficult to control other people's behaviour online. I'm curious if you have tried just ignoring people where the communication has broken down? Let them say stupid shit, and you stay focused on the politics and find the best ways to express your political opinion?

          I agree with you about the learning from considered opponents. Seek them out, the ones who aren't being dickheads, and find the ways to talk with them. This improves the debate culture too.

          TS has changed, and things are more tense now, people more reactive (I think this is true generally). It's an intense time to be alive, and it's going to get more intense. I'm not following the war debates, I only read enough to keep an eye on moderation. But I think it's bigger than this war, the tenseness.

          I still see a huge value to TS, especially as I spend a lot of time on twitter, and there are so many people there that simply don't know how to have an argument, and who resort to trying to undermine the person rather than pull apart their position. I'm grateful here we still know what debate is, and that there are people who are willing to put the time into getting it right. It's a crucial skill now.

          • weka 6.2.1.1.1

            Point being, from my perspective it's not really the name calling, it's the energy it is done with.

            Just wanted to finish that thought. The issue is if it's going to escalate and get out of hand, and derail the debate. If people are more tense now, then name calling or swearing has more impact than it used to. People's tolerances are lower.

            Same with telling someone to fuck off. It can be light, or serious, or it can be part of the new intolerance. I'm generally less interested in people's reaction than I am in the sense they make with their argument. Does it make sense to me? Is there any ground upon which to debate? If not, why bother responding?

            • weka 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Another aspect of this is how social media rewards people for being clever dicks. I see it much more on twitter, not sure about how much it is here.

              There's someone on twitter who responded to something I said about Elon Musk's attempt to buy twitter outright. They basically ran some stupid arse right wing talking points that has very little to do with what I said. ie they used my tweet for their rhetoric.

              I was tempted to tweet back "Elon Musk is a dickhead, and so apparently are you". Which would have been somewhat satisfying, but in really what is the point? What are we trying to do here? Feel clever? Feel better about ourselves? Stop feeling so shit about the world by scoring points online?

              So the question there is what do people want from taking part in debate on TS? For me it's about learning what I think, and keeping myself engaged with people who think differently because it makes life more interesting, and it makes the world safer. I'm also committed to social change and I think debate is part of that. Critical thinking skills need exercised too.

              Making a dismissive quip to a stranger on twitter pales compared to that, and I think undermines it.

        • Incognito 6.2.1.2

          Weka has already made many excellent points, some of which I was going to cover as well.

          When you refer to Trump, you’re covering a period here on TS of 5-6 years. A lot has changed here during this time, including Authors, Mods, and commenters. We have also changed individually, not just the external world such as TS – you have changed too. In addition, and paraphrasing a proverb, we live in interesting times. Our lives are filled with more tension, thanks to the media and all the stuff happening here in NZ and elsewhere in the world. If we cannot maintain a healthy emotional distance and balance we get sucked down a vortex of vitriol or down a drain of despair.

          Robust debate can help us make sense of the world. It can help restore some balance and trust and anchor us in the knowledge that we’re not alone in this and that together we can do better, understand better, and support each other. I think that even more important is to have meaningful conversations and make genuine connections with others, as they’re foundational to our communities and society aka the fabric of our society. Or we can fight each other.

          Debating is hard, it requires skill and patience (aka time). Controversial topics make it even harder to have a healthy debate. Which is why we need commenters to bring their A-game here for it to succeed and even then there’s no guarantee. Ideally, commenters bring the best out in each other. In contrast, personal insults and attacks, for example, tend to bring out the worst in others.

          After a good debate, just as after a good game of sports, we should be able to sit down together and have a good chat & laugh over a hot or cold drink, amicably or at least civil, with some mutual respect. With some of the reoccurring behaviours by a small group of regulars here I cannot imagine this ever happening in real life and this has nothing to do with geographical location or anonymity. I think this negative vibe oozes through some of the discussion threads and drags these down.

          Before we post a comment we should ask ourselves whether it might have a positive effect on the discussion or not. If the answer is “no”, or even a possible “no”, then maybe we should reconsider our comment, e.g. the language and/or the content. Otherwise, what would be the point if it is not constructive debate but merely a reflexive insult or worse, a predetermined attack?

          I’m past feeling sad or whatever about what has been happening on TS and past feeling sad about what seems to be happening here now more frequently. I will try to steer commenters away from counter-productive personal insults and attacks, especially when they make no obvious political point at all, and if that doesn’t work I will moderate. Ideally, we all lift our game here and self-correct and self-moderate.

          And everything weka said.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Seems like a virtuous circle. Govt issues policy based on Te Tiriti, opponents hire lawyers, GDP gets a boost in consequence, Minister of Finance gets the confidence of business that he is operating a growth-based economy as per prescription.

    The Government is starting to splash the Three Waters cash. Applications open to councils this week for the first $500 million slice of the $2 billion funding pie. It's called the 'better off' package.

    "It's to support local government to look towards other areas of obligations to fund because they've been constrained by their balance sheet," Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta said.

    The agreement has Worboys – who heads a group of 32 mayors opposing the reforms – lawyering up.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/04/mayors-lawyer-up-over-surprise-contract-clause-banning-them-from-criticising-three-waters.html

    But there's more!

    A part of the deal has been slammed as a gag order. It states that councils who get the cash "must not at any time do anything which could have an adverse effect on the reputation, good standing or goodwill of the Department of Internal Affairs or the Government".

    National leader Christopher Luxon suggested the clause was problematic. "If you do take the money then you sure as can't criticise the Government, it does feel like a gag order."

    In a statement, the Department of Internal Affairs told Newshub "no clause in the Funding Agreement… prevents or prohibits any council from publicly expressing its own views".

    Looks like a three-way stoush with dissident mayors vs DIA & govt. Supreme Court, here we come.

    This mess has been described to Newshub by an official as "a bit of untidiness" because there was meant to be an assurance about the clause in a letter that went to mayors. For whatever reason, that disappeared.

    Orwellian moves can easily be glossed as untidy, eh? So the recipients are either assured or not assured (if you prefer a binary framing) or somewhere in between (if you prefer a triad). Schrodinger's clause, we could call it…

  8. SPC 8

    The answer to the question who was the first Maori nominated for an Oscar has changed.

    It's now Estelle Merle O'Brien Thompson (who claimed to be from Tasmania so no one would suspect she was "coloured"). She acted under the name Merle Oberon (clearly embarrassed to have Irish ancestry).

    She was born in Bombay/Mumbai to a British father, her mother had Sinhalese/Maori ancestry).

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-61079732

  9. Peter 9

    The campaign to get rid of Black Ferns rugby coach Glenn Moore reached its goal today. Only after the crucifixion does he get to say have his say.

    One of the players suffered a mental breakdown on last year's end of year tour to England and France after alleged critical comments from him.

    "Moore pushed back against those allegations.

    I did not agree with the allegations she made, and they were misleading. The post provided no context and unfairly and inaccurately represented me as a coach and a person. My values and beliefs were called into question, and it was very disappointing not only to me but also to my family.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/rugby-glenn-moore-quits-as-black-ferns-head-coach-in-major-u-turn/22LHKAESCNTVXMQDGKAS6YZOEY/

  10. aj 10

    I am fervently hoping this macabre practise is fake news. Beneath my contempt for either side to do this.

    Ukraine scanning faces of dead Russians, then contacting their mothers

    The West's solidarity with Ukraine makes it tempting to support such a radical act designed to capitalise on family grief, said Stephanie Hare, a surveillance researcher in London. But contacting soldiers' parents, she said, is "classic psychological warfare" and could set a dangerous new standard for future conflicts.

    "If it were Russian soldiers doing this with Ukrainian mothers, we might say, 'Oh, my God, that's barbaric,' " she said. "And is it actually working? Or is it making them say: 'Look at these lawless, cruel Ukrainians, doing this to our boys?' "

    Clearview AI's chief executive, Hoan Ton-That, told The Washington Post that more than 340 officials across five Ukrainian government agencies now can use its tool to run facial recognition searches whenever they want, free of charge.

    Clearview employees now hold weekly, sometimes daily, training calls over Zoom with new police and military officials looking to gain access. Ton-That recounted several "'oh, wow' moments" as the Ukrainians witnessed how much data – including family photos, social media posts and relationship details – they could gather from a single cadaver scan.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/300567505/ukraine-scanning-faces-of-dead-russians-then-contacting-their-mothers

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