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Open Mike 16/02/2017

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 16th, 2017 - 49 comments
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49 comments on “Open Mike 16/02/2017 ”

  1. Macro 1

    Trump says he can live with a One State Israel

    President Trump said on Wednesday that the United States would no longer insist on a Palestinian state as part of a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians, backing away from a policy that has underpinned America’s role in Middle East peacemaking since the Clinton administration.

    “I’m looking at two states and one state,” Mr. Trump said, appearing in a joint news conference at the White House with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. “I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.”

    Mr. Trump’s comments were a striking departure from decades of diplomatic orthodoxy, and they raised a host of thorny questions about the viability of his position. The Palestinians are highly unlikely to accept anything short of a sovereign state, and a single Israeli state encompassing the Palestinians would either become undemocratic or no longer Jewish, given the faster growth rate of the Arab population.

    • Roflcopter 1.1

      The problem being of course, that “The Palestinians are highly unlikely to accept anything short of a sovereign state” means what they have now, plus all of Israel.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        You may say that, but decent fair talks and honest action thereafter would enable a change in their position.

    • Morrissey 1.2

      … a single Israeli state encompassing the Palestinians would either become undemocratic or no longer Jewish, given the faster growth rate of the Arab population.


      How would such a state “become undemocratic”?

      • DoublePlusGood 1.2.1

        If they tried to retain representative majority for a minority Jewish population, that would be undemocratic.
        The statement is either or – either a single Israeli state would be no longer Jewish, as Jews would be a minority of the population; or for the state to remain Jewish it would need to have an undemocratic electoral system.

        • inspider

          It’s already undemocratic by most democratic and civilised standards. It’s a big myth that israel is a haven of democracy in the mid east.

      • KJT 1.2.2

        For Israel to stay a “Jewish” State they would have to disenfranchise the Palestinian majority.

        Which is why a “two State” solution is likely the only viable option.

        Israeli settlements and genocidal attacks on Palestinians are making a peaceful solution less likely. However i doubt if peace is in the Israeli agenda, as they need an excuse to continue the takeover of Palestinian begun in the 50’s.

  2. Cinny 2

    Christchurch Port Hills fires: What you need to know

    Thinking of those down south today who are suffering from the fires. All lives matter, please stay safe and if you are told to get out, don’t muck around just go, stuff can be replaced, lives can’t.

    • Wayne 3.1


      Just how would it serve the Canadian interest (or for that matter the NZ interest) if Trudeau had spent his time lecturing Trump?

      Both Trudeau and English made it plain enough that they disagreed with the Immigration Executive Order, and in any event they could have confidence that the US courts would roll it back.

      What more should they do?

      It is worth recalling that despite all Trump’s faults he has not signalled that he wants to start a war on the scale of Iraq or going further back, Vietnam. In fact I would say the indications are the opposite.

      It was not so long ago that a number of commenters on this site were saying they preferred Trump over Clinton, precisely because he was seen as less of a war risk. I personally thought that was ridiculous. Why would Clinton start any wars?

      More importantly Trump is the President of a country that many countries, especially in the west, have a deep relationship. In fact the US is seen as the indispensable nation with in the west. The vast number of components of this relationship will continue, despite Trump, since they are not based on any one person but on a network of enduring links.

      I appreciate you do not agree with any of this, but in large part the relationship is based on common values, namely being democracies, with the independent rule of law, and broadly speaking open economies.

      The connection between the western nations actually goes far deeper in time, since these institutions and values have their origins in Judaeo-Christian philosophy and ethics, and go back as far as democracy of Athens and the republic of Rome.

      So Trump would have to be much worse than at present before any western nation would significantly curtail the relationship.

      Personally I have complete trust in the constitution of the US and the rule of law that will keep Trump within acceptable confines. He might say some surprising things, but a lot of that will prove to be bluster.

      In fact what the European nations want is for Trump to actually affirm US leadership of NATO, the centrepiece of western mutual obligation. The scariest thing for European nations is the thought that NATO would be put in jeopardy by US “neo-isolationism.” Even Corbyn recognises this (at least on a pragmatic level, even if not personally) that unravelling NATO would give rise to dangerous uncertainty. For some European nations (the Baltics) this is literally an existential threat.

      • Morrissey 3.1.1

        Thanks Wayne. Some good points there. By the way, I meant to get back to you after you responded to my swingeing attack on you last Saturday. I accept your criticism wasn’t personal, and I must say that I was impressed by your unflappability and your maintenance of a civil discourse, as I had tried to employ all my rhetorical force against you.

        However, I was banned by the moderators for another matter, so please accept my belated apology.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        In fact the US is seen as the indispensable nation with in the west.

        Only by a small clique of authoritarians.

        Personally, I see NZ as the only indispensable nation as far as NZ is concerned and that it’s under threat from the US.

        The connection between the western nations actually goes far deeper in time, since these institutions and values have their origins in Judaeo-Christian philosophy and ethics, and go back as far as democracy of Athens and the republic of Rome.

        That’s the past and we cannot find solutions for today or the future in the past.

        Both Athens and Rome were massively undemocratic and highly authoritarian. Great for their time but not for today. Today we need to move on from those failed systems rather than trying to keep them alive.

        Personally I have complete trust in the constitution of the US and the rule of law that will keep Trump within acceptable confines.

        I would – except for all the actions that the US Administration has done that go against those.

        In fact what the European nations want is for Trump to actually affirm US leadership of NATO, the centrepiece of western mutual obligation. The scariest thing for European nations is the thought that NATO would be put in jeopardy by US “neo-isolationism.” Even Corbyn recognises this (at least on a pragmatic level, even if not personally) that unravelling NATO would give rise to dangerous uncertainty. For some European nations (the Baltics) this is literally an existential threat.

        Nothing is forever.

        The world has changed and is changing further away from the old authoritarian past.

        • Wayne


          I was obviously not suggesting that Greece and Rome were like modern democracies, after all they both had slaves. But I am sure you know that many of our legal principles and philosophy has its origins with them.

          As for the decline of the west. Well, yes it does seem the peak of the influence has passed but as yet no other set of states has supplanted the west. Asia (China and India) could do so but that will take more than 50 years, probably significantly longer. In contrast to western nations China is actually organised on authoritarian lines.

          Your first point is perhaps the most interesting. Does the leadership of the US only appeal to a small clique of authoritarians?

          Perhaps the best proxy would be a referendum on whether European nations/people would wish to see the end of NATO. Realistically such a referendum is not going to happen.

          But we do know that parties that do actually propose withdrawal from NATO do not win elections, in fact they do very badly. I am certain if this was UK Labour party policy, they would be pretty much wiped out electorally.

          So I suggest you misunderstand the popular mood (as opposed to views of left activists). People may have all sorts of complaints about the US, but not many are actually willing to forgo its protection. That is particularly true the further east you go in Europe.

          There can hardly be a single Pole who would say “Get out of NATO.” When I went there, all the Poles I spoke felt that their sovereignty was finally guaranteed. Not surprising when you think of the Polish experience throughout the twentieth century.

          However I appreciate that perhaps 20% of New Zealanders think as you do do. I guess we are in the safest place in the world to be able to do so.

          • Red Hand

            The US might, as you write, be seen as the indispensable nation within the West but I struggle to think of any significant contribution to human knowledge by US educated and acculturated people.

            Also the US is isolated geographically from the historical knowledge and cultural sources that it relies on, Europe, the Middle East, India, China. IMO it has always been a taker, not a giver. A taker of people and a taker of knowledge.

            The US appears to me reliant on the rest of the world for its ideas and technologies.

            I don’t agree that the western nations institutions and values have their origins in Judaeo-Christian philosophy and ethics. These were imposed from without and important state structures eg, Monarchies, Class Systems, Roman Law predated them.

            You are risking a knockdown in claiming that the popular mood can be gauged by support or otherwise of voters for continuing membership of NATO because you do not take account of voter participation in elections, which in Poland at least has been abysmal.

            • Psycho Milt

              I struggle to think of any significant contribution to human knowledge by US educated and acculturated people.

              I expect the irony of engaging in this struggle while using a personal computer connected to the Internet didn’t occur?

              • lprent

                I struggle to think of any significant contribution to human knowledge by US educated and acculturated people.

                I expect the irony of engaging in this struggle while using a personal computer connected to the Internet didn’t occur?

                Yeah, it does seem that the Groaning Hand clearly hasn’t been around computer systems for the last 60 years or so.

                Perhaps he should consider Grace Hopper, the author of the A compiler in 1952 to prove that you could write code in something other than maths. Of course COBOL sucks. But it has the hardy robustness such that means that 57 years after it’s (and my) birth, banks and the IRD are still trying to find something that works better..

                My favourite language is still C++ developed by another extremely bright yank, Bjarne Stroustrup, in 1979. I’ve written more than 50 million lines of tight code in it since I learnt it in 1991. And I’m still learning to express myself in it now.

                For me those are still the highlights of one small area of my overly educated and acculturated mind. It is the area that has me sanely clasped in its creative trance for 30 odd years without suffering the boredom of sucking up the cultures of mere people like the vacuum cleaner I am in the social science or the arts.

                The US appears to me reliant on the rest of the world for its ideas and technologies.

                Just about every area of knowledge that I have sucked into with depth in the last 40 years has been dominated by the concepts from the US. Everything from computer systems to management to earth sciences. Sure, a lot of those concepts have been from the first 3 generations of immigrants. But most of those people were there because it was largely impossible to do the things that they did in the countries of their parents or grandparents.

                A prosaic and highly visible example would be to just look at the inspired comedy of John Oliver. The same thing happens in any country that welcomes immigration. Here for instance.

                Just looking around my apartment, it is rather freaky realising how much of it was directly developed in the US, or was redeveloped there to drop the cost. Sure it is made by the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc at present. But the flood of innovation arriving every year from the US is a rather large torrent. Nothing like it arrives from anywhere else.

                Basically, I’d have speculate that the Groaning Hand is more interested in the same types of such largely useless esoteric medieval meanderings as the quest for detirmining the number of naked angels of their preferred gender that could dance on a pinhead, or other microscopic obsessions based on the self-referential arguments of nearly blind scholars trying to read under candle-light. I guess it beats having to do any real work understanding the real world.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Sure, a lot of those concepts have been from the first 3 generations of immigrants. But most of those people were there because it was largely impossible to do the things that they did in the countries of their parents or grandparents.

                  And which is probably the same reason why our best and brightest pick up sticks and leave. They simply cannot do what they want here in NZ because of the poor support for creativity that we have.

          • Draco T Bastard

            When I went there, all the Poles I spoke felt that their sovereignty was finally guaranteed.

            Of course, the UN and international is supposed to do that and not individual nations.

            Of course, we do have the example of Israel and the UN dictating the invasion of a sovereign state in favour of a small group of people.

            And, of course, the US has been undermining the UN for decades. From where I sit, the problem of people not feeling that there sovereignty is guaranteed is a direct result of the US’ undermining of the UN and ongoing invasions of sovereign nations.

            If nations feel secure because of NATO then it’s because they’re kissing US arse.

            • McFlock

              Or they’re kissing US arse because they were feeling insecure for some completely unknown reason…

              • Draco T Bastard

                Would nations feel insecure if the UN had the power to stop the US invading other countries?

                I suspect that if that were true then nations wouldn’t be turning to the US and NATO for protection.

                • McFlock

                  I reckon the world would be a much better place if the UN could stop the US, Russia, or China (or frankly any military power) from invading smaller countries, it would be full of rainbows and unicorn farts.

                  But that us not currently in the power of the UN.

                  So Poland and Baltic countries look to NATO, because Russia.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    But that us not currently in the power of the UN.

                    And the UN isn’t in that position because USA.

                    And most of the military interventions in the world over the last century or so has been by the US fighting for their corporations.

                    What I’m saying here is that the solution that those countries need is the UN, not NATO, but those powerful countries are keeping the UN powerless to act against them.

                    So, how do we get the majority of countries to change the UN for the better?

                    • McFlock

                      Hey, Britain France and Russia have done their bit and all.

                      The main problem with the UN is the permanent member veto, but also the reliance on US funds because it’s got the biggest economy.

                      If all the littler countries put more money into the UN, there’d still be the issue of the security council veto. I have no idea how to alter that, save waiting for the next big was ad the irradiated survivors could do a League of Nations: Third Time Lucky.

        • Psycho Milt

          The world has changed and is changing further away from the old authoritarian past.

          I don’t think increasing authoritarianism can really be described as changing “away from” authoritarianism. “Embracing a more authoritarian future” seems more accurate.

          • Draco T Bastard

            IMO, the general populace is changing to be less authoritarian and the PTB are becoming more so as a response to that.

            But, there is flux and uncertainty ATM so I could be wrong.

            • Psycho Milt

              I certainly believe you’re wrong. Putin and Erdogan are popular in their own countries, the USA just democratically elected an authoritarian demagogue, nationalist authoritarian parties are increasing in popularity in Europe, and a UK referendum has voted to exit the international cooperative it belongs to because nationalism is becoming more popular. That’s the general populace, not the powers that be.

    • Siobhan 3.2

      With 77.8% of Canadian exports going to the USA and Mexico (NAFTA)…I suspect the Canadians are more than happy to keep things civil with Trump. Of course its Trudeau who’s very pro NAFTA, and Trump who had to moderate his opinions which is ironic….
      Though I think Trudeau handing Trump a photograph of Trump and daddy Trudeau back in the day speaks volumes about our Leading families and the distribution, or lack thereof, of power.

      • Morrissey 3.2.1

        Very interesting, Siobhan. I didn’t see that photograph.

        I must say, though, that I am not at all impressed with Trudeau Junior. He seems like another Tony Blair.

  3. Morrissey 4

    Kathryn Ryan—completely out of her depth this morning:
    Further evidence that standards at RNZ National are declining.

    Nine to Noon, RNZ National, Thursday 16 February 2017, 10:10 a.m.

    I’m listening to Kathryn Ryan making a fool of herself, yet again, this time as she interviews Rudolph Herzog, author of Dead Funny: Telling Jokes in Hitler’s Germany. He’s already firmly corrected her after she claimed that the Jewish prisoners at Theresienstadt put on a cabaret to boost their morale; in fact, he informed her, they were compelled to put on the cabaret. He’s also caviled at her use of the word “humanising”, which implies the Nazis were not human. He also seems perturbed by her suggestion that the Nazis had a sense of humour. ”

    Does she do ANY preparation, or reading, before these interviews? Are there any standards at RNZ National any more?


  4. lprent 6

    You can tell we are in election year again.

    Lots of posts. Lots of comments.

    And a rapidly increasing number of page views….

    Looks like we will have the code for the project after work in the hands of the testers tomorrow. In celebration, if it continues to rain and be cool in Auckland, I will fix a password field and get the search function back on line.

    Please ask the deity (or lack thereof) for rain in Auckland and the fire areas of NZ…. I will take care of the code.

  5. Draco T Bastard 7

    Here’s the thing about Apple Pay and banks

    The key to understanding the dispute is that both sides are big, powerful semi-monopolies. Both want control and both want to clip the ticket on every transaction. It can mean rivers of gold.

    More rentier capitalism.

    The Australian banks argue that opening up the iPhone NFC chip will allow innovation to flourish. Apple argues customers will get a better digital wallet experience if it retains control. Among other things it means customers can run cards issued by different banks from a single app.

    Banks elsewhere might be as uneasy with Apple Pay, but few banking markets are as tight-held as Australia and New Zealand. This gives the local big banks a clout that, say, US banks don’t have.

    And this shows how competition in standards fails to bring about satisfactory results for society.

    The power of those big four banks to fuck around with our currency and transactions is another reason why we should be looking to nationalise the transaction system and maintain a single standard.

    • inspider 7.1

      There is absolutely nothing stopping you starting a bank in nz, and nothing stopping me choosing to bank with any of the 24 registered banks in NZ

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        And is that actually working? No, it’s not.

        The private banks have control of our monetary supply and create too much of it and they own the EFT-POS system pulling in massive amounts of profit from us using our money.

  6. joe90 8

    The dumbest man on the internet gets himself accredited.

    It was a banner moment for the decade-old website, known for reporting obvious hoaxes as legitimate news and headlines such as: “EXPOSED=>HILLARY HITMAN Breaks Silence” and “Dental Expert: Hillary Clinton Is Suffering From Serious Gum Infection” and “One Week After Election Loss Hillary Clinton Looks Like Death.”

    Hoft was on his way to his first White House news conference in the company of self-described “brand strategist” Lucian Wintrich, the Gateway Pundit’s inaugural White House correspondent, who for his first day on the job wore a blue tie studded with elephants in every color of the rainbow to announce his gay Republican pride.


    • adam 9.1

      When Chris is on ball he is the best.

      And this is him at his snarly best.

      Thank God we have Rachel Stewart.

      • I’m still for fighting worthwhile fights, but at the same time, keeping a weather eye on the big issue. Stopping the every day stuff because the freight-train headlight is blinding us is going to multiply our daily problems, so yes, protest the dams, the plight of the homeless and so on and on. Taking practical steps individually to prepare for challenging circumstances seem very wise right now.

        • adam

          On the big issue stuff, I think Leighton Smith over at ZB needs to be challenged everyday on this issue. Arguing with people who listen to him is getting a joke. Not that he uses the gifts of science for anything. Mind you did get a straight answer why they oppose this issue. Because it’s simple and easy to do nothing, and call the other side crazy.

  7. Freekpower 10

    The right wing in NZ seem to be getting really upset about the diversification of the Labour party

  8. Siobhan 11

    Labour Candidate Anna Lorck fighting the good fight for the homeless executives and wealthy retirees of Havelock North..


    Though I suspect her and her husband, Damon Harvey, are making a play for the position of Hastings Mayor, so it makes sense to win over the voters of Havelock North.


    They are like the Clintons of the Hawkes Bay. Yup.

    • Ad 11.1

      Yule has had it for well long enough, and as Chair of LGNZ for nearly two decades has functioned as both Mayor and MP together in the one person, merrily clipping the ticket for both as he goes.

      There is no way some far left snowflake would survive on that hard dry political soil. Maybe Anna Lorck and Damon Harkey are the right people for right there.

  9. Whispering Kate 12

    I see in the Herald the mother of Nia Glassie the little girl who was tortured and murdered, is going to be released on parole after serving 8 of her 9 years in jail. What an evil looking woman she is. Why was this woman only given a 9 year sentence and not a minimum of 9 years and allowed to be released a year before her time. The description of the torture of that little girl is horrific.

    What I cannot understand is why Scott Watson is still in jail and was given a minimum of 17 years and is now serving over that time and I think it was said he isn’t up for parole for another 4 years. There is something really wrong with the sentencing system.

    I for one, do not want that woman released, children will never be safe around her and she does not look repentant with what she has done. Just because Scott Watson still denies the crime it does not warrant him being lock away forever.

  10. Morrissey 13

    Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen.
    Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister.

    by GLENN GREENWALD, The Intercept, Jan. 31, 2017

    IN 2010, PRESIDENT Obama directed the CIA to assassinate an American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, despite the fact that he had never been charged with (let alone convicted of) any crime, and the agency successfully carried out that order a year later with a September 2011 drone strike. While that assassination created widespread debate — the once-again-beloved ACLU sued Obama to restrain him from the assassination on the ground of due process and then, when that suit was dismissed, sued Obama again after the killing was carried out — another drone killing carried out shortly thereafter was perhaps even more significant yet generated relatively little attention.

    Two weeks after the killing of Awlaki, a separate CIA drone strike in Yemen killed his 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman, along with the boy’s 17-year-old cousin and several other innocent Yemenis. The U.S. eventually claimed that the boy was not their target but merely “collateral damage.” Abdulrahman’s grief-stricken grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, urged the Washington Post “to visit a Facebook memorial page for Abdulrahman,” which explained: “Look at his pictures, his friends, and his hobbies. His Facebook page shows a typical kid.”

    Few events pulled the mask off Obama officials like this one. It highlighted how the Obama administration was ravaging Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries: just weeks after he won the Nobel Prize, Obama used cluster bombs that killed 35 Yemeni women and children. Even Obama-supporting liberal comedians mocked the arguments of the Obama DOJ for why it had the right to execute Americans with no charges: “Due Process Just Means There’s A Process That You Do,” snarked Stephen Colbert. And a firestorm erupted when former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs offered a sociopathic justification for killing the Colorado-born teenager, apparently blaming him for his own killing by saying he should have “had a more responsible father.”

    The U.S. assault on Yemeni civilians not only continued but radically escalated over the next five years through the end of the Obama presidency, as the U.S. and the U.K. armed, supported, and provide crucial assistance to their close ally Saudi Arabia as it devastated Yemen through a criminally reckless bombing campaign. Yemen now faces mass starvation, seemingly exacerbated, deliberately, by the U.S.-U.K.-supported air attacks. Because of the West’s direct responsibility for these atrocities, they have received vanishingly little attention in the responsible countries.

    In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed. …..

    Read more….

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